Reflections of how things ought to be

Fang-Face writes "There is an interesting commentary at ArabNews.com for Tuesday 09 Mar 2004. In it, the writer looks at the backlash (read latent function) of living in a repressive state. Of particular interest is a statement by a mother:

A mother of three boys who are avid watchers of Star Academy told me, “I know it’s a silly program, but kids need some fun. Society does not provide them with much to do, so what do they do with their spare time? Can they go to clubs? No. Can they go to public libraries? No. So what are they supposed to do?

The editorial on focused the popularity of "reality" television in Saudi Arabia. I am recommending this story because I believe it dovetails nicely with what people such as Ms. Tweet want for North American society."

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Moral equivalence

The reader of the Arab News story didn't want children watching Star Academy. Mrs. Tweet doesn't want kids looking at women's sperm-covered faces. Same thing, right?

The slippery slope

I continue to find Fang-Face's story proposal thought-provoking. I'm trying to understand what he considers appropriate and inappropriate for children. Is there a line to be drawn, and if so, where is it?

  1. Is it acceptable for children to look at porn?
  2. If so, is it acceptable for children to look at pictures of men masturbating?
  3. If so, is it acceptable for an adult to show a willing child a picture of a man masturbating? (let's say the child asks politely)
  4. If so, is it acceptable for the adult to show the willing, polite child a picture of himself (the adult) masturbating?
  5. If so, is it acceptable for the adult to dispense with the picture and masturbate in front of the child?
  6. Would it matter if any of the above took place in a library?

Another Question for Slippery Slope??

Excellent questions Chuck!

Do you mind if I jump in here?

I would also ask Fang to first define "child" in physical years. I'd be interested in his juvenile/adolescent definition(s) as well. This is critical in my judgement. I may be wrong but my hunch is any definition offered will have a relative flavor based upon a "mental maturity" archetype. Of course this will only obfuscate his answers.

However, if we can get this, without any references to Latin or "knee jerk conservatives", we may be on our way to working out the dirty details of dirty web sites.

Omnibus answers

The reader of the Arab News story didn't want children watching Star Academy. Mrs. Tweet doesn't want kids looking at women's sperm-covered faces. Same thing, right?

You have either misinterpreted or misrepresented Ms. Tweets activism. She was not asking for filters on computers used by children, she was asking for filtering for full adults who are of the age of majority and allowed to look at women's semen-covered faces. This, instead of agitating for parental supervision. Furthermore, the second action is almost certain to lead to the first one. I'm not surprised you didn't see that as I couched my assessment subtly enough to not insult the intelligence of those who would get it instead of bludgeoning them with the obvious: Saudi Arabia is a state whose repression -- in an effort to promote virtue and prevent vice -- has resulted in a society with so little intellectual stimulation for the populace that said populace has to turn to "reality" television for entertainment.

The religio-political elements in the U.S. (mostly the ultra-conservative), who seek to institute a religious state would, in the end, develop the same kind of stultifying society.

On the face of it, this appears to be a slippery slope argument, which is a logical fallacy. The slippery slope, however, is also a very real force in the physical world. Indonesia is working on a law that will make passionate kissing in public illegal, because kissing is seen to be erosive of morality. Aside from there being no possible way to objectively measure kissing to determine whether it is passionate or not, banning kissing is not going to have any effect on what people feel. The most likely fallout from this ban is that it will be seen to not be enough and someone will propose that the next thing be banned. There is a precedent for this slippery slope. The Taliban outlawed applause and paper bags in an effort to build a moralistic state dedicated to singing praises to the glory of God. That was pretty much the bottom of the barrel for Afghanistan, and when it didn't work the Taliban turned to attacking other religions and banning non-Islamic iconography under the premise that such images were an affront to and attack on Islam.

Your second message fell prey to a logical fallacy, but not the slippery slope fallacy. Nor does your projected use of pornography constitute a slippery slope in the context you used it. It describes the series of steps used in reality by child molesters who are grooming children for sex.

I continue to find Fang-Face's story proposal thought-provoking. I'm trying to understand what he considers appropriate and inappropriate for children. Is there a line to be drawn, and if so, where is it?

There are two lines. One is the First Amendment and the other is my authority over my children. Their upbringing is none of your business, and what I look at isn't any of your business either. And if you want to invoke the "Harmful To Minors" nonsense to usurp my parental perogatives, then you must, of necessity, violate my right to be presumed innoncent until proven guilty (three lines). A movement to strip me of my parental rights can only be founded on the idea that I am an unfit parent. Such a determination can only be made in a court of law following due process. Legislation regulating my children's upbringing must of necessity assume that I unfit to raise them myself and declares me to be unfit by fiat.

As to "when do we allow a person to look at porn?", I say, "Let that person decide for his- or herself. People do not deliberately go looking for material in which they have no interest. As I pointed out previously, Theodore Olson's mythical 8 yr old isn't going to surf for porn. If some young adult is seeking out sex-imagery, that is because that person has an interest in sex and chooses to look for it. They have the right to make that choice and you, Tweet, and Tomeboy have no right to usurp it.

Is it acceptable for children to look at porn? If so, is it acceptable for children to look at pictures of men masturbating? If so, is it acceptable for an adult to show a willing child a picture of a man masturbating? (let's say the child asks politely) If so, is it acceptable for the adult to show the willing, polite child a picture of himself (the adult) masturbating? If so, is it acceptable for the adult to dispense with the picture and masturbate in front of the child? Would it matter if any of the above took place in a library?

Define "child" and define "porn" and what objective test do you have to determine what is porn and art and protected speech? Are you not aware of the fact that ultra-conservatives define a child as any person 17 years 364 days in age or younger? Are you not aware of the fact that ultra-conservatives demand control over what full adults are permitted to view because there are minors in society, and those minors MIGHT also be exposed to that material? (Yes, some minors are, but that is not relevant to the u-c position.) Are you not aware of the fact that many ultra-conservatives categorize as pornography or obscene purely scientific material such as information on sexually transmitted diseases, birth control, and anatomy and physiology?

Aside from that, why do you equate adults who peruse legal pornography and scientific information for their own pleasure and edification with child molesters? The logical fallacy you committed with that assumption is called a Fallacy of Composition. Aside from which, your connection between your undefined child looking at porn for himself and his being shown porn by an adult constitutes a non sequitur.

Oh. And even aside from the question of child molestation, whacking off in public constitutes indecent exposure at least and maybe lewd conduct; depends on the laws of the jurisdiction in which you beat your meat.

Excellent questions Chuck!

I can understand why you think so, Tomeboy. You have demonstrated time and again that you are the kind of person who, when he says he is thinking, is merely rearranging his prejudices.

For what I think about when children become adults I refer you both to my post in the Ax Porn thread; which both of you seem to be completely ignoring. You'll find what distinguishes a child from a biological adult in there. Intellectual and emotional maturity are separate factors, and yes, they are entirely personal and that means subjective. I don't care if you don't like that, Tomeboy. "Life is unfair. Complain to the manufacturer, not me." --George Willard

I would also ask Fang to first define "child" in physical years. I'd be interested in his juvenile/adolescent definition(s) as well. This is critical in my judgement. I may be wrong but my hunch is any definition offered will have a relative flavor based upon a "mental maturity" archetype. Of course this will only obfuscate his answers.

Ah, yes. The old pre-emptive ad hominen attack routine.

Tell you what, Tomeboy; you post what objective test you have for the "automatic mental maturity at age 18" archetype and let's see how that goes. And I have to tell you that I am really profoundly interested in how you intend to justify your test as an accurate reflection of reality.

However, if we can get this, without any references to Latin or "knee jerk conservatives", we may be on our way to working out the dirty details of dirty web sites.

I told you before: if you will insist on demonstrating your sloppy and semi-coherent thinking in public, I will continue to point out your logical fallacies to you. I have also written on a number of occasions that there is nothing that cannot be found offensive by someone somewhere. Everything can be banned for one reason or another. Under that premise, which is as much observation as anything, all web sites are dirty.

And finally, to you both: censorship is not about pornography. It's about control.

And in what way, pray tell, is it not knee-jerk reactionism to ban Where's Waldo as pornography?

Re:Omnibus answers

The religio-political elements in the U.S. (mostly the ultra-conservative), who seek to institute a religious state would, in the end, develop the same kind of stultifying society

You've fashioned a convenient bogey man of straw, and it's evident that nothing I do or say will distract you from whacking away at it. More than anyone else I've seen, you continually impute the beliefs and agendas of your straw man to what I write without any basis whatever for doing so.

I do you the courtesy of responding to what you actually write, rather than responding to assumptions in my own head about what I think you must be thinking. I wish you had done me the same courtesy.

Their upbringing is none of your business, and what I look at isn't any of your business either. And if you want to invoke the "Harmful To Minors" nonsense ...

I said nothing about stripping you of your parental rights. I assure you, I have no wish to do so. Don't claim that I want to.

As to "when do we allow a person to look at porn?", I say, "Let that person decide for his- or herself.

I said nothing about when to allow someone to look at porn. Frankly, despite my views on pornography, I am skeptical of Internet filtering in public libraries because it places the state in loco parentis, which is a bad thing. I doubt though that the fact that a conservative Christian expresses doubts in public about Internet porn filtering will make much of an impression on you.

Aside from that, why do you equate adults who peruse legal pornography and scientific information for their own pleasure and edification with child molesters?

I didn't say that anywhere, nor did I think it. Don't say that I did.

The logical fallacy you committed with that assumption is called a Fallacy of Composition.

The fallacy you you just committed with the above assumption is conflation: you just conflated my thoughts & words with those of your straw man.

Aside from which, your connection between your undefined child looking at porn for himself and his being shown porn by an adult constitutes a non sequitur.

The list of porn situations was posed as a list of convenient criteria in increasing order of potential objectionableness, to offer you the chance to show at what point you felt the situation was unacceptable. I did not offer the list as any kind of "slippery slope" or other kind of progression with any kind of implied logical connection. Don't say that I did.

Oh. And even aside from the question of child molestation, whacking off in public constitutes indecent exposure at least and maybe lewd conduct; depends on the laws of the jurisdiction in which you beat your meat.

I wasn't at all talking about what is legal or illegal. I said nothing about laws. I was simply interested to know which if any of those situations you find unacceptable or harmful for children, a question you apparently couldn't answer.

It will doubtless come as a relief to many loyal readers of LISNews that I am finished with this thread. Fang-Face may say whatever he likes. I apologize to all readers of good will, whatever their politics and religious convictions, for having gone on at such length. My goal was to clarify issues and positions rather than simply to convert people to my views. Unfortunately, Fang-Face couldn't be bothered with my actual views, couldn't be content with what I had actually written, and instead conducted a debate with his own assumptions.

Re:Omnibus answers

That's a very nice series of cop outs, Chuck. Tomeboy will be proud of you.

Re:Omnibus answers

Ah C’mon Fang. Tomeboy is proud of you too.

I predicted a relative answer and you did me one better. A relative answer with a generous helping of sophistry.

>>. You (tomeboy) have demonstrated time and again that you are the kind of person who, when he says he is thinking, is merely rearranging his prejudices.

I asked a question Fang (remember, the one you couldn't answer?) A question is not a preconceived judgment or opinion.

>>Tell you what, Tomeboy; you post what objective test you have for the "automatic mental maturity at age 18" archetype and let's see how that goes. And I have to tell you that I am really profoundly interested in how you intend to justify your test as an accurate reflection of reality.

I don’t have one (objective test). Nor do you. However, unlike self-proclaimed anarchists, I do accept the need to codify obscenity. As you well know, Miller V California establishes the definition of “obscene�. Anything meeting the "Miller Test" is obscene in my book. As for age, I can live with COPA’s recommendation of 18 years and younger.

I don’t disagree that your philosophy of “self discovery� works well in some families. Yours obviously. But you’re suffering from a myopic Weltanschauung.

Consider for a moment the effect of your “Let that person decide for his- or herself� paradigm in south Chicago. Eight-year-old Jamal, dodging gang bangs and raised by his twelve year old sister because his mom is a crack head and his dad is in prison.(this is not atypical Fang) Perhaps he ducks in the library to avoid the gunfire. Shakes the mouse and does some “discovery� of words he sees spray painted on every concrete edifice in his pitiful little world. And because your definition states that “censorship is not about pornography�, Jamal discovers sodomy, how to gag and tie a bitch, and a horse just ain’t for riding. And he gets to “discover� this all by himself.

Re:Omnibus answers

You have forgotten that the topic under discussion is filtering for adults. You also seem to hold your fellow librarians in such contempt that you assume them incapable of directing Jamal to the children's section, where the computers can be legally filtered. You judged Jamal's reaction to his environment through the filter of your own cultural biases. You also make a leap of illogic in assuming that some graffiti is going to suddenly propel an 8 year old child into an young adult's interests.

Pay attention to your own sophistries in the future.

Now tomeboy is Really Proud!!!!

I’m dumbfounded. Numb. Fang favors filters!

Consider Fang’s epiphany:

(Before)
>>As to "when do we allow a person to look at porn?", I say, "Let that person decide for his- or herself. People do not deliberately go looking for material in which they have no interest.

(After)
>>You also seem to hold your fellow librarians in such contempt that you assume them incapable of directing Jamal to the children's section, where the computers can be legally filtered.

I’ve read this 10 times and still can’t believe it.
Fang recommends little Jamal be escorted from the porn pc.

Plus the bonus concession that librarians should also serve as Internet traffic cops.

Christmas!

Call it "illogic", but Fang's statement supports my original premise that 1) there is such a thing as obscenity, and 2) children should be censored from this in public libraries. The same public libraries that will "direct" his children to use the same censored computers that he proposes for Jamal . Now let's consider Fang's comments below from an earlier post. Only two options can follow from what we have established. Either Fang's children will never use a public library that filters porn or Fang will acquiesce his parental authority in these same libraries.

Fang's words:

>>There are two lines. One is the First Amendment and the other is my authority over my children. Their upbringing is none of your business, and what I look at isn't any of your business either. And if you want to invoke the "Harmful To Minors" nonsense to usurp my parental perogatives, then you must, of necessity, violate my right to be presumed innoncent until proven guilty (three lines). A movement to strip me of my parental rights can only be founded on the idea that I am an unfit parent.

I don’t think this will fly with the traffic cop that “directed� Jamal.

Re:Now tomeboy is Really Proud!!!!

Really, Tomeboy, the way you twist people's words around is so amusing.

Kindly quote the portion of my text where I say I favour filters. And take note that I don't want any of your sophistries, amphigories, non senquiturs, or nonsense. Quote exactly.

Also quote that exact portion of text where I deny the existence of proscribably obscene material. Your problem with that one is two fold. First: you have no ability to distinguish between constitutionally protected pornography and proscribable obscenity. Secondly: you do not understand the subjective nature of the Miller Test itself.

As to the legality of filtering, I would ask you to hearken back to a thread we had a few months ago about how the Supreme Court interprets laws and those interpretations become the law of the land whether we like them or not, but I know such a task would be beyond your meager scope. Under your Supreme Court's ruling on CIPA, filters are legal. That still sucks. But they are legal. Aside from that, didn't libraries have childrens sections before your thought police started grubbing around in their minds?

Re:Now tomeboy is Really Proud!!!!

Sorry Fang, those are your twisted words, representing your twisted philosophy.

More importantly, how does an anarchist handle laws that suck? Specifically those laws that,

"violate their right to be presumed innoncent until proven guilty (three lines). A movement to strip me of my parental rights can only be founded on the idea that I am an unfit parent."

What happens when the anarchist's child asks to visit the local PL that filters?

Re:Now tomeboy is Really A Butthead

More importantly, how does an anarchist handle laws that suck?

Civil disobedience.

What happens when the anarchist's child asks to visit the local PL that filters?

You could buy him his own computer free of filters. Or you can let him go to the library secure in the knowledge that you can teach him what Big Brother's filters won't let him see or on the understanding that filtered surfing is his choice to make.

This asinine question of yours seems to be based on the idea that there is some kind of law that children are required to surf at the library under Big Brother's supervision. As always you assume too much that children are property first and individual human beings not at all. As well as assuming that 17 year olds are children.

"Butthead"

Apologies for the "ass"inine questions. What else to expect from a "Butthead"?

An ad hominem argument, also known as argumentum ad hominem (Latin, literally "argument against the man"), is a fallacy that involves replying to an argument or assertion by attempting to discredit the person offering the argument or assertion.

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