Finding Sex in the Bill of Rights

How the American Civil Liberties Union changed the way Americans think about sexual freedom.


How Sex Became a Civil Liberty, by Leigh Ann Wheeler, Oxford University Press, 352 pp., $34.95.

When it comes to Americans' understanding of sexual privacy and public sexual expression, most of us are effectively members of the American Civil Liberties Union. This is so even for people who carry no card, pay no dues, and—if such a thing were possible—have never even heard of the organization.

That's the takeaway from How Sex Became a Civil Liberty, Leigh Ann Wheeler's dense but fascinating account of the ACLU's wildly successful efforts, since its founding almost 100 years ago, to bring sex under the purview of the Bill of Rights. Wheeler, a Binghamton University historian, could have stuck with a wonky narrative about a long march of law and jurisprudence. Instead, she's taken what she calls an "empathic" approach. She has combed vast archives, including personal correspondence of the ACLU's founders and decades of files from the national office and local affiliates.

From these papers she has assembled a story about men and women working through their own sexual passions and contradictions as they shaped a legal and political practice for the entire country. She reveals how activists pushed, slouched, and pushed some more to arm their fellow citizens with sexual rights, even as those rights provoked further conflicts, including among ACLUers themselves.

Wheeler's story starts in the 1920s, as young, educated men and women flocked to Greenwich Village to partake of a modernist cultural revolution with heady new ideas about the nature and purpose of sex. One of these migrants was Roger Baldwin. As a 12- or 13-year-old in the 1890s, he had been seduced by his family's Irish servant. He'd spent the next few years having sex with her, learning, as he put it, "everything that was to be known, even how to prevent getting her pregnant."

In the Village, Baldwin met Madeleine Zabriskie Doty, who had spent her youth wondering if she was physically attracted to women rather than men. By the 1920s, she was in love with Baldwin. The couple wed in the new style, sans ring or vows. And Baldwin founded the ACLU.

Baldwin was a proponent of "free love," believing that living a "creative life" required "many loves shared together openly, honestly, and joyously." Like other women she knew, Doty agreed that her husband could have lovers, but she was reluctant to take her own. She became accidentally pregnant at least once by Baldwin. She managed to end the pregnancy, though it's not clear how.

Though Doty, Baldwin, and other founding ACLUers fought Mars-versus-Venus battles over sex and sex roles, they sought detente by jointly taking up the cause of birth control education. All had a gut understanding of how desperately men and women wanted this teaching. But the so-called Comstock Law of 1873 banned distribution of this information through the mail, calling it obscenity. And the federal statute had inspired "little Comstock laws" in many states that outlawed even public discussion of contraception. One of the ACLU's first campaigns, beginning in the 1920s, asked courts to apply the First Amendment to lectures, pamphlets, and ads on such topics as the rhythm method and condoms.

The early ACLU leadership vacationed together at Martha's Vineyard. On isolated beaches there, many practiced nudism. Nudists today are largely winked at if not ignored. But in the 1930s and '40s, they saw themselves as an avant-garde movement. Going undressed, they believed, would strengthen democracy by challenging the class distinctions so visible in clothing. They also thought the sight of people casually strolling in the buff would cool the frisson of obscenity.

In 1934, ACLU started not just defending nudists' right to publish material depicting them and their families naked, but to gather that way in private. The organization thus entered a new arena. Heretofore it had defended speech deemed sexually inappropriate. Now it spoke up for acts in the privacy of the bedroom—including, a generation later, homosexuals' right to commit "sodomy."

Until the late 1960s, as Wheeler tells it, the ACLU occupied an easy moral high ground when it came to sex and the First Amendment. Exploiting the tenets of an exploding consumer culture after World War II, the group successfully pushed the notion that everyone should be able to see and read anything they pleased, even if the speech in question was commercial and cheesy.

Take Playboy. During its consumerist period, the ACLU befriended Hugh Hefner and his enterprise. In 1966, the organization's Illinois affiliate even got Hef's subscriber list and sent out a membership solicitation. It told the overwhelmingly male recipients that "Sophisticated people like yourself are not afraid to read whatever magazine or book you want to," including those with pictures "of a divine figure with smasheroo legs."

Then things got dicey.

By the time of the Playboy mailing, Second Wave feminism was taking up where people like Madeleine Zabriskie Doty and other First Wavers had left off 50 years earlier in the Village. In the early 1970s, the ACLU staunchly supported abortion rights, as did Hefner and his magazine. At the same time, ACLU members were arguing among themselves about other civil liberties, liberties that were starting to seem sticky when framed in the lens of gender rights.

Rape-shield laws, for example, aimed to prevent defense lawyers from using accusers' prior sexual histories to bash their credibility. Feminists enthusiastically promoted rape-shielding. But old-school ACLUers remembered the organization's earlier advocacy for black men in the South who'd been accused of rape by white women—women the ACLU had been happy to discredit by claiming they'd been promiscuous in the past.

New controversies played out alongside good old-fashioned theater. In 1972 feminists in the Chicago Women's Liberation Union—some of them also ACLU members—crashed an ACLU fundraiser held at the Playboy Mansion. The fete was so Hefner-inflected that it included nude swimming at 4 a.m. The women's liberationists bounded in with pinups of men in bunny suits, featuring slogans such as "He's got a nice ass but he's kind of dumb."

Today those Playboy-hating days, like Playboy itself, are largely passé. Inside the organization, the ACLU has since weathered further First Amendment controversies about everything from sexual harassment laws to Dworkin-McKinnonesque moves to ban revoltingly violent porn.

Through thick and thin, Wheeler believes, the ACLU's support of unfettered sexual expression has tended to polarize the public. But the trend has been on the organization's side. Opinion polls show that most Americans today oppose laws against gay sex, support legal abortion, and condemn censorship.

How did the country come to these card-carrying positions? Through the intrepid and conflicted men and women of the early ACLU, Wheeler argues. By working out their own issues in an organizational and political sphere, they stretched their sexual revolution clear through the 20th century and into 21st.

NEXT: Supreme Court to Decide if Human Genes Can Be Patented

Sex Censorship ACLU Birth Control Abortion History Staff Reviews Feminism

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160 responses to “Finding Sex in the Bill of Rights

  1. Feminists enthusiastically promoted rape-shielding. But old-school ACLUers remembered the organization’s earlier advocacy for black men in the South who’d been accused of rape by white women?women the ACLU had been happy to discredit by claiming they’d been promiscuous in the past.

    Why identity politics collide.

    1. Yep, this is my take-away from the article.

      I’m pretty sure I can work it into a conversation with an ultra-lefty co-worker in the next week or two. It will be fun watching her head explode as she tries to navigate her way out of my carefully laid trap.

      The predictability of extremists (of either side) is fun to toy with.

  2. From an Amazon review of Sybil Exposed:

    The rapes on the kitchen table? That was just a memory of when she was forcibly held down and given ether in order to put her under for a toncillectomy. The ice-water enemas? Well, she was probably given enemas as a child as a health aid (Seventh Day Adventists were really into health food and colon-cleansing and the like) and it was probably an unpleasant experience, but that’s not abuse. Mattie defecating on lawns? Mattie indulging in “lesbian orgies” with local girls? Never happened. In Nathans’s view they never happened because there was no witnesses and nobody ever said or did anything about it. Obviously Nathan doesn’t know anything about the inertia and apathy of small towns. Freqently sordid, illegal goings-on occur in small towns and nobody does a thing about it and people pretend not to notice. So just because nobody yelled from the rooftops “Mattie Masons takes dumps on lawns!” doesn’t mean it couldn’t have happened. Same with the sexual misconduct; child molestation and illicit sex happens in small towns, even pious ones, and it’s quite often ignored and disregarded…
    … Debbie Nathan is biased and full of hatred towards the subjects of this book. You can’t trust an author like that. I certainly don’t. This is a very BAD book.

    Other readers like the book.

  3. Still a long way to go. Why are sexual offenses considered as serious as they are?

    One that’s been on my mind lately is rape, although it could be any of a number of related ones. In what other area of human endeavor is something that people commonly do for enjoyment thought of as such a severe imposition when it occurs under circumstances not entirely to the participants’ liking? I’m not saying it shouldn’t be seen as a bad thing or a crime, but that bad a thing, that severe a crime?

    1. For example, most people like to listen to music. Now suppose someone plays for you music of a kind you don’t like and at a time when it’s distracting you, for instance when you’re trying to get to sleep. OK, it’s a bad thing and could be considered a kind of harassment, nuisance, whatever — the sort of thing that if it’s punished legally, it’d be with a fine, probably. Now consider how much more severely rape is reprimanded and penalized. It just seems disproportionate.

      1. Let’s do an experiment. Let’s have Robert be raped and then see how he feels about it afterwards. Felony or misdemeanor?

        1. Well, that depends on whether it’s the kind of intercourse I’d normally enjoy or not. If not, then how much worse could it be than a rectal exam?

          1. You most likely get to consent to a rectal exam. Aside from that are you trying to say that punishment for rape should be based on whether a person normally enjoys that type of sex? So a woman who loves anal can’t be anally raped? But that same woman can be vaginally raped?

            1. You haven’t been to an airport.

          2. I’ll assume good faith that you’re not trolling, but you’ve just read too many “X of Gor” novels.

            As folks concerned with liberty, rape is seen as a violation of the principle of self-ownership. One owns one’s body, and the use of coercive force against to control one’s body is seen as immoral.

            Furthermore, since one owns one’s body, they also control the feelings produced by their body. I have no right to inflict an unpleasant sensation upon you without your consent.

            1. Of course it’s a wrong. But my question is how wrong, or how much wrong? Would you agree that stealing a pack of chewing gum is not as bad as stealing luggage, which in turn is not as bad as stealing a car, etc. In those cases we can measure the harm by the money value of the items, although there could be the add’l harm of inconvenience depending on the circumstances, or sentimental value of something in the car or luggage, and other factors.

              Rape is something considered really awfully bad, like akin to a severe beating that would cause a lot of pain & some disability. But when I look at it objectively, it doesn’t seem that it could be all that bad physically, and so the great majority of the harm must be from the equivalent of the sentimental value of an item lost or destroyed in the luggage theft, etc. And of that sentimental value, it would seem to come largely, maybe close to entirely, from cultural expectations — the same acculturation by which we tend to make sex “good-bad”, as Alan Watts said (attributing it to someone else I’ve forgotten). In other words, if it weren’t for the “bad” side of sexual activity as we’ve come to see it, rape probably wouldn’t be considered that severe a crime.

              1. You’re neglecting the part where sticking a penis or penis-shaped object into an unlubricated orifice causes intense pain, tearing of membranes, and many times severe bleeding. Add that to the force needed to hold someone down in place to do that.

                1. Comparing rape to the loss of a personal belongings.

                  Like I said, this is the worst thread ever.

                2. Why does that not affect normal intercourse?

                  1. Are you serious?

                  2. Are you serious?

              2. Write, so all those women who were traumatized by rape were just told by culture to be traumatized.

          3. Well, that depends on whether it’s the kind of intercourse I’d normally enjoy or not. If not, then how much worse could it be than a rectal exam?

            Better or worse have nothing to do with it. In the common law, battery is an intentional, unlawful, use of force that results in harmful or offensive contact. So if you intentionally, without another person’s permission or legal privilege, touch them or penetrate their orifices, in a manner that results in harm or the community at large finds offensive, then you have “battered” them for the sake of argument. Battery can be either a misdemeanor or a felony, depending on the facts. Given the particularly heinous nature of forcibly penetrating someone else, rape is appropriately designated as a felony.

            1. That’s what I’m asking: Why is that type of battery considered particularly heinous in nature?

              1. Why is that type of battery considered particularly heinous in nature?

                forcibly penetrating someone else

                Surprise buttsecks is only funny on the internet.

              2. Here’s an experiment: Get yourself thrown in prison and drop the soap. Then you can see why?

      2. This is worse than T o n y’s “democratic slavery”

        Gaddafi’s opinion is broom handles hurt. Just like your “philosophical” musing hurts my brain.

        What was that word for people who have a severe lack empathy… oh yeah, Sociopaths.

    2. Specifically what I’m wondering is how much of the adverse feeling someone has being raped is intrinsic to the action itself, and how much a result of acculturation. That is, do rape victims react so negatively because they don’t like the feeling or because they’ve just been told that it’s a horrible thing?

      1. No offense, but do you have Asperger’s Syndrome or something?


        1. No, I just like to ask fundamental questions that might not come up elsewhere.

          1. These are not “fundamental” questions. They are pretty fucking stupid, actually.

          2. No, you’re just either dense beyond comprehension or being purposefully obtuse.

            It’s not a fundamental question to normal people because most people that aren’t you can muster up the empathy to understand how horrible it is to be made powerless and humiliated by some lowlife scumbag.

            Maybe one of your relatives will be raped one day and you can comfort her with word like, “Well, it can’t be worse than a guy gettin’ a butt exam? Just askin’ questions here, jeeze! AMIRITE, or AMIRITE!?”

          3. If a female is inpregenated by someone who has no loyalty to her, who will provide no resources to her, who might have genetic problems, that is a big deal evolutionarily.

        2. He should read The Origion of the Species by Charles Darwin. It would explain it in terms he could understand.

          1. This is the worst thread ever. Robert comes in asking why rape is so bad. He then compares serious sexual assault to someone playing annoying music he doesn’t like and wonders if, maybe just maybe, women don’t actually hate being raped but just THINK they hate being raped because of society.

            Then American comes in and claims rape is only bad for retarded evolutionary reasons while ignoring the pain and suffering of the woman.

            This is why people think libertarians are autistic.

            1. Do these guys qualify as libertarians?

              1. American likes to rap himself in pseudo-libertarian rhetoric to justify his big government ideas. Basically, anyone who might not vote for small government or might take welfare money should have their rights removed or be cowed into submission.

                He’s basically the Libertarian fascist that liberals keep claiming the rest of us are. I don’t know about Robert though.

                1. I meant ‘wrap.’ Spelling is our friend.

              2. Do these guys qualify as libertarians?

                Jury is hung. They hung themselves. With rope.

            2. “Then American comes in and claims rape is only bad for retarded evolutionary reasons while ignoring the pain and suffering of the woman.”
              Evolutionary reasons are the cause of the pain and suffering of the woman. I was saying that because Robert is autistic, evolutionary reasons are the only things he’ll understand. It’s called irony. Not being able to understand it is one of the symptoms of autism, BTW.

              1. was saying that because Robert is autistic

                Why do people keep saying things like this as if they have anything to do at all with dumbass comments? If it did, you’d probably be the most “autistic” (read: stupid) in this thread.

                1. Why do people keep saying things like this as if they have anything to do at all with dumbass comments? If it did, you’d probably be the most “autistic” (read: stupid) in this thread.

                  Because Asperger’s Syndrome is a form of high functioning autism where the person lacks empathy and emotional connection with the people around him. Robert could very well be autistic, if he regularly contemplates such obvious truisms with such difficulty.


        2. Not troll; probably another GOP candidate for Senator.

          1. Ron Paul is pro-life. He get’s a pass. Where can I get a pass for being against the mass immigration of third-world socialists?

            1. What about socialist fetuses, can we abort them?

              1. +1000000

                Heller really cut right to the heart of American’s worldview with that one.

                1. Heller is pro life regarding his life.

            2. There is a legitimate disagreement amongst libertarians on abortion because the libertarian position can differ depending on whether or not you view the fetus as human and thus deserving of human rights.

              There really isn’t a legitimate disagreement amongst libertarians on immigrations. It’s one of the bright lines of libertarianism; you really can’t call yourself a libertarian if you are against it. The only real argument there is if we should allow unfettered immigration before or after we dispose of the welfare state, and that one is mostly tactical rather than strategic.

              Also, you’ve proven yourself to be a xenophobic, racist asshole. Those are also not libertarian traits, as they are inherently collectivist positions.

              1. I’m not a libertarian but I agree with some of their ideas. Can I keep posting on this website?

                1. Yes. To do so would be you exercising your First Amendment right. To limit that right while NOT violating the civil rights of others goes against the Libertarian belief.

                  While I don’t believe in flag burning, I will fight for your right to do so. But, if you decide to burn a flag in a VFW or American Legion post, I will feel no sympathy if you complain about getting a bloody nose.

                  1. While I don’t believe in flag burning, I will fight for your right to do so. But, if you decide to burn a flag in a VFW or American Legion post, I will feel no sympathy if you complain about getting the worst beating of your entire life.


              2. Oh, it is a human.
                Has anyone (PERSON) ever birthed a dog?

                You are mistaking the “Personhood” argument with HUMAN.

            3. As soon as all the national bigots leave.

    3. It is. If it happens to you all of your puzzlement will evaporate.

      1. Isn’t that a problem, then? How do you convince someone else of the intensity of a feeling that only you have? I suppose we could go by revealed preference, but that’d be a tough experiment to do. You’d have to get a sufficiently sized panel of subjects and then see how much money they’d take in return for various insults, and then you could scale rape appropriately vs. the others according to the avg.

    4. Hunting is something people commonly do for enjoyment. Is hunting the most dangerous game* not that bad?


    5. “OK, so this is something you’ve gone out of your way to do many times over the course of many years, including some very recently. But this time you had it done involuntarily and you say that opposed to all those other times, this time it was horrible. And you’re saying your damages are HOW much? [snicker]”

      1. The sex that occurs between two or more people in a loving relationship is not equivalent to the physical actions that take place during a violent rape.

        But you knew that already, right?

        1. This would be like arguing that punching a boxer in the face outside of the ring should be okay because there are times when he’s punched in the face as part of his job. No, rape is not like normal sex.

          1. One of my friends was raped during her senior year in college, and here’s the effect it had on me: If it happened again and I caught whoever was responsible, I’d empty every magazine I own into the fucker’s face before the cops showed up to stop me.

            That people are making these mind-fuckingly retarded, loathsome arguments is just unbelievable.

            1. Face is too quick. Shoot him in the rectum. Slow bleedout, according to at least one mob movie I saw.

              1. You’re both wrong. Give him a few pops between the legs. Leave him alive to suffer.

          2. But a punch hurts. Physically.

            See if you can convince me that the same action of sexual intercourse hurts physically under one circumstance and not under another.

            1. You cannot possibly be serious with this shit can you?

        2. What about the sex that occurs between 2 or more people in a commercial relationship? It’s one thing to compare a violent relationship to a loving one, but why not a more realistic comparison to a neutral one?

          1. Still consensual you obtuse shithead.

            1. Your focus on consensual vs. non-consensual is blinding you to all other considerations. Lots of things may be done to you non-consensually. Some are a little bad, others moderately bad, still others severely bad. Does not the degree of badness ever matter to you?

              Above someone brought up the difference between sex between lovers and sex between rapists and rapees. And I replied that physically the intercourse must be about the same, so the only difference is in sentiment. (You know, as in drug, set, and setting?) Let’s not compare the rape on the basis of absence of positive sentiment, but rather vs. no sentiment at all, i.e. the commercial case. Now do you understand?

      2. You need a crash course in human emotion and sexual selection. You think sex is just a recreational thing? It’s about reproduction, it’s an expression of love.(well, it used to be)

        1. It may be all sorts of things under different circumstances. That doesn’t tell me why rape is criticized as severely as it commonly is. Usually hurting someone’s feelings isn’t taken so severely, but in this case it is. So why?

    6. Rape is one of those crimes where prison is the actually lenient sentence. Let me put it this way: If someone were to rape my sister, I pray that the police get to that person first, because the revenge I, or any other normal human being (a category you clearly do not fall in Robert) would enact would make the people running the Spanish Inquisition go, “I think maybe you went a little far there, buddy.”

    7. The long term psychological damage of being raped is well documented in medical science. It destroys a persons ability to form meaningful relationships and leads to deep depression that needs years of therapy to get over. It basically takes a person out of society and stops them from functioning properly perhaps the rest of their lives.

  4. Hefner vs. Buckley debate on youtube.

    Stimulating or tedious? You decide!

  5. I started to read the article, but suspected it was going to piss me off.

    I own me. I will decide what goes in my body and whose body I will screw, when, where, how often and how.( I am an old guy so three or four times a day is all I can manage anymore) It just isnt up for discussion. I dont give a damn if it is in the bill of rights or not.

    If I were to make an argument it would go something like this;
    Sex is a non-verbal means of expressing affection. There, it is a form of speech. Now fuck off and keep your nose out of my bedroom.

    1. “If I were to make an argument it would go something like this;…”

      I’ll try a different one: So long as there is no force (or children) involved, it’s nobody’s business what I do with my body.
      It doesn’t have to be included in the enumerated freedoms at all.

      1. “Heroes and Villains of the Westward Expansion”

        Would you add disease?

        1. Oops, let me try that again:

          “So long as there is no force (or children) involved”

          Would you add disease?

          1. Suffice that anyone who knowingly infects another, even with a cold, deserves a particularly warm place in hell.

        2. +1 Smallpox-infected blanket

          1. I seem to recall hearing that the “deliberate smallpox-blanket” story may be factitious. Anyone able to clarify?

            1. I always thought that particularly story was a bit sinister and contrived. Why go through the trouble of amassing blankets from dead people when you have perfectly good powder and shot on hand?

              Then again, the English also thought A Modest Proposal was Serious Business.

              1. Smallpox and other diseases wiped out most of the Native population of the Americas. It was not a deliberate act by Europeans.

                You can find plenty of Native American activists, practitioners of identity politics, and haters of Western Civilization who try to present it as an act genocide. This is commonly taught in schools and is a widely held belief among the general public.

                1. Smallpox and other diseases wiped out most of the Native population of the Americas. It was not a deliberate act by Europeans.

                  Pretty much. Even if it was tried, it would be damn near impossible to tell if the blankets were the source or not. It’d be just as likely that they picked it up from some traders from the next village over. There was absolutely no way for the Europeans at that time to control the spread of the disease one way or another; even if there had been entirely peaceful contact between the two groups and no fighting, the result would have been the same.

                  1. Those traders traded blankets, but before doing so traded other things in those blankets on a cold, lonely night.

    2. What are you responding to?

      It is quite obvious you didn’t read the article.

    3. You may think that, but how do you convince a judge?

      1. LOL, you’re the one that needs to convince a judge, idiot. Good luck with that.

        1. The whole point of the article was that many people have had to convince many judges over time in order for these judgments to have changed. Just saying it didn’t convince anyone.

    1. Here in Czechia, you have to have Govnm’t approval to name your kid. My kid, Liam, wasn’t in the Big Book of approved names and they were about to tell us no (which is the default) then my wife told them to look under William, and they found it as an Irish variation. If the name you want isn’t in the Big Book there’s one official you have to go begging to, apparently, and probably bribe. Heard about this second hand from a Spaniard who wanted to give his kid all those family names they do, none of which were in the Big Book, of course.

      1. That sounds like a chapter that was cut from The Castle.

        1. As a friend of mine used to say, people who’ve never lived here think that Kafka was a surrealist. He was just documenting reality.

      2. This stands the chance to be amusing.
        I’d be happy to go see that particular bureaucrat and explain I’d like to name my kid Fuck You. And if /she didn’t like that one, how about Up Yours?

      3. That’s actually the rule in several countries.

        But think about it: Should you be allowed to inflict on a child any name you want? How would you like to grow up as Shit Eater Smith?

        1. First you ask “fundamental questions” about rape and then downthread suggest that government should have a role in naming children…..

          No, parents should have the right to name their children. No, government has no fucking business in the affair.

          Why? Fuck you, that’s why.

          1. What else should parents be allowed to do to “their” children? (“Their” in the sense of relationship, not ownership.) Is it not possible that naming a child could be an act of cruelty, depending on the name and the customs of the time & place?

            Then why do you think this is the law in some countries? Do you think the masters just think up ways to fuck with the people under them?

            1. Fuck you, that’s why.

        2. The problem is not naming your child Shit Eater Smith. The problem is having people in society who would name their child Shit Eater Smith.

          1. Well, duh, you could just as well say the problem is not crime, it’s criminals. Or that the problem is not disease, it’s sick people.

    2. I recall a case from Florida in which an unfortunate name choice saved a violent criminal from the electric chair. The jury sentenced the defendant to death but the judge commuted the sentence to life in prison w/o possibility of parole for Adolph Hitler Clark.

  6. Notice how sexual “freedom” increasing corresponds to all other types of freedom decreasing. With sexual “freedom,” we have a huge increase in out-of wedlock births, leading directly to demand for a big government to replce the father. We have half our population saying the institution of the family is “oppresive” and wanting to replace it with the state. Single mothers are never going to vote for libertarianism. The government is going to provide them with free birth control, free abortion, welfare, food stamps, free babysitting, ect, and they will then be aloud to have the “sexual freedom” to fuck whoever they want without any consequences, without having to ask him to do anything. Not even sexual freedom is safe from sexual “freedom.” Prostitution is illegal now, back in Baldwin’s time it was legal, because feminists, who want sex from men, hate competition. Baldwin was, BTW, an open communist. I’m not saying we should legislate morality. But we should be condemming sexual libertinism as it is incompatable with libertarianism. Individual responsibility doesn’t stop in the bedroom.

    1. I’m not saying we should legislate morality. But we should be condemming sexual libertinism as it is incompatable with libertarianism. Individual responsibility doesn’t stop in the bedroom.

      You seem to assume that libertarianism is a monolith, but it isn’t. Yes, your argument is textbook Rothbardian/LvMI paleolibertarianism, but freedom comes in many flavors. The paleos make some good points about how a morality of self-reliance and individual responsibility builds a culture of liberty; however, said culture of liberty, by definition, includes the freedom of certain individuals to be “libertines”.

      If you truly believe that we shouldn’t legislate morality, then you and I have no quarrel; however, I do not agree that cultural conservatism is a prerequisite for libertarianism.

      1. People should be free to misebehave, pretty much up to the point where it infringes the rights of others to be likewise free. (I would allow a few exceptions, but this is the basic principle).

        This way, as people choose to behave well, it’s not because the govt forced them to it but because they voluntarily chose the best path (hopefully with encouragement from family, church, community, HOA, etc.) This is beneficial to liberty because the habits therin cultivated make people primed to defend their liberty and that of others, seeing as they do the link between liberty and responsibility.

        And I have no problem discussing *collective liberty* in the context of the aformementioned voluntary associations – churches, etc. Much of the current threats to liberty is from the government violating the collective liberty of voluntary associations – eg, the HHS mandate.

        1. The Righteous Mind, by Jonathan Haidt provides some profound insight on this issue. Cannot recommend highly enough.

    2. Correlation doesn’t equal causation

      1. I think I made a fairly good point about why there is causation there. Our sexual libertine society has a track record of leading to divorce, gender hatred, and single parenthood. While one could imagine a sexual liberine society that doesn’t, such a thing hasn’t been tried. This would not happen. in a society with traditional values. These things lead fairly clearly toward socialism. Women are left to raise their children wihout any help from the man. They cannot be entrepenuers and “build that.” They want government to take care of them, and that’s why they vote for socialism.

        1. While one could imagine a sexual liberine society that doesn’t, such a thing hasn’t been tried.

          How do you explain prostitution in America up until its outlawry ~1900? Even if denounced by mainstream press and polite society, brothels and promiscuity abounded

          How do you explain the increase in porn consumption and legalized prostitution in other countries today, that are also financially better off, with relatively higher economic freedom, without single mothers and exploding children out of wedlock births? This point alone would disprove your assertion of promiscuity causing the variety of ills

          1. Why can’t women be entrepreneurs? You keep trying to claim that your obsession with sexual freedom isn’t sexist, but you claim women are somehow incapable of starting a business or being entrepreneurs without a man around.

            The other day you literally said that you feel that a man should claim ‘ownership’ over his girlfriend or wife. How can you claim that this isn’t a virulently sexist way of looking at the world?

            1. Have you ever raised four kids with no help, and managed to build a buisness? Do you know anyone who has. Most buisnesses are run by men, childless women, and married women, in that order. Unless you’re making enogh to put your kids in daycare, which is impossible for the vast majority of single mothers, building a buisness will be damn near impossible. If realizing that is “sexist,” then the vast majority of women are sexist. As for the “ownership” thing, I was being ironic. You said I should let my girlfriend watch porn because I don’t ‘own’ her. I said why stop there? Why not let her fuck whoever she wants? Liberals tend to get really angry over poorly defined words. What is the nature of your relationship with your significant other?

          2. America circa 1900 was a sexually libertine society? Good to know. Only a handfull of other countries have higher economic freedom than the U.S. I knew a guy from Hong Kong, and although pornography is consumed there, it is anything but sexually libertine.

            1. Given the easy availability of prostitutes in both the US and Europe in 1900, and given the freaky porn that was emerging at the time, hell yes we were libertine.

              Seriously, the Victorians were into kinky shit, you historically illiterate ignoramus.

              1. American claims that sexual libertinism causes a lack of sexual libertinism. Therefore he wins regardless of the example.

                1. I see it as more than a black and white world. There were sexual libertines back in the vitorian age. That doesn’t make the era sexually libertine. For the vast majority, traditional morality was the rule. Even for those who engaged in prostitution, it was a shamefull thing.

                  1. The Victorians and Edwardians were masters at separating the public and private spheres.

                    Publicly, yes, it was all very buttoned down.

                    Privately, not so much, no indeedy.

                    The loss of that separation between public and private is the root of our current cancerous Total State.

        2. We all know that those sexually repressive societies of the Middle East are just bastions of freedom right?

      2. Correlation doesn’t equal causation

        Cool argument, bro. Turns out that you’re an idiot.

        1. Great argument there fecal matter. Really enlightened me with that comment

    3. But we should be condemming sexual libertinism as it is incompatable with libertarianism.

      That’s absurd and to say that’s it incompatible is patently illogical. In fact many of the hardcore libertarians, including ancaps, I notice today have no hangups about sexually liberal mores.

      1. Dude, don’t even try. American bases his opinions of who should have freedom based entirely on whether or not they’re likely to vote in the way he wants them to.

        1. I don’t see how this has anything to do with “freedom.” If there are behaviors that will lead to bad outcomes, which will lead to voting for socialism then yes, I will condemn them.

          1. If there are behaviors that I don’t like (and everything I don’t like leads to socialism), I will claim it has nothing to do with freedom.


            1. Look up the rate of single parent support for Obama.

          2. Decisions that lead to bad outcomes? Decisions that need to be made by Top Men?

      2. Yes, there are. An individual being a sexual libertine is not incompatable with being a libertarain. But, for the society as a whole, sexual libertinism is incompatable with libertarianism. But for the general society, sexual libertinism would not work. The reason is simple. Women require men to help them take care of the children. Without men, we see our current welfare state. Without societal pressure, men would(and do) simply run away from their responsibilities.

        1. I didn’t think anyone could top Robert but this is close.

          1. ‘Women require men to take care of them.’

            You are sexist as all hell. You claim you care about out of wedlock births, but you really just want women to stay in the kitchen, don’t you? It really is an issue of social control and you’re just trying to couch it in Libertarian terms so people don’t call you it.

            1. ‘Women require men to take care of them.’
              Your words, not mine.

              1. Yeah, I fucked that up. For some reason I thought you said that, when actually you said women need men to take care of the children, which is a valid argument.

                Still, you’ve argued in the past that you own your girlfriend and that women cannot be entrepreneurs. I don’t feel too bad about misquoting one of your sexist comments when there are so many to choose from.

        2. As Milton Friedman once said, “Society has no values, only people have values.”

          Fuck off, collectivist retard.

          1. Bullshit. Milton Friedman never said that. Societies do have values. Anyone who has lived in one knows that.

            1. He sure did! The quote was pulled from the last episode of his video series Free to Choose and, in my humble opinion, is perfectly apt. Friedman understood that personal morality, outside of one’s interference in the lives of others, is best left up to the individual. So, yes, please fuck off.

            2. Milton Friedman never said that.

              Wrong, retard:


    4. If the government provided free birth control think of all the money it would save on free abortions, welfare, foodstamps, childcare and schooling.

  7. It’s like we won the troll lottery, or something.

  8. I really hope Robert is just trolling (which I think he is). I had to reread his first comment three or four times because it was so stupid

    1. Click on his name and read his ideas on how to fix baseball and get back to us.

      1. Are you kidding? You obviously didn’t read his post about his patented bubble bath liquid that reduces the odds of irritating a urethra or vagina.

        He mentions that one of his friends used it to masturbate. He mentions this in a sales pitch meant to get you to buy some of it.

        There are no words.

        1. How would you pitch such an invention?

          The baseball thing was written before I thought of adding a 5th base and making the field a pentagon with fair ground in a 102 deg angle rather than 90.

          1. hahahahahaAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA +1 because you aren’t even self aware.

    2. I can understand some of that sentiment, as incredulous as others react, from the disproportionate punishment side.

      The problem is all crime today is defined as a crime against the state. It’s not based on restitution for and controlled by the victim, where one loses rights to the extent of the violation of others and have reconstituted to the same degree (or something equivalently negotiable) for the victim.

      Why is everyone, including the victim, paying for the criminal’s incarceration? And yet even after a long time, he can’t come out “clean”. He’s basically condemned forever, which disincentives a straight life, especially for the desperate.

      Take for example, boyfriend and girlfriend who’s been together. I’ve read one girl’s journal at the center of a feminist clusterfuck about her time being drunk then having sex at the insistence of her boyfriend at the time even though she didn’t want to. There was an argument and she resolved it but all the others were pushing for her to charge him with rape.

      I’m not saying the boyfriend was perfectly innocent at all. However there is always variation in degree. Let’s say she did go along with the others. He would have been totally, utterly fucked–by law–for what would have been a small transgression, a slip of interpersonal judgement at the time, resolvable between them

      Of course, “rape” laws get even more ridiculous in places like Sweden

      1. I agree, but that’s not what Robert was talking about.

        1. Yeah. I am all for admitting that there are murky cases where the issue of consent is unclear, and there is probably going to be no way to prove beyond a reasonable doubt.

          Hell, we just had a discussion about such a case involving a Mizzou basketball player in the evening links.

          That being said, the idea that rape isn’t that bad, and it’s just some crazy cultural creation, is fucking absurd.

        2. I’m talking about how we figure out the relative degree of badness of various condemned acts. Seems to me this is one area in which the suspicion that sexual activity is a bad thing per se has spilled over into affecting the degree of punishment, or severity of condemnation, of violations related thereto. Like the way an assault is considered especially heinous if done for “discriminatory” reasons, like if it’s accompanied by hate speech.

          Would you think justice was done if we got all drugs legalized for recreational use, but penalized driving under their influence to a degree comparable to vehicular manslaughter? It seems to me that’s the point we’re at regarding sexual activity. Most forms of voluntary sexual activity are now thought to be OK, but violations are still punished overly severely, and the presumption in the case of sexual behavior with children seems to be irrebutably that it is not voluntary. And even that prostitution is assumed to be something that’s not really voluntary.

          1. Sexual assault offenses are punished as violent crimes, which is what rape is shithead. Violent crimes have severe punishments shithead.

            And even that prostitution is assumed to be something that’s not really voluntary.


            This is not the assumption legally (and never has been) and it’s only the assumption morally among the Amanda Marcotte’s of the world who think all hetero sexual congress is “rapey” by definition.

            Even in sex trafficking cases, the “John” is not prosecuted for a felony unless the sex act itself is felonious (as in occurring with a child).

            1. Bjut that assumption is one of the major factors keeping prostitution illegal.

            2. Not all violent crimes are punished to an equal severity.

              Also, some of the violence could be a matter of failure to mitigate damages.

              Third, not all rapes are violent. There are various ways intercourse can be taken as non-consensual.

              1. Third, not all rapes are violent. There are various ways intercourse can be taken as non-consensual.

                You don’t know what violence means.

      2. That’s rape in Sweden, another example of “sexual freedom” in action.

        1. Jesus, you sure are two note. Everything is bad because of sex and immigration. Places that control the sexual and migration conduct of the populace sure must be awesome, huh American!

          1. You only say that because of those mexican sex-midgets. If not for them you’d be an upstanding citizen.

          2. Because everyone knows that the richest people in the world are Mexican single mothers.

            1. It’s not American’s fault that he can only reply to criticism with non-sequiturs like “MEXICAN SINGLE MOTHER TAKE UR JERBS!”

              He was probably born stupid.

        2. another example of “sexual freedom” in action.

          Citation needed.

          1. Feminism isn’t very popular in Sweden?

            1. Is that supposed to be an argument?

              1. Feminism is popular than Sweden.

              2. Feminism promotes female sexual freedom.

              3. ???

              4. Sweden’s rape laws promote sexual freedom.

              Fill in the blanks, if you can.

              1. What are Sweden’s rape laws like?

  9. “Baldwin was a proponent of “free love,” believing that living a “creative life” required “many loves shared together openly, honestly, and joyously.” Like other women she knew, Doty agreed that her husband could have lovers, but she was reluctant to take her own. She became accidentally pregnant at least once by Baldwin. She managed to end the pregnancy, though it’s not clear how.”

    Yeah, that sounds like a happy, healthy relationship everyone should aspire to!

  10. Sounds like a solid plan to me dude. Wow

  11. Instead, lawmakers spent the windfall. From 2002 to 2007, overall spending rose 50 percent faster than inflation. Education spending increased almost 70 percent faster than inflation, even though the relative school-age population was falling. Medicaid and salaries for state workers rose almost twice as fast as inflation.

  12. it would seem to come largely, maybe close to entirely.

  13. Libertarians founded the ACLU and pushed it along with libertarian legal reforms that are the real source here. See http://www.Libertarian-Institute.Info

  14. The ACLU was a great organization for many long years. I was a card-carrying member. Nowadays, it’s the enforcer arm of the political correctness movement more often than not. Sad.

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