The Straight Dope

Go Back   Straight Dope Message Board > Main > Great Debates

Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1  
Old 07-19-2012, 05:53 PM
Linden Arden Linden Arden is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Oct 2011
My question for Libertarians - should it be legal to masturbate in public?

If one says "No" they cannot be a Libertarian. They are a moralist authoritarian who wants the state to impose their moral views on its citizens.

There is no harm done to me if such behavior occurs. Now an owner of private property could object just as in not allowing a barefoot or shirtless person on their property.

This is my test to determine the false liberty people from the real.
Reply With Quote
Advertisements  
  #2  
Old 07-19-2012, 05:57 PM
Victor Charlie Victor Charlie is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Apr 2012
Are you preparing a defense?
Reply With Quote
  #3  
Old 07-19-2012, 05:59 PM
Little Nemo Little Nemo is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Dec 1999
Location: Western New York
Posts: 55,082
Expect several posts in which people tell you you don't understand what Libertarianism really is. They will all explain to you what Libertarianism really is.

None of these explanations will agree.
Reply With Quote
  #4  
Old 07-19-2012, 06:10 PM
Deeg Deeg is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jun 2008
A hard-core libertarian would say that there should be no public property so the question is nonsensical.
Reply With Quote
  #5  
Old 07-19-2012, 06:13 PM
Lobohan Lobohan is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
The free-hand of The Market will cover your junk. Because The Market is magic.

Although, some of the less rational Libertarians might assume that there is no public land. The sidewalks are owned by Brand X (Only walk Brand X sidewalks! The sidewalks with the loosest dress-codes and behavior standards.)

Now I suppose you could rub your soapy dick against your windows, and no one could stop you.
Reply With Quote
  #6  
Old 07-19-2012, 06:22 PM
Victor Charlie Victor Charlie is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Apr 2012
Quote:
Originally Posted by Linden Arden View Post
If one says "No" they cannot be a Libertarian. They are a moralist authoritarian who wants the state to impose their moral views on its citizens.

There is no harm done to me if such behavior occurs. Now an owner of private property could object just as in not allowing a barefoot or shirtless person on their property.

This is my test to determine the false liberty people from the real.
It seems like you've already set your standard. Public Maturbator = Libertarian. Private-Only Mastrubator = Authoritarian Moralist. Perhaps you should change your question to "where can a guy beat-off outside?"
Reply With Quote
  #7  
Old 07-19-2012, 06:30 PM
Simple Linctus Simple Linctus is offline
BANNED
 
Join Date: May 2012
Posts: 1,991
I am sort of a Libertarian and I agree entirely that it should be legal to masturbate in public. I don't understand why you think this a difficult or "trick" question.

In fact I would say any form of (classical) liberal should be fine with public masturbation.

It worked for Diogenes the Cynic!
Reply With Quote
  #8  
Old 07-19-2012, 06:34 PM
Fear Itself Fear Itself is online now
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Apr 1999
Location: 847 mi. from Cecil
Posts: 28,272
Quote:
Originally Posted by Deeg View Post
A hard-core libertarian would say that there should be no public property so the question is nonsensical.
This is my understanding as well. There is no public property, and the land owner can dictate the rules for his own property.
Reply With Quote
  #9  
Old 07-19-2012, 06:45 PM
pseudotriton ruber ruber pseudotriton ruber ruber is offline
BANNED
 
Join Date: Sep 2002
Location: Outer Control
Posts: 10,394
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lobohan View Post
The free-hand of The Market will cover your junk. Because The Market is magic.

Although, some of the less rational Libertarians might assume that there is no public land. The sidewalks are owned by Brand X (Only walk Brand X sidewalks! The sidewalks with the loosest dress-codes and behavior standards.)

Now I suppose you could rub your soapy dick against your windows, and no one could stop you.
Tug THIS with the free hand of the market, wouldja?
Reply With Quote
  #10  
Old 07-19-2012, 07:08 PM
Little Nemo Little Nemo is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Dec 1999
Location: Western New York
Posts: 55,082
Quote:
Originally Posted by Fear Itself View Post
This is my understanding as well. There is no public property, and the land owner can dictate the rules for his own property.
Okay, I'm sitting in my fortress of solitude and I'm getting a little hungry. I decide to drive to the local pizza place and buy a slice (paying gold naturally). Your land sits between my residence and the pizza place so I walk up to your border and give you a shout. You come over and meet me and we negotiate a fair price for me to travel across your property (and back - I'm not falling for that trick of you letting me leave my property cheaply and then raising the price for me to cross back to my home.)

So as I'm walking across your land, I happen to see your teenage daughter and her friends sunning themselves in your backyard. Having long since abandoned political correctness as the evil that it is, I whip it out and start masturbating.

You run up and are quite angry (although your daughter and her friends seem to be into it). You tell me I have to stop and I can't do that on your property. But I point out that we've already reached a mutual agreement that I can be on your land and you didn't include anything in it that said I couldn't stop and have a masturbation break during my walk.

Or if you don't like this scenario, here's another. We've made our agreement and I'm walking across your property. But when I get halfway across, you point a gun at me and tell me you want a hundred dollars more from me. I protest that we had an agreement. You inform me that our agreement was only for me to walk across your property; we made no agreement for me to breathe your air. Being as I chose to walk across your property without holding my breath, I'm now obligated to reach a new agreement with you for the additional services I took without prior agreement.

I'm sure you see my point. Is there some objective standard of what's reasonable or does every possibility have to be negotiated out on a case-by-case basis? Do we really have to spend hours negotiating over the terms of an agreement every time I want to go out for pizza?
Reply With Quote
  #11  
Old 07-19-2012, 07:19 PM
Fear Itself Fear Itself is online now
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Apr 1999
Location: 847 mi. from Cecil
Posts: 28,272
Quote:
Originally Posted by Little Nemo View Post
I'm sure you see my point.
I do. Libertariansim is a clusterfuck in the details.
Reply With Quote
  #12  
Old 07-19-2012, 07:35 PM
Trinopus Trinopus is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: San Diego, CA
Posts: 8,720
Even in our democracy/republic, I think there should be much more latitude in nudity laws. At very least, a section of most public beaches should be zoned to permit nudity.

Masturbation? An argument might be made that it will disturb young people who are not sufficiently mature to cope with the concepts (and sight) of overt sexuality. It's all part of the tradition of our culture. But I dunno...

We don't poop in public places, but there isn't any real argument that it is harmful. We watch dogs and horses poop in public, and that doesn't damage our minds, even sensitive little children.

A set of laws ought to be based on objective measures of harm done. No harm? Why bother with the law. But defending tradition is very important to many people -- and they vote.

Is there a "right answer?" Can there be?
Reply With Quote
  #13  
Old 07-19-2012, 07:46 PM
BigAppleBucky BigAppleBucky is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jan 2012
On the topic

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/0...6pLid%3D181439

Quote:
Fred Willard was caught with his pants down in a movie theater Wednesday evening and arrested for "lewd conduct," according to TMZ.

The "This Is Spinal Tap" actor visited the Tiki Theater, an adult movie theater in Hollywood, where he was spotted by authorities with his "penis exposed and in his hand." The 72-year-old "Anchorman" actor was arrested at 8:45 p.m. and released from police custody not long after.
That a 72YO still has the wherewithall to "enjoy" himself is encouraging to me since I'm just a few years younger.

IMO, there are certain acts legal in private that should not be done in public, they would include anything that exposes one's private parts (sexual activity, pooping and peeing). And would include acts that are unhealthful in public, but allowed in private - e.g. spitting, smoking.
Reply With Quote
  #14  
Old 07-19-2012, 07:55 PM
Linden Arden Linden Arden is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Oct 2011
Quote:
Originally Posted by BigAppleBucky View Post
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/0...6pLid%3D181439

That a 72YO still has the wherewithall to "enjoy" himself is encouraging to me since I'm just a few years younger.

IMO, there are certain acts legal in private that should not be done in public, they would include anything that exposes one's private parts (sexual activity, pooping and peeing). And would include acts that are unhealthful in public, but allowed in private - e.g. spitting, smoking.
Fine, you are no Libertarian then. I have no issue with your stance.
Reply With Quote
  #15  
Old 07-19-2012, 07:56 PM
Victor Charlie Victor Charlie is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Apr 2012
Quote:
Originally Posted by Trinopus View Post
We don't poop in public places, but there isn't any real argument that it is harmful. We watch dogs and horses poop in public, and that doesn't damage our minds, even sensitive little children.
I assume you mean not harmful in an emotional sense, because human crap is pretty harmful in just about every other measurable way. We may let dogs crap in public, but we better not leave it there or else risk a fine in any civilized town.
Reply With Quote
  #16  
Old 07-19-2012, 08:06 PM
John Mace John Mace is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Dec 2002
Quote:
Originally Posted by Little Nemo View Post
Expect several posts in which people tell you you don't understand what Libertarianism really is. They will all explain to you what Libertarianism really is.

None of these explanations will agree.
Actually, what will happen is someone will come in and shit all over Libertarians before anyone has a chance to answer.

But I agree that a Libertarian would say masturbation in public = OK, if there is any public property to begin with. In Libertaria, there probably wouldn't be much.

Did the OP have another question? Or was this one of those "need answer fast" type of threads?

Last edited by John Mace; 07-19-2012 at 08:07 PM..
Reply With Quote
  #17  
Old 07-19-2012, 08:20 PM
Linden Arden Linden Arden is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Oct 2011
Quote:
Originally Posted by John Mace View Post
Did the OP have another question? Or was this one of those "need answer fast" type of threads?
No, I generally hold back and let the argument "ripen". Asking a good question is satisfaction enough.
Reply With Quote
  #18  
Old 07-19-2012, 08:32 PM
Absolute Absolute is offline
There are no absolutes.
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2000
Location: In flight
Posts: 3,758
Quote:
Originally Posted by Little Nemo View Post
I'm sure you see my point. Is there some objective standard of what's reasonable or does every possibility have to be negotiated out on a case-by-case basis? Do we really have to spend hours negotiating over the terms of an agreement every time I want to go out for pizza?
No, just like you don't have to negotiate a new contract with Verizon every time you make a phone call. You could certainly sign an agreement with your neighbor ahead of time that addresses all these points to your mutual satisfaction. And you would be stupid to buy land that is only accessible by crossing your neighbor's land without having such an agreement in place first, without expiration.

The only difference between such a contract in Libertaria, and an Easement in the US today, is that your contract in Libertaria would likely be much lengthier, because it would explicitly spell out many of the restrictions that are currently part of the broader US law today (such as prohibiting "indecent exposure", etc.)

Personally, my view re: the OP's original question would be simple. In Libertaria, everything is private property - including the government and all government holdings, in the sense that the government is simply a corporation that is owned by all the citizens equally and has some special legal status. If the owners of Govcorp (that is, the citizens of Libertaria) decide they want to ban public masturbation on Govcorp property, they could do that. But such a ban would have no effect on property not owned by Govcorp (e.g. all conventional "private" property).
Reply With Quote
  #19  
Old 07-19-2012, 08:48 PM
Lumpy Lumpy is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Aug 1999
Location: Minneapolis, Minnesota US
Posts: 11,992
A lot of liber-anarch fictional utopias feature dueling as a way of deciding irreconcilable differences between individuals. If someone offends you so much that you absolutely cannot and will not accept it, then you stake your own life as the potential price of doing something about it. If you're the one challenged to a duel, then you either agree to it, or be willing to accept the judgment of a neutral arbitrator. The thing about this system is that both people who are arrogant jerkasses and people who are intolerant control freaks tend to not have very long lifespans.
Reply With Quote
  #20  
Old 07-19-2012, 09:09 PM
Trinopus Trinopus is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: San Diego, CA
Posts: 8,720
Quote:
Originally Posted by Victor Charlie View Post
I assume you mean not harmful in an emotional sense, because human crap is pretty harmful in just about every other measurable way. We may let dogs crap in public, but we better not leave it there or else risk a fine in any civilized town.
Well, yeah, that! Germs, flies, stench...

Can we say that a libertarian society has the right to protect itself against stench? Does my really stinky outhouse, or my pig farm, constitute an offense against my neighbor? It does no actual measurable objective harm...but it is grievously unpleasant...

(And we have to be careful with "it reduces your property values" arguments, because that leads to endless litigation, or else to regulations against private activity...just what Libertaria wants least!)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lumpy View Post
A lot of liber-anarch fictional utopias feature dueling as a way of deciding irreconcilable differences between individuals. . . .
This is troubling, because not everyone is able to wield a sword or even a pistol. It leads to the master of the weapon having free rein to hassle anyone around him, until the day comes when someone even better shows up. It violates the principle of "equal justice." (Which I think is desired in a Libertarian society.)

Of course, you can just allow hired gunslingers...but that leads to a different set of problems...
Reply With Quote
  #21  
Old 07-19-2012, 09:10 PM
Der Trihs Der Trihs is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: California
Posts: 35,967
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lumpy View Post
A lot of liber-anarch fictional utopias feature dueling as a way of deciding irreconcilable differences between individuals. If someone offends you so much that you absolutely cannot and will not accept it, then you stake your own life as the potential price of doing something about it. If you're the one challenged to a duel, then you either agree to it, or be willing to accept the judgment of a neutral arbitrator. The thing about this system is that both people who are arrogant jerkasses and people who are intolerant control freaks tend to not have very long lifespans.
Unless they are good at killing, in which case they have free rein to do as they please.
Reply With Quote
  #22  
Old 07-19-2012, 10:26 PM
TriPolar TriPolar is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: rhode island
Posts: 22,163
I get the feeling from this thread that people think there's something wrong with public masturbation. I thought we were all past that now. Ah well, the fight for civil rights will never end.
Reply With Quote
  #23  
Old 07-19-2012, 10:39 PM
septimus septimus is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Dec 2009
I don't know why you Dopers insist on making a caricature of libertarians.

Libertarians with a small-l are people just like you and me who don't like paying taxes but do want to smoke dope.

Libertarians with a large-L are small-l libertarians well read enough to know that the Rothschilds own the Federal Reserve Bank and have squirreled away millions of tons of gold they intend to use for research into vaccines that will give all your children autism. Libertarians just want that gold in the hands of good Christian bankers like Rich Ricci or the Diamond Brothers.
Reply With Quote
  #24  
Old 07-20-2012, 01:39 AM
Omg a Black Conservative Omg a Black Conservative is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jan 2011
Quote:
Originally Posted by Linden Arden View Post
If one says "No" they cannot be a Libertarian. They are a moralist authoritarian who wants the state to impose their moral views on its citizens.
Based on such a criteria, you can't be a liberal either.
Reply With Quote
  #25  
Old 07-20-2012, 04:14 AM
Donnerwetter Donnerwetter is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Apr 2012
Quote:
Originally Posted by Fear Itself View Post
I do. Libertariansim is a clusterfuck in the details.
That's really the bottom line. It's also a correct statement about socialism and other political ideologies.
Reply With Quote
  #26  
Old 07-20-2012, 06:35 AM
Fear Itself Fear Itself is online now
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Apr 1999
Location: 847 mi. from Cecil
Posts: 28,272
Quote:
Originally Posted by Donnerwetter View Post
That's really the bottom line. It's also a correct statement about socialism and other political ideologies.
The difference is in degree. Libertarianism has more problems with internal consistency than socialism or fascism or democracy; otherwise, we would have seen a real world example. Libertarianism is so dysfunctional, it has never even risen to the level of failure.
Reply With Quote
  #27  
Old 07-20-2012, 12:21 PM
YogSosoth YogSosoth is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Nov 2008
I'm not a libertarian but I think it should be ok to masturbate in public for different reasons, chief among them my desire to clear my record and be allowed back at the library again
Reply With Quote
  #28  
Old 07-20-2012, 12:54 PM
iamthewalrus(:3= iamthewalrus(:3= is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jul 2000
Quote:
Originally Posted by Little Nemo View Post
You come over and meet me and we negotiate a fair price for me to travel across your property (and back - I'm not falling for that trick of you letting me leave my property cheaply and then raising the price for me to cross back to my home.)

<snip>
Or if you don't like this scenario, here's another. We've made our agreement and I'm walking across your property. But when I get halfway across, you point a gun at me and tell me you want a hundred dollars more from me. I protest that we had an agreement. You inform me that our agreement was only for me to walk across your property; we made no agreement for me to breathe your air. Being as I chose to walk across your property without holding my breath, I'm now obligated to reach a new agreement with you for the additional services I took without prior agreement.
The mistake you're making is in assuming that you'll be negotiating these agreements from first principles every time, so you'll have to remember to add in every little eventuality. That's now how humans work, though. We have customary standards, and you only need to negotiate when you go outside those collective standards. There will be standardized contracts that spell out lots of eventualities. Possibly, someone will come up with a clever loophole every once in a while that isn't standardized, and then everyone will go revise their contracts. Just like we have now with the law. Someone finds a loophole and exploits it, and then it gets added to the boilerplate and we ignore it.

Quote:
Is there some objective standard of what's reasonable or does every possibility have to be negotiated out on a case-by-case basis? Do we really have to spend hours negotiating over the terms of an agreement every time I want to go out for pizza?
Of course not! You'll have a standard agreement in place.
Reply With Quote
  #29  
Old 07-20-2012, 01:00 PM
TriPolar TriPolar is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: rhode island
Posts: 22,163
Quote:
Originally Posted by iamthewalrus(:3= View Post
The mistake you're making is in assuming that you'll be negotiating these agreements from first principles every time, so you'll have to remember to add in every little eventuality. That's now how humans work, though. We have customary standards, and you only need to negotiate when you go outside those collective standards. There will be standardized contracts that spell out lots of eventualities. Possibly, someone will come up with a clever loophole every once in a while that isn't standardized, and then everyone will go revise their contracts. Just like we have now with the law. Someone finds a loophole and exploits it, and then it gets added to the boilerplate and we ignore it.

Of course not! You'll have a standard agreement in place.
So I should assume I can't step off my property without a signed agreement in place? How do I get to court to sue the guy who didn't honor the contract?
Reply With Quote
  #30  
Old 07-20-2012, 01:12 PM
The Second Stone The Second Stone is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: May 2008
Fred? Is that you?
Reply With Quote
  #31  
Old 07-20-2012, 01:16 PM
BlinkingDuck BlinkingDuck is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Sep 2000
Quote:
Originally Posted by TriPolar View Post
So I should assume I can't step off my property without a signed agreement in place? How do I get to court to sue the guy who didn't honor the contract?
You don't. You shoot him.
Reply With Quote
  #32  
Old 07-20-2012, 01:28 PM
Lobohan Lobohan is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Quote:
Originally Posted by TriPolar View Post
So I should assume I can't step off my property without a signed agreement in place? How do I get to court to sue the guy who didn't honor the contract?
I picture it like this:

I open my door, which opens inward, since I don't own the sidewalk. The sidewalk has a bronze plate that says, "Heywood Sidewalks. Clean, even, slightly textured for grip in the rain. If you've got to get there, trust Heywood."

Beneath that it says, "Commonlaw Standard Public Morality Agreement in effect. Using Heywood Sidewalks is construed as acceptance of said agreement. Toll Officers regularly patrol. Any Heywood Sidewalks authorized Toll Officer may require to see your Heywood Sidewalks License Scrip or demand payment for a day-pass. Failure to do either constitutes BREECH OF CONTRACT and you will be referred to local magistrate.

I have my Heywood Sidewalks scrip for the week and head on down to the local Piggly Wiggly. Unfortunately a quarter mile down the road there is a strip where the previous owner wouldn't sell out to Heywood, so their length of sidewalk is Bosstone Pathways . I don't usually go this direction, so I don't have a Bosstone Scrip, but I will purchase a day pass on the off chance that a Toll Officer is walking that section. Today, unfortunately there he is. I make it half way down the cracked and dangerous Bosstone Pathways and the Toll Officer asks for 9 Liberty Dollars. Which is insane. "The toll is being increased for improvements. It's only temporary."

"Well Horseshit!" I say.

He cuffs me in the side of the head hard enough that I see stars. He then reminds me that Bosstone Pathways are under the Commonlaw Church and Sanctified Places Morality Agreement. Which, of course, includes light corporal punishment for swearing as one of the rights of the enforcers. My bad for not taking the time to read the Bosstone Plate in detail. I head back the way I came and instead will walk around the Bosstone section. It only adds four miles to my trip, and at my wage, that's worth it to save 9 liberty dollars...

Ah the freedom of my life!
Reply With Quote
  #33  
Old 07-20-2012, 01:58 PM
Lemur866 Lemur866 is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2000
Location: The Middle of Puget Sound
Posts: 16,549
Quote:
Originally Posted by Trinopus View Post
Well, yeah, that! Germs, flies, stench...

Can we say that a libertarian society has the right to protect itself against stench? Does my really stinky outhouse, or my pig farm, constitute an offense against my neighbor? It does no actual measurable objective harm...but it is grievously unpleasant...
You're free to generate as much stench as you like, as long as none of your stench escapes from your private property onto my private property.

Oh, it turns out that you can't control stench once you've created it, and you can't help it that your stench comes onto my property? Well, then, no stench for you. You aren't allowed to create trash and dump your trash onto my property, whether that trash is solid, liquid, or gaseous.
Reply With Quote
  #34  
Old 07-20-2012, 02:27 PM
Maeglin Maeglin is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jul 2000
The libertarian solution is to create a market for open-air masturbation. We make an arbitrary social decision up front on how to allocate masturbation rights. Whether we allocate them initially to the onlookers or to the masturbators is of no consequence since an efficient solution will be reached by market bargaining, anyway. What ultimately happens is that the people we want to see masturbate in public will be incentivized to do so and likewise for the people we don't want to see. It's a coercion-free, welfare-maximizing private order.

Right?
Reply With Quote
  #35  
Old 07-20-2012, 03:13 PM
Trinopus Trinopus is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: San Diego, CA
Posts: 8,720
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lemur866 View Post
You're free to generate as much stench as you like, as long as none of your stench escapes from your private property onto my private property. . . .
Well, not a bad ideal, I'll grant you. Include things like flies, mosquitos, vultures, etc. (The pig farmer can't just lay carcasses out to be devoured, because vultures will not respect property lines.)

Of course, now we're into litigation, and thus some minimal government power to enforce the courts' decisions. And once a particular ruling has been made a number of times, it makes sense to encode it as a law; otherwise, we keep cluttering up the courts with already-decided issues. Seems that we're re-inventing government...
Reply With Quote
  #36  
Old 07-20-2012, 03:26 PM
Nars Glinley Nars Glinley is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: May 2002
Linden Arden, would you please define libertarian in non-masturbatory terms? And when you say masturbating, do you mean fully exposed or being covered up? I don't think that being a libertarian means that you believe that indecent exposure is impossible.
Reply With Quote
  #37  
Old 07-20-2012, 04:04 PM
Little Nemo Little Nemo is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Dec 1999
Location: Western New York
Posts: 55,082
Quote:
Originally Posted by Absolute View Post
No, just like you don't have to negotiate a new contract with Verizon every time you make a phone call. You could certainly sign an agreement with your neighbor ahead of time that addresses all these points to your mutual satisfaction. And you would be stupid to buy land that is only accessible by crossing your neighbor's land without having such an agreement in place first, without expiration.
Don't blame me for getting into this predicament. When I bought my land I had a quite amicable and reasonable agreement with my neighbours. My problems didn't start until this yahoo came along and bought a strip of land that surrounds my property. He won't sign a general ongoing agreement with me; he insists on only making agreements on a case-by-case basis.

It could be worse; my neighbour is only doing this to be annoying so he's always agreed to let me cross his land once he's had his fun. I heard about a guy in the next town over who had a beautiful mansion and thirty acres of landscaped property. Then some asshole bought a one-inch strip along his entire property line and refused to let the guy cross his "property". The guy couldn't get in or out of his own property and ended up having to sell it to the asshole for less than a tenth of its real value.

Oh well, that's life in Libertopia I guess. Just one of the inconveniences we have to endure in order to be free.
Reply With Quote
  #38  
Old 07-20-2012, 05:23 PM
furt furt is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Apr 1999
Quote:
Originally Posted by Linden Arden View Post
If one says "No" they cannot be a Libertarian. They are a moralist authoritarian who wants the state to impose their moral views on its citizens.

There is no harm done to me if such behavior occurs. Now an owner of private property could object just as in not allowing a barefoot or shirtless person on their property.

This is my test to determine the false liberty people from the real.
Sorry, but this is absurd. If by "public" you mean "on government-owned property", the government has as much right to regulate what happens there as any other property owner does on his or her own property.

Of course, I have the disadvantage of being an actual, real flesh-and-blood libertarian, not the kind you make up in your head.
Reply With Quote
  #39  
Old 07-20-2012, 05:30 PM
Lobohan Lobohan is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Quote:
Originally Posted by furt View Post
Sorry, but this is absurd. If by "public" you mean "on government-owned property", the government has as much right to regulate what happens there as any other property owner does on his or her own property.

Of course, I have the disadvantage of being an actual, real flesh-and-blood libertarian, not the kind you make up in your head.
I have a house that abuts to a public road. I'm standing nude and wiping a soapy ass on the inside surface of my picture window. There is a school across the street. Okay?

Also, why does the government own property? Could you explain that briefly?
Reply With Quote
  #40  
Old 07-20-2012, 05:33 PM
Little Nemo Little Nemo is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Dec 1999
Location: Western New York
Posts: 55,082
Quote:
Originally Posted by furt View Post
Sorry, but this is absurd. If by "public" you mean "on government-owned property", the government has as much right to regulate what happens there as any other property owner does on his or her own property.

Of course, I have the disadvantage of being an actual, real flesh-and-blood libertarian, not the kind you make up in your head.
Glad you showed up. Now help us with the question. If somebody wants to stand out on their front lawn (their own property) and masturbate in full view of everyone else on the street, do they have the right to do that in a libertarian society?
Reply With Quote
  #41  
Old 07-21-2012, 11:36 AM
jtgain jtgain is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Quote:
Originally Posted by Little Nemo View Post
Okay, I'm sitting in my fortress of solitude and I'm getting a little hungry. I decide to drive to the local pizza place and buy a slice (paying gold naturally). Your land sits between my residence and the pizza place so I walk up to your border and give you a shout. You come over and meet me and we negotiate a fair price for me to travel across your property (and back - I'm not falling for that trick of you letting me leave my property cheaply and then raising the price for me to cross back to my home.)

So as I'm walking across your land, I happen to see your teenage daughter and her friends sunning themselves in your backyard. Having long since abandoned political correctness as the evil that it is, I whip it out and start masturbating.

You run up and are quite angry (although your daughter and her friends seem to be into it). You tell me I have to stop and I can't do that on your property. But I point out that we've already reached a mutual agreement that I can be on your land and you didn't include anything in it that said I couldn't stop and have a masturbation break during my walk.

Or if you don't like this scenario, here's another. We've made our agreement and I'm walking across your property. But when I get halfway across, you point a gun at me and tell me you want a hundred dollars more from me. I protest that we had an agreement. You inform me that our agreement was only for me to walk across your property; we made no agreement for me to breathe your air. Being as I chose to walk across your property without holding my breath, I'm now obligated to reach a new agreement with you for the additional services I took without prior agreement.

I'm sure you see my point. Is there some objective standard of what's reasonable or does every possibility have to be negotiated out on a case-by-case basis? Do we really have to spend hours negotiating over the terms of an agreement every time I want to go out for pizza?
Okay. You made me laugh my ass off today. Thanks for that story. Your overall argument against the purest form of libertarianism wasn't lost on me, but I would disagree that these details would need to be ironed out in every contract.

In our current society, we lease property, allow rights of ways, and other forms of access. It is implied that you have a right to breathe, for example, when you lease a piece of land. It's also fairly understood that if I allow friends or neighbors to cut across my backyard to walk to another location that it is implicit in our contract that they cannot jerk off to my daughter or any other guests lounging in said back yard.

We have centuries of case law determining what is reasonable. In your example, it is clear to any reasonable person that you negotiated access to the pizza place across the back yard. Even though the terms weren't specified, you can breathe while walking, and you would refrain from spanking it on your traverse.

Now, let's say that as you were walking, you lit up a cigarette and the owner complained. That would be a legitimate point of contention that reasonable people argue about. He didn't tell you his no smoking policy beforehand, so was it reasonable for you to light up? That would be a good question for the courts. Breathing and masturbation are not.

Last edited by jtgain; 07-21-2012 at 11:39 AM..
Reply With Quote
  #42  
Old 07-21-2012, 12:04 PM
Little Nemo Little Nemo is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Dec 1999
Location: Western New York
Posts: 55,082
But the key point is that in our society (and pretty much every functional society that's ever existed) we have community standards over what's reasonable. And dissenters may grumble about society's standards but they have to go along with them. You can't masturbate in public because it upsets other people.

But libertarianism, if it means anything at all, rejects this idea. It says individual liberty has priority over what the majority wants. So it doesn't matter if the majority object to you masturbating; you have the right to reject their views and do what you please.

And this just doesn't work. You can't have a functional society where every individual has first priority - the math won't add up. That's why libertarianism will never exist outside of theory. But every time the rest of us try to point out this problem to libertarians, they just complain we're being unfair to them.
Reply With Quote
  #43  
Old 07-21-2012, 12:33 PM
jtgain jtgain is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Quote:
Originally Posted by Little Nemo View Post
But libertarianism, if it means anything at all, rejects this idea. It says individual liberty has priority over what the majority wants. So it doesn't matter if the majority object to you masturbating; you have the right to reject their views and do what you please.
My understand of libertarianism is that an individual has a right to do what he wants SO LONG AS his freedoms don't interfere with freedoms of another.

Again, there are different flavors of libertarianism, but I don't think that it is inconsistent with the general tenets of that philosophy to say that a 7 year old girl's right to be free from watching a 50 year old man masturbating in public is greater than his right to masturbate in public.

Now, that same 7 year old's freedom to not hear criticism of President Obama is NOT outweighed by the same 50 year old man's right to free speech is criticizing the President.

I fully agree that the strict libertarian idea of do whatever in the hell you want is absurd and cannot happen in a society. But I think that the people who advocate that (no disrespect to the OP) have let their general philosophy get in the way of common sense.
Reply With Quote
  #44  
Old 07-21-2012, 01:27 PM
Lumpy Lumpy is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Aug 1999
Location: Minneapolis, Minnesota US
Posts: 11,992
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lumpy View Post
A lot of liber-anarch fictional utopias feature dueling as a way of deciding irreconcilable differences between individuals. If someone offends you so much that you absolutely cannot and will not accept it, then you stake your own life as the potential price of doing something about it. If you're the one challenged to a duel, then you either agree to it, or be willing to accept the judgment of a neutral arbitrator. The thing about this system is that both people who are arrogant jerkasses and people who are intolerant control freaks tend to not have very long lifespans.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Der Trihs View Post
Unless they are good at killing, in which case they have free rein to do as they please.
Maybe if you're the quick-draw champion of the West, able to snap off a head shot in a tenth of a second while your opponent is still clearing his holster; but realistically chances are excellent that even a dying opponent can shoot you. And if some Dead-Eye Dick with thirty notches on the grip of his gun goes around bullying people, someone will probably shoot him in the back the first chance they can do it unseen.
Reply With Quote
  #45  
Old 07-21-2012, 02:09 PM
Guinastasia Guinastasia is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jul 2000
Quote:
Originally Posted by Trinopus View Post
Well, yeah, that! Germs, flies, stench...

Can we say that a libertarian society has the right to protect itself against stench? Does my really stinky outhouse, or my pig farm, constitute an offense against my neighbor? It does no actual measurable objective harm...but it is grievously unpleasant...
Well, there's also that nasty e coli stuff. That's not exactly a barrel of laughs.

Last edited by Guinastasia; 07-21-2012 at 02:10 PM..
Reply With Quote
  #46  
Old 07-21-2012, 02:14 PM
Little Nemo Little Nemo is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Dec 1999
Location: Western New York
Posts: 55,082
Quote:
Originally Posted by jtgain View Post
My understand of libertarianism is that an individual has a right to do what he wants SO LONG AS his freedoms don't interfere with freedoms of another.
And this brings us back to the unanswerable question: who decides when one freedom interferes with another freedom?
Reply With Quote
  #47  
Old 07-21-2012, 06:50 PM
jtgain jtgain is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Quote:
Originally Posted by Little Nemo View Post
And this brings us back to the unanswerable question: who decides when one freedom interferes with another freedom?
The legislature? Courts? But in a society with libertarian ideals these legislators and judges would have an individual's freedom placed higher on the pole. Things like outlawing drug possession on private property and seat belt laws would never pass muster.

If someone thinks that a man's freedom to masturbate in the middle of Times Square is an inalienable right, he can elect candidates to the legislature or a Governor/President who will appoint justices who will agree with his interpretation of fundamental rights.
Reply With Quote
  #48  
Old 07-21-2012, 06:58 PM
coffeecat coffeecat is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Jun 1999
Location: Massachusetts, USA
Posts: 1,341
Quote:
Originally Posted by Little Nemo View Post
And this brings us back to the unanswerable question: who decides when one freedom interferes with another freedom?
Does libertarianism mean I couldn't call the cops on someone who's being a nuisance, say after the third time I ask you to stop jerking off to my daughter? Even in our current sorry, collectivist semi-tyranny we have freedom of speech, yet I can still stop someone from standing under my window and screaming "Asshole!" at 3 AM. Perhaps you could walk through the yard of your other neighbor, the lonesome divorcee. If you masturbate for her, she might even spring for the pizza.
Reply With Quote
  #49  
Old 07-21-2012, 07:53 PM
BigAppleBucky BigAppleBucky is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jan 2012
Quote:
Originally Posted by Linden Arden View Post
Fine, you are no Libertarian then. I have no issue with your stance.
Well, certainly not in the "purest" sense.
Reply With Quote
  #50  
Old 07-21-2012, 08:00 PM
Lumpy Lumpy is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Aug 1999
Location: Minneapolis, Minnesota US
Posts: 11,992
Since entire industries are based on the premise that sexual displays are provocative, wouldn't public masturbation qualify as an act of aggression?
Reply With Quote
Reply

Bookmarks

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is Off
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 05:49 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.

Send questions for Cecil Adams to: cecil@chicagoreader.com

Send comments about this website to: webmaster@straightdope.com

Terms of Use / Privacy Policy

Advertise on the Straight Dope!
(Your direct line to thousands of the smartest, hippest people on the planet, plus a few total dipsticks.)

Publishers - interested in subscribing to the Straight Dope?
Write to: sdsubscriptions@chicagoreader.com.

Copyright 2013 Sun-Times Media, LLC.