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richardbaxter

Pornography and the First Amendment

The First Amendment reads:
"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."

1. On what basis does the first amendment (freedom of speech) apply to pornography? Is their message that ineffable? The first amendment makes no reference to general expression (for example art); it only references religion, speech, the press, peaceful assembly, and petitions to government.

2. What would the writers of the amendment have to say? (At best their intentions had been exploited by lawyers; at worst hijacked by the unprincipled).

3. If a message cannot be put into words does it really exist (or is it really worth protecting under a constitution)?

4. Not all of what has been purported as capitalism is the free market at all, it is dehumanisation. To intentionally misrepresent a human being in the name of capitalism is no better than doing so in the name of nationalism, or communism.

5. If people stood up for this truth then they wouldn't risk being seen as hypocrites. Socialists would have no moral ground to stand on.

6. Civilisation is built on clothing: where prostitution (virtual or otherwise) becomes normalised, there is no future for liberty.

These are my arguments - feel free to counter.

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I don't understand what you're trying to say.

Is it that pornography should be banned because it capitalizes on dehumanization?

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Even if you accept the Constitution as a valid contractual document, its purpose was to enumerate the powers granted to the government, not to enumerate freedoms granted to the people. The restrictions on government mentioned in the amendments were an attempt to prevent abuse of those powers. 

 

Is it your contention that sex for resources is immoral and should be forcibly restricted by the government?

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20 hours ago, richardbaxter said:

The First Amendment reads:
1. On what basis does the first amendment (freedom of speech) apply to pornography? Is their message that ineffable? The first amendment makes no reference to general expression (for example art); it only references religion, speech, the press, peaceful assembly, and petitions to government.

2. What would the writers of the amendment have to say? (At best their intentions had been exploited by lawyers; at worst hijacked by the unprincipled).

3. If a message cannot be put into words does it really exist (or is it really worth protecting under a constitution)?

4. Not all of what has been purported as capitalism is the free market at all, it is dehumanisation. To intentionally misrepresent a human being in the name of capitalism is no better than doing so in the name of nationalism, or communism.

5. If people stood up for this truth then they wouldn't risk being seen as hypocrites. Socialists would have no moral ground to stand on.

6. Civilisation is built on clothing: where prostitution (virtual or otherwise) becomes normalised, there is no future for liberty.

These are my arguments - feel free to counter.

1.) Does a deaf person have freedom of speech? They communicate non-verbally. Speech is the expression in any form and therefore encompasses art.

2.) I'd argue they would say the government shouldn't be involved - it is a social issue, not a state issue.

3.) Is that in reference to "I can't define pornography, but I know when I see it."? Or is that saying visual-only communication shouldn't be covered as free speech? Ever read a novel describing sex? You can translate porn into a written message if that's your measuring stick. Saying it cannot be written down is just incorrect.

4.) 18 year old girls sign up and masturbate on camera from their own homes. They make pretty damn good and easy money doing so. Their lack of "civilized" career prospects is offset by their good looks or willingness to perform a niche fetish for disturbed individuals. How is that -not- capitalism?

5.) Incoherent and unrelated sentences. What are you trying to say?

6.) -That- is the defining feature of civilization? Clothes? I don't understand your reasoning. Are nude beaches uncivilized? If I'm walking around my house naked at 2 A.M., am being I uncivilized? When I shower am I uncivilized? When I have sex with my wife am I uncivilized? What exactly do clothes have to do with civilization?

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I am suggesting that there is no reason the US constitution should be subverted to protect pornography. Here is some clarification of the arguments;

1. I completely reject the possibility of historical interpretation of a constitution (apart from the time in which it was created), and I think it is more than slightly concerning that so many qualifications have occurred since 1900 (http://www.uscourts.gov/about-federal-courts/educational-resources/about-educational-outreach/activity-resources/what-does). Why should precedent have any place in constitutional interpretation? The point of precedent is to allow evolution of law and constitutions are precisely designed to prevent evolution of their law. If any changes are to be made, amendments should be proposed.

The constitution should be interpreted literally, and if this means having to accept the reality that a population which will crush each other to death in the race to escape an imaginary fire is not worth saving (or must otherwise put some effort into finding someone guilty for murder for knowingly risking the lives of a group of people for no explicable reason - without any reference to free speech), then we should deal with it. Is the right to salute or burn the American flag worth changing (reinterpreting) the constitution over?

Taking a constitution as up for interpretation might have all the good intention in the world behind it, but it is exceedingly dangerous.

2. What would the writers of the first amendment think now that it is being used to protect dehumanisation under the guise of artistic value; and that under the guise of speech?

The writers were not infallible, but it is equally worth noting that any changes we make (reinterpretations we assert) are equally infallible. Thus I am rejecting one such reinterpretation (and all others in the name of risk management and proper procedure) while specifying my reasons for the rejection. The only grounds for not paying attention to our modifications appears to be a blind progressivism. A more cautious approach may have stopped any such fallacies from arising to begin with.

3. The pinnacle case is Lovell v. City of Griffin (1938); extending "the press" to "every sort of publication which affords a vehicle of information and opinion". The fundamental limitation is that not all publications which afford a vehicle of information and opinion exclusively afford information and opinion.

Roth vs United States (1957) and Miller vs California (1973) were introduced to prevent this new freedom from implicitly extending to "obscene" publications, but it was unsurprisingly impossible to objectively define "obscenity". Instead of upholding the constitution (by only deeming it relevant to the publication of information/opinions), they extended it to all forms of media with some arbitrary (completely relative) qualifier regarding artistic or social value.

Again, there is a difference between creating amendments (eg the abolition of slavery - 13), or extending the specific voting base and changing (reinterpreting) the constitution. 

Going from freedom of speech to freedom of artistic expression might sound great until one recalls that individuals have quite enjoyed the artistry of experimenting on human subjects. And their subjects might have even enjoyed some of those experiments. Playing with such generalisations is a Pandora's box. 

Moreover, it invites the state to make endless qualifications in a growing pantheon of restrictions; which will eventually contradict each other as is occurring now.  

4. Most people who support the practice of paying monkeys to dress up for sexual gratification do so in the name of the free market/capitalism (assuming they haven't been arrested by an animal rights group). But dehumanisation is the same no matter which system of economics one adheres to.

There is nothing good or moral achieved by upholding a right to the publication of such non-information, and confounding constitutional rights with a right to precipitate dehumanisation (rather than the right to discuss dehumanisation) damages the reputation and subverts the intentions of the constitution.

5. Socialists with any moral fortitude detest modern day "capitalism" on grounds of sexual commodification, and l suggest that removing such commodification eliminates any moral basis to socialism.

6. I am specifically referring to the normalisation of prostitution (virtual or otherwise). Prostitution may have existed in a large number of societies but in any of these where it became normalised (the norm) they had not liberty or a future; certainly not a future for liberty.

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1. freedom of speech is either a freedom or it is not; nothing with regard to pornography invokes a call to action that may even remotely be considered something to regulate

what consenting adults decide to do with other consenting adults, well, that is up to them. While I certainly do NOT agree with the current trend of "sex is the equivalent of a handshake with a stranger" attitude that is rather pervasive, they are not actually hurting anybody but themselves. It is less harmful I think than much of the "free speech" trash that comes from movies or, heaven help us, "reality TV" shows.

I exclude from the term pornography anything that is a crime.. because its a crime already!!  Inability to give "consent"...crime!! involving a minor...crime!!

2. I think the writers were truly men of genius as is; they created a document that contained many concepts that, at the time they wrote  them were very forward looking. If they looked at what we have done in the past 50-60years they would probably declare the government is complete out of control and we (the voters) let it get that way when they put a lot of effort in making sure we did not fall into that trap!  and then they would call us idiots and leave.

3. The fact that we are putting this discussing into words would appear to contradict the statement. That said, what is very likely is that the idea of pornography is not a consistent concept across any group of people. It is highly subjective and so while you can define it, you can only do so for smaller groups. Pornography does exist base don each individuals experiences ,it does not have innate sociological response like, say murder or even assault (although, once again, even what one group views as assault can very greatly from another).

4. people make money based on their resources; sometimes that is intellectual, sometimes (ok, often) it is luck, sometimes it is looks...it is still their resource they are using. I certainly feel bad for my sons that they need to work for a living but an 18yr attractive girl will rarely buy a drink or meal, have to change a tire, and can marry a billionaire hehe

5. not sure what you are aiming at with this

6. society is wayyyyy more than clothing. It is an extremely complicated set of social reactions to situations. Some universal within a country down to some that exists only with a small neighborhood or even household. One of the great weakness that pervade america today is that the rest of the world follows our social rules;  Yes, another failing of american education...

 

While you may call something "dehumanizing" others call it a successful career! They are not ashamed and while it may be the kind of career that many disrespect, well, I consider ambulance chasing lawyers far worse than pornographic actors.  I would much prefer time and effort be spent on bigger issues: american citizens going hungry (no, we cannot feed the world until each citizen has been fed), an education system that is second to, well, everyone now; and a huge percentage of the population that do not participate in the workforce because they do not seem to have or even want to. We have veterans that should be getting the best medical care and be first in any line if there are benefits to be handed out. We have a social system that is rewarding the uneducated to have many more children than they can ever afford to care for.The list goes on and on... the very core of what America "was" is being attacked at the foundation.

bottom line in my old geezer opinion, a little nudity and consensual naughty activities is, well, just not even showing up on the old critical meter. Which of course means the federal government should have no business in it at all.

 

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5 hours ago, richardbaxter said:

5. Socialists with any moral fortitude detest modern day "capitalism" on grounds of sexual commodification, and l suggest that removing such commodification eliminates any moral basis to socialism.

6. I am specifically referring to the normalisation of prostitution (virtual or otherwise). Prostitution may have existed in a large number of societies but in any of these where it became normalised (the norm) they had not liberty or a future; certainly not a future for liberty.

So we can only keep liberty by taking away the liberty of owning your own body? And this avoids socialism, how?

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So what is your ideal scenario here; preventing dehumanization?  Or punishing people for violating a standard to which you adhere?  

 

 

 

 

In regards to the Constitution, just in case anyone is interested, Lysander Spooner argued quite cogently against it's validity shortly after the Civil War in his essay No Treason No. VI: The Constitution of No Authority.  Here is the introduction.

Quote

NO TREASON
No. VI.
THE CONSTITUTION OF NO AUTHORITY.


I.

The Constitution has no inherent authority or obligation. It has no authority or obligation at all, unless as a contract between man and man. And it does not so much as even purport to be a contract between persons now existing. It purports, at most, to be only a contract between persons living eighty years ago. And it can be supposed to have been a contract then only between persons who had already come to years of discretion, so as to be competent to make reasonable and obligatory contracts. Furthermore, we know, historically, that only a small portion even of the people then existing were consulted on the subject, or asked, or permitted to express either their consent or dissent in any formal manner. Those persons, if any, who did give their consent formally, are all dead now. Most of them have been dead forty, fifty, sixty, or seventy years. And the constitution, so far as it was their contract, died with them. They had no natural power or right to make it obligatory upon their children. It is not only plainly impossible, in the nature of things, that they could bind their posterity, but they did not even attempt to bind them. That is to say, the instrument does not purport to be an agreement between any body but “the people” then existing; nor does it, either expressly or impliedly, assert any right, power, or disposition, on their part, to bind anybody but themselves.

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