Montana Jones

Montana n: A state of the northwest United States bordering on Canada. Admitted as the 41st state in 1889. The fourth largest state in the union, it includes vast prairies and numerous majestic mountain ranges.
Syn: Treasure State, Big Sky Country, Last Best Place.

Jones n: slang. An addiction or very deep craving.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Frank Miele is doing it again

Let me summarize Frank Miele's latest editorial by saying that he thinks our society lives by an "anything goes" code of ethics and too many people substitute "if it feels good, do it." for actual morality. If I read his essay correctly, I think he is complaining the problems with the world come from loose moral standards and some restrictions on immoral freedoms and liberties would be good for us.

My retort:

Yes, Mr Miele, I do remember a time when there were actually things you couldn't say or do on television. That was yesterday. Literally. And today too. I am pretty sure it will apply to tomorrow as well. The FCC, our government, does in fact regulate what can be shown on television. Remember the superbowl wardrobe malfunction? The television network was fined for that and it hasn't happened again. No one gets away with immoral nipples on teevee.

Oh, wait, you were referring to cable television as opposed to the more regulated free over the air kind. Yeah, your right, I've seen nipples and heard naughty words on cable. That must be what you are referring to. Did you know that you pay for that? Yeah, truly. Most people get a bill in the mail about once a month, if you stop paying you stop getting nipples and naughty words. You are a consumer and you do not have to receive goods or services that do not live up to your standards. You take responsibility for those nipples when you choose to pay for them.

But what about the good, naughty bit free, channels coming bundled with bad channels? If you don't want to take it up with your television provider as a consumer there is another law on the books that helps you. Have you heard of the V-chip? It is in all modern televisions and it is there by law. Those courts you like to hate have enforced this. You have a tool at your disposal to stop nipples from ever appearing on your television, should you choose to use it.

That's the bottom line right there isn't it. You have to choose and be proactive and (gasp) be responsible for your own morality. Yes, that's right. I am telling you the honest to God truth here. Personal responsibility makes it possible to maintain high morals, decency and a nipple free lifestyle. Personal responsibility means you get to choose what you and your family watch on teevee. You are allowed to put your foot down and declare "In my house and on my teevee not just anything goes." No one can legally force you to look at nipples, and if someone does foist an unwanted nipple on you, you have legal recourse available to you. If there are immoral acts appearing on your television, blame yourself for not doing anything about it.

You also have an issue with groups enforcing morality on their members. You say:

…in America we have more and more made it impossible for groups to regulate the behavior of their members. Instead of having the freedom to exercise their moral judgment, employers, churches, and groups like the Boy Scouts all have to tiptoe through a legal minefield in order to assure that they do not violate someone's God-given right to be offensive.

I disagree. Back when I was a boy scout (to cite one group from your example) I recall there being a code of conduct. It had something to do with loyal, brave, courteous, clean, thrifty and so forth. There were sanctions for the boys that did things like show up out of uniform or use profanity at the meetings. The morality of the group was very much enforced. Admittedly there has been some legal kerfluffle over the Boy Scouts being allowed to admit atheists or homosexuals. The final verdict on that is that a private group like the scouts can (and do) disallow anyone that does not meet their standards. (cite: Wikipedia) Those courts and laws that you hate so much have made it possible for the Boy Scouts to deny membership to atheists and others that do not live up to their morals.

Examples of your other groups, employers, and churches, as well as schools, clubs, and private facilities enforcing their own morality also exist and their right to do so is legally enforced. I don't feel the need to iterate each in detail to make my point. Your statement about groups is wrong. You are wrong. Groups do regulate their own morality and as a bonus, you are not compelled to join any group whose standards you disagree with.

You make quite a rant in your example of library's and internet filtering in your essay. You are correct on many counts. No one should be forced to see pornography. Measures should be taken to shield children from pornography. But I think you are being dishonest in describing the problem at hand.

You say:

libraries across the United States have made a decision to allow unregulated Internet use on their public computers, no matter how vile or offensive the content is, and no matter how young the user is

The only libraries that you cite a specific example of, the Flathead County Library System, you report that they use filters and act responsibly around porn and children. I would like you to please find an example of a specific library that allows minors access to pornography. Through the internet or otherwise. In fact, if you know of this library don't tell me about it, tell a law enforcement agency. Showing pornography to minors, or allowing pornography to be shown to minors, is illegal. If there is a library somewhere in this country that allows children to view porn at their own whim someone should be put in jail. It is against the law for both perverts and librarians. If you actually know of a library that does this, and you imply that you do, you would be just as much a villain if you fail to expose this illegal and immoral practice.

Another point. You say:

The trouble is that our courts are inclined to agree that people have the right to watch or read anything they want, no matter how offensive it is to traditional values, decency or community standards.

Trouble? It is somehow a problem that the courts are encouraging personal responsibility for choosing what to read or watch? Don't you understand why free expression is so very important? Do you understand why censorship if fought against so vigorously? Take a look at this list of banned books. Take note please of the first book listed under the letter B. That book is banned because someone is trying to enforce their communities values, decency and community standards. That book is banned because someone was offended by it and fought to have it banned from polite society. I hope you can understand that what you are endorsing, censorship, can cut against you. Laws that allow you to censor others can also be used to censor you, and the Bible, and your moral code. Censorship is one of the most evil ideas ever foisted on mankind and I am ashamed for you that you try to advocate it.

I understand that some forms of expression can be offensive. Nipples are offensive to some, the Bible is offensive to others. Even I have a hard time with Piss Christ. But Piss Christ must be allowed to exist, if for no other reason than to remind people like you that you share a world, a country, a community with people of different standards than yours. In a free country you can't make them go away. The morally correct thing to do is to find a way to share your community with them.

There is a tool you can use to maintain your morality in the face of people that think differently than you, that have different ideas of what is good or decent. It is called personal responsibility. You can maintain your morality even when some people pay to watch nipples on television and others read subversive books in the library. You can maintain your standards of morality in your home and your family, even in the groups and communities you participate in. Personal responsibility.

"If you don't like it, don't look at it" is a call to responsibility. It is reasonable. Much more reasonable than demanding the state make everyone else follow your moral code. This nation has invested in many laws and regulations like the v-chip that allow you to take personal responsibility for what you view on television, what your children see in libraries, what groups you join.

The problem with personal responsibility is that it is hard. It takes constant vigilance and strong morals. All those people out there with a different set of morals aren't helping any. They keep doing things like banning good books or trying to join the Boy Scouts while agnostic. Sometimes it feels easier to give up your responsibilities, stomp your feet and scream from your soapbox "stop showing all those damn nipples!"

Just remember Mr Miele, we are all going through the same struggle. Regulating your set of morals onto everyone else is not the answer. Freedom and liberty demand more of us. The freedom that allows you to read the Bible is the same freedom that lets others look at nipples. If you take away one, you endanger the other and freedom dies for everyone. This freedom thing is messy business, it makes it okay for others to live differently than we do; and that can make us feel uncomfortable. Just keep reminding yourself, personal responsibility will make it work.

I'll make you a deal. I will take personal responsibility to make sure my porn stays away from you, all children and anyone else that does not care to view it if you take personal responsibility for living within your morals without shoving them down my throat.

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Yes, for all that is good and holy in the world please keep your porn to yourself Jones!

BOOYAH!!! Nice one!
Not all are true. Everyone has their own way of thinking but I think they have to reconsider. I like to argue for the most accurate results.

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