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Response to merrily (Reply #49)

Sun Jun 21, 2015, 05:47 PM

68. Porn isnt protected speech? There's a 10 Billion dollar a year industry that disagrees.

Last edited Sun Jun 21, 2015, 06:56 PM - Edit history (1)

And SCOTUS "standards" on the matter are a joke- starting with Potter Stewart's "I know it when I see it" all the way up to the so-called standard in use today, the "community standards" definition of "obscenity".

"Community standards" for obscenity are a joke because it is basically impossible to argue, in our 21st century interconnected media world, that there is any sort of definable "community" who would find consenting adult sex acts "obscene" in such a way that it could be drawn broadly enough to criminalize the speech of, say, youporn or the like. Or in other words, for every community that doesnt like it, there is another that DOES.

And short of culture war reprobates like Rick Santorum, no one on either side of the aisle is remotely interested in trying.

Simply put, if the SCOTUS had been even the slightest bit interested in putting the kabosh on pornography, they wouldnt have overturned Clinton's online decency law (Reno v. ACLU, 1997). Instead, They did, and now that horse is long out of the barn.

And a wise decision, as well- because leaving aside the moral panic "culture in crisis" concerns, it is well nigh impossible to come up with a consistent and enforceable universal standard of "obscenity" in a pluralistic, interconnected, 21st century society. What is "obscene" to some people- oral sex, gay sex, al yankovik getting freaky with bubble wrap- is a wholesome saturday night's entertainment to others.

And so it is with so-called "hate speech". What is hate speech to one person or group, is not to another. The government not only should not be in the business of making objective determinations about the content of speech, it simply can't. Not rationally, not consistently. Not without taking a position that one set of beliefs, belonging to one group, is the "right" one, to the exclusion of the view of others.

Bottom line, though, the principle of free expression is far more important than silencing even the most obnoxius voices among us.

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