The Nature of Vice
Drugs like caffeine, nicotine, and alcohol are legal and more or less woven into the fabric of daily American life. Drugs like cannabis, cocaine, and LSD are not and those who use them are more or less consigned to the squalid fringes of society.
Paying a woman to take off her clothes and display her breasts is legal and the staple entertainment at “Gentlemen’s Club”s from Honolulu to Houston. Paying that same woman to insert those same unclothed breasts into a stranger’s mouth is not and those who would engage in such mischief are hardly considered “gentlemen.”
Playing Bingo in the church basement is legal and a time-honored way to “give back” to the parish. Betting that the Giants will beat the Jets by more than four points is not and those who would wager on such a proposition have the stain of degeneracy upon their character.
That which is immoral, unethical, or despicable doesn’t cleave to a static definition of right and wrong. Vice in America is fluid and dynamic. The only uniting trait we can find in our collective view of crimes against propriety is that they tend to occur whenever someone other than us is having the fun. Morality — the code upon which our conception of vice is built — is often a thinly veiled complaint that others are enjoying life in ways that the majority can’t or won’t.
In our imaginary Utopia, a land called Civil Libertyville, the citizenry will be unconcerned with victimless crimes and obsessed with the freedom to do as one pleases with his body, mind, and soul.