The Evolution of Human Rights
The Politics of Prostitutes' Rights

Sarah Bromberg

Part 2

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Claiming Prostitutes’ Rights

Autonomy and Self-Determination

Obstacles to be Resolved Towards Achieving Autonomy

Possible Methodologies for Achieving Self-
Determination for Prostitutes

A Theory of Rights

Second-Order Value and Utility Considerations in the
Development of the Theory of Rights.

The Evolution of the Concept of Human Rights from a
Third-Order Intellectual and Historical Perspective:

The Early Idea of Natural Right

Part 2 links

The Early Development of the Formal Notion of
Right and Rights


The Evolution of the Modern Sense of Rights


The Eighteenth-Century Transformation in the
Concept of Rights

United Nations

The Development of Prostitutes’ Rights


Conclusions

Footnotes

Bibliography

Index

The Early Development of the Formal
Notion of Right and Rights

The intellectual idea of rights in the Western world was formulated by the early Greeks. There existed no special word for the word “rights” in Greece..67 The earliest classical sources of the idea of rights can be traced to Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle. Socrates was the first to promote the idea that human beings need to free themselves from the influence of emotions to have better control over their lives through reason.68 He believed there were natural rights which first were apprehended through reason and doubt of authority.69
In Socrates’ time the authority to define right and rights was vested in the state and not the people. Issues of freedom were not addressed in the same way as they are today. Individuals had various roles in the society, but these were subordinate to the order of social power defined by the Greek state. One of the earliest attempts to make sense of rights was made by Plato. He was the first person in Western society to formally reason the issue of rights.70 Jumping ahead for a moment to make a comparison with the ideas of John Locke, it could be said that Plato had other things in mind than the type of freedom Locke was thinking about. Plato’s focus was upon human excellence and not liberty.71 Plato’s “ideal society (had) no place for the freedoms enumerated in the Bill of Rights, freedom of religion, of speech, of assembly, of the press.”72 Rights were something owed to an individual by the collective society for what he contributed to the prospering of society.73 Rights, if they existed at all, were associated with a condition of value, such as the value of a teacher or craftsperson. Plato viewed the society from the perspective that it was a cooperative undertaking. “Plato’s theory of man is that we are ineradicably social.”74 To benefit by a society and be viewed as an inherent part of it involved the expression of one’s values in a way that would affirm and strengthen other relationships. Thus, for Plato a right did not belong to a person in the sense that Locke later visualized a right as a birthright,75 it manifested itself by “something done.” In Plato’s society, “There could be human rights but not equal human rights.”76 Since people’s value to the society had some relation to their rights, he viewed the right of sexual equality to be a reasonable and productive social view.77 Other rights he enumerated included the right to education, vocational opportunity, sexual choice, political rights and the rights of property.78
What is important to remember about these early Greek thinkers is not so much their views on rights, but their work that defined in a systematic way standards of reasoning and argumentation. It is due in large part to them that the Western world first began to distinguish the difference between a good argument and a bad one. The idea of rights would never have taken hold in the minds of rulers and politicians had not this early intellectual groundwork been done. Rights would be no more than elegant opinions if some stable rational ground had not been developed by the early Greek thinkers. Once the idea of rights began to make sense in a way that was consistent with many other forms of human experience, it was then possible for governments to promote them.
Feminist theorists complain that male thinkers such as Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle have skewed the standards of philosophical reasoning in favor of men. The oppression of women is widespread and very evident and feminists are therefore skeptical about the historical emphasis on the development of male thinking. Feminist Katherine MacKinnon suggests, for instance, that “human rights principles are based on experience, but not that of a woman.”79 Ostensibly, since she experiences a different world, the ethical system she might construct might not correspond to the logics of male thinkers such as Aristotle.
The view that morals and subsequently that right grants stem from the experience of men suggests there are two distinct moral views of the world. What such a proposal does not take into account is the androgynous nature of pure reason. Pure reason is a synthesizing of all gender thought. The object of reason is to faithfully reproduce “what is” extant in the natural environment. For example, it has been universally observed (by both men and women) that tigers in the wild are dangerous. They can kill or maim human beings if people are not careful. Another example of a gender-neutral moral perspective might be that drinking and driving is dangerous to the life of the driver and to others. Instead of attacking male philosophers as the primary source of political oppression, feminists might want to examine the nature of the Socratic method of reasoning about truth and falsity in political and personal argumentation that may favor a man’s experience over that of a woman.80 The view that argumentative techniques can unfairly take advantage of women is only a valid proposition if it is true that women experience, feel, and reason differently than men.The Evolution of the Modern Sense of Rights81
In the thirteenth century an unexplained linguistic transformation in the word “right” occurred. It changed from“ the Roman term ius ...(roughly, what is right, just, lawful) to its late-medieval and modern sense: a power, liberty, immunity, or claim...” 82 There were four other events that influenced the development of the concept of rights during this period. First, there was the rise of Christianity and the fall of the Roman Empire. Christianity brought with it the concept of compassion and ascribed a sense of dignity to all human beings. Second was “the rise of universities; a broadening of education accelerating the unfoldment83 of human potential and inspiring new social ground for greater liberties to manifest themselves.”84 Third, was the European “reception of the complete works of Aristotle in Latin translations.”85 The fourth event, and most influential in the development of the concept of rights, was the emergence of the great philosopher Thomas Aquinas.
Aquinas synthesized a mixture of Christianity and Aristotelian logic into a warmer view of humanity that allowed for a more caring view of humanity to develop. If rights did exist, then they were not to be derived by cold analysis, but were something more intrinsic and permanent. Since he was also involved in religious thought he had the difficult task of reconciling secular Greek thinking with religious beliefs and producing ideas meaningful for both perspectives. He based his view of the world on natural law in such a way that in the absence of divinity, nature played the role of representing the immediate will of God. The laws of nature, being so consistently applied and universally applicable, could be intuited by any person who needed to know right action from wrong.86 To Aquinas, when people acted in accordance with nature they acted in accordance with principles of reason that addressed cause and effect relationships implied in the consistency of natural law. Those familiar with Aquinas might note that the sense of interpreting Aquinas is slightly distorted to shed light on the issue in a different way.
There are two problems that seem to emerge from Aquinas’s theory, the first being that while he stressed reason in coming to terms with natural law, these laws were to be known intuitively, not rationally. This appears to be a regression from the Socratic disdain for acting from emotions, which to Socrates “were an obstacle to both objectivity and autonomy.”87 The second problem with Aquinas’s natural law theory is that he viewed the laws to be self-evident, yet left no real clue as to why they should be considered self-evident. This is important to note because to this day political theorists continue to view rights as self-evident without reviewing the foundations of such claims. While social contract theory builds a temporary foundation, a more permanent idea of human rights must be of considerably better construction.
Had Aquinas pursued the idea of virtue, autonomy, and reason in another way, some of the puzzle of self-evidence might have revealed itself. One way of describing what he was attempting to say is that humans, having lost touch with their essential nature88 because of deceptions that arise from self-serving habits, strive to reconnect to it in order to more deeply understand their existence. What prevents humans from getting in touch with their essential nature is the force of their self-serving passions that guide their thinking and behavior. In such a state they are being neither reasonable nor objective. In order for people to find meaning, on the one hand they must attend to their self-regarding duties and survive, while on the other hand they must not allow their selfishness to separate them from the greater meaning to be found in being part of humanity. For instance, when large sums of money are at stake in a morally questionable deal, the self-evidence of the immoral act diminishes in inverse proportion to how much money can be made by redefining immorality as a wise business investment.
When one is talking about nature, they are also talking about a highly contingent, interrelated living system of causes and effects. The natural laws that Aquinas and other thinkers have attributed to nature probably can be represented as relational terms of cause and effect. If you kick a tiger, you provoke a situation in which your life is in danger. If you hit a man, he might hit you back or find some other means of expression to convey his displeasure. One causal relationship that repeatedly manifests itself in societies is revolution. The relationship here, in terms of natural laws, is that people have power. If you abuse and degrade them, they may strike back. It is prudent for exploitative governments to be wary of the power of its people in the same way a person should be wary of tigers in the wild by giving them a full measure of their own space. The French and American revolutions, therefore, are lessons in natural law demonstrating the inherent power of simple people to radically alter the destiny of their nations. The Eighteenth-Century Transformation
in the Concept of Rights
The French and American revolutions brought many beneficial changes to the notion of personal rights.89 These political upheavals inspired strong emotions regarding the issue of individual people possessing rights. Citizens were more educated, more mature, and more in communication with each other than in any previous time of social change. And the revolutionary change was fueled by a powerful pathos for human beings that spread like fire on two continents, marking perhaps the beginning of the modern human rights movement.90
At the time of their first constitutional proclamation and justification, human rights were legal entitlements that, unlike other entitlements, developed pathos and triggered intense motivations. Both in the United States and in France, the majority of those who acknowledged and justified human rights, and who acted in accordance with them, were of the opinion this pathos and motivation were supported with good reasons. Human rights, they believed, were based on valid, universal norms.91
The political writings of three men profoundly influenced this revolutionary change in the perception of rights. They were: Thomas Hobbes, John Locke, and Jean Jacques Rousseau. All were influenced by natural law theory. Hobbes was known for his conceptualizations of man rising from a raw state of nature, developing laws, and entering into early forms of contracts that served to keep the society from tearing itself apart. Locke is best known to Americans for his statement that “All men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”92 Rousseau is best known for his social contract theory. This theory gave substance to the idea of rights because rights were the natural product of social agreements. The presence of statutory law evidences this contractual nature of society in all generations. The informal representation of contract theory can be found in moral, manner, and customary rule systems that vary from culture to culture. The fact that it could be said that some rights derive from certain human agreements was an important evolution in rights theory, since rights were no longer a function of opinions but rather something more real and enduring in the construction of society.
Feminists have argued that while the social contract may be a workable conceptualization of a rights theory, it only tells half the story.93 Carole Pateman in The Sexual Contract does not see women as having been party to the original contract. Pateman uses the examples of marriage, slavery, patriarchy, and prostitution to make her case for women’s exclusion from the social contract. Its rationales appear to defend the right of the prostitute to contract out her sexuality in exchange for money; such an act can be performed without any detriment to herself, yet radical feminists might argue to the contrary.94 She points out that “prostitution is unequivocally defended by contractrarians;”95 and that some “defenders of prostitution claim some reforms are necessary in the industry as it exists...Nevertheless, they insist that ‘sound prostitution’ is possible.”96
While some feminists may not appreciate the value of the contractrarian approach, it is a good ally for prostitutes’ rights activists seeking equal justice under the law in a traditional society. For example, Pateman points out the contractrarian nature of surrogate motherhood. If a woman can contract out her reproductive capacities, this may ultimately work to the advantage of prostitutes. The sexual and contractual nature of surrogate motherhood in one sense finds its analog in prostitution and therefore the legalization of surrogate motherhood may someday open the door to the decriminalization of prostitution much wider.97 Another area Pateman illuminates well is the contractual nature of prostitution that is distinct and separate from wage earning that Marxists find offensive, oppressive and exploitative.98
Returning to the central issue of the development of rights during the eighteenth century, it could be said that the doctrine of the social contract helped to radically accelerate the human rights movement. It inspired a fundamental transformation of the doctrines of natural law into a doctrine of natural rights. In earlier centuries the focus of right was upon a broader vision of natural law. Later, the focus shifted from natural law to natural right. “The assertion of natural rights came at the time when the social contract theory of the origin of government joined itself to the doctrine of natural law.”99 What is important to note about the political doctrines of this period is the emphasis on natural rights, inalienable rights, and the self-evident nature of laws. For the first time in the development of rights theory, the idea of the social contract provided reason as to why some rights might be self-evident.100 Although rights that derive from contractual agreements make sense, their substance is nevertheless elusive when analyzing them in the context of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Although it is difficult to pin down any source of authority for such rights assertions, it is possible to claim that the theories of Hobbes, Locke, and Rousseau produced strong affirmation of the belief that human rights are real and, possibly, inalienable.101 United Nations
The formation of the United Nations marked a new chapter in the development of human rights. In 1948 the General Assembly declared in the preamble, “Whereas recognition of the inherent dignity and of the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family is the foundation of freedom, justice, and peace in the world....”102 The world now is conceived of as one large family in which everyone has a recognizable part. It is theoretically a warmer and more caring view of the role of governments in which humans do not exist merely to be exploited by the powerful, but rather are a meaningful part of the world.
Prostitutes benefited by the formation of the United Nations. In 1949 there was the Convention for the Suppression of the Traffic in Persons and of the Exploitation of the Prostitution of Others. In the preamble there is a human rights claim that is of sufficient quality to serve as the cornerstone for later ideas concerning prostitutes’ rights: “Whereas prostitution and the accompanying evil of the traffic in persons for the purpose of prostitution are incompatible with the dignity and worth of the human person and endanger the welfare of the individual, the family and the community....”103
When the United Nations speaks of human rights it speaks as if an authority exists to substantiate its claims. Rights appear to be viewed through the lens of more experienced and prosperous nations. These nations have discovered by hard work and experience that certain methods of treating people are better than others if peace, prosperity, and productivity are the desired end of government. Even though experience may demonstrate that liberating people produces gains for all concerned, this perception does not provide explanation of the source of moral authority that confirms that humans are in fact owed basic human rights.
If one takes a biological approach to reasoning human social systems, there lies at least a first approximation of an answer. Theodosius Dobzhansky views human cultures as an “instrument of adaptation.”104 The idea of rights can be transposed into a biological theory by this thinking. The most promising way of doing so is by using Living Systems Theory to construct a model of social reality that views people and their governments as an extension of seven hierarchical105 levels of systemic organization. There are seven biological levels: the Cell, Organ, Organism, Group, Organizations, Society, and Supranational systems.106 An example the author gives relating to the first supranational system is the worldwide postal system (UPU).107
The United Nations evidences the evolution of a new form of supranational system.108 It is now one of the highest forms of human organization. Among its intents is to minimize conflicts and maximize prosperity for all. In this sense it addresses first-order survival concerns of the human species and not only derives authority from that relationship but also from the relationship with natural order in the biological realm. By virtue of its function, it is endowed with a degree of natural authority to make laws and create order in the world.109 And, its authority will endure so long as its function to increase the peace, prosperity, and productivity of all nations and people is upheld. The history of the development of rights is yet unfinished and we will not know what they are until this chapter in history is closed. What once were proclamations based upon beliefs now portend a reality in which their substance will be considered “real.” The problems that philosophers have experienced down through the ages, requiring them to speak consistently, concisely, and in correspondence to many other well-regarded theories is now an intellectual challenge the United Nations must face if its proclamations are to be respected and are to inspire enduring support from the world.

The Evolution of the Modern Sense of Rights 81

In the thirteenth century an unexplained linguistic transformation in the word “right”occurred. It changed from“the Roman term ius ...(roughly, what is right, just, lawful) to its late-medieval and modern sense: a power, liberty, immunity, or claim...”82 There were four other events that influenced the development of the concept of rights during this period. First, there was the rise of Christianity and the fall of the Roman Empire. Christianity brought with it the concept of compassion and ascribed a sense of dignity to all human beings. Second was “the rise of universities; a broadening of education accelerating the unfoldment83 of human potential and inspiring new social ground for greater liberties to manifest themselves.”84 Third, was the European “reception of the complete works of Aristotle in Latin translations.”85 The fourth event, and most influential in the development of the concept of rights, was the emergence of the great philosopher Thomas Aquinas.
Aquinas synthesized a mixture of Christianity and Aristotelian logic into a warmer view of humanity that allowed for a more caring view of humanity to develop. If rights did exist, then they were not to be derived by cold analysis, but were something more intrinsic and permanent. Since he was also involved in religious thought he had the difficult task of reconciling secular Greek thinking with religious beliefs and producing ideas meaningful for both perspectives. He based his view of the world on natural law in such a way that in the absence of divinity, nature played the role of representing the immediate will of God. The laws of nature, being so consistently applied and universally applicable, could be intuited by any person who needed to know right action from wrong.86 To Aquinas, when people acted in accordance with nature they acted in accordance with principles of reason that addressed cause and effect relationships implied in the consistency of natural law. Those familiar with Aquinas might note that the sense of interpreting Aquinas is slightly distorted to shed light on the issue in a different way.
There are two problems that seem to emerge from Aquinas’s theory, the first being that while he stressed reason in coming to terms with natural law, these laws were to be known intuitively, not rationally. This appears to be a regression from the Socratic disdain for acting from emotions, which to Socrates “were an obstacle to both objectivity and autonomy.”87 The second problem with Aquinas’s natural law theory is that he viewed the laws to be self-evident, yet left no real clue as to why they should be considered self-evident. This is important to note because to this day political theorists continue to view rights as self-evident without reviewing the foundations of such claims. While social contract theory builds a temporary foundation, a more permanent idea of human rights must be of considerably better construction.
Had Aquinas pursued the idea of virtue, autonomy, and reason in another way, some of the puzzle of self-evidence might have revealed itself. One way of describing what he was attempting to say is that humans, having lost touch with their essential nature88 because of deceptions that arise from self-serving habits, strive to reconnect to it in order to more deeply understand their existence. What prevents humans from getting in touch with their essential nature is the force of their self-serving passions that guide their thinking and behavior. In such a state they are being neither reasonable nor objective. In order for people to find meaning, on the one hand they must attend to their self-regarding duties and survive, while on the other hand they must not allow their selfishness to separate them from the greater meaning to be found in being part of humanity. For instance, when large sums of money are at stake in a morally questionable deal, the self-evidence of the immoral act diminishes in inverse proportion to how much money can be made by redefining immorality as a wise business investment.
When one is talking about nature, they are also talking about a highly contingent, interrelated living system of causes and effects. The natural laws that Aquinas and other thinkers have attributed to nature probably can be represented as relational terms of cause and effect. If you kick a tiger, you provoke a situation in which your life is in danger. If you hit a man, he might hit you back or find some other means of expression to convey his displeasure. One causal relationship that repeatedly manifests itself in societies is revolution. The relationship here, in terms of natural laws, is that people have power. If you abuse and degrade them, they may strike back. It is prudent for exploitative governments to be wary of the power of its people in the same way a person should be wary of tigers in the wild by giving them a full measure of their own space. The French and American revolutions, therefore, are lessons in natural law demonstrating the inherent power of simple people to radically alter the destiny of their nations.

The Eighteenth-Century Transformation
in the Concept of Rights

The French and American revolutions brought many beneficial changes to the notion of personal rights.89 These political upheavals inspired strong emotions regarding the issue of individual people possessing rights. Citizens were more educated, more mature, and more in communication with each other than in any previous time of social change. And the revolutionary change was fueled by a powerful pathos for human beings that spread like fire on two continents, marking perhaps the beginning of the modern human rights movement.90 At the time of their first constitutional proclamation and justification, human rights were legal entitlements that, unlike other entitlements, developed pathos and triggered intense motivations. Both in the United States and in France, the majority of those who acknowledged and justified human rights, and who acted in accordance with them, were of the opinion this pathos and motivation were supported with good reasons. Human rights, they believed, were based on valid, universal norms.91 The political writings of three men profoundly influenced this revolutionary change in the perception of rights. They were: Thomas Hobbes, John Locke, and Jean Jacques Rousseau. All were influenced by natural law theory. Hobbes was known for his conceptualizations of man rising from a raw state of nature, developing laws, and entering into early forms of contracts that served to keep the society from tearing itself apart. Locke is best known to Americans for his statement that “All men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”92 Rousseau is best known for his social contract theory. This theory gave substance to the idea of rights because rights were the natural product of social agreements. The presence of statutory law evidences this contractual nature of society in all generations. The informal representation of contract theory can be found in moral, manner, and customary rule systems that vary from culture to culture. The fact that it could be said that some rights derive from certain human agreements was an important evolution in rights theory, since rights were no longer a function of opinions but rather something more real and enduring in the construction of society.
Feminists have argued that while the social contract may be a workable conceptualization of a rights theory, it only tells half the story.93 Carole Pateman in The Sexual Contract does not see women as having been party to the original contract. Pateman uses the examples of marriage, slavery, patriarchy, and prostitution to make her case for women’s exclusion from the social contract. Its rationales appear to defend the right of the prostitute to contract out her sexuality in exchange for money; such an act can be performed without any detriment to herself, yet radical feminists might argue to the contrary.94 She points out that “prostitution is unequivocally defended by contractrarians;”95 and that some “defenders of prostitution claim some reforms are necessary in the industry as it exists...Nevertheless, they insist that ‘sound prostitution’is possible.”96
While some feminists may not appreciate the value of the contractrarian approach, it is a good ally for prostitutes’rights activists seeking equal justice under the law in a traditional society. For example, Pateman points out the contractrarian nature of surrogate motherhood. If a woman can contract out her reproductive capacities, this may ultimately work to the advantage of prostitutes. The sexual and contractual nature of surrogate motherhood in one sense finds its analog in prostitution and therefore the legalization of surrogate motherhood may someday open the door to the decriminalization of prostitution much wider.97 Another area Pateman illuminates well is the contractual nature of prostitution that is distinct and separate from wage earning that Marxists find offensive, oppressive and exploitative.98 Returning to the central issue of the development of rights during the eighteenth century, it could be said that the doctrine of the social contract helped to radically accelerate the human rights movement. It inspired a fundamental transformation of the doctrines of natural law into a doctrine of natural rights. In earlier centuries the focus of right was upon a broader vision of natural law. Later, the focus shifted from natural law to natural right. “The assertion of natural rights came at the time when the social contract theory of the origin of government joined itself to the doctrine of natural law.”99 What is important to note about the political doctrines of this period is the emphasis on natural rights, inalienable rights, and the self-evident nature of laws. For the first time in the development of rights theory, the idea of the social contract provided reason as to why some rights might be self-evident.100 Although rights that derive from contractual agreements make sense, their substance is nevertheless elusive when analyzing them in the context of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Although it is difficult to pin down any source of authority for such rights assertions, it is possible to claim that the theories of Hobbes, Locke, and Rousseau produced strong affirmation of the belief that human rights are real and, possibly, inalienable.101 United Nations

The formation of the United Nations marked a new chapter in the development of human rights. In 1948 the General Assembly declared in the preamble, “Whereas recognition of the inherent dignity and of the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family is the foundation of freedom, justice, and peace in the world....”102 The world now is conceived of as one large family in which everyone has a recognizable part. It is theoretically a warmer and more caring view of the role of governments in which humans do not exist merely to be exploited by the powerful, but rather are a meaningful part of the world.
Prostitutes benefited by the formation of the United Nations. In 1949 there was the Convention for the Suppression of the Traffic in Persons and of the Exploitation of the Prostitution of Others. In the preamble there is a human rights claim that is of sufficient quality to serve as the cornerstone for later ideas concerning prostitutes’rights: “Whereas prostitution and the accompanying evil of the traffic in persons for the purpose of prostitution are incompatible with the dignity and worth of the human person and endanger the welfare of the individual, the family and the community....”103
When the United Nations speaks of human rights it speaks as if an authority exists to substantiate its claims. Rights appear to be viewed through the lens of more experienced and prosperous nations. These nations have discovered by hard work and experience that certain methods of treating people are better than others if peace, prosperity, and productivity are the desired end of government. Even though experience may demonstrate that liberating people produces gains for all concerned, this perception does not provide explanation of the source of moral authority that confirms that humans are in fact owed basic human rights.
If one takes a biological approach to reasoning human social systems, there lies at least a first approximation of an answer. Theodosius Dobzhansky views human cultures as an “instrument of adaptation.”104 The idea of rights can be transposed into a biological theory by this thinking. The most promising way of doing so is by using Living Systems Theory to construct a model of social reality that views people and their governments as an extension of seven hierarchical105 levels of systemic organization. There are seven biological levels: the Cell, Organ, Organism, Group, Organizations, Society, and Supranational systems.106 An example the author gives relating to the first supranational system is the worldwide postal system (UPU).107
The United Nations evidences the evolution of a new form of supranational system.108 It is now one of the highest forms of human organization. Among its intents is to minimize conflicts and maximize prosperity for all. In this sense it addresses first-order survival concerns of the human species and not only derives authority from that relationship but also from the relationship with natural order in the biological realm. By virtue of its function, it is endowed with a degree of natural authority to make laws and create order in the world.109 And, its authority will endure so long as its function to increase the peace, prosperity, and productivity of all nations and people is upheld. The history of the development of rights is yet unfinished and we will not know what they are until this chapter in history is closed. What once were proclamations based upon beliefs now portend a reality in which their substance will be considered “real.”The problems that philosophers have experienced down through the ages, requiring them to speak consistently, concisely, and in correspondence to many other well-regarded theories is now an intellectual challenge the United Nations must face if its proclamations are to be respected and are to inspire enduring support from the world.

The Development of Prostitutes’ Rights

The need for prostitutes’ rights stems from past abuses. It is not an imaginary need, but rather an appeal for the uniform application of the laws to include everyone in the society equally. In order to formalize existing grievances The International Committee for Prostitutes’ Rights was formed by Margo St. James and Gail Pheterson. In their charter on prostitutes’ rights, protection from fraud, coercion, and violence are demanded as fundamental rights of a human being. ICPR’s efforts essentially parallel the doctrines of the United Nations Charter on Human Rights of 1947. Much of its idealism is carried over into ICPR’s mandates.
Gail Pheterson’s idea of simple human respect is concise and compellingly relevant. One should not easily overlook the fact that prostitutes, like everyone else, are people with children to feed, bills to pay, health needs, and so forth. Getting societies around the world to recognize that prostitutes deserve equal protections under the law has perhaps been one of ICPR’s most pressing problems. Sexworker activists believe that if the laws are changed to decriminalize or legalize prostitution, prostitutes will finally be treated much better than they have in the past.
It is not unknown for prostitutes to be harassed, exploited, beaten, and even murdered while the authorities do virtually nothing about such crimes. The penalty for committing an act of prostitution does not seem to fit the crime. A person who commits a felony by beating a prostitute is not viewed with the same severity as another who commits a statutory misdemeanor. This inversion of legal priorities is not unlike some practices in many states where drug addicts are denied legal access to sterile hypodermic needles, forcing some of them to share the ones they have with HIV-positive addicts. They are condemned to death for a crime that in no way indicates such punishment. Hundreds of thousands of women are trafficked in prostitution in a world that prides itself on being civilized and affirms it so, for example by censoring the e-mail of a New York human sexuality professor for sexual content. The slavery of a significant number of women seems to be meaningless, whereas the sexual content of private correspondence is somehow meaningful. Something certainly is wrong in a world in which such extreme contradictions exist. ICPR’s stand on prostitution is a serious call to reason for civilization to answer for its behavior concerning the bad treatment prostitutes are experiencing. Passions and prejudices still rule the thinking of courts and the police. Until there is universal and equal application of the laws the world cannot be considered civilized. The idea of democracy seems more a fiction than a reality, in a world where there are always laws, but not always justice. Apparently, until society matures, prostitutes will have to be patient and seek gradual improvements in their rights.
While Gail Pheterson may wish simple respect for prostitutes, there are other factors at work that may slow the recognition of prostitutes’ rights. These problems are outlined in another writing entitled Social Assimilation Theory.110 The general thrust of assimilation theory is that until the values and standards of communication of those on the fringes of society match the values of the mainstream society, their rights and protections under the law cannot be reasonably manifest. It takes a certain degree of involvement in society to be recognized by that society and thereby to develop sufficient connections for mutual benefit of the protections of the law.
Radical feminists insist that changing attitudes is a way to overcome oppression. This astute observation concerns certain aspects of oppression, but human beings obviously are not machines; they have emotions and personalities that must be addressed in order to effectuate attitudinal and manifest change. Police are by no means exempt. If people desire a change in attitudes they must first recognize attributes of their own actions that inspire a backlash of political resentments that can infringe upon their rights and liberties. People like the police have jobs to perform, but it can be difficult to get them to do their job in spite of what the laws requires if their fundamental humanity is not correspondingly recognized by their antagonists. This is where attitude is a crucial element in broadening equal protection under the law for prostitutes. If prostitutes want change, they can help facilitate that change by realizing that the behavior of one prostitute affects the image of all prostitutes. In other words they must present themselves in the best light to the public wherever and whenever they can. Changing the public attitude is an achievable goal. A more positive attitude on the part of prostitutes towards the police might be of some help in breaking the vicious circle of disrespect that exists between the two. This is difficult to achieve, particularly in nations where the police are truly corrupt. But a good-natured attitude will probably do more for illuminating the better things the profession represents than incessantly complaining, blaming and accusing others for their problems. If prostitutes and their representatives address the problems they face in a direct, legalistic and compelling fashion, the police, as well as other members of the larger society, will no longer be able to avert their gaze from the cruelty and the criminality visited on prostitutes. Thus the emphasis will be to go after the actual criminals rather than the prostitutes on whom crime and criminality is committed.

Conclusions

The resources of prostitutes to wage an effective campaign to secure their rights are only limited to the extent that they must be careful to suppress the excess of emotion and to promote the careful reasoning of their political strategy. It is not only a political war of overcoming ignorance, prejudice, and abuse, it is an intellectual effort as well. Reason is most effective in winning the minds of the public, while carefully and honestly crafted emotions may influence society to begin to accept the inherent dignity and decency of prostitution. Prostitution could be decriminalized sooner than expected if the courts continue to grant women more and more liberty in the control of their own bodies. In addition, the construction of a more refined social contract theory could inspire changes in legal thinking as well. For now, perhaps the best hope for prostitutes is to encourage the growth of a world organization structured in the traditional way. As illustrated in Living Systems Theory, greater social power comes with an increase in organization, communications, and the proper ordering of priorities. A world organization of prostitutes falls under this description as well. While such a world organization may be slow and relatively ineffectual in the beginning, it ultimately could gain the necessary political power to achieve its ends for prostitutes.

 

Footnotes


1. Katrarina Tomasevski, ed., Women and Human Rights (London and New Jersey: Zed Books Ltd., 1995), p. 1.
2. Phillip K. Howard, The Death of Common Sense: How Law Is Suffocating America (Warner Books, 1994), p. 33.
3. ICPR is now called the Network of Sexwork Projects.
4. Gail Pheterson, ed., A Vindication of the Rights of Whores (Seattle Washington: The Seal Press, 1989), p. 4.
5. Gail Pheterson appears to be a power-focused feminist rather than a care-focused feminist. The former attributes the oppression to arise out of a fundamental struggle between men and women for the domination of social policy and laws. Rosemarie Tong distinguishes between the two in the sense that “power-focused feminist approaches to ethics ask questions about male domination and female subordination before they ask questions about good and evil, care and justice, or mothers and children.” Rosemarie Tong, Feminist Approaches To Bioethics: Theoretical Reflections and Practical Applications (Westview Press, 1997), p. 48. Apart from Tong’s arguments it could be said that power-focused feminism uses oppression as the central argument, when it should be focused on the issue of immorality. Men characteristically do things that perpetuate their power and ability over women in small ways. But, oppression in the sense of being mean and hurtful derives from immorality and should be examined in an ethical context and not in the context of a political view of behavior.
6. A sense of this is to be found in the statement by Gail Pheterson, “Remove the whore stigma from sexual economic exchange and the ‘prostitution’ evaporates.” Gail Pheterson, The Prostitution Prism (Amsterdam, Amsterdam University Press, 1996), p. 8.
7. Stephen Shute and Susan Hurley, eds., On Human Rights: The Oxford Amnesty Lectures 1993 (Basic Books, 1993).
8. Ibid., p.112.
9. A sense of higher civilization is expressed in a statement made by the United Nations. “Whereas prostitution and the accompanying evil of the traffic in persons for the purpose of prostitution is incompatible with the dignity and worth of the human person and endanger the welfare of the individual, the family and the community.” “Preamble of the 1949 Convention for the Suppression of the Traffic in Persons and of the Exploitation of the Prostitution of Others.” Yearbook of the United Nations (Lake Success, New York: United Nations Department of Public Information, 1948-49), p. 613.
10. Sexual politics often uses the word “stereotype” which is not a desirable way of reasoning the fine details of an argument. But it is a word in common practice that people are familiar with and has practical, but limited use. A stereotype involves the use of a word that refers to an unreasoned belief, or unreasoned prejudice. Stereotypes are manifest most often from feeling rather than from reasoned thoughts and the two should not be confused. The word “stereotype” does not necessarily imply that what is being observed is always and absolutely untrue. A discernible archetype of human behavior might appear to be a stereotype, but it is not a stereotype in the conventional sense of the word.
11. The word “spin” can be used in both a positive and negative sense. In common usage it means aligning one’s arguments to conform to a strategy that enhances the image of the idea a person is attempting to sell to the public. But also included in this negative sense can be calculated misrepresentations and even outright lies to make the political arguments more persuasive. In a positive sense the word has come to represent “a political strategy” that is well-reasoned to accommodate the genuine needs of a political issue.
12. In The Prostitution Prism two references are appropriate here. “Prostitutes are portrayed as shady women regardless of their color.” p. 71. Other beliefs assault the mental state of prostitutes, and this of itself is a most difficult stigma to overcome while at the same time attempting to construct rights arguments claiming prostitution as a proper activity. “Prostitutes are dishonored by psychological theories which consider them to be psychiatrically disturbed.” p. 80.
13. The Death of Common Sense, p. 33. Another example of the regressive nature of some rights activism is outlined in the conclusions of Imelda Whelehan. Modern Feminist Thought: From Second Wave to ‘Post-Feminism’ (Washington Square, New York: New York University Press, 1995), pp. 238-247.
14. R.G. Frey, ed., Utility and Rights (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1984), p. 20.
15. Rebecca J. Cook, ed., Human Rights of Women (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1994), p. 60.
16. Howard does not specifically use the idea of rhetoric to enumerate his thesis. However, the message appears essentially the same if you think of what he is saying in terms of rhetoric.
17. The Death of Common Sense, p.150.
18. MacKinnon in D. Kelly Weisberg, ed., Applications of Feminist Legal Theory To Women’s Lives: Sex, Violence Work, and Reproduction (Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 1996), p. 222.
19. A Vindication of the Rights of Whores, p.194.
20. Stevi Jackson, and Sue Scott, eds.,Feminism and Sexuality: A Reader (New York: Columbia University Press, 1996), p. 355
21. Carole Pateman presents argumentation as to why prostitution is a valid form of employment from a contractrarian viewpoint. Carol Pateman, The Sexual Contract (Stanford, California: Stanford University Press, 1992), pp.189-218. Priscilla Alexander’s argument sounds similar to another expressed in Pateman’s book. “The Left and Right, as well as some feminists, share the assumption that the prostitute’s work is exactly the same kind as any other paid employment. The prostitute merely works in a different profession and offers a different service (form of labor power) from that of a miner, electrician, secretary or assembler of electronic goods.” The Sexual Contract, p. 201.
22. The logical foundations for this assertion can be found in S.E. Bromberg, The Evolution of Ethics: The Biological Roots of Ethics (Berkeley: Dianic Publications, 1996). Take for example the oversimplified belief of an alcoholic who claims he has the right to drink as being morally justified. The consequences of his actions are not always included in his perception of personal propriety. He is not concerned with getting in a car and killing someone or being killed, he is more involved in an immediate need to consume alcohol. The consequences of drinking and driving are fairly well known. Since there is a large body of evidence linking the driving of a car under the influence of alcohol with accidents and deaths, the emergent moral view that arises from this knowledge makes a claim that drinking and driving is wrong; it is not “who” is to say what is right or wrong, it is “what” is to say is proper, and the scientific facts link accidents with intoxication. Part of the view that sees prostitution as being morally wrong is founded on the experiences of many people over centuries of time that have found the presence of prostitution in society to be accompanied by problems not usually associated with other forms of employment. Overwhelming evidence in texts about prostitutes cites the many abuses prostitutes suffer. Prostitution can be an extremely dangerous profession. While it may not be dangerous for highly intelligent people who have skills to assert themselves, the larger body of sexworkers is more vulnerable to exploitation and abuse. In this light, if society is to optimize its investment in its people as well as parental investment in their children, a moral view evolves to guide young people away from problem activities. Morality involves the view, supported by years of experience and observation, that certain activities are better than others. The wrongness of prostitution is misinterpreted to mean the same as moral condemnation. It is this practice of viewing prostitution as a manifestation of condemnation that likely contributes to the harsh stigmatization and abuse of prostitutes.
23. In normal philosophical expression this might be considered a second-order consideration. However, in later paragraphs a case is made on purely biological grounds that rights issues are a fourth-order concern.
24. In books such as The Prostitution of Sexuality, claims are made that prostitutes are frequently assaulted. Other critics claim that prostitution is no more hazardous than an ordinary occupation. However, when you narrow the field of study to street prostitutes and particularly ones who work late into the night in dangerous neighborhoods, the possibility of there being harm done radically increases. Not only are the streets dangerous but the rooms and hallways of boarding houses and hotels can be treacherous. If a person is new to prostitution, the dangers can be extreme. If a person has lived in an environment where they are frequently in contact with prostitutes and learns something about the danger before becoming a prostitute, they are not in as much danger. Living in an environment where a person lives under the threat of harm and predatory intrusions is a twenty-four hour a day problem, whereas a construction worker only has to deal with the dangers of his or her trade eight hours a day.
25. Paul Tillich, Morality and Beyond (New York, Hagerstown, San Francisco, and London: Harper Torchbooks, 1963). “Deliberation and decision are the hallmark of freedom.” p. 21.
26. Gerald Dworkin, The Theory and Practice of Autonomy (Cambridge University Press, 1988), p. 12.
27. “Aspasi ( c. 470-410 B.C.) was one of the most effective women’s liberationists of all time.” James L. Christian, Philosophy: An Introduction to the Art of Wondering (Corte Madera, California: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1977), p. 39.
28. Virginia Sapiro in Maria J. Falco, eds. “Feminist Interpretations of Mary Wollstonecraft,” (University Park, Pennsylvania: The Pennsylvania University Press, 1996), p. 35.
29. There is a problem if feminists go too far in rejecting Aristotelian ethics since the theoretical underpinnings of a social theory promoting the freedom of choice would be affected. Briefly, Aristotle says, “Moral virtue implies that an action is done...by choice: the object of choice is the result of previous deliberation.” Aristotle, The Nicomachean Ethics (Oxford, New York: Oxford University Press, 1992). p. 53. Choice is bound up with virtue leading to a substantial theory of rights that are fair to both men and women. A theory of abortion, for instance, is dependent in part on such a perspective to support the legitimacy of the right to have an abortion. For persons wondering whether the alleged male-centering of Aristotle’s logics is true they should look over what Aristotle actually says in his relatively easy to read book, “The Nicomachean Ethics.”
30. Dictionary of Feminist Theologies, (Louisville, Kentucky: Westminster John Knox Press, 1996), “Androgyny has been claimed by some contemporary feminists as an ideal of humanity. They use the termandrogyny to refer to the state of a single individual who possesses both traditionally masculine and traditionally feminine virtues.” p. 8.
31. Feminist Interpretations of Mary Wollstonecraft, p. 35.
32., Ibid., p. 35.
33. Stephen Nathanson,The Ideal of Rationality: A Defense Within Reason (Chicago and La Salle, Illinois: Open Court, 1994). p. 10.
34. The Nicomachean Ethics, pp. 48-63.
35. The Ideal of Rationality, p. 10.
36. Rationality or reason should be considered in the light of Mary Wollstonecraft’s idea of it. “By cold reason she meant not cold logic or calculation, but thinking moved by virtuous sensibility.” Feminist Interpretations of Mary Wollstonecraft, p. 35.
37. Ibid., p. 11.
38. Many social theories overlook personal responsibilities and shortcomings when assuming that a class of people is oppressed. If oppression truly relates to problems in the lives of individual people, it is not mass oppression, but individual ignorance that must be overcome. It is difficult to cede self-determination to people when what they may need is enlightened guidance. A state of ignorance frustrates a person’s attempts to be autonomous. To Aristotle, “Everything done in ignorance is not voluntary.” The Nicomachean Ethics, p. 50. Autonomous decisions are voluntary ones, not ones induced from forces outside the person.
39. See the bookThe Theory and Practice of Autonomy, p. 28, for a discussion on the indirect linkage between autonomy and responsibilities.
40. The idea that rights and obligations bear a direct relationship to each other is sometimes disputed. “The law of nature turns out to be first and foremost concerned with ‘right’ of self-preservation, and only secondarily or derivatively with ‘duty’ to others....” John A. Simmons,The Lockean Theory of Rights (Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press), p. 68. The theoretical linkage between rights and obligations is discussed later in Social Assimilation Theory.
41. S.E. Bromberg, The Evolution of Ethics: The Biological Roots of Ethics (Berkeley: Dianic Publications, 1996). A term used to illustrate fully the evolution of ethical systems in the world from earliest times until the present.
42. Or in a Kantian sense, to ignore one’s own self-regarding duty.
43. Thomas Hobbes, writing on the citizen in 1651, projects a view of man in the bare state of nature (before civilization) as constantly in conflict with all other men and therefore requiring contracts of citizenship and rules of morality and government to prevent the logical conclusion of total conflict (death), thus satisfying the citizen’s nascent self-interest. Society, therefore, facilitates the institutionalization of rules for competition within the state. All individuals obey such rules which permit them to pursue a truncated form of self-interest in exchange for the hope of self-preservation.” Imelda Whelehan,Modern Feminist Thought: From Second Wave to ‘Post-Feminism’ (Washington Square, New York: New York University Press, 1995), p. 27.
44. In the early 1980s a woman on the Berkeley Board of Police Commissioners was so traumatized by seeing a sexual act in a car in front of her house that the police clamped down on prostitution severely for the next fourteen years.
45. 1,300 pages of a local telephone book is the equivalent of 1.5 inches. If there are 565 entries on a page and 265 million people to be listed the net result would be 469,000 pages. If you considered there were, for example only 2.6 billion people in the world old enough to have active hormone flows, the book would be at least 450 feet thick. 5 billion people would be 900 feet thick. The vast majority of people listed would not understand selling their sexuality for money.
46. Sarah Bromberg, Homosexuality, Ethics, and Military Policy, (Unpublished manuscript, 1995). The idea of discretion is explained in more detail as to why people involved in sexual activities must be discreet.
47. The lack of education is one of many first- and second-order causes for the presence of oppression in society. It is important to note that oppression is a complex idea, not a simple one easy to define. Nevertheless it is crucial to uncover the actual sources of oppression and not take the easy way and blame something else. Simone Weil says, “Marx finally came to understand that you cannot abolish oppression so long as the causes which make it inevitable remain.” Simone Weil, Oppression and Liberty (Amherst: The University of Massachusetts Press, 1973), p. 57.
48. “Not all problems deriving from inhumanity or selfishness and stupidity are human rights problems.” James W. Nickel, Making Sense of Human Rights (Berkeley, Los Angeles, and London: University of California Press, 1987), p 4. Street prostitutes who are sometimes immature make errors of judgment when doing business. If a predatory game-state arises in which the client feels he is being cheated and toyed with, the prostitute is in danger.
49. “Distancing begins with separation of self from family, home, and worlds of social legitimacy...Distancing is an interrelated part of a complex web of other damaging, harmful effects of prostitution on women and girls. It causes women to become estranged from themselves in order to save themselves.” Kathleen Barry,The Prostitution of Sexuality (New York and London: New York University Press, 1995), p. 30.
50. Seasoning techniques of pimps: “Targeting emotionally and/or economically vulnerable women, fostering trust and dependency by feigning love and friendship, and using overt acts of physical and sexual abuse.” The Prostitution of Sexuality, pp. 121-122.
51. Dictionary of Feminist Theologies, p. 123.
52. The Theory and Practice of Autonomy, p. 20.
53. Some prostitutes may have to unlearn an attitude they learn in prostitution to later assimilate. “Once a woman has ‘turned a trick,’ she knows herself as an outcast (or in some few cases, namely, those women who promote prostitution, outcast takes the form of outlaw). The Prostitution of Sexuality, p. 30.
54. Stephen Nathanson, The Ideal of Rationality: A Defense Within Reason (Chicago and La Salle, Illinois: Open Court, 1994). Discusses prostitution as a less than efficient choice.
55. While this premise may appear to be simple it suggests certain theoretical models that go beyond description of utility alone. Cultures are a system of many subsystems all of which more or less develop at the same time. If technological and intellectual developments are not well synchronized across the broad segment of society, the growth of a nation is impeded. Imagine how computers would have developed if the technology for producing hard disks and floppy disks lagged twenty years behind the development of microprocessors. The need for advancements to be contemporary across a wide spectrum of education and technology makes it essential to recognize the merit of the idea of a prudent policy of the deployment of national resources and talents.
56. The average age of entry into prostitution is fourteen. D. Kelly Weisberg ed. Applications of Feminist Legal Theory to Women’s Lives (Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 1996), p. 94.
57. For example it could be said that the hedonistic allure of pornography has a detrimental effect upon the civility of men; thus the need for society to elevate itself generally by getting its citizens to focus on higher things in life than prurient pursuits. Some forms of hedonism may push a person away from refined tendencies towards more aggressive ones.
58. Survival considerations are an example of a first-order consideration and have prior right over simple fourth-order concerns. Second-order considerations involve the underlying social principles of utility and valuation that assure the survivability of the species, cultures, groups and individual people. Third-order considerations are ideas and knowledge of the human mind such as philosophy, supported by the socio-historical perspectives about humans and the world they live in. The ethic of care is a function of third-order philosophy and so it has third-, and fourth-order characteristics. The fourth-order category addresses efficiencies in human actions which promote survival in which a degree of peace and security benefits all.
59. If a person uses a computer often, a well-written software program will reveal a consistency to its construction that allows a person to estimate or intuit features about that program that they did not know in advance by reading an instruction book. Traffic laws are much the same. There is a consistency in their design and application that allows a person to reasonably estimate lawful driving and unlawful driving.
60. “Culture is an instrument of adaptation which is vastly more efficient than the biological processes which led to its inception and advancement.” Theodosius Dobzhansky, Mankind Evolving (New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 1962), p. 20.
61. See James Grier Miller’s Living Systems for a detailed description of how organisms organize and seek higher and higher levels of efficiency and communication.
62. There are exceptions to this such as Germany in the 1930s, which whipped up social spirits to build a strong nation. However, it was not an enduring and reliable approach in the long term.
63. Rights grants are a two-way street. Sometimes society acts from the heart and seeks to liberate people in a way that is impractical given the immaturity of those they have granted rights to. Thus, rights-restrictions are also an integral part of a society attempting to get the best out of its citizens while promoting the overall good of the society.
64. In biology the benefits of symbiotic relationships improve the health of the entire cooperative.
65. Leo Strauss, Natural Right and History (Chicago and London: University of Chicago Press, 1965), p. 82.
66. Ibid., p. 82.
67. According to Vlastos, “There is no special word for rights in Plato’s mother tongue—no word that corresponds to ours, behaving as it does in all the contexts in which we speak of rights.” Gregory Vlastos, Socrates, Plato, and Their Tradition, vol. II (Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press,1995). p.124.
68. The Ideal of Rationality, p.10.
69. Natural Right and History, p. 84.
70. “In books 2 to 7 of the Republic...Plato undertakes to do something never previously attempted in the history of the West; to determine on purely rational grounds all of the rights which all of the members of a particular society ought to have.” Socrates, Plato, and Their Tradition, p. 104.

71. Ibid., p.142. Stressing excellence optimizes the survivability of humans and their societies in a way mere freedom cannot and so in this biological sense is a higher value. But, there is a counter-balancing idea implied in prostitution itself. In a subjective perspective watching street girls is like looking through a window back in time where women were free in nature to choose their lifestyle unencumbered by tradition, fad, or cultural persuasion. In today’s world they might be likened to being nature’s most troublesome daughters (in an enjoyable sort of way). A mother’s ultimate challenge to get at least a little respect and attention out of their children who, like they, in the end do what they want to anyway. In this respect their whole meaning in life is founded on freedom, thus, they cannot live some other person’s ideal of excellence. The absolute and higher meaning in their existence is freedom. However, for many people freedom can be too much of a good thing. If extended liberty diminishes the ability of a person or nation to survive, the good and happiness they seek will also be diminished. Reason, therefore, forces an equitable resolve between excellence and liberty.
72. Gregory Vlastos, Socrates, Plato, and Their Tradition, p.142.
73. Ibid., p. 123. “...persons must earn their rights through productive labor.”
74. Leslie Stevenson, Seven Theories of Human Nature, 2d. ed. (New York and Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1987), p. 32.
75. Locke’s conceptualization of rights countered this. He believed instead that rights are something that “belong to men as men and not members of society.” Socrates, Plato, and Their Tradition, p. 105.
76. “However, what the FR (Functional Reciprocity) principle cannot provide is a basis for substantively equal ‘human rights’. It will justify rights only in those special cases in which the differences between groups of persons (such as difference of sex) are judged to be irrelevant to the value of their respective contributions.” Ibid. p. 119.
77. “Among all of Plato’s writings which have survived from the classical age of Greece, that work (The Republic), alone projected a vision of society in whose dominant segment the equal rights of human beings are not denied or abridged on account of sex.” Ibid., p.142.
78. To appreciate the complexity of Plato’s ideas of rights and his reputation for embracing sexual stereotypes of women, refer to the chapter entitled “Was Plato a Feminist?”
79. Katherine MacKinnon in On Human Rights: The Oxford Amnesty Lectures 1993, Stephen Shute and Susan Hurley, eds., (Basic Books,1993), p. 84.
80. “Radical feminists claim the source of a woman’s oppression derives in terms of the sexual power dynamic, for the Marxist it is capitalism, for the socialist feminist from psychological and social factors. What is being said here is that another form of oppression can be added to the list of possible sources of oppression. Intellectual oppression can be just as real as all other forms of oppression. The source of intellectual oppression here is to be found in the abuse of the Socratic Method. “The Socratic elenchus was perhaps a refined form of the Zenonian paradoxes, a prolonged cross-examination which refutes the opponent’s original thesis by getting him to draw from it, by means of a series of questions and answers, a consequence that contradicts it.” Gregory Vlastos, Socratic Studies (Cambridge University Press, 1994), p. 2. Also see Terance Irwin, Plato’s Ethics (New York, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1995), p.17-30. The Socratic Method of arguing was employed by Socrates as a teaching tool to put people in touch with “confusions at the heart of their everyday thinking.” This powerful teaching tool is often misapplied for self-serving and egotistical needs. It inspires a tyranny of reason to afflict society, rather than cultural enlightenment. Its logics construct a glass ceiling of impenetrable reasons that ordinary people cannot rise above. As a tool of sophistry instead of teaching it oversimplifies the complexity that individual words symbolize and so adds a calculated skewing of the words to an argument. It narrows the scope of a word to its static sense. Once reduced to simplified form, the logics subsume the complexion of Boolean algebra. Words and statements are either true or false, leaving little middle ground for deep, sensitive, and meaningful statements. The intents of the discussion are to win, not to understand, and in this respect the Socratic method becomes a morally questionable tool in politics where it is employed as a seduction to briefly gain an opponent’s confidence enough so that they speak casually and in doing so make formal errors in logic. It is intellectually opportunistic because it forces a quick closure to an argument by overly objectifying the words and stressing the language instead of the concepts to make its point. It is emotionally opportunistic because it delivers a powerful psychological blow to the person attempting to deliver a meaningful statement by way of the clever manipulation of words and perlocutionary expressions (see Dictionary of Philosophy, Peter Angles.) The net result is that political arguments that evolve from such debates on the surface look much better than the arguments of a person who may know more about the world but is less articulate, speaks in a language that is sensitive, broad, and not easily quantifiable in the immediacy of an argument. In concept men have a tactical advantage over women using this method and it is highly effective in making one’s opponent look weak, hysterical, and illogical when in fact that may not be true. This is true only if the nature of the way the different genders observe, store, and retrieve information is different. Paul Tillich has noted of very intelligent people, “Predominantly theoretical types of mentality lack a mature self.” Morality and Beyond, p. 67. Having gained an advantage in universities and in government it is possible that the immaturity of intelligent people has turned the Socratic teaching tool into a self-serving tool of social oppression that has ultimately led to the restriction of women’s rights. While the advantages men might reap in any given argument may be slight, over thousands of years of use it might be seen as having a tremendous affect on women’s rights. By this reasoning it is not classical and contemporary ethics that is male-biased, it is a method of using philosophy to further political ends. (See the philosophy of Protagoraus). It could be said that men and women do not experience exactly the same world. While they think they speak the same language, in reality they do not. It takes a discerning ear for men to fully appreciate genuine thoughts women have. It takes effort, understanding, and reasoning to translate some of the things women have to say into a man’s experience of the world. The abuse of the Socratic Method provides one of many methods for men to close their minds to women because it takes less effort to find fault with a woman’s argument than it does to understand it.
81. Leo Strauss in Natural Right and History, p.165, attributes the modern natural rights theory to begin in the eighteenth century so there is some overlap in the way the development of rights is conceived. All the ingredients for a powerful new rights theory were brought in proximity to each other in this time only to coalesce later without much effort throughout the works of Hobbes, Locke, and Rousseau.
82. Norman Kretzmann and Eleonore Stump, The Cambridge Companion to Aquinas (Cambridge University Press,1995), pp.14, 20.
83. Hegel viewed history as the unfoldment of human potential.
84. The early Greek ideas that view autonomy to be a function of greater reason, education and virtue. As people become increasingly educated they begin to understand in finer and finer details just what is expected of them in an increasingly complex world. Through greater awareness there is less social friction and more room for new liberties to manifest themselves. By the time of the French and American revolutions, people had increasingly evolved from ancient times and were rightfully due greater liberties.
85. The Cambridge Companion to Aquinas, p. 20.
86. “Now a certain order is to be found in those things that are apprehended universally.” Of the Natural Law, Thomas Aquinas in Peter Singer, ed., Ethics (Oxford, New York: Oxford University Press, 1994), p. 247.
87. Stephen Nathanson,The Ideal of Rationality: A Defense Within Reason (Chicago and La Salle, Illinois: Open Court, 1994), p.10.
88. Paul Tillich uses the term the “ground of being” to illuminate some of man’s problems. Had Aquinas lived in Tillich’s era with research knowledge available concerning biology he might have been able to develop a more functional theory of natural law.
89. People are willing to be kicked around and abused because they see abuse in their own actions and are tolerant. But there comes a point, such as when politicians take the silence and tolerance of the public towards them to be a sign of weakness and perpetrate abuse upon the public, whereupon people can revolt. In response, like a tiger biting a person who insists on kicking it, revolutions sometimes follow to correct the injustices.
90. The French and American Revolutions relive ideas of Plato two thousand years before “doubt of authority or freedom from authority is (indispensable) for the discovery of natural right.” Natural Right and History, p. 84.
91. Dieter Henrich, Aesthic Judgement and the Moral Image of the World: Studies in Kant (Stanford, California: Stanford University Press, 1992), p. 61.
92. A. John Simmons,The Lockean Theory of Rights, p. 14. Simmons describes Locke as America’s own personal philosopher. Though he makes an excellent point, the type of contract postulated here refers to contracts that have evolved in tandem with the evolution and maturity of societies over thousands of years. In this respect they can be considered in a biological perspective a function of systemic equilibrium that resolves conflicts in the most harmonious and efficient way, thus enhancing the survivability of the entire species.
93. Carol Pateman,The Sexual Contract (Stanford, California: Stanford University Press,1992), p. 5. “The standard commentaries on the classic stories of the original contract do not usually mention that women are excluded from the original pact. Men make the original contract.”
94. Ibid. p.191. “The body and the self of the prostitute are not offered in the market; she can contract out the use of her services without detriment to herself.”
95. Ibid., p.190.
96. Ibid., p.191.
97. Ibid., p.209.
98. “Marxist critics of prostitution take their lead from Marx’s statement that ‘prostitution’ is only a specific expression of the general prostitution of the laborer. Prostitution then represents the economic coercion, exploitation and alienation of wage labor...The figure of the prostitute can, therefore, symbolize everything that is wrong with wage labor.” The Sexual Contract, p. 201. However, in spite of these Marxist views Pateman goes on to show why prostitution is not the same as wage labor.
99. William L. Reese, Dictionary of Philosophy and Religion: Eastern and Western Thought (New Jersey: Humanities Press, 1996), p. 508.
100. An example of this might be, if two or more people agree to something such as one will lend money to the other, then the agreement can include a provision that if the money is not repaid, certain property becomes the lender’s property. It is self-evident that the lender has the right to repossess property on which money is owed but not forthcoming.
101. The original spelling of the word was unalienable.
102. James W. Nickel, Making Sense of Human Rights (Berkeley, Los Angeles, and London: University of California Press, 1987), p.181.
103. Yearbook of the United Nations (Lake Success, New York: United Nations Department of Public Information, 1948-49), p. 613.
104. Theodosius Dobzhansky, Mankind Evolving (New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 1962), p. 20. Also, “Genetic or social change may also result from interplay between an organism or a culture on the one hand and the environment on the other. This is the view espoused in biology by theories subsumed under the labels Darwinism, Neo-Darwinism, and more recently the biological, or synthetic, theory of evolution.” p.15.
105. Biology thrives on hierarchical descriptions to better describe the organization of the natural world. This term, however, is one feminists insist on avoiding. Since the discussion involves biology and organization it is appropriate to use the word hierarchy here. The function of hierarchical order is to condense knowledge of the natural world to a level where it can be understood and reliably conveyed as knowledge to other people. Unless feminists have a better way to analyze nature the idea of hierarchical descriptions will endure.
106. James Grier Miller,Living Systems (University Press of Colorado,1995), p.1035.
107. Ibid., pp.1034-1035.
108. Alliances between politically and economically powerful nations also have supranational characteristics.
109. Authority derives from a need for there to be an authority. If there were no conflicts, poverty, and oppression, no nation in the world would have inherent authority other than the last vestiges of its politically defined authority, or unless its authority was supplanted by a higher level of organization.
110. Social Assimilation Theory analyzes the values of mainstream society and the values of groups attempting to integrate into the larger system’s values in order to enjoy greater recognition and rights. When values vary widely, conflicts arise that can disrupt the peace, prosperity and productivity of the larger system. The larger system is dependent on assimilating a wide diversity of cultural values for its strength and growth, but only in a way that maximizes harmony and minimizes social conflicts. Prostitution can be viewed as a legitimate profession in carefully defined terms that take into account the needs and values of the greater society.

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The index from the printed version

If you download the pdf version you can take these keywords  (using the binocular icon) to search for words in the book. clik here for pdf

A

A Vindication of the Rights of Whores 11,19, 55,57
abortion 58, 59
abortion rights 15
abuse of the Socratic Method 65
adaptation, biological 33,48, 62
agreements, 46 47
Alexander, Priscilla 19, 57
American Revolution 45
ancestors 37, 38
androgyny 23, 42, 59
Angles, Peter 64
Auinas 4, 7, 37, 43 44, 66
Aristotle 23,24, 40, 41, 43, 58, 59, 69
Aspasi 59
assimilation theory 24-25, 51
autonomy 6, 22 24, 26, 27, 29, 30, 37, 38, 39
autonomous state of being 24
autos 22BBill of Rights 40
biological 8-9,33, 48-49, 58, 62-63, 66-67

B

Bromberg 59, 60

C

Capitalism 64
care 55
care-centered ethics 23
care-focused feminist 22, 55
ceding rights 34
Charlesworth ***
Christianity 42, 58
citizenship 6, 22, 60
Civil Rights Movement 15, 24
civility of men 61
civilization-building 36
coercion 16, 26, 28-29
communication 9, 33, 45, 53, 62
compassion 23
contract theory 53
contractrarian 19, 46
Convention for the Suppression of the Traffic in Prostitution 48
Cook 56
cultural morality 21
cultural relativism 21
customary rule systems 32, 46
customs 6, 26DDarwinian 8, 67

D

Declaration of the Rights of Man and Citizen 3
Decriminalization 14, 50, 53
deferred gratification 29
dehumanization 11
deliberation 22, 24-25, 38, 58
deliberative nature of freedom 38
dignity 42, 48, 55
discretion 27, 60
distanced or distancing 61
divinity 42
Dobzahansky 8, 48, 62, 67
doctrine of natural rights 47
doubt of authority 40
drugs 36
Dworkin***29, 58Eeducation 6,24,28,27,-28, 60, 61, 65

E

emotions 5, 16, 24, 40, 43, 53
equal protection 52
equal rights 63
ethic of care 23, 34
evil 48, 55
evolution of rights 35
excellence 63
exemplary actions 23 Ffamily 48

F

Falco *****
feelings 20. 56
feigning love 61
feminism 16, 23, 41-42, 46, 55, 5-59
First Whores’Congress 11
first and second-order rights 34
first-order needs 33
first-order rights 33, 35
first-order survival 49
flagrant sexual expression 26-27
fostering trust 61
foundations, theoretical 7-8, 20. 43
fourth-order concepts 21, 34
fraud 29
freedom 6, 21, 22, 25, 27, 29, 37-39, 47, 58, 63
freedom of religion 40
French Revolution 45
Frey, ***
friends 28. 61
functional reciprocity 63Ggender-neutral 42

G

General Assembly 47
Germany 62
good and evil 55
government 19, 20, 23, 30-32, 41, 47-48, 60, 65
Greeks 4, 6-7, 22, 24, 40-41, 43, 65
ground of being 66Hhappiness 7, 47

H

hedonism 22, 61
Hegel 65
Henrich, Dieter 66
hierarchical 48, 67
Higher levels of organization 9
histrionics 13
Hobbs 4, 6-7, 45, 47, 60, 65
Homosexuality 60
Howard, Philip K. 5, 15, 55, 56
human rights 3-12, 21, 35, 41, 43, 45, 48, 56, 63
Hurley 55, 64IICPR 11, 13, 5-51, 55

I

International Committee for Prostitutes’Rights, see ICPR
immorality 23, 44, 55
immaturity 42
inalienable 47
inauthentic rights 16
inflation of rights rhetoric 17
injustices 66
instrument of adaptation 49, 62
intellectual oppression 64
intuitonism 20
ius 42JJackson, Stevi 57

J

just 42
justice 47, 51, 55KKantian 60

K

Kretzmann ****Llaw 6-7, 22, 26, 32, 35, 46, 50-51, 62

L

legal claim 19
legal entitlements 45
liberties 37, 52, 65
liberty 6-7, 34, 39, 42, 63
linguistic transformation 42
Living Systems Theory 8-9, 33, 53
Locke 4, 6-7, 40, 45, 47, 59, 63, 65-66MMacKinnon, Katherine 18

M

male domination 55
male thinkers 41
manners 6, 26, 32, 46
marriage 26, 46
Martin Luther King Jr. 24
Marx 60, 64, 66-67
Maximizing survival 34
maximizing utility 35
Miller, James Grier 62, 67
model workers 31
modern human rights movement 45
moral 6,11, 14, 16, 19, 21, 26, 31-32, 41-42, 46,
moral claim 19
mother of feminism 22
myth 38Nnamos 22

N

Nathanson, ****
natural law 3, 7-8, 44, 47, 66,
natural law theory 43
natural order 49
natural right 37, 47, 62-66
natural world 39
Nazis 11
Nickel, **** 60, 67Oobjective 24, 38

O

obligations 21, 24, 59
Of the Natural Law 66
opinion 7
oppression 5, 11-12, 23, 41, 46, 51, 55, 59, 60, 64
optimizing benefit 35
organ 48
organization 53
original contract 66
outlaw 30Pparents 30

P

passions 38-39, 51
Pateman, Carole 46, 57, 66-67
patriarchy 46
peace 47, 57, 66-67
perlocutionary 64
personal rights 45
Pheterson, Gail 11, 50, 55
philosophers 49
philosophical inquiry 38
philosophy 37-38
pimps 61
Plato 40-41, 62-63
polemics 13, 16
police 28-29, 51-52, 60
political theories 7
power-focused feminism 23, 55
powers of parents 31
preamble 48, 55
predatory practices 36
predominantly theoretical types 65
prejudices 51
printing money 15
prior right 61
priorities 36, 53
productivity 48, 49
prosperity 48, 49
prostitutes’rights 11, 19, 31, 50-51
Protagoraus 65
prurient pursuits 61
pseudohumanity 11
psychological theories 56
pure reason 42

Q

quiet enjoyment

R

radical feminists 64
rape 29
rational 24, 36, 59
reason 6, 22,37, 40-43, 53, 59, 63, 65
Reese, ****
religious 17
Republic, The 63
responsibilities 59
restraint of emotions 29
rhetoric 5, 16-17, 56
rhetorical tool 19
right 6-7, 16, 19, 21, 37-38, 40-42, 59
right action 43
rights grant 41
right of choice 24
rights
rights claim 13, 15, 19 16, 20
rights conflict 26
fights grants 35, 62
rights of other persons 25-26
rights of property 41
rights theory 46
rights restrictions 62
rights-rhetoric 16
Roman Empire 42
Rousseau 4, 6-7, 45, 47, 65SSapiro, Virginia 23, 58

S


Scott, *** 57
seasoning techniques 61
second, third, and fourth-order rights
second-order value 35
self—determination 6, 22, 25, 59
self-evident 11, 43-44
self-governing 22-23, 34
self-preservation 59
self-regarding duty 60
self-rule 22, 25, 27
sexual abuse 61
sexual choice 41
sexual contract 46, 57, 66-67
sexual politics 56
sexual power dynamic 64
sexwork 13, 50, 57
Shute, **** 55, 64
Simmons, **** 59, 66
Singer, Peter 66
slavery 46, 51
social agreements 45
social assimilation theory 3, 52, 59, 68
social contract 7, 45, 47
social efficiencies 34
social predators 29
social value 35
socialist feminist 64
Socrates 24, 40-41, 43, 62-63
Socratic Method 64
sophistry 64
sound prostitution 46
species 33, 49, 62, 66
spin 14, 56
sterotype 56, 63
Stevenson, **** 63
stigma 11, 14, 30, 58
Strauss, *** 37-38, 62, 65
street prostitutes 28, 58
Stump, *** 65
subjectivism 20
subsystems 33-34
Sumner, L.W. 15-16
supranational 48-49, 67
surrogate motherhood 46
survival, 8, 33, 35, 38, 44
symbiotic relationships 62
systemic equilibrium 66
systemic evolution 35
systemic organization 48

T

targeting 61
teaching tool 64-65
Tillich, Paul 58, 65-66
Tomasevski, Katrina 8, 55
Tong, Rosemarie 55
trafficking in persons 48, 51
transformation 7, 47
tyranny of reason 64

U

United Nations 8-9, 47-50, 55
universal norms 45
universities 42
unrestrained liberty 39
utilitarian 35
utility 31, 33, 35, 61, 62,Vvalue 33, 35, 41

V

values 15, 25, 36, 68
virtue 6, 22-24, 37, 58, 65
virtue-centered ethics 23
virtuous sensibility 59
Vlastos 62, 64Wwage labor 67

W

Weil 60
Wesiberg, Kelly D. 57
Whelehan, Imelda 56, 60
whore stigma 55
Wollstonecraft 4, 6, 22-24, 58-59
women and human rights 55
women’s rights 65
world organization of prostitutes 9, 12-13, 27

Y

Z

Zenonian paradoxes 64February 28

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