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May 05, 2005

There's a War On UPDATE: Situation Unchanged; There Remains a War On

And Traffic Santa thinks someone should tell Alberto Gonzales.

This time the "war on" thesis is used to suggest that increased federal aggressiveness in obscenity prosecutions is unwarranted.

Well... I don't know. Yes, I suppose this does represent a small diversion of law enforcement resources from hunting down Al Qaeda. But so, for that matter, do federal prosecutions for check-kiting and moonshining. Is Reynolds' thesis really that enforcement of admittedly non-vital laws should stop in the interests of hunting down terrorists? Are we to suspend the enforement of drug, prostitution, steroid, illegal gambling, etc. laws and thereby basically change the way we live in order to respond to the strict dictates of the "war on" manifesto?

Wouldn't that, in a way, mean that the terrorists have won?

Hey, I realize that's glib and, basically, stupid. But is it really any more glib or stupid that pushing a libertarian domestic agenda -- defensible and sensible in many aspects, one could argue -- under the rather crude pretext that there's a "war on"?

BTW, the prosecutions aren't for run-of-the-mill porn. They're for porn containing "bestiality, sadomasochism and simulated rape." I suppose it's debatable whether or not we ought to be prosecuting the purveyors of such, ahem, unconventional fare, but it's not like Jenna Jameson is now on the FBI's Most Wanted List or anything.

I just think this whole line of argument is disingenuous, and I think Reynolds would object to its use in other circumstances. Civil unions? We can't change the current laws regarding gay coupling; there's a war on, you know.

And I have to say that every time a law is suggested that would help the fight against terrorists, the ACLU makes similar suggestions, claiming that, for example, any profiling at airports is wasteful and counterproductive because those resources would be "better used" to track "real terrorists."

Anytime someone doesn't like a law, it seems, he can just glibly assert that that law compromises our efforts to find the "real terrorists."

I think it would be far more useful for people to be more candid about the reasons for opposing laws. Reynolds should candidly explain why he supports, or rather does not oppose, the production and distribution of this sort of porn, rather than eliding the question with the vacuous "there's a war on" defense. And the ACLU should be candid enough to admit they don't care if profiling works or doesn't work, they just don't like it, because (they believe) it's inconsistent with the Constitution.

Enough of these childish "diversion of resources" arguments. Everything in law enforcement, in poltics, and in everyday life itself is a diversion of resources from something else.

Not sure if I can continue blogging... there's a war on, you might have heard.

Thanks to NickS.

And also thanks to The Unabrewer.

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posted by Ace at 12:07 PM

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