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Legal foundation for public decency, lewdness, nudity

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Right, this isn't open-season on declaring any arbitrary conduct to be repulsive enough to outlaw. Within a society, there are certain reasonable, justified standards. Displays of intercourse could be an example of the kind of act that should be kept out of the public eye, in a society where sex is considered to be a private act, but not in a society that has no such restrictions. Equally, displays (direct or symbolic) of male or female genitalia could be offensive in a society, because of the connection to intercourse -- though whether such a connection is made in a society, would have to be made by reference to the standards of the society. This has to be determined by looking at the actual facts and values of a society. If the values of a society are depraved to begin with, then there's nothing that a rational man can do about, say, the burqa, except leave that society.

I have a question on how these etiquette laws should evolve in a dynamically changing society. Suppose that we have a society that finds public displays of nudity offensive and has outlawed such displays using reason. Now suppose that there is an influx of another population that takes comfort in public displays of nudity. How do we determine when the etiquette law should be changed in a principled manner?

Perhaps the specific scenario above is too unrealistic given that even the most permissive societies towards public nudity, such as Norway, still formally designate regions (e.g. beaches) where public nudity is acceptable. Nevertheless, given that societal norms do change over time, in many cases as a result of mass immigration, and that there seems to be reasonable disagreements over what is considered offensive, it seems appropriate to discuss what principles one should adopt to update etiquette laws.

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See this thread: Bill Clinton's Impeachment--The legal aspects of abnormal behavior. It's quite a long one and full of pointless bickering, but there is about 10% or so of the posts where you will fin

I disagree with this in part; positive emotions (or any emotions, for that matter) are not the standard of value, but they are values.

The way I understand this is:

We should not set universal standards for what ought to be considered obscene when it comes to sexual content.

However, that approach is relevant for a discussion on censorship with respect to the consenting; and it leads us to the conclusion that consenting adults should not be banned from doing a whole range of things. Among Objectivists, I think that would be pretty uncontroversial.

However, when it comes to what one can assume to require a warning to the unconsenting, a standard -- whether universal or community based -- would be required (i.e. assuming that no objective standard is possible).

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I think the purpose is usually to endorse Nazism. Publicly identifying yourself as an adherent of an idea is the simplest and most common way of endorsing and hoping to spread that idea. If, say, you sport an Objectivist bumper sticker on your car, you do it to say "I'm an Objectivist. Objectivism is good. I hope you too will consider becoming an Objectivist." (The three sentences are nearly equivalent in meaning: you adhere to an idea because you think it's a good one, and if you adhere to an idea because you think it's a good one, you are bound to hope that it will gather more and more adherents.)

Merely endorsing an idea does not violate anyone's rights, not even as a nuisance, since you're always free to judge the idea on its merits and discard it if it is wrong.

In my personal experiences, most Nazi symbols displayed in public are usually intended to offend someone (as in, to make a debator distraught) or to conflate the platform of an individual with Nazism. Some examples include: anti-war protestors denouncing the foreign policy of President Bush, anti-Israel demonstrations in Palestine or a bunch of stupid kids disrupting one of Yaron Brook's lectures.

Needless to say, wrongfully conflating good ideas to Nazism does not inherently violate anyone's rights. Falsely accusing someone of actually being a Nazi can be properly construed as libel or slander. Intentionally disrupting a lecture is also a violation of rights, assuming that the speaker and his affiliates have the right to assemble where they presently are.

Edited by DarkWaters
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Suppose that we have a society that finds public displays of nudity offensive and has outlawed such displays using reason.
Alright, sorta. Except that rational people should realize that a nude body is not disgusting or loathesome. To return to the passage from "Tought Control", "civilized men do not tolerate public displays of sub-animal sex. Many people regard a public representation of sexual intercourse to be disgusting...". What Rand proposed was that it was right to have laws recognizing the impropriety of public displays of intercourse, not nudity, and the reason is that, reasonably enough, people in society were and to some extent still are disgusted by public displays of intercourse. Kissing and holding hands in public, which were once extremely intimate activities to be reserved for the boudoire, are not now legally sanctionable acts. If it comes to pass that America became sufficiently debased that actual copulation in public is considered to be an ordinary activity like kissing, due perhaps to an influx of foreigners, then in recognition of that aspect of the destruction, uh, I mean change in American culture, the laws could and indeed should change to reflect the change in society. By actual copulations, I mean pornographic scenes like this (gotcha), not suggestive art like this (heh). Your public wanker would be covered by this principle. I would also hold that society should not change in that way, so that copulation and playing checkers become interchangeable acts.
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But I can think of many things that are repulsive to rational men that are allowed in public avenues. If my neighbor was a vehement socialist and put posters everywhere on his property that glorified socialism (or communism), then that would definitely be a repulsive sight to see. I think I don't need to argue here whether or not socialism is objectively repulsive, either. But does that mean it should be illegal to advocate such theories on your own property (but in sight of others, like posters hanging behind someone's windows, using bumper-stickers and stuff like that).

Or, if you had deeply religious neighbors perhaps they like to eat in the backyard and indoctrinate their children with all sorts of false knowledge. Now, I think that is far more damaging for a person to experience than someone showing their kids how to torture a dog. I don't really see the basis for saying that certain of these things should be banned, and others should be allowed. Should Christian conservative barbeque parties in the backyard also be prohibited in a free society, or is that somehow different from having sex in the backyard, or torturing dogs in the backyard?

Actually, I think it's kind of strange to put nudity and sexual behavior in the same category of repulsive sights as torturing animals.

I haven't yet focussed enough to find out why, but my intuition is that the necessary distinction is this: no symbols of anything should be prohibited, even if what they represent is disgusting. Only things that are disgusting in themselves (when displayed), not what they represent or symbolise, should be prohibited by law.

For example, a public display of a symbol of sex should not be prohibited. Only the actual thing (in form of a picture, or live) should be prohibited. In short, this whole thing should be on the perceptual rather than conceptual level; i'm not sure why yet, but that's my initial intuition.

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I haven't had the chance to think through all of this thoroughly yet, but offhand I'd say that the individual bears responsibility for the self-inflicted consequences that flow from choosing to find something loathsome, be it sex, animal torture, or anything else. Man has the freedom to choose his responses to conceptual content (note that there exists a distinction with noxious smells, bright lights, loud noise, etc. that interfere with man's perceptual faculty). Concepts exist within man's volitional sphere within which he is entirely responsible. The supposed public/private distinction is simply irrelevant. It seems to me that Rand was off base here, effectively justifying man's failure to exercise the volition not to suffer unpleasant consequences to displeasing ideas. With respect, I do not think that justifies a restriction on others. However I may be wrong and am open to correction, as I said this is my first chance to consider the matter.

Edit - There might (emphasize might) be an exception justifiable on the basis of minors in public places - but only minors, not unconsenting adults.

Edited by Seeker
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Alright, sorta. Except that rational people should realize that a nude body is not disgusting or loathesome.

Except, of course, for the fact that in our society, nudity equals sex. And it is rational to be disgusted by public displays of that. This isn't a necessary fact, but frankly once that connection is made, I really don't see how it could be un-made. It is not an entirely irrational conclusion: sure, early societies in which clothing was expensive might get away with the idea that nudity is just nudity, but for us, there really is no excuse for not putting on some freaking pants. There are a number of advantages, not the least of which being that it allows us to make things a little more difficult for n'er-do-wells: it forces them to at least take off said pants before they can engage in their preversons. Preverts are then very easy to spot: they're the ones without pants. Plus, there are very good sanitation reasons. Imagine sitting on a park bench.

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I am still trying to integrate this whole idea, without much success I'm afraid. Let's suppose this was a publicly-owned forum. A majority of members might be deeply offended by the loathsome idea that most people aren't Objectivists. Does mean I should be tossed in jail for expressing a fact of reality that is objectively unpleasant in the context of this forum? Of course not. All I did was speak the truth.

This whole line of reasoning seems to erase the freedom of speech entirely. It's a cliche to say it, but the purpose of the freedom of speech is to protect the expression of precisely those ideas that the majority finds most disagreeable, not those with which it already agrees. I'm looking at where this discussion has taken us, and it seems that we're standing at the epicenter of justifying censorship and the tyranny of the majority.

Someone please clarify what went wrong in my reasoning about this (or conversely, what went right with Rand's reasoning). Surely I have misunderstood a key distinction. I have tried to integrate, for example, the idea that public sex can be properly banned because the majority of citizens in a particular jurisdiction believe that sex is a private act. The right in the question is (apparently) the right to not perceive anything that, once conceptually integrated, is at variance with one's conclusions of the way people ought to behave. Well isn't that the same thing as having as the right to force others to behave the way we think they ought to behave? And by extention, to force their minds, against every tenet of Objectivism that tells us that this is wrong? Please help me understand what I have missed here.

Like all other laws, the laws concerning public etiquette should be grounded in the objective nature of man, and in the one principle that is the basis of all rights: the right to pursue a rational life. For example, as Sophia pointed out, Miss Rand held that sexual material could properly be barred from being displayed in public because sex is a private matter ; this is something derived from the nature of sex, and ultimately from the nature of man. Thus, keeping sex private is part of pursuing a rational life; a public sexual display would interfere with such a pursuit.

I am utterly bewildered as to how a public sexual display would interfere with someone else's pursuit of a rational life. This is akin to saying that any especially irrational behavior (i.e. behavior inconsistent with the nature of man) interferes with others' pursuit of a rational life if they are forced merely to notice it. I just don't see the connection.

Edited by Seeker
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Seeker,

I think it would be best to understand that this does not apply to ideas as much as you think it does. While it may take a conceptual understanding to know why a rational man is disgusted by public sex, it is not itself an idea or "speech" as such. Note that for the examples of Nazi symbols, it is not the speech of declaring oneself a Nazi, but the threat implied by that symbol. As such, it is not really even a part of this discussion.

The second thing to bear in mind is that this applies only to that which you let leak off of your property. It does not apply to that which you do on your own property or even what you publish, so long as what you publish is not broadcast such that it can't not be heard by some.

The source for this is the same as for putrid smells. For instance, if I let a putrid smell leak off of my property, that didn't harm anyone other than smelling overwhelmingly foul, this would be infringing on the property rights of others. Sights, like smells, can be both putrid and leak off of a property. The same would apply for putrid noises, such as if I set a loudspeaker to play recordings of people vomiting and played it loud enough for my neighbors to hear it.

Of course, this is all based on the idea of non-consent. If your neighbors all consent to putrid smells, the Sounds Of Vomit, or the sight of you copulating on your front lawn, then there is no legal recourse against you. (assuming they are the only ones exposed)

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Thank you, that helps. I think I am homing in to the source of my difficulty. I can thoroughly understand how certain things such as putrid smells, loud or disharmonious music, flashing lights, and so on can interfere with others' rights because they are at a perceptual level. But in all honesty, I do not think that the root of our disgust with public copulation lies in the perceptual realm. It is conceptual. As such it is different from those other things in a very important way, because it is the idea that troubles us, not the perception.

Now here is where I may stand to be enlightened, because maybe there actually is something precognitive about witnessing sex that is like a putrid smell or obnoxious noise. This is what I am struggling with. What is the nature of the physical reaction to witnessing others have sex that analogizes it to the physical reaction to noxious odors or audible noise? Or have I misunderstood tha basis of why those things are bad?

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Also recall that Rand was not only speaking of actual sexual intercourse but also sexually explicit posters. So even a small two-dimensional image could be properly proscribed.

To expand on the idea of loathsome visual perceptions, consider also that there are certain patterns or combinations of visual stimuli that are objectively loathsome, like clashing colors, lack of symmetry, or badly proportioned shapes. You could include clothes that don't match visually. You could include certain types of art and architecture that are objectively ugly. You could include unsightly factories or highways. You could include ugly people, for that matter. We don't need to conceptualize this type of ugliness because it hits us at the perceptual level. These are things that strike much more closely at the heart of the principle that Rand appeared to be describing than does an act of sexual intercourse, which in itself is a beautiful thing, and if it is considered ugly because it is not private, is so only because of a learned conceptual understanding of the nature of sex. Yet I doubt that Rand would have sanctioned using people's right not to perceive loathsome sights to justify laws forbidding bad art and architecture, mismatched outfits, factories, highways, or ugly people, at least as far as I can grasp the principles of Objectivism. So this particular twist about public sex seems odd indeed. Just a bit more for us to chew on.

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Except, of course, for the fact that in our society, nudity equals sex.
I disagree with that statement regarding nudity in out society, as an unqualified one, but there are certainly contexts where it's true. I may not be able to define obscenity off the cuff, but I know it when I see it, and I also know where there are reams of statutes that do distinguis sexual and non-sexual nudity. That is, the distinction between titty bars and breast-feeding.
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Seeker,

I think it would be best to understand that this does not apply to ideas as much as you think it does. While it may take a conceptual understanding to know why a rational man is disgusted by public sex, it is not itself an idea or "speech" as such. Note that for the examples of Nazi symbols, it is not the speech of declaring oneself a Nazi, but the threat implied by that symbol. As such, it is not really even a part of this discussion.

The second thing to bear in mind is that this applies only to that which you let leak off of your property. It does not apply to that which you do on your own property or even what you publish, so long as what you publish is not broadcast such that it can't not be heard by some.

But even in the worst dictatorships, chances are good that you can do whatever the hell you want in your own home, as long as no one notices you doing it. The fact that the idea itself isn't prohibited is rather irrelevant. Even though you can't directly censor someone's mind, if you prevent them from putting their ideas into physical form then you are attacking the idea by extension.

Besides, we are discussing here what you can do on your own property. Any parts of your property that are publically viewable are also considered to be public (such as your backyard, or your balconies, or your roof terrace) in your line of reasoning. So really, people would only be totally free to do what they want within their house, behind closed doors (and curtains before the windows, because otherwise the neighbors across the street might be disturbed).

As for the symbol/speech distinction... If you are banning the particular symbol because of what it stands for, then you are still banning that concrete. The speech is the form of expression, so you are infringing upon that.

I'm still interested in seeing the justification why certain sights and actions are bad in this context, yet others are not. For one thing, basically any form of irrationality is disgusting when someone takes it seriously. Does that mean the government should be allowed to dictate that people are only permitted to be irrational on private property?

I guess my main problem here is that I don't see how it matters one iota what the majority thinks of something. The opinion of the majority on any issue is completely irrelevant for matters of law. That's the whole reason why the U.S. became a republic, in the first place. Advocating that whatever the majority finds offensive should be banned from public venues just seems like unbridled majority rule to me. Especially because it doesn't even really need to be offensive, it only matters that they conceptually associate some action or view with being immoral (and thus disgusting).

Besides, these issues should be so easy to solve in a proper society... Just attach a stipulation to the contract people sign when they buy a house, or rent one, that X, Y and Z actions are not permitted in view of the neighbors. Case closed. You really don't need the law to step in here, saying what someone is and is not allowed to do in their own backyard.

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Besides, we are discussing here what you can do on your own property. Any parts of your property that are publically viewable are also considered to be public (such as your backyard, or your balconies, or your roof terrace) in your line of reasoning. So really, people would only be totally free to do what they want within their house, behind closed doors (and curtains before the windows, because otherwise the neighbors across the street might be disturbed).

Now I notice that you are from The Netherlands, but here in the USA this is already true. It is against the law to go about nude in public view, even if you are on your balcony, backyard, roof terrace, or living room with the blinds open. This has been true, I would imagine, since the founding of the country. (although I am not certain of that)

I disagree with that statement regarding nudity in out society, as an unqualified one... That is, the distinction between titty bars and breast-feeding.

Well, now you're getting into the whole breasts-as-nudity thing, which is a whole different can of worms. I wasn't particularly trying to bring in that little issue; I was discussing the bare-genitals-equals-sex thing.

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To expand on the idea of loathsome visual perceptions, consider also that there are certain patterns or combinations of visual stimuli that are objectively loathsome, like clashing colors, lack of symmetry, or badly proportioned shapes.

That's the issue right there. There are things that are annoying, and there are things that are intolerable by reasonable men. What we need is some way to draw the line on principle. I think it is fairly clear that sex, animal torture, videos of people being beheaded or beaten, urination, defecation, vomiting, and things like that are in the latter category. Things like clashing colors, bad architecture, and that guy's ugly face* would fall into the former category. Inductively, I can tell that a society of rational men would not permit the latter category, but I don't have a principle to work with yet so I have to shrug my shoulders.

Besides, these issues should be so easy to solve in a proper society... Just attach a stipulation to the contract people sign when they buy a house, or rent one, that X, Y and Z actions are not permitted in view of the neighbors. Case closed. You really don't need the law to step in here, saying what someone is and is not allowed to do in their own backyard.

The issue isn't what someone does in "their own backyard" so much as what they do in view of me when I am on my property. And perhaps this is just recognition that the default contractual condition would have to be what we are saying, and that to make it otherwise would require that others consent to it.

That's what this is really; an issue of what the default contract is, as far as property goes.

* You know, that guy.

Edited by Inspector
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But I was talking about in the flesh.
Okay, since that is not what Rand was talking about in her essay, I just carried over that context. It's undeniable that there has been a sea-change in cultural values since Rand wrote that essay, so that non-flesh, non-intercourse nudity isn't per se equal to sex, now, in our culture.
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Okay, since that is not what Rand was talking about in her essay, I just carried over that context. It's undeniable that there has been a sea-change in cultural values since Rand wrote that essay, so that non-flesh, non-intercourse nudity isn't per se equal to sex, now, in our culture.

Not per se, no.

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The issue isn't what someone does in "their own backyard" so much as what they do in view of me when I am on my property. And perhaps this is just recognition that the default contractual condition would have to be what we are saying, and that to make it otherwise would require that others consent to it.

That's what this is really; an issue of what the default contract is, as far as property goes.

Yeah, but the topic was about the legal foundations for public decency. If I understand the situation correctly, it is simply not possible to be nude in public view (for example), even if everyone around you doesn't have a problem with it. I mean, if the vast majority of people dislike seeing nudity in public, then that would probably also mean that the majority of areas in the country would be like they are today. But it should still be possible that if there is a big plot of privately owned land, that whoever owns it can determine that it's okay to be nude on that land. Then anyone who rents a property there would know in advance what they're getting in to, and it really shouldn't be a problem for any parties. But that is not possible if the government determines, based on majority opinion, that certain sights are disgusting and not allowed in public.

That's why I think it makes more sense to merely enforce this whole thing through contract law. If it truly bothers you a great deal to see these things, then you should buy your house under the conditions that you won't have to see those things. I think that solution is much more in line with how these issues should be resolved in a capitalist society than the solution that has been advocated in this thread.

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Yeah, but the topic was about the legal foundations for public decency. If I understand the situation correctly, it is simply not possible to be nude in public view (for example), even if everyone around you doesn't have a problem with it.

Actually, that's not true. With the basis of the issue being consent, there would be no legal case to prosecute if nobody complained. (excepting if there were a child, who cannot legally consent to certain things)

But it should still be possible that if there is a big plot of privately owned land, that whoever owns it can determine that it's okay to be nude on that land.

There is no way that this could make that illegal, except on the borders of that land where nudity would be visible to the neighbors. And then only if the neighbors did not consent.

Then anyone who rents a property there would know in advance what they're getting in to, and it really shouldn't be a problem for any parties. But that is not possible if the government determines, based on majority opinion, that certain sights are disgusting and not allowed in public.

(bold mine)

It would in fact be possible, because that vast land couldn't be considered "public." It would be private property that is not in sight of other private property. Thus, not covered by any law of this kind.

Remember, this law only covers actions taken in public, on private property that is open to the public (but this can be undone by a simple warning sign that anyone who doesn't consent isn't invited in), or on private property that is visible to non-consenting individuals that are in public or private. So this is not at all about what you do in private. It is all about what you subject other peoples' property to; i.e. what you allow to leak off of your property.

That's why I think it makes more sense to merely enforce this whole thing through contract law. If it truly bothers you a great deal to see these things, then you should buy your house under the conditions that you won't have to see those things.

Actually, I could say the reverse: if you truly insist on doing those things outdoors, then either build a fence or convince your neighbors to sign forms giving their consent and not to invite anyone in that does not consent. Or buy up a lot of land and sell the neighboring land under the condition that all buyers must consent in perpetuity to your preversions or forfeit the sale contract. (and that they may not sell to anyone who does not agree to the same)

Edited by Inspector
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Yeah, but the topic was about the legal foundations for public decency. If I understand the situation correctly, it is simply not possible to be nude in public view (for example), even if everyone around you doesn't have a problem with it. I mean, if the vast majority of people dislike seeing nudity in public, then that would probably also mean that the majority of areas in the country would be like they are today. But it should still be possible that if there is a big plot of privately owned land, that whoever owns it can determine that it's okay to be nude on that land. Then anyone who rents a property there would know in advance what they're getting in to, and it really shouldn't be a problem for any parties. But that is not possible if the government determines, based on majority opinion, that certain sights are disgusting and not allowed in public.

That's why I think it makes more sense to merely enforce this whole thing through contract law. If it truly bothers you a great deal to see these things, then you should buy your house under the conditions that you won't have to see those things. I think that solution is much more in line with how these issues should be resolved in a capitalist society than the solution that has been advocated in this thread.

I have two points in response.

First, action to deter a particular act of public nudity or public sex need only be taken if it is offensive to someone. It is not an action that is intrinsically harmful, which need be banned in some kind of Puritan manner, even if no one is present to see it or no one is complaining about it. (Of course, if it is against the law and a policeman driving by sees it, he can take action against the public nudist/sex actor on the presumption that someone will complain about it.) If someone engages in public sex in his front yard and no one complains, there is no problem. Also, this presupposes that public nudity or public sex is a legitimate offense that someone can use police action to suppress. If it is not, then even if it offends that person, he can gain no legal redress for it. For example, if a person paints his house in a color that his neighbor doesn't like, he has no legal recourse. (Of course, he can always talk to his neighbor and offer to pay him to paint his house a different color, or he could offer to buy his house.)

Second, contract law is an inadequate way of protecting property rights where there are general torts. Because there are objective standards of what is harmful, it is not necessary nor even feasible to specify the multiplicity of potential harms or permissible/non-permissible actions in a contract. For example, a storekeeper doesn't have to ask you to sign a contract every time you enter his premises that states you cannot steal from him and that he has the right to eject you at will, nor do you need a contract from him stating that you have the right to enter his store during the hours it is open, unless he chooses to bar you, etc.

A contract is a specific agreement between two people that imposes a specific set of obligations on each party, the violation of which is cause for legal redress. That is entirely different from using the policing power of the government to gain redress against the sundry harms that someone can commit against you, none of which are specified in any contract, nor need they be.

The real issue here remains what behavior constitutes a harm against another person for which there is legal redress and whether public nudity/public sex is one of those harms. In my opinion, it is a minor offense, which is why Ayn Rand used the word "etiquette" in the quoted passage.

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Actually, I could say the reverse: if you truly insist on doing those things outdoors, then either build a fence or convince your neighbors to sign forms giving their consent and not to invite anyone in that does not consent. Or buy up a lot of land and sell the neighboring land under the condition that all buyers must consent in perpetuity to your preversions or forfeit the sale contract. (and that they may not sell to anyone who does not agree to the same)

Okay, fair enough.

That brings me to the deeper disagreement we might have here. Noxious fumes that make you vomit are initiations of force because they interfere with your freedom to act; to transform your thoughts and ideas into physical actions in order to further your life. But these fumes are an initiation of force precisely because you don't have any choice in the matter: you are forced to react in a certain way that interferes with your freedom to act (by vomiting). However, for conceptual level things such as seeing a nude body, that is not the case. Whether or not you are disgusted by seeing a nude body depends wholly on what you associate it with. That puts it into a completely different category than the noxious fumes, and extremely loud sounds.

The perception of nudity, or sex for that matter, in itself doesn't violate your rights in any way. Whether or not you find something distasteful is your business, and I don't see why someone else should be held responsible for your emotional reactions? Rather than show that something is offensive to you, you should prove how it interferes with your ability to pursue your life as you see fit? Seeing someone in the nude, or seeing someone have sex doesn't interfere with freedom to act in any way, as far as I can tell. So how can it be an initiation of force?

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The perception of nudity, or sex for that matter, in itself doesn't violate your rights in any way.

I'd like to take a different direction and ask if there is any visual sight at all which you think would be unacceptable to impose on the non-consenting? If you projected a home video of people being beheaded by Islamists onto your garage door for all your neighbors to see, and played it in an unending 24/7 loop, is that acceptable? Because there are some people who would be not-disgusted by it (Islamists), and so that too must be a conceptual disgust.

Edited by Inspector
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I'd like to take a different direction and ask if there is any visual sight at all which you think would be unacceptable to impose on the non-consenting? If you projected a home video of people being beheaded by Islamists onto your garage door for all your neighbors to see, and played it in an unending 24/7 loop, is that acceptable? Because there are some people who would be not-disgusted by it (Islamists), and so that too must be a conceptual disgust.

Hmm, you have a point there. The same could be said of basically anything (like noxious fumes or the smell of feces), because there are probably some people out there who delight in that smell.

I think it makes more sense, then, to say that in order to forbid something in situations such as these, it needs to be proved objectively harmful to man. For certain things, like the noxious fumes, poison and extremely loud noises, it is rather obvious that it is harmful to human beings and that people should not be allowed to expose others to these things without their consent.

But, in the case of seeing sex or nudity I don't think the case is nearly as solid. What about seeing these things makes them objectively bad for you, so that seeing them without giving consent equals your rights being violated?

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