I have a slightly different take on
But I also think it's incredibly useful. You see, for years I've been railing and ranting about the ridiculous myth that liberalism is socially libertarian; that liberals are "live and let live" types simply defending themselves against judgmental conservatives, the real aggressors in the culture war.
That thinking runs counter to most everything liberals justifiably take pride in as liberals. You can't be "agents for change," "forces for progress," or whatever the current phrase, and simultaneously deny that you're the aggressors in the culture war. For instance, just in the last decade, liberals have redefined a millenniums-old understanding of marriage while talking as if it were conservatives who wanted to "impose" their values on the nation.
Most libertarians are surely against racial discrimination, sexism, poor eating habits, homophobia and so on. But their proposed remedies don't look anything like a liberal's. Libertarians, for the most part, do not favor racial or gender quotas. They're against banning big sodas, campus speech codes or forcing elderly nuns to pay for birth control coverage, among other things.
Liberals, meanwhile, are quite open about their desire to use the state to impose their morality on others. Many conservatives want to do likewise, of course. The difference is that when conservatives try to do it, liberals are quick to charge "theocracy!" and decry the Orwellian horror.
The incredible overreach of the law has been discussed at great length. Even the
This strikes me as extremely understated, but the sentiment is right. Some defenders of the law say it doesn't really matter because it will only have an effect when women accuse men of sexual assault. "The law has no bearing on the vast majority of sexual encounters," feminist writer
Never mind that it will also likely change the standard of proof in such situations, making it much easier to charge -- and administratively convict -- students of rape based solely on an allegation. Don't worry about false accusations, says Think Progress'
Other defenders insist that such concerns miss the point.
Maybe she's right (though I will never hear complaints that conservatives want to invade the bedroom the same way again). Friedman is almost surely right about some women some of the time. But as her colleague
The upshot of this defense is that the state is justified in regulating sex -- and "deprogramming" people -- because some feminist writers are convinced some people are doing it wrong. One doesn't have to take a position on that claim to wonder whether it's the government's place to tell people how to do it right, never mind insist that doing it wrong is synonymous with sexual assault.
And you don't need a Ph.D. in political philosophy to understand that there's nothing libertarian at all behind the effort.