Thursday, January 15, 2015

Bouncing photons and claiming them as your property

You don't own the photons which have bounced off you you. Not even if someone else captures them digitally. Sorry if that upsets you.

Yes, I understand if you are upset that someone took an "upskirt" photo of you. He (or she) acted like a jerk. But you weren't touched in any way, nor were you coerced into changing anything you were doing. You have not been stolen from nor aggressed against. Call the photographer names if you want, but if you use (or threaten) force against him (or her) you are the one initiating force.

This all started over a photo someone posted in a non-libertarian Facebook group. The photo showed a woman hanging from an overhead rail on "public transportation". She was looking right at the photographer, but her panties were showing. Panties are clothes, not "nudity", by the way. She was obviously having fun, and it looked to me as though she was enjoying the attention she was getting.

People in the group started getting all twitchy, asking the person who posted the photo whether he had gotten her consent to post the photo, comparing it to a secretly captured "upskirt" photo, and having conniptions that not everyone was as offended as they thought they should be. It got stupid fast. Then it went totally insane with name-calling from all sides, and multiple threats to "report" the picture. Soon, the administrators (who I have seen act cowardly in several other instances) took down the photo and threatened to ban anyone who even mentioned the incident again.

(I agree they have the right to run "their page" however they want, within Facebook's terms of service, including doing this- that's not the issue here.)

I am all for consent. I think every human interaction should be consensual or not at all. I also think it would be nice if he asked to take the photo, and if she consented, then asked whether it was OK to post it online.

But, if you are in public you have no right to not be seen or photographed. You don't control how someone intercepts the photons bouncing off of you. 

Which could be good, because if you did own those photons, then you would be responsible if they caused "harm" to someone. And, although The State does actually pretend that's a "thing" ("indecent exposure", displaying the digitus impudicus toward cops and other verminous State employees, etc.) and will find ways to punish you for "your" photons, but that's just because the State needs as many made-up reasons to punish as many people as possible.

Witnessing that offensensitivity meltdown also showed me that no matter how petty and bickering liberty-lovers can get, the non-libertarians out there can be so much worse. Without even noticing what morons they are being.