One of my hobbies is tracking the dopey human “rights” championed from time to time in my hometown liberal newspaper, The Washington Post. Just in the past year, there’s been the right to bare your breasts in a restaurant while you nurse your baby and the right to send your teen-age kids to nude summer camp.

Now, it seems, there’s the right to display “plumber butt,” those inches of underwear-clad derriere–or, worse, non-underwear-clad derriere–occasioned by the wearing of extreme low-rider pants. And–horrors!–the Virginia House of Delegates voted 60-35 to abridge that right by slapping a $50 fine on anyone who bares his or her boxer shorts or thong undies to the public in “in a lewd or indecent manner.”

Oh, the cries of outrage from civil libertarians over this effort to uphold a minimal standard of public decency and taste! Post columnist Marc Fisher, his own boxer shorts in a twist, as it were, sounds the alarm:

“…[T]hese same legislators are only too happy to get inside your marriage, your bedroom and even your pants.”

Ah yes, the right to privacy, somehow morphing into the right to public display. Fisher also pours on the heavy irony:

“Attention, parents: The state of Virginia understands that you lead busy lives, but lawmakers are confident that you will be only too happy to tack just one more task onto your morning routine — a quick pants check as the kids head out the door….

“Sure, it will be difficult to guarantee that your kids’ pants stay secured around the waist all day, but there are ways to protect your offspring from exposure to police action and resulting fines. I suggest duct tape or, in extreme cases, super glue.”

I suggest another mechanism, Marc. It’s called a belt.

Now, making “droopy drawers” illegal might have been legislative overkill–and Virginia’s State Senate has perhaps wisely decided not to take on the bill.

But I can’t say that I blame the delegates for voting their overwhelming disapproval of a youth clothing fad whose manifestations range from inappropriate to downright disgusting. Where have parents and school administrators been on this issue? Indeed, I don’t see anything wrong–although Marc Fisher clearly does–with parents’ checking their kids out in the morning to make sure they’re decently dressed for school (that goes also for 3-inch minis, “half” T-shirts, all-mesh upper garments, and girls’ jeans so tight that they look as though glue is indeed used to get them on). What’s wrong with school dress codes?

Plenty, if you believe the outrage that the droopy-drawers bill generated. Some civil libertarians even threatened to sue the state if the bill became law, on the theory that it amounted to racial discrimination because black teens allegedly dress more revealingly than whites.

Well, the bill is dead for now. But my sympathies are with Virginia Del. Algie Howell, Jr., a Democrat, the sponsor of the bill. Fisher writes:

“‘People that live in my neighborhood don’t want to have to see undergarments,’ Howell told me. ‘It’s not about individual rights; it’s about values. I own a group home; we take in kids who’ve been in trouble. Most of the men who come in in shackles and handcuffs are trying to hold up their pants. The way you dress does have something to do with how you behave.'”