May 05, 2006
Libertarians, Regulation of Public Space, and the YUCK factor
Posted by Christine Hurt

In case you've missed it, new Conspirator Ilya Somin and (old Conspirator) Eugene Volokh have been having some fun debating whether anyone can articulate a valid reason for prohibiting certain activities in places open to the public (like parks, streets, etc.), such as nudity, sexual activity, urination, and smoking.  And, "it's yucky" isn't a valid reason.  Although my sensibilities bristle at little at the thought, I have to admit that it is difficult to come up with a consistent, Constitutional theory for regulation beyond "I don't like it, and no thinking person would want that."  Check it out, and please, please come up with something!

The debate reminded me of some posts earlier on the Conspiracy between David Bernstein and Orin Kerr about whether it was necessary/appropriate/relevant to explore whether certain law schools were open to libertarian-minded students.  And why would schools not be open to libertarian views?  I'm not defending it, but for some reason I think most of us get to law school so rigid in our thinking that it's hard to have an open mind when someone says in class "Yes, I think people should be able to contract themselves into slavery" (someone in my Contracts class) or "There is no reason to prohibit public sexual acts."  So the speaker of those statements, which could provide for rich, intelligent exploration, becomes "the guy who said people should be able to contract themselves into slavery").  These statements seem to be arguing for a reality that has a big YUCK factor, and so others turn away.  I'm glad to see that the blogosphere can revel in these discussions.

But please, someone come up with a very persuasive reason to prohibit public nudity.  At least here in Wisconsin.

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"Christine Hurt:In case you've missed it, new Conspirator Ilya Somin and (old Conspirator) Eugene Vol ..." [more] (Tracked on May 5, 2006 @ 23:31)
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