Monday, January 1, 2007

The Offense of Public Nudity by Mark Storey

At a time when trolls are wasting bandwidth in Rec Nude with the 'what-if' arguments about offending people by hiking nude on public lands, I felt it instructive to revisit this article on the nature of offense written some time ago by Mark Storey.

The article is a long one so I've made it a PermaLink to click through if you want to read it . . . and to avoid clutter on the opening page. A small excerpt:

The issue of offense is thus of great importance to naturists in America today. A flippant naturist response is to say, "The offended parties be damned; we as naturists have the right to do what we wish as long as we are not harming anyone." Or, "People will be offended by anything; offense thus should not be relevant to law." These responses fail to acknowledge the complexities of offense, and do not take into account sensible principles thoughtful lawmakers, discerning judges, and liberty-loving naturists can fruitfully bring to the discussion.

Some naturists take the opposite tack. "We should not be naked in public because it will offend people and cause them to pass more stringent 'indecent exposure' laws," they might say. Or, to blend an appeal to offense with a form of Legal Moralism, they might argue, "It's wrong to offend people, so we should never be naked in public. We should limit our nudity to our homes and nudist clubs."
A good read for those of us who wonder who is offending whom . . .

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