Virginia outlaws low-riding pants
From Techcentralstation (Feb 10),"The Coming Boxer Rebellion" by Max Borders:
The acerbic media, who quickly dubbed the rule the "droopy drawers" law, has managed to catch the state of Virginia with its pants down. Despite international mockery, violators will nevertheless be fined $50 if they're caught exposing their underwear in a fashion considered lewd by police. The law is destined to become another in a long list of "crazy laws still on the books" that fill pages of toilet-reading glossies everywhere. You know: it's still a crime to sing out of key in North Carolina. Or, in Montana: it's illegal to have a sheep in the cab of your truck without a chaperone.This reminds me of all the "Fine $300 for littering signs" I encountered on some of the freeways in California (yes, they exist)--one really wonders how effectively they are enforced.Anyway, the writer voices his objection:
The droopy drawers law smacks of the same sort of paternalism that has backfired on the French in their efforts to stop Muslims from wearing Islamic headdress in school, or the nanny-state policies of the Brits who tried to ban "repetitive" music in order to stop raves. More importantly, such laws provide further, highly dubious forms of justification for what constitutes legitimate action by the state.With regards to the last bit, perhaps Max Borders might take a look at Singapore...wait, do we confirm his observations?
I can already hear the lamentations of certain conservatives: "All we're asking people to do is pull up their pants. What's the big deal?" The big deal is that catching a glimpse of someone's skivvies doesn't hurt you, but fining a kid in the 'hood $50 sure as hell hurts him and his family. Besides, as a tax-paying resident of the state of Virginia myself, I ask respectfully: what gives you the right to tell me how I can wear my britches?
Readers of this publication will not likely disagree about the aesthetic underpinnings of the underpants law. But we should all be very suspicious of the social, political and "moral" motivations for the law, as well as its consequences if it is enforced. Despite how ennobling wearing one's pants around one's waste can be, the government should not be in the business of providing statutory belts. Efforts to enforce cultural norms and to socially engineer matters of taste have a long, long history of failure. And places where such polices have succeeded are marked by legacies of abuse, subjection and tyranny.