Maybe Europe really is kaput

A seven-story-high advertising sign on the side of a building in Cologne, Germany included flags of many countries, among them several Muslim countries. As Daniel Pipes tells us, some Muslims were offended by the Muslim flags and protested vehemently, and the owner of the business quickly removed or covered the flags. That is not what is of interest here. What is of interest is the nature of the sign and the business it advertises: a 78 foot by 26 foot picture of a gorgeous woman in a bikini, baring her breasts, and inviting men to enjoy the services of the Pasha Bordello, located inside the seven-story building on which the ad is mounted, with 120 rooms, the largest brothel in Europe. Be sure to see the photo.

But don’t just look at the billboard, think of what it is. An 80-foot-high picture of a near-naked woman, advertising a brothel, displayed in the middle of an old and famous German city. And that’s considered normal in Europe. (It’s also apparently considered normal by Pipes, since he didn’t remark on the fact of the huge bordello ad in itself but only the Islam angle; there’s such a thing as taking specialization too far.) Imagine people going about their business in Cologne, and looking up and seeing that sign. The Europeans have carried secularism this far. It’s as though they were saying, “We are godless people, we think there is nothing higher than us, nothing to respect and revere higher than ourselves, nothing higher than humanity and its desires, we think sex and money are all there is, we have no shame, we don’t mind that all our citizens—old people, families, children, girls, boys—should walk by and see a picture of a prostitute the size of an apartment block. No one should be offended by it. If Jesus passed through Cologne, he shouldn’t be offended by it. There’s nothing. There’s nothing but sex and the body.” It is as though they were saying, “We are nothing, we want to be destroyed.”

Years ago on a summer day I went to Orchard Beach in the Bronx, a completely Hispanic area, and in the middle of the beach there was a huge statue of a beer can, maybe 12 feet high, with the people gathered around it partying, and I and the friend I was with thought that for the people on that beach, that giant beer can was their god. And for the Germans of Cologne, their god is a 80-foot-high image of an amiable whore.

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A reader writes:

Your objections to the obvious degradation of a society that allows such a billboard in its midst are right on target. Why is it that secularist society does not understand that prostitution is not a sign of freedom but a form of female slavery? Either men are throwing burkas over women’s bodies and sequestering them from access to other men; or they are stripping their bodies to pander them to other men. Neither of these behaviors is based on respect for the female—only on gratification for the male.

Female bodies are treated as commodities under Dar al-Islam and Dar al-Hugh Heffner—a pox on both their houses.

LA replies:

I don’t see it primarily as a matter of degrading or putting down women. I see it as something that is objectionable in itself, the whole thing, not just its effect on women. However, there are degrees. Some societies outlaw prostitution. Some societies formally outlaw prostitution but actually allow it, as in much of U.S. Some societies legalize prostitution, but have controls and regulations on it, like France. Other societies allow it, but it still tends to exist in certain parts of the society, not be all over the place. But then other societies, as we can see in this story, stick it right in everyone’s face, like something out of Sodom and Gommorah.

It’s one thing for prostitution to exist off in the corners of society. People are not being implicitly expected to approve it. It only affects the people who are directly involved. It’s another thing to present it in the most public, conspicuous way. That implicates everyone in it; it corrupts and compromises everyone.

Also, if we only see prostitution in liberal terms, as a form of inequality or oppression, we don’t see the complete moral effect it has on society, men and women.

You write:

“Either men are throwing burkas over women’s bodies and sequestering them from access to other men; or they are stripping their bodies to pander them to other men.”

You’re portraying this solely as something that men are imposing on women. I don’t see it that way. Women choose this profession. People can choose to do what they want with their lives. Outside of white slavery, no one is forcing women to be prostitutes. The “oppression” model of prostitution prevents us from seeing it as a sinful activity that is freely chosen by the individuals who engage in it, whether as prostitutes or as clients.

Posted by Lawrence Auster at May 11, 2006 03:00 PM | Send

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