Pornographic Politics: Santorum Pledges To Prosecute The Country Into a Better Moral State

Rick Santorum is continuing his faith-based campaign with a pledge to wipe out pornography in his Administration. The problem is that pornography is lawful and now a multi-billion dollar industry. It is obscenity that can be criminalized, but what is obscene remains exceptionally vague and ill-defined. Indeed, many may find parts of this presidential campaign to border on the obscene.

Santorum has proclaimed “The Obama Administration has turned a blind eye to those who wish to preserve our culture from the scourge of pornography and has refused to enforce obscenity laws.” He pledges that he will “vigorously” enforce laws that “prohibit distribution of hardcore (obscene) pornography on the Internet, on cable/satellite TV, on hotel/motel TV, in retail shops and through the mail or by common carrier.”

What constitutes obscenity remains maddeningly vague. Indeed, many find laughable Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart’s test for pornography in his concurring opinion in Jacobellis v. Ohio, 378 U.S. 184 (1964): “I shall not today attempt further to define the kinds of material I understand to be embraced within that shorthand description; and perhaps I could never succeed in intelligibly doing so. But I know it when I see it, and the motion picture involved in this case is not that.”

Santorum shows the dangers of the fluid test described by Stewart. What Santorum would consider obscene is obviously far greater than millions of Americans who either work or patronize porn sites. Federal courts are reluctant to define movies or pictures as obscene based on such different opinions in society. For that reason, Santorum’s view of the standard appears to fall well outside of the accepted view of the case law. Prohibitions have focused on areas like child pornography, snuff films, and animal abuse. Sexual films of consenting adults that are watched by consenting adults are generally presumed to be pornographic but not obscene. The Court has also emphasized the difficulty in determining what is obscene and what is artistic or literary. For many years, great novels were defined as obscene under the community standards that Santorum appears to favor.

However, the Supreme Court’s poorly conceived precedent in the area has left the standard of obscenity ill-defined — creating an opening for someone like Santorum to seek to limit what adults can view as part of new crackdown on immoral lifestyles and values.

Santorum’s suggestion of a crackdown, however, ignores the fact that this material is widely available on the Internet with thousands of foreign sites. An attempt to prosecute standard pornography would result in bizarrely uneven enforcement. It would also attempt to criminalize an industry that is supported by millions of Americans much as prohibition sought to criminalize alcohol consumption. The difference is that today’s “speakeasies” are found in virtual space on the Internet. He may find that Wall Street would be a bit peeved with the attempt to eradicate an over $12 billion a year industry.

I would bet against such an expanded effort in the courts if it targeted explicit sexual acts between consenting adults. Such a crackdown was attempted under Ed Meese in the Reagan Administration with limited lasting effect.

Ironically, the more promising avenue for regulation would not be to try to widen obscenity laws but to extend prostitution laws. There has always been an odd contradiction in criminalizing prostitution between consenting adults while allowing the same person to accept money to have sex before millions. For libertarians, the prohibition on prostitution by consenting adults is a denial of individual choice and freedom. I oppose laws that criminalize such personal choices on morality grounds. However, if prostitution laws are valid, it would seem easier to extend them to sex for money in pornographic settings. I would argue against such laws on constitutional grounds, but I would likely be in the minority. I believe that such films have first amendment protection beyond the privacy protections afforded to consenting adults. (Privacy itself is hard to maintain when you are filming sexual encounters for millions to view.).

Regardless of the approach taken by Santorum, what he is advocating is a return to the enforcement of morality codes through criminal prosecution. It would threaten tens of millions of adults to conform their conduct to the moral dictates of Santorum and his followers. It is the type of state-imposed morality that we have criticized in other nations. Indeed, a Santorum Administration might want to consider one more commission — a favorite reaction of Washington in appeasing the public. He could call it the Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice.

Source: Daily Caller

74 thoughts on “Pornographic Politics: Santorum Pledges To Prosecute The Country Into a Better Moral State

  1. That’s Rick Sanctorum.

    Ya know if he starts pushing prohibition, Sunday ‘blue’ laws and eliminating divorce I think he may finally make it over the finish line.

  2. Yes indeed, we need a war on pornography, because that war on drugs has turned out so well, you know. Also we still have some liberty in this country and we really need some more tools to stamp that out.

    So much work to do, sure glad we’ve got someone like Santorum to take it on.

  3. In honor of WordPress allowing me to finally post after adding in a different email address, Santorum is an example of the American Taliban at work. It will be his morality that the country will be subjected to if he becomes President. I haven’t said this for years, but Canada is looking pretty good.

  4. Raff – careful with that American Taliban stuff there. That has been ruled very rude by out moral betters at places like The Washington Post and even little Andrew Sullivan’s blehg. That it accurately reflects the wants & desires of Rick Sanctorum and friends is not a defense with these arbiters of permissible terms.

  5. You forgot the most important one for him. It is called the Inquisition and his leader is the Pope.

  6. Rick Santorum’s Skeleton Closet: Scandals, Quotes, and Character

    http://www.realchange.org/santorum.htm

    “SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico — Rick Santorum came to Puerto Rico and promptly waded into the emotional debate over the role English should play in the island’s future, sparking a furor that led the former Pennsylvania senator to insist his remarks were misreported.

    Santorum was forced to repeatedly clarify remarks he made Wednesday, when he said English would have to be the “main language” for Puerto Rico to become a state.”

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/03/15/rick-santorum-puerto-rico-english_n_1349164.html?ref=elections-2012

  7. God’s Will”?: Sarah Palin’s Secret Plot to Capture the White House in
    Anyone who has watched Sarah Palin closely in recent months can only marvel at the “magical thinking” she embraces with respect to the potential outcome of the Republican Party primary for president. It’s clear that Palin still has her sights set on the White House for 2012.

    In an interview with Sean Hannity in February, she declared:

    [A] brokered convention, I wouldn’t be afraid of that. The electorate shouldn’t be afraid of that. That’s a continuation of the process, and competition that perhaps would be, in the end, very good for our party, and good for the cause of defending our republic.

    In her widely reported interview with CNN on Super Tuesday, she openly stated that she would consider accepting the nomination at a brokered GOP convention:

    Anything is possible. I don’t close any doors that perhaps would be open out there, so, no, I wouldn’t close that door. My plan is to be at that convention. Huffington Post

  8. Here’s more information on the Master of Morality:

    How Rick Santorum Ripped Off American Veterans
    A controversial land deal by the presidential candidate robbed a vets’ home of tens of millions of dollars.
    —By Andy Kroll
    Wed Jan. 18, 2012
    http://motherjones.com/politics/2012/01/how-rick-santorum-ripped-off-american-military-veterans

    Excerpt:
    Like any good presidential candidate, Rick Santorum heaps praise on America’s soldiers and veterans. He’s pledged to “make veterans a high priority” if elected president, adding, “This is not a Republican issue, this is not a Democratic issue, it is an American issue.” But as a US senator, Santorum engineered a controversial land deal that robbed the military’s top veterans’ home of tens of millions of dollars and worsened the deteriorating conditions at the facility.

    The Armed Forces Retirement Home, which is run by the Department of Defense, bills itself as the “premier home for military retirees and veterans.” The facility sprawls across 272 acres high on a hill in northern Washington, DC, near the Petworth neighborhood. The nearly 600 veterans who now live there enjoy panoramic views of the city—the Washington monument and US Capitol to the south, the Shrine of the Immaculate Conception to the east. At its peak, more than 2,000 veterans of World Wars I and II, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War lived at the Home.

    But with the rise of the smaller all-volunteer military, the Home began to run into serious financial problems. It was clear that one of its primary sources of revenue—a 50-cent deduction from the paychecks of active-duty servicemembers—wasn’t enough to keep the Home operating fully. In the 1990s, the Home scrambled to find ways to avoid insolvency, trimming its staff by 24 percent and reducing its vet population by 800. Still, the money problems began to show, with its older historic facilities slipping into disrepair and decay. To grapple with its worsening shortfall, officials running the Home eyed a valuable, 49-acre piece of land worth $49 million as a potential financial lifeline.

    Under one scenario, by leasing the parcel of land and letting it be developed, the Home could pocket $105 million in income over 35 years for its trust fund, David Lacy, then-chairman of the Home’s board of directors, told Congress in 1999. Lacy stressed that the Home wanted to keep the property, and not offload it to a buyer. “Once land is sold,” he said, “it is lost forever as an asset.”

    Enter Sen. Rick Santorum (R-Penn.). At the behest of the Roman Catholic Church, and unbeknownst to the Home, Santorum slipped an amendment into the 1999 National Defense Authorization Act handcuffing how the home could cash in on those 49 acres. The amendment forced the Home to sell—and not lease—the land to its next-door neighbor, the Catholic University of America. Ultimately, the Catholic Church bought 46 acres of the tract for $22 million. The Home lost the land for good, and by its own estimates, pocketed $27 million less than the land’s value and $83 million less than what it could’ve made under the lease plan. Santorum’s amendment sparked an outcry from veterans’ groups and fellow US senators, who barraged his office with complaints.

    Laurence Branch, then the executive director of the Home’s board, says Santorum’s amendment was “a travesty” and the Church’s lobbying for the land a case of “coveting thy neighborhood’s goods.” To this day, Branch says he blames Santorum for the Home not receiving more money for the 49-acre parcel of land. “I’m convinced Sen. Santorum is no friend of veterans,” Branch says. (A spokesman for Catholic University did not respond to a request for comment.)

    At the time, Santorum said the amendment was the product of “a consensus agreement” and “was certainly not an attempt to shortchange the veterans.” (A spokesman for the Santorum campaign did not respond to multiple requests for comment.)

  9. They kicked his family out of Italy for boasting about their name: Santo Rum or in English: Sainted Rum. The family back in Italy are all communist. So this drunk communist wants to impose his notion of Catholic morality on the rest of us. I bet he could not recite the Ten Commandments.

  10. Yeah, Ricky, if you’re interested in “prosecuting the country into a better moral state”, why not start by prosecuting people who committed war crimes, treason and violated the Constitution? If you knew anything about the law, the Rule of Law or the Constitution, that would be a far better place to start bringing ethical behavior back into the public arena. Or like most theocrats is your moral outrage selective when it comes to things like torture and war? Also, see the meaning of the word “futile”. As Onlooker alludes to, a “war” against human nature cannot be “won” by prohibition. It might be mitigated by education though. You apparently don’t understand human nature very well, Ricky. Then again, you’re an advocate of teaching creationism as if it were science; indicating that you really don’t know crap about education either.

    That’s quite a Catch-22 you’ve got there.

  11. Oro Lee I have not seen one but I think the first one was spotted outside DC. The picture has gone viral. I think I need to get a pro Obama sticker on to counteract these people although one of my friends that put one on had her car keyed recently.

  12. Master of Morality….Listing to your speeches and having the thoughts that you might win more delegates is porn in my mind…..so stop now….

  13. Elaine M: “Maybe Rick has plans to drape statues in fabric in our country’s capital a la John Ashcroft.”

    ———-

    We should be so lucky that he would only cover them. He may well prefer a more permanent solution along the lines of the Bamiyan Buddhas

    “Afghan Taliban Begin Destruction of Ancient Buddha Statues”

    http://www.commondreams.org/headlines01/0301-04.htm

  14. Ironically, the more promising avenue for regulation would not be to try to widen obscenity laws but to extend prostitution laws.
    ———————————-
    I am all for this…course I stil think the modus operandi of many non-sexual things here in th good old not-so-free USA are BOTH obscene AND
    prostitutal … (is that a word????…I think it’s a word….)

  15. I have always been pro pornography, with certain exceptions and I believe people against it have sexual issues. However, I have been waiting for the appropriate chance to show this, since it perfectly applies to Santorum:

  16. How about he start his prosecutions with pedophile priests, war criminals, war profiteers, mortgage and bank fraud, torturers, cops who kill unarmed civilians, crooked politicians, the supreme court justices who refuse to uphold the constitution, christians who kill abortion doctors.

  17. Sanatorium may be onto something with this prosecuting obscenity idea.

    I think red slime in hamburger is obscene. And how about foreclosing on a family home with fraudulent documents. That seems obscene to me, too.

    What about you? Have you seen any obscenity that ought to be prosecuted recently?

    As for pornography, I am pleased to report that I still recognize it when I see it.

  18. Raff and Frankly,
    just got here, late as usual, but if you see this.

    F.
    why do, as I’ve said before, do we need to loan “demon” terms which cast aspersions on the, in this case, Talibans, and indirectly on muslims? That may not have been your intentions pro or con, one way or another, but I take the opportunity to publish my take.

    Raff,
    Go back to the new email account with WordPress and add the same icon you registered with the other email. Should do the trick. Changing icons is easy even for an existing email address. Even old man me can do it.

  19. Elaine M.
    “Maybe Rick has plans to drape statues in fabric in our country’s capital a la John Ashcroft.”

    No, they will be moved to storage, and replaced by ones taken from Disneyland (or your suggestion?).

  20. SwM,
    Thanks for the nightmare scenario with Palin at the conventions
    Caused me to return to how it could have been with a McCain win in 2008.
    How long would McCain before someone would have eliminated him, and we’d have a Palin president—thanks to certain unnamed organizations help.
    The mind boggles.
    She might have even nuked the USA by this time. “California is not America”, she says.

  21. These comments are depressing, which is not kosher before St. Patty’s Day. So I leave you with the following, which you have heard before and will hear again umpteen times this weekend —

    A genteel, elderly Irishman walks into a pub in Dublin, the sort of pub where everyone knows your name but no one knew this gentleman. All eyes are on him as he orders three pints of Guinness, takes them to a small table in the corner, sits down and drinks out of each mug in turn.

    When he finished he returns to orders three pints more. The barkeep says to him, “ Far be it from me to tell a man how to drink his ale, but a pint goes flat after it’s drawn; it would taste better if you bought one at a time.”

    The old man replies, “Well, you see, I have two brothers. We were three fine lads and loved each other dearly. We all left home the same day. One is in America, the other in Australia, and I’m here in Dublin. When we parted, we promised that we’d drink this way to remember our days together. So I drinks one for each o’ me brothers and one for meself.”

    “Far be it from me,” says the barkeep, “to interfere with such a fine family tradition,” and draws three pints.

    The old man becomes a regular at the pub and always drinks the same way: he orders three pints and drinks them in turn. And everyone knew his name and loved him dearly.

    One day, after many years, the old man comes in and orders two pints. All others fall silent and a pall hangs over the place. The barkeep solemnly draws two pints which the old man takes to his table and drinks in turn.

    When he comes back and orders two pints more, the barkeep says, “Far be it from me to intrude on a man in his hour of grief, but me and the boys wish to extend our condolences on your great loss.”

    The old Irishman looks quite puzzled for a moment, then a light dawns in his eye and he laughs. “Oh, no, everybody’s just fine” he explains, “it’s just that me wife had us join that Baptist Church and I had to quit drinking, but it hasn’t affected me brothers none.”

  22. Bishop Santorum will always have an approving audience where ignorant is a virtue! The most absurd recently is to tell the American citizens in Puerto Rico they have to speak English because of a nonexistent Federal law! Well, ,maybe the over the top is the comment about euthanasia in the Netherlands! Hard to decide which is the most idiotic! All Religions are based on misogyny, guilt and fear, they just have different holidays!

  23. Porn subscriptions and porn site hits disproportionately originate from Red states. No one “likes” porn but lots of people consume it and regulation of internet porn is far more difficult than getting 7-11 to stop stocking Playboy and Penthouse.

  24. Mike Spindell 1, March 16, 2012 at 12:22 pm

    I have always been pro pornography, with certain exceptions and I believe people against it have sexual issues. However, I have been waiting for the appropriate chance to show this, since it perfectly applies to Santorum:
    ========================================================
    Way cool Mike.

  25. Mark 10:25 : “It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.

    “For those who bless the poor, God promises to bless them (Ps 41:1-3; 112; Prov. 14:21; 19:17, 22:9, 14:31, 28:27; Isaiah 58:6-10).

    But, He promises to judge those who oppress the poor (Deut 27:19, Prov. 17:5, 21:13, 22:16, 28:27; Isaiah 10:1-4; Eze 18:12-13, 16:49).

    So, obviously, as part of his crusade to make the U.S. a more moral (and Christian) country, Santorum, will strive to create a more progressive tax system, criminalize off-shore tax shelters, stop taxing capital gains a a ridiculously low rate, stop using property tax as the primary basis (to unevenly) funds schools.

    He will begin to address the un-Christian inequities of this country as soon as he has imprisoned Rush Limbaugh for suggesting everyone who’s insurance pays for birth control be mandated to post their sexual activities on Youtube.

    Long live the Holy Roman Emporer! Long Live Santorum!

    http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=Santorum

  26. Oro Lee,

    You were a font of knowledge today! Thanks for the King Corn vid. I had heard of it but not seen it. I watched the whole thing this afternoon and thoroughly enjoyed it. (Poor choice of words but I trust you know what I mean.)

    When Tex gets home and we sit down to a corn-infused Pizza Shop delivered dinner, I plan on blaming you.

  27. The devil is the prosecutor. Jesus is a freer. That means that Santorum is willingly controlled by the devil. Ron Paul is not controlled by the devil. Ron Paul is the smallest in stature of all of them, but he has a Superior spirit in him.

  28. Oro Lee,

    That’s a great joke. :D

    *********

    seamus,

    You’re on fire today too. Figuratively speaking of course. At least I hope it’s figuratively. To be on fire any other way would be disfiguratively.

  29. It took a Republican candidate to write a manual on how to pick up a call girl with a minimum of fuss and bother. Essential reading for Republican travelers and politicians:

    When Republican gubernatorial hopeful Neil Livingstone admitted to the Associated Press last week that he was once “a guest on a yacht full of hookers in Monte Carlo,” few people realized that Livingstone is actually a leading authority on such matters.

    Indeed, it turns out that Livingstone actually published a detailed instructional manual in 1997, which provides candid advice for world business travelers on how to solicit a high-quality prostitute.

    Montana Cowgirl has mined for pure political gold. Read the rest here:

    http://www.dailykos.com/story/2012/03/16/1075087/-GOP-candidate-published-a-manual-on-cruising-for-sex

  30. “Porn subscriptions and porn site hits disproportionately originate from Red states. No one “likes” porn but lots of people consume it and regulation of internet porn is far more difficult than getting 7-11 to stop stocking Playboy and Penthouse.”

    Whadda ya mean noone likes porn? If noone likes it why do they view it?

  31. Jason Russell Arrested

    NBC San Diego is reporting that Jason Russell, the co-founder of Invisible Children, the advocacy group behind the “Kony 2012” viral video, was detained at 11:30 am on Thursday morning for allegedly masturbating in public.

    TMZ reported Friday afternoon that law enforcement officials don’t plan to bring charges against Russell.

    According to TMZ, Russell was allegedly under the influence of alcohol. Police also told TMZ that he was vandalizing cars.

  32. W are a society bowing to many idols. Clothing is one of them. So mush so that it is sex without the idol being sex starved or it is no sex with the idol on. That is the problem. No longer worship the idol named clothing, and a balance will occurs. No clothing does not have to always = sex. No one likes porn? Look at the basics of what Porn is. It is naked. So is nature. Nature has sex in it too.Therefore if a human does not like porn they subconsciously do not like nature that God made ether.

  33. We are a society bowing to many idols. Clothing is one of them. So mush so that it is sex without the idol being sex starved or it is no sex with the idol on. That is the problem. No longer worship the idol named clothing, and a balance will occurs. No clothing does not have to always = sex. No one likes porn? Look at the basics of what Porn is. It is naked. So is nature. Nature has sex in it too.Therefore if a human does not like porn they subconsciously do not like nature that God made ether.

  34. OS
    lol
    It would be a Republican who would NEED a manual, or who would write one.
    Solicit sex workers? He’s got it all bassackwards. All you have to do is stand there with a drink in your hands, be red in the face, overweight, too tight a collar, and sweating profusely while oggling the ladies openly.
    If you’re not solicited within five minutes, then your BO or your halitosis must be incredible. Or that fart was something else than you thought it was.

    Did I tell you how this untraveled young man in the Tokyo Hilton in ’64 screwed up by offering to pay my part of the tab with what turned out to be an international class sex worker. She later dressed me down over the phone (not in public) and gave me instructions on how these things should be handled. All I could do was to apologize for my rube background, this being my first time, etc.
    She said gimme your number in Honolulu and I’ll call you when I get to Hawaii. She did. This is only part of my first night there. The rest without her was better, much….

  35. Masturbating having heterosexual sex , sex with another species gay sex should be no problem, but vandalizing the property of another is a problem. When he is sober should in good conscience make restitution for what he did.

  36. Masturbating having heterosexual sex, sex with another species, and gay sex should be no problem, but vandalizing the property of another is a problem. When he is sober should in good conscience make restitution for what he did.

  37. Commoner: No one “likes” porn but lots of people consume it …”

    I think you have hit on something truly vital.

    I know that no one on this blog actually uses pornography. All we know about porn is what we see on TV or what we hear on NPR.

    But the truth of the matter is that porn is a multi billion dollar industry. That implies more than availability. The only way that porn could possibly be a multi-billion dollar industry is if people actually consume it. That means that in one of the most important and meaningful ways possible people express a real preference for pornography.

    Individuals go out and put down their hard earned money to pay the cable bill and access the adult channels. Individuals visit their neighborhood book seller put down their hard earned cash and walk out with a plain brown bag filled with porn.

    The simple fact is that pornography is one of the few community standards that unites us across lines of class, education and income.

    Who would have thought – pornography bringing us together in a truly meaningful way.

  38. “Who would have thought – pornography bringing us together in a truly meaningful way.”

    The way whorehouses and speakeasies used to be the social norm that brought many people together. You made me laugh with that last sentence.

  39. Big Fat Mike,

    Geez, you poor people. Come to Sweden.

    I don’t think we have a porn program on cable, only at tourist hotels. It’s not forbidden, it’s just not needed. Of course they buy DVD programs, but mass consumption, nada. Only some like germans and austrian need that.

    Are you horny in Stockholm? Go and get a drink at a bar, if you’re clean, not horrible—–just wait five minutes. And that applies whether you are man or woman.
    If the vibes are there, the action soon follows. Guaranteed.

    In my first year here, live sex shows were all the rage. Now it’s just for tourists.

    My morrocan friend Nasser tonight said that it’s the same among the young people in Casablanca and Marrakech.
    And he’s there often. BTW, he had not seen anything about the sixteen year old suicide. So again. I ask, when did that happen. Wasn’t it the harissa habitué who had checked the local blogs there? Blouise???

    The world is changing folks. Are you connected?

  40. “I learned something very important watching that Clarence Thomas hearing, and d’you know what I learned?

    I don’t stand a fuckin’ chance. Don’t even call the committee to order. It’d be a real short hearing:

    ‘Mr. Hicks, are you familiar at all with the video series called Clam-Lappers, Volumes 1 through 90?’

    ‘All of them? I don’t recall. . . . pornography’s gotten a really bad name in our country, and I’d like to state for the record right now – I love pornography. Love it. . . . For the record.’

    ‘Mr. Hicks, thank you for your testimony. I don’t know if we have a place for ya right now on the Supreme Court, but boy, you ever thought about becoming a Senator?'” – Bill Hicks

    I’m with Bill.

  41. Brown paper bags. You don’t really have them outside of some shameful states I won’t mention. Do you?
    Now an easily recognized plastic bag is a sign of status, if it is wine inside.
    You are not an alcohol drenched vodka slob anymore, but converted to the drink of modern moderate consumers with style. Bla bla,,,,,,,true!
    Propaganda does work even there.
    Think the day might come when maryjane is marketed, and other drugs become as accepted as oxyco and viagra. Noradrenaline anyone?

    Bedtime. Nighty night.

  42. Here’s some of the most disgusting, most dehumanizing and degrading porn ever filmed, please have your vomit-bag handy:

  43. For Sanatorium to wipe out what he calls Pornography had better fire off all of the nuclear, hydrogen,and thermonuclear war heads to make the surface of the earth look like Venus that has a surface temperature that is 400 degrees. That would ensure that all naked things God made being pornographic would be wiped out. We are pornographic too.

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