Where two or three are gathered together, there is public morality. It was an interesting assertion, which I will hereby declare to be a tacit fact, when, over at Euvoluntary Exchange, Samuel Wilson wrote concerning the amateur practice of BDSM (with relation to 50 Shades of Grey, of course), “…expert spanking advice for consenting adults” [emphasis added].
Our laws have not caught up to our public morality, such as it is. There are still swaths of our society fighting to maintain certain moral institutions, especially those governing human sexuality, but the writing is on the wall. We get it: morality is a social construct, and you can’t impose your morality on me. Never truer words, etc.
Let’s draw some lines, shall we, just to stretch a little bit. Let’s say the age of consent is 25 years old; artificially high, I know, but even so, with respect to sex, are we willing to give over public morality entirely to them who are merely old enough to consent with each other that the exchange which is about to occur between the two or three of them is approaching euvoluntary? In practice, yes, we most certainly are; is it wise to do so? Those who are a little older, and a little worse for the wear, might chafe a little, rubbing some callused sores which might be useful toward the instruction of the young. That is, one might be exchanging enduring personal happiness in the long run for a brief, hot blast of happiness in the moment. Risks, rewards.
On the one hand, on the free market of exchange, we learn very quickly what is prudent and what is not prudent. On the other hand, the expense for learning prudence can be very high for the individuals who become teaching moments for the rest of us, that is, contracting diseases, dying accidentally, unwanted pregnancy, etc., to speak nothing of the vast emotional world opened up in sexual activity.
I’ll make an assertion, then quickly back away from it: public morality, though discriminatory, is intended to be for the public good. I suppose that the overseers of public morality have a habit of not only discriminating against classes of human beings, but also robbing them of dignity in the process of doing so.
Perhaps public morality is best left to private institutions, as long as they are allowed to participate in the agora, calling out wisdom in the marketplace with sweet talk, beckoning market-goers in an invitation to find rest and comfort in age-old wisdom behind their doors, coddled by discipline, instructed by canon toward the goal of long-lasting happiness and bliss.
Otherwise, let freedom spank.