Friday, November 7, 2008

Morality For Sale

The same week that historic progress was made in the form of the nation’s first elected African-American president, our nation took a giant step backwards with regard to liberty and justice for all. Even as former NYC attorney general and governor Eliot Spitzer was cleared of all charges in the prostitution ring scandal that he himself set in motion with his financial indiscretion, 40 other state attorneys general strong-armed Craigslist into “taming” its “erotic services” listings.

Which would be hysterical if it weren’t so sad. Since “erotic services” is a euphemism for prostitution, this is akin to the A.G.’s telling the online classifieds site to rid their jobs listings of actual jobs. And the fact that Craigslist isn’t removing the “erotic services” listings itself means that the company merely plans on paying lip service to the morals police. Of course, that’s just fine by the attorney generals since it’s all for show anyway. Prostitution, a bedrock of the underground economy, is an industry no government can afford to eliminate any more than it can afford to send all the illegal immigrant laborers back over the border. If the A.G.’s truly were intent on curbing prostitution they could do so easily by prosecuting johns like their former colleague Spitzer.

For one of the considerations cited by the government attorney who chose to let Spitzer walk away scot-free is that it isn’t policy to charge clients in prostitution cases. No, it’s the Emperor’s Club’s managers and bookers still being hung out to dry who will be doing Spitzer’s time for him. I for one can only hope that Obama’s message of change extends to ingrained legal hypocrisy as well.

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