CILS Review – Bork

CILS Review – Bork

Write a review of Bork in simple language for an exam review.

The Antitrust Paradox: A Policy attar with Itself
The’~m.pfiug of America: The Political Seduction of the Law
Rober I-I. Bork
MODERN LIBERALIS~V AND
AMERICAN DECLINE
ReganBooks
8
The Case for Censorship
T
he destruction of standards is
in rad}cal indivkh,-
alism, but it cotild hardly lraxe been accomplished
rapidly or so completdy without the assistance o{” the
American judtciar3~ Wielding a fi~e mndero liberal version nf the
First Amendment, the cout’ts have destroyed laws that created
pockets ogresistance to vnlgarity and obscenig<
Sooner or later censorship is going to have to be considered as
popular ctdture continues phmgiug to ever more sickening
The alternative to censorship, legal and moral, will be a brulatized
and chaotic culture, with all that that en.tails for our societ3q
onl}g politics, and physical safety. It is important to be clear a[mut the
topic. [ am not suggestir~g that censorship should, or constitutioualty
could, be emplwed to cmmtcr the libm~l pdidca! and cultural
pagandJzing o[” movies, television, network news, and music. They
am protected, and properly so, by the First ~nendment~ guarantees
of fivedom of speech and of the press. I am suggesting that
ship be considered lbr the most violent and sexually explicit mate-
rial ~mw on offer, star£1ug wit]~ the obscen~ prose and pictures
available on the Internet, motiou pictures that are mere rhapsodies
to violence, and the more degenerate
lyrics of rap
Censorship is a subject that few people want to discuss,
hecause it bas been tried and found dangerous or oppressive but
because the ethos o[’moder~ liberalism has made any inter[brence
with the individnaPs self-gratificatio~ seem shame[tally reactionary’.
r?o/e,
Bem~ett, Tucker, and Leo, while denouncing some of the
wnrst aspects of popular culture, were air quick to protest that they
were out t~)r censorship.That may be a tactical necessity, at least at
this stage o[” the debate, since it has become virtually a coudition
of ilitellectual and social respectability to make that disclaim.er.
And it is true that there are a variety of actions short of censorship
that should be tried. One is to organize boycotts o~ the othm:
products sold by corporations that market filth. But what happens
if a corporation decides it prefers the bottom line to responsibil-
ity? What happens if the company does not market other products
ihat can be boycotted? So long as there exists a lucrative market
I’m” obscenity, somebody will supply it. That brings us back to
“A~d then what?”
Is ce~sorship really as unthinkable as we all seem to assume?
That it is unthinkable is a yew recent conceit. Frnm the earlies-t
colonies on this continent over 300 hundred ),ears ago, and ~7or
abont 175 years of our existence as a nation, we endorsed and
lived with censorsbip.We do not have to imagine what censorship
might be like; we know from experience. Some of it was irormal,
written in ]tatutes or city ordinances; some of it was in[brmal, as
iu tl~e movie producers’ agreement to abid~ by dre rulings of the
I. hwes ofllce. Some of it wm~ inevitably silly–the rule that ~l~e
umvies could out show even a busband and wife fially dressed on a
bed uuless each had one foot on the floor–and some of it was no
doubt pernicious.The period of Hayes office censorship was also,
perhgps ~lot coiucidentally, the golden age of the movies.
The questions to be considered are whether such material has
harmfill eli:~cts, whed~er it is constitutionally possible to censor it,
;rod whetber tecbnolog3’ may put some of it beyond society~
capacity to control it.
It is possible to argue for censorship, as Stanley Brubaker, a
ino~ssor of political science, does,
~
on the gronnd that in a repub-
lican ti.nrm of government where the people rule, it is crucial that
Ihe character oF the citizen
W
not be debased. By now we should
bare gotte:n over tile
liberal notion that its citizens’ characters are
mine of the business of
government. The government ougI~t
~3o~
142
II, OaEItT It. llo~u(
try to i,’npose virtue, but it can de.let incitements to vlce.”Libe,als
have always takeu the position,” the late Christopher Lascb wrote,
“that democracy can dispense with civic virtue. According to this
way of drinking, it is liberal iustimtions, uot the character” of citi-
zens, that make democracy work.
’’~
He cited India and Lalh~
America as proof th.at Formally democratic institutions are not
enough for a workable social order, a proof that is disbeartel~ing
the conditions in parts of l~vge American cities approach those ~f
the ThirdWorld.
Lasch stressed “the degree to which liberal democracy has
lived off the borrowed c~pital of moral a~d religious tradkions
antedating the rise o[liberalism.
’’~
Certainly, the great religions
the West–Christiaui~ and Jud;tism~t~ught moral truths ahniFr
respect for others, honesty, sexual I[tdeli~,, truth-speaking, the value
of work, respect ~br the property of others, and self-restraint.
the decline of religious influence, the moral lessom attenuate as
well. Morality is an essential soil for free and democratic goveru-
nmn~. A people addicted to instant gratification through the
vicarious {and sometimes not so vicarious) eujoyment of mindless
violence and brutal sex is unlikely .to provide such a soil. A popu-
lation,
whose’mental Faculties are coarsened arid blunted, who~e
emotions are few and simple, is unlikdy to be able to make the
distinctiol~s and engage in the discourse that democratic gin,em-
inent requires.
I find Brubaker and Lasch persuasive. We tend to tbit~k o~’
virtue as a peHonal matter, each o[us to choose whidl virtues to
practice or not practice~the privatizatiou of morally, o~:, K yon
will, the “pursuit ofhapplness,” as each o£us defines happiness.
only a public mo~li~, in which trust, truth-telling, and
control
are proniinen~
features, call long sustain a decent
order and hence a stnble and jns~ democratic order. If the socia!
order continues to mu:avel, we may respond with a more nnthorl-
tat:Jall govermrmnt that is capable of providing at least persmml
There is, o~” couHe, more ~o the case for censorship than die
need to preserve a viable democracy. We need also to avoid the
social devastatiou wrought by pornogr~pi~y and endless incite-.
men~s to murder and mayhem. Whatever the e~ect~ upon our
capacit~ to govern ourselves, living in a culture that saturates us
wilh pictures of sex and violeuce is aesthetically ng].y, eulotim~ally
!!;lueuing, aud physically dangerous.
There are, no doubt, complex causes for illegitimacy arid
lento i~l today’s society, but it seems impossible to dm~y that one
Asked about how to diminish illegitimacy, a woman who worked
widl nntnarded teenage mottlers replied te~sely: “Shoot
Madonna2’That may be .carrying censorsllip a bit far, but o~e sees
her point. Madonna’s torte is sexual incitement. W~ live in a sex-
,,ur time are overwhehning to the young, who would, even with-
out such stbnulations, have dit~qculty enough resistilxg the song
Iheit hormones si~g.There was a time, coinciding with the era of
censorship, when ulost did resist.
Young males, ~vho are more prone to violence than fi:males or
i~hler males, wimess so runny gory depiction~ of killing that they
and even subteenag{:rs who shoot it” they feel they have been.
“dissed” (shown disrespect). Indeed, tile newspapers bring us sto-
ries of murders done for simple pleasure, tile killing of a stranger
~imply because tl~e youth felt llke killii~g someoue, anyone.That is
why, for file first time iu American history, you are more likely to
I,e murdered by a complete stranger than by someone you know.
That is wl
w
our prisons contain convicted killers who show abso-
mmms of tile persons they killed.
One response of the entertainment industry to criticisms has
heen that Hollywood and the music business did no~ create vio-
lence or sexual cltaos in America. Of course not. But they con-
tribute to it. They are one of the “root causes” they want us to
seek dsewhere and leave them aloue. Tile denial that what the
wrong see and hear has any effect on their behavior is the last line
,,t /’he modern liberal, defense of decadence, and it is wilR’ully
specious. Accusing Senator Dole ot[“pandering [o the right” in his
’;peech deploring obscene and violent elttertainment, die
Neti,
“li’lm~s
argued: “There is much i~l the movies and in hard-core rap
music that is disturbing and demeaning to many Americans. l:ap
mtlSiC, which 0~ie.u ~zaches tile
top
ofthq chm-t.s, is alan the
in will&
women are
degraded
and men seem to murder each
other for sport. But no one has ever dropl?cd dead fi-om
’Natural Born Killers,’ or listening to gangster rap recut,.Is.’”
wbicb George Will ~eplied: “’No o~e ever dropped dead *cadhq
’Det Stut-nmr,’ the Nazi nmi-Semific newspaper, but the
ruhm,”
setved caused six million Jews to
drop
dead.
’’s
Those who oppose any [brm og restraint, iucludinl~
restraint, on what is produced insist that there is no
be~,een what people ~tch and hear and their bdxavior, h ix
why people who sell gangsta rap make that claim, but i~ i.: h’,;.;
clear why ~nyoue shoukt believe them. Studies show th,/ d,: ,.,.i
deuce of the causal connectioo between popular cultureN viole., .”
aod violent behavior is ove~vhdming.” A recent study,
Sex aml
Mass Media,
asked: “Does the talk about aud images of” hwc.
and relationships promote irresponsible sexual bebavinr? 13,, ~1~,~
encourage unplammd and un~nted pregnancy? Are th,”
responsible ~br teenagers baying sex earlier,
more
[reqi~rmJy
outside of marriage?” The researchers concloded:”The :,wwer
all these questions is a qualified ’yes’.
’’~
The answer was qualifi,’d
because
not enough
research has as yet been done ot~ the elli?cls ~,1
sexual images. The ~uthors relied in p~rt on tbe analog,ms
lion ~fmedia depictions ogviolence and their effect ou aggressiw
behavior, which woukt appear to be a parallel situation.
Sornt”
the studies Found positive but relatively sma] ~ffects, betw£’cu
and ]5 percent. “One of tbe most compelling o[ the
,~tod]es
. . *
[OOlld that the homicide rates m flaree couo[1211’s 11 …..
Canada, and South Aft:ira) increased drm~aafica~y 10-[5
ye;,’s
the i~ltroduction o£ television.” That study “estLm~ted tha~
sue to televisiou violence is a causal £actor in abrupt hall’ of ihe
,~0 ) ho n c des per year in the Umted States and pe,’l,aps hzd~
t l
rapes alld assaul~.
experience are sufficient to reach the same conclosious. M.~i,.
choirs, and bynms. How can ahyone suppose that mosic (1’1″”
images o9 teie4isiou, movies, and advertisements) about ’~’,
violeoce has no e~ct?
Indeed, Hollywood’s writers, pmduaers,, aud e~recutlves
popular entertainment aR?cts behavior. It is uot rnmvly dmt
sell billions of dollars of advertising ou television on the premise
that riley cau influence behavior; they also think 01at the coutem:
of their programs can re(otto sucres/ in. a liberal dh’ection, qThey
understaod that no single program will cbauge attitudes much, bot
they rely upon the cumxdat:ive impact o~” years o[” televisiol~ indoc-
rrJoation.
~
~’1
w
sbould we listen to the same people saying that
d~eic programs and nmsic have no eli~ct on behavior? That argu-
ment is over. The depravity sold hy Hollywood and the record
companies is feeding die depravity we see around
The television indus~y, under considerable political pressure,
has agreed to a ratings system for its programs. Since aasiguing rat-
lugs to every program~including every episode in a series-~will
be much more difficult than assigning ratings to motion pictures,
it is doubtful that the television ra6ng system wdl add much
except coufi~sion and rancor. The movie ratings have not pre-
vented underage children From fi:eely seeing movies they were not
meant to see. No doubt fl~e same will be true of televis:iou ratings.
The vaunted V chip will prove no solution. Aside fi’oot the fact
d~at many parents simply will not bother with it, the V chip will
likdy lead to even .more degrading programming by providing
producers with the excuse d~at the chip adequately safeguards
childreu, though it does not. Aud the chip certainly dues nothing
to prevent adults fi’om enjoying the increasingly salacious and even
pen,erred material that is on the way.
The debate about censorship, insot?r as there can be said to be
a debate, usually centers on the issue of keepiog children away
fi:om pornography, There is, of course, a good deal of merit
tbnt, but it makes the issue sound like one of child rearing, which
most people would like the government to butt out o£ Oppo-
nen~ say parents can protect their children by using control fea-
tures offered by ma
W
ser~dces. Both sides are missing a mzjor
point. Aside fi’om the &ct that many parents will ~3ot use control
features, censorship is alto crucial to protect children~and the rest
of tlS~[~om meu encouraged to act by a ateady diet of computer-
ized pedophifia, murder, rape, and sado-masochJsui. No one sup-
poses that eve
W
addict of such material will act oot his fantasies,
but it is willfully bliud to think that none wilLTbe pleasures the
viewers 0fsuch maerial
get
from watchi,g a thousand rape
or child kidnappings is. not worth one actual rape or kidnapping,

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