Hardball with Chris Matthews, 7/10/13, 7:57 PM ET

Smerconish: We should legalize prostitution

In his “Let Me Finish,” Hardball guest host Michael Smerconish outlines his arguments for why prostitution should be legalized.

Why we should legalize prostitution

Updated
By Michael Smerconish

Let Me Finish tonight with this:

Yesterday, Eliot Spitzer was my guest right here.

I told him that when he cheated on his wife with a hooker, his wife should have thrown his clothes into Central Park. But as far as the public was concerned, it was really not our business.

He violated the law and that wasn’t right….. but we should have an adult conversation about the laws he violated.

I would argue that it’s time to bring the world’s oldest profession aboveboard in communities willing to allow it, clean up the trade, and clamp down on the exploitation. Let government share in the revenue, but otherwise stay out of the private affairs of consenting adults. Beyond the role of the taxman, prostitution doesn’t warrant the involvement of federal authorities.

Instructive to me has always been the way in which Spitzer was caught.

Since Sept. 11, 2001, the financial world has been required to alert the feds when evidence arises of conduct that could be linked to terrorism. Spitzer’s suspicious money transfers were the thread that led to his discovery.

Some functionary or other recognized that this was a case of titillation, not terrorism, yet nevertheless committed the resources that brought about Spitzer’s public crash.

What a waste of time, expertise, and the people’s money.

Alan Dershowitz once taught Eliot Spitzer at Harvard Law, and Spitzer worked for him as a research assistant on the Claus von Bülow case.

With regard to the investigation, Dershowitz once told me “they used 5,000 wiretaps. They intercepted 6,000 e-mails. Every hour spent on going after prostitution is an hour that could have been spent on going after terrorists and going after people who victimize.”

Which is not to say that Spitzer shouldn’t have emerged from his escapades unscathed. But the discipline that should be meted in a case like this should come from within his family.

There’s another argument in support of legalizing prostitution. Some among us are never going to find companionship for a variety of reasons. And their solitary existence is accentuated by the constant barrage of sexual stimulation we see every day on television and billboards, in our mailboxes in the form of fashion catalogs.

It can’t be healthy for some people to feel the amassed pressure of such images, and have their personal expectations go unfulfilled.

Yesterday, when I asked Spitzer whether he believed we should legalize prostitution, he demurred. I won’t.

We should.

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Why we should legalize prostitution

Updated