New on NewsReal – "View" Lefties Can’t See Why Child Porn for Teens on MTV Might Be a Problem

My latest NewsRealBlog Post:

The smug certainty with which leftists insist that they’re better people than conservatives has always been an interesting phenomenon. We’re asked to believe that our opponents are more moral, more responsible, more enlightened, and more sensitive than we are one minute…and one of our betters turns around and asks what the big deal is about some outrageous case of moral degeneracy the next.

Such is the case of the latest pontifications from The View co-host Joy Behar. In a discussion of Skins, the new MTV show which might have broken child pornography laws by filming actors as young as 15 performing explicit simulated sexual acts, Behar suggested that the only reason people are getting worked up is because of the channel it’s on:

“I think it’s because it’s MTV, because on HBO as you pointed out, I believe ‘Oz’ was on there and they’re all doing some crazy stuff … and ‘Sex in the City’ was on HBO,” Behar said. “What’s the difference if you’re watching all these grown-ups talking about all of these — anal sex, etc., or young people? What’s the difference?”

Correct me if I’m wrong, but I’m pretty sure laws against producing child pornography don’t say, “nobody can do this except for HBO.”
Whoopi Goldberg dismissed concern as a mere construct of America’s more Puritan sensibilities:

[T]he English have a whole different relationship to how young people are dealt with. I mean, that’s just the way it is. It is a different thing and sex does not have the same bizarre-ness that it carries in the U.S.

America must be weird for having a problem with this; English standards couldn’t possibly be wrong! Gotta love cultural relativism.

Barbara Walters, however, managed to explain the difference to her colleague:

“There’s two differences,” Walters said. “One – it’s targeting kids. It’s a huge difference. And the other is that they’re also saying is it is underage kids that are doing this.”

Walters is right as far as she goes, but she doesn’t go nearly far enough. The main answer is that the controversy isn’t merely about minors “talking about” sex. It’s about minors performing suggested sex acts on screen. Does Behar have any conception of why child pornography is illegal? (I’d do more research into whether or not she’s opined on the issue in the past, but the prospect of Googling a combination of the terms “joy behar” and “porn” is too terrifying to contemplate.)

Read the rest on NewsRealBlog.

Brief Observation: Ayn Rand vs. the Founding Fathers on Human Nature

Amit Ghate has a piece at Pajamas Media, using Ayn Rand to argue that reason is a superior foundation for morality than religion. I’d love to do a more thorough response to it if I wasn’t so busy right now (for those interested, here are parts One, Two, and Three of a debate I had on the subject with an atheist blogger a few years back); For the moment, one quick observation will have to suffice. (Usual disclaimer: I haven’t read Rand firsthand.)

Ghate approvingly cites Ayn Rand’s rejection of man’s fallen nature, saying Rand “sides with the giants of the Enlightenment in considering man to be morally perfectible.” However many Enlightenment thinkers may have believed man was “morally perfectible,” that was one aspect of Enlightenment thinking the American Founders didn’t put much stock in. To the extent that Rand disagrees with Publius on this point, she sides with Progressives.

Tyrannical Judicial Malpractice in California

A federal judge has ruled California’s Proposition 8, which maintains the definition of marriage as a man-woman union, unconstitutional. I have a post condemning the ruling slated to be published on NewsReal later today (UPDATED: here’s the link); in the meantime, National Review has some must-read analysis on the decision.

Ed Whelan on Judge Vaughn Walker’s bias:

From the outset, Walker’s entire course of conduct in the anti-Prop 8 case has reflected a manifest design to turn the lawsuit into a high-profile, culture-transforming, history-making, Scopes-style show trial of Prop 8’s sponsors. Consider his series of controversial — and, in many instances, unprecedented — decisions:

Take, for example, Walker’s resort to procedural shenanigans and outright illegality in support of his fervent desire to broadcast the trial, in utter disregard of (if not affirmatively welcoming) the harassment and abuse that pro–Prop 8 witnesses would reasonably anticipate. Walker’s decision was ultimately blocked by an extraordinary (and fully warranted) stay order by the Supreme Court in an opinion that was plainly a stinging rebuke of Walker’s lack of impartiality.

Take Walker’s failure to decide the case, one way or the other (as other courts have done in similar cases), as a matter of law and his concocting of supposed factual issues to be decided at trial. 
Take the incredibly intrusive discovery, grossly underprotective of First Amendment associational rights, that Walker authorized into the internal communications of the Prop 8 sponsors — a ruling overturned, in part, by an extraordinary writ of mandamus issued by a Ninth Circuit panel consisting entirely of Clinton appointees.

Take Walker’s insane and unworkable inquiry into the subjective motivations of the more than 7 million Californians who voted in support of Prop 8.  

The NRO Editors:

What Walker did not prepare us for is the jaw-dropping experience of reading his sophomorically reasoned opinion. Of the 135 pages of the opinion proper, only the last 27 contain anything resembling a legal argument, while the rest is about equally divided between a summary of the trial proceedings and the judge’s “findings of fact.” The conclusions of law seem but an afterthought — conclusory, almost casually thin, raising more questions than they answer. On what grounds does Judge Walker hold that the considered moral judgment of the whole history of human civilization — that only men and women are capable of marrying each other — is nothing but a “private moral view” that provides no conceivable “rational basis” for legislation? Who can tell? Judge Walker’s smearing of the majority of Californians as irrational bigots blindly clinging to mere tradition suggests that he has run out of arguments and has nothing left but his reflexes.

But the deeper game Judge Walker is playing unfolds in those many pages of “fact finding” that make up the large middle of his ruling. There, through highly prejudicial language that bears little relation to any fact, the judge has smuggled in his own moral sentiments — in precisely the part of his opinion that would normally be owed a large measure of deference in the appellate courts. To take one example: It is hardly an incontrovertible fact that “Proposition 8 places the force of law behind stigmas against gays and lesbians.”  But there it is, as finding No. 58. With “facts” like these, and appellate judges disinclined to question them, Judge Walker plainly hopes to propel this case toward a gay-marriage victory, regardless of how transparently weak his legal conclusions are. 

Quote of the Day

If one encounters among the opinions of a democratic people some of those harmful theories that tend to make it believed that everything perishes with the body, consider the men who profess them as the natural enemies of the people.

There are many things that offend me in the materialists. Their doctrines appear to me pernicious and their haughtiness revolts me. If their system could be of some utility to man, it seems that it would be in giving him a modest idea of himself. But they do not make anyone see that this should be so; and when they believe they have sufficiently established that they are only brutes, they show themselves as proud as if they had demonstrated they were gods.

Materialism is a dangerous malady of the human mind in all nations; but one must dread it particularly in a democratic people because it combines marvelously with the most familiar vice of the heart in these peoples.

– Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America, p. 519