Neoconservatives appear on the verge of winning another battle in the continuing fight to determine what constitutes freedom of speech in America. While their political fortunes may be on the wane they will retain supremacy, perhaps for years to come in the legal sphere of American culture.

The federalist society dominates American jurisprudence and till quite recently the Justice department was pretty much staffed by prestigious graduates of the Reverend Pat Robertson’s bible law and typewriter repair school.

To the vast majority of civil libertarians, free speech is just that, provided you do not shout fire in a crowded theater or publish state secrets. We feel you should pretty much be at liberty to express yourself in any way that does not infringe on the rights of others or threaten and endanger the public welfare.

There are no “yes but” clauses to our argument. Yet every conservative I have ever encountered will at some point attempt to insert a “yes but” Caveat into the free speech debate.

Other then the aforementioned protection, that we all should enjoy against the use of free speech to incite physical harm on others.

I disagree with those who support censorship under the misrepresentation they simply desire to encourage the responsible expressions of free speech.

In a democratic Republic free speech is married to the inherent risk others will use it to beguile and distract the electorate into trusting the government to decide what constitutes appropriate expression. Since 9-11 conservatives have enjoyed success beyond expectation in convincing others to buy into the reality they are protecting freedom by restricting it.

And a harsh reality for those of us who disagree, Comes in acknowledging that enough people believe their lie and free speech is quickly being defined by laws that holds it to a standard of responsible and appropriate expression, at least in America. 

Despite the almost weekly exposure of their political, religious and corporate leaders as little more then baby killing liars, cowards and perverts the rank and file conservatives still belly up to the bar and swill the kool aid with vigor. It fascinates observation, and perhaps explains to some extent why cults can proliferate when thinking individuals dismiss them out of hand.

This week the President sent his solicitor General to argue for a law. One that on the face of it pretends to equip prosecutors with tools needed to fight the proliferation of child porn and even those who disagree with P. S. Burton on every issue under the sun.

Must share his opinion the sexual exploitation of children is both wicked and evil. The case being argued is as straight forward as it gets, a pervert got caught trying to trick other perverts into sending him some child porn. Kudos to the Feds for the arrest

 The problem with the case was not catching the pervert; it’s the half ass ed way republicans tend to craft their legislation. Seems the degenerate in question got himself a lawyer who saw a loop hole. Now rather than fix the language of the law. President Bush wants it to stand as written.

While this law called “The Prosecutorial Remedies and Other Tools to End the Exploitation of Children Today act”.  Sounds like the kind of thing we need in our struggle to combat the scourge of child pornography.

Sadly As I’ve already remarked,  Republicans are about as careless in crafting legislation as Senator Larry Craig is in keeping his sexual orientation in the closet.

The nuts and bolts of this particular statute are so vague that a prosecutor could put you in jail for reading Romeo and Juliet or renting the movie American beauty.

The solicitor general in fact makes my point by telling the Justices at the supreme court the government would never classify a classic like Romeo and Juliet as child porn or prosecute anyone for making a movie like American beauty.

But by offering the very promise the government would never classify Romeo and Juliet as child porn the reality remains the government would then have the legal authority to do just that if it so wished.

While I believe the General good Christian that he is when he promises never to censor or ban Romeo and Juliet.

I also know we can put perverts in jail for making child porn without having to give prosecutors who work for the likes of George W. Bush or Hilary Clinton the power to decide if Romeo and Juliet is child porn in the first place.

If you have a graduate degree, chances are you  have read the novel Lolita, it’s the story of a man who’s mid life crises blossoms into an obsession with an adolescent girl and leads to his complete moral and spiritual implosion.

In present day America for the most part “Lolita” has become a negative word associated with illicit sexual behavior. The solicitor general also references the novel Lolita as one that would make it on the governments approved list.

However many individuals and conservative action groups feel the book if not the movie is indeed inappropriate and have had it banned from public and school libraries.

Questions posed by several of the more conservative Justices hearing the case indicate the President can expect a victory and the law will be upheld as constitutional. 

Of course the same folks who cheer now may come to regret giving up the right to decide for themselves what is or is not appropriate speech when God fearing right thinking Christians like George Bush are no longer the ones sitting in the white house deciding who’s speech is appropriate and responsible and who’s is not.

At least that’s my view

You can e-mail burton@phoenixsentinel.com

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