Virtual Child Pornography Should be Legal

Virtual Child Pornography Should be Legal

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Virtual Child Pornography Should be Legal

This nation has several issues over which most people's minds freeze up, with the disastrous drug war probably leading the list. I don't share a feeling of squeamishness and horror when it comes to drugs: What I don't want, I don't take, it's that simple. And I don't spend time fretting that my neighbors might be toking, or snorting, in the privacy of their homes.

Child pornography is something else; it pushes all kinds of emotional hot-buttons in me. Certainly I would agree with the majority that anyone who exploits children in a sexual manner is committing a serious offense, deserving of harsh punishment.

And anyone who get his kicks looking at images of children in sexual situations, well, that's also pretty horrifying to my sensibilities. I am very glad that my own lust meter pegs when I look at fully grown women, not at some other subset of the population.

Nevertheless, I feel moved to speak against the wave of hysteria that is exemplified by U.S. Rep. Henry Brown's call for a Constitutional amendment to ban virtual child pornography.

(Virtual child pornography is images that appear to be of children having sex, but which are in fact made-up, simulated by the miracles of modern computer graphics).

Some who oppose such an amendment do so on the basis that the Constitution is not meant to cover specific legislative issues. That is true, but it misses the larger point, which comes down to basic rights, even for people we think have horrifying tastes.

To put it bluntly, children (and adults too, of course) have the right not to be sexually exploited, BUT, adults have the right to possess any material which does not directly exploit children. Yes, including virtual pornography.

I think a strong case could be made that it should not be illegal for someone to possess images of ACTUAL child pornography: The crime has been committed by the person exploiting the children, not the person viewing the picture. Nevertheless, in this column I'm taking the less assertive position that only pretend pictures of children don't warrant legal sanction.

Think about this: Take a napkin. Draw a big guy with an erect c***. Draw a much smaller figure giving him a b*** j**. You have just committed a felony. Take that napkin and stuff it in someone else's pocket.

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That person is guilty of a felony if the image is discovered. Scan the napkin and e-mail the JPEG to your co-worker. He is guilty of a felony if the image is found on his computer.

No, sorry: It USED to be a felony, till the U.S. Supreme Court, in a rare burst of sanity, ruled recently that virtual pornography is deserving of legal protection. Thus the volcanic reactions of people like Rep. Brown, above. He is determined to "fix" the court's ruling.

What madness! I can only think of the sentences handed out in Merry Old England: death for stealing a loaf of bread. Once you steal the loaf, you might as well commit murder to conceal it, because things can't get any worse.

Is this really what we want as a society, to equate napkin doodlings with the actual sexual exploitation of children? Do we really want to tell people with twisted proclivities that once they've done the doodle, they might as well go ahead and lure the neighbor's kids down to the basement, because they're already fried in the eyes of the law?

I would call that perverted. Obscene, in fact.
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