The Devil in Miss Details

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Eugene Volokh considers the likely results of Washington's latest crackdown on porn.

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  1. In regards to Eugene’s option number three:

    There aren’t enough prisons in the US to handle even a small fraction of the offenders if they start arresting the consumer.

    I think I heard once that 100 million people in the US buy some form of Adult entertainment per year.

    That would create a tremendous taxpayer drain, and it would also create a huge skilled worker vacuum.

  2. But I should point out that just because something is a really bad idea, doesn’t mean this Administration wouldn?t do it. Much to my chagrin, logic isn’t employed very often in the Gov’t these days.

  3. Much to my chagrin, logic isn’t employed very often in the Gov’t these days.

    As opposed to which other days?

  4. Perhaps the largest single source of free porn on the Internet is the Internet Archive. Will the government shut it down?

  5. CharlesWT: Please give detailed instructions on using that site to quickly locate and download Internet porn. Thank you.

    As for Volokh’s comments, as I commented here last week, I welcome Ashcroft’s campaign. As Volokh suggests, this will drive U.S. porn companies out of business.

    No longer will we have big-haired, big-shoed porn bims dripping with Valley sweat.

    They will be replaced with a flood of dirty foreign girls doing nasty foreign things.

    I for one welcome the change. Merci, Senor Ashcroft! Ciao!

  6. We finally find the one place where Lonewacko doesn’t mind some foreigners… 🙂

  7. BTW, I thought the Volokh article was excellent. I think the point of it was, it?s pretty damn near impossible for the Justice Department to have any real effect in this little morality war.

    Their current efforts aren?t likely to have much effect, and if Ashcroft started rolling out measure that were actually effective, the results would be disastrous. (Both to the Federales and the population in general.)

    The bulk of the problem is, the moralists are scared. And they want their Theologian-in-Chief to do something about it. Because of the proliferation of porn via the internet, the US as a whole is becoming desensitized to it. And if it keeps up, there will cease to be any moral outrage over it, in a generation or two.

    But the reality is, there?s nothing the Gubmit can do about it. Whether it?s foreign or domestic, there?s a huge demand for the product, and it WILL be supplied ? one way or another.

    Also, given the Supreme Court?s ruling on the COPA, anything beyond the current half-baked effort by the Justice Dept wouldn?t make it past the high court. The ACLU would have a lot to say on the matter, I?m sure.

    The bottom line (no pun intended): this too shall pass

  8. Wacko,

    In case your request is serious, plug in the URL (followed by an “*”) for a known porn site, click on Take Me Back, then proceed to view and/or save the resulting list of .jpg files. Tedious but doable.

    This works just as well for non-porn images and files. Handy when you need information from sites that have been taken down.

  9. Then arrest them and prosecute them. Heck, lock each one up for several years like you would a child porn buyer.

    And of course in the government’s plans, we’re talking about criminal prosecution of adults watching other adults engaged in a non-coercive activity. This is none of the government’s business and a waste of taxpayer’s dollars! What in the Hell is the administration thinking? This will be an attack on both free expresion and free enterprise.

    ” Note that I’m not asking whether…porn should be constitutionally protected.”

    But, if the courts do rule that this obscenity crackdown is unconstitutional and the crack down is stopped legally it would represent a forth scenario.
    Along this line it’s important to remember that: The salient value of the 1st Amendment is to not to protect speech we like but rather, to protect speech that we don’t like.

    “I believe the very heart and soul of conservatism is libertarianism”

    Ronald Reagan

    John Ashcroft, if you value individual liberty and our constitution please rethink and stop this intrusion. The government power you wield can crush a part of what makes our republic such a special place.

  10. John Ashcroft, if you value individual liberty and our constitution please rethink and stop this intrusion.

    I’m afraid I’m neither hopeful enough nor paranoid enough to believe that John Ashcroft reads this blog.

  11. This intrusion has the potential of doing more harm. Consider Canada: joining many of its provinces (and several European countries), it is on the verge of making public criticism of homosexuality a crime. They started making exceptions to their constitutional guarantee of freedom of speech just fifteen years ago. Those cases involved Holocaust deniers and pornographers, and now it’s illegal to quote biblical condemnations of homosexual acts.

    Now, consider the views of the US’s influential Richard Pipes: (who’s current projects include an effort to have the Feds put pressure on universities that are unacceptably critical of the Israeli government, desist)

    From Pipes’ book, Conspiracy:

    “Indeed, conspiracist writings constitute a quite literal form of pornography (though political rather than sexual) (p. 49)

    And then he goes on to write:
    “The United States has far and away the most complete freedom of expression of all the countries in the world (one survey of censorship calls it “libertarian to the extreme”), so conspiracist ideas banned elsewhere for their violent and noxious qualities find American publishers.” (p. 118)

    These quotes are concerning. If, “conspiracist writings constitute a quite literal form of pornography”, and pornography is illegal, even political speech is in deep trouble.

  12. Jesse,

    I thought everyone who was anyone read this blog…besides the rest of us.

  13. I already get spam promoting Asian porn sites. Is this another industry we are going to lose to China?

  14. According to “Reefer Madness”, the adult entertainment industry generates more annual revenue (something like $12-14 billion) than mainstream movie theaters (something like $10-12 billion). Maybe this the adult entertainment industry is a solution to our nation’s unemployment? 😉

  15. Something that still bothers me to this day is the difference between pornography and prostitution. How is prostitution illegal, while pornography is not? Is the difference merely that you’re getting paid for the filming instead of the sex? If you brought a HandiCam when picking up streetwalkers, does it become legal all of the sudden. I can see it now, “Uh no officer, I wasn’t picking up a prostitute. I was, er, um, searching for talent in my latest movie. I need a third male for the final scene, are you free later on?”

    If all porn production goes overseas, prices could go down and increase domestic consumption. That would be very amusing.

  16. “I’m afraid I’m neither hopeful enough nor paranoid enough to believe that John Ashcroft reads this blog.”

    I know Reagan used to read Reason because in either 1975 or 76 when he was trying to wrest the GOP nomination from Ford he came to Colorado to give a speech in Ft. Collins which I drove up from Denver to hear. After the speech, when he and Nancy got to me in the receiving line they found a wide eyed kid who was jazzed that he cited “The Road to Serfdom” by Hayek in his talk. He told me he also really liked Hayek’s “The Constitution of Liberty”! This, of course, put me “in orbit”.

    I then mentioned that I enjoyed the points he made in an interview with Reason It was in that interview where he made his “libertarianism heart and soul of conservatism” quote. (July 1975 issue) I remember he then said, I swear, “Well, I’ll have to look at that again”. (remember when the “Well” was the stock in trade of a Reagan imitation?) As I shook their hands in an enthusiastic fare well, Nancy assured me that “Ronnie just loves that little magazine”.

  17. Just like attacks on ‘head shops’ this latest quasi-campaign will fizzle out and not make up much of anything.

    Various regulatory agents will get over on a lot of producers by threatening them with the heat of a spotlight for failure to comply with whatever regulation they fill like promoting on a given day/week/month.

    But when one considers that 1 in 3 (based on general demographics) of everyone in the Justice Department enjoys some kind of porn at some time each year, it – just like the fact that a specific percentage of lawmakers and their staff enjoy illicit drugs – then we know a full scale ‘war’ is not going to happen.

    It will simply be a tool to pound the less well-heeled and those less accessible to resources needed to handle routine criminal charges.

  18. I just finished the story on porn in the May issue of Reason, and one anomoly hit me. The argument is that no one is “exposed” to porn, but that one must seek it out.

    However, the article states that the Justice Department showed five pornos to the Grand Jury. I don’t suppose you can opt out of Grand Jury service. I suppose some jurors could have been coerced to watch this stuff, under penalty of contempt of court.

    So since the government is hell-bent of forcing people to watch porn, we need a law to keep that porn from ever being created?

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