I was directed by a friend to an article on LinkedIn a few weeks back that generally railed against the nanny state and all of the ridiculous laws we must endure intended to control every facet of our lives. While the article’s tone was a bit intense for my taste, I generally agreed with much of what the author had to say. We have an immense number of laws in this land, and every time there is an issue or perceived problem, people clamor for more to control or correct whatever the issue is.
Some of the more ludicrous laws of the land are from prior periods of history, and largely reflect the social mores of their day. Other more recent ones are sometimes based on the belief that the government knows more about how you should live your life than you do. Either way, laws very rarely get repealed. Once passed, it is as if they are etched in granite, and destined to live forever.
The article referred to several examples, one of which was a list of ludicrous laws from right here in my home state, Florida. I’ve got to be honest; they do seem a tad onerous, and fly in direct opposition to the state’s more recent post-pandemic reputation as the “Free State of Florida.” Nevertheless, I did mention that laws live forever, even farcical ones. That seems to hold true even here.
In Florida, or at least in some places in Florida, it is illegal to fart past 6 PM on Thursday. That makes no sense, since Taco Tuesday is on, well, Tuesday. It stands to reason that Wednesday should be the day with extra restrictions regarding the passing of wind. But the law is the law. If you find yourself flatulent in Florida on a Thursday afternoon, you’d best get it out of your system by 6:00. Literally.
Also in Florida, unmarried women may not parachute on a Sunday, it is illegal to sing in a public place while attired in a swimsuit, and showering naked is considered an offense. Men may not be seen publicly in any type of strapless gown. Fortunately, these days those men are now women, so there is a workaround. Having sex with a porcupine is also illegal in the Sunshine State. Given the prevalence of the “Florida Man” memes on social media, that law makes sense. We wouldn’t want to give those guys any ideas.
Of course, as I’ve written previously, “Florida Man” is a misnomer. He is actually a dude from Ohio who was awarded disability and then moved to Florida to do stupid crap. But I digress…
In Florida, as with many jurisdictions, it is the area of sex that seems to generate the most curious laws. Apparently, it is against the law here to kiss your wife’s breasts. Anyone else’s breasts are ostensibly fair game. Sex here, as in Washington, DC, must be by law in the missionary position.
As a side note, I now will have to explain to my wife why “States that require the missionary position for sexual intercourse” is now in my Google search history. I sacrifice so much for this job. I probably won’t be able to travel for the rest of the year.
In the state of Washington, there is a law against having sex with a virgin under any circumstances, even on her wedding night. I’m not sure how that works, but a lot of Washington mothers have some ‘splainin to do.
And in Nevada, it is illegal for any member of the state legislature to conduct official business wearing a penis costume while the legislature is in session. I wasn’t even aware that was a problem in the state. It is ironic to note that in DC legislators can actually BE enormous penises, but in Nevada, you can’t even dress like one.
The list of these laws goes on and on. You should Google it, although be warned you may not be able to travel for the rest of the year. You will no doubt believe that some of these arcane laws, especially those targeted at private behavior between consenting adults, should be repealed. The country could rise up in protest; sort of a “Free Willie” movement, if you get my drift.
Even the realm of workers’ compensation is not immune to this phenomenon. As I wrote way back in 2011 in the post “Ending Discrimination against Short Hoes,” the state of Arizona made the use of “short-handled hoes” illegal. Their prohibition was “based upon the existence of other practical and adequate alternatives to the use of these short-handle hoes.”
What would we do without the government to protect us from ourselves?
Unfortunately, as noted this trend is not just limited to the past. A bill before the Florida legislature this year would make it illegal for dogs to hang their head out the window of a moving vehicle. That bill is most emblematic of the issue at hand. Not every problem needs a law to control it, and indeed not every problem is an actual problem. We cannot legislate our way to a perfect society. Government should not be meddling in every corner of our lives.
Someone should pass a law to make them stop doing that.