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U.S. Justice Department Prepares Assault on Pr0n 1103

Posted by michael
from the shock-and-awe dept.
An anonymous reader writes "The Baltimore Sun is reporting that the Justice Department is preparing to reawaken old laws to fight the war on ... no, not terrorists... porn! And not just the kinky stuff either. In the age of Internet connectivity, will this mean these jobs are headed to India too?"
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U.S. Justice Department Prepares Assault on Pr0n

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  • Pointless (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Tango42 (662363) on Tuesday April 06, 2004 @06:38PM (#8785891)
    All mediums are used for porn almost as soon as they are made, and AFAIK none has every stopped being used. No laws are going to stop it.
  • by Lord Grey (463613) * on Tuesday April 06, 2004 @06:39PM (#8785896)
    From the article:
    Any move against mainstream pornography could affect large telephone companies offering broadband Internet service or the dozens of national credit card companies providing payment services to pornographic Web sites.
    While the article doesn't explicitly say if the "affect" would be positive or negative, it implies the negative. From my experience with the credit card companies, however, I would think that they would love to be able to rid themselves of at least some of the porn business. The largest percentage of chargebacks are, I believe, due to porn purchases using stolen or manufactured card numbers. Reducing those chargebacks would be a good thing for them.
  • by Sexual Ass Gerbil (728400) on Tuesday April 06, 2004 @06:41PM (#8785933) Homepage Journal
    You'd think with it's war against religious fundamentalists in other countries (and one in which the Bush administration was touting that one of the reasons for attacking these countries is the lack of freedom the countries allow their citizens), that the U.S. would eliminate it's own Taliban killjoys. Nope. Instead these strict politicians get elected to office. My opinion is that people are just about the same no matter where in the world you go.. whether it's Afghanistan or the U.S.. the only difference is the magnitude of how corrupt the power hungry people have become.
  • Re:who cares? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 06, 2004 @06:42PM (#8785935)
    Word of warning: Don't ever search for "indian woman" (without the quotes) on Google Image Search with filtering turned off.
  • by User 956 (568564) on Tuesday April 06, 2004 @06:42PM (#8785940) Homepage
    This from a man who is *so offended* by the statue of Justice in the Supreme Court building, he ordered it covered up [bbc.co.uk].

    Talk about a right-wing freako nutcase. This is our government, folks. Get used to 4 more years when Bush steals the election again in November.
  • Three Cheers (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Lord_Dweomer (648696) on Tuesday April 06, 2004 @06:45PM (#8785996) Homepage
    Three cheers for the stupidest attempt at controlling Americans since Prohibition and the War on Drugs.

    I mean, seriously, of all the things they could have picked........if there's anything us Americans like more than our booze and weed its porn and sex. Is Ashcroft BEGGING to have a lynch mob show up at his front door?

  • by freeweed (309734) on Tuesday April 06, 2004 @06:45PM (#8786004)
    No, really.

    The only possible conclusion I can draw from this is "I don't partake, therefore it's bad and no one else should be able to, either". I guess this is the same line of thinking that still has people up in arms against homosexuality. "They're doing something I wouldn't do! Let's get 'em!".

    Ashcroft, a religious man who does not drink alcohol or caffeine, smoke, gamble or dance

    Great, so we better shut down Nevada, kill all breweries, tobacco companies, coffee importation, and *gasp* Rock and/or Roll while we're at it!

    They're going to try to go after a multi-billion dollar industry because its material "is obscene by community standards". Um, just who exactly do these people think are paying these billions? Hate to break it to you, folks, but Mr. and Mrs. Joe American. Consentual pornography is, by definition, acceptable by community standards. There wouldn't be so much of it if it wasn't.
  • by 0x0d0a (568518) on Tuesday April 06, 2004 @06:46PM (#8786009) Journal
    ...is that instead of turning the other cheek, so many of them are bound and determined to be assholes about content that they don't like, but other people do.

    I think Martin Luther put it best when he pointed out that chastity was unrealistic and stupid to try to hold priests to.

    Most groups don't seem to try to legislate morality on other folks. I don't agree with, say, ecoterrorism, but I don't think that radical environmentalist speech should be suppressed. But religious conservative types *do* try to mobilize and dictate what content people want to view (or at least make it more difficult and uncomfortable for them.)
  • Re:Dear dear dear (Score:2, Insightful)

    by NDPTAL85 (260093) on Tuesday April 06, 2004 @06:47PM (#8786028)
    He's NOT right. The uproar caused by the exposed breast of Janet Jackson comes from people who are sexually repressed and conflicted due to the unhealthy mores of their various religions.

    The last thing we should do is encourage this type of repression.
  • The problem is (Score:3, Insightful)

    by GillBates0 (664202) on Tuesday April 06, 2004 @06:48PM (#8786031) Homepage Journal
    that only small-time pr0n businesses and the ones who'll most likely suffer the most from this crackdown.

    Apparently, if you're rich/famous (Janet Jackson) or a Warner or some large movie studio, you can get around the law by showing anything *but* the nipple on national TV. I have seen programs on "family" channels, which I couldn't watch with my family without a certain amount of awkwardness. And it's not just visuals...highly suggestive but just-under-the-legal-limit dialogs are okay too - if you are a large company.

    I read in the article that they're planning to strike against some HBO programs too - and I hope they either go ALL the way, and get over their hypocrisy and sue everybody including their "pocket liners" in the industry OR even better, leave normal pr0n alone, and go after child-pr0n etc as is more logical/practical.

    'turds.

  • by Monkelectric (546685) <<slashdot> <at> <monkelectric.com>> on Tuesday April 06, 2004 @06:48PM (#8786037)
    Does anyone doubt our country is run by facists?
  • by 0x0d0a (568518) on Tuesday April 06, 2004 @06:49PM (#8786042) Journal
    If that isn't the most symbolic action of Ashcroft's rule, I don't know what is.
  • Unwinnable? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by wfberg (24378) on Tuesday April 06, 2004 @06:50PM (#8786053)
    While obscenity is a Federal crime, the standards applied are "community standards".. So right-wing nutheads from will be determining what's "obscene" in San Fransisco. Presumably, pictures of gay couples getting "married" would be found obscene...

    And you've got to love this:
    The ensuing years saw an explosion of porn, so much so that critics say that Americans' tolerance for sexually explicit material rivals that of Europeans.

    NOOOOOOoooooooooooo!!!! Think of the Children! They'll grow up to be all, all.. European-like!!
    Can't have that happening!

    Can't the FCC step in and prohibit the use of the words fuck, shit, piss, cunt, motherfucker, cocksucker and tits? (New CHEESE tits!)
  • by Mrs. Grundy (680212) on Tuesday April 06, 2004 @06:50PM (#8786066) Homepage
    From the article:
    Department officials say they will send "ripples" through an industry that has proliferated on the Internet and grown into an estimated $10 billion-a-year colossus profiting Fortune 500 corporations such as Comcast, which offers hard-core movies on a pay-per-view channel.

    It's interesting that the government looks for market-based solutions to behavior that actually kills people like dumping mercury into the air, serving arsenic-laden water to towns, or creating vehicular death-traps but when you offend their puritan sensibilities they go for the jugular--even when the market clearly says that a HUGE chunk of the electorate is all for a little obscenity.

  • Re:Pointless (Score:5, Insightful)

    by macshit (157376) <(miles) (at) (gnu.org)> on Tuesday April 06, 2004 @06:51PM (#8786069) Homepage
    Very true, but I suspect this has more to with:
    1. election-season wooing of the hard right, and
    2. the fact that our attorney general is a prudish freak (or is that a freakish prude?).
  • Thanks John (Score:4, Insightful)

    by fresh27 (736896) on Tuesday April 06, 2004 @06:52PM (#8786081) Homepage
    In a speech in 2002, Ashcroft made it clear that the Justice Department intends to try. He said pornography "invades our homes persistently though the mail, phone, VCR, cable TV and the Internet," and has "strewn its victims from coast to coast." I hate it when I sit down for a nice family dinner and we get interrupted by a call from those pesky phone sex companies. Worse still are the unsolicited porno mags that I get in the mail daily. And there's nothing more annoying than coming home at night and finding a porno tape that somehow materialized in my VCR. Kudos to you John Ashcroft, you truly are a politician for the people.
  • Great! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by starsong (624646) on Tuesday April 06, 2004 @06:54PM (#8786125)
    It's really wonderful that we're able to focus on naughty pictures and movies that American citizens legally buy. Obviously all the terrorists, murderers, rapists, Enron execs, and thieving digital pirates are safely behind bars, otherwise we couldn't spare the manpower.

    Wait... what?

  • Violence is OK (Score:5, Insightful)

    by bigberk (547360) <bigberk@users.pc9.org> on Tuesday April 06, 2004 @06:55PM (#8786129)
    Yeah, the violence is nothing to worry about right -- people getting beaten to a pulp (Fight Club), shot through the head, mutilated, etc. -- what damage could that cause to society?

    On the other hand, people engaged in various consentual sexual acts, there's nothing dangerous or immoral about this! I'm not saying that violence should be banned either, just that it's bizarre to censor sex and still allow showing people getting their brains blown out.
  • Re:Dear dear dear (Score:5, Insightful)

    by DAldredge (2353) <SlashdotEmail@GMail.Com> on Tuesday April 06, 2004 @06:55PM (#8786136) Journal
    No, the uproar came from people who let OTHERS tell them what the Bible has to say about sex rather than reading what it for themselves.

    That is the major problem with religion, people won't read the Holy Books for themselves, they depend on others to do it for them and then 'explain' it to them. But the people doing the explaining sometimes corrupt the message for personal gain.
  • by Un pobre guey (593801) on Tuesday April 06, 2004 @06:56PM (#8786140) Homepage
    Sex? Bad.

    Blowing the shit out of civilians in foreign lands, taking stewardship of their natural resources, selling them land mines, protecting the opium crops of our allies, looking the other way as our allies sell nuclear weapons technology on the black market, channelling hundreds and hundreds of billions of dollars to the "defense" industry, making sure Joe SixPack is armed to the teeth back home, destroying our own natural resources, canceling Constitutional rights as necessary, etc. etc.? Good. A God-given duty, in fact.

    Wake up, folks. The only thing the religious fanatics that have leached into our government do not insist upon is the use of burkas by American women. OK, they also allow them to be on the same floor in public buildings.

  • I'm not worried (Score:5, Insightful)

    by sTalking_Goat (670565) on Tuesday April 06, 2004 @06:58PM (#8786170) Homepage
    John Aashcroft crushing our civil rights, by attaching the word terrorism to anything he doesn't like; That worries.

    But John A vs the porn industry; John A doesn't have a chance.

    Porn like weeds has its roots deep and will surface and thrive in any scrap of dirt, through the tiniest of cracks.

    So I say let Johhny Boy fight his porn war, maybe that'll distract him from doing some real damage.

  • Real obscenity (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ManoMarks (574691) on Tuesday April 06, 2004 @06:59PM (#8786178) Journal
    Terrorism, war, hunger, poverty, homelessness, child abuse, disease, et al. We should be dealing with those issues first. Leave consenting adults alone. But should be be surprised that this administration is wasting tax payers money on this?
  • by pclminion (145572) on Tuesday April 06, 2004 @06:59PM (#8786190)
    I just hope that Bush gets voted out in november, so that we can ditch Ashcroft. He is completely out of touch with morality in this country!

    The problem with the Puritanical morality of the US right now is that it's insincere. People claim to be "offended" by things because it's in style, not because they are actually offended.

    Notice the subtle but highly effective sexualization in advertisements. We seem to accept this, and allow our children to view it. We let 10 year old kids walk around with halter tops and belly button piercings. I saw a kid no older than 5 in a restaurant recently wearing makeup. Nice. That's what I want to think of when looking at a 5 year old, sex.

    And yet at the same time, Janet Jackson's boobie pops out and we all have a fucking heart attack. It's all fake, it's a fucking fake reaction that we are all mutually emulating. Other people seem offended, so by God, I should be offended too!

    The thing is, nobody (or at least, hardly anybody) is really offended by it.

    Americans are fucking schizophrenic, and it's only getting worse. This Puritanical neoconservatism is really, truly dangerous.

  • by Citizen of Earth (569446) on Tuesday April 06, 2004 @07:00PM (#8786202)
    "Man will never be free until the last king is strangled with the entrails of the last priest." -- Diderot
  • by angle_slam (623817) on Tuesday April 06, 2004 @07:01PM (#8786208)
    If you haven't noticed, they are going after on-line gambling pretty strongly. And more and more places are going smoke-free, including places thought of as "liberal" such as New York city and the entire state of California.
  • by QuantumRiff (120817) on Tuesday April 06, 2004 @07:01PM (#8786217)
    I think the majority of the charge backs take the form of "No honey, I don't know where that $80 charge from HotDicksAreUs.com is for, someone must have stolen our credit card info, I'll refuse payment right away" followed by a quick kicking of the DVD further under the bed.
  • by Newer Guy (520108) on Tuesday April 06, 2004 @07:03PM (#8786234)
    Here in Los Angeles county where unemployment is higher then the national average, it's estimated that Pr0n accounts for over 100,000 jobs. Great idea Johnny Asscroft! Get RID of jobs during a recession!!
  • Bush Lost!!! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by attobyte (20206) on Tuesday April 06, 2004 @07:04PM (#8786251)
    You take away a person's porn they will not vote for you!!! Mark my words :)
  • by Theovon (109752) on Tuesday April 06, 2004 @07:04PM (#8786256)
    This is what bugs me so much about these ultra-conservatives. I may or may not feel that porn is wrong, but I don't want them deciding it on my behalf!

    I guess they have nothing better to do... no terrorists left to hunt for, so they're going after "immoral" people. *sigh*

    I personally feel that some kinds of porn ARE wrong.

    Consider child porn. Some people say that children are capable of understanding sex. Some say they are not. Either way, the risk of psychological damage is great enough that that we should play it safe. (Actually, I think child porn is a horrible violation of a child's rights, but the "play it safe, because you can't be sure" approach is easier for some people to buy.)

    But when you have consenting adults engaging in acts that are intended to be viewed only by consenting adults, who is being hurt?

    Here, the "play it safe" argument lands on the side of choice. Children aren't born with much knowlege, so they are to be guided and protected so that when they grow up, they can make informed choices. Until they DO grow up, their rights are restricted. But once they have reached a certain age, the responsibilities for their actions moves from their mentors to themselves, and with that responsibility also comes many freedoms.

    So, to play it safe with children, we shield. To play it safe with adults, we allow them to choose. This seems very reasonable to me.

    So, while I may feel grossed out by seeing a scat video, I don't feel the need to restrict other informed adults from having a different reaction.

    Now, you may ask, is it HEALTHY for people to be watching these sorts of things? Violence can teach violence, and playing with feces is linked to certain mental disorders. Could certain kinds of porn make viewers mentally unhealthy?

    Possibly. But consider the FDA and the Surgeon General. The FDA has laws which protect consumers from unknowningly buying foods which contain harmful chemicals, etc. Science has been used to prove that certain chemicals and microbes are harmful. Similarly, tobacco and alcohol containers sport labels which warn of their potentially harmful effects. But once again, science (and many DUI deaths) have proven that people need to be warned about these things.

    But (a) Science has not shown any compelling evidence that porn is bad for your health, and (b) you are still allowed to buy alcohol and tobacco.

    So, if the government wants to put a warning label on porn that says "we're not absolutely sure, but watching this could possibly harm your mind", then I'm all for it!

    But that is the extent to which they should interfere. Oh, and I am definately in support of prosecuting child pornographers.
  • by QuantumRiff (120817) on Tuesday April 06, 2004 @07:05PM (#8786266)
    Perhaps Ashcroft's next crusade will be against gluttony?? He doesn't exactly have the body of the republican govenor of California..
  • Re:Dear dear dear (Score:3, Insightful)

    by alan_dershowitz (586542) on Tuesday April 06, 2004 @07:05PM (#8786267)
    Or alternately we are offended by crass commercial exploitation of sexuality. The stunt was offensive and ridiculous. I can handle mature representations of sexuality on television, but that shit is just stupid. Don't assume the two groups are the same.
  • by jcr (53032) <[jcr] [at] [mac.com]> on Tuesday April 06, 2004 @07:06PM (#8786273) Journal
    This, my friends, is why the second amendment is so critically important.

    The USA has no king, since we overthrew George III in the late 1700's We did not establish a theocracy in place of the monarchy, whatever Mr. Ashcroft may wish.

    -jcr
  • by Ravagin (100668) on Tuesday April 06, 2004 @07:09PM (#8786307)
    for all Ashcroft's conservativism, when he was in the GW hospital here in DC recently, I recall hearing from a doctor there that he could not believe Ashcroft was not an alcoholic, based on the condition he was in for. no facts to back that up or anything, but an amusing idea nonetheless. and frankly, i wouldn't be surprised; the more pious he seems in public, the more decadent he probably is in private. look at me, i'm american and cynical!
  • Porn invasion! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by lightspawn (155347) on Tuesday April 06, 2004 @07:11PM (#8786324) Homepage
    In a speech in 2002, Ashcroft made it clear that the Justice Department intends to try. He said pornography "invades our homes persistently though the mail, phone, VCR, cable TV and the Internet..."

    Huh?

    I don't know about you, but porn doesn't send me mail, call me, pop in my VCR (even if I had one), or switch my (can't-purchase-individual-channels-yet) cable tv channels to make me watch it. If he wants to pick a fight with malware that pushes porn into the machines of people whose only crime was to be stupid enough to use ms-outlook that's fine, but somebody needs to explain to him the difference between push and pull technologies (insert sexual pun here).
  • Re:Pointless (Score:3, Insightful)

    by iminplaya (723125) <iminplaya.gmail@com> on Tuesday April 06, 2004 @07:12PM (#8786347) Journal
    No laws are going to stop it.

    Like drug use, they're not trying to stop it. A whole lot of people would go broke if they succeeded. They just want to control it, like who can distibute, etc.
  • waste or not? (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 06, 2004 @07:12PM (#8786348)
    I'd really like to know, is this legitamite? I mean, sure porn is morally bad or disgusting or whatever you want to call it, but only from someone's subjective viewpoint. If someone likes to watch porn in their freetime at home, it's nobodies business stop them (given it's not illegal, such as underage, etc). But really though? Can this be considered an attempt to violate some sort of right to privacy? I think it is. I think it only funnels more immaturity, as it taboos further and further the human body. Pretty soon everyone of all ages in America will view nudity and sexual expression as some sort of taboo. Who doesn't like watching porn? It's entertaining, comedic sometimes. If you don't prefer to watch it, then don't. I remmeber a nice quote but I don't know who said it: I am a human being, nothing human is alien to me.

    I found this interesting (from the article):
    In a speech in 2002, Ashcroft made it clear that the Justice Department intends to try. He said pornography "invades our homes persistently though the mail, phone, VCR, cable TV and the Internet," and has "strewn its victims from coast to coast."

    Mail? In all my life my family has never received porn advertisements by mail. I find this interesting. Maybe others have different stories.

    VCR? HOW CAN IT INVADE MY VCR?! Does the tape walk over to my house and pop itself in?

    Cable TV? Well, when i was little the video was scrambled but the audio was fine and clear.

    Internet? Well I won't argue that. It is all over the net, and bless the fact that it is, but i do find bestiality emails rather repulsive.
  • by Thunderstruck (210399) on Tuesday April 06, 2004 @07:17PM (#8786413)
    Most interesting seems to be the suggestion that the 1970's ruling, which required the application of community standards of decency, must consider the community into which the product was introduced. Here we see a product released over the internet. The producers say this is subject to the [average] standards of the community of the whole internet and not just the town where the order was sent. Of course these internet standards will be different than those of the folks in Pittsburgh. But this raises even more questions...

    If a purvey of putrid porn is prosecuted under state law, but the standard of decency is that of the internet as a whole, do we expect a jury of local folks to be able to set aside their personal feelings and understand that the rest of the world feels differently? Or must we find a way to draw a jury from the whole of the internet? Certainly states cannot compell jurors from other jurisdictions... the problem goes on.

    In the end, I suspect we'll endure the total federalisation of yet another aspect of the law.
  • by rsborg (111459) on Tuesday April 06, 2004 @07:19PM (#8786437) Homepage
    This from a man who is *so offended* by the statue of Justice in the Supreme Court building, he ordered it covered up.

    Let's not forget, this is also the same guy who lost his senate re-election bid to a dead guy [cnn.com]... If he couldn't get re-elected even after his opponent croaked, who wants him?... I guess the guy who appointed him...
    hmm I wonder who that is....

  • by Qbertino (265505) on Tuesday April 06, 2004 @07:20PM (#8786444)
    ... I actually read the article.
    The investigation team seams to after some very extreme stuff.
    Anyhow I find it curious that they mentioned something like near-european like tolerance of pornography. What's that supposed to mean?
    Yes, believe it or not, you can see naked women on billboards advertising skin lotion. You can see naked women (and/or men) on magazines. Open them up and you see: Guess what? Naked women and/or men. Just that. No extreme posing, no sick and somewhat unaestetic pussy tearing or any of that kind of stuff.
    As prudish as a large portion of US citizens may be, the most extreme (and sick) porn I've ever seen comes from the US. I strongly suspect there's a link there somewhere.
    I met an american once who noticed the same. He said like 'Yeah, here in germany you keep turning your head for those magazines laid out right next to the newspaper and you're all mixed why no one's irritated. But when you look inside it's cuddly inocent naked girls, much softer porn than what you see in the american editions.' Right on.
    I'd say it may be time for you across the pond to lighten up a little, no? Ok, so some people say the US may be founded by all the crazy religious fanatics that got chucked out of europe a few centuries ago, but aren't things changing for the better over there? Or are they getting whorse?
  • by Michael Woodhams (112247) on Tuesday April 06, 2004 @07:21PM (#8786459) Journal
    There is an interesting problem in ethics that arises from the pornography debate (and some other debates also.)

    Assume for the sake of the argument that it is proven that use some kind of pornography leads people to behave in ways that damage others. (E.g. by watching violent pornography, men become more likely to commit rape.) Furthermore, assume that there is no damage involved in the production of the material (E.g. they are filming simulated rapes, not real ones.)

    Is this grounds for banning that type of pornography?

    The Utilitarian argument: Availability of this material provides entertainment, which is good. It leads to more rapes which is bad. The badness of the rapes very heavily outweighs the goodness of the entertainment, so overall we are much better off to ban the pornography.

    The Libertarian argument: Everyone is responsible for their own actions. If a man commits rape, he is 100% responsible for having done so, whether or not he has watched violent porn. It is unjust to prevent one person from choosing to use this porn because its availability might lead some other person to choose to commit a crime.

    (I personally would argue for a middle ground between these extremes, but here I'm more interested in presenting the issues than in arguing for a particular resolution.)
  • by orthogonal (588627) on Tuesday April 06, 2004 @07:21PM (#8786461) Journal
    He once gave a speech at Bob Jones university, that contained such amazing lines

    And, according to the linked article (emphasis mine):
    In a speech in 2002, Ashcroft made it clear that the Justice Department intends to try. He said pornography "
    invades our homes persistently though the mail, phone, VCR, cable TV and the Internet," and has "strewn its victims from coast to coast."


    Other than spam, which I'll grant does sneak in, if this is an "invasion" we've outdone the French in surrendering to it.

    Porn doesn't sneak into your phone, VCR, or cable TV: you have to call a 900 number, rent a video, or order pay per view.

    And so many Americans are doing those things -- to the tune of billions of dollars a year -- that the argument that the porn "violates community standards" is laughable. Porn is the new community standard.

    But Ashcroft will find a way around this: Ashcroft had the case against Rob Zicari's Extreme Associates filed in the conservative Western District of Pennsylvania -- jury shopping so that the "community standards" of the whole country will be decided the citizens of the most conservative counties of the state that elected Rick Santorum senator.

    And realize, all of you who think this is a good idea, that when
    Lam Nguyen's job is to sit for hours in a chilly, quiet room devoid of any color but gray and look at pornography. This job, which Nguyen does earnestly from 9 to 5....

    is to the exclusion of anything else Lam Nguyen could be doing -- like looking for Osama bin Laden, or the next Enron fraud, or even kiddie porn (which is covered under a different statute). Resources are finite: every dollar and every hour spent on this witch hunt means real and dangerous criminals are going to get away.

    But I guess that's ok: we've won the war on terrorism, Iraq is a happy democracy, and the arch-villain Tommy Chong is in prison!
  • Total joke (Score:3, Insightful)

    by t_allardyce (48447) on Tuesday April 06, 2004 @07:24PM (#8786492) Journal
    So let me get this straight, John Ashcroft, whos never even seen a woman penetrating herself with the local prize winning giant cucumber, wants to tie up who knows how many police, fbi agents and judges pursuing a massive 'war' on pornography so that thousends of people can join prisioners from the 'war on drugs' and the 'war on terrorism'? Actually this is a great idea, now the police that would otherwise be busting 12 year-olds for downloading music will be doing something else and im sure the porn industry outside america will be delighted with the news! btw europe is laughing at you guys, you cant even swear on tv!!? you cant even show 1 nipple?!?! land of freedom? dont make me piss myself!

    er 50 quid says blair or the eu will follow with their own draconian war on porn within 6 months :(
  • Re:I'm not worried (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Charles Dart (731692) <Charles_Dart@hotmail.com> on Tuesday April 06, 2004 @07:25PM (#8786507)
    If I had mod points I would give you an insightful on that.

    I would like to add that all wars on nouns tend to drag on forever with out any real success.

    war on poverty

    war on drugs

    war on terrorism

    war on porn

    See the pattern?

  • by DietVanillaPepsi (763129) on Tuesday April 06, 2004 @07:30PM (#8786551)
    This is what bugs me so much about these ultra-conservatives. I may or may not feel that porn is wrong, but I don't want them deciding it on my behalf!

    Rallying against porn isn't the pet project of only ultra-conservatives. Some feminists, for example, feel that pornography violates women by virtue of it turning them into objects to be gawked at. But I digress.

    I guess they have nothing better to do... no terrorists left to hunt for, so they're going after "immoral" people. *sigh*

    Obviously, they do have terrorists to hunt. However, that doesn't mean that aren't going to pursue their puritanical agenda. Whether it involves drugs, pornography or whatever vice on which attention can be focused so as to divert attention from the administrations shortcomings, they will do this. It is to be expected in politics, whether it is a Democrat or Republican in office.

  • by bobthemonkey13 (215219) <keegan@ x o r67.org> on Tuesday April 06, 2004 @07:30PM (#8786553) Homepage Journal
    I can't believe we'd forgotten how things get when they're not in charge.

    Do not trust the pusher robot. Shoving will protect you. [jonathonrobinson.com]

    Do you seriously believe that Democrats will automatically uphold free speech any more than Republicans will? Consider which president signed the Communications Decency Act (which was ruled to be in violation of the 1st Ammendment). Hint: his last name starts with a C.

    Sure, the Republicans are doing a great job fucking us all over right now, but that doesn't mean you have to run to the Other Guy like a docile, trusting sheep. At least the militant "Anyone But Bush" types tend to focus on the issues/performance of the specific men involved, rather than some party doublethink that usually turns out to be exactly the same on both sides.

  • by BrookHarty (9119) on Tuesday April 06, 2004 @07:34PM (#8786591) Homepage Journal
    Either way, Nguyen, father of a 2-year-old girl, and his co-workers spend their days scouring the Internet for the most obscene material, following leads sent in by citizens and tracking pornographers operating under different names. The job wears on them all, day after day, so much so that the obscenity division has recently set up in-house counseling for them to talk about what they're seeing and how it is affecting them.

    Time to call Childrens Services, Nyuyen surfs porn all day, he must be an unfit parent. Take his child away.

    The knife cuts both ways, go after the puppets in government with the same tactics. This is why you triple check your IRS reportings, and make sure that girl you making home sex tapes is over 18.

    The right wing controlled Government will go after you with all its powers, and any little law can be used against you. Fight back with the legal system, they will use it against you. (A man sued a judge in montana, the judge classified him as a terrorist.) (A gay couple has to fight all the way to the supreme court to fight for their right to be gay. You can thank Texas.)

    The legal system is neither just nor fair. The hardcore religious faction is on par with the Taliban, they just use the courts instead of violence. The voilence comes after you loose in court, while you are being handcuffed and thrown in a cell.

    So remember folks, BUSH is pulling the FBI off terrorism to fight PORN. PORN didnt bomb the trade towers on 911.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 06, 2004 @07:40PM (#8786649)
    In the case of Janet Jackson, occuring in the context of the performance it was unquestionably sexual in nature. The entire performance was about sex. You're right that there's a lot of hypocrisy, but that doesn't automatically invalidate every argument of that side.

    My own view is this:

    Adults can watch other consenting adults if they want. I personally don't like it, but I'm not being forced to look at it.

    Children who do not understand what is going on, nor should not in any way be encouraged to repeat it should not be subjected to sexual things.

    Nudity is not automatically sexual.

    As the parent post pointed out, there are plenty of things that are not explicit sex or nudity that are sexual.

    So, by those rules, I DO have a problem with MTV's half-time performance. I DON'T have a problem with the statue of Justice showing some skin, which means I DO have a problem with Ashcroft.

    As far as the article goes though, I'm not entirely sure what they're going after, and I'm not sure I want to know...
  • Re:Violence is OK (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 06, 2004 @07:40PM (#8786656)
    Not to mention that violence in Fight Club was consensual too!

    PS, Rupert Murdoch (owner of Fox, publisher of Fight Club) detests the movie, called it nihilistic. Of course since he embodies a lot of what Fight Club was criticising, it is no surprise he wouldn't like it and again no surprise that he wouldn't just come out and say he didn't like it because it doesn't like him.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 06, 2004 @07:42PM (#8786668)
    The difference between Janet Reno and John Ashcroft is the Ashcroft hasn't killed children, yet.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 06, 2004 @07:45PM (#8786691)
    Dude, you need to start making campaign contributions. Seriously, they are only going after your industry because they think there won't be repercussions to their bottom-line. Buy a congressman or two, [opensecrets.org] they are surprisingly affordable.

    PS, this is not a joke. Freedom is not free, you gotta pay your toll if you want to keep it.
  • The law's the law (Score:3, Insightful)

    by darylb (10898) on Tuesday April 06, 2004 @07:45PM (#8786693)

    This article provokes a knee-jerk reaction against John Ashcroft, but the man has been quite fair in his carrying out of the laws of the United States, regardless of his personal beliefs. If you don't like anti-porn laws, fine. But then please work on your congressmen to deal with Title 8, Part I, Chapter 71 [cornell.edu] of the U.S. Code, at a minimum.

    Much of the porn for sale in the United States is being sold solely because law enforcement has looked the other way. Nonetheless, the sale of the stuff routinely violates national, state, and local laws. You can't blame the attorney general when he devotes resources to battling clear violations.

    Personally, if porn is the mark of an enlightened Western society, I'll take a little less enlightenment.

  • Re:who cares? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by platypibri (762478) <brian.platypionline@com> on Tuesday April 06, 2004 @07:46PM (#8786700) Homepage Journal
    It's human nature to investigate such a thing when you read a post like this. DO NOT DO THIS!!!! It's horrible! Spare yourself! I'm gonna go bleach my eyes.
  • by FsG (648587) on Tuesday April 06, 2004 @07:50PM (#8786752)
    I understand your objection, but here's something for you to consider: I've seen murder in movies, but it doesn't mean that actual people died in their filming. All of the things you refer to (particularly the rape porn) could have been staged by the porn company to get customers who want, well, rape porn. Sick, I know - but hardly *bad* if the whole thing was staged and the filmee was willing.
  • by Flavius Stilicho (220508) on Tuesday April 06, 2004 @07:56PM (#8786829)
    This isn't a crusade against porn. This is that scumbag Bush and his scumbag friends bitchslapping a $10 billion industry for not contributing to the kickback fund.

    It's obvious that the current administration is in it for as much money as they can get away with stealing. The porn industry would probably do better coughing up a few mil in 'contributions' than it would legal fees incurred fighting the good fight.
  • by diablomonic (754193) on Tuesday April 06, 2004 @08:01PM (#8786889)
    when are these morons going to wake up and realise.. hey, its just a body, in its natural form, doing what its supposed to do, or what it enjoys doing. Oh hang on, their religion is built on crap like "sex is evil, sex is a sin" to keep everyone but the REAL wierdos sinning. Now Im not advocating child pornography, nor anything in which all involved parties have not consented to the action, but really, its 2004 for cripes sake, GET OVER IT ALREADY. if you werent all such prudes, you wouldnt mind explaing to your kids how sex works, without geting all embarrassed. I mean, it is HOW THEY WERE CREATED!!!!!. Note that this rant (and yes I realise it is a bit) is not aimed at all americans, or even the majority of americans(in fact the issue is world wide), just at those people who are too silly to realise a natural human act and desire when they see it. Unfortunately, these can screw it up for everyone else.
  • Why not (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Chuck Chunder (21021) on Tuesday April 06, 2004 @08:03PM (#8786920) Homepage Journal
    I hear there's quite a few recently unemployed ex-Taliban who are highly skilled in the areas of repression, banning things and generally sticking their nose into other peoples business.

    They should be perfect for the role.
  • Jobs, jobs, jobs (Score:4, Insightful)

    by gad_zuki! (70830) on Tuesday April 06, 2004 @08:09PM (#8786988)
    > Temporary injunctions also work well for business disruption.

    That Bush administration, always looking for jobs.

    How many people does the porn industry employ? From production to video stores in has to be a giant industry.

    This is what you get when you mix politics and religion, people.
  • Re:Violence is OK (Score:3, Insightful)

    by jafac (1449) on Tuesday April 06, 2004 @08:12PM (#8787025) Homepage
    it's bizarre to censor sex and still allow showing people getting their brains blown out.

    . . . or people getting beaten with a whip and crucified.
  • by GlassHeart (579618) on Tuesday April 06, 2004 @08:13PM (#8787031) Journal
    more and more places are going smoke-free, including places thought of as "liberal" such as New York city and the entire state of California.

    The banning of smoking in various indoor venues is not an attack on your right to smoke, but a protection of my right not to have to inhale your smoke. This is similar to the concept that your right to punch ends where my face begins. The relevant question is whether I am harmed by your optional actions, not one of liberal or conservative thinking.

  • Lets restate that a little bit, it is the only way that is acceptable to you.

    And who the fuck do you think you are to tell me what is acceptable to me?

    If your only answer is your belief then just believe what you want and let others believe what they want.

    Not doing so makes you equally close minded as Islamic fundamentalists (who incidentely will quite agree on this specific issue of sex and marriage)
  • by the_mad_poster (640772) <shattoc@adelphia.com> on Tuesday April 06, 2004 @08:29PM (#8787198) Homepage Journal

    This is truly a disturbing parellel.

    This guy basically just looked at something that a LOT of people shell out their hard earned money for and said "I don't like it, let's crack down".

    This guy is absolutely off his fucking rocker. I want to know what he bases this crackdown on? Has a large portion of the consenting adult population suddenly decided to go on a porn-free diet? Does he have persuasive documentation to show that a significant number of children are being adversely affected by pornography despite a reasonable effort from parents to monitor their children?

    I don't know how many more people I speak for when I say this. But, Mr. Ashcroft. Get the fuck out of my life. If you don't have better things to do with your time than this, you don't have anything worthwhile to do with your time, and I'm tired of paying your salary.

  • History Lesson (Score:2, Insightful)

    by bombadillo (706765) on Tuesday April 06, 2004 @08:32PM (#8787221)
    This will end up like the war on Alcohol (1920's) and the War on Drugs. Miserable failures that do nothing but give more power to organized crime. If they have a problem with porn then they should put a tax on it, Same with drugs. Ashcroft strikes me as the type that would make it illegal to copulate accept for the purpose of procreation.
  • Re:War on Prawns! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Alan Cox (27532) on Tuesday April 06, 2004 @08:37PM (#8787261) Homepage
    Actually I prefer the war on porn.. with no porn who is going to fund all the evil DRM projects 8)
  • by frostman (302143) on Tuesday April 06, 2004 @08:38PM (#8787271) Homepage Journal
    Now really...

    If you're in the prawn... er, pr0n industry and you are fearing outsourcing, I don't think you should be worried about India.

    Regardless of whether you're an actor, a cameraperson, a producer, or a computer geek - you should be worried about Central and Eastern Europe.

    This outsourcing wave has been underway for years already. On 01 May it's going to become a whole lot cheaper, as certain borders vanish into memory.

    So please, before you take yet another jab at the Indians, have a look around the industry in question.

    It's really shocking how often self-proclaimed "open-minded" (or even self-proclaimed "smart") people around here default to these borderline-racist positions.

  • by RexHowland (71795) on Tuesday April 06, 2004 @08:45PM (#8787334)
    You're assuming that the consumers of pornography would otherwise be "normal" people if they weren't exposed to porn. The majority of people can look at porn without it becoming a problem. It is the minority who are affected, when "it undermines their relationships with others."

    It's a big assumption to say that they are capable of having a normal relationship with others in the first place. Perhaps the reason they turn to porn is because they are, in fact, incapable. Porn is not the cause of problems, it is the effect.

    And, similarly, taking it away doesn't fix those problems. In fact, if porn were made illegal, I think we'd see an increase in rapes and similar crimes -- from people who need other outlets for their sex drive.

    Honestly, it's rather narrow-minded to believe that all people are "normal," and it's things like porn and drugs and alcohol that turn them into freaks. Of course the "normal" people can be content without porn and drugs and alcohol. They have good genes, they were raised right... They have what it takes to be happy, without needing vices to get them there.

    Everybody else, though, needs certain things to help them through their struggles. If they need those things, then taking them away won't make their struggles any better, and would often make them worse.

    So there's no benefit in going after porn. People who choose to view it do it for a reason. If they don't need porn to get them through life, fine. Nobody's forcing them to look at it. But if they do need it, then taking it away would be infringing upon their rights.

    Remember: "Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness. "
  • Re:I'm not worried (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Maestro4k (707634) on Tuesday April 06, 2004 @08:45PM (#8787335) Journal
    • So I say let Johhny Boy fight his porn war, maybe that'll distract him from doing some real damage.
    More likely it'll discredit and humiliate him politically so much that he'll never even hold office as janitor for the DOJ after Dubya's out of office (and perhaps before if this blows up as badly as I suspect it will).

    I doubt anything will distract him from his holy crusade to (re)make America comform to his puritanical views, but getting laughed out of DC and reviled and hated by millions of Americans will stop him.

    This should be interesting to watch, I suspect a new generation will grow up now despising Ashcroft as much as mine despised Tipper Gore (IIRC, she didn't want just parental warning stickers on CDs, she wanted everything she found offensive banned, or at least that's how we teens took it at the time).

  • by afidel (530433) on Tuesday April 06, 2004 @08:48PM (#8787362)
    Um, we knew Aschcroft was off his rocker within a couple days of him taking office. He had a curtain put up for a freaking nude marble statue! Also you point out the ultimate irony of Republicans, they want the government out of their lifes unless it's to instill their own brand of morality on everyone else.
  • Amen! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Tony (765) on Tuesday April 06, 2004 @08:58PM (#8787430) Journal
    Conservatives *are* for free markets. Bush, Cheney and Asscroft aren't conservatives. They're right-wing radicals.. i.e. fascists.

    I wish more people would realize this. I generally vote either independent or democrat, but I tend toward libertarianism (not the kind represented by the Libertarians, but that espoused by President Jefferson). I do not believe a completely unregulated free market is the right way; otherwise, we end up with corporations in control, as they wield all the power. (Kind of like we have now.)

    Just wanted to clarify, so you know my biases.

    But: those fuckers in control right now are *not* republicans in anything but party affiliation. I've known too many republicans, held intelligent and useful discourse with republicans, and generally agree with most of their viewpoints.

    Bush, Cheney, Ashcroft, and the others in charge of our country do *not* practice republican ideals: small government, reduced spending, fiscal responsibility, and a respect for personal liberty and responsibility.

    They are fascists, pure and simple.
  • by Michael Woodhams (112247) on Tuesday April 06, 2004 @09:03PM (#8787473) Journal
    This is a sub-issue, although an interesting one. The utilitarian argument requires a cost-benefit analysis, so we need to assign weights to the various costs and benefits, such as rape, entertainment and enforcement effort (which at least can be measured in dollars). How much weight we assign to these is highly debatable.

    "But porn can never be eliminated completely" is not a valid argument to not attempt to eliminate some. There is likely to be a law of deminishing returns: if $X eliminates half of porn, $2X will eliminate three quarters, $3X will eliminate seven eights, etc. The more we spend, the less porn we remove per dollar.

    The utilitarian approach would identify an optimum level of effort at repression, beyond which the cost would exceed the benefit.

    You're arguing in utilitarian terms: that banning porn costs more than it gains. I'm more interested in the utilitarian/libertarian contrast: *if* somehow the cost of banning porn was cheap enough to be justified from a utilitarian point of view, should we do it? (Or alternatively if the cost of non-banning is increased. Your arguments apply equally to child porn.)

    The real issue is how we value freedom. A utilitarian could set the value of freedom somewhere between zero and comparable to the other elements in the equation. A libertarian sets the value very high.

    Libertarians should also consider the fact that freedoms can collide - what about the freedom to walk through a park at night without fear of being raped?

    To wrap up: Rights/freedoms always have the potential to come into conflict. Anyone who insists that one particular right or freedom overrides all others is a dangerous fanatic. The boundaries between rights will always be somewhat arbitrary, but they must still be drawn.
  • Re:Pointless (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ratamacue (593855) on Tuesday April 06, 2004 @09:09PM (#8787544)
    How about the fact that any expansion of government -- any increase in scope, revenue, or power over the people -- benefits those who control government?

    Call me a conspiracy theorist, but I think there is a reason why government tends to expand over its lifetime (as history shows).
  • by d34thm0nk3y (653414) on Tuesday April 06, 2004 @09:28PM (#8787698)
    3) "Republicans" and "Democrats" may as well be the same thing as far as sense and sanity go. Both groups are led by crackpot morons. I have my reservations about Libertarians too. What's that leave? Socialists? Communists? Nazis? Yea... that's a lot better...

    It leaves making informed decisions based on the availible evidence and supporting whichever party happens to be closest at the time. AKA: Moderates
  • MOD UP! (Score:2, Insightful)

    by crimson30 (172250) on Tuesday April 06, 2004 @09:31PM (#8787734) Homepage
    I really don't give a shit, it's your life not mine. Whatever happened to "Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness"?

    Indeed... I think all this really illustrates how we've strayed from the founding principles of this country... as such, we're definitely on a fast track to being totally fucked.

    pherris quietly puts on a fire retardant suit and watches his karma head south.

    If you're modded down, it's truly a sign of how screwed up things are and how brainwashed the masses have become...
  • by ControversialPosting (765859) on Tuesday April 06, 2004 @09:40PM (#8787809)
    In a speech in 2002, Ashcroft made it clear that the Justice Department intends to try. He said pornography "invades our homes persistently though the mail, phone, VCR, cable TV and the Internet," and has "strewn its victims from coast to coast."

    "It just keeps coming" Ashcroft continued. "It's everywhere. Pornographic website just keep appearing in your bookmarks. Credit cards fly out of your pocket buying movies on late night when your wife is at the RNC sewing circle. Young hot girls repeatedly spank eachother while giggling and jiggling on videos which jump into your hands at the rental line. Steaming co-eds with possessed toys do the bouncy-bouncy with a group of district attorneys in jail. Make it stop! Make it stop!"

    Ashcroft then broke down into tears and sobbed.

    Why are the champions of decency always the ones who are having problems repressing things? Like Rush Limbaugh's perpetual rants against drug use, or anything done by Eminem? Should we really allow important government policy about sexual freedoms to be formed by a man who doesn't dance?

    BTW, parent is not flamebait. Parent is pointing out that in most other developed nations, we're viewed as highly sexually immature. And really, we are. Our viewpoint on sex is formed more by preconceived notions rather than experience, leaning far more towards an unattainable idealized sex life than a real one. This cultural repression leads to sex being a problem for many, in exactly the same way that binge eating is a problem for dieters, and binge drinking is a problem for people (of every culture) just before the minimum legal age. In this respect America needs to mature.

  • by Dirtside (91468) on Tuesday April 06, 2004 @09:55PM (#8787895) Journal
    With regards to your sig, here are some polite corrections to your spelling and grammar :)
    ... I actually read the article. The investigation team seems to be after some very extreme stuff.
    Anyhow I find it curious that they mentioned something like near-european like tolerance of pornography. What's that supposed to mean?
    Yes, believe it or not, you can see naked women on billboards advertising skin lotion. You can see naked women (and/or men) on magazines. Open them up and you see: Guess what? Naked women and/or men. Just that. No extreme posing, no sick and somewhat unaesthetic pussy tearing or any of that kind of stuff.
    As prudish as a large portion of US citizens may be, the most extreme (and sick) porn I've ever seen comes from the US. I strongly suspect there's a link there somewhere. I met an american once who noticed the same. He said like 'Yeah, here in germany you keep turning your head for those magazines laid out right next to the newspaper and you're all mixed why no one's irritated. But when you look inside it's cuddly innocent naked girls, much softer porn than what you see in the american editions.' Right on. I'd say it may be time for you across the pond to lighten up a little, no? Ok, so some people say the US may be founded by all the crazy religious fanatics that got chucked out of europe a few centuries ago, but aren't things changing for the better over there? Or are they getting worse?
    Now, to answer your actual questions:
    What's that supposed to mean?
    It's "common knowledge" in the U.S. that most European countries are much more liberal in terms of pornography. What exactly that entails, of course, is unknown to most Americans -- we simply figure that it's just like it is here, only more so. I wasn't aware until I read your post that run-of-the-mill porn in Germany was generally softer than what we have here in the U.S., though. Interesting. (I would like to visit Germany some time, and not just for the porn ;))
    I strongly suspect there's a link there somewhere.
    One commonly-cited event is how when Denmark became the first European country to legalize pornography back in the 60s, the incidence of sex crimes dropped drastically. Japan, which has an enormous array of options for those seeking pornography (including some exceedingly bizarre stuff -- not extreme, just bizarre), has one of the lowest rates of sex crimes of any industrialized nation.

    The point is that giving people a harmless outlet (pornography) is a healthy thing, as opposed to forcing them to repress everything until they decide to go out and start raping people.

    I'd say it may be time for you across the pond to lighten up a little, no?
    Not all of us think that Ashcroft's approach to pornography is reasonable. I'm an American citizen, born and raised, and I'm firmly of the opinion that consenting adults should be allowed, sexually, to do whatever they want with each other -- including recording their sex acts and selling copies to other consenting adults. (Minus a few random corner cases.)
    Ok, so some people say the US may be founded by all the crazy religious fanatics that got chucked out of europe a few centuries ago,
    Which is responsible for both our historically strong work ethic, as well as our incredible puritanical streak...
    but aren't things changing for the better over there? Or are they getting whorse?
    I don't really have any statistics, but it seems to me that it's getting more polarized. That is, more people are coming to believe that things like pornography are just fine, but the people who think it's evil are holding that opinion more and more strongly.

    Like a lot of things, however, people generally only switch from one side to the other. The number of people who start out thinking pornography is okay, but then decide it's evil, is absolutely dwarfed by the number of people who start out sexually repressed but then find out that pornography can be a healthy outlet for emotions that might otherwise turn violent.

  • by GlassHeart (579618) on Tuesday April 06, 2004 @09:57PM (#8787911) Journal
    If you don't like MY smoke, don't come into MY house... or MY business.

    You're welcome to smoke in your house or at your place of work (provided you are the employer), silly. I'm talking about your smoking at my place of business, and public buildings that I enter. I completely agree that people have the right to harm their own lungs, as long as they agree they have no right to harm mine.

    On an amusing side note, how can a post that has not received any rating (moderation) be "overrated"?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 06, 2004 @10:05PM (#8787974)
    It's interesting, because I just looked at your site, and I really don't consider it to be porn at all. Not even softcore. There's nudity, but no sex. Why shouldn't people teach me how to use some basic Unix tools in the nude? They could be wearing any other sort of clothing.

    You should really have used your Powerbook for the picture at the top of the main page, though. Nothing takes away from a nice nude pose quicker than a bunch of legacy ports on the back of a notebook. :P

  • by salesgeek (263995) on Tuesday April 06, 2004 @10:11PM (#8788015) Homepage
    Most groups don't seem to try to legislate morality on other folks.

    What planet do you live on? Every group of every kind tries to legislate it's morality (except the libertarians and anarchists who try to unlegislate their version).

    I don't think that radical environmentalist speech should be suppressed.

    It always has struck this Christian that it is hypocritical to have freedom of the press and of speech and then to say you can't print porn or talk about certain subjects.

    But religious conservative types *do* try to mobilize and dictate what content people want to view

    How does this differ from any other group who advocates a particular ideology? Social debate has been an ongoing phenomenon since somewhere around the time man started walking upright.
  • Re:Dear dear dear (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Xyrus (755017) on Tuesday April 06, 2004 @10:30PM (#8788159) Journal
    So let me get this straight. Does this mean if your under the age of 18 and you get caught masturbating, you can be charged with performing a sex act on a child?

    I guess that means just about everyone between the ages of 12 and 18 needs to be registered as a sex offender.

    Do these people actually think that a nation full of sexually repressed people are GOING TO MAKE THINGS BETTER?????!!!!!??????

    Welcome the land of the free and home of the brave. Please pick up your shackles, and cower down in the nearest corner of your own convenience.

    ~X~
    "Who here thinks Canada is starting to look good?"
  • by ArcticCelt (660351) on Tuesday April 06, 2004 @10:35PM (#8788201)
    if you werent all such prudes, you wouldnt mind explaing to your kids how sex works, without geting all embarrassed. I mean, it is HOW THEY WERE CREATED!!!!!.

    To ad on top of your point of view, then its ok to show people get killed and beaten on tv but not making love.

    Or let's talk about fear factor, I think its les degrading for a human being to make love live on tv than to eat cow turd just to entertain the masses.

    Anyway I am certainly not advocating to ban any of those issues I am just saying that using the public money and resource on those matters is the most stupid thing that a government can do.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 07, 2004 @12:28AM (#8788987)
    He covered up the statue of Justice.

    You can't get any more ironic, symbolic, or prophetic than that.

  • by mp3phish (747341) on Wednesday April 07, 2004 @12:40AM (#8789060)
    It's not the democrats or the republicans that are fucking everyone... Well, depending on how you look at it...

    Since the republican party caters to southern ignorance when it comes to their "learned" norms (war on drugs, abortion, economic policy, social bureaucracy, gun laws, religion, etc.) you could probably say that the reason republicans are powerful is because of their masses which buy into the taught accepted standard. Democrats on the other hand are always telling the poor joe (everyone who isn't rich or completely ignorant, plus some of those as well) to stick with them because of such issues as health care, taxes, natural resources and beauty, human and personal rights, privacy, etc.

    Both sides are basically fueled by a bunch of masses who are having strings pulled behind the scenes while they watch the curtains stay in place. So the question becomes not what does conservatism or liberalism or democrat or republican mean. Because you can't define those. It is different depending on if you are poor, rich, greedy, compassionate, racist, or ignorant.

    It all boils down to rich white men from the south running the Republican party with a platform that doesn't make sence to an educated person because it makes perfect sence to the ignorant. And then Democrats trying to do good for the poor guy because they are the only other masses left over, and they need votes as badly as possible. Poor and Ignorant are the only masses we have. The rest are all in a serious minority, and they are the ones running both parties. Republicans are always recruiting new poor people all the time though, because there is a large segment of poor people tend to be very religious on such issues as prayer in school and abortion. So these ignorant people will jump ship to the republicans on those issues alone, ignoring that they are poor and being stepped on when it comes to their natural resources, tax dollars, and big business CEO's ripping them off. Walmart, Dell, Microsoft, these are just the little guys, all banking because they control enough of their market that they can control minute details of how their much smaller competition runs their own business. Republicans have figured out how to get the ignorant vote: marketing marketing marketing. This is exactly how walmart, dell, and microsoft get those same exact votes.

    You can't beat the money with intelligence. Because there is too much misinformation spreading from the deep pockets. This modern day marketing tactics is why the republican party is growing, and the democrat party is shrinking, and everything is slowly moving right. 10 years ago, most of today's democrats would be considered republicans in most situations.

    I wouldn't blame it on the party itself. But the people running the party and the people who support it. Republian principle and Democratic principle are both very well thought out, they are just ruined by utter lack of respect, compassion, and a surplus of ignorance.

    I don't know what party to recommend to you. They all run on the same principle. The smaller groups control the masses. Dictatorship, monarchy, democracy, and republics are all controlled the same way. They are all subject to corruption, and any way of government which is will eventually finish in corruption.

    [/rant]
  • Re:Dear dear dear (Score:4, Insightful)

    by extra the woos (601736) on Wednesday April 07, 2004 @12:50AM (#8789104)
    Leviticus 18:18 "Neither shalt thou take a wife to her sister, to vex her, to uncover her nakedness, beside the other in her life time." So its not okay to sleep with your wife's sister if it will vex your wife. (yeah i know it says beside the other, as well, so you could take it even further but i'm not gonna). That's your wife's SISTER. What if your not married? If it's okay to sleep with your wife's sister if it doesnt' vex your wife, then if you aren't married, well, there'd be no one to vex would there be? And definately there'd be no one to vex if it was A PICTURE OR MOVIE. The bible doesn't say you can't look at naked women and get aroused by it. Nowhere does it say that. It doesn't even imply it. What it does say is you should be loyal to your wife and not try to make her jealous. (and that you shouldn't sleep with relatives lol) The fact that all these laws (against sleeping with your FRIGGIN RELATIVES!) had to be spelled out to the jews of old leads me to believe that they were PRETTY FUCKIN' HORNY PEOPLE! And they prolly slept around, took multiple "wives" and did other crazy sexual stuff all the time. Especially compared to our current society. Lets put it this way: You walk into a room of people...There's 20 people there. God says "dont have sexual relations with those 6 over there, that would be a sin." What the hell does that imply? Is it not obvious? What in the world would a "reasonable person" take that to mean? Sure seems like god didn't ban you from multiple sexual partners or sex before marriage or whatever, he just didn't want you to disgrace your family, upset your wife, or whatever. So based on what I can see in the bible, vexing your wife by looking at porno would not be good in the eyes of god. She's your wife, you gotta treat each other good. If your wife and you wanted to watch a porn tape together I dont think god would have an issue with that! If your not married, you have no one to "vex", but yet you've got those urges, I really just can't see god up there saying "damnit extra, stop sinning for looking at that jpeg." Uhmm...no.
  • Re:Pointless (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Catbeller (118204) on Wednesday April 07, 2004 @01:02AM (#8789168) Homepage
    "The correct argument is of course: every person has an inherent right to watch what another person wants to perform."

    Hm. As I go to bed, I think sometimes we all get it wrong. We don't have such a right as that. Our right should be more generally stated, so we don't get into sily arguments with thugs like Ashcroft.

    Let's try this:

    Every person has the right to not be harrassed, imprisoned, or bankrupted by another human unless he is hurting someone -- hurt defined as actual damage, not some ephermeral damage to their "morals" or an affront to their "god". Such false "damage" is a fantasy in the mind of the "damaged". Deluded people shouldn't be running the machinery of law.

    Ashcroft: lost an election to a dead man. Annointed with Crisco oil by Clarence Thomas. Won't dance because dancing is evilly sexual. Covered up a statue 'cause it showed a tit. Is afraid of Calico cats because they represent Satan. Bankrupted businesses using Scientology-type legal tactics because he thought they sold evil goods.

    Bush needs to be kicked out if nothing else JUST FOR putting this vicious lunatic in charge of the DOJ.
  • by superyooser (100462) on Wednesday April 07, 2004 @02:03AM (#8789581) Homepage Journal
    You understand ZERO, ZILCH, ZIP, NADA about Christianity or President Bush. The same goes for everyone who modded you insightful. It's hard to fathom the intellectual rot and moral bankruptcy of a person who would compare the Bush administration to the Taliban. It sounds like your post came straight out of Soviet Russia.
  • Re:Dear dear dear (Score:3, Insightful)

    by EvilTwinSkippy (112490) <yoda&etoyoc,com> on Wednesday April 07, 2004 @02:41AM (#8789763) Homepage Journal
    Porn by itself is ok. Images and depictions of eroticism are as old as civilization itself. (Indeed, the Bible is rife with some rather lurid descriptions of who did whom and how.)

    Now under the Jewish faith, you are judged by your actions. I think we all can imagine a few of God's ordinances we break as a result of watching porn.

    Christians have a harder time. To a Christian, fantisizing about adultery or fornication is as bad as doing it. Of course, it's also assumed that we are all sinners at heart. So while God isn't pleased by it, he still loves us.

    Thus watching porn, in of itself, is ok. The emotions and desires that it stirs up are part of our sinning nature. Even without the porn, the corruption is there.

    What the big guy upstairs cares about is what you do to overcome that corruption? Do you let your boys out to play then fall asleep? Not ideal, but mostly harmless. Now, acting on those desires in other ways... well we are back to being judged by our actions again, aren't we.

    I'm glancing through the New Testiment, and I find a lot of passages about the corrupting influences of money. I don't see a thing about porn.

  • by leereyno (32197) on Wednesday April 07, 2004 @02:42AM (#8789767) Homepage Journal
    As far as I'm concerned John Ashcroft is waging war on the American people. I don't see anything difference between him using the power of the state to attack pornography, and other regimes using the power of the state to attack political dissidents. Porn is harmless. I don't particularly like it myself, at least not the crude garbage that accounts for 95% of it. But even though I don't like it doesn't mean I don't appreciate its value as a tool for creating a healthier society. Porn serves a very important purpose, and that is to make sex and sexuality something that is seen as ordinary and commonplace. When talking about sex is as uneventful as talking about the weather then society will be a lot better off. As it stands right now there are still an awful lot of neurotic people out there. Talk about sex and they get all twittery. Some even become angry or embarassed. Why? Because they've been conned into thinking of sex as something bad, or something to worry about. That is not just stupid, its sick. For many people like that there just isn't anything that can be done, except wait for them to die that is. Luckily people aren't born that way. Instead they are psychologically conditioned to have those thoughts and feelings. This conditioning is little more than mass brainwashing. Its end result is a person who has fixed ideas and emotional responses that don't change, even if he or she has experiences that would warrant that they change. They are impaired from thinking, impaired from forming their own conclusions, and impaired from changing their minds when the facts dictate that they should. They feel bad and anxious about sex because they were made to feel that way about it. This brainwashing depends upon lies. And not just lies, but lies told within an environment where the truth is hidden and questions and curiosity are strongly discouraged. This is what has commonly been called sexual repression and it is a form of mental and emotional torture. Porn undermines it, and if for no other reason than that it is a positive influence. Not because porn shows sex accurately or truly, but because it prevents sex from being made into a secret shame. I hate to say this because I'll sound Alec Baldwin, but if Ashcroft's crap is allowed to fly, I do belive I may leave the country.

    This country is going to shit in a hurry in general . The american people are stuck between neo-bolshevik nimrods on the left, and puritanical pinheads on the right. How are we supposed to elect a wise and prudent government when this what we have to build it with?

    Ashcroft has, in one fell swoop, angered and incensed me more than just about any of the crap I've seen come from the left over the past decade. You have to go all the way back to the 60's to find something that the left has done to top this nonsense.

    Any SOB who will put a man like Ashcroft in power and give him free reign to persecute the American people sure as hell isn't going to get my vote.

    I'm at a loss for words. I think my beer money's going to be going to the EFF and the ACLU this year.

    Lee
  • by EvilTwinSkippy (112490) <yoda&etoyoc,com> on Wednesday April 07, 2004 @03:28AM (#8789918) Homepage Journal
    Exactly who are you branding as "Christians" here?

    The Catholics? Eastern Orthodox or Roman? The Protestents? Methodist, Baptist, Episcipalian, Prebereterian, Quaker, Anglican, 7th day Adventists, Mormons, etc, etc, etc.

    Why not just talk about all those "Colored folk", or those "Gooks". They all share a common trait. They all must think alike too.

    The Christian Right is neither. Now pick a different term when discussing those morons.

  • by AdeBaumann (126557) on Wednesday April 07, 2004 @04:31AM (#8790126) Homepage
    I somehow disagree with your statement that the Republican Party [...] us actually a moderate party (after all, it is one of the top 2 parties). Would you say the NSDAP (Nazi Party) in Germany in 193something-45 was moderate just because it was the top party? The CPSU in the Soviet Union was moderate because it was the top party from 1917-1991? Didn't think so...

  • by JulianOolian (683769) on Wednesday April 07, 2004 @04:56AM (#8790196)
    Parent is pointing out that in most other developed nations, we're viewed as highly sexually immature.

    The perception in most of Europe is that the US has a good appetite for on-screen violence, but gets upset at the slightest bit of sexy flesh.

    Case in point? There's a war on, lots of bad shit going down right there on the TV and no-one bats an eyelid. Then Janet Jackson flashes a bit of tit and hysteria prevails.

    Still, that's puritans for you. :-p

  • by Bootsy Collins (549938) on Wednesday April 07, 2004 @05:39AM (#8790313)

    There is nothing wrong with sex - you set up a strawman then attack it. The problem is in improper use of it. I don't care what you say - the thought of a man recording his wife (as I heard in one case) act in sex scenes makes me sick and angry.

    Sick and angry enough to make it illegal for them to do so, even if that's what they both want to do?

    The whole porn industry in general makes me angry - a comment which is bound to displease many slashdotters, as I know how popular pornography is.

    No, what's popular is the idea of letting people live their own lives without our poking our noses into parts of their lives which aren't any of our business. If you and your wife want to invite a third consenting adult to join you, I may think that's immoral, and I may not want to do it myself; but it's none of my business what you and your wife do.

    Sex should never involve multiple men. It should never involve having sex with another man's wife. It is an evil institution that damages the lives of people who participate in it, and those who view it.

    Those are your opinions. In my opinion, life should not involve slavish belief in an unsubstantiated fairy tale about a hypothetical omnipotent being. And in my opinion, most religions are evil institutions that damage the lives of people who participate in them and interact with them. Those are my opinions. How fortunate for both of us that we live in a place where people are granted the freedom to pursue happiness as they see fit, and we can agree to disagree.

    How many of you porn supporters can honestly say you'd be pleased if your daughter became a porn star, having sex with many different men in her life, for thousands of other men to view?

    I wouldn't be pleased. I wouldn't be pleased if she became a fundamentalist, either. But I'm not about to make either thing illegal. It's her life; it would lose a lot of its meaning if I got to tell her what she could and could not do with it.

  • by Tyreth (523822) on Wednesday April 07, 2004 @05:45AM (#8790325)
    Those are your opinions. In my opinion, life should not involve slavish belief in an unsubstantiated fairy tale about a hypothetical omnipotent being. And in my opinion, most religions are evil institutions that damage the lives of people who participate in them and interact with them. Those are my opinions. How fortunate for both of us that we live in a place where people are granted the freedom to pursue happiness as they see fit, and we can agree to disagree.

    It's fascinating how all questions on morality boil down to God's existence. With no God, there is no "right" or "wrong". Suddenly everything is neutral. It is then ever so convenient to deny God's existence as an excuse for what you want to excuse, and to then use nonsensical terms like "evil" when you want to appeal to morality, such as when you said most religions are evil institutions. So, which way is it? If you think these organisations are evil, then by what standard or law do you judge them to be evil.

  • by Bootsy Collins (549938) on Wednesday April 07, 2004 @06:08AM (#8790384)

    It's fascinating how all questions on morality boil down to God's existence.

    They do? I don't think so. What makes you think they do? The fact that I made my (negative) comments about belief? They were included not to make a statement about the basis for morality, but merely to illustrate a point: you, too, might find uncomfortable a world in which others get to decide for you the terms of your life.

    With no God, there is no "right" or "wrong". Suddenly everything is neutral. It is then ever so convenient to deny God's existence as an excuse for what you want to excuse, and to then use nonsensical terms like "evil" when you want to appeal to morality, such as when you said most religions are evil institutions.

    Such terms are not nonsensical at all. The fact that you don't see any basis for right and wrong outside of a belief in a supreme being doesn't mean that other people are similarly hobbled. I'm perfectly capable of judging right or wrong in my life without the threat of eternal hellfire, thank you very much.

    So, which way is it? If you think these organisations are evil, then by what standard or law do you judge them to be evil.

    What standard? My own. The one I've developed over the course of my life's experiences, which I think is mostly internally logically consistent, but ultimately (like all logical systems) is based on some assumptions about what's good and right, assumptions that seem kind and fair and that I can live with. And over the course of my life, through my life's experiences, I sometimes see holes in my logic, or even things which challenge my assumptions; and so my moral sense is refined. But it's something that I've generated, and am constantly re-assessing, for myself. And while external sources of course make and have made an impact on me (to use an extreme example, I'd probably be more likely to think murder was OK if I lived in a society where everyone thought murder was OK), my moral sense doesn't parrot anyone's list of dos and don'ts.

    Surely you're not saying that you can't think of any reason to do the "right thing" in your life other than the threat of eternal punishment, are you?

  • by AppyPappy (64817) on Wednesday April 07, 2004 @08:06AM (#8790737)
    How sad that we are willing to go to the wall for images of women being degraded by rape, Russian pre-teens engaging in "actual incest" and unconscious women being groped. And we call it "freedom". I guess that is the mark of a "progressive" society these days.
  • the other view (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Intrigued (757997) on Wednesday April 07, 2004 @11:25AM (#8792487)
    I'm tempted to post Anonymous because I'll probably be flamed/modded into oblivion within seconds of posting. But... what the hell.

    I personally am not worried about actions against porn. If it were gone, I wouldn't really care. IMO ideas, ideals, thoughts, beliefs, inspirations, etc... must not be censored whether I believe them or not. Artwork - images to evoke a reaction (wherever that reaction may be) is up to society as a whole to compromise on what is an acceptable standard. Images that promote excitement about abuse of rights or innocence (child porn, bestiality, rape, torture) need to be destroyed and their producers disabled from ever creating it again.

    The huge pro-porn posts on here are incredibly defensive. I'm happlily married with a bunch of kids and don't have any obsession with porn that needs to be defended.

    Porn to me is a small piece of reality torn out of context. Refined beyond benefit. It is like drugs, refined sugars, white flour. People try it and say "I like it. And it didn't kill me. Everyone is full of crap when they said this is bad for me."

    Those that keep that attitude and show no restraint end up OD'd, too fat to get through the bedroom door or dying of a myriad of complications and diseases. They also often greive everyone that cares about them.

    Sex is a perfectly good thing and so is the human body. I teach my kids that. I don't have any problem with real art that portrays the form of the body for what it is. I don't have any problem with my kids seeing the naked indian tribes on National Geo channel. I don't have a problem with my wife nursing in public. I don't have a problem with "lady justice" statues.

    I do have a problem with the sex based purpose of dating in movies and tv, sex in commercials, and in general, the huge obsession that our society puts on sex. It is ONLY a good part of a full life.

    People who sit in at a computer for hours (days, months, decades) at a time browsing porn really need to get out and meet real people, contribute to society and get involved. There is alot more out there. Every relationship that I have ever seen that lasted was based on a broad spectrum of things that sex was only a part.

    Many relationships that I have seen fail ended with "he/she cheated on me", "the sex was great but there was nothing else", "we just weren't in love anymore".

    The whole obsession with romance and sex is crap. marriages last longer in countries where they are arranged. They understand choosing to love instead of "falling" in love.

    When my kids are forming their ideas about relationships, I don't want them pushed into a fictional, fractional view of what will be. I don't want them to think that porn is what life is about.

    I also don't want them living in the kind of world that I see now where the 6 year old kid down the street gets mollested by the neighbor kid because the neighbor kid saw something "really cool" that his father had videos of.

    This is my view. Flame away.

  • by still cynical (17020) on Wednesday April 07, 2004 @12:41PM (#8793447) Homepage
    I DID NOT VOTE FOR ASHCROFT and never will!

    Wanna bet? A vital duty of the President is appointing officials to the Executive Branch, as well as judges to the Judicial. Candidates campaign on that very issue. If you do not take likely appointments into consideration when you vote, you are an idiot and need to go back to Civics 101. You voted for Bush, you get credit for the baggage he brings with him.
  • Which god? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by triskaidekaphile (252815) <xerafin@hotmail.com> on Wednesday April 07, 2004 @12:46PM (#8793504) Homepage

    Without any God, there is no right or wrong.

    Okay, say I admit I believe in God. And He is Eros.

    Clearly, without a doubt, the pornographers are "right". The DOJ is "wrong". Ashcroft has condemned himself to an eternal life without any happiness. In fact, he's already started. ("Ashcroft, a religious man who does not drink alcohol or caffeine, smoke, gamble or dance ...") Maybe he has already crossed over.

    Do you mean to tell me I am "wrong" about God? How can that be? You said God defines "right" and "wrong". If your view of "right" and "wrong" does not match "mine", then obviously you are the one mistaken about God!

  • by josh3736 (745265) on Wednesday April 07, 2004 @01:19PM (#8793905) Homepage
    It's hard to fathom the intellectual rot and moral bankruptcy of a person ...

    Intellectial rot? Moral bankruptcy?

    The only 'intellectual rot' I see here is from someone who whips out their holy book in defense of what their religion has brainwashed them into thinking is right. (mods, read the whole thing before slapping this as flamebait)

    And please explain to me how someone is morally bankrupt, even by your standards, by making a political comparison? He says that the views and policies of the Bush Administration are similar to those of the the Taliban. He does not say that Bush == (Satanism || Atheism || Islam || etc...). Quite honestly, I can see how Bush ~= Taliban.

    USA PATRIOT Act, anyone? PATRIOT II? MATRIX? The list goes on. That sure seems like canceling Constitutional Rights at convenience to me.

    The most annoying thing about the Christian crusade to legislate their morality on me is that when I say, "You know, that may be the way it is to you, but what about other people who don't believe in that?" they just give me a funny look, as to say, "What do you mean, not believe in that???"

    I know this because I live with 2 very devout Christians. I recently got in an argument with one about gay marriage. Of course their viewpoint is, "It's wrong and should be banned!" But who says it is wrong? "God." But what if I don't believe in your god and/or believe in the god(s) of a different religion? "It doesn't matter, God says it is wrong ergo it should be outlawed."

    What? Excuse me, but this is a country (supposedly) founded on the principle of religious freedom. The Constitution says I can pick whatever the hell religion I want and be free from the government telling me "no." This is not a country where the morals of one religion are to be legislated on to everyone regardless of their choice of religion. Whereas your religion says homosexuality is wrong, mine does not. Fine. You worry about yourself following your morals. I will worry about myself following mine.

    Obviously, there are a few exceptions. These have to be what we can all agree on, though. (That's why we should all VOTE, but that's another topic...) For example, I think we can all agree that murder and theft are indeed bad. I want to be able to live, and I want to be able to live without you taking all my stuff. You probably feel the same way.

    Disclaimer: I myself am not gay, I simply believe that *everyone* deserves freedom of choice. Also, I do not think all Christians are bad. It is the extremeist nuts and/or those who try to shove their religion and their morals down my throat that I have a problem with, no matter which religion you come from.

  • by Analogy Man (601298) on Wednesday April 07, 2004 @02:55PM (#8795178)
    For the record I am a Christian...but I can't support your arguement here. There can be a philosophical treatment of right and wrong without God.

    The simple example, "my right to extend my arm ends at the tip of your nose" illustrates that there can be an examination of rights and "good" or "bad" without religious dogma.

    This is the point the parent post is making. If there is a debate of right and wrong the simplest test is one to determine if one party does harm to another. We should at least start with this low level test before moving up the ladder of regulation and legistlation. If you want to look on this as "do unto others..." fine. But the gospel message is not necessary to make the point (at least this one).

  • by Bootsy Collins (549938) on Wednesday April 07, 2004 @03:56PM (#8795879)

    But then the question arises: What is this thing that you call a "moral compass?" What is morality then if there is no absolute standard from which to derive it? If morality is relative, then so is right and wrong.

    If by "right and wrong" is relative, you mean that different people can have different ideas of what's right and what's wrong, then I agree. Without an absolute standard from which to derive morality, that sort of situation applies, yes.

    Something that is good to you may not be necessarily what is good to the next person. If you are your own yardstick of morality, how can you say that something is inherently good or evil with any certainty or credibility to anyone but yourself?

    I can't. I don't say that anything is inherently good or evil. I can't say such a thing without an absolute metric, you're right. So I don't say that. What I say instead is that, based on my morals, I think something is good or evil -- which is not the same thing as saying that something is inherently good or evil.

    If your moral compass says that religion is evil, then why should we care or listen to what you have to say?

    You don't have to. If it matters to me enough (which, right now, it doesn't), I might try to debate you about it. I might try to get you to agree that the assumptions upon which my moral sense is based, and the conclusions I draw from those assumptions (or at least the parts of these that are relevant to whatever issue we discuss), are worth following. You may or may not agree.

    You may be right and wrong, but without absolute morality then your judgement, and indeed everyone's judgment becomes meaningless.

    That doesn't logically follow. Your statement is based upon the same sort of assumption that the parent was making -- an assumption that the only thing that can provide meaning is an absolute outside ourselves. I certainly don't feel that way. My moral code is not based on my perception of an absolute code of right and wrong, and it absolutely has meaning to me. It may not have any meaning to you, but that's not the same thing as saying that it's meaningless.

    You can argue that something is "good" if it benefits the majority but then what is it about the majority that is especial if there is no fixed good/evil? Is there any immorality in killing your rich father and use your inheritance money to feed the hungry and house the homeless, especially if you can get away with it? It benefits the majority, doesn't it?

    This is a strawman. Kindly point out where I ever said that I assign good/evil or right/wrong by considering benefit or detriment to the majority. That's not how I work.

    But then you'll say that killing is wrong because anybody has the right to live. But then, where does that right come from?

    I'd put it differently. I'd say that I believe that depriving other people of life is wrong, by my personal sense of right and wrong. That's not the same thing as what you write above, and the difference is significant.

    Is it some unalienable right? How can a right be unalienable if it's not based on absolute good and an unchanging standard? Rights themselves become meaningless if good/evil are relative.

    Absolute rights don't exist if good and evil are relative, yes. Rights are freedoms, abilities, etc. that we have collectively decided are good things for people to have. Some of them, such as the right to walk down the street without being mugged, are rights we all pretty much agree that everyone should have. Others, such as the right to take whatever you want from others, we all pretty much agree that no one should have. And still others, such as the right to own automatic weapons, we are divided upon. And one can arrive at a personal opinion about all three of these without appeal to an absolute, objective standard outside ourselves.

    That I believe, was the ultimate point of the parent.

    I knew what his/her point was. I simply didn't agree with it; I think it's based upon assumptions (that there's no value in moral concepts that don't have the same, absolute value to everyone) that I'm not making. There's no logical reason or need to make those assumptions.

  • by DietVanillaPepsi (763129) on Wednesday April 07, 2004 @07:11PM (#8798349)
    You won't find any argument from me. It's a lot more socially acceptable for women to gawk at men, and very vocally. My point? I'm not sure. :-P
  • Re:Don't you know? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by IceAgeComing (636874) on Wednesday April 07, 2004 @08:12PM (#8798876)

    Uh, metamoderators who want to feel their oats and encourage thoughtful moderation can go ahead and punish the moderators for excessive gullibility.

The 11 is for people with the pride of a 10 and the pocketbook of an 8. -- R.B. Greenberg [referring to PDPs?]

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