My Latest Examiner Opinion Zone Piece


Jason Kuznicki

Jason Kuznicki is a research fellow at the Cato Institute and contributor of Cato Unbound. He's on twitter as JasonKuznicki. His interests include political theory and history.

Related Post Roulette

23 Responses

  1. Avatar gregiank says:

    what did he actually do or make that got him in trouble? There is certainly an amazing amount of varied porn that is available that doesn’t get punished so what got him attention?Report

    • Avatar Jaybird in reply to gregiank says:

      @gregiank, the legal question is “does this stuff violate the ‘community standards’ of Washington, D.C.?”

      As for the content of the DVDs in question, I have not seen them but reason talks about them from time to time and they don’t seem to mention anything too far out of the mainstream. (This is where there would be a lot of throat-clearing and discussions of whether *THIS* qualifies as “vanilla” and *THAT* qualifies as “particularly weird” if I weren’t so easily embarrassed.)

      But the fundamental question is whether the stuff violated community standards.Report

  2. Avatar Dave says:

    I have no idea why they’re wasting time prosecuting him.Report

  3. Via Radley Balko: All charges have been dismissed for lack of evidence.Report

  4. Avatar Rufus says:

    I think the fear is that if people see pornography, they might start having weird sex for reasons other than procreation… For the first time in history…Report

  5. Avatar Rufus says:

    First they came for Buttman, and I wasn’t Buttman so I didn’t….

    Oh, forget it! I can’t make this joke.Report

  6. Avatar Travis says:

    This is perhaps the quintessential example of what was discussed in the liberaltarianism thread — Republican policies and positions at diametric opposition to libertarian values.Report

    • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Travis says:

      @Travis, quick question: which party is in control of Washington DC (the city whose ‘community standards’ were being violated) and which party is in charge of telling the prosecution to go forward with the case or telling it to drop the charges lest the government look ridiculous?Report

      • Avatar Koz in reply to Jaybird says:

        Of course. I don’t think there’s much benefit to the liberaltarian thing, especially for libertarians

        Contra Brink Lindsey, liberals and libertarians don’t really have much in common. In particular, libertarians cannot rely on liberals to support any of their pet causes, even where they supposedly agree.

        What has any liberal ever done to end the drug war, support pornography or stop abuses from municipal police or malicious prosecutions? Frankly I can’t think of anything.

        Nonetheless, it’s a lacuna for some libertarians to blame the evil conservative Republicans for everything related to these issues. But it’s just not so.

        In policy terms, Lindsey’s position makes no sense. Libertarians have already made manifestly clear their general unease with the mainstream Right (which accomplished very little except making themselves feel better).Report

        • Avatar Rufus in reply to Koz says:

          “What has any liberal ever done to end the drug war, support pornography or stop abuses from municipal police or malicious prosecutions? Frankly I can’t think of anything.”
          The Feminist Porn Awards:

        • Avatar Travis in reply to Koz says:

          @Koz, that’s perhaps the most ridiculous statement I’ve ever read on this blog.

          I’ll just pull out two examples disproving your assertion: Liberals got Prop. 215 passed in California, legalizing medical marijuana. Liberals are supporting Prop. 19 on the November ballot in California, which would decriminalize marijuana at the state level.

          Don’t confuse “Democratic Party” with “liberal,” please.Report

          • Avatar Koz in reply to Travis says:

            Really? Those California referenda are pretty small beer, and even then I don’t recall them as being particularly partisan or controversial. It’s nothing where Bob Dornan and Tom McClintock got in a steel cage death match against Barbara Boxer and Nancy Pelosi to fight it out.Report

            • Avatar Travis in reply to Koz says:

              @Koz, um, what? In what universe is the legalization of marijuana small beer or non-controversial?

              When Prop. 215 was passed in 1996, it was the first state law explicitly sanctioning the use of medical marijuana. It set in motion everything that’s come afterward, in terms of state legislation, conflicts with federal authorities, the works.

              Prop. 215 passed with overwhelming support in the state’s liberal counties. It was, in general, opposed by those living in its conservative counties. A notable and happy exception: Orange County, which has generally been libertarian-leaning conservative to begin with.


            • Avatar Koz in reply to Koz says:

              I don’t think you’re getting it.

              Some issues break down as Left v Right. The Drug War doesn’t, except in vague bank-shot ways. The politics of the Drug War amounts to the cops and prosecutors v the hippies and cranks.

              Similar to the Right, the Left has a three way nexus between the political establishment, the intellectual establishment, and a mass of people with various amounts of loyalty and enthusiasm for the cause.

              Especially as it applies to libertarians, Brink Lindsey is talking about an alliance between the libertarian intelligentsia and the liberal intelligentsia/political establishment. I can’t think of a single instance where Matthew Yglesias or Russ Feingold staked their reputation or devoted their energies to winning some battle in the Drug War. Maybe there’s been a case, but I wouldn’t know what it is.

              Now that the D’s have been in power, we’ve seen
              what liberals’ priorities are, and scaling back the Drug War doesn’t even register.Report

            • Avatar Travis in reply to Koz says:

              @Koz, since when were “the D’s” and “liberals” synonymous?

              There are legions of progressives/leftists who are thoroughly disappointed with the Democratic Party’s spineless lack of leadership on liberal issues.

              As alluded to above, California liberals are mobilizing to support Prop. 19 on the November ballot, which would legalize marijuana at the state level. The California Democratic Party just (spinelessly) declined to endorse it, despite support from pretty much the entire “Democratic wing of the Democratic Party” and a concerted lobbying effort from groups like Courage Campaign.Report

            • Avatar Koz in reply to Koz says:

              That’s just the point. Forget about the D’s and ask yourself who represents the liberals in America at the moment?

              Paul Krugman, Ezra Klein, Digby, Rachel Maddow, etc (do you have any better guesses?). I can’t recall of any of them doing anything about the Drug War.

              There doesn’t have to be any liberaltarianism for liberals and libertarians to join a largely apolitical movement against the Drug War. What does have to happen is that some liberal somewhere makes it a priority against health care, Wall Street reregulation, or more stimulus packages. And again, I can’t think of a single instance of that happening.Report

            • Avatar Travis in reply to Koz says:

              @Koz, why do only those people represent liberals, while you ignore a group like Courage Campaign, which has fought to secure equal marriage rights for gays and lesbians and is now fighting to legalize marijuana?Report

  7. Avatar Rufus says:

    (Okay, so as I said on the fantasy fiction thread, thus defiling it…)
    One of the more interesting shifts that’s happened in my lifetime has been wider acceptance of porn on the left. There have always been more libertarian liberals who were okay with porn, of course- does anyone remember the 1990s free-speech, anti-PC magazine Gauntlet, for instance? But when I was about 19, most of the people I knew personally on the left were pretty strongly opposed to pornography, and there were a handful of “pro-porn feminists”- such as Susie Bright, who took a lot of flak. I remember being frequently called “the libertarian” among friends on the left for having no real problem with smut. People might remember the documentary “Not a Love Story” for instance- I went to a screening of that in which socially conservative Catholics and radical feminists came together in their belief that smut was akin to Nazi race propaganda and I was basically very isolated there.

    Nowadays, however, I hear criticisms of porn so rarely on the left that the chapter in Empire of Illusion about the evils of pornography came as a bit of a surprise. People say that porn has “gone mainstream”, but I wonder if criticism of pornography hasn’t just become more taboo. Of course, we can discuss that when we get to the book!Report

    • Avatar greginak in reply to Rufus says:

      @Rufus, I think the biggest opponents of porn on the left are definitely self-defined feminist who seem to be completely sure that porn leads directly to a whole host of bad things.Report

      • Avatar Rufus in reply to greginak says:

        @greginak, Right, that was always the case. I think the group was known, sort of plainly, as Women Against Pornography. They used to picket the cinemas that played these films on 42nd Street- since replaced by Disney stores and other family-friendly crap. What I think has changed is that, when people like Susie Bright or, in a more abrasive way, Camille Paglia came out in the late 80s and early 90s saying they were both feminist and pro-porn, I remember people on the left being really taken aback and even offended at the notion one could be both. I don’t really know any feminists now that are strictly anti-porn even though a lot of it is the antithesis of what they believe. Actually, I can think of a few porns- such as the “Crash Pad” series- that I’ve really only heard of (honest!) from feminists who think of them as a positive thing. I think a lot of people have done what I always thought they should- if you don’t like porn, make the sort of porn you’d like. In general, I think this is the only solution to crappy art- make better art. As someone once said, “Don’t hate the media; become the media!”Report