Activism: Dr Neil Benson's Brothel

JulianP's picture
Submitted by JulianP on Thu, 2006-02-16 22:53

Last night, as the Far North representative for Libertarianz, I attended a public meeting in Mangonui. For those who don't know, Dr Neil Benson, Cooper's Beach GP, is setting up a brothel in his medical rooms. I went to support his right do to so.


(Dr Neil Benson, photo courtesy of NZ Herald)

The meeting was organised by The Doubtless Bay Christian Centre, and was addressed by Scott McMurray, former communications director of Maxim Institute.

The NZPC (New Zealand Prostitutes Collective) only heard about the meeting late yesterday, and contacted Dr Richard McGrath, Libertarianz health spokesman, for assistance. They must have read his press release in support of Dr Benson:
http://www.libertarianz.org.nz/?libzpr=398

I tried to reach Sue Bradford, or any other representative of the Greens. Like the Libz, they supported the Prostitution Reform Act, with Sue Bradford being a particularly strong promoter. The Greens based their support on the principle of harm minimisation - that criminalising prostitution causes more harm than legalising it - which is true.

However, the libertarian view is that it's nobody's business what you do with your body or your property, as long as you don't initiate force against anybody else, and as long as you bear the consequences of your actions. If you want to enjoy your freedom and your property rights, then you must respect those same rights of everybody else. So, Dr Benson should enjoy the right to do with his private property what he wants, as long as he does not violate the equal rights of his neighbours.

When I got in touch with the Greens, they had already been contacted by the NZPC. Though Sue Bradford was very sympathetic, nobody from the Northland Greens wanted anything to do with this hot potato.

At the packed Mangonui Hall, Scott McMurray presented a large number of slides detailing his research into prostitution. There was a lot of fear-mongering and hysteria, as he implied that Doubtless Bay will turn into the sex-capital of Northland and become a huge sex-tourist donation - all because of one humble little brothel. Oddly, it was never mentioned that prostitution almost certainly already exists in the area.

Scott tried to prove that prostitution was always harmful, and that this harm should be 'prevented' by stopping prostitution altogether. He presented studies showing how both prostitutes and clients of prostitutes are harmed by prostitution. He said that legalising prostitution, normalises it.

However, nobody seemed to realise that laws are not there to protect people from their own bad choices, but only to protect the individual's rights from being violated by others.

When the floor was opened to the public, I had my say:

The issue at stake is a crucial one. It is one of morality as opposed to law. Scott had already admitted that one can't change human nature by force. Assume, however, that you are forced to behave in a certain way by restrictive laws, laws that dictate morality. Firstly, who decides what's moral? The majority? The minority that claims to be most offended? Everybody is offended by certain things they consider immoral.

Secondly, if due to morality laws, you are not free to choose between a moral action and an immoral action, then can you really be moral? Only a free choice, can be a moral choice. Immoral choices have negative consequences, but you can only learn what is moral by looking at other people's examples, and by learning from your own mistakes.

So the only way for you to change society for the better, is not to ban things you don't approve of, but to live morally, set a good example, and to let people be free to make their own mistakes, to learn from the consequences of their own actions.

A free society has to be a tolerant society.

Links:
NZ Doctor - Switch to brothel gains GP notoriety:
http://www.nzdoctor.co.nz/topstories/08feb06_Brothel.html

NZ Herald - 'Top-end' brothel is just what the doctor ordered:
http://www.nzherald.co.nz/section/story.cfm?c_id=1&ObjectID=10365628

Libz Back Benson's Beach Bordello:
http://www.libertarianz.org.nz/?libzpr=398


Aw, shucks you guys!

JulianP's picture

Aw, shucks you guys! Smiling Thanks!

As the people on NZ LibertyLoop will know, I have since been invited to write a guest opinion column for The Northern Advocate about this case. It will give me a shot at convincing even more people.

I'll keep you up to date.

Hear, hear!

Lindsay Perigo's picture

You're a gem, Julian. Proud to know you! Smiling

Well done that man!

Robert's picture

Onya Julian Eye

You obviously made it out of the meeting alive. Pity you didn't take a video camera. I'd love to see how many "upstanding citizens" were publically disapproving of the bordello whilst secretly frequenting it.

As a young lad I once worked the Homestyle Bread Factory in Te Rapa, Hamilton. Across from the loading dock is a "massage palour." And blow me down if half the cars parked there weren't BMWs etc. driven by brief-case carrying stiffs (if you'll pardon the expression.)

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