Monday, December 8, 2008

Cleaning Up Amsterdam

CNN has been reporting over the last couple days that Amsterdam is undergoing some kind of clean-up.

Amsterdam unveiled plans Saturday to close brothels, sex shops and marijuana cafes in its ancient city center as part of a major effort to drive organized crime out of the tourist haven.

The city is targeting businesses that "generate criminality," including gambling parlors, and the "coffee shops" where marijuana is sold openly. Also targeted are peep shows, massage parlors and souvenir shops used by drug dealers for money-laundering.

"I think that the new reality will be more in line with our image as a tolerant and crazy place, rather than a free zone for criminals," said Lodewijk Asscher, a city council member and one of the main proponents of the plan.

I'm not sure if I understand how this initiative is going to make Amsterdam more in line with their "image as a tolerant and crazy place." Is the Councilman talking about keeping the tolerant and crazy places limited to certain areas of the city? Or is he just giving lip service to the tolerant and crazy idea while his real agenda is something else?

Besides, I thought closing businesses like these is what generated crime. Isn't that how it works in America?

What do you think? I've never been to Amsterdam, what's it like first hand? Does legalizing things like prostitution and drug use take some of the pleasure away? Isn't part of the thrill the fact that it's clandestine?

Over on the Kickin' and Screamin' site there's a post entitled THE PRICE OF MORALS-FREE LIBERALISM. I guess his opinion is right there in the title.

What's your opinion? Is Amsterdam an example of failed liberalism? Or is something else going wrong over there? Prohibition against alcohol in America failed, does that mean that other prohibitions fail in the same way? Are they all manifestations of liberalism?

Please let us know what you think.


  1. With exception of their Mike-B Friendly Criminal Justice System, and their Anti-Guns and Personal Defense Laws, I'm a fan of Amsterdam attitude. Tho I'm a little disheartened that Marijuana is "Illegal" but use of it is overlooked by the Police.

    Certain things don't bring much as far as harm to society that they should be legal....otherwise the criminal element will supply the contraband and make MUCH more problem than just the vice alone.

  2. I had a cop give me directions in Amsterdam once who's breath stank of hashish. It's not changing anytime soon except becoming more and more full of Islamists.

    If you want to read an INTERESTING article on the Netherlands, this is a more relevant one.

    For the record, I did not avail myself of the services of any professional sex workers though I walked about a block of one of those streets just to say I'd seen the shops, but I did once meat (hee hee) a very entertaining young lass from Leeds on college holiday who was a lot more fun than a professional likely would have been.

    Only annoyances I have had there involved panhandling junkies that were a bit over-exuberant in their attempts at getting money from you. Two thumbs up for hotels that have signs that say "if bar is closed, use beer machines in halls" and it turns out their are honest to god beer vending machines next to the ones for candies and soda pop.

    Nobody ever bothered me for semi-prominently carrying a knife like I always do, weerd.

  3. Mike,

    I think it doesn't have anything to do with political parties or philosophical mindsets, so I don't think it is a liberal issue.

    I think it is a human nature issue, some people will always try to find the shortcuts, some people will organize to take advantage of those short cuts and this occurs no matter how tolerant the laws are, it's just human nature.

    As legalizing something taking away the thrill: to extent yes but mostly no. I think the thrill depends on the culture/society in which one is raised. Obviously in a body shy culture, simply women wearing a short skirt/men going topless can be thrilling even if it is legal. While a non-body shy culture would think nothing of nudity even if it's against the law at that location.

    Prohibition against alcohol in America failed, does that mean that other prohibitions fail in the same way?

    Yes, I've been trying to tell you that for a while now, it failed with alcohol, it failed with the War on (some) Drugs, and it's failing with the War on Guns.

  4. im not sure that, in the long run, the people of amsterdam really WANT to clean up amsterdam..

  5. I don't care if they want to clean up A-dam or not, but I find the college girls from Yorkshire quite enjoyable on both a social and more base level and the museums are FANTASTIC.