Article Image Ernest Hancock
Letters to the Editor • Propaganda

Who Decides??

All I want to know is: who decides when a Video can NO LONGER be viewed?

Editors Reply

Property rights...
My property (TV station, Radio station, Newspaper, Billboard) wishes to display (fill in the blank). You object... then what?
One of the few legitimate functions of government is to provide unfettered passage between private properties via "common" routes of travel (not provide the means of that travel,... or even the common routes). While out among your neighbors and outside of your 20 foot high walled in and gated community you should come across an offensive billboard (Las Vegas comes to mind) then you endure it, move, or be thankful that there isn\'t a central plan that is deciding what you can and can\'t be exposed to.
Graphic depictions of illegal acts, real or not (the movie “Hostel” comes to mind – Europe touring teenagers are kidnapped and tortured to death by paying customers,… retired CIA I guess) can be very offensive to many. I have a growing motivation to start some sort of public relations campaign that will inform me that when I go to see an “R” rated film at the movies, I know if I should just wear a sensory deprivation helmet during the previews of the next dozen upcoming feature attractions of blood and guts horror (very annoying to me). But I don’t have to go to the movies. But I can be very creative in expressing my concerns while supporting the rights of the theatre owners.
Real depictions of very bad things concern me. Making it illegal to produce or show or even own a documentary about military life/torture in Iraq only creates a Black Market for the material and the torture then gets a new line of revenue for the profit of very bad things (think about the War on some Drugs). Possession of the evidence of a crime can’t be a crime in itself or you go down a very dark path that promotes a black market for such activity.
We often see Internet video of a group of thugs (High School students, Frat Houses, Gangs) doing illegal and even very violent things. But the watching of such video, or the storage on your cell phone isn’t illegal,… yet. What happens when it is made illegal (which is being attempted to be made a campaign issue somewhere I’m certain) then immediately a black market is created for such material and the profit motive to supply even the smallest demand is there to create more content.
Dr. Mary Ruwart’s book “Healing our World” and her campaign for Libertarian Presidential nominee against Bob Barr created controversy for even bringing up these points in regard to Child Pornography. Since she wished to focus on the damage done to children she was not in favor of creating a market for their exploitation.
While this position is rarely understood and even much less a part of polite dinner conversation, the concept does need to be understood and deeply applied to our lives to get at the truth of things.
And the truth is; that the advocacy for not making the possessing of the vilest material a crime will not currently get you the endorsements of our current crop of politicians and special interests. But the discussion about self-censorship and how the Free/Black Markets work is worth the ridicule to some, for the education of many.
So who decides what is censored? Individuals decide. They decide for themselves and as parents. But people grow up and have to begin deciding for themselves and take responsibility for their own actions. If I wish to burn a warehouse full of DVDs or deface an offensive billboard or paint over the pictures of aborted babies on the side of a Pro-life activist’s van, then I have to be willing to face the consequences of my actions.
Here are just a few issues to keep this discussion lively.