The Instigator
NovaLux
Pro (for)
Winning
3 Points
The Contender
MasterDebater2
Con (against)
Losing
0 Points

It is Less Ethical to be a Soldier than a Prostitute.

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 2 votes the winner is...
NovaLux
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 1/23/2014 Category: Philosophy
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,125 times Debate No: 44504
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (13)
Votes (2)

 

NovaLux

Pro

Yeah, I know what you're thinking. Shocking title, disgraceful even.

This came out of a debate I was having about whether prostitution should be considered morally wrong, but I figured I would up the ante by comparing it to a career in the military. I am not judging the morality of particular members of either career, as I am aware there are a multitude of reasons why someone would enter into either.

Pro will argue that a career as a prostitute is more ethical than being a soldier in active conflict (non-combat occupations/ paper-pushing doesn't count), and Con will argue the opposite position.

"More ethical" defined as: Providing less harm and more benefit to the self and others.

I will let Con have opening arguments during round 1. Begin!
MasterDebater2

Con

I'll take this argument but I insist the PRO go first to see what his basis of ethics is so it's not loaded. Also one gripe I have is you can't define ethics solely as Utilitarian. There are many different perspectives which I will be attesting.

So then, why is it more ethical to be a prostitute than a soldier?
Debate Round No. 1
NovaLux

Pro

Thanks for accepting the debate, Con. I'm going to address the two careers separately for now.

-Prostitution-
The first argument I will make here, and I'm sure you've heard it before, is that someone owns the right to their own body, and should be free to decide whether or not they would like to sell it for money or not. People who agree with this principle also tend to favor legalization of drugs because the only person harmed, if anyone is harmed, is one's self. It's generally regarded as wrong to hurt others, and I think I can say with fair confidence that this does not hurt others. By providing a service that another person wants, you are actually helping others. Think of other uses of the body which people perform. Sports athletes use their bodies to perform physical feats. Models show off their bodies for a financial profit. But why is their nothing morally wrong there? In all cases, people are using their body for money.
It surprises me that the first people who would say Prostitution is an evil are those who say the body is worthless in relation to the soul (most religions). The body is not sacrosanct, and neither should the act of sex be. It is a fact of life, one which similar animals perform indiscriminately. It's not something to be looked upon with secret shame or revulsion, as we have come to define it. Having sexual intercourse, or loosing one's virginity, is no harm to the soul, nor the body for that matter. And what, on a base level, separates hugging and kissing from prostitution, except for the possible added side effect of a child? I know it may seem ridiculous, but we would not chide someone for offering kisses for money, or giving out free hugs (unless you are Russia). And prostitutes know what they are getting into. They are not inept children incapable of making a conscious decision on their own, but consenting adults agreeing to a mutually beneficial trade. Notice how for a woman (the majority of prostitutes are women, shocker) it is viewed as victimization to be paid for sex, but for a men it isn't cast in the same light. It seems sexist to me to say woman are being taken advantage of (and plenty have said they are not) and not the same for men, based of the traditional image of "vulnerable women".

-Soldiers-
Soldiers, on the other hand, have provided much hurt to others. I'm aware that many are 'just following orders.' Regardless, they follow the orders assigned to them, which includes killing enemy combatants. Killing enemy combatants is amoral, as no man deserves to die. As for the charge that soldiers exhibit tremendous bravery, a positive virtue, I quote from Gandhi "Wherein is courage required--in blowing others to pieces from behind a cannon, or with a smiling face to approach a cannon and be blown to pieces?" (1) Surely braving the hell of the battlefield takes courage, but in doing so you contribute to the another's hell. Without any soldiers, wars could no longer continue. Within a minute we could have world peace, but we do not as of yet. Even if you are defending your country, as the military hardly ever does in earnest, that means you are putting your country before the lives of others. Others who would have, under different circumstances, been your fellow countrymen. Not to mention the psychological problems constant combat can cause to an individual, such as PTSD.

"Sixty-eight percent of prostituted women meet the criteria for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in the same range as combat veterans and victims of torture." (2)
This might seem to contradict my claim at fist glance, but I would argue the rate would go down substantially if it were legalized and age restricted. I looked at the source of the fact any many of the interviewed lived in countries where prostitution was illegal, and the figure included those who were forced into prostitution and those illegally trafficked. (3). Still, the percentage for combat veterans would be higher.

My question is: what makes killing others for money less ethical than having sex for money?

Sources:
1. http://www.dadalos.org...
2. http://www.womenslaw.org...
3. www.prostitutionresearch.com/pdf/Prostitutionin9Countries.pd
MasterDebater2

Con


Prostitution


People who agree with this principle also tend to favor legalization of drugs because the only person harmed, if anyone is harmed, is one's self.”


This is just blatantly not true, whereas usually the person partaking in drugs is the most affected, people that partake in drugs have a large impact in society. Alas, this is not the point of the debate. Here are statistics on just one drug, albeit a legal one but the most dangerous. (1)


It's generally regarded as wrong to hurt others, and I think I can say with fair confidence that this does not hurt others.”


Is hurting others the only way to determine if something is unethical or not? Why not the motivation for doing an action? If a person was drowning in a lake and you knew this person to be filthy rich, what if you only saved them with hopes of a big reward instead of saving the person for savings sake? This would not be an ethical act, it would be selfish. The ends do not justify the means. Likewise in prostitution, what is the motivation for being a prostitute, greed, lust, boredom? There is no gain for society, there is no gain for self except for money, sex and pleasure (We are not debating the legality of prostituting just whether it is ethical).


“The body is not sacrosanct, and neither should the act of sex be. It is a fact of life, one which similar animals perform indiscriminately.”


Animals kill indiscriminately as well.


They are not inept children incapable of making a conscious decision on their own, but consenting adults agreeing to a mutually beneficial trade.”


I am seeing this theme a lot, just because two people consent to something does not make it ethical (that’s a political and legal issue). For example let’s say you wanted to kill yourself and I said I would help. We both consented yet the act of killing for pre-termination is unethical and selfish. You take your own life’s worth over the collective emotions of everyone you know and disregard them.



Soldiers


“Soldiers, on the other hand, have provided much hurt to others. I'm aware that many are 'just following orders.' Regardless, they follow the orders assigned to them, which includes killing enemy combatants. Killing enemy combatants is amoral, as no man deserves to die.”


Yes, soldiers cause a lot of pain and death. Just because war is brutal does not discredit whether or not is unethical. From a societal standpoint war is necessary to stop other nations and groups from destroying your homeland, it must only be used as a last resort as it the most extreme mean to a favorable end, many tactics should be used prior like mediation. On an individual level soldiers do not go into war with the idea of slaughtering innocents, soldiers go into war with the idea that they are protecting a nation and its inhabitants.


“This might seem to contradict my claim at first glance, but I would argue the rate would go down substantially if it were legalized and age restricted”


This is a moot point as we are debating ethics not legality.


“Without any soldiers, wars could no longer continue.”


“Within a minute we could have world peace, but we do not as of yet.”


"What if they gave a war and nobody came? Why, then, the war would come to you! He who stays home when the fight begins and lets another fight for his cause should take care: He who does not take part in the battle will share in the defeat. Even avoiding battle will not avoid battle. Since not to fight for your own cause really means fighting on behalf of your enemy's cause." - Bertolt Brecht



Sources:


(1): http://www.centurycouncil.org...



Debate Round No. 2
NovaLux

Pro

"Is hurting others the only way to determine if something is unethical or not? Why not the motivation for doing an action? If a person was drowning in a lake and you knew this person to be filthy rich, what if you only saved them with hopes of a big reward instead of saving the person for savings sake? This would not be an ethical act, it would be selfish."

No, harming others isn't the only way, I was just pointing out a front on which prostitution isn't immoral. The motivation in this case is money, not a particularly heroic motivation, but no different than the one which ties office workers to their cubicle. Money isn't a good or bad motivator, what you do with it is. As for the drowning lake example, doesn't the fact still remain that the drowning man is saved? What if someone found the cure for cancer, and said they did it not for the millions of people who die each year, but for the sake of science? Either way, I don't see prostitution as having an unethical motivation.

"There is no gain for society, there is no gain for self except for money, sex and pleasure."

The point being? Society can benefit, in a limited sense, with a lucrative industry and corresponding tax dollars. And it can fulfill a need because it has a customer base, otherwise it would go out of business. But many people have jobs that don't benefit society any more than being a job, and that isn't a bad thing.

"Animals kill indiscriminately as well."

I think its a bit of a stretch to equate killing with sex, but I see your point. However, animals kill to fulfill a need, hunger. They have sex to fulfill the need of survival. Prostitutes have sex to fulfill a need of money. Soldiers kill to protect the abstract ideal of the homeland, but are more often involved in attacking others.

"For example let"s say you wanted to kill yourself and I said I would help. We both consented yet the act of killing for pre-termination is unethical and selfish. You take your own life"s worth over the collective emotions of everyone you know and disregard them."

Is it unethical because it's selfish? I tend to equate selfishness with a positive connotation, and in this case I would disagree that the action is unethical (though its a separate issue). People have the right to kill themselves because they own their own body, their own life, and if it is carefully thought over I wouldn't call it unethical. Just a nonjudgmental weighing of the pros and cons to life.

"From a societal standpoint war is necessary to stop other nations and groups from destroying your homeland, it must only be used as a last resort as it the most extreme mean to a favorable end, many tactics should be used prior like mediation."

I would agree with you on that point. But what about when that does not occur, and your country goes to invade another, which seems to happen so much more often than "defense"? If every army simply defended themselves, there would be no wars. But they seem to keep popping up for some reason. When you say "defending the nation" I hear "eliminate threats" which can be viewed as a threat by another nation. And if you don't disobey orders when ordered into conflict, that is unjust to the innocent lives and hardships you perpetuate.

Furthermore, I would say nations do not need a military to stop war, and rather that the threat an army poses makes it more likely. Just look at Switzerland and Costa Rica. The bigger a countries standing army is, the more likely that power is to be misused, since power corrupts. So by contributing to a standing army (many Founding Fathers argued against one) you are contributing to an increased likelihood of conflict.

"On an individual level soldiers do not go into war with the idea of slaughtering innocents, soldiers go into war with the idea that they are protecting a nation and its inhabitants." Well of course they enter in with great ideals, but the fact remains that they do and have slaughtered innocents. And when it comes right down to it, most soldiers get pressured into killing anyway. I think soldiers have an adequate idea that this could happen when entering into the military, but they still join.

"This is a moot point as we are debating ethics not legality."

I wouldn't exactly say moot, since the point I was making is that being a soldier is more psychologically damaging to the self then prostitution, which I surmised would be true under legal prostitution.

Sources:
1. http://en.wikipedia.org...
MasterDebater2

Con


Well I had a fun time debating this as it is an odd but interesting topic.



Con is saying because no one is getting harmed (other than the two parties involved) and it provides a service between two consenting adults that being a prostitute is more ethical than a soldier who kills people for money. The way I look at it most prostitutes go into prostitution for personal gain, like money and superfluous needs (drugs). I wish I introduced some stats and I cannot in this stage but they’re out there, go search for yourself. My rationale for why a soldier is more ethical is they go into service for the purpose of protecting a nation and its people all the results of that action are just consequential. Even my opponent agrees with that logic. The means to protecting a country is justified.


“As for the drowning lake example, doesn't the fact still remain that the drowning man is saved? What if someone found the cure for cancer, and said they did it not for the millions of people who die each year, but for the sake of science? Either way, I don't see prostitution as having an unethical motivation.”



C is for Con


C is for Cool


You wanna be cool right?


Vote Con!


Debate Round No. 3
NovaLux

Pro

"C is for Con

C is for Cool

You wanna be cool right?

Vote Con!"

Damn. Wish I had thought of that first.

Anyway, I think I have equated prostitution, in terms of ethics, to about the same as an office job. So all I have to do now is prove that being in the army is worse than having an office job.

The way I see it, it is absolutely wrong to join an institution that you know will propagate war, death, and conflict as armies do. When the draft comes around, does that mean draft dodgers are immoral? Those who choose jail time over the SEC? They are willing to face public humiliation, and go through any punishment the government throws at them, because they value peace and the lives of others. It takes a lot more courage, honor, and bravery, to resist your government through nonviolence than to resist that of another through guns. People have an awareness that they will be turned into an instrument used to kill others, and that they will suffer tremendously as well. But what do they value more than this? "Their country."

I used quotes because the country does not belong to them any more than they belong to it. It just so happened to be that they were born into that country by chance. You did not choose to be born in the United States, but it still requires you to pledge allegiance to its flag, to promote national unity. But nationalism, as it is also called, is an evil. There is no fundamental difference between the people in your country and the next. You have no obligation to "buy USA" any more than you have to go to Lowe's because it's closer to you than Home Depot's. Because all humans are humans, and you just so happened to be stuck with the humans in this part of the world by the lottery of birth. Promoting nationalism comes at the expense of internationalism, as every time you create an "us", there is a "them" created as well.

I'm not saying we should have a "global village" with one big government or anything. I'm just saying we need to recognize an Arab the same as our next door neighbor. Nationalism impedes that, some notable examples being:

Nativist "know-nothing" party whose goal was to exclude immigrants from jobs and politics.
Anti-Chinese sentiment during railroad boom in U.S.
Pretty much every dictatorship or corrupt government starts to gain ground when it appeals to the nationalism of its people. North Koreans are routinely told to hate "imperialist America" along with middle eastern regimes, Cuba, etc.
The Nazi Party (National Socialist German Workers Party) gained much of its power calling for a stronger, unified Germany.
Kamikaze pilots during WW2
USSR- United soviet socialist republic.

And there are more examples, but the point I am making is that a soldiers allegiance is to their country, or nationalism. Protecting the homeland is why they participate in wars. Unless nationalism can actually proved to be positive, better than a neutral, money, then prostitutes would have a better motivating factor.

Also, since legalization is always tied up with prostitution, what would an illegal army equate to? Gang members. Gangsters form loyalties with their gangs, and accept money to kill people. They say they are just protecting their turf, but more often go and kill others instead. Gangsters operate outside of the law, armies are sanctioned by it.

Best of luck for the final round.
MasterDebater2

Con

Wow, I goofed up for some reason. I thought it was the last round and put my closing arguments in last round and have nothing new to contribute to the debate. Also, normally you don’t add new information in the last round as it reserved for closing arguments but since no structure was set, nothing says you can’t I guess.

“The way I see it, it is absolutely wrong to join an institution that you know will propagate war, death, and conflict as armies do.”

It is the nature of the world. If you do not protect yourself and your country. Both will cease to exist. War mongering =/= standing army.

“Nativist "know-nothing" party whose goal was to exclude immigrants from jobs and politics.
Anti-Chinese sentiment during railroad boom in U.S.
Pretty much every dictatorship or corrupt government starts to gain ground when it appeals to the nationalism of its people. North Koreans are routinely told to hate "imperialist America" along with Middle Eastern regimes, Cuba, etc.
The Nazi Party (National Socialist German Workers Party) gained much of its power calling for a stronger, unified Germany.
Kamikaze pilots during WW2
USSR- United soviet socialist republic.”

We’re debating a single soldier not nationalism. That’s a whole new debate, my friend (one I’d love to debate as well).

“Also, since legalization is always tied up with prostitution, what would an illegal army equate to? Gang members. Gangsters form loyalties with their gangs, and accept money to kill people. They say they are just protecting their turf, but more often go and kill others instead. Gangsters operate outside of the law, armies are sanctioned by it.”

Gangsters have a different motivation than soldiers, gangsters are in it for money and respect. Soldiers are in it for duty and protection to country. Different motivations, same effect in the most lenient scope of the term.

Anyways had a fun time debating with you, sorry for the mix up last round. It must’ve been slightly confusing why I was wrapping it up last round.

Debate Round No. 4
13 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by NovaLux 2 years ago
NovaLux
Looking back at this debate, I can see how it would be blatantly offensive to anyone serving in the military. If you can tell from the quote, I had just finished reading some Gandhi and... yeah. Let's just say he had strong opinions, and I was gullible. Still don't think prostitution is inherently unethical, though.
Posted by Ragnar 3 years ago
Ragnar
@Seeginomikata: Please replace your votebomb with a real vote (meaning state a warranted reason for each point awarded by its own merits).

"I agree with the Pro, but for different reasons that the arguments presented. This debate goes to con." Says nothing of S&G, Sources, and heck even argument itself is flimsy.
Posted by ajwf95 3 years ago
ajwf95
Novalux - Oops, my apologies!
Posted by wrichcirw 3 years ago
wrichcirw
RFD:
https://docs.google.com...

Conclusion

Both sides had a nice, substantive, interesting debate until CON"s round #3, where he pretty much dropped the ball.

I thought arguments were quite compelling on both sides. PRO seems to play up the harmlessness of prostitution vs the harmfulness of soldiers in combat, and CON played up the altruism of duty and service.

It would have been a hard debate to score, except CON did indeed drop the ball. PRO also went on a relative argumentative rampage in his final two rounds, which CON did not adequately rebut.

For this, arguments PRO, rest tied.
Posted by NovaLux 3 years ago
NovaLux
@ajwf95 Yeah, I know I started off with utilitarian ethics because it seemed the most basic way to define ethics. But then Con said he wouldn't debate under those terms, which makes sense, so I said I would do my best to scrap Utilitarian ethics and provide other points of view in the comment below.
The two quotes you listed were from MasterDebater2...
Posted by ajwf95 3 years ago
ajwf95
Novalux - Your definition of "ethical" changes throughout. You speak first of not allowing framing ethics solely in utilitarian terms, but your actual definition contradicts this statement. (see below)

"More ethical" defined as: Providing less harm and more benefit to the self and others." - This is utilitarian (rather than deontological or virtue ethics)

Yet you argue based as a virtue ethicist - evaluating intentions (see below)

"Is hurting others the only way to determine if something is unethical or not? Why not the motivation for doing an action? If a person was drowning in a lake and you knew this person to be filthy rich, what if you only saved them with hopes of a big reward instead of saving the person for savings sake? This would not be an ethical act, it would be selfish. The ends do not justify the means."

Then you go on to argue based as a utilitarian - evaluating consequences (see below)

"We both consented yet the act of killing for pre-termination is unethical and selfish. You take your own life"s worth over the collective emotions of everyone you know and disregard them."
Posted by NovaLux 3 years ago
NovaLux
@MasterDebater2 I had a lot of trouble while framing this issue. There are many different frames you can view ethics through, and I must admit I had a vague idea of Utilitarian ethics when proposing the debate. But I'll try to scrap that the best I can, my own view being closer to virtue ethics than deontological, but I suppose you could use consequential or others as well.
Posted by MasterDebater2 3 years ago
MasterDebater2
@AizenSousuke
1. What is the purpose of attempting to discard ethics?

2. Explain to me why you think this is possible

The only possible way I could see this happening is if you were a hedonist, everything you want to do is "the correct choice" disregarding the effect of the action to anyone and yourself. On the flip side if someone forced you to do something you didn't want to, it would be "the incorrect choice". Ergo everything you want to do is ethical and everything you don't want to do is unethical.
Posted by Seeginomikata 3 years ago
Seeginomikata
I can vouch for Aizen-sama's statement that he follows no code of ethics.
Posted by AizenSousuke 3 years ago
AizenSousuke
@MasterDebater
And what of a being such as myself who has discarded all morals and defines no code of ethics for himself?
2 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Vote Placed by wrichcirw 3 years ago
wrichcirw
NovaLuxMasterDebater2Tied
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Total points awarded:30 
Reasons for voting decision: see comments - CON's final two rounds lost the debate for him.
Vote Placed by Ragnar 3 years ago
Ragnar
NovaLuxMasterDebater2Tied
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Total points awarded:00 
Reasons for voting decision: One is done for the standard definition of ethics (protect and uphold the ethics of your country), the other is not. As I am too strongly biased by having been a soldier (saved a lot of lives via educating villagers on water sanitation), I shall abstain from assigning points to this debate. ... @pro: your obsession with what happens between the prostitute and client being consensual, shouldn't the same standard be in place between enemy soldiers? @con: "C is for Con C is for Cool You wanna be cool right? Vote Con!" Please never use such slogans again. Anyone who actually casts a vote citing great slogans, should probably lose their voting privileges.