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Wow this guy is wrong. Captain Psyko - 22/01/2003 12:47:00 PM


By Jonah Goldberg

The American Enterprise

January/February 2002

This fetishization of free expression also shows up in the white-knuckled phobia of censorship that has permeated our media and institutions. From the American Library Association’s insistence that every branch library must allow unfettered access to Internet pornography,{/QUOTE}

Regarding the ALA - Most internet filtering systems are HORRIBLY HORRIBLY BROAD. It's not about allowing Porn, it's about allowing access to sites that someone disagreees with. "CYBERsitter maintained a policy of blocking pages which advocated equal rights for gays and lesbians, such as N.O.W.." " hen viewed through CYBERsitter, e.g. "The Catholic Church opposes homosexual marriage" would be rendered as, "The Catholic Church opposes marriage". " CYBERSITTER has blocked sites decrying the ineffectiveness of Cybersitter. "Although Net Nanny blocks fewer Web sites than any competitors, it does block access to about the same number of newsgroups, including:

* bit.listserv.aidsnews
* alt.feminism
* soc.feminism

as well as the Banned Books page at Carnegie Mellon and, which describes itself as a "comprehensive, searchable directory of links to female friendly sites and information on the World Wide Web"."

This is just two pieces of filtering software. More can be found at

to the propagandistic “Read a Banned Book” T-shirts sold by activists, to the ponderous newspaper editorials which butcher Martin Niemoeller’s “first they came for the Jews” warning every time a museum is criticized for another dung-and-urine desecration of the Virgin Mary, America has convinced itself that we are a hair’s breadth away from Fahrenheit 451. Among elites, unfettered self-expression is the highest good, and even the most innocuous forms of censorship are presented as evil by definition.

Read a banned book... So would you advocate that we NOT read Howl? Or Mark Twain? Or Fitzgerald? Or Salinger? all got banned at some point you know.

It’s understandable that people in the First Amendment business would be protective of their franchise. And, yes, free expression is good and nice and important. But, the entire culture, particularly the media, has been brainwashed to believe that censorship is always and everywhere a threat to our very freedom. When I tell college audiences that I favor censorship, the gasps of shock from liberal and conservative students alike nearly suck in the walls and pull the ceiling down.

I ask these kids “Do you think ABC should be allowed to run triple-X porn on Saturday morning?” Well, if you say no, then you believe in censorship.
Allowed to? yes. Should? no. There is a strong difference there.

Similarly if you think strip clubs can be zoned, kiddie-porn banned, and copyright laws enforced, you support censorship. (Copyright laws are one of the oldest forms of censorship: They bar people from disseminating someone else’s work without permission. Try to release a movie starring Mickey Mouse or Snoopy and you’ll see how quickly a court orders you to stop.) And, once we establish that you support some censorship, the question isn’t whether you are for or against it, but how much censorship you want and where you want it.

But I do oppose the blatant extension of copyrights as being a violation of the first amendment. While an important restriction on free speech (and some, narrowly constitutionally defined, are allowed - including pressing state interest - attracting tourism by getting strip clubs off the main drag for instance - also note that a strip club is generally content free speech. They'd have a hard time getting Hair out of a theatre... As for kiddie porn... In a democracy, the people are the state. A crime against the people is a crime against the state. The state has a compelling interest to protect children from physical exploitation and molestation that supercedes free speech.)

The fact is that the Founding Fathers were not “against” censorship. The First Amendment is a prohibition against the federal government restricting a free press. Few if any of the Founders would be troubled by obscenity laws. The problem today is that the First Amendment has been thoroughly butchered, with editorialists at the New York Times swinging some of the biggest cleavers.
I honestly don't care about this argument. It's literally meaningless. The Constitution was built with an elastic clause, and a supreme court to interpret law. I doubt the Founding Fathers ever believed anyone would use the word Fuck as part of a serious artistic and political statement.

Consider these editorial positions which reflect the general schizophrenia regarding free expression and censorship. The New York Times is in favor of the federal government forcing tobacco companies to pay for speech that is directly inimical to their interests. But when the Clinton administration wanted to reward TV networks for running anti-drug messages, the Times declared: “In allowing government to shape or even to be consulted on content in return for financial rewards, the networks are crossing a dangerous line they should not cross. On the far side of that line lies the possibility of censorship and state-sponsored propaganda.”
I would argue that TV networks shouldn't be rewarded for anti drug messages because THEY ALREADY ARE. Quite simply, broadcast television stations don't pay for the spectrum that they use. The recieve a liscense to use it, from the government, FOR FREE. The only condition? That they use that spectrum to serve the public interest. Once again, different from censorship in the form of banned books and library filtering because it's built into the conditional language of the right to use the spectrum. Were the spectrum made freely availiable, and conditional liscenses not offered (a chaotic nightmare at best), then such a public interest requirement would be illegal.

Censorship today is simply defined as censorship we don’t like. Censorship we do like is “responsible policy.” This kind of thinking is a cancer on the very idea of free speech. The Times (and the Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times, et al.) favors campaign finance laws which sharply regulate the only speech the Founders considered sacrosanct—political speech. Today, anonymous political speech is called “stealth advertising” and the Times wants it banned. The Federalist Papers were anonymous. Tom Paine’s Common Sense would have to be filed with the FEC today. Yet while the big media companies (and the Democrats) claim that such draconian regulations are vital to the existence of the republic, they champion an absolutist right of free expression in matters of culture. Cuts in subsidies for “performance art” or feces smeared on canvas are seen as, gasp, “censorship” by a bunch of fascistic prudes.
This is why I favor public financing over money regulation. But the fact of the matter is, that Money != Speech. Money fails to express a coherent idea, it is, in the words of a few supreme court justices, referring to things as diverse as pornography, flag burning, and money, non-speech, the symbolic equivalent of a grunt.

Americans generally protect fringe freedoms in order to keep core freedoms safe. But here we treat the fringe as the core and the core as the fringe. Vile obscenity is a testament to the beauty of free expression, but free democratic debate is to be censored. Free speech in America is rotting from the inside out.

Umm.. No, I'm sorry to say that isn't the case at all.

I'm sorry I wasted the time replying to what in the end turned out to be a love letter to Mitch McConnell.

And here I was set to debate library filtering.

(Yes, I read the article as I replied to it.)

Keith (NOT BACK)
One always dies too soon-- or too late. And yet one's whole life is complete at that moment, with a line drawn neatly under it, ready for the summing up. You are-- your life, and nothing else. - Garcin, No Exit

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Free Speech Rots from the Inside Out - 22/01/2003 08:59:54 AM 209 Views
i am against all forms of censorship except - 22/01/2003 09:06:57 AM 51 Views
Re: i am against all forms of censorship except - 22/01/2003 09:12:34 AM 26 Views
I agree with Greg. - 22/01/2003 09:20:58 AM 48 Views
you miss the point.... - 22/01/2003 09:26:17 AM 22 Views
No, I got the point... - 22/01/2003 09:51:09 AM 23 Views
ah, okay. *is dumb* *NM* - 22/01/2003 09:55:29 AM 3 Views
I saw that video - 22/01/2003 09:32:25 AM 25 Views
Re: i am against all forms of censorship except - 22/01/2003 01:28:01 PM 10 Views
youre wrong - 22/01/2003 08:37:41 PM 8 Views
Re: youre wrong - 23/01/2003 01:28:02 AM 25 Views
sorry, but that's crap - 22/01/2003 09:07:28 AM 37 Views
i'm sorry, but its not, you've missed the point - 22/01/2003 09:11:25 AM 25 Views
to which I say...... - 22/01/2003 09:15:52 AM 26 Views
of course its about where you draw the line - 22/01/2003 09:20:15 AM 17 Views
I don't agree - 22/01/2003 09:27:49 AM 17 Views
Indeed! - 22/01/2003 10:39:24 AM 13 Views
Wow this guy is wrong. - 22/01/2003 12:47:00 PM 44 Views
LOL! poor keith - 22/01/2003 02:00:26 PM 22 Views
But I DID read the whole thing... - 22/01/2003 03:28:15 PM 15 Views
Argue? With what people? - 22/01/2003 03:39:40 PM 16 Views
i understood - 22/01/2003 04:23:37 PM 9 Views
For the heck of it. - 22/01/2003 03:40:32 PM 16 Views
Because An admissions office won't answer the goddamn phone, A reply. - 22/01/2003 04:03:03 PM 11 Views
Re: Because An admissions office won't answer the goddamn phone, A reply. - 22/01/2003 05:59:35 PM 12 Views
Re: Israel - 22/01/2003 11:24:22 PM 8 Views
That's not exactly true - 23/01/2003 11:42:57 AM 7 Views
Re: Free Speech Rots from the Inside Out - 22/01/2003 01:08:08 PM 22 Views
Re: Free Speech Rots from the Inside Out - 22/01/2003 06:39:28 PM 6 Views