Let’s face it…sometimes, people can be allowed too much freedom. The opportunity to engage in certain behaviors or make certain decisions, just because the law allows us to, does not necessarily mean that that we should do certain things. Freedom of expression should not, and does not mean “anything goes.” Take for example the law in San Francisco.
Up until this week, the law in the Golden Gate city allowed public nudity, particularly within the confines of the Castro district, the gay capital of America. But a 6 to 5 ruling by the city’s Board of Supervisors Tuesday ended the practice within the city limits, with the exception of certain street fairs and events. The new city ordinance effectively bans anyone "over the age of 5 from exposing his or her genitals, perineum or anal region" in most public locations. The ban was spurred as a result of the growing number of complaints by citizens of increasing numbers of naked men walking around and/or gathering in public, particularly around the Castro district.
Nudists and other opponents of the new ban argue that it infringes on their “rights.” A federal lawsuit has already been filed arguing the proposal infringes on free “speech” and “expression” rights. However, the Board’s actions interjected a bit of sanity and prudence into an otherwise contentious issue in the city. However, the Board’s actions interjected a bit of sanity and prudence into an otherwise contentious issue in the city. The issue is a metaphor for other’s who defend their otherwise questionable practices as a “right.” No one has a total “right” to do as they wish, even if it is legal (or need I remind you that slavery in this country was legal at one time; it didn’t make it right) for the greater good. Some make the argument exposing the human body, even in public is an expression of “body love.” But how selfish is it tout one’s “right” to expose their genitals—men included—in public view of young children? How can anyone with a level cognitive reasoning justify that public nudity should be a “protected right,” when men exposing themselves to women and children is a crime in every municipality in the country?
We Americans love our “rights,” but are not willing to take note of their results:
We in America are so obsessed with trying to avoid individual discontent that we find ourselves actually being held hostage by our “rights” to freedoms. Our problem as a nation is that we all want to claim special rights, but not recognize that we have responsibilities as well. And the biggest responsibility we have is to protect not our rights, but common sense.
Everyone cannot be allowed to do what they want. In order to serve the greater good, some individual rights have to be not only curtailed, but denied. As individuals and representatives of various interests groups, we need to break the delusion that most of us live under that we all have a "right" to do what we want.
We don't allow children to vote. We do not legally recognize the right to drink and drive. Marijuana is still illegal in most states as well as the federal government. Let's face it...some of us are not going to be allowed to do what we want. And that's not necessarily a bad thing, especially if we are willing to take our emotions and beliefs out of the driver's seat of our lives and allow reason to pilot our thinking.