Before I begin, I'll put in a mini-argument for prostitution, since I forgot it earlier:
One can sell their labor to a construction company. One can mow a neighbor's lawn, and request a fee. One can be hired as a bodyguard, a chef, or for any of one's personal skills. So why is it illegal to hire a prostitute?
Well, sleeping around can cause one to pick up any number of diseases. But one would imagine that people would be smart enough to avoid such things, and that clients would be smart enough to avoid them as well. The only reason I can think of (apart from lying, which I'll cover later) which could cause a prostitute to take on a diseased client is if he or she were desperate for money, which welfare covers, as far as I know. Why anyone would go to a diseased prostitute is beyond me. If the prostitute/client was lying - there's a thing called court. We use it a lot in the United States.
I do admit prostitution takes advantage of those down on their luck, especially runaways and those otherwise far from people they could go to for aid. But I think that if prostitution were to be regulated, as any other business, this could easily be avoided, as could much of the fear of disease. The only thing keeping prostitution from being legal is that it's illegal, if that makes any sense.
I can think of one other possible argument. "It's not moral!" I'll tackle that below.
Anyways, the government, as I've previously stated, really should have no jurisdiction over your body unless you're putting someone else, or their property, in danger. Perhaps yourself, in rare circumstances, but usually there's treatment aside from asylum for such things. If it is given that no reasons exist to ban prostitution, then it should not be illegal.
And just to put in a quote from the Christian bible, for later use, "A prostitute is a deep pit and a wayward wife is a narrow well. Like a bandit she lies in wait, and multiplies the unfaithful among men." (Proverbs 23:27-28) Condemning prostitution AND adultery, oho! (I use the Christian bible for my examples since it was the most prevalent religion/belief while the USA was forming its code of laws, and it still is.)
On to the main topic. Pardon my swearing.
I can say quite firmly that laws concerning suicide, adultery, polygamy, drugs, gambling, and prostitution were birthed from either religion, or the norms of society becoming more than norms. Since religion dictated many norms of society way back when (it still does to this day), one could call the pressures of religion a subset of societal norms.
But why should breaking norms be against the law, if the breaking of that norm in and of itself harms nobody? I'm perfectly in my rights to ask for someone's seat on an otherwise empty bus (though I haven't the faintest why I would) so why should I not be allowed to smoke pot? (I forgot to make a spiel on that as well, but I'm guessing you know what my arguments are for that.)
"Oh, but I am offended when you do something against my moral code and don't apologize, so it should be illegal to protect my fragile sensibilities, since my opinions and feelings are clearly the most superior!"
There is no fucking way it should be illegal to offend someone in passing. (Before anyone claims that libel, hate crimes, and that ilk, are just offending... Libel has direct impacts, and hate crimes dehumanize. And no, just because I don't think that offending you should be against the law doesn't mean I'm dehumanizing you, because I'm not specifically targeting any individual or group and if I need to go any further I will ask you to jump into a deep, empty well.)
And honestly, if you're offended by someone's actions which have not hurt anyone, you're putting your nose where it doesn't belong, and could easily spare yourself the offense by NOT CARING. And being offended "for someone" that you don't know personally is bullshit. You don't know them, so really, you're getting offended for you, not them. See beginning of paragraph for what I have to say about that.
Finally, why should anyone be bound to your moral code? Your opinions, morals, and ethics are hardly empirical. So don't think they are. (And before anyone just says it's just my moral code that it's not alright to hurt anyone or their property, I might add that the government is supposed to benefit the populace. Part of benefiting people is making sure they stay alive and/or unhurt.)
Alright, now to tie together the few religious references I've made. All these so-called vices whose illegality I've railed against are all things which will get you sent to "Hell". I personally don't believe in "Hell", but it's apparent that others do. But why should your beliefs be pressed upon me, or anyone else who does not want them? It's a simple step from making popular belief dictate law to quashing minorities, which is really not that far from the sort of inequality and -isms which society has slowly been growing out of. Nobody is in the right to force anyone else to believe something. The only permissible time which I can think of is when someone is in danger if they do not change said beliefs, and when said beliefs are a small change.
"There is a train coming at you!"
"No there isn't."
"Yes there is, taking a fucking look."
"I don't believe you!"
And before anyone says people trying to save others from "Hell" are arguably in the right, though they may have the sentiment, they are not in the right. In the example of the train, it is a very small change for a large payoff. To switch religions is a large change, and in my eyes, very small payoff. Nobody really knows if "Hell" or any world beyond exists. Until you prove there is a payoff, you should not be able to force anyone to do anything.
As a final note (I seem to have a lot of these) I am by no means decrying religion. Religion is a powerful tool, and can spawn amazing deeds and great wonders. It is a person's choice whether or not they subscribe to a religion, and it should only be their own. I am decrying those who would make it otherwise, and those who warp religion into something impure, and not something of good.
Hopefully this slightly disconnected spiel-of-a-text-wall made sense. That's all for now, more rants to come later.
I'll be focusing on studying these next two weeks, though I may post once or twice. Writing exercises and satire to come post-exams.