"Right" to Privacy?

Zenit interviews Janet Smith:

Q: One of your criticisms of the right to privacy, and some of the other rights it spawned, is that it is not found anywhere in the U.S. Constitution. But I certainly have the right to choose my own wardrobe, eat breakfast, read the newspaper, and engage in other activities that are not in the Constitution. That being the case, why don't persons have a right to something as obvious as privacy?

Smith: No one is denying that there are actions that are rightly private and bear no intervention by the state. The state certainly shouldn’t be telling us what to eat for breakfast or what newspaper to read.

(It would be marvelous if people had a greater sense of privacy for that would likely lead to more modesty in dress and less exhibitionism of the details of celebrities’ lives and all sorts of inappropriate sharing of the personal data on the Internet.)

But if actions seriously impact upon the rights of others and sometimes our own well-being, the right to privacy cannot rightly be invoked to protect those actions. We have a culture that is fairly schizophrenic on these matters.

In cars, we must wear seatbelts and on motorcycles we must wear helmets and our homes must meet all sorts of safety codes; there are drugs that we cannot use because various agencies deem them unsafe.

But we are allowed to kill the unborn and in some states to request drugs that will kill us. There is no coherence in these laws.

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