What’s wrong with running a brothel?

THOMAS McDonnell, reputedly one of the biggest brothel keepers in this city, is to spend the next 18 months in jail.

It is an extraordinary sentence for a man who has done absolutely nothing wrong.

This State has decided that it has a legitimate interest in what men and women do in the privacy of their own dwellings. Well, it hasn’t.

If men and women want to exchange money for sex then the State has no right to stop them.

Thomas McDonnell set up brothels where men had sex with women for cash. No evidence was given in court that either the women or the men were coerced into anything. No evidence was given that the activities involved anyone other than consenting adults.

For setting up the brothel, the women gave Thomas one third of their earnings. Thomas pocketed the money, very considerable amounts of money, and neglected to mention it in his tax returns.

Suppose Thomas had put down these earnings on his tax form. Would the Revenue have taken his taxes without informing the guards? Would they hell!

So here we have a situation where the State doesn’t want the taxes from prostitution and yet it sends a man to jail for not paying those taxes. Thomas McDonnell couldn’t have paid these taxes even if he wanted to. He wasn’t trying to evade or avoid taxes – he simply wasn’t in a legal position to pay them.

This is a perversion of justice. But it goes much further than that.

The interference by the State into the personal lives of individuals is repression. It is exactly the same force at work in the drug laws and in safety legislation.

It’s all about the State having the right to overrule the wishes of individuals. Who granted the State these rights?

Take the case of cannabis, for instance. There is a lot of talk about the possible harmful effects of cannabis as a reason why it should be illegal. The fact is that it doesn’t matter how harmful it is – it wouldn’t matter if it killed you on the spot. If an adult wishes to take it then the State has no right to intervene. The individual is entitled to sovereignty over their own bodies.

We have the sight of a woman having to go to the High Court in London to have the right to end her own life. This is an act of brutality.

We have a situation were the EU is banning various pills and drugs because they might be harmful. Again, this is an outrageous infringement in personal liberty.

If the State has a role, it should be to ensure that people know what they are taking and then to ensure quality control.

Let the buyer beware. Put a label on the bottle saying “if you take this pill your right leg will fall off” or something. Then it is up to the individual to take their own chances.

In the case of prostitution, the role of the State should be to ensure that consent is freely given and that the rights of sex workers are primary. Then the State can worry about getting its share, about planning permission for brothels, about health matters and so on.

Generally, I have a dim view of prostitution. Once the consent principle is granted my concern would move on to the quality of the consent. Overwhelmingly, the women who work as prostitutes don’t have a lot of choices in their lives. It’s not like someone would choose prostitution if they could work as a brain surgeon.

In many cases single mothers and junkies are driven into prostitution by need. The role of the State should be to protect these women from the dangers that they face and to ensure that the have access to alternatives so that they can make genuine choices.

The way to transform prostitution is through brothels. Conditions of work can be monitored. Access by clients can be controlled. By comparison street prostitution, which increases every time the cops and the judges have their way, is terrifying.

In the meantime the State collects its share of the immoral earnings. It got m2.5 million out of Thomas McDonnell. Maybe the prospect of more taxes will bring change. Maybe we could set up a semi-state, An Bord Orgasm, to develop the market.

As Well As That. . .

Bad old Amsterdam

WHENEVER anyone suggests liberalising drug or sex laws conservatives point to Amsterdam as an example of where this can lead.

You can argue the pros and cons all day but one thing needs to be said: Amsterdam suffers from, and benefits from, the repressive laws in force all around Europe.

Amsterdam wouldn’t have such big sex and drugs industries if other countries would allow their adults to live their own lives. The reason why every bad bastard bred in this city now lives in Amsterdam is because we ran them out of Dublin. They continue to prosper because of our prohibition on drugs.

If every country shouldered their weight, Amsterdam would be a better place.