Why Does Porn Get a Pass?
August 30, 2002
by Gary Aldrich - Volume 2, Issue 41
This article appeared on TownHall.com on August 29, 2002.
Letís talk about the facts of life. Itís a fact of life that we have lost the war to control pornography. The war was over years ago when the Supreme Court ruled that porn was legal if it met community standards. Whatever Conservatives or American society in general wished to do about this growing wave of filth has been for naught. Itís saddening to admit, but itís true.
During the Reagan administration, I was part of a nationwide effort to try to make a dent in the pornography industry. The FBI had hard evidence that organized crime (OC) had moved into the pornography industry, just as they had into gambling, prostitution and drugs. OC thrives on the vices of humans.
After a year-long undercover case that more than proved the OC connection to porn, we brought forward our indictments. At that time, the community standard that allows federal prosecutions for obscene material gave us the hammer to put away many OC thugs - even the Liberal Miami juries agreed that some of the material being sold was a bit over the top. We fined these sleaze merchants heavily and sent them to the slammer.
You know what? We didnít even make a dent.
Today, that same kind of material is routinely displayed on hundreds of Internet websites advertising their wares in an effort to get you to pay a fee to "peek" inside. Whatís inside must really be filthy, but if it isnít considered child porn, it wonít be prosecuted. Eight years of Bill Clinton in the White House and Janet Reno in the Department of Justice guaranteed that every community standard in the nation has been lowered. Today, both federal and local prosecutions of routine porn are a lost cause.
Whatever objections we had as a society to this porn garbage are moot at this point.
Hundreds of billions of dollars are made each year on the "sales" of horrible things, images that most of us want to keep away not only from our children, but from our communities. We want to keep this material from finding its way into the very fabric of our society. Yet, there is an enormous appetite for this stuff - so much so that itís obvious that the flow from producer to consumer cannot be controlled. Conservatives need to understand this. We have lost this war, but is there something positive that can come from this? Do we just "give up," or is there some way we can curtail the amount of porn being produced?
You bet there is, and hereís the answer: Tax the living daylights out of it! Tax every part of it. Tax the consumers who want to look at it. Tax the "actors" - mostly women, and some men - who are making money being "models" for these porn sites. Tax every network that allows this human sewage to flow through their switches, cables, phone lines - tax any entity that makes it easy for this material to go from camera lens to your living room where little Johnny can see it while youíre out at the grocery store.
Call it a Porn Tax.
Tax them federally, and tax them at the state level as well. Tax them county and tax them local. Tax them until it hurts, and tax them until they scream. Then, tax them right out of business.
Impossible you say? Wait a minute! Isnít this the reasoning behind the tax on cigarettes? Cigarettes are considered to be a threat to the well being of humans. Is filthy pornography less of a threat to the minds and emotional well-being of humans?
We also tax alcohol heavily, reasoning that a heavy tax keeps the prices up, and thus, maybe out of the hands of too many drunks. As a society, we recognize that booze is not the best way to have a good time, but we acknowledge that it cannot be stopped, so we heavily regulate it, and we tax the grapes out of it!
Why does porn get a pass?
Regulating and taxing cigarettes is not a signal that society approves of the production, distribution and use of tobacco products - just the opposite is true. Our society has begun to frown on the use of cigarettes and has outlawed their use in many public places, including restaurants and bars in some states, yet we throw up our hands and claim impotence in our efforts to control porn. We canít even keep it out of our public libraries! It seems we are unable to think of any solution, so we do nothing.
From now on, unless we have some kind of revolution or the installation of a dictator who has the power to chop off the hands of those who possess or produce porn, itís here, and itís widely available. Get over it! Sure you can regret that we cannot control this. Of course, you can do your best to keep it out of your life. Iím not saying we should give any indication at all that we accept this horrible environment that has been thrust upon us.
Most of us hate this deep injury to our civility. The least we can do is think of some way to lessen it.
Letís face another fact: women are ill-served by allowing themselves to be filmed while performing the most intimate of activities, but they sure arenít victims! There are thousands of them, maybe hundreds of thousands of women, young and old, who for some reason think itís just fine to be a part of this scourge.
Being ill-served and engaging in harmful, risky activity has never stopped prostitutes from doing what they do. Obvious facts about the dangers are not going to stop the actors and actresses from appearing in porn flicks. But, we can lay on a heavy financial burden, just like we tax anyone else whoís engaged in a high-profit enterprise. Maybe fewer will be available if we make it tough enough. Letís take away the financial benefit.
At a time when government officials are pulling out all the stops to dream up taxes and penalties that honest, hardworking, decent citizens must pay, this idea seems like a no-brainer. If they can put cameras on tops of poles to catch those who run red lights, donít tell me they canít figure out how to tax porn and all who benefit from it.
Letís tax porn back into the dark alley where it belongs.