Saturday, 21 December 2013

The Case of the Accidental Orgasm

To Canada's liberal media, Beverly McLachlin may be a legal giant with her head grazing the rhetorical clouds, but as a logician she'd be right at home in Gulliver's Lilliput, tying down the great questions of the day with the specious threads of pygmy bias and petty politics. Like more than a few of the bewigged franchise, she's given to offering rather bizarre case analogies which neither the prosecution nor the press seem inclined or able to discomfit.  
      Her brief against the current law prohibiting brothels, for example, was shored up by a spurious comparison likening prostitution to riding a bicycle. Once the state decriminalizes the business of selling sex, she opines, it can no more deny a prostitute the right to "protect herself" by whoring out of her own home than it could justly deny us the right to wear a helmut while riding a bike. Case closed! ejaculated her adoring press. 
   Objection, your Honor! Is this an accurate or even a sensible parallel? True, both activities involve riding, but there the congruity ends. Riding a bike entails the risk of falling off regardless of where one rides, but with the risk obviously rising in traffic. A helmut, however, does not prevent accidents but only protects one from excessive injury in an accident. But the sex trade, goes the argument, becomes a relatively safe occupation if conducted at home or in a controlled office setting. So working at home is the "helmut" that actually prevents accidents??? No such helmut exists. So by Mclachlin's gimmicky simile the defining act of prostitution wouldn't be the bicycle ride but the accident itself. Come, come!
     A more just and apposite trope would be of a law that forbade cycling on the sidewalk. The cyclist claims that riding in the street puts her at excessive risk, but the state counters that she is putting others at risk by riding on something that was designed strictly for walking. Anyone not aware of the risk implied here is invited to ponder the prospect of seeing one's next door neighbor install a red light above her door. Case closed. Door closed.
    Of course, our risqué cyclist has the option of not riding at all, to peddle no more and join the rest of us in our pedestrian but relatively safe existence on the path of honest labor. And, as the government argued, albeit none too successfully, this is an option that society has always left open to our unfortunate women of the streets.

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