Friday, September 08, 2006

Plus ca Change...

There are the several bad Effects of Whoring; and it is an unhappy Thing, that a practice so univeral as this is, and always will be, should be attended with such mischievous Consequences: But since few or none of them are the necessary Effects of Whoring, considered in itself, but only proceed from the Abuse and ill Management of it; our Business is certainly to regulate this Affair in such sort as may best prevent these Mischeifs. And I must here beg pardon of those worthy Gentlemen of the Society, if I can't conceive how the Discouragement they have given, or rather attempted to give, to public Whoring, could possibly have the desired Effect. If this was a Vice acquired by Habit or Custom, or depended upon Education, as most other Vices, there might be some Hopes of supressing it; and then it would no doubt, be commendable to attack it, without Distinction, in whatever Form or Disguise it should appear: But alas! this violent Love for Women is born and bred with us; nay, it is absolutely necessary to our being born at all: And however some People may pretend, that unlawful Enjoyment is contrary to the Law of Nature; this is certain, that Nature never fails to furnish us largely with this Passion, though she is often sparing to bestow upon us such a Portion of Reason and Reflection as is necessary to curb it.

This from "A Modest Defence of Public Stews: or, an Essay upon Whoring as it is now practiced in these Kingdoms . . . Written by a Layman," an essay by Bernard Mandeville. Mandeville argues that we can't get rid of fornication, or prostitution, so we should try to control them and their negative effects; legalize and license some prostitutes so guys go there, rather than having streetwalkers and pimps.

This essay was written in 1724. It could have been written today. plus c’est la meme chose.


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