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Page 54 •
• May, 2010
LETTERS and "the military has more power now than at any time in recent memory." Where's the 'freedom' there? As for the issue of prostitution itself, I have two questions: 1) Would you suggest to your daughter or younger sister that she sell her body in order to finance a college education? And 2) As for the young woman — whose name I forget — who was recently asking in your pages for donations to help finance her trip around the world, why didn't you suggest this alternative to her? Or does her white skin make her ineligible for such a means of fund raising? John Reimann Y-Knot, Catalina 36 Oakland John — As we've written countless times, we believe in the freedom of speech, assembly, the press, travel, petition — and the freedom to behave halfway responsibly. There are varying degrees of these freedoms to be found in different countries around the world. While the people of Thailand may not be as free as Americans are, we can assure you that, our having recently been to the so-called 'Land of Smiles', the people there are much more free than are the people of Vietnam, Cambodia and Singapore, to say nothing of the dictatorships of Cuba and Venezuela. If Cubans or Venezuelans protested in their country as vigorously as the Thais have been doing recently in Bangkok, they'd all be dead. Indeed, Raul and Hugo won't mince words telling you that they would be happy to eliminate the enemies of their foundering 'revolutions'. By the way, we've spent time in Thailand, Venezuela and Cuba, and can't help wondering if you've been to any of them. (This just in from Havana — Cubans are now allowed to rent barber shops and beauty salons with less than three chairs from the government, and charge whatever the market will bear for stylings. Wow. Cell phone and internet access, however, remain among the lowest in the world, with extreme censorship.) Even a casual reading of our reports from Thailand would indicate that we're "enthusiastic" about some things in that country — the warm weather, the unusual scenery, the rural north, the Muslim south, the rubber tree plantations, the inexpensive sashimi, and the haunting ambience of the Bridge over the River Kwai. But there were other things that we didn't care for at all, such as the famous but totally bogus 'floating market', the mindless consumerism in Bangkok, the unvarying nature of Thai food, overdeveloped Phuket, the taxi mafia, and the surprisingly weasely nature of so many of the Thais. Who would think Buddhists would give off that kind of vibe? As for your questions on prostitution, our answers are no and no. And how many times are we going to have to tell you before it sinks in that we believe in a swift death sentence for adults who sexually prey on minors. And none of that 'three strikes' rubbish. As for the general concept of prostitution, our libertarian nature says whatever genuinely free — and we want you to repeat that qualifier out loud — consenting adults of any color want to do between themselves is their own damn business. That's true no matter if it's between whites in Amsterdam, mixed race couples in Beverly Hills, Malays in Singapore's Little India or Arabs with the French in Paris. When such people aren't free because of economic or other circumstances, we don't support such relations any more than we do arranged marriages. The key to people's being genuinely free, of course, is having enough money to take care of the basics of life. Hundreds of millions of people have emerged from poverty in the last decade. If you know the way for millions more to do it even faster than they have been, don't hesitate to share it.
The May 2010 issue of the West's premier sailing and marine magazine.