The Freedom to Dress Like Eminem

|

David Cameron, as reported earlier, is the oh-so-sensitive leader of Britain's Conservative Party. This week, he's going to stand up for a bedrock principle of classical liberalism: the right to wear black hoodies.

In a ground-breaking speech calling for more 'love' to be shown to adolescents, the Tory leader will attack bans on hooded tops—a symbol of urban menace to many adults—that were imposed by a shopping centre last year, arguing that shrouding their faces is a response to children's own fear of crime against them, not a crime in itself.

Cameron will tell a conference on social justice tomorrow that politicians should be discussing causes of crime not its symptoms. He will say: 'The hoodie is a response to a problem, not a problem in itself. We—the people in suits—often see hoodies as aggressive, the uniform of a rebel army of young gangsters.

Yes, it sounds incredibly stupid. Yes, expressed like this, it is incredibly stupid. We'll know if Cameron is serious about discussing the "causes of crime" if he starts discussing the fate of kids arrested, imprisoned and hardened for committing consensual crimes.

NEXT: The I'm-OK-You're-a-Dick Award...

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. And here I thought hoodies were a practical garment to wear on mildly cold days. Now I know that they’re a response to my fear of being attacked by minorities.

  2. ” that were imposed by a shopping centre last year, arguing that shrouding their faces is a response to children’s own fear of crime against them, not a crime in itself”

    Well, if they’d only shave those wretched little proto-goatees and moustaches, nobody would want to beat them up.

    More seriously, if I’m worried about being a victim of crime, the last thing I want is a hood obscuring my vision of my surroundings and muffling my hearing.

  3. ASBOlutely ridiculous.

  4. I think its funny how the term “anti-social behaviour” is all the rage in British political debate, when the term is nonexistent in America.

  5. The Tories are in the same position as the Democrats in this country. They are looking for something — anything! — that will make them popular. David Cameron is a sorry excuse for a conservative, and a far cry from what made his party great (i.e. Margret Thatcher).

  6. This post made me kill myself.

  7. David Cameron wrote,

    “This post made me kill myself.”

    Ouch. That’s going to leave a mark.

  8. The reason they wear hoodies is because Britian is the most surveilled country in the world. They are hiding from the cameras. Hasn’t this guy ever seen the “Green Street Hooligans”? Awesome movie, check it out.

  9. I think its funny how the term “anti-social behaviour” is all the rage in British political debate, when the term is nonexistent in America.

    The term may not be used here; the process is. I went into my rural Texas bank last week (as opposed to driving through) and there’s a sign on the door telling patrons that they should remove their hats and sunglasses “for everyone’s safety.”

    I suppose it’s a reaction to all the 10:00 PM Eyewitness News reports showing security footage of robbers in gimmie caps and shades. But the policy does raise obvious questions:

    • Will someone intent on robbing a bank stop to read all the little signs on the door?
    • Do bank CEOs expect robbers to obey signs requiring them to unmask?
    • Can the average person who makes a living robbing banks even read?
    • How many customers should you piss off per bank robber?

    As evidence of the latter, the elderly lady in line ahead of me had on a rather large hat. No one said anything. I bet they don’t ask ranchers to take off their Stetsons, either.

    At least the bank employees haven’t progressed to the level of TSA. Yet.

  10. Well if hoodies are worn by boob-bearing, breastfeeding, British breeders, I guess it’s OK.

  11. if they don’t like the policies of that shopping mall (or banks, for that matter), don’t do business there. what was that i heard about private property?

  12. If I see someone in a hooded sweatshirt around here (Mobile, AL) I know they must be insane.

  13. Hooded sweatshirts with CHiPs sunglasses looke cool.

    signed,

    The Unabomber

  14. If I lived in England I’d wear sunglasses and a wig wherever I went, just to get a little privacy.

  15. In response to a crime problem, the government bans sweatshirts. A politician points out that this is stupid and prejudiced, does nothing to address the problem, and should be repealed.

    And Dave Weigel is complaining…why, again? Because he isn’t talking about legalizing drugs instead?

    Tell you what, Dave, let’s replace “wearing hooded sweatshirts” with “carrying concealed firearms” in this story, and you let us know how stupid it is for a politician to point out the ban’s uselessness, describe the innocent intentions of most people engaging the behavior, an call for ban’s repeal and replacement with efforts that actually target crime.

  16. But Joe-

    If I am standing in line at the bank with my Glock tucked into the back of my belt and I spy somebody skulking around the lobby wearing sunglasses, I can plug him, and be a hero. The manager of the bank may even emerge from his office and offer me a hearty handclasp.

  17. Larry A writes: “Will someone intent on robbing a bank stop to read all the little signs on the door?
    Do bank CEOs expect robbers to obey signs requiring them to unmask”

    It’s true that robbers will probably ignore the signs. But if everyone else obeys the signs (modulo some familiar customer cowboys and dowdy old ladys) then the (likely youngish and male) stranger who ignores the sign and intends to rob the bank will stick out like a sore thumb, removing any element of surprise from the robbery attempt.

  18. Here’s an actual news story on the issue:

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/kent/4545657.stm

    So, the government did not ban sweatshirts in response to a crime problem as joe stated. Joe’s statement is also not supported by the quote Dave supplied. The ban was imposed by a shopping mall. The government’s support for this ban, as far as I can tell, is wrapped up in the cooperation of the police who are permanently assigned to patrol the mall, who, I assume, would be enforcing trespassing laws when they threw out people violating the mall’s dress code. I don’t know what the nature of the arrangement the mall has with the police is, but I assume the libertarian position would be that public funds should not be used to provide security for a shopping mall. I further understand the libertarian position to be that, if the owner of a shopping mall wants to prohibit people from bringing firearms into the mall, s/he is well within his or her rights to do so.

    Sorry, joe. Better luck next time.

  19. There’s crime in England? But didn’t they ban guns? I dont understand.

  20. joe,

    Laws prohibiting the concealed possession of guns are quite stupid cuz they’re mot going to deter a criminal intent on committing a crime of force if the laws against the crime itself don’t act as a deterrent. And there is evidence that concealed carry laws actually increase crime. With such laws, it’s easier for the perpetrator to ascertain that his/her potential victim is unarmed.

    Dave is right. Drug laws certainly increase the rate of other types of crime, without even considering his valid point of kids being exposed to real criminals in prison.

  21. We’ve had similar controversies here in the US over teens wandering malls wearing clothes that are said to be, or actually are, gang-identified. More than one shopping center has experienced sales decline when the sububan moms who spend the most money started to feel creeped out by “youts” wearing athletic jerseys, jeans seven sizes too large and baseball caps. I agree that targeting actual behavior would be a better plan, but in retail perception often trumps reality in the mind of the paying customer.

    Kevin

  22. And there is evidence that concealed carry laws actually increase crime. With such laws, it’s easier for the perpetrator to ascertain that his/her potential victim is unarmed.

    I don’t understand. How do concealed carry laws make it easier for a perpetrator to determine if someone is armed?

  23. M: I believe that line was referring to laws AGAINST concealed carry. If it’s illegal to have a concealed weapon for any purpose then a criminal can reasonably assume that anyone not showing a weapon doesn’t have one — except him/her, of course.

  24. M’,

    Exactly what b-psycho said.

    Hey b-psycho, what does the b stand for? If I may enquire…

  25. Its interesting Weigel mentions this but not the ‘knife amnesty’ thats been going on, thats got a chuckle from these american ears.

    Cameron is sort of right on this — there’s a bit of hysteria in the UK right now about youth gone wild, etc. and Cameron, a tory, is actually trying to combat the hysteria, its actually a bit remarkable…

  26. Sorry, anotheranon, but the libertarian position on gun bans is not based solely on the liberty interest, but on the pragmatic grounds that they do no good, while misdirecting security resources.

    But nice try.

  27. joe,

    That is beside the point. The state must at least demonstrate both pragmatism and liberty interest to justify a law. A shopping mall does not need to meet either of these burdens in order to justify the terms of its dress code, or any other restriction it wants to place on would be customers.

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.