Thursday, September 22, 2005

Pedophilia, non-Chic:

This post by Eugene Volokh about Justice Ginsburg and her support for lowering the age of consent to 12 brings to mind a past post of mine (which got cited by Andrew Sullivan), about the notion that we shouldn't be having sex until we are 18 (a norm, by the way, which I support; though I don't support draconian criminal punishments for behavior which seems to be entirely consensual and non-abusive), is what is "chic" and "modern."


Anonymous said...

Let's say that, during a discussion on how best to frame the new Iraqi government, Eugene Volokh were to write something like this:

"The Iraqis should get rid of the proposed constitution's unicameral legislature and strong central government and substitute a federal system embodying separation of powers patterned after the U.S. Constitution of 1787."

We would all understand perfectly what Volokh meant. Of course, one could point out that the Constitution clearly allowed for the continuation of slavery, defined slaves as 3/5 of a person, etc. But would anyone seriously argue on that basis that Volokh is "indeed on the record as having endorsed" slavery?

Sure they could--if they were out to smear him.

Of course, it's true that, in my hypothetical example, Volokh COULD have taken care to tell his readers he didn't want the Iraqi constitution to replicate the pro-slavery features of the U.S. Constitution. But why bother? In the absence of any evidence to the contrary, he would have a right to expect his words to be interpreted in accordance with the very reasonable assumption that he does not condone slavery.

I can understand why Graham would not extend a similar courtesy to Ginsberg. He's a partisan hack. But what is Volokh's excuse?

--David Mazel

Anonymous said...

I guess I should add that my post above needs to be read in conjunction with the post by Eugene Volokh linked to by Jonathan.