Always – beneath the reasons – are the reasons.
Americans have a kind of instinct for this: sensing the reality behind a facade. It was experience, not cynicism, that coined the old saw that “whenever someone tells you, ‘It’s not the money, it’s the principle of the thing’…it’s the money.”
The same thing, of course, is often true about pornography. The more someone goes on and on about how constitutionally important it is to post crime scene photos of naked children on the Internet, or publish dehumanizing photos of women’s breasts and genitalia in “adult” magazines, or otherwise violate the dignity of the human person…the more you begin to suspect that that someone cares less about protecting free speech than protecting his own proclivity for pornography.
In truth, no thoughtful legal mind honestly believes that child pornography or hard core obscenity is something the Founding Fathers wanted to actually protect when they penned the First Amendment. More often, the people who profess to believe this are tragically caught in the trap of their own inner world, are secretly titillated by the lewd possibilities, or are enamored by their own personal values – and in these cases want to keep the legal corral gate open for any unbridled passions that decide to run free.
Certainly no one wants to think of himself as a sexual pervert. But wrap lust in the Constitution and the predator is suddenly elevated by many in the media to patriot status. And who could possibly fault a patriot, if he nurtures a few private peccadilloes, as long as he is “reasoned and expert” in other areas of life or career?
In my years as federal prosecutor, executive director of the Attorney General’s Commission on Pornography under President Ronald Reagan, and beyond, I’ve had ample occasion to hear all the arguments, from the specious to the spurrious, proffered to defend multi-billion-dollar profits of the criminal pornography enterprise and personal “taste,” no matter how tasteless.
The arguments came from people like Perry Bullard – a Harvard Law graduate, esteemed attorney, and chair of the Michigan State House Judiciary Committee – who fought tooth and nail for years against every form of anti-porn legislation in the name of “free speech.” Tragically, he was found dead in 1998 of auto-erotic asphyxia, with sexual paraphernalia and hard core pornography strewn around his naked body.
Alan Sears, a former federal prosecutor in the Reagan Administration, is president and CEO of the Alliance Defending Freedom, a legal alliance employing a unique combination of strategy, training, funding, and litigation to protect and preserve religious liberty, the sanctity of life, marriage, and the family.