New porn law includes older adults as "child porn."
Even an old cynic like myself has to be astounded by the utter stupidity of government now and then. And this is one of those times.
I have argued that America is really screwed up when it comes to sex. Due to the influence of fundamentalists, Catholics and Mormons our society seems to live in continually panic about sex. The specific form that hysteria takes may vary from time to time but antisexualism is endemic in American culture. In the civilized world this attitude is pretty much exclusive to the United States. It isn’t that other cultures don’t’ exhibit such raw antisexualism, certainly Islamic cultures do so, but then I don’t consider them part of the civilized world.
Of course, the problem in Islamic nations is the same problem that infests the United States: that a significant portion of the population takes religious mythology seriously and literally. I like to remind people that when you can’t find a rational explanation for something, such as this hysteria, the next best thing to look for is an irrational explanation and that is where religion comes in.
Precisely what astounding act has government done to warrant my attention today? In Massachusetts a couple of political morons are attempting to introduce new legislation to ban erotic images of anyone over the age of 60! I am not making this up. In my wildest imagination I couldn’t make up something as ridiculous and absurd if I tried. Truly this sort of stupidity is only possible to those who have spent a lifetime inside the halls of government—there even the most absurd and ridiculous ideas sound sane after awhile.
The Boston Herald said the new law “would add seniors and the handicapped to kiddie porn laws.” A rather scary woman, in a Janet-Reno-burn-down-the-damn-building-even-if-there-are-children-in-the-building sort of way, Elizabeth Scheibel is pushing for the law. As this sex Nazi puts it, she wants “to protect our two must vulnerable populations.” That would be, I assume, children and older adults. Apparently this imbecile thinks that older people are just like children with all the rights of children. But let’s be truthful here, it is likely that Herr Scheibel believes that of everyone. She is Big Mother here to regulate our sex lives for our own good. Perhaps she is just jealous that other people have sex lives.
Scheibel, who is a district attorney helped craft the legislation. Of course, Herr Scheibel points to cases where an elderly person, or a handicapped person, was actually abused against their will. But, as one attorney pointed out, those acts are already illegal.
Law professor Eugene Volokh has looked at the legislation and says that it is so broadly written that what it really does is make it illegal for older adults or the handicapped from consenting to a sexual activity they may enjoy: erotic photos. He says the law “is not limited to people who are mentally handicapped and thus unable to consent, or who are photographed against their will by their caretakers… The operative provisions cover people over 60 and the disabled whether or not they are incompetent.” Volokh says:
Note that the law isn't limited to making pornography for commercial purposes (since the child pornography law that it builds on covers noncommercial child pornography, too). That means that if 60-year-old spouses or lovers — or spouses or lovers of someone who is disabled — decide to photograph each other naked with "lascivious intent," they would be committing a crime.Under the law a person can “punished by imprisonment in the state prison for a term of not less than ten nor more than twenty years, or by a fine of not less than ten thousand nor more than fifty thousand dollars, or by both such fine and imprisonment.”
Political creeps, like Herr Scheibel, engage in political creep: that is where they constantly work to expand laws, in small increments, to cover more and more territory. Eventually the law is distorted beyond all recognition and people sit around, their jaws dropped open, wondering what the hell happened. That is what they did with child porn laws. No one is opposed to protecting children from exploitation but now we are imprisoning teenagers as "child pornographers" for taking nude photos of themselves. Laws meant to protect children from molestation are now defined so broadly that teens making out in car, on a date, can be charged with molesting each other. And they can all be forced to join the government’s favorite list of pariahs: the sex offenders list.
I’m not aesthetically anxious to see granny porn, but if grandpa does, then I don’t see how that is any business of Herr Scheibel. Clearly the law already protects anyone who is incapable of consenting to erotic acts. So there is no justification for this new law. The string of stories that Scheibel belts out are mere excuses, they are the raison d'être or perhaps I should say, raison d’état.
At every turn the political process is a war on the liberties of the people. Politics, and thus politicians, are inherently imperialistic. They are constantly searching for excuses to expand their powers, their privileges and their perks. And each expansion must come at a price to your liberty and your welfare. Certainly, before democratic elections, the political class was explicit in their desire to rape, pillage and plunder the populace. Such honesty today would be a PR problem, so they couch their expansionary moves in terms of “protecting” the public from some danger, usually an imaginary danger. And in those cases, where the danger does exist, they magnify it all out of proportion. Today’s politicians are as predatory as those that were thrown off the backs of the people in the past. But they have learned to hide their predatory nature under a cloak of concern and care.
The most dangerous predators, the ones who threaten all of us, are those who hold elected office. The Founders attempted to limit the ability of these predators to do harm by "chaining" them down with the restraints of enumerated powers. Unfortunately, the predators have broken through those chains long ago. Now, no one is safe, the politicians are lose.
Photos: Apparently our first photo, of an older woman who apparently likes to dress up and pose, would be illegal. The second photo, of Herr Scheibel, is far more disturbing and scary, but would remain legal though beastiality provisions may apply. (No, I'm not nice to people like her, so don't whine about it.)