They may take our lives. But they will never take our yoga pants!
This past Tuesday, Montana state Rep. David Moore introduced an indecent exposure bill which would include “garments that give the appearance of a person’s buttocks, genitals, pelvis or female nipple.” He stated afterwards that, “Yoga pants should be illegal in public anyway,” a statement that Moore has now claimed was a joke. He further claimed that he would not take issue with people being arrested for wearing overly provocative clothing, such as tight-fitting beige garments.The House Judiciary Committee voted unanimously on Wednesday to table the bill. Currently, three convictions of indecent exposure in Montana can result in sentences of life in jail and up to $10,000 in fines.
Yoga pants have become incredibly popular over the past five years. Up until now, they may have been one of the least polarizing topics in all of the US. They are comfortable for women and quite aesthetically pleasing for men. It is fair to say that in the unlikely event that such a bill were to pass, it would not bode well for the re-election odds of those who voted in favor. No matter how “libertarian” one may or may not consider him or herself to be, it is fair to say that proposals like these are able to illicit visceral reactions from nearly everyone against such government paternalism.
As libertarians, we can use this more simple and understandable issue to draw parallels to other modern-day political topics. How is there any real difference between government telling people what they can wear and what they can eat, as the FDA does? How is it any different from mandating approval for consumption of certain drugs, like birth control and Sudafed, and in other cases prohibiting certain drugs altogether? Examining even further, how is policing of wardrobes any different from restricting how much of one’s own pay is actually issued to that worker, through automatic withholding?
It may seem far-fetched to connect all of these concepts, but through American culture, we all have a certain desire for liberty. It is for this reason that the concept of “liberty” is so often a theme on political campaigns, either implicitly or explicitly. While what happens after elections is a completely separate matter, politicians generally know that “liberty” wins votes.
Conservatives attempt to make their battle-cry for liberty mostly on the economic front. Liberals make the same kinds of liberty-driven arguments when discussing social issues. However, both sides seem to be absolutely blind in regard to any violations of liberty which do not fit neatly inside of their agendas. Conservatives see no issues in attempting to enforce their own moral standards upon society. Liberals have no problem demonizing the rich and using the force of government to punish them.
This attempted regulation of yoga pants gives us a perfect example of government overreach, and while these issues may at first glance seem silly and trivial, it is topics like these that can serve as a battle-cry for liberty and a segue into more pressing and serious matters concerning what kind of input our government has on how we live our lives. Yoga pants are something we can physically see every day. We can observe how this wonderful piece of free market ingenuity has positively affected the lives of millions. We don’t need the government to step in to tell us that we are wrong in our initial feelings and reactions. We need the government to perform the limited functions it is actually supposed to in a more effective manner and leave the rest of us alone to live our lives as we wish, so long as we are not infringing upon the rights of others to do the same.