pageok
pageok
pageok
A Borkean Critique of Robert Bork's Case for Censorship:

Last summer, I was part of a Federalist Society symposium on the work of Judge Robert Bork. The presentations from the conference have now been published by the Harvard Journal of Law and Public Policy. I was on a panel considering Bork's controversial 1996 book, Slouching Towards Gomorrah: Modern Liberalism and American Decline, which argued that extensive government "censorship" (Bork's term, not mine) of sexually explicit, violent, and other harmful media is essential to curbing various social pathologies. My brief symposium essay critiquing Bork's argument is now available on SSRN. Here's the abstract:

In his controversial 1996 book Slouching Towards Gomorrah, Judge Robert H. Bork argued that we must adopt extensive censorship of violent and sexually explicit media in order to combat social pathologies such as crime, welfare dependency, and illegitimacy. In this brief essay, I argue that Judge Bork's call for censorship is in tension with his own earlier influential scholarship pointing out the dangers of government economic regulation. Cultural regulation poses many of the same risks that Bork highlighted in his critiques of economic regulation and also some unique dangers of its own. Like economic regulation, cultural regulation is prone to capture by interest groups and to overexpansion. In addition, the government will often be tempted to use cultural censorship to promote its own ideology and repress opposition speech. Both American history and modern European experience support these conjectures. Moreover, events since 1996 show that censorship is not necessary to combat the social pathologies that rightly concerned Bork and other conservatives. Over the last 15 years, there have been great reductions in social pathology without any increase in cultural censorship. In the long run, conservatives and others would do well to rely on private institutions rather than government to promote desirable cultural values.

In an earlier panel at the same symposium, Judge Frank Easterbrook summarized Judge Bork's outstanding work on antitrust regulation as showing that government should not "second-guess" markets. In my view, this point applies just as readily to government regulation of the culture.

I thank the Federalist Society for including me in this event despite (actually, because), of my strong disagreement with Judge Bork's views on the issues discussed by our panel.

ithaqua (mail):
"Judge Robert H. Bork argued that we must adopt extensive censorship of violent and sexually explicit media in order to combat social pathologies such as crime, welfare dependency, and illegitimacy."

I wish that President Bush had had the strength to re-nominate this wise and courageous man instead of Alito and Roberts (who have proven to be less reliable on social issues). When Rhenquist died in 2005, Bush was coming out of his stunning reelection victory and buoyed by the resolute and compassionate leadership he displayed during Hurricane Katrina; he was in an excellent position to push this issue. Can you imagine an America with Chief Justice Bork? Ah well.

"Judge Frank Easterbrook summarized Judge Bork's outstanding work on antitrust regulation as showing that government should not "second-guess" markets. In my view, this point applies just as readily to government regulation of the culture."

And your view is wrong :) The rationale behind the superiority of an unregulated market is that, because the government lacks the information which individual market actors use to make their decisions, government intervention is most unlikely to result in more efficient outcomes. This rationale doesn't hold with regard to social issues, because we know what the best sort of society is: a Godly society with laws based on the Holy Bible. It's no coincidence that what Judge Bork wants to censorship are images of sin - violence and sex - and that permitting those images to be promulgated (therefore implicitly condoning the actions they depict) has led to a tremendous upsurge in cultural immorality. God's Law is not arbitrary. Enforcing it creates a better society by any secular, as well as any spiritual, measure.
5.27.2008 12:18am
theobromophile (www):
Mr. Somin - your first link (to "symposium on the works of Judge Robert Bork") does not work.

This rationale doesn't hold with regard to social issues, because we know what the best sort of society is: a Godly society with laws based on the Holy Bible.

Really, we do? Whoops - I guess I missed that part. Also, the part about how the government is the best party to interpret the Bible, institute its laws, and enforce those laws.
5.27.2008 12:38am
Snarky:

In my view, this point applies just as readily to government regulation of the culture.


Saying that "in your view X" is not really much of an argument, is it?

It is not automatically self-evident that culture and markets are equivalent.
5.27.2008 12:44am
egn (mail):
<blockquote>
This rationale doesn't hold with regard to social issues, because we know what the best sort of society is: a Godly society with laws based on the Holy Bible.
</blockquote>

Outstanding! Do we know anything else?
5.27.2008 12:47am
Cornellian (mail):
It is not automatically self-evident that culture and markets are equivalent.

Nor is it obvious that a government can be trusted to distinguish them. Is banning the sale of a book suppressing culture or suppressing markets?
5.27.2008 12:48am
jps:
I hope the comment about the President's "stunning reelection victory" is flame.... I think many schoolchildren could have defeated John Kerry. But even more incredulous is the claim that the President was "buoyed by the resolute and compassionate leadership he displayed during Hurricane Katrina." Even if you yourself describe the federal response as competent, the public opinion polls on the issue show the opposite- people thought Brownie and Bush bungled it.
5.27.2008 12:50am
Cornellian (mail):
The rationale behind the superiority of an unregulated market is that, because the government lacks the information which individual market actors use to make their decisions, government intervention is most unlikely to result in more efficient outcomes. This rationale doesn't hold with regard to social issues, because we know what the best sort of society is: a Godly society with laws based on the Holy Bible.

Apparently, we take the Bible on cultural issues (presumably including the death penalty for working on the Sabbath, death penalty for women who have sex before marriage, etc.) but ignore it on economic issues. Or do you think the Bible mandates Chicago School laissez-faire free markets?
5.27.2008 12:50am
ithaqua (mail):
"Also, the part about how the government is the best party to interpret the Bible, institute its laws, and enforce those laws."

Would you prefer we give private citizens the ability to fine, imprison or execute people who break the law? Law enforcement is one of the functions - perhaps the defining function - of government; any private group, in fact, which holds that power is the government, no matter what the nominal authority might be.

Also, the Bible does not require interpretation. It is literal truth.
5.27.2008 12:53am
ithaqua (mail):
"Or do you think the Bible mandates Chicago School laissez-faire free markets?"

In fact, the Bible does just that. This site goes into it far more exhaustively than I have time or energy to do. For the simple version, I recommend to you the Parable of the Talents.
5.27.2008 12:59am
OrinKerr:
Bush was . . . buoyed by the resolute and compassionate leadership he displayed during Hurricane Katrina; he was in an excellent position to push this issue. Can you imagine an America with Chief Justice Bork?

Borkie, you're doing a heck of a job.
5.27.2008 1:01am
Snarky:

Nor is it obvious that a government can be trusted to distinguish them. Is banning the sale of a book suppressing culture or suppressing markets?


I agree. An argument has to be made. All I am pointing out here is that Somin's post is a waste of time, insofar as it does not even make an argument when one is obviously needed.

If I were to argue in favor having the People through their elected representatives putting some checks on the pollution of our culture (i.e. not allowing hardcore pornography to be broadcast over the airways) I would make an argument. Somin fails to do that, and instead just states his point of view with absolutely no support whatsoever, wasting valuable bits in cyberspace.
5.27.2008 1:07am
theobromophile (www):
Also, the Bible does not require interpretation. It is literal truth.


The Constitution is "literal truth" for what it is - the founding document of our country. It is utter foolishness to presume that, since everything it says is an absolute command on how our government is to operate, that it requires no interpretation. Likewise, statutes are literal requirements, from Congress, on how a court is to rule on relevant matters. Those statutes require interpretation. Somehow, though, the Bible requires neither? No interpretation in light of custom? other parts of the Bible? each passage stands on its own, in a vacuum? we don't even apply principles of textual interpretation?

Heaven only knows what will happen to theological debate. Last time I checked, there are some pretty strong disagreements within the Christian community on all sorts of subjects - when divorce is permitted, if literal six-day creation is necessary for the Bible to be true, if the earth was really created a thousand years after various Middle Eastern tribes developed a written language, etc.

Okay, now that we've disposed of that nonsense, we can move right along to your first statement.

I never said that the government ought not to enforce its own laws. I just said that it would be a poor party to enforce Biblical mandates. What should it do, throw a woman in jail who doesn't honour her husband? fine people who don't go to church on Sunday? make it illegal for Jews and Hindus to work on the Sabbath?

Apparently, we ought to dissolve the federal bench (Matt. 7:1), right? Or is the Bible not literal truth there?

So many questions. So little sanity.
5.27.2008 1:09am
ithaqua (mail):
"Somin fails to do that, and instead just states his point of view with absolutely no support whatsoever, wasting valuable bits in cyberspace."

The irony here is more profound than I am competent to address at the moment :)
5.27.2008 1:09am
Ilya Somin:
And your view is wrong :) The rationale behind the superiority of an unregulated market is that, because the government lacks the information which individual market actors use to make their decisions, government intervention is most unlikely to result in more efficient outcomes.

There are many other flaws in government economic regulation, including the ones Bork mentions in his work and I applied in my essay. As for information, I don't see why the government has better information about cultural issues than "economic" ones.
5.27.2008 1:10am
Ilya Somin:
Saying that "in your view X" is not really much of an argument, is it?

It is not automatically self-evident that culture and markets are equivalent.


The defense of "my view" is in the article that I linked to. There's no point in restating the entire argument of that article in a post when readers can simply download the article if they're interested. I would have thought that that was obvious, but apparently it isn't.
5.27.2008 1:11am
Jon Rowe (mail) (www):
Also, the Bible does not require interpretation. It is literal truth.

And that's why the premillennialists "literally" read a rapture into the Good Book; but the post-millenialists like Gary North do not. That's why the Roman Catholics literally read the story of the Last Supper to require literally eating Jesus body and drinking His blood but Protestants do not. That's why Gary North and the other Reconstructionists literally read the Bible as demanding, in the present day, Old Testament style executions but other Protestant fundamentalists do not believe the Bible mandates that we today impose the death penalty for such things as adultery, homosexuality and worshipping false gods. That's why fundamentalist preacher John MacArthur literally reads Roman 13 to categorically demand submission to all governments, even political tyrannies, but other Protestant fundamentalists (those who don't want to conclude after MacArthur that America was founded in sin for rebelling against Great Britain) do not. And on and on and on and on and on and on and on.
5.27.2008 1:14am
John Herbison (mail):
Yeah, ithaqua, basing secular law on the literal reading of a holy book has really worked well on the Arabian peninsula, hasn't it?
5.27.2008 1:17am
Jon Rowe (mail) (www):
Gary North's best book, by the way, one I strongly endorse, is the following that concludes America's Founders were led by secret unitarian rationalists (often nominally members of orthodox Trinitarian Churches) who abolished religious tests in Art. VI to subvert the old tradition of covenanting to the Triune God and hence laid the grounds for America's secular order -- the "Novus Ordo Seclorum."

He has some very amusing quotations as he reacts to the often militant unitarianism and anti-Calvinism of America's key Founders Jefferson &Adams. For instance:


In their old age, Adams and Jefferson renewed their friendship in a long correspondence that lasted for more than a decade. Their letters reveal that they were almost totally agreed on religion. They hated Christianity, especially Calvinism.94 In Jefferson's April 11, 1823, letter to Adams, he announced that if anyone ever worshipped a false God, Calvin did. Calvin's religion, he said, was "Daemonianism," meaning blasphemy.95 He knew that Adams was already in basic agreement with him in these opinions. After surveying their letters, Cushing Strout concludes: "Whatever their political differences, Jefferson and Adams were virtually at one in their religion." Strout identifies the creed of this religion: unitarianism.


North &Bork are similar in that both blame much of America's modern secular problems on the Founding Fathers. In Bork's case, it was the authors of the Declaration. In North's it was both the authors of the Declaration and Constitution.
5.27.2008 1:23am
ithaqua (mail):
"Somehow, though, the Bible requires neither? No interpretation in light of custom? other parts of the Bible? each passage stands on its own, in a vacuum?"

That's not what I meant by a 'literal' reading. Of course you have to read the Bible carefully to understand it; you have to read a dictionary the same way. What 'literal truth' means is that the Bible is a complete and exact historical document; events described in it happened as described, laws set down by God were actually set down by God, no passage is metaphorical unless someone (say, Jesus) explicitly says that it's a metaphor (or a parable), etc. What you don't get to do is pull sentences out of context and interpret the ambiguity you thereby create, or claim that Genesis is a metaphorical account of Creation and not to be taken seriously, or that the laws God gave to His people only apply to that specific place and time (for are we not all children of God? If He had wanted His moral laws to change with the times, Jesus would have revoked them as He did with the dietary laws), and so on. Yes, scholars have to study the Bible carefully, but this is not 'interpretation' in the way that judges 'interpreted' a right to privacy into the Constitution.

"What should it do, throw a woman in jail who doesn't honour her husband? fine people who don't go to church on Sunday? make it illegal for Jews and Hindus to work on the Sabbath?"

If the Bible defines a crime and a punishment (as in the Old Testament), that punishment needs to be carried out. If the Bible identifies a sin but specifies no punishment (as in the New Testament), the punishment (if any) is left to men to decide, and might range from official disapproval to death; what the government must not do in that case, however, is take a neutral position or, worse, condone the sin.

"Apparently, we ought to dissolve the federal bench (Matt. 7:1), right? Or is the Bible not literal truth there? "

Again, if you quote-mine the Bible, you're not taking it literally :) Matthew 7.2 contextualizes that statement, making it clear that Jesus is giving a warning to unrighteous judges (that is, to anyone who judges his neighbor unrighteously); someone who judges righteously on Earth has nothing to fear from judgment in Heaven. That covers foolishly merciful judgments as well as overly harsh ones. Remember the line "Let he who is without sin cast the first stone?" A Christian, born again in Christ, is without sin, but criminal-loving liberal theologians tend to decontextualize the quote to support their preferred implication. It helps to remember that, contrary to modern huggy-touchy-feely feminized 'Christians', God is a God of Wrath, Whose capacity for hatred is as infinite as His capacity for love...
5.27.2008 1:31am
ithaqua (mail):
"There are many other flaws in government economic regulation, including the ones Bork mentions in his work and I applied in my essay. As for information, I don't see why the government has better information about cultural issues than "economic" ones."

You're right; I should have said 'one of the' flaws. Nevertheless, the government has, for cultural issues, the infallible Bible; there is no comparable guide for economic issues, except for those points in said Bible that touch on the subject (and they say, pretty clearly, 'hands off!')
5.27.2008 1:34am
ithaqua (mail):
"Yeah, ithaqua, basing secular law on the literal reading of a holy book has really worked well on the Arabian peninsula, hasn't it?"

Your conflation of the Bible and the Koran is doubtlessly terribly insulting to both parties :)
5.27.2008 1:36am
theobromophile (www):
contrary to modern huggy-touchy-feely feminized 'Christians', God is a God of Wrath, Whose capacity for hatred is as infinite as His capacity for love...

Thanks for reminding me that I'm not welcome in your church, which is why I generally stay away.

As to everything else....

So what do you think of the Establishment Clause? Think we ought to pass a constitutional amendment to overturn it? How 'bout the legislative branch, simultaneously? After all, we have the Bible, and only need judges to interpret it. Guess we should also institute a requirement that judges get Divinity degrees instead of J.D.s.

Frightening.

By the way, why is your religion so weak and frail that it needs propping up by the government, like the National Forests? What, are the big bad wiberals going to steal your religion and ruin your life unless the Man steps in and forces them to do your bidding?
5.27.2008 1:55am
James968 (mail):
All I can say is I'm glad Bork, never made it to the Supreme Court.
5.27.2008 2:02am
Oren:
Sometimes I wonder if I'm reading the same Holy Book as some of the fundies. I mean, it's the same words, sure, but it sure doesn't feel that way sometimes.

All I can say is I'm glad Bork, never made it to the Supreme Court.
Amen to that. A man that think that any part of the Constitution (especially one as vitally important as the 9A) has no operative meaning does not deserve
5.27.2008 2:18am
Oren:
. . . deserve to sit on any Art III bench.
5.27.2008 2:18am
Oren:
BTW, Ilya, have you developed any particular rhetorical techniques to use against folks like Bork (or the Mayor of Birmingham) that assert that every has the right to free expression while making it clear that we aren't trying to "attack their values". Quite the opposite, by providing everyone with a forum for their expressive conduct, I feel that I have the utmost respect for those values as part of the general discussion.

I suppose that, in some sense, I have assumed that everyone's values are concurrent with the "marketplace of ideas". In that sense, I suppose I can't have much respect for people that not only assert that their ideas are correct (everyone does that) but also assert that mere discussion or exposure to contrary ideas is, itself, a bad thing. Then again, what am I supposed to say to these folks? They won't really let me respectfully disagree so I don't have many options.
5.27.2008 2:28am
Oren:
God, my first sentence was a mess. It's the rhetorical techniques that are supposed to assert . . .

2AM is not a good time to write cogent english.
5.27.2008 2:28am
OrinKerr:
A man that think that any part of the Constitution (especially one as vitally important as the 9A) has no operative meaning does not deserve to sit on any Art III bench.

I don't know of any one who "deserves" to sit on the federal bench. However, I think it's worth noting that (a) every federal judge has a number of parts of the Constitution that they think have no operative meaning, and (b) Bork's view of the Ninth Amendment is probably embraced by about 95% of the federal judiciary.
5.27.2008 2:41am
Perseus (mail):
Your citation of Japan as an example of a country that has very low rates of social pathology without government censorship omits that country's highly conformist/communitarian ethos. Somehow, I don't think that such an ethos would sit very well with libertarians.
5.27.2008 3:00am
Oren:
Orin:

(a) The word "deserves" was imprecise but I'm fairly sure that everyone knows what I meant. Perhaps the formulation "is unworthy" would have been better.

(b) Is supremely disappointing, for reasons that you can probably guess (if you actually read my posts, if not then I'm just talking into the wind here anyway).

I don't think history has been kind to Alexander Hamilton's insistence that the bill of rights was unnecessary because the Constitution did not delegate to the Federal government power to violate those rights in the first place ("Why declare that things shall not be done which there is no power to do?"). I certainly shudder to think what would have happened if Hamilton had prevailed along this line of reasoning. At the very minimum, Bork would be the least of our problems.
5.27.2008 3:21am
Oren:
Plus, won't Randy get cross at you if you diss his theory like that?
5.27.2008 3:22am
LM (mail):

Somehow, I don't think that such an ethos would sit very well with libertarians.

More important, it would mean most of us around here might have to get real jobs.
5.27.2008 3:25am
Visitor Again:
ithaqua, thanks, that line about "the resolute and compassionate leadership [Bush] displayed during Hurricane Katrina" gave me my first good laugh of the day because I know you believe it.
5.27.2008 3:50am
Mike& (mail):
Robert Bork's book "Sloughing Towards Gomorrah" was both angry and arrogant. It had more venom than Tom Riddle's diary.

Anger and arrogance (a form of pride) are sins.

Therefore, I conclude that Robert Bork's books should be banned.

Last I knew, Robert Bork was overweight. This means he's a glutton - a sin. Also, he does not respect his body - The Temple. Also a sin.

I therefore conclude that Robert Bork should be banned.
5.27.2008 3:52am
Mike& (mail):
Why did Robert Bork want to be a judge in light of Matt. 7:1?
5.27.2008 3:54am
Oren:
Mike, leave ithaqua alone.
5.27.2008 3:57am
Mike& (mail):
We're getting way off topic, but hey, a good time is being had by all...

People read the Bible literally when it allows them to confirm their bigotries and they ignore it when it prevents them from doing something fun.

You all do know the Bible says it's a sin to loan money for interest, right? It's also a sin to be a glutton. Gluttons are looked down as badly as drunks.

Yet Churches welcome obese bankers while either a) not allowing homos or b) saying, "We love the sinner [that's you, homo] but hate the sin [that's you, again, homo]."

What's up with that?

I could go on, listing all of the things the Bible says are sins but that people just ignore not. But I've proven my case. No need to prove it a dozen times more.

When churches start telling obese bankers to stop loaning money for interest and to stop eating so much cheesecake, we can have a serious debate about biblical interpretation. Until then, well, there's nothing to debate. "Christians" pick and choose what's a sin based on their cultural values.

In that sense, they are pretty much mirror images of "judicial activist" judges. Reach a conclusion, and then find something in the [Bible/Constitution/Ether] to support it. When text compels a contrary conclusion, ignore the text.

Fun stuff.
5.27.2008 4:00am
good strategy (mail):
The Ayatollah Ithaqua has spoken.
Gather your stones, Christians.
Judgment day is coming.
All hail Ithaqua
and his p-p-precious ring book!
The ring book of power.
It belongs to him.
All hail Ithaqua:
He knows God's Will
and is willing to share!
5.27.2008 6:00am
Daniel Chapman (mail):
Can we please ban ithaqua and anyone stupid enough to respond to him?
5.27.2008 7:03am
Arkady:

Bush was coming out of his stunning reelection victory and buoyed by the resolute and compassionate leadership he displayed during Hurricane Katrina


The mind borkles.

BTW,


Ithaqua (the Wind-Walker or the Wendigo) is a fictional character in the Cthulhu Mythos of H. P. Lovecraft. ...

Ithaqua is one of the Great Old Ones and appears as a horrifying giant with a roughly human shape and glowing red eyes. He has been reported from as far north as the Arctic to the Sub-Arctic Sausalito, where Native Americans aging hippies first encountered him. He is believed to prowl the Arctic Blog waste, hunting down unwary travelers liberals and slaying them gruesomely.
5.27.2008 7:32am
corneille1640 (mail):
Dear James968,

I do agree with your assertion that you're "glad Bork, never made it to the Supreme Court." However, if the senate had approved his nomination, I wonder if some of what we consider, today, the more conservative justices might have reacted to Bork's conservatism and formed a quasi-liberal coalition.

It's purely a hypothetical--one that reflects my ignorance about the Court as much as it reflects my knowledge. Still, I'm curious.
5.27.2008 8:07am
Ricardo (mail):
In Bork's case, not only does he back regulation of speech and sexual activity while advocating free markets, but he was also among those making moral arguments against the Civil Rights Act in 1964.

Now, one can take the libertarian approach and say that all acts between consenting adults, whether or not they are commercial in nature, should be legal. That's a separate debate altogether.

But Bork is not a libertarian by any stretch of the imagination. I'm not sure if Bork has ever been asked why it is illegitimate for the government to tell businesses they have to serve black people whether they like it or not but legitimate for the government to tell businesses to stop selling magazines or DVDs Bork finds distasteful.

And if he has changed his mind and it is now OK for the government to pursue policies to reduce both private racism and sexual and social tendencies that Bork doesn't like, why are regulations that pursue other social objectives still out of bounds? Why aren't the floodgates open already?
5.27.2008 8:14am
ruralcounsel (mail) (www):

This rationale doesn't hold with regard to social issues, because we know what the best sort of society is: a Godly society with laws based on the Holy Bible.


And thus we are presented with a perfect example of cultural regulation being "prone to capture by interest groups and to overexpansion".

I think the most frightening part about cultural regulation, as opposed to economic regulation, is that far more citizens are totally satisfied to think with their guts instead of their brains about culture, than is true of economics. Which means they are more likely to parrot the prejudices and fallacies in which they were raised, because they seem inately comfortable. Which means whomever holds the political majority would be able to, and feel quite smugly justified in, mandating the "correct" cultural behaviors. Surely we don't expect politicians to take the high ground and act as an emergency brake on their earnest but uncompromising constituents, do we?

We need look no further than Iran and the Ayatollahs to see what happens. Or the Spanish Inquisition.

As I beleive some one has already said ... frightening.
5.27.2008 8:18am
Public_Defender (mail):

Can we please ban ithaqua and anyone stupid enough to respond to him?


Professor Kerr bit into the sarcastic bait.

For those of you who haven't figured it out, ithaqua is just trolling, and too many people are feeding the troll.
5.27.2008 8:21am
b.:
can we get a Borkean critique of Bork's slip-and-fall suit while you're at it?

sure it happened a year ago, but better late than never.
5.27.2008 9:02am
David M. Nieporent (www):
In fact, the Bible does just that. This site goes into it far more exhaustively than I have time or energy to do. For the simple version, I recommend to you the Parable of the Talents.
Uh, that's not in the Bible. A quick google seems to show that it's in something called the "Gospel of Matthew," which appears to be something some guy wrote a few thousand years after the Bible was written. HTH.
5.27.2008 10:54am
SIG357:
Culture is not a market. Culture is what permits markets to exist.
5.27.2008 11:13am
SIG357:
Culture is not a market. Culture is what permits markets to exist.
5.27.2008 11:13am
SIG357:
"Your citation of Japan as an example of a country that has very low rates of social pathology without government censorship omits that country's highly conformist/communitarian ethos. Somehow, I don't think that such an ethos would sit very well with libertarians."


Libertarian's ends and means contradict each other. If you ever wonder how "classical liberalism" became today's liberalism, just observe the discussions among libertarians.
5.27.2008 11:19am
byomtov (mail):
All I can say is I'm glad Bork, never made it to the Supreme Court.

Amen. Why anyone pays attention to the old crank is a mystery.
5.27.2008 11:42am
Richard A. (mail):
Here is what Bork actually wrote in that book. He also suggested the government should ban Madonna's songs.
A lot of this seems to be more his personal taste than any coherent theory of law. Is "Saving Private Ryan" too violent to be legal?

"I am suggesting that censorship be considered for the most violent and sexually explicit material now on offer, starting with the obscene prose and pictures now available on the Internet, motion pictures that are mere rhapsodies to violence and the more degenerate lyrics of rap music."
5.27.2008 11:47am
p3731 (mail):
i commend Ithaqua for a job well done. that is trolling of a quality i haven't seen in many a moon.
5.27.2008 12:09pm
Mike& (mail):
For those of you who haven't figured it out, ithaqua is just trolling, and too many people are feeding the troll.


Don't act all superior in assuming we didn't know. We knew. Sometimes feeding trolls is entertaining.
5.27.2008 1:46pm
TSW:
John Rowe,

Not to be pedantic, but "novo ordo seclorum" does not mean secular age. "Seclorum" means "of the ages." It's an allusion to Virgil.
5.27.2008 2:00pm
p3731 (mail):
"Don't act all superior in assuming we didn't know. We knew. Sometimes feeding trolls is entertaining."

meta-trolling. an advanced technique, flawlessly carried out. kudos to you, sir or madam.
5.27.2008 3:31pm
Northeastern2L:
"Ithaqua" may or may not be trolling, and he may or may not actually believe what he posts, but there's no doubt that there are plenty of conservatives out there who would agree with his statement at the top of this thread.

Why any libertarian would choose to ally themselves with people like this is beyond me. It's perfectly understandable that a libertarian would never vote for a liberal given the differences in philosophy between liberals and libertarians. But, from what I can tell, many-- if not most-- libertarians have no trouble allying themselves with conservatives who hold positions which are, or should be, just as repugnant to libertarians, such as the views expressed by Bork and Ithaqua.
5.27.2008 6:58pm
M. Simon (mail) (www):
Rape has been in rather steep decline as social pathologies go over the last 20 to 30 years. Pornography has become more readily available over that time frame. No proof there of cause and effect. However, no proof that it increases social pathology either.
5.27.2008 8:23pm
Frater Plotter:
Rape has declined even more precipitously than other violent crimes, in fact. The rape rate today (incidents of rape per 1000 people) is less than one-fifth what it was in the 1970s, at least according to the Bureau of Justice Statistics. If existing trends continue, about 1 in 2500 people will be raped this year, compared to about 1 in 400 in the '70s.

(By comparison, robbery rates have fallen by two-thirds from the '70s, as have aggravated assault rates. Simple assault rates have fallen by half. So while all violent crime has been in decline, rape has been in even more decline.)

Unfortunately BJS figures do not go back to the 1950s idolized by Focus on the Family and other Religious Right cultural sources ... or rather, do not go back to the fictional white-bread 1950s of Dr. Dobson's imagination.
5.27.2008 11:31pm
Jerry F:
Northeastern 2L: Ithaca, as far as I can tell, is a Christian Reconstructionist. I have nothing against Christian Reconstructionists, but it is important to note that they are significantly farther right than what is commonly referred to as the Religious Right, which includes Pat Robertson, James Dobson, Focus on the Family, etc. Libertarians have probably more in common with Christian Reconstructionists (who are very libertarian on economic issues) than they have with liberals (who are decidedly unlibertarian on economic as well as social/cultural issues and support liberty only with respect to sexual practices). In any case, the Christian Reconstructionists are probably the least libertarians of all Christian conservatives, since they advocate criminalization of adultery, sodomy, etc. The overwhelming majority of the Religious Right, including Robertson, Dobson, etc., no longer actively lobby for criminalization of such behavior. So, it is really no surprise that libertarians find that they have more in common with, say, Focus on the Family, than with the ACLU.
5.28.2008 1:51am