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Friday, March 01, 2013

Being stupid about porn 

Heather Mallick explains why Tom Flanagan is saying stupid things about child pornography, and why it matters
“It’s a real issue of personal liberty,” [Flanagan] said, amid cries of “That’s disgusting” from the largely First Nations audience who had come for another kind of discussion entirely. “To what extent do we put people in jail for doing something in which they do not harm another person?”
Flanagan was dumped from the CBC, condemned by Harper and rightly so. But that obscures a more important point, which is that Flanagan is sincere.
For he is an ideologue, and ideologues are always sincere. It’s what makes them dangerous. Concepts like untrammelled liberty are clear spring water to them, and real life, as it is lived by small soft-limbed splayed children weeping with pain and terror on camera, is irrelevant.
Take freedom of speech. Ideologues don’t think there should be limits, which is why they so dislike Human Rights Commission rulings for black people barred from restaurants. Take personal liberty, which ideologues say is infringed on by the long-gun registry, by border guards finding child porn on the laptops of travelling Catholic bishops.
Flanagan is saying that watching child porn is a passive crime. Police worldwide say with all the passion they can muster that it’s not.

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