Monday, January 15, 2007

Jackson goes wild

I share Senator Doug Jackson's hatred of indecency and distaste for smut. I have long believed that pornography, or anything that could remotely be seen to be related to pornography, is a tool of Satan that he is using to bring about the breakdown of Western civilization. Even the very word pornography would indicate the truth of that statement. Breaking down the word in Greek, pornoi literally translates as "devil," while "graph" means picture or pictures-"devil pictures."

No doubt Senator Jackson agrees with me that things like Girls Gone Wild are exploitative of women and place into the minds of children an attitude about women as objects and sex as a mere act of enjoyment and nothing more. Love, commitment, stable relationships, and respect have no play or place in the world as promoted by the producers of Girls Gone Wild. I can understand fully why Jackson would desire to ban advertizing for such incindiary filth-and that is exactly what it is.

Were I a member of the Tennessee Senate, however, I do not believe that I could vote for Jackson's bill with a clear conscience, even though I find myself in full agreement with its motives.

I believe the State has the right and the duty to regulate the peddling of obscenity, and that the State can even define obscenity in law and use that definition to heavily regulate obscenity. To put it in plain English, if Senator Jackson wanted to pass a bill that says that commercials cannot air before 3 or 4 A.M., the State has every right to do that. The commercials are obviously designed to appeal to the prurient interest and should be aired at a time when decent parents would have their children in bed.

The problem is Jackson's desire for an outright ban on the ads. A good deal of the weight here lies in parental responsibility. If you have young children and they are up late enough to see these ads, and are watching the cable channels these ads are on and you are not changing the channel, then you are a very poor parent. It is not the job of the State to raise children-unlike what Hillary Clinton thinks.

The fact that these ads run (and work so well) is an indication of a larger social problem that the State cannot solve-an oversexualized and underspiritualized Western society is slowly disintigrating. No legislation can bring that process to a stop. The only thing that will work is for people to have a change of heart and to return as a society to the things that matter most. These are the children and grandchildren of Baby Boomers after all, the generation that thought it was fine and dandy to rebel against and destroy the established standards of social morality. Welcome to the end result.

From the Constitution of the State of Tennessee Article I, Section 19:

The free communication of thoughts and opinions is one of the invaluable rights of
man, and every citizen may freely speak, write, and print on
any subject, being responsible for the abuse of that liberty.

Note that it clearly states that the citizen is responsible for the abuse of liberty of speech, not the State. The State banning (not merely regulating) speech that it deems indecent is a slippery slope. It is by this same logic that some people's speech is also censored for being "hate speech." The State that can ban Girls Gone Wild can also ban conservative speech. We should not let the precident be set.

(Hat Tips: Volunteer Voters, Appalachian Scribe)



At Tuesday, January 16, 2007 9:55:00 AM, Blogger DigiHairshirt said...


While in law school, I once had a friendly debate with a classmate about whether the Nazis should have been allowed to march in Sandusky, OH, back in the day. We actually both agreed they should have been allowed to march as an exercise of free speech, but disagreed on where - I was opposed to marching in Sandusky because they chose that particulat location to terrorize the locals, among whom numbered a large amount of Holocaust survivors.

But I recall a statement this classmate made, that allowing what polite folks would term "garbage" air their views is important, because it allows us - presumably upright citizens - to know where they are and to be able to offer a counterpoint view.

I think the same idea can be applied to pornography. I don't like it. I agree it is a tool of Satan. But driving it underground is akin to sweeping dirt under the rug. For someone like myself, I would still feel obligated to teah my children that the road to perdition is littered with such reading material; for another, though, "out of sight and out of mind" and the lesson is missed.

More frightening is what you touch upon - to what extent do I want the State to govern morals? Consider the extent to which they do already - abortion on demand to uphold a "sacred" right to choose, or hate speech, which, when you think about it, criminalizes thought and becomes a chilling realization of Orwell's "1984."

(Personal note - in response to a question posted on my blog, Dave - we're still looking at Farragut (c'mon, we're "townies"). Met with a realtor this weekend past to start taking the steps to selling here in CA. Once settled, would love to get together. I will be in town for the bar exam at the end of February).

At Tuesday, January 16, 2007 2:05:00 PM, Blogger Dave Oatney said...

I agree that pornography is bad, but to to merely ban it not only infringes on the free speech rights of others, it leads down the slippery road of thought control.

Pornography and other such vices, which those of us who are believers know and understand to be mortal sins are also things which, by definition, are choices.

Sin is, according to the Catholic definition of the term, defined to be the willful transgression of God's law. If the State defines sin for itself, then transgressing the laws of the State would become a sin. The choice to sin or not to sin is taken out of our hands, and the State imposes a sort of crude form of predestinarian theology on people.

Some may say that in saying that, I have opened the door for saying that abortion should be "legal," but the State has a duty to protect the right to life, because in denying that right, the right to choose Good or Evil is denied to the unborn life.


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