Republicans Call For Crackdown On Porn

The Republican Party has apparently solved all of the nation's real problems and decided it can waste time on nonsense.

Apparently having determined that all of the nation’s other problems have been solved, the platform approved at the Republican National Convention will call for a crackdown on pornography:

(Reuters) – The Republican Party is calling for a crackdown on pornography in a move that could pit social conservatives against hotel operators, television providers and other businesses that profit from the sale of sexually explicit material.

As they prepare to nominate Mitt Romney as their presidential candidate for the November 6 election, Republicans have added language to their official platform that anti-smut activists said would encourage the federal government to step up prosecution of pornography involving adults.

“Current laws on all forms of pornography and obscenity need to be vigorously enforced,” the platform says, according to a draft obtained by Reuters. Republicans are planning a Tuesday vote on the document, a nonbinding statement of principles that tackles everything from monetary policy to abortion.

Though previous Republican platforms have called for increased prosecution of child pornography, this appears to be the first time that the party has called for a crackdown on sexually explicit material involving adults – a multi-billion-dollar industry.

Obscenity has been notoriously difficult to define in a legal context. The Supreme Court in 1973 held that to be obscene, material must depict sex in a manner that offends contemporary community standards and is devoid of artistic or scientific value.

Adult obscenity cases have been exceedingly rare over the past 20 years. Though the administration of George W. Bush promised a crackdown, only the most extreme forms of pornography have been targeted.

Anti-pornography activist Patrick Trueman said the language in the Republican platform would bolster a broader push against the type of sexually explicit material that is sold by convenience stores, by hotels via pay-per-view television programming, and satellite and cable TV providers.

The thing about this that’s baffling  is that in an era where law enforcement agencies like that FBI ought to be concentrating on threats from international and domestic terrorism, and perhaps investigating things such as the apparent financial fraud at MF Global, expending resources on something like this strikes me as being an incredibly waste of time.  Here’s an idea guys, if you don’t want to view pornography then don’t view pornography. In the meantime, don’t try to stop other adults from doing so if they wish to. It’s really quite simple, actually.

We’ve seen this before, of course. During the Reagan Administration, Attorney General Edwin Meese convened a commission on pornography that was made of almost entirely of social and religious conservatives. Their report, while discussed quite a lot by people like Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson barely made a dent in the media and its findings and conclusions were soundly rejected by social scientists as First Amendment advocates. In the 1990s, these same group put forward  provisions in what became the Communications Decency Act, which sought to regulate so-called  ”indecent” material online, supposedly to protest children from being exposed to it. In 1997, the Supreme Court struck those provisions down in Reno v. American Civil Liberties Union, stating:

In order to deny minors access to potentially harmful speech, the CDA effectively suppresses a large amount of speech that adults have a constitutional right to receive and to address to one another. That burden on adult speech is unacceptable if less restrictive alternatives would be at least as effective in achieving the legitimate purpose that the statute was enacted to serve

A subsequent effort to regulate such material, the Child Online Protection Act, was also struck down by Federal Courts. The only recent effort this area that has been upheld by the law was a 2000 law that requires schools and libraries to install filtering software on their computers as a condition of receiving Federal dollars. And yet, these group persist in these efforts, and now in the Republican platform they have pushed the GOP position on this issue beyond the legitimate issues combating child pornography and children’s access to adult material to a position that essentially says that even adults should be unable to have access to this material, for no other reason that this small subset of America finds it morally objectionable.

This would be the party that claims to be the party of small government. The only thing I have to wonder is what newly self-proclaimed Republican Jenna Jameson thinks of this.

FILED UNDER: Campaign 2012, US Politics,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010. Before joining OTB, he wrote at Below The Beltway,Ā The Liberty Papers, and United Liberty Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. Janis Gore says:

    These people need to stop thinking about sex. It’s deranging they minds.

  2. Rob in CT says:

    Well, I guess it was this or vote to repeal the ACA for the 34th time…

    šŸ˜‰

    To be serious for a moment, this is pretty typical pandering to the RR, no? While I agree it’s silly, this one just doesn’t raise my ire (precisely because I expect it to go nowhere).

  3. Obscenity has been notoriously difficult to define in a legal context. The Supreme Court in 1973 held that to be obscene, material must depict sex in a manner that offends contemporary community standards and is devoid of artistic or scientific value.

    Given the punch lines on The Daily Show (that sheltered me, I’ve had to google), I really don’t want to know what are contemporary community standards.

  4. Gromitt Gunn says:

    So, the Republican Party is the party of a) job creation and b) privatization. Yet it wants to deliberately increase the ranks of government employees for the express purpose of having them hound a multi-billion dollar industry out of business.

    Well, then.

  5. MBunge says:

    But remember, Doug, there’s NO DIFFERENCE between voting for Obama and empowering Democrats and not voting for Obama, thereby empowering Republicans. Nope. No difference at all.

    Mike

  6. J-Dub says:

    This smacks of job killing over-regulation!

  7. al-Ameda says:

    Thank god the focus of the Republican Party is the economy. there’s no way that Democrats are going to be able to shift the focus or distract Republicans from economic issues.

    How did the Administration manage to get Republicans to talk about: the difference between legitimate rape and forcible rape, analogizing out-of-wedlock pregnancy to rape, and pornography? Did they know that Republicans cant resist talking about sex? What a brilliant plan.

  8. anjin-san says:

    Good thing the GOP wants to shrink government and keep it out of our lives.

  9. michael reynolds says:

    I’m confident that this will totally work and pornography will be off the internet by 2013.

  10. C. Clavin says:

    the hypocrisy from the party of small government is truly awe-inspiring.
    i’ll give up my porn when they pry my cold, dead hand from it…if you know what i mean.

  11. Me Me Me says:

    Who else remembers that social conservatives were all over Romney in 2008, calling him a major pornographer? Willard (named after J. Willard Marriott) was on the board of Marriott Hotels; in-room porn was a major source of their revenue.

  12. OzarkHillbilly says:

    its findings and conclusions were soundly rejected by social scientists as First Amendment advocates.

    Boy how I hate it when social scientists masquerade as First Amendment advocates….

    sorry Doug, I just couldn’t resist šŸ˜‰ tom

  13. Al says:

    @MBunge:

    Yes, because God forbid that anyone in a swing state actually vote for who they think is best qualified for the job. Not when there’s electoral math on the line.

  14. MBunge says:

    @Al: “Yes, because God forbid that anyone in a swing state actually vote for who they think is best qualified for the job.”

    No one thinks Gary Johnson is the best qualified candidate in the race. Not even Gary Johnson. By definition, Obama is the most qualified by virtue of having been President the last 4 years and Romney’s resume blows Johnson’s out of the water.

    Mike

  15. gVOR08 says:

    Apparently havingĀ determinedĀ that all of the nationā€™s other problems have been solved, the platform approved at the Republican National Convention will call for a crackdown on pornography: Republican congress decided two years ago to focus on abortion.

    FTFY

  16. EddieInCA says:

    Boobs who watch porn might feel they are getting the shaft if they learn of stiff penalties for viewing snatches of smut by a bunch of dicks in the GOP who have no idea how wet that slippery slope will be if they institute those rules.

    Teabaggers, especially, should be leery of such nuts attempting to stiffen rules against adult viewing materials, as they have the most to lose. They should nut up, and sack those responsible.

    I anticipate a hard time ahead – as pussies from the left attempt to battle assholes from the right – each looking to pound the other.

  17. michael reynolds says:

    @EddieInCA:

    Thank you for that. It saved me the temptation of doing it myself.

  18. Unsympathetic says:

    Republicans are increasing regulation on an industry that’s going bankrupt due to the failures of the free market? Not shocking: they can placate the “more regulation” people and the “anti-porn” people with one move, while ignoring the pleas to regulate banks.

    In 2011, Larry Flint and Joe Francis asked for a $5M government bailout.. and were denied.

  19. David says:

    @EddieInCA: How could anyone put thumbs down on that?

  20. Ernieyeball says:

    How could anyone put thumbs down on that?

    Must have been Peter Popoff…

  21. Al says:

    @MBunge:

    So why bother with the election at all?

  22. bill says:

    but what will our career bureaucrats do for 6 hrs a day? lunch is only 2 hrs long……c’mon.

  23. jukeboxgrad says:

    the hypocrisy from the party of small government is truly awe-inspiring

    Don’t forget that they’re not just the party of small government; they’re also the party of freedom. Variants of the word “free” appear in the GOP platform 86 times.

    In other news, war is peace, freedom is slavery, and ignorance is strength.

  24. george says:

    I’m another who has a very hard time reconciling this with “small government”.

    Of course, I also have a very hard time reconciling a huge military with “small government”, unless the GOP is pushing for privately funded army.

  25. dennis says:

    @EddieInCA:

    Lol! That was great.