I find the Steubenville rape story very depressing and I don’t want to think about it, much less talk about it. I have to admit, though, that I wondered who would be the first conservative to say something insane and offensive about it. Turns out it’s one of my colleagues, Steve Landsberg of the University of Rochester Econ department:
Let’s suppose that you, or I, or someone we love, or someone we care about from afar, is raped while unconscious in a way that causes no direct physical harm — no injury, no pregnancy, no disease transmission. (Note: The Steubenville rape victim, according to all the accounts I’ve read, was not even aware that she’d been sexually assaulted until she learned about it from the Internet some days later.) Despite the lack of physical damage, we are shocked, appalled and horrified at the thought of being treated in this way, and suffer deep trauma as a result. Ought the law discourage such acts of rape? Should they be illegal?[…]
As long as I’m safely unconsious and therefore shielded from the costs of an assault, why shouldn’t the rest of the world (or more specifically my attackers) be allowed to reap the benefits?
Heh. (h/t Reader M, via)
Update. From Landsberg’s comments:
We have jumped the shark. I will never understand why so many libertarians gravitate toward hypothetical examples involving rape. Note to libertarians everywhere: stop using hypothetical rape to argue a point. It only serves to turn people off of the entire discussion.