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March 02, 2005

Follow-On to Social Standards « GWOM »

My Miriam-Webster Word O' the Day is: "Misanthrope" Woot!

And while people are up in arms about Sen. Stevens using the legislative process to see if standards can be applied to cable TV, I find this to be more disturbing, more upsetting, and more worthy of debate and outrage.

Posted by Nathan at 08:34 AM | Comments (4)

Actually, this is a great reason to oppose Mr. Stevens: I don't trust the courts to determine whether or not it's constitutional. The last time I counted on the courts on the courts to overturn something I oppose ("campaign finance reform"), I was sorely disappointed. The oath of office, I believe, is to accept and defend the Constitution... not to punt it to the courts and see what you can get away with.

The "public's airwaves" argument justifies censorship of airwave TV and radio, but to regulate what can be transmitted through private channels (no pun intended) cannot be differentiated to what movies a theater can play. That's not even a slippery slope... they're both on the same plateau.

Posted by: R. Alex at March 2, 2005 08:59 AM

So let me get this straight: you state you do not trust the courts...but you apparently don't trust Sen. Stevens, either, since he's a part of the legislative branch. So, by extension, you don't trust the people of the United States, since they are the ones who elect legislatures to represent themselves.

If you trust democracy, i.e., you think people are smart enough to know what they want, then you should allow us to vote for Senators who will vote to regulate cable TV's standards. The courts only enter into it if the legislature passes a law that violates the Constitution. Regulating Cable standards doesn't rise to that level, I don't think.

Posted by: Nathan at March 2, 2005 10:09 AM

I trust democracy, but not entirely. That's why we have a Bill of Rights - because few of us (right, left, or otherwise) trust the voters to legislate anything they want. I don't trust the courts or legislature individually to adhere to the Constitution, but I would like each to evaluate for themselves the implications rather than leave it to the other. In the case of the legislature, those that believe in the Constitutionality of regulating opt-in entertainment fully evaluate the implications of what they're asking for and take a stand for what they believe the Constitution to say (and not just say "We'll see if the courts agree"). Instead, what Stevens appears to be doing is quite short-sighted. A ruling that allows the FCC to prevent breasts from appearing on television could easily allow the state of California to prevent Passion of Christ from appearing in any movie theater. Do we really want to open the door for that? Do we trust the courts that much? Do we trust anti-religious voters out there not to try to ban movies they don't like or keep "culturally insensitive" shows off the cable airwaves?

I know that I don't. I don't trust anyone that tells me what I should be able to watch. I don't believe the government has that right to decide what voices can and cannot be heard through private media.

(And I say this as someone without cable or satellite and would not be affected by Senator Stevens's law in the slightest.)

Posted by: R. Alex at March 2, 2005 10:46 AM

Well, there we disagree.

I do trust the people. I trust the legislature to largely remain responsive to the overall desires of the people, and I generally trust the judicial branch to stop the miscarriages of justice (although recently they are giving me some doubts).

I don't expect it will happen quickly, mind you...but I do think our system is working pretty well. We might go through a Prohibition-type mistake while we work it out, but the whole Prohibition debacle (which will probably soon by joined by an in-retrospect-acknowledgement of the Roe V Wade mistake/debacle) makes me feel pretty good about the chances that things work themselves out in our political system, eventually.

Posted by: Nathan at March 2, 2005 11:04 AM
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