Bedford Ramblings
Steve Mills

We the people put a stamp of approval on the current government, but we better watch carefully.

Posted Monday, August 3, 2009, at 10:44 AM
View 7 comments
Note: The nature of the Internet makes it impractical for our staff to review every comment. Please note that those who post comments on this website may do so using a screen name, which may or may not reflect a website user's actual name. Readers should be careful not to assign comments to real people who may have names similar to screen names. Refrain from obscenity in your comments, and to keep discussions civil, don't say anything in a way your grandmother would be ashamed to read.
  • good topic, steve.

    i agree that perpetual diligence is needed to prevent the government from being spurred by various special interests (including itself) into banning material simply because they do not like it. this diligence is made all the more difficult, because there are already other classes of material banned on the same basis. since the same principle is already in use to ban child pornography, and i doubt there is anyone who believes the strict laws governing the possession or distribution of child pornography should be eliminated, we are left to deal with this issue on a case by case basis. of course the child pornography argument is buttressed by the fact that it involves a crime with a victim. but this same claim could made in the case of dog-fighting. it will be interesting to see what others think about this issue.

    -- Posted by lazarus on Mon, Aug 3, 2009, at 1:13 PM
  • I wonder if obama will use the same metric of "not having serious value and offensive" when deciding if censorship of his supporters is necessary?


    Somehow I doubt it.

    -- Posted by quietmike on Mon, Aug 3, 2009, at 5:18 PM
  • I would think either side might think that the 'other' side is offensive and not serious, so we should make sure we do not become complacent.

    Is questioning the birth records of our President offensive? It sure is to the one who is being questioned and many dismissed it as being ridiculous. Are they now off-limits?

    -- Posted by stevemills on Mon, Aug 3, 2009, at 5:25 PM
  • I read this blog yesterday, but decided not to comment. I was hesitant because I myself am somewhat undecided on this one, and I am not prepared to make anyone mad, or argue about something I do not even have a developed opinion about. As a knee-jerk reaction, I am against all forms of censorship, but this issue begs the question and I have to ask: Are we as a species constituted so that when we are exposed to something, be it pornography, violence or hate speech, that it effects us to the very depths of our being and changes our understandings of what we value, and our morality? If so, what does that reflect about us? If not, why is exposure to questionable material such a concern for every parent, and apparently for our government as well?

    -- Posted by memyselfi on Thu, Aug 6, 2009, at 1:36 AM
  • I think over-exposure tends to desensitizes us, or numbs our sensibilities and we start to accept, or ignore what would have been unthinkable.

    I can use TV as an example. As a child I can remember many shows being 'off limits' because of topics being a bit controversial. One was a documentary on a woman who had become pregnant and claimed to not have been with a man. I never did find out what that was about, possibly artificial insemination.

    Now, we see ads for condoms, birth control, Victoria Secret ads that would have been considered outrageous if they had ever even been considered and sitcoms that discuss intimate subjects and parts of the body as nonchalant as saying bubblegum.

    -- Posted by stevemills on Thu, Aug 6, 2009, at 8:17 AM
  • I definitely agree that we are shaped by what we experience. I am just unsure of the depth and breadth of that shaping.

    I am just not currently prepared to accept that we do not have a small core of conceptual understanding of right and wrong that remains firmly with us despite whatever conditioning we may experience. To finally admit that we represent nothing more than clay on a potter's wheel, subject only to the whims of the potter, removes any pretense of blame, or praise - except that assigned to the potter.

    As far as sexuality being an acceptable or taboo subject, I think historically it goes in and out of fashion, depending on the objectives of any given society. I am a little younger than you, but I also remember certain subjects being thoroughly "off limits". I do not know if that was universal though. Actually, I am pretty sure it was not, even within our own country. I imagine we were heavily influenced by those directly controlling our environment and in turn, they were heavily influenced as well.

    I wonder to what extent the media shaped the understandings of our parent's generation. If I had to guess, it was every bit as much as it shapes the kids of today, perhaps just in a slightly different direction.

    I still do not know exactly what I think about this, but I am hoping that questionable material appeals to those who are predisposed to whatever it is that they seek out, for whatever reason, and that it is not the exposure in itself that causes the disposition. To assume anything else, I think necessarily eliminates the faith in human autonomy that civilizations rest on.

    -- Posted by memyselfi on Thu, Aug 6, 2009, at 5:22 PM
  • I would agree that we tend to seek out what we are disposed to like. I have a few years (just a few now) more than our youth and I am concerned about how our current society is molding them.

    I am sure my parents felt the same. No, I am SURE my parents felt the same, but how far does it go before Rome falls again? History has taught us a lot, but I wonder how much our youth know of history and how much has been modified by political correctness or ideology.

    -- Posted by stevemills on Thu, Aug 6, 2009, at 8:18 PM
Respond to this blog

Posting a comment requires free registration: