A RECENT EMAIL EXCHANGE WITH A DEAR FRIEND OF MINE WHO IS MOST CONSERVATIVE: START AT THE BOTTOM AND READ UP.
Seems no one is forcing anyone to take a job as a hooker.
They're given a choice; first, find your own job.
If not, take work that we find for you, or lose your benefits.
Do you object to legalized prostitution in Germany? If not, what's the
rational basis to treat brothels differently from other employers?
People have a choice to forego work, and the attendant compensations,
because they're morally opposed to the business involved.
More particularly, and to expand my earlier comment on workfare, look at
this country where prostitution is illegal, except in Nevada. What if the
article had been about a situation involving American welfare reforms,
which, one presumes, involve benefit cuts if you refuse a job? How
different would your reaction be if the story were about refusing, on moral
grounds, to take work in a gun shop or gun factory? A tobacco shop or
cigarette factory? Would you believe the state would be more justified or
less justified in pulling the objector's benefits for such refusal?
If you say "more justified" you implicitly make the judgment that moral
objections to prostitution trump moral objections to guns and tobacco
products -- a judgment I agree with, incidentally, in terms of the moral
implications of individual participation (as opposed to the 50 year pattern
of lying by the tobacco companies). I just don't think the government has
any business imposing that judgment, no matter how majoritarian.
I think your reaction would have been the exact opposite.
This article proves the opposite of your fascist comment, and the compulsory
comment, at least in this circumstance. Remember, traditional welfare, not
tied to workfare, was the "liberal" position. Conservatives insisted on
reforming welfare into workfare -- a notion I support, by the way.
(Although weren't the WPA and CCC, the original workfare, invented by hated
liberal FDR?) In any event the statist compulsion arises from the workfare
aspect, not from the fact of unemployment benefits.
And, if prostitution, or live sex shows, are legal (no evidence that such
are legal for 13-year-olds, here or in Germany, though aren't you, as a good
conservative, opposed to child labor laws?), shouldn't laws protecting
Of course, I know you're opposed to the minimum wage in the first place.
All any of this proves is that individual liberty to choose is the only
rational way to resolve moral debates.
To: "Joe McDermott"
Subject: Re: you won't believe it
Proving once again that:
1) the true facists are on the left;
2) liberals do not care where what one does so long as it is compulsory;
3) the only question a liberal would have, upon seeing a 13 year old girl
sex on stage, is whether or not she was being paid the minimum wage.
Thanks again to Joe for confirming what we already knew.
Makes sense to me.
Isn't this the logical next step in workfare?
----- Original Message -----
"Joe McD III (office)"
Sent: Sunday, January 30, 2005 7:32 PM
Subject: you won't believe it
A serious comment if you please
'If you don't take a job as a prostitute, we can stop your benefits'
By Clare Chapman
A 25-year-old waitress who turned down a job providing "sexual services''
at a brothel in Berlin faces possible cuts to her unemployment benefit
under laws introduced this year.
Prostitution was legalised in Germany just over two years ago and brothel
owners - who must pay tax and employee health insurance - were granted
access to official databases of jobseekers.
The waitress, an unemployed information technology professional, had said
that she was willing to work in a bar at night and had worked in a cafe.
She received a letter from the job centre telling her that an employer was
interested in her "profile'' and that she should ring them. Only on doing
so did the woman, who has not been identified for legal reasons, realise
that she was calling a brothel.
Under Germany's welfare reforms, any woman under 55 who has been out of
work for more than a year can be forced to take an available job -
including in the sex industry - or lose her unemployment benefit. Last
month German unemployment rose for the 11th consecutive month to 4.5
million, taking the number out of work to its highest since reunification
The government had considered making brothels an exception on moral
grounds, but decided that it would be too difficult to distinguish them
from bars. As a result, job centres must treat employers looking for a
prostitute in the same way as those looking for a dental nurse.
When the waitress looked into suing the job centre, she found out that it
had not broken the law. Job centres that refuse to penalise people who turn
down a job by cutting their benefits face legal action from the potential
"There is now nothing in the law to stop women from being sent into the sex
industry," said Merchthild Garweg, a lawyer from Hamburg who specialises in
such cases. "The new regulations say that working in the sex industry is
not immoral any more, and so jobs cannot be turned down without a risk to
Miss Garweg said that women who had worked in call centres had been offered
jobs on telephone sex lines. At one job centre in the city of Gotha, a
23-year-old woman was told that she had to attend an interview as a "nude
model", and should report back on the meeting. Employers in the sex
industry can also advertise in job centres, a move that came into force
this month. A job centre that refuses to accept the advertisement can be
Tatiana Ulyanova, who owns a brothel in central Berlin, has been searching
the online database of her local job centre for recruits.
"Why shouldn't I look for employees through the job centre when I pay my
taxes just like anybody else?" said Miss Ulyanova.
Ulrich Kueperkoch wanted to open a brothel in Goerlitz, in former East
Germany, but his local job centre withdrew his advertisement for 12
prostitutes, saying it would be impossible to find them.
Mr Kueperkoch said that he was confident of demand for a brothel in the
area and planned to take a claim for compensation to the highest court.
Prostitution was legalised in Germany in 2002 because the government
believed that this would help to combat trafficking in women and cut links
to organised crime.
Miss Garweg believes that pressure on job centres to meet employment
targets will soon result in them using their powers to cut the benefits of
women who refuse jobs providing sexual services.
"They are already prepared to push women into jobs related to sexual
services, but which don't count as prostitution,'' she said.
"Now that prostitution is no longer considered by the law to be immoral,
there is really nothing but the goodwill of the job centres to stop them
from pushing women into jobs they don't want to do."
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