You may or may not remember Brattleboro, VT from the news last summer, but those crazy nudists are at it again – only as of this past Wednesday their actions are illegal. Yes, the town…or at least a few members of it…have banded together for an emergency ban against public nudity. The vote was close – 3 to 2 – and the ban is only in effect for 30 days, presumably until the desire to frollick in the buff (or the warm weather that allows said frollicking) cools off, at which point more substantial bans may be initiated.
The town is generally pretty accepting of different personalities, but I guess that free-wheelin’ attitude has gone too far. The straw that broke the camel’s back? From the Reuters article:
But many locals say it has gone too far. Some cite a case in which a senior citizen from Arizona strolled through the center of town wearing only a waist pack and sandals.
So, when the nude frollickers are teenagers it’s an annoyance, but when they’re old it’s offensive and needs to be outlawed. The kind people of Brattleboro are not living up to their slogan: “Where it can ALL happen!” Much like Bill Clinton’s confusion over the definition of “sex”, some of the townfolk must be confused over the meaning of “all”. I see public nudity as a type of free-speech – the nudist has the right to be nude, and members of society have the right to be offended. You can’t make a law against something just because it offends people! See John Stuart Mill’s “harm principal”. Thankfully, at least one member of the town is sane – says board member Dora Boubolis:
“I understand a lot of people find it uncomfortable to be faced with someone nude,” she said, but added, “We’re careful not to legislate morality.”
I’ll keep my fingers crossed that one day seniors will again be free to roam the streets of Brattleboro clad only in fanny-packs.