An economics professor at the University of Rochester in New York has sparked controversy with his latest blog post, "Censorship, Environmentalism and Steubenville."
In his post, Professor Steven Landsburg asks readers to weigh three dilemmas. One of the dilemmas involves pornography, one has to do with environmental degradation but the third is quite different. The last part of Landsburg’s blog entry muses about the issues surrounding raping an unconscious person "in a way that causes no direct physical harm," a topic that has unsurprisingly drawn some criticism.
Landsburg links his thoughts on the subject to the recent Steubenville rape case, in which two high school football players were convicted of assaulting an intoxicated 16-year-old girl. Landsburg writes: "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?" The Steubenville victim had no memory of the incident.
The professor acknowledges that point. "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.”
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He adds: “It is, I think, a red herring to say that there’s something peculiarly sacred about the boundaries of our bodies. Every time someone on my street turns on a porch light, trillions of photons penetrate my body. They cause me no physical harm and therefore the law does nothing to restrain them. Even if those trillions of tiny penetrations caused me deep psychic distress, the law would continue to ignore them ... So for the issues we’re discussing here, bodily penetration does not seem to be in some sort of special protected category.”
This is not the first time Landsburg has been a part of a controversy, according to The Huffington Post. Landsburg prompted a "deeply disappointed" response from Rochester administration for applauding Rush Limbaugh on his stance that health insurance should not cover the cost of contraception back in 2012.