What’s Wrong with the World

The men signed of the cross of Christ go gaily in the dark.


What’s Wrong with the World is dedicated to the defense of what remains of Christendom, the civilization made by the men of the Cross of Christ. Athwart two hostile Powers we stand: the Jihad and Liberalism...read more

The Closet Is Your Private Place

The "right of privacy" isn't.

That is, it isn't a right to do what you choose to do in private without undue busybody meddling by others.

"It", to be clear, is the legal right of privacy found by the Warren/Douglas court to be emanating, as a postmodern penumbra, from the U.S. Constitution in the contraception case Griswold vs. Connecticut.

In the comments of a post below Lydia asks:

What if we really were talking about purely private acts that you would have to go nosing around in other people's lives to find out about?

It is a great question, and it illustrates the facile nature of the claim that the delightfully postmodern "right of privacy" is about private acts.

Griswold vs. Connecticut wasn't about Griswold's private acts. It was about Griswold being able to buy his pack of publicly-marketed rubbers and strut around with them in public. If his acts were private we wouldn't even know about them.

It isn't "private" unless you keep it in the closet. Once you make it public it is, well, public.

Comments (2)

There's a joke that says, "Sex in private is protected in the U.S. by the right to privacy. Sex in public is protected in the U.S. by the right to free speech." This has just about become not a joke, considering court decisions about, say, simulated sex acts at night clubs, nude dancing, etc.

Which is not to say that any act done in public (eating broccoli, a woman's walking down the street with her hair uncovered) is automatically _okay_ to ban or regulate. Far from it. Some regulations are perverse or crazy. But this is the type of area where I entirely agree with you, Zippy, that content cannot be avoided in the debate. We have to come out and say, "Well, showing your hair in public _isn't_ a bad thing, but running around totally naked in public _is_."

From that same 2003 piece quoted in my 'tolerance' post, I said also:

"The reasoning [in Griswold] seems to have been that to deny such use was...to 'interfere in a damaging way with the marital relationship.' So who was bothering them in the first place -peeping Toms, the bogeyman? This is a strange sort of 'interference', where one must leave the bedroom to go to the doctor or the drugstore to purchase something that will ensure one's privacy."

So naturally I think you've hit upon an important distinction, one that seems simple, even obvious, enough, but not one that many are willing to acknowlege.

Post a comment

Bold Italic Underline Quote

Note: In order to limit duplicate comments, please submit a comment only once. A comment may take a few minutes to appear beneath the article.

Although this site does not actively hold comments for moderation, some comments are automatically held by the blog system. For best results, limit the number of links (including links in your signature line to your own website) to under 3 per comment as all comments with a large number of links will be automatically held. If your comment is held for any reason, please be patient and an author or administrator will approve it. Do not resubmit the same comment as subsequent submissions of the same comment will be held as well.