Wednesday, March 22, 2006

A Moralizing Government?

Missisipi outlawed sex toys, according to this posting in the Abrams report on MSNBC. Whoa, hold your horses, congressman! Don't you think you're stretching the definition of government a little too far?

I'm an odd person to be arguing for sex toys. I've never seen, much less used, a sex toy in real life. I'm very conservative not only in my personal life but also in public policy. I support the conservative movement in a number of issues, from the value of abstinence education to the role of faith-based charity and religion in our society. But there is such a thing as taking a good point too far.

Government has some valid responsibilities in personal life, but only when they are related to the protection of the vulnerable or the future of society. It is appropriate for people to dictate, through their government, their definition of marriage, for example, in the interests of parental rights or social structure, but they cannot prohibit homosexuality when practiced in the confines of one home, even if they consider it immoral behavior. That's the hallmark of our freedoms - you as consenting adults can do what you like in the privacy of your homes, but the minute an individual who is not a consenting adult is involved, society at large will step in in the interests of that individual, and society at large.

Sex toys and pornography should be protected by the First Amendment, as should the right to have sex outside of marriage. Just because our lawmakers consider them to be abhorant behavior is not reason enough to ban them.

Oh, and while we are at it, do we really need to have as many restrictions on smoking? If the concern is that smokers are at increased risk for lung cancer and may strain the public health system, we can simply argue that co-pays will go up for smokers, or lung cancer will not be covered to the same extent by Medicare. Cruel? Sure - but in an ownership society, individuals have to pay for their actions. But along with that comes the liberty to make those choices. Cigarettes are a legal product that can be enjoyable and yet harmful - no different than that order of fries at McDonald's. When government starts intervening in personal decisions such as these, we threaten the very definition of a free society.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

"Government has some valid responsibilities in personal life, but only when they are related to the protection of the vulnerable or the future of society"

a.

"but they cannot prohibit homosexuality when practiced in the confines of one home, even if they consider it immoral behavior"

isn't it kind of a loophole? Just because a consenting adult is practicing the 'abominable' act in the confines of his/her home, his/her freedom may be safeguarded....but still...at the expense of society in general....what if everybody starts indulging into this kind of lifestyle....in the confines of his/her home?....don't you think the core of the society will be challenged in that kinda scenario?

b.

"..Sex toys and pornography should be protected by the First Amendment, as should the right to have sex outside of marriage"

I'm gonna quote you when I come across your better half......lol

Anonymous said...

speaking of sex toys, guess whose going to be teaching sex ed to a bunch of 13/ 14 year old boys? :)
~kiki

Karthik Narayanaswamy said...

Kiki, yikes - I can't think of you teaching a bunch of hormone-crazy teens about sex!

RE: the other post, I don't mean to say society should condone immorality, just that the government should. There should be a distinction - government is a tool, but we need to define the purviews of that tool. In a free society, we all have rights, and the government is the protector of those rights. The right to receive approval by society isn't part of our Constitution, so if I practice what is generally considered abhorant actions, society is within its rights to judge me, but the government may not be within its to punish me.

Take obesity. People may look at an overweight person downing a big heap of fries and look unapprovingly at this person. The culprit's poor choices may endanger not only his health, but his social life. But it would be inappropriate for government to ban fast food joints or require them to have criteria for who would eat there, although it would be well within its rights as a giant insurance purveyor (in a sense, that's what Medicare is!) to restrict access to services.