If you do not ask the right questions, you do not get the right answers. A question asked in the right way often points to its own answer. Asking questions is the A-B-C of diagnosis. Only the inquiring mind solves problems. – Edward Hodnett
Nothing rings so loudly in our ears as the things that we heard someone else never say. – Me
This week, Rick Santorum found himself in the crosshairs not just of the Left-leaning media, but the media on the right, over one of several policy statements posted on his campaign website. The offense? Promising to prosecute laws that the Obama administration has shown no interest in prosecuting. Were these laws against illegal immigration? No, although being in support of those would have been controversial enough for some who supposedly occupy space on the right. No, his crime was far worse. He suggested that he would have his attorney general prosecute existing obscenity laws against hardcore pornographic materials. From his own website on the issue:
For many decades, the American public has actively petitioned the United States Congress for laws prohibiting distribution of hard-core adult pornography.
Congress has responded. Current federal “obscenity” laws prohibit distribution of hardcore (obscene) pornography on the Internet, on cable/satellite TV, on hotel/motel TV, in retail shops and through the mail or by common carrier. Rick Santorum believes that federal obscenity laws should be vigorously enforced. “If elected President, I will appoint an Attorney General who will do so.”
The Daily Caller printed a story this week on Santorum’s policy statement that launched a firestorm of outrage by people who furiously tweeted, commented on Facebook, or blogged with one hand on how ridiculous this concept is, and how it is yet more evidence that he is unserious about becoming President. While the cries of “Get your hands of my [sticky] porn!” rose from many quarters, people who should know better began to weigh in with opinions about things that he didn’t say. I could cover them, but Stacy McCain has done a pretty good job of compiling some of them in his piece on the subject, which you should read, as well as covering the very interesting point that this breathless “news” story has actually been posted on the candidate’s site since JANUARY 9th of this year, but is only now a threat to America getting its rocks off. Stacy McCain also has asked the follow-up questions regarding the coverage of this “story” that in days gone by might have been asked by a good reporter, which makes me believe I should actually hit his tip jar. Hell, I guess not all of this should do this simply as a method to keep from succumbing to the gaslighting being done to us by the legacy media. And predictably, as the week wore on, the usual suspects weighed in with the usual answers.
“I find it ironic that Republicans (like Santorum) are out there wanting less government and government intruding into our lives, but when it comes to moral issues they want government to legislate morality,” says [Steven] Hirsch [co-founder and Chairman of Vivid Entertainment]. “It doesn’t work. It will never work.”
Thus once again ignoring that the bulk of law “legislates morality”, as it is intended to punish and discourage behavior that society finds is bad (murder, stealing, rape), and to not interfere with something that society finds is not harmful (having an honest job), or even encourage that which society finds beneficial (buying a home, saving money, having children). It isn’t that “legislating morality” doesn’t work, Mr. Hirsch. Law does it all the time. The real question is “Who’s morality shall we legislate?”
What I find surprising about this story is not that people on the left and the right are getting very excited about what Mr. Santorum didn’t say (that he is coming to your home to take all of your porn videos, and copies of “Sex With Animals”). If there is a sign of the times for our age, it is hearing the things never said, whether is Maureen Dowd hearing Joe Wilson’s unsaid “, boy!” at the end of his declaration to the President Downgrade, or the many, many plans for a christofacist theocracy heard by anti-christian and anti-theist bigots whenever someone speaks about the strong Christian influence on our body of law, our culture, and our founding as a nation.
Instead, the real story is the questions no one is asking. Questions like “Why do we consider it acceptable that we have such a body of laws to begin with, if the notion of their enforcement is so ridiculous/silly/offensive or wrong? We have all sorts of laws that regulate what materials can and cannot be sent through the mail. The FCC will issue fines for dropping f-bombs on the air, or having a “wardrobe malfunction” during a Super Bowl halftime show, and arguably these actions are far more tame than a download of “Snow White and the Well-Hung Dwarfs”, a DVD of “Debbie Does Everyone”, or the latest issue of “Barnyard Love”. If the idea of these laws is as ridiculous as Mr. Flynt suggests, then why doesn’t he spearhead the movement to have them repealed? Certainly, if they do not accurately reflect the moral sensibilities of a majority of Americans, then it should be a relatively easy matter for Congress to repeal them, right? After all, the issue is much more titillating and sexy than addressing insanely out of control spending, or even passing a budget, right? This is the same Congress that had time for hearings on baseball, and having professional activists and part-time students come and give testimony on the burning need to violate religious schools’ conscience rights and provide astronomically priced contraceptives to students who are so busy training to be the 1% that they need $1000.00 worth of birth control a year.
What does it say about us as a people that some among us feel so strongly in favor of hardcore pornography that we consider unfettered access to it to be a right, despite what our laws say about it? What does it say about us that the idea of continual non-enforcement of law is somehow considered to be a legitimate and laudable goal? Does this concept edify or delegitimize the notion of rule of law in a society that is supposed to be based upon laws and not on men? And what does it say about us that we as a society are so quick and eager to vilify a man who states among his many goals a desire to have law enforcement under his administration enforce the laws? When I ask myself those questions, I don’t like the answers.
Larry Flynt can say that there is no “there” there all he likes. As someone whose home is built upon the furious fapping of others, I would expect nothing less from him. But there is something about systematic exposure to hardcore porn that diminishes the humanity of both the object and the end-user. The gratification without effort or consequence can kill the ability to relate to and recognize the satisfaction of another, driving the emotional intimacy of a healthy relationship extinct as the use of another person merely to satisfy lustful impulses becomes a primary goal. Creativity also suffers, as we become programmed to react to what someone else has decided is sexy. But don’t just take my word for it. It’s recognized in all sorts of interesting quarters these days.