Journal Of Applied Misanthropology

A Reponse To Coats

"I could not dig;I dared not rob
Therefore I lied to please the mob.
Now all my lies are proved untrue,
And I must face the men I slew.
What lies will serve me here among
Mine angry and defrauded young?"
(Kipling, Epitath of a Statesman)

Shortly after the announcement of the Supreme Court's ruling on the CDA, Senator Coats made a speech condemning it. This is, of course, to be expected. Senator Coats lied during his speech, many times. This, too, is to be expected -- but the utter bald-facedness of his lies, the lack of challenge or even notice by the lapdog press (that's one word, these days), and his apparent confidence that he could say anything he wanted to and get away with it, unchallenged, unquestioned, and unopposed, simply pushed the rage meter over the limit. I despise democracy as one of the worst forms of tyranny, since the slaves believe they rule -- and here is utter proof of that fact. One of our putative 'representatives', the alleged servant of the people, stands in Congress as Lord and Master, boldly declaring that the Earith is flat and the Moon is made of green cheese, knowing that his supposed 'bosses', the people who 'elected' him, will not dare to question him or call his bluff. He rules without opposition, and he knows it.

Well, for as long as the Internet remains free, there will always be a chance for someone to speak out, even if there is no one listening. The mere act of responding is catharsis in itself.

A response to Sen. Coats

>Mr. COATS. Mr. President, the Supreme Court decision against the >Communications Decency Act marks a departure from precedent on indecency, >and weakens the protection of children by our laws.

No, it doesn't. First off, it would not protect a single child from 'indecency'. Secondly, it is wholly in accord with all precedents on regulation of speech, indecent or otherwise -- and you know both these facts full well.

>The Court, even in this decision, recognizes that Congress has a compelling >interest in protecting the physical and psychological well-being of >children. In the past, >they took that standard to include indecency restrictions on every >communications medium of our society--telephones, radio, television, >bookstores, video shops.

Untrue. It is not a crime to sell a child a tape of George Carlin's "Seven Dirty Words" comedy routine in a record store. It is not a crime for a video store to rent "The Last Temptation of Christ" to a teen. Nor is it a crime to have 'indecent' programming on radio or television -- it is permitted after certain hours, even if there are, in fact, children in the audience. Further, a broadcast regulation is very different from a federal law -- and these things too, you know full well.

>But with today's decision, the Supreme Court has refused to apply that >standard to protect a child on a computer in his or her own home. It >argues, instead, that >unrestricted access to indecency by adults on the Internet overrides any >community interest in the protection of children.

The standard, such as it is, is not applicable to the Internet, as much as it is not applicable to conversations on the street corner or to editorials in a newspaper, even if the newspaper is sent to a home where a child might pick it up and read it before a parent has had a chance to examine it. And the liberties of adults DO take precedence over the protection of children, and always have -- else we would all be driving at five miles an hour to assure no careless child could be hit be a speeding car. And, again, you know all this full well.

>In the Communications Decency Act, we gave a definition of indecency that >was upheld by the Courts in case after case. Now the Supreme Court has >apparently decided that this definition cannot be applied to the Internet . In other >words, though an image displayed on a television screen would be indecent, >an image displayed on a computer screen would not. It is difficult to understand how >a child would understand the difference. It is the content, not the >technology, that should >concern us.

Indeed. The CDA did not apply merely to 'images', but to words. And, in fact, it would criminalize images which ARE legal to display on the television. The CDA makes words, ideas, and concepts which are legal in all other media illegal when they come over a computer -- even though, as you note, the words, ideas, and concepts being communicated are identical. And I shall repeat -- you know this full well.

>The Supreme Court did leave some room for Congress to redraft the CDA along >less restrictive lines, but, in the process, creates a privileged place for >computer >indecency, safe from the laws we apply everywhere else in our society. So, >under the Supreme Court's guidelines, it is permissible for an adult to >send indecent >material directly to a child by e-mail, but not to speak the same indecency >over the telephone. What an adult may not send a child through the U.S. >mail, he may >send a child via e-mail. This is inconsistent and incomprehensible. It is >also now the official position of the U.S. Supreme Court.

It is, again, just the opposite. It is legal for two 17 year olds to discuss their sex lives, 'real or imagined', over a telephone -- it is illegal for them to do so via computer, under the CDA. It is legal for a parent to buy a copy of 'Playboy' for his 16 year old son, but illegal for that parent to permit his son access to the Playboy web site. It is legal for a 15 year old to buy "Lady Chatterley's Lover" in a Barnes&Noble, but illegal for someone to provide him access to the same text over the Internet. The CDA did not 'apply the same laws we apply everywhere else' -- it deliberately, purposefully, and by design sought to apply a standard of unprecedented strictness to the most powerful form of human communication ever devised -- and, lest I break a pattern, you know this full well.

>What this Court is saying is that it recognizes indecency when it hears it >on the radio, sees it on television, views it on a magazine rack, or >overhears it on the telephone, but it does not recognize it on-line. Computer technology may be >confusing to many of us, but it is not that confusing. The confusion lies with a Court that >protects children from indecency everywhere but the one place most children >want to be.

The court has no trouble recognizing indecency -- nor does it have any trouble recognizing tyranny, though you clearly wish it had. The court did what you did not -- it studied the Internet and understood the facts. You did not study the Internet before you made your law, even though you knew it needed to be studied -- you willfully and purposefully chose ignorance over knowledge, and now you cry when those who chose knowledge over ignorance have ruled, correctly, against you. The law was bad because you chose to be ignorant. The fault is entirely yours.

>I expect that Congress will revisit this issue, within the restrictions >provided by the Court. But parents must understand that the Internet has >been declared an >exception to every other American law on the provision of indecency to >children. It is a place where the predators against your children's >innocence have legal rights, >announced by distinguished judges. Whatever its virtues, the Internet is >not a safe place, without a parent's constant supervision.

The world, Mr. Coats, is not a safe place, even with a parents constant supervision -- and the best way to make the world exceptionally dangerous for a child is to attempt to shield that child from knowledge of its dangers. And if there are 'predators' here, they are standing in the halls of Congress, and what they prey on is something even more precious than the putative innocence of children -- what they prey on is the heart and soul of America itself, which is the liberty of the individual.

>The Supreme Court has actually suggested that the very industry which >profits from the provision of this material be the guardians of your >children's minds--that it >regulate itself.

It is not any 'industry' which produced the 'indecency' you fear, nor are there any 'profits' to be had. Your law was designed not to silence Hugh Hefner, nor to shut down Time-Warner, but to quell the ability of the average man of average means to speak to a world-wide audience for the first time in human history. It is THAT speech which you fear, and THAT speech which the CDA was designed to suppress -- not the speech of pornographers (who have no interest in providing material for free, to children or anyone else, and who already require 'adult ID' to access their wares) nor pedophiles (whose activities, on or off the net, are already illegal). The CDA was aimed directly and deliberately at the common man, the speaker who does not have a battery of lawyers to tell him what he can and cannot say, or defend him against overzealous enforcement of a vague law, and who, lacking such advice and defense, would choose to remain silent rather than risk imprisonment for saying to the world what he is permitted to say on any street corner or in any public park.

> It is nice to have the Supreme Court's >extra-constitutional advice on these policy matters--though I don't know >why it should be more binding than the >will of the Congress.

Because the function of the Court is to rein in the excesses of democracy, and were I to be given the choice between being ruled by an 'imperial' court of men and women who educate themselves about issues before ruling on them, or being ruled by an 'elected' Congress which does not, there is no doubt that I would eagerly choose the former.

> I expect that we will have to live with this advice.

Living in a land of 'laws, not men' is annoying to you, isn't it?

>But I hope that parents will understand that the Supreme Court has not >taken your side, or the >side of your children, or the side of decency.

They have take the side of justice, which is the only side which is worth being on.

>There are consequences of giving children free access to an adult culture >with coarsened standards--consequences for their minds and souls and >futures.

The consequences of treating adults as children are far worse than the consequences of treating children as adults.

> Both the >Congress and the President took those consequences seriously. The Supreme >Court has not.

Again, you lie -- fully, openly, and consciously, you lie. Congress and the President held no hearings, performed no investigations, did no reasearch into the nature of the Internet or the scope of the law they passed -- or they would have passed a very different law, or, more likely, no law at all. They acted without seriousness on the most serious of issues. The Courts -- in New York, in Philadelphia, and in Washington -- are the ones who took this issue with the seriousness it deserved. And to return to my old refrain -- YOU KNOW THIS FULL WELL.

>This Court, which chose yesterday to undermine religious liberty and >influence, has now chosen to defend immediate, unrestricted access of >children to indecency.

The Court chose, in both cases, to stick to the spirit and the letter of the US Constitution -- a Constitution you swore to uphold and defend when you took office. You have advisors, lawyers, aides, and other persons who must have informed you of the facts of the matter. You knowingly,willfully, deliberately, and with full understanding introduced, lobbied for, and voted for a law which you knew -- which you could not possibly NOT have known -- was directly in violation of the Constitution you swore an oath to uphold. While the law does not agree with me, as far as I am concerned, you have committed treason.

>How do you respond? >This is part of a disturbing pattern.

Yes, it is. From the CDA to the Flag Burning amendment, we have a Congress which is as passionately committed to destroying the Constitution of the United States as any enemy we have faced in wartime. What good does it do us to have the worlds finest army, when the greatest enemies of America sit in Washington and call themselves our leaders?

>The Supreme Court is actively disarming the Congress in the most important >conflicts of our time--in defense of religious liberty and the character of >children.

The Supreme Court is actively disarming what amounts to nothing more than an army of invaders which has already breached our shores and is encamped within our capitol. The citizens of the United States owe those nine men and women the deepest gratitude for their courage in the face of the enemy.

Back To Main PageBack To Main Page