Pornographic pork?

Here's a story Drudge appropriately headlined "FBI Launches Anti-Porn Squad, Prompting Scoffs From Some Agents...":

The FBI is joining the Bush administration's War on Porn. And it's looking for a few good agents.

Early last month, the bureau's Washington Field Office began recruiting for a new anti-obscenity squad. Attached to the job posting was a July 29 Electronic Communication from FBI headquarters to all 56 field offices, describing the initiative as "one of the top priorities" of Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales and, by extension, of "the Director." That would be FBI Director Robert S. Mueller III.

Mischievous commentary began propagating around the water coolers at 601 Fourth St. NW and its satellites, where the FBI's second-largest field office concentrates on national security, high-technology crimes and public corruption.

The new squad will divert eight agents, a supervisor and assorted support staff to gather evidence against "manufacturers and purveyors" of pornography -- not the kind exploiting children, but the kind that depicts, and is marketed to, consenting adults.

"I guess this means we've won the war on terror," said one exasperated FBI agent, speaking on the condition of anonymity because poking fun at headquarters is not regarded as career-enhancing. "We must not need any more resources for espionage."

I guess this means there's plenty of money to throw around on another pork project.

If chasing after adult pornographers isn't pork, then what is?

MORE: Lest anyone think this is just fun-and-games FBI frivolity, it should be remembered that they're actually sending people to prison.

Unlike most forms of pork, this send-people-to-prison variety has a distinctly malevolent flavor. (More from the pork advocates here.)

AND MORE: Pork update from Glenn, with a link to Howard Kurtz, who seems skeptical that there is any such thing as fiscal conservatism anymore.

(I'm not sure I'd go that far, but I think it's fair to say that if chasing pornography at a time like this constitutes moral conservatism, then moral conservatives are anything but fiscal.)

MORE: Noting that the FBI "either has too much money, or the government's priorities are screwed up," Glenn nonetheless hesitated to slap the Porkbusters logo on the porn/pork post -- because "the pig isn't wearing pants."

A trifle like that won't trouble my traditional standards.

Ahem.

porkbusterssm.jpg

And I mean traditional -- in the classical sense of the word!

CapWolf4.JPG

UPHOLDING TRADITION SINCE 753 BC

(Please refrain from comments about how the Romans sucked.)

posted by Eric on 09.20.05 at 11:19 AM










Comments

This is moral collectivism and I'm against it. This is censorship, an abridgment of free speech, free press, and, I must add, freedom of religion, of worship. This is a spiritual issue, a moral issue. This is not a mere economic issue, this is an issue of our fundamental rights as articulated in the First Amendment to the United States Constitution. This isn't a mere issue of too much government spending. Any spending on government thought control is morally wrong, intrinsically.

"Give me the liberty to know, to utter, to argue freely according to conscience, above all liberties."
-John Milton, Aeropagitica

"I have sworn, upon the altar of god, eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of man."
-Thomas Jefferson

Good God quote!

Eric Scheie   ·  September 20, 2005 2:36 PM

Thought control?

I don't recall naughty thinkin' being considered obscene under the law.

There are good arguments against obscenity laws. Saying "it's thought control and it's somehow a violation of freedom of religion and it's censorship and stuff" isn't one of them.

(Remember that "censorship" is not prohibited by the Constitution, as such. Restricting freedom of speech is, but censorship is broader; banning libel is also "censorship", but is quite rightly legal and morally correct.)

The argument against obscenity laws is best made without hyperbole or hysterics.

(And of course, re. Eric's point, I'd argue that the problem is having obscenity laws, not their enforcement. Laws should be enforced; if it's a bad law, it should be removed (by legislation or by court challenge), not left unenforced to be enforced later at someone's whim.

Law should be a serious business, and if we just decide to not enforce some because it's too expensive to have *10* whole people working on it, we should remove the law entirely.)

Sigivald   ·  September 20, 2005 3:35 PM

Like all things, if it's all grown consenting adults, who cares? Sure, porn is not the greastest endeavor of mankind, but then again, neither is taping everybody's mouth shut with duck tape.
Someday we're going to all end up like that old twilight zone episode wit the telepathic boy, "it's a good life", where we all stand around saying: "it's good that we can't say bad things anymore. Real good".

-They may be drinkers Robin, but they're people too. Batman:the movie

alchemist   ·  September 20, 2005 7:20 PM

"Hyperbole and hysterics"? I stand by what I wrote. The more people tell me to calm down, the madder I get. That's the way I am. If you don't like it, tough it out. If you don't care one way or another about an issue, then why bother commenting on it?

"The only man never to be redeemed is the man without passion."
-Francisco D'Anconia

I stand by what I wrote. The goal of censorship is to control thought. And, yes, sex, the meaning of sex, is a religious issue.

A more complete, and irrefutable, argument has been made by someone better than me, but I have neither the time, the space, nor the copyright permission to post it here.

You'll have to look it up in The Ayn Rand Letter, "Censorship: Local and Express", August 13, 1973-September 10,1973, and "Thought Control", September 24, 1973-October 22, 1973. See also "Ideas vs. Goods", February 25, 1974, and "Ideas vs. Men", April 22, 1974.

"UPHOLDING TRADITION SINCE 753 BC

(Please refrain from comments about how the Romans sucked.)"

That is the Classic style of the great Eric Scheie!

(And of course, re. Eric's point, I'd argue that the problem is having obscenity laws, not their enforcement.
Sigivald wrote:
"Laws should be enforced; if it's a bad law, it should be removed (by legislation or by court challenge), not left unenforced to be enforced later at someone's whim.

Law should be a serious business, and if we just decide to not enforce some because it's too expensive to have *10* whole people working on it, we should remove the law entirely.)"

True. Same as with "sodomy" laws. In fact, those laws were only finally repealed after they were finally enforced after a long hiatus. The merely economic argument that this is not fiscal conservatism sounds clever but it misses the point entirely. Sex, the meaning of sex, far transcends economics. Both Gnostics and Jehovanists recognize this.

Too bad Sigivald had to go into hysteria and histrionics over my alleged hysteria and hystrionics before he made his more cogent point. No, libel laws are not censorship since they involve no prior restraint, are generally civil laws rather than criminal laws, and have the purpose of protecting the honor of a specific individual, which is closely tied in with his life, liberty, and property. None of that is true of "obscenity" laws.

Censorship is justified in case of clear and present danger to an individual's life, liberty, and property, or to the nation's military security. The classic example is that of an individual falsely shouting "fire!" in a crowded theater in order to cause a panic. Which means that the danger must be at least that clear and present, as tangible and of that magnitude. That a picture might arouse lustful thoughts in an adult's mind is just as obviously not such a danger.


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