The Line Between Policy and Personal Freedom
An interesting article at The Daily Beast about Notre Dame freshman Justin Brent. The football player was photographed on a date with adult film star Lisa Ann. Apparently the two later ended up in bed. What remains to be seen is whether or not this will lead to any disciplinary action for Brent. Personal privacy aside, Notre Dame has a policy in place regarding sexual conduct of students.
The University embraces the Catholic Church’s teaching that a genuine and complete expression of love through sex requires a commitment to a total living and sharing together of two persons in marriage. Consequently, students who engage in sexual union outside of marriage may be subject to referral to the University Conduct Process.
A couple of years ago I wrote about MMA fighter Nick Diaz who had been suspended by the Nevada State Athletic Commission for having marijuana in his system, despite the fact that he had used the drug legally with a medical license in California. Diaz attempted to fight the suspension but was ultimately forced to accept the ruling, with the logic that he accepted the no-marijuana policy when he signed to fight in Nevada.
The Daily Beast article is geared towards society being more accepting of ‘civilians’ associating with porn stars. On that front I am in agreement. They are performing a legal act and quite frankly, we know a lot more people enjoy porn that are willing to admit it. If public figures want to associate with adult film stars, and they think their audience will accept it, then I see no problem with it.
On the other hand, where Brent has gotten himself into trouble is with his violation of an existing policy. He agreed to this policy when he decided to go to Notre Dame and in that regard his (likely) punishment is fair. No doubt people will complain that his rights are being violated but that ignores the line between personal freedom and the rules of association. Too often in the U.S. people agree to certain policies and then complain when those policies are actually enforced.
There is also something to be said here for social media. Today’s young people see almost no line between their public and personal lives. Brent may ultimately prove to be his own worst enemy by thinking this wouldn’t receive attention. Again, this was his choice and the consequences should fit that model. Personal rights are important, but in a society our expectation of complete freedom should always be understood in the context of the written and unwritten rules that govern all of our interactions.
but I’m super glad he has my contact info
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