26 votes

On Vice

As far as "vice" is concerned, do any of you draw the line somewhere? For example, has anyone here been to a strip club? Paid for sex? Engaged in recreational use of illegal drugs? Gambled?

I was inspired by this post and was wondering where ya'll stand.

33 comments

  1. balooga
    Link
    Personally, I haven't done any of the things you listed but I think they should all be legal. If you're not directly victimizing an unwilling person, it shouldn't be a crime. I'm kind of a boring...

    Personally, I haven't done any of the things you listed but I think they should all be legal. If you're not directly victimizing an unwilling person, it shouldn't be a crime.

    I'm kind of a boring person but I think I have a rather unconventional stance about this, compared to other boring people like me.

    14 votes
  2. [12]
    Algernon_Asimov
    Link
    Yes. A friend took me. He even paid for me to get a lap dance (he knew I was gay, but felt this was a good opportunity for me to experiment). This is the most up-close and personal I've ever been...

    For example, has anyone here been to a strip club?

    Yes. A friend took me. He even paid for me to get a lap dance (he knew I was gay, but felt this was a good opportunity for me to experiment). This is the most up-close and personal I've ever been to a naked woman. She knew I was gay, and we got quite chatty. It was all very comfortable. Except for the fact that I'd never been that close to a naked woman!

    Paid for sex?

    Yes. And I've been paid for sex. (No: you don't get details.)

    Engaged in recreational use of illegal drugs?

    No. Never have, never will.

    Gambled?

    Yes. but this is legal in Australia. However, it's a waste of money so I don't do it often.


    My line is "First, do no harm." A friend once described me as "an ethical hedonist" - I'll do whatever gives me pleasure, as long as it doesn't harm anyone else.

    Of the above examples, the only one I said "no" to was drugs. I choose not to take drugs, not because I think they're immoral but because I think they're harmful. I don't like what they do to people, and I won't do that to myself. But if someone else wants to take drugs, I say go for it. I think all drugs should be regulated and taxed, like nicotine and alcohol are here in Australia. Those taxes can then be used to pay for the healthcare that drug users will probably need.

    "Vice" doesn't exist as a concept for me. There are actions which hurt others, and actions which don't. Actions which hurt others are immoral. Actions which do not hurt others are not immoral.

    13 votes
    1. [11]
      Gaywallet
      Link Parent
      Is this a blanket statement for all drugs? If not, how do you delineate? Are some drugs more harmful than others? Do you abstain entirely from common OTC drugs like Tylenol (acetaminophen)? Do you...

      not because I think they're immoral but because I think they're harmful

      Is this a blanket statement for all drugs? If not, how do you delineate? Are some drugs more harmful than others? Do you abstain entirely from common OTC drugs like Tylenol (acetaminophen)? Do you drink?

      1 vote
      1. [8]
        Litmus2336
        Link Parent
        While I don't pretend to have a full-fledged ethical system, I don't think it's hard to see the difference between use of Tylenol as directed, and shooting heroin.

        While I don't pretend to have a full-fledged ethical system, I don't think it's hard to see the difference between use of Tylenol as directed, and shooting heroin.

        3 votes
        1. [7]
          Gaywallet
          Link Parent
          I'm not asking whether you can see a difference, I'm asking what the difference is. Where do you draw the line, and why?

          I'm not asking whether you can see a difference, I'm asking what the difference is. Where do you draw the line, and why?

          2 votes
          1. [6]
            Litmus2336
            Link Parent
            Tylenol generally will not kill you. Heroin generally will kill you.

            Tylenol generally will not kill you. Heroin generally will kill you.

            1 vote
            1. [5]
              Gaywallet
              Link Parent
              Probably shouldn't tell that to the family of the lady who came in with a tylenol OD about two weeks ago because she had a bad cough and cold and took too much cough medicine and fever reducers....

              Probably shouldn't tell that to the family of the lady who came in with a tylenol OD about two weeks ago because she had a bad cough and cold and took too much cough medicine and fever reducers. Then again the daily recommended maximum of an OTC drug should probably never be so close to the LD50.

              What is your stance on alcohol? What is the level of 'kill you' necessary to turn something from good to bad? What if it generally does not directly kill you but could lead to dangerous habits which do kill you?

              2 votes
              1. [4]
                Litmus2336
                Link Parent
                Yes, Tylenol OD is very bad. But if takes as directed should cause no harm. Again, I don't feel the need to create a Bertrand-Russell verified system of moral reasoning for my choices. Neither do...
                1. Yes, Tylenol OD is very bad. But if takes as directed should cause no harm.
                2. Again, I don't feel the need to create a Bertrand-Russell verified system of moral reasoning for my choices. Neither do I expect you or anyone to justify theirs. I think that I can generally make decisions based what limited information (and lack of academic rigor) I have. I'm not a big fan of playing the "slippery slope" game.

                To answer the first question, yes I drink alcohol occasionally, but don't like to do it too often. I average about a drink every other week. The subsequent questions I think are answered by the above. I know it's not satisfactory, but that's my general philosophy on these sort of things - that I don't offer hard truths or verifiable moral frameworks but I still feel capable of making moral judgements.*

                *One last side note - by moral judgements I mean personal morals. Again, I'm not trying to pass judgement on other people here.

                1 vote
                1. [3]
                  Gaywallet
                  Link Parent
                  Individual variation can cause some people's personal LD to be below the LD50, given that the maximum dose on a bottle is so close to the LD50 this means that some individuals can be killed by...
                  1. Individual variation can cause some people's personal LD to be below the LD50, given that the maximum dose on a bottle is so close to the LD50 this means that some individuals can be killed by following directions on the bottle.

                  2. Absolutely fair, so long as you keep it applicable to yourself only.

                  As an aside, I just want to mention I'm asking questions out of genuine curiosity. I don't mean to be attacking anyone for their viewpoint or I don't want to come off as trying to 'force' or 'trick' people into a slippery slope argument or whatever.

                  3 votes
                  1. [2]
                    Litmus2336
                    Link Parent
                    Yeah, totally. This is an internet forum, after all. A place for far more discussion than is necessary on incredibly mundane things. My point is not to rag on people who desire moral certainty....

                    Yeah, totally. This is an internet forum, after all. A place for far more discussion than is necessary on incredibly mundane things.

                    My point is not to rag on people who desire moral certainty. It's just to state that I view operating within a state of moral uncertainty as completely permissible. That is, unless you're a supreme court justice who "knows it when they see it".

                    And yeah, regarding LD50, I actually don't take Tylenol for that reason :P. I suppose I'm just extremely risk averse.

                    2 votes
                    1. Gaywallet
                      Link Parent
                      I try to avoid it as much as possible. Most NSAIDs are fairly hepatotoxic and can also cause stomach ulcers. It's kinda insane that this is what we have for pain control when infinitely more safe...

                      And yeah, regarding LD50, I actually don't take Tylenol for that reason :P. I suppose I'm just extremely risk averse.

                      I try to avoid it as much as possible. Most NSAIDs are fairly hepatotoxic and can also cause stomach ulcers.

                      It's kinda insane that this is what we have for pain control when infinitely more safe and effective drugs like ketamine are outlawed. 🤷‍♀️

      2. Algernon_Asimov
        Link Parent
        The context for this discussion, and the point I was replying to (I even quoted it in my comment) is the OP asking whether we have "engaged in recreational use of illegal drugs". That's what I'm...

        The context for this discussion, and the point I was replying to (I even quoted it in my comment) is the OP asking whether we have "engaged in recreational use of illegal drugs". That's what I'm talking about when I say I don't take drugs because they're harmful.

        It seems that Tylenol is a brand name for a painkiller we call paracetamol here in Australia. Even at times that I have taken painkillers (over the counter, and especially prescription), I have been very aware of the possibility of addiction, and I manage my behaviour accordingly.

        1 vote
      3. Algernon_Asimov
        Link Parent
        I missed this question in my previous reply. I don't drink alcohol, for pretty much the same reasons I don't take recreational drugs: I've seen, up close and personal, what it can do to people,...

        Do you drink?

        I missed this question in my previous reply.

        I don't drink alcohol, for pretty much the same reasons I don't take recreational drugs: I've seen, up close and personal, what it can do to people, and I don't want that for myself.

        1 vote
  3. [4]
    Comment deleted by author
    Link
    1. [3]
      Gaywallet
      Link Parent
      What drug is that? My lines are usually cocaine or ketamine As a side note, I find it interesting that @krg felt the need to add both the tags for drugs and alcohol as in if alcohol is not a drug,...

      What drug is that? My lines are usually cocaine or ketamine

      As a side note, I find it interesting that @krg felt the need to add both the tags for drugs and alcohol as in if alcohol is not a drug, and also asked the question of illegal drugs and not of alcohol use/abuse.

      It just goes to show how arbitrary this all is.

      5 votes
      1. krg
        Link Parent
        Ya, I was thinking of the fact that "alcohol" is a subset of "drugs", but I guess I was aiming for stuff that isn't already legal and regulated. And stuff that is still considered closer to...

        Ya, I was thinking of the fact that "alcohol" is a subset of "drugs", but I guess I was aiming for stuff that isn't already legal and regulated. And stuff that is still considered closer to "taboo." Of course, I'm thinking U.S.-centric.

        1 vote
      2. Algernon_Asimov
        Link Parent
        In common parlance, "drugs" refers to illegal drugs. Let's not get too caught up in semantics.

        In common parlance, "drugs" refers to illegal drugs. Let's not get too caught up in semantics.

  4. [3]
    lily_alpha
    Link
    I've done mushrooms, LSD, DMT, MDMA, and cannabis recreationally, nothing too out there. (Well, by my standards.) For mushrooms especially, I can see no reason to call these a vice, other than the...

    Engaged in recreational use of illegal drugs?

    I've done mushrooms, LSD, DMT, MDMA, and cannabis recreationally, nothing too out there. (Well, by my standards.)

    For mushrooms especially, I can see no reason to call these a vice, other than the danger of messing yourself up. Which... I have experience in. I still think that the risk/benefit analysis should be left up to people themselves. They are an experience without parallel, and I strongly believe that anyone who wants to should have access to them.

    I don't think I get to tell people what they should put in their body. Calling drug use a vice feels like doing that, to me. It's up to them to decide what's right for them, and if they want advice or perspective they can ask for it. I'll definitely offer harm reduction advice to people though! You'd be surprised how few people take neuroprotective supplements with their molly.

    7 votes
    1. [2]
      rogue_cricket
      Link Parent
      I have actually found shrooms to be a huge boon for me medicinally. Huge benefits - I find myself being a lot more "mindful" and less dissociated, it helps with depression symptoms (especially...

      I have actually found shrooms to be a huge boon for me medicinally. Huge benefits - I find myself being a lot more "mindful" and less dissociated, it helps with depression symptoms (especially anhedonia), and it even changes the kind of food I crave (it makes me want more raw fruits and vegetables). These effects last for a week or two after a trip.

      I don't have regular access to them any more and it's a shame. I have been considering growing them myself because while I generally am able to manage my mental illness through behaviour therapy and other techniques I've learned over the years, sometimes I need a little boost - but I don't want to commit to a prescription medication that is very hard to wean off of, which many medications are.

      I hope shrooms are the next legalization push.

      3 votes
      1. Gaywallet
        Link Parent
        Interesting that you mention this. My ex claims it cured her binge eating habits and every time she does them she also says it modifies her eating behavior for a few months after to in general eat...

        it even changes the kind of food I crave (it makes me want more raw fruits and vegetables)

        Interesting that you mention this. My ex claims it cured her binge eating habits and every time she does them she also says it modifies her eating behavior for a few months after to in general eat a little bit less.

        While I believe major mental illnesses can be approached in a manner which allows oneself to critically evaluate behavior and thought patterns when under the influence of a psychedelic drug, I'm beginning to wonder if there isn't something special about mushrooms and other related tryptamines and consumption habits. Time to go down another research rabbit hole...

        1 vote
  5. ShilohMizook
    Link
    As long as no one besides me is harmed, I'm okay with people doing it, regardless of my own participation. I've done some drugs, but nothing too extreme.

    As long as no one besides me is harmed, I'm okay with people doing it, regardless of my own participation. I've done some drugs, but nothing too extreme.

    5 votes
  6. [7]
    NoblePath
    Link
    To the “no harm from sex work“ folks: how were you able to determine it does no harm?

    To the “no harm from sex work“ folks: how were you able to determine it does no harm?

    5 votes
    1. [3]
      Algernon_Asimov
      Link Parent
      If a sex worker is working voluntarily, and isn't being forced into it or trafficked (which can also happen in other lines of work), then it's just an honest night's work for an honest night's...

      If a sex worker is working voluntarily, and isn't being forced into it or trafficked (which can also happen in other lines of work), then it's just an honest night's work for an honest night's pay.

      There are people who do sex work because they're desperate to earn money for their next drug hit. But, in that circumstance, it's the drugs which cause the harm, not the sex work.

      There are people who are forced to do sex work by someone else in their life. But that can also happen in other lines of work: I've read about people who move to Australia from other countries, with the promise of work in fruit-picking or clothing manufacture, and then their employer confiscates their passport and forces them to work under near-slavery conditions. This isn't exclusive to sex work. Again, it's not the sex work that's causing the harm, it's the unethical employer.

      I've known prostitutes and escorts. I've engaged prostitutes and escorts. I even tried being a prostitute (mostly for the novelty) for a short while. I have a little bit of inside knowledge (I don't pretend to be an expert).

      I'm curious what harm you think sex work causes.

      12 votes
      1. [2]
        NoblePath
        Link Parent
        It's important to point out there are at least two issues: should it be legal, and is it right? I'm certainly in the make it legal camp on the former issue. The second issue is the one where it...

        It's important to point out there are at least two issues: should it be legal, and is it right? I'm certainly in the make it legal camp on the former issue. The second issue is the one where it gets tricky.

        I don't have a satisfying answer for myself, let alone anyone else, but on a visceral level it seems, if not objectionable, at least worthy of a nuanced and deep examination with regard to harm.

        There is also the fact that very strong majority of sex service providers are female, and a similar proportion of consumers are male. If these numbers were more even, I think it would go a long way to quieting my gut reaction.

        Many feminists also challenge that notion that sex work can ever be performed without creating harm. I'm not qualified to recite their objections, but I know they exist, and I know they are most likely better qualified to adjudge the issue. I also know that there are other feminists who think, at least, that the criminalization of sex work is a form of gender oppression (kind of like abortion). I know there are others who say sex work helps them claim gender power. I'm in no position really to comment on that, either, which puts me in a bind I don't know how to release.

        I do know there is a strong social propensity to condone, or even encourage, the sexual objectification of women, and there's a relatable argument that sex work really contributes to that circumstance. I know I (mostly cis male) tend to do that, and I fight against it because I think that is harmful.

        It's not a bright lined issue to my eyes. There is enough of an appearance for potential social harm that it warrants really close examination.

        That said, I wish it were legal, and I wish there were no stigma for the service providers, and robust healthcare, economic* and legal support for them.

        *e.g., you should be able to get a loan with your body as collateral

        3 votes
        1. Algernon_Asimov
          Link Parent
          Thanks for your response. I don't see many of your own personal opinions here, and I won't bother following up on the other people's opinions you've cited. But thank you.

          Thanks for your response. I don't see many of your own personal opinions here, and I won't bother following up on the other people's opinions you've cited. But thank you.

    2. [3]
      envy
      Link Parent
      I don't see any “no harm from sex work“ folks. Everything can cause harm, as shown so well by The Good Place. Are you questioning the ethics or the legality?

      I don't see any “no harm from sex work“ folks.

      Everything can cause harm, as shown so well by The Good Place.

      Are you questioning the ethics or the legality?

      2 votes
      1. Algernon_Asimov
        Link Parent
        Noone has explicitly stated "sex work causes no harm", but some comments here imply this position. "I think they should all be legal. If you're not directly victimizing an unwilling person, it...

        I don't see any “no harm from sex work“ folks.

        Noone has explicitly stated "sex work causes no harm", but some comments here imply this position.

        There's four of us who have not called out sex work as harmful, implying that we believe it causes no harm.

        4 votes
      2. NoblePath
        Link Parent
        Ethics and morals. See my response to Algernon_Asimov if you're curious for more. Also, I was responding to those such as A_A and others in this thread who say the feel free to engage in sex...

        Ethics and morals. See my response to Algernon_Asimov if you're curious for more.

        Also, I was responding to those such as A_A and others in this thread who say the feel free to engage in sex services where it is not harmful, and I'm curious how they perform that evaluation both generally and in any particular transaction.

  7. Happy_Shredder
    Link
    Vice as a criminal law category doesn't really exist in Aus. Some drugs are illegal; gambling, alcohol, and sex work1 are legal and regulated. I don't like gambling, but the other vices are...

    Vice as a criminal law category doesn't really exist in Aus. Some drugs are illegal; gambling, alcohol, and sex work1 are legal and regulated.

    I don't like gambling, but the other vices are awesome. As far as I'm concerned, all vices should be legal and sensibly regulated.

    1 for completeness, note that the law and specific status (legal vs decriminalised) varies by state.

    4 votes
  8. mrbig
    (edited )
    Link
    I am not prone to addiction to narcotics. I consumed a lot of alcohol in my 20s and early 30s, but it was easy to quit. And last year I quit tobacco without any effort whatsoever after a year of...

    I am not prone to addiction to narcotics. I consumed a lot of alcohol in my 20s and early 30s, but it was easy to quit. And last year I quit tobacco without any effort whatsoever after a year of daily pipe-smoking. Games also do not pose any threat. I tried to use marijuana (something I should not have done, given my mental health condition), only to discover that my medications made me immune to its effect.

    I am most certainly addicted to food. One of my meds has the side effect of reducing my appetite, but when it wears off I become a South-American Tarrare.

    Nowadays my main addiction is the Internet. I use blockers and stuff, but it's hard to avoid it when your job requires being online.

    4 votes
  9. wervenyt
    (edited )
    Link
    I've never paid for sex or anything approaching it, don't see the point. Sex is important, but for me, not in itself. Gambling isn't something I've really explored much outside of quarters-level...

    I've never paid for sex or anything approaching it, don't see the point. Sex is important, but for me, not in itself. Gambling isn't something I've really explored much outside of quarters-level wagers, and while I see the appeal of it, it doesn't seem like a valuable avenue for my currency to take. Drugs are a whole other discussion.

    However, I don't view all of these as vices. If the category of vice is to exist, outside of strictly legislative context, it seems to make most sense as "a behaviour, especially a habit, that while satisfying, affects one's life in a net-negative direction". As such, smoking tobacco is a nearly-perfect example, as well as gambling money in a casino regularly. However, safe sex with someone employed in that field, with consent and in a nonexploitative situation, for money, is nowhere near that description by necessity. Someone eating a cannabis edible occasionally or therapeutically is not a vice-y situation, nor is that person taking psilocybin in a safe environment for the purpose of self-exploration. Legality does not define morality in such a direct way.

    Drinking alcohol is a vice, even if it's one drink, once a week, with a close friend. There doesn't seem to be a dose that isn't net-negative, so any imbibement is vice. Same goes for smoking pretty much anything. Lifting weights or running for many hours every day is probably a vice. Seeking sex as a way to escape processing pain, even in a generally-loving and healthy relationship, is vice-y. Hiring a sex worker every once in a while to spice things up, not a vice.

    Some questions (for nobody):

    1. Is frequenting a strip club ever an act of vice? If so, where is the line?
    2. Where's the line for gambling? If you are in a stable financial position, what percent of your discretionary income is it acceptable to regularly gamble? If you're a multibillionaire with a heavy gambling addiction, but aren't constantly raising the stakes to the extent you lose significant freedom afforded by money, is it a vice?
    3. Do eating disorders fit this description? Should they?
    4. Habit as a phenomenon makes this a difficult categorization. How much time on a mostly-pointless social media habit makes it vice?
    5. Is this even a meaningful category?

    All of these moral postulations are meant in a purely descriptive manner as to how I see the world, and not as prescripts to anyone but myself. I struggle with drug abuse across most pharmacological classes and degrees of harm, and certainly do my very best to not look down upon anyone else who engages in vice, whether horse race betting or overeating.

    3 votes
  10. Akir
    Link
    I guess it depends on what you define as Vice. To me it is anything that causes pleasure to the person partaking of it but also causes harm to themselves or others. And since we don't live in a...

    I guess it depends on what you define as Vice. To me it is anything that causes pleasure to the person partaking of it but also causes harm to themselves or others. And since we don't live in a black-and-white world, there needs to be context to decide if something is a vice or not. Gambling for entertainment is not a vice, but impulsive gambling and addiction are certainly vices.

    Personally speaking, food is my biggest vice. Eating healthy is very hard for me, and US culture makes it very easy to eat unbalanced meals. To make things worse, my boyfriend absolutely hates vegetables, so it's hard even when cooking at home to have a healthy meal.

    Drug addiction is probably the worst vice there is; I'm sure that there are many people who are hurting because people in their communities and families have died from opioid addictions. But if you want to know what I think is the saddest of vices, it would be alcohol addiction. Alcohol is almost everywhere you go, so it's always going to be eating away at you. But the real sadness comes from the psychological aspect. People turn to alcohol (or perhaps most any drug) because they allow them to reject reality. They would rather rely on chemicals that poison them rather than deal with the harsh truths of reality.

    That psychological aspect of drug addiction is the largest reason why I have mostly stayed away from hard drugs. I've lived with depression, and it's something I am always fighting. I'm afraid that if I take drugs, I may finally stop fighting. And who am I if I were to do that?

    1 vote
  11. [2]
    Loire
    Link
    This is one of those topics where that anonymous reply feature would be super useful @Deimos.

    This is one of those topics where that anonymous reply feature would be super useful @Deimos.

    26 votes
    1. Algernon_Asimov
      Link Parent
      You can create an alternate account. Invite yourself, create a new account, and post using that. This has been discussed before, and @Deimos doesn't have a problem with it (as long as you don't...

      You can create an alternate account. Invite yourself, create a new account, and post using that. This has been discussed before, and @Deimos doesn't have a problem with it (as long as you don't use the multiple accounts to affect the functioning of Tildes, such as by voting on or labelling your own comments/posts).

      6 votes