Something or someone has caused my son to start believing that, should he happen to move to a state or country where prostitution hadn’t been made illegal, then his wife and daughter would run wildly into the streets in an effort to sell for mere pennies indiscriminate sexual services to passing strangers.
My son is a disciple of B.F. Skinner. Basically Skinner taught that complex behavior is the result of “conditioned responses.” Therefore, I assume my son presumes his wife and daughter (and every other mature female living in the “free market” area where prostitution hadn’t been made illegal) would be conditioned to respond with sex for monetary rewards. Then the monetary rewards would get less and less because of the competition of the “free market” system, thereby resulting in all the females eventually providing sexual services for mere pennies. However, as it turns out, my son’s predicted outcome (as shown by observing areas where prostitution hadn’t been made illegal or such laws had been repealed) is not only unreliable but wrong.
Running wildly into the streets to provide sexual services to passing strangers is a complex behavior. As such, and according to Skinnerian Theory, the behavior would necessarily be a conditioned response requiring a previous system of rewards and punishments in order to exist. If my daughter-in-law and granddaughter are covertly or overtly conditioned with negativity in regard to prostitution, and/or if they’ve never been conditioned to run wildly into the streets to provide sexual services to passing strangers, then they wouldn’t do so. Should my son happen to move to an area where no laws have been enacted against prostitution, that doesn’t mean his wife’s and daughter’s demeanor would change. They would be exactly as previous circumstances (their previous histories, in Skinnerian terms) have made them.
Trying to be as rigidly scientific as possible does not mean the person will never misinterpret observed phenomena, nor does it mean the person will accurately predict the possibility percentage for an outcome and for the totality of all possible outcomes. A behavioral psychologist–one that tries to apply the scientific method to what is known and prevent speculation from entering the equation–is merely a meteorologist of behavior, with the exception that psychological predictions are understandably more complex than considering readily observable factors involved in predicting the behavior of the weather.
My son read the above and said I misinterpreted or misrepresented his position. Then he went on to explain how he felt that prostitution in any “free market” culture/society would be equivalent to sweatshops run by US Corporations in third world countries. And he seemed quite vehement in regard to his position. However, he wasn’t born with the perception he now holds. So I can’t help but wonder how it developed. And I suspect the underlying roots of his perception is not far removed from those of the Mid-Eastern Muslim, who stones to death any female suspected of prostitution.
Now if me and my son were discussing how “Caucasians” could have come to possess such light-colored skin, then my son probably wouldn’t be as inflexible as he is concerning prostitution. Edward Conze has written, “The Yogin can only come into contact with the unconditioned when he brushes aside anything which is conditioned.” But I doubt anyone–philosopher or otherwise–can merely brush aside a conditioned response.
I’m suffering severe bewilderment trying to figure out what causal forces could have acted on my son to make him so cock-sure that he knows what effect prostitution would have. And George Carlin was just as mystified as to why prostitution is suppressed. In the above video he said:
I do not understand why prostitution is illegal.
Why should prostitution be illegal?
Selling is legal.
Fucking is legal.
Why isn’t selling fucking legal?
You know: Why should it be illegal to sell something that is perfectly legal to give away?
I can’t follow the logic on that at all.
Of all the things you can do to a person giving someone an orgasm is hardly the worse thing in the world.
In the Army they give you a medal for spraying napalm on people.
Civilian life you go to jail for giving someone an orgasm.
Maybe I’m not supposed to understand it.
Obviously George wasn’t influenced by the causal forces that had an effect on my son. Furthermore, George may have known why prostitution is suppressed. But his tactic was to attack the suppression with humor rather than try to logically explain the reasons behind the suppression. In other words, when the majority of the population on the planet believe the earth is flat, maybe it would be a good idea to use humor to indirectly attack the notion of a flat-earth. The humor might relieve people of the resentment and rage that comes when someone attacks personal beliefs, and instead have them chuckling at the possibility of the belief deserving ridicule.
George may not have known the primary reasons behind suppression of prostitution. But the possibility exists that he did. I personally suspect that when a female child is subjected to clitoridectomy, infibulation, and/or her vagina being sown shut, the hurtful acts are committed for the same reason prostitution is made illegal. The mutilation is done to cripple and suppress the female sex drive in later life. You see, genetically speaking, the sex drive and sexual potential of the human female is equivalent to that of a bonobo female.
You can observe bonobo females to get an idea of what the human female would act like if her sexuality wasn’t stigmatized and repressed starting from her most tender years. Now bear in mind the rhetoric used to justify the suppression is equivalent to the argument for believing in a flat earth. In nearly every case, the explanation an individual gives for having a particular belief or perception is illusory. The explanation usually doesn’t cover the actual factors that cultivated or stimulated the belief or perception into existence.
When a male bonobo returns to camp with a bounty of bananas that he had found, and a female offers herself for his sexual pleasure in order to obtain some of the bananas, the average person would logically say the female exploited the situation to her own advantage. But when a human male “returns to camp” (so to speak) with a bounty of something the female of his species wants, and the female gives herself for his sexual pleasure in order to obtain the item, then the average person illogically refers to the same or very similar mutual exchange as being an “exploitation” or “abuse” of the female.
Of course, likewise in psychological circles it has been long known that when a cop notices a male watching a female undressing before an unveiled window, then the male is arrested for being a “peeping tom.” But when a cop notices a female observing a male undressing before an unveiled window, the male is arrested for being an “exhibitionist.”
Maybe that is because cops are not trained to intellectualize and use logic. The term “robo-cop” takes on a whole new meaning when such training is taken into consideration. In fact, my daughter-in-law is taking “law-enforcement” courses at her local community college. Maybe the “robo-cop” training she is receiving is indirectly influencing the way her husband thinks about prostitution. Well, the possibility exist anyway. But I can’t say for sure that was the causal force acting on my son. There may have been another or multiple factors involved.
As one would expect, cops are selected from members of the culture that they are to police. Therefore, they are subject to the same cultural forces that mold and shape other members of the culture. They then are further molded and shaped by the cultural forces that are designed to make cops. Now this molding and shaping can’t depart too far from previous learning experiences, otherwise, it would be rejected. In other words, the attitude of a cop toward prostitution is most likely a refinement or enhancement of previously conditioned responses.
Bear in mind that we all pretty much have a “cop” mentality. That is, as herd/pack animals, which, by the way, are also social animals, the evolutionary history of our species has made individuals who want to keep order within the pack/herd and eliminate any suspected threat. In fact, the member who manages to protect the others of the group, or manages to successfully warn the others of a threat, is a member who is automatically elevated in status or in the social hierarchy by the act. Also, each member of a herd/pack is regularly striving to elevate his/her social status. Now when one takes this fact into consideration along with confirmation bias and the flight or fight response, the resulting combination can lead to Witch-Trials and other types of injustices and misconceptions. Of course, it could also be a factor involved in my son’s attitude toward prostitution.
I’ve heard said that prostitution shouldn’t be permitted because of STDs (sexually transmitted diseases). But this is equivalent to saying that poultry industry must be shut down because of salmonella and other diseases that can be contracted from eggs, chicken and chicken by-products. However, instead the situation is handled by teaching customers how to protect themselves from chicken-borne diseases rather than arresting farmers and banning sales of chicken and eggs in an effort to protect the customer. Likewise, the solution to the STD problem is regular inspections and education, just like is done in the case of poultry.
Now if your confirmation bias has you rejecting the fact that the human female is genetically akin in sexual responses to the bonobo female, then at least for the sake of argument, please “entertain” the idea long enough for me to explain the consequences of an unrepressed, unsuppressed, and unstigmatized female sexuality:
As you see from the above video, Professor Amy Parrish, one of the worlds leading experts on bonobos, theorizes that when females are allowed the full expression of their genetic sexual potential, and that freedom is combined with female solidarity, then the existing male hierarchy would be overturned by females. Now I don’t know whether that is true or not. But I do know that if females were allowed the full expression of their genetic sexual potential, then men couldn’t be made to jump through all the hoops that they presently jump through. In other words, the typical male would be spending most of his time having siestas after satisfactory sexual encounters with unbridled females instead of striving to meet needs in the way that he currently is forced to do.
Ah-ha! So, here we now stand at the point of departure for me and my son. I stated that George Carlin seemed not to realize that prostitution would tend to be suppressed by the church and major corporations because males couldn’t be manipulated as easily as they presently are. (And females wouldn’t be so inclined to crawl on their knees (so to speak) to church begging God for forgiveness for sexual thoughts and behavior, providing such thoughts and acts were not made up to seem immoral and sinful, as they currently are.) My son disagreed and stated that corporations would love prostitution laws to be repealed so that they could create prostitution sweatshops and make females work for pennies. But, unfortunately, when I tried to expound and clarify my position, my son became so agitated that I was unable to tell him such sweatshops would be impractical for any corporation. You see, the penny-prostitution wouldn’t produce any consumer goods that could be mass marketed for huge profits. In fact, as previously stated, males couldn’t be manipulated into jumping through all sorts of hoops as they now are duped into doing; you know, like stimulated into buying a vehicle that might be appealing to a mate, buying clothes that might be appealing, buying body ornaments and shoes and hair cuts and wine and flowers and candy and exotic foods and all sorts of products and services that might help him fulfill his ongoing sexual needs, as males currently strive to do. And advertising portraying scantly clad females wouldn’t have near the hold on the average male’s attention that it presently does. The male could simply go to my son’s hypothetical prostitution sweatshop and satisfy his sexual need for a minimal expenditure of a few pennies. Or he could go to a real prostitute (instead of my son’s imaginary sweatshop) and pay a more realistic fee to have his sexual needs satisfied. Then, as previously stated, he probably would take a siesta afterwards, as one usually does after a fulfilling sexual encounter. And corporations would be without all the manipulative tools and profits that they could have had and made providing prostitution were stigmatized and suppressed, as it now is.
Of course, I realize the need for security and comfort and homeostasis and status and et cetera, would still exist and thus could be preyed upon to manipulate human behavior. (see MHC & ABA & Changing Minds)
Anyway, there! I’ve finally vented the accumulated frustration I experienced while trying to communicate these facts to my son. At least now, maybe, just maybe, not every ear these facts fall on will be deaf.
Oh, and by the way, I’m not interested in opinions commonly held in regard to prostitution. Public opinion polls may be good for establishing whether advertising or public relations’ campaigns–or other stratagems used in an attempt to mold and shape public sensibilities–were effective or not. And such polls may also be good at determining the taste held by the polled segment of the population. But asking for opinion cannot reveal the causal factors that resulted in the particular taste developing. Nor can polling opinion ascertain the truth or falsity of any opinion so revealed. In such cases public opinion polls are little more than polls revealing the superstitions of the masses. And superstition ain’t science. Of course, one can have a science of superstition, as Sir James Frazer tried to accomplish in The Golden Bough. But that is beside the point.