Modesty Glasses

(Photo: Mr. T in DC)

Men in the ultra-Orthodox religious community in Jerusalem object to women walking on the street in short skirts or sleeveless blouses, even attacking those who venture out in such unacceptable outfits.  Very few women will dare to go out dressed that way in certain sections of this magnificent city.  News of the Weird reports a solution that shifts the cost of enforcing the policy to the men: Members of “modesty patrols” are now selling ultra-Orthodox men glasses that blur distant images, thus preventing them from seeing “immodestly dressed” women.  This is a neat application of the Coase Theorem, and it seems a fair one: With these glasses, the costs of enforcing the men’s religious beliefs will be borne by the men rather than by women who choose how they wish to dress.

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  1. SAO says:

    The cause of the Modesty doctrine is that lustful thoughts are sinful. Since few people have such mind control that they never notice that an attractive member of the opposite sex is attractive, the solution is to make sure none are.

    I don’t see why women should change the way they dress because a fundamentalist is afraid of a few sinful thoughts.

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  2. Julien Couvreur says:

    A more robust solution in this case is the application of property rights. You can have orthodox or kosher malls (however you call that) and you can have some with more permissive dress codes. The same applies to restaurants and stores.
    Then you don’t need violence and respect individual preferences in the system of private property.

    For streets (which are public/monopoly ownership by government) the problem is harder. I’d suggest that rather than piling more workarounds on top of this problem, the solution is to undo this problem and move towards street ownership (like malls or strip malls). Merchants (and their streets) can compete on various feature, not just the product they sell.

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  3. Art says:

    The mind can easily be trained to not see what the eyes input. Physical restrictions are for those who lack the mental ability to restrain themselves. These are also those the same people that jump off bridges because everyone else is doing so.

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  4. Renee says:

    Women should just be allowed to TASER these men. IF they think it’s okay to beat us for dressing too provocatively, then I say it’s equally okay for us to defend ourselves and give them a handed beating for being so oppressively ignorant.

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  5. sme says:

    and who will be to blame when the wearer of modesty glasses gets run over by a bus because he can’t see distant images and ventured into the street?

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  6. GLK says:

    Glasses that do not allow one to see the whole picture seem perfectly appropriate for persons that wish to go through life not seeing the whole picture. I’m sure it’d be relatively easy to produce headphones that filter out words deemed inappropriate too. That way if your system of beliefs aren’t being practiced or accepted by everyone you can just don your gear and live in a fantasy world. La.la,la,la,la,la,la,la…

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