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'Citizenship' not Censorship 377

ronfar writes "The Latest Senatorial Attack on American Freedom. I'm not sure why I care anymore, except that my freedoms are going down the drain along with everybody elses. I mean, it's pretty obvious that the Leibermans, Gores, Bennets and Bauers of the world feel secure in forcefully turning this country into an authoritarian state. The sad thing is that when people finally realize how much they've lost, they will no longer have the power to do anything about it. Our democracy is committing suicide, I just wish someone would intervene and take the razor away before it slits its wrists. "
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'Citizenship' not Censorship

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  • by Anonymous Coward
    There are aproximately 260,000,000 americans in this country. We have a little over 400 people representing ALL of them. That comes down to each 500,000 people being represented by ONE person. It's no wonder why people no longer have a voice! Do you realize that back in the dark ages the ENTIRE world population was about one million?! If there were just 3 people representing those one million that would equal a better ratio then what we have here in the USA. We can't be in a democracy when the peoples voice becomes so tiny.
  • > If I were a parent, I would want to know if a product contained what I judge as inappropriate content for my children to view.

    So would I, if I were a parent. The thing is, I can't know if a movie or video game contains what *I* judge as inappropriate content unless I watch it myself. An official rating reflects *somebody else's* opinion, based on somebody else's value system.

    Considering their track record, I really don't think that the people who set the standards for official ratings are qualified to decide what my (as yet hypothetical) kids should watch.
  • What if the boss is forced to increase wages because of unionization? Then you are anti-union, right? So, really, you are against unions.
  • Labor Unions don't make any sense unless they are compulsory. Corporations hate unions and they will always create advantages for the workers not in the union, such as firing all of the union workers. Unless everyone is in the Union it is trivial to bust it. Corporations which have unionized labor forces in general deserve it. It's pretty tough to start a Union, and no one would do it unless conditions were bad. I have no sympathy for companies who whine about how much money the Unions are demanding, because if the Union weren't there, the workers would be abused.

    If you want to know how Libertarianism really works, go to Indonesia and see the sweatshops. When corporations get free run, people get trampled on. Libertarianism is all about raw use of power for any end.
  • Why was this post given score 0- flamebait ?

    Face some facts.

    This law is being considered by the US. Not any other country. Therefore if the law is stupid, it points to stupidity within the law makers of the US. Not anywhere else. Which means, basically, YES its a perfectly valid criticism - NOT flamebait - to say "I dont understand American culture, why they would want to pass a law as stupid as this".

    Just because most of you lot are American, doesnt mean you should be blind to any criticism of your country, your beloved linux was always about a worldwide community rather than some outdated patriotism world-view, so dont let /. become a flag-waving spot either.
  • A legislative body's efficiency is proportional to the square of its size times the inverse of the length of time until the next election. If you're dealing with something that functions poorly, you don't fix that by making it bigger. That just results in something big that functions poorly.
  • ...I'm (almost) 100% for the Libertarians' ideals, and I'm a registered Libertarian. But the party itself is way to silly to actually accomplish anything. A few years ago, when I was feeling ambitious,I went to several meetings of the party in San Diego. I invested somewhere around 50 hours of my life, thinking I could help Change The World (tm). And you know what -- I don't think any pragmatic ides fow winning elections ever came up. There was lots of talk about Why Global Warming Isn't Really Happening, How The Big Parties Are the Same, and How Messed Up Things Are. But not one of 'em -- ever -- seemed to think that maybe they should get out and win an election. I'd like to reiterate that I like and support the party, but my experience with it told me that it's a party of intellectuals who'd rather sit around and talk than actually do anything. (That includes me, by the way -- you won't find me canvasing neighborhoods trying to change the system) In the unlikely event that the LP somehow got people elected into high offices, I think they'd be so stunned that they would promptly become just like the republicrats, much to their own disillusionment.
  • Censorship of art is one thing, but I don't think that's the situation we're faced with. Billions of dollars are going towards making violent movies and violent television shows which by and large aren't artistic or educational. I have no doubt that seeing a movie like "Saving Private Ryan" would have a strong effect on a child's psyche, and very young children probably shouldn't see it. A twelve year old would probably find a lot of worthwhile material in it. The type of content which this bill is intended to address is thinks I'm sure you're all familiar with if you watched TV growing up. The Transformers, The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, etc. All glorified violence. If you're seven years old and you see this stuff for hours every day, and grow up a little and see lots of movies like Die Hard, how can you help but integrate some of the messages in the movie into your psyche? Some violence in media is fine, but the problem is that media companies have realized that violence is extremely profitable and turn out huge ammounts of it without regard to the effect it is having on society. Corporations don't care what societal effects they cause -- only the bottom line. If we are going to have a free market, we need to make sure that the laws of capitalism don't trample over the health of our citizens.
  • Holy moly, all you guys trying to pass yourselves off as being smart and knowing what you're talking about, and anything you guys write reads like a 10 year old wrote it. "How can I know what I think if I don't read what I write?" (or something like that). If what you write is coming out in a jumble like the trash I've seen here, your thoughts are all very unorganized and not ready to be spoken!
  • Have Blue writes: "...I wonder how many problems we could solve by reducing the required voting age to 0?"

    Say rather, by requiring a minimum IQ?


  • by Anonymous Coward
    the thought of someone with very little political experience running for the highest office (?) in the country, or world, appeals to me.

    Why!? If you hire someone to do the most important job in your organization, you don't tell all the experienced job seekers to go away and hand the position to the rankest amateur.

    Just imagine if the same logic applied to programming work.

    "I'm sorry, Mr. Torvalds. You obviously have experience with C and x86 assembly, but I'd rather give this mission-critical application contract to this fellow who has never written a line of code in his life but assures me he knows how to use Internet Explorer on his new Windows 98 machine."

    The previous comment by someone living in Minnesota about Minnesota Governor Jesse Ventura should be a warning beacon to anyone who wants a Terry Hogan presidency. (Or a Ross Perot presidency, for that matter.)

  • My thoughts exactly. I am a musician in a band. We play in clubs and give recorded copies of our music away (Though when it's on tape, the very rich musicians are the ones that profit, but that's another issue).

    There is one swear word.

    Even if there was none, and I lived in the America (aka Brazil, the movie I mean) we would have to go out of our way to provide a rating. That tends to cost money, doesn't it? We don't have money to spend on crap like that and do not have our sights set on massive publication or any of those other "rock star" dreamer fantasies (they tend to be the worst musicians). Same with amateur filmmaking, animation, etc.

    Fortunately, I live in Canada. I just bought a JVC television from a local company. The fact that it had a vchip was advertised.

    Out of curiosity, I checked out that vchip button. Interestingly enough, every single program I receive, even from the US channels, happens to be "unrated."

    Great, the way I like it. My government isn't telling me what I should or shouldn't watch. We do have age ratings in the corner at the beginning of shows though (Duckman gets an 18).

    However, I like to think that my vchip doesn't work because our government believes that it is unnecessary. That parents should watch shows with their kids, which is my own belief, and mainly so that concepts that children don't understand can be explained to them.

    I only worry about decreased content from the south. Yes, most of it is crap, but there are those gems that come out fairly often. However, Michael Moore proved that people who are stifled in the US can come to Canada to freely make their content.
  • What an optimistic view. Get out and vote! How I
    wish it was true, like any one candidate won't continue to disapoint you in his/her 2/4 years in office. Your choices are:

    1. The right wing religious gun nuts!

    2. The liberal fascists!

    Please forget about emailing your congressperson, the center for democracy and technology did a little experiment and found 90+% of these emails go unread. Its just a nice way of saying "Hey I'm hip and on the web."

    The best you can hope for is voting for what SEEMS to be the least of 2 evils and calling your congressman when they're fucking up. Phone calls and letters they tend to listen to, in the way that letters make big piles and phones make ringing noise - hard to ignore.

    So please spare me this simple minded "Lets go vote, guys" solution.

    Another real concern of mine is that the ratings system in this country will always be completely afraid of anything with sexual content. You can cut off a breast but you'll get a worse rating if you show someone kissing one. So we get the thumbs up on all this violent badly written trash and anything with any merit is suddenly in a ratings level where the producers will lose money from its bad stigma.

    You guys really think a rating does nothing? It has a severe economical affect, especially in movies. If you can conform to the R rating, the studio wont back you up and suddenly you have a real form of censorship. Look at the damnable Walmart, anything that doesn't contain X amount of southern hospitality is banned.

    The overly-religious have such a stronghold on this country its not even funny anymore.

  • In your mouth.
  • And just when I thought I was over-reacting, I continued scrolling down the page, and found every other post which said "America must be stupid/dumb/silly/undemocratic/not 100% perfect" had also been given a 0.

    Correct me if I'm wrong, wasnt the POINT of the story a criticism of the USA ruling bodies...?

    And then all comments that dare also criticise USA get moderated to 0?
  • Is there any candidate who won't be bought out by all the special interests, or who won't fold in hopes that he/she will get ahead in another issue by making a consession?


  • Despite the uproar, I think the case [ignoring non-voters] should've been decided that this IS A REASONABLE PREREQUISITE for attention-which would spur more registrations.

    Only one problem with that. The voting age is 18 in the US. So you're proposing the government ignore the wishes and welfare of anyone who wasn't yet 18 in the latest election? Which, remember, can include even 21-year-olds in certain years, or nationalized citizens of any age.

    How about people who were attacked, knocked out, held hostage over election day? They may have been planning to go to the poles but never made it because of these events beyond their control. No vote, ignore them too?

    Given the number of people in the country, what if the gov office of vote-checking got confused and said Bob Jones did vote, even though the Bob Jones in question didn't? Or what if they miss Jane Smith, because she was unmarried (therefore, known by her maiden name Jane Doe) when she voted in the last election? Again, the system breaks down...

    there are NO SIMPLE ANSWERS in life.

    That's my point, too. Even if you realized this when you wrote the point i contested, i'm sure there are others who wouldn't make that connection.


  • What's to object to in the ten commandments? Oh, I don't know, maybe the FIRST commandment? Not everyone believes your god exists, let alone would be deserving of any praise if he did.
  • Voting? Hah. Voting is a joke. Of course, the media machine will feed the fire to make it seem like it's all up to you, the voter, but everything's already stuck in place.

    Welcome new President Bush.
  • > ... and the criminals aren't likely to turn in their guns

    Sure, but what if they only rounded up the handguns? You can still defend your home with a 30-ought-6 hunting rifle, can't you?

    IIRC, most deaths by handguns in the United States are accidental, including self inflicted. So instead of guaranteeing your safety, the guns often just compromise it. If they changed the rules so that you have to be _trained_and_qualified_ to own a gun, then maybe ...

    And tell me, how is owning a pistol going to help if Washington decides to go tyrant on you? You think a pistol is going to help against the US Armed Forces? And who says the Armed Forces will help a tyrant in a country as used to freedom as the US. Face it, any comparison to Kosovo or 1776 colonial politics is bunk. They don't apply in this day, age, and society. Why do people keep digging up arguments that have no bearing on the US, yet ignore rich democratic societies where conditions are more similar?

    > Because most of the shooting is done by criminals

    And as for this tired old argument ... for one response, in the place where I live they are changing the law to add on a mandatory ten years to the sentence for any crime commited with the assistance of a firearm. I think this is a start.


  • If you want to effect change, get out and take your voice to the polling booth. We'll have that opportunity once again here in the US this coming November in many cases, and next November for everyone.
  • Elvum writes: "...It may seem harsh, it may be an infringement of Mr Foo's rights, it may even be an infringement of Mr Bar's rights, but the state has to make an inadequate decision and set a meaningless number and say that once children's age has passed that number they can do this / that."

    Yes! Me too! I want the state to make my decisions for me. I want the state to decide for me what is good, right and wholesum! I want to be protected from myself! I want to live in a police state and have big brother protect me from everything. I want to be controlled.

    Hell, I don't even want to have non-button down collars on my shirts - leave things flapping on their own like that, uncontrolled!


  • Not against unions, they should just have to compete and play by the same rules as everyone else. In a free society people who want to work should be allowed to work without death threats, bullets through the living room window, being beat up, stabbed, harrassed, etc. In your scenario, if the boss increases wages, and therefor the price of their product, in a competitive system someone else will probably provide me the same product at a lower price. Without cohersion unions are out of business, and they know it. That is why they are so violent.
  • What sucks is that we've got people like Bauer and people like Lieberman and Gore promoting this bullshit. It seems the only thing Democrats and Republicans agree on is that we should have less freedom.

    Fuck you very much, guys.
  • I'm not sympathetic in the least.

    I think that goverments presiding over extremely
    large groups of people will soon be obsolete, and
    draconian measures like this entertainment
    censorship bill will gain more popularity with
    governments as they see that they are losing

    To the extant that if I were wedded to the idea of
    preserving nations as we know them today, I would
    do the same thing, I suppose you could say I
    understand the U.S. government's position. But
    I'm not, and I believe measures like this do
    little more than stave off the inevitable.

    The constitution has nothing to do with this. It's
    simply economics. If people in knowledge-
    based industries don't like the constraints placed
    on them by their local jurisdictions, they will
    soon be able to take their business elsewhere,
    conduct it with whatever currency they choose, and
    exercise near-total discretion in who knows about
    it. And they won't have to move physically at all
    to do this.

    What would the U.S. government say to a
    pornographic game that was being sold through
    web site in Russia, and took anonymous, digital
    currency in payment? They could tell Russia to
    turn it off, but Russia might not want to if it's
    doing well out of it. And the vendor could set
    up such a web site from L.A., and get his cash
    in a Cayman Islands bank account if he wanted to.

    Aside from its complete inability to censor such
    a scheme, the U.S. would also be completely
    unable to coerce the vendor to pay taxes on his

    If that happened enough, the U.S. government
    would be pretty impotent pretty soon.

    video game that you could download
    jurisdiction, they can easily conduct most of
  • as a student i felt the worst attempt so far at purging our rights by the right-wing republican congress was the bill enstated earlier this summer that proposed we display the ten commandments in all the public schools! Whatever happened to freedom of speech? The congressman argued that if the ten commandments had been displayed in Colorado the Columbine Shootings would've never taken place! Amazing how they seem to think religion can cause peace when it seems to me, according to that last european history class of mine, religion has caused more genocide and warfare than anything in history...

  • AFAIK, it actually is legal for a minor to consume alcohol if the minor is under the direct and constant supervision of his or her legal parent or guardian, and remains under that supervision (e.g. can't go off drunk after he finishes the beer and use this as an excuse). Or perhaps the laws vary in different areas of the country...


  • "Posting the 10 Commandments might not have made a difference, but believing them sure would have."

    So? Believing the golden rule would have worked equally well and it's a lot less controversial.

    You can't force belief on people. They will act from emotion, not reason, in most cases anyway. Especially if you are talking about individuals far enough gone to kill others and themselves.

    We need to quit trying to control people *after* they are insane and start working on making sure they don't end up that way in the first place.
  • "Well most non-Americans think it distinctly odd that if you have a glass of wine with your parents at dinner under the age of 21 you are both guilty of breaking the law. Most other countries have age restrictions on purchasing alcohol (usually 16 or 18) but certainly not on consuming it."

    Actually if i recall correctly, the US has the same rule, you cannot buy alcohol until 21(highly stupid imho) but it is quite legal to get completely wasted at home, with parental consent, thus a glass of wine at the table is legal... it gets into a grey area when you go to another family's home and drink though.
  • I don't have kids, and I agree with most of what you are saying, but the point is that not every parent is going to watch everything their kids do. Not everyone who is a parent is cut out to be a parent. I agree that the best possible solution is prescreening by parents, but I doubt you're suggesting that's actually going to happen, and there's no way to force people to do that. And I don't think that it's right for society to forsake the children of parents who don't care. Now, I understand that this is a point that people might have a reasonable disagreement with, but many government and cultural policies follow it. No single answer (except the parent thing, which will never happen) is perfect--that's the problem. You just have to figure out which one is least bad.
  • This isn't happening because the government
    specifically wants to take away your freedom.
    It's that they feel like they're losing control,
    and justifiably. For instance, what is going to
    happen to taxation when all financial transactions
    can be conducted anonymously, under the auspices
    of any government in the world, and records of
    them can be stored with unbreakable encryption?
    Taxation will be voluntary, and governments are
    going to lose a lot of power.

    Their struggles won't matter in the long run, I think.
    Encryption and knowledge-based markets shift the
    balance of power too far in favour of the
    individual for totalitarianism to be feasible

  • The government can ask for records till it's
    blue in the face. Up to this point, as I
    understand it, it's been able to go in and
    physically take records of recalcitrant citizens,
    or figure out their financial status by
    analyzing their transactions with other

    When all financial records are encrypted, neither
    of these approaches will work, and the government
    is going to have great difficulty coercing people
    to pay.

    I'm not saying this is morally appropriate. I'm
    saying I think you'll be able to get away without
    paying taxes fairly soon. I worry about the
    implications of this for poor people a bit, too.


  • Manuka wrote:
    If you want to effect change, get out and take your voice to the polling booth. We'll have that opportunity once again here in the US this coming November in many cases, and next November for everyone.

    Voting is great, but the problem is apathy. Folks are willing to let other folks decide the course of their lives for them. Getting people into voting booths is a pretty random solution. Educating people - paying attention to schools and dumping way more money into them than we do now - is the correct and only solution. Laws are guidelines, and can change. An educated, informed, and concerned populace will require laws to be changed as needed. Randomly getting folks to support or disparage the faddish law of the moment won't bring about any sort of lasting change.
  • Um... it's Holy molly, not moly...hehe
  • A russian biographer (name escapes me) wrote that Stalin was a fairly pious young man. He slowly repudiated Orthodox Christianity in his twenties. I wouldn't say that Stalin was a priest but he DID come from a religious background and had extensive religious training. The same biographer also wrote that Stalin's mother was dismayed at how he turned. "He could have been a good priest......."

    It's been a couple of years since I read this. Could be worth digging up again.

    BTW Hitler indicated more than once in his speeches and writings that he considered himself to be carrying out a mandate from God. Mein Kampf contains some of these statements.
  • The Libertarian party [] is the only American political party that is 100% pro-freedom. We support privacy and free speech in all issues, all the time. We support free crypto and zero government regulation of the net and other media. You're exactly right: there's not much difference between the major parties. But the LP *is* different, and it's a great way to send the message that you're fed up with government encroachment on our freedoms.
  • First thing is that this isn't a first amendment/fredom of speech issue. This is a seperation of church and state issue. Personally, I think it is fine if they can post the 10 commandments, as long as they will allow anybody else to post any other religious doctrines in the same place. I'm sure that the religious right will get irritated very quickly when we start getting posts from Wiccans and the Church of the Subgenius.

    Since they aren't willing to have everybody's religion represented then they shouldn't represent any. And about the ten commandments effect on this situation. Do they honestly think that these children didn't know the ten commandments? Even if they didn't, they don't mean anything if the kids don't believe in them. What a bunch of self-righteous ignorant bastards we have in congress!!


  • I'd vote for McCain because, of all the Republicans, he seems the most rational to me. The lesser of six evils, to pervert the saying. He's pro-choice, doesn't waffle on issues, has a backbone, admits to using drugs and cheating on his wife...

    And tobacco companies should have their pants sued off if they mislead consumers. You can't have absolute freedom unless there are laws preventing things like fraudlent business practices.

    Steve Forbes would be my second choice in the Republican party. I need to learn more about him before casting any final decision on the man, but I like what he says.

    The rest of the candidates on both sides just make me shiver.

  • We wouldn't have to deal with bills like this one if the parents of the good ol' US would take the time to actually pay attention to what their children do for fun and watch on TV. It's not that hard!

    This bill is the result of lazy US citizens who think the government should tell their children what they can and cannot watch on TV, and which video games they should be allowed to play. Sorry, folks, but we're getting exactly what we asked for.

    Columbine... What a joke. If either one of those two bozos' parents had taken the time to talk to their children regularly, that "incident" could have been prevented, EASILY.

    Wake up, people... Take an interest in your children, and get off your duffs!

    Oh, BTW, I was born and raised in the US. I still live in the US. I hope things get better in the US...
  • Actually, people are complaining about the particular drinking age, and the way that the government forced all states to adopt that age. But i digress.

    The problem with censorship is that it opens the door for further censorship, both direct (more restrictions) and indirect (can't sell it, so won't risk coming close to making it). Several other posts go into better detail, so i won't bother.

    Remember that poem [] about slowly eroding freedoms? It's been rewritten so many times; "First they came for X, but i wasn't X so i didn't complain. Then they came for Y, but i wasn't Y so i didn't complain... etc etc etc... Finally they came for me, and there was no one left to complain." Think on that next time you say "this doesn't affect me".


  • strictly speaking..wouldn't *not* letting school districts post the 10 Commandments, if they so choosed, be a violation of *their* freedom of speach?

    Of course, there is still the matter of the Separation of Church and State...but that's another debate.

  • Let me first wholeheartedly appoligize for being responsible for Hitler, Stalin, Milosovich, Franco, and Mussolini. And that is just the last several decades.

    There is no difference between an American and a European, we are human, and most men are capable of being tyrants. You are naive or shortsighted (extreemly shortsighted considering the first sentence I wrote) to think you have nothing to defend against. Or maybe you just think when the time comes someone else will do the defending for you.

    I am not driven by pride, I am driven by the belief that one day all people will free from bullshit govt oppression of the big and small things, but not without a fight. The Bill of Rights and the Dec of Ind are a damn good start towards this end.
  • Well alot of people who dont study the Hebrew(old testement), and the Greek(New Testement) can misconclude many of the bible sayings that were translated by monks. Latin has caused many problems. Even worse is Catholicism, adding and interpreting what they like. But the word or Christianity shouldn't be blamed for KKK or Nazi's killing who they like saying they are doing it for God. So any group that is obviously going against what the Bible is teaching, don't murder, steal, & treat others as you would like to be treated, can't be considered what they say. Like I said, it's what you do. So I think they should be out of the picture.

    When Jesus walked the earth there were no Baptists, Evangelists, 7th day, etc. And I can't see any denominations in Heaven eather. Lots will make it, but it won't matter what church they went to. So if they stuck to the word, then there'd be alot less division. Just saying this in defence of the Word itself.

    Sayings like "They shall take up snakes..etc." are promisses from God to Abraham and his seed as protecting promisses. Like saying If someone tries to kill you, God would be there to help. Not meaning go try to get killed cause he'll bail you out...That's considered temping God. So the dancing with snakes thing....naaa...

    I admit I've haven't looked into Buddhism that much, after reading into it I saw too many resemblences to the accult. And I had a bad expierence with the accult as a youth so I let it go.

    I don't know much about how goofy religion got back then in America. My 'conclussion' was about the commandments in school and the liberality against athority that procedded afterworlds.

    But I do know that in Salem some of the midwifes where spirit-filled chritians that did a very good job at healing people. And the local Religious leaders didn't like it. Just like the Pharacies didn't like Jesus healing people in the temple making them look bad. Because that was their job, and they didn't give God's love to the people. They judged and tryied to look great doing it. Times are the same. It's the people not the Word. I agree that putting the words on the wall won't change the problem, but living them will.

  • I agree with the fact that parents should be spending more time with their kids, but the problem is that due to many social factors, the greatest of which being that many more women are working, parents don't spend enough time with their kids. Kids therefore watch lots of TV, and if what's on TV is overly violent, the kids are going to end up desensitized to violence and predisposed to commit it. People cite the fact that violence is very low now, but I'm not sure that's going to continue when the Columbine generation hits their mid twenties. It would be great if the government could do something to encourage parents to spend more time with their kids. Barring that though, if television is going to be a surrogate parent for too many kids, we need to make sure that it's not going to warp their minds after watching it for 30+ hours per week.
  • They aren't trying to guard against the threat
    posed to them by networking and encryption. But
    I believe futile measures like this censorship law
    are going to become increasingly widespread -- and
    increasingly ignored -- as people make greater
    use of networking to circumvent local
    legislation and mores.

  • Woah there, fogy ... Lets think these arguments out. Although the student was wrong to claim a vast C/J/M majority on Earth, it would be true to say there IS a majority here in the United States. Who really cares what religion the majority of people in a foreign nation adhere to?? Is it relevent to United States law? Not at all! Now, I really don't think it is appropriate to post the Ten Commandments in a public school, to be quite honest. But it is important to remember that United States law concerns United States citizens.
  • Are you saying that the police are deterred from coming to arrest you because of your beliefs/color/ethnicity based upon some vague notion that you have teflon coated bullets?

    I submit that police are not deterred one bit by the fact that you may or may not have *cop killer* bullets, if they are compelled to come and get you, they will. They will just come with greater numbers and with greater force. Hell, Waco started as a gun bust, the fact that they had guns was the pretense to the whole raid.

  • Calm down. I'm just saying that I didn't think it was on topic. I'm perfectly capable of not reading on topical stuff that I disapprove of for other reasons (e.g., I can't be bothered with JonKatz most of the time)

    I see that the other person who replied managed to point out that it this story is on topic. Why couldn't you have done that rather than being so impolite?

  • Once more. Please separate your sentences with periods, not commas.

    My 10 year old just reminded me to tell you. 8)

    "judge not, lest you be judged."

  • But in London handguns are banned. And the police don't carry guns. (Or so I've heard from a Brit). I don't see Great Britain persecuting anybody?

    Ah of course, England's handgun ban has completely eradicated gun violence. So the fellow who stepped up behind Jill Dando and blew her brains out, that wasn't a gun he used, obviously. Must've just thought mean thoughts at her.
    I feel sorry for her relatives trying to get an answer from Scotland Yard as to how this could happen in a country with such a perfect gun control program in place.


  • The effect of media violence on our children is no longer open to debate. Has anyone seen any scientific studies linking violence in media with murder? With all that's going on, I think that I would have heard of such a study by now, right? Why haven't I?
    What I see instead is statements like the above. Political parties and organizations have been shoving the "monkey see monkey do" logic on us for so long, apparently we don't even need to support these bills with evidence.
    I'm getting very uncomfortable about this. Please, please, someone show me a link to a study about the effects of media violence. The only one I've ever heard of is the one that links country music to increased alcohol consumption.
  • I recently joined the Libertarian party, ex Republican, and find the exact opposite to be true. Almost too much concentration on boring stuff like winning elections rather than the type of discussions you talked about that I like. I suppose that is a good thing. Anyway, I love the party, I love the philosophy, and I know they are going to be big at some point in the future.
  • It is News for Nerds, and it is stuff that matters. We nerds thrive on freedom of speech and freedom of expression, and we also like the ability to make our own choices. We don't like it when people trample on our rights and take away the fundamental freedoms that we have. I don't want any government agency determining what is and what isn't appropriate material. I am an intelligent human being and I can make choices for myself. I don't want the government to tell me what I can and can't see or listen to.

    Likewise, if you don't want to read what you don't consider "news for nerds", then just DON'T READ IT! Ignore it! Again, you can filter this out on your user preferences page. You can make that choice, and the government won't have anything to do with it.

    ---- Joseph Bowden
    ICQ: 13709677
    Want to contact me via e-mail?
  • And I don't think that it's right for society to forsake the children of parents who don't care.

    So, basically, you're admitting that the parents' lack of caring is the root problem. (If I am incorrect in this conclusion, flame me via email.)

    The solution proposed (universal regulation) is too broad - it regulates parents who do pay attention to their kids' values and decide differently than the Government does, for instance.

    Politicians should instead attack the root of the problem: make parents legally directly responsible for the vast majority of their childrens' actions. A father who knows he will be tried for assault if his son beats someone up on the playground will spend a lot of effort making sure his son knows that violence is bad; the father will be incentivized not to become a deadbeat.

    But politicians are currently spineless. This won't happen in the near future.

    Just wait 'till I'm elected to the Senate.

  • ok, well, i live in canada, and i would say that the majority of the people my age have a resentment towards americans. and i sure as hell do. face it, your country has pissed a LOT of people off in the last century. and just about every american i have met thinks that he is better then most non-americans just because he is an american citizen.

    just a few overservations, prolly near a rant.

  • The whole point of the Libertarian party is that you should not be forced to do something you don't want to do. Right now we don't have a problem with people being forced not to join unions, it is very much the other way around.
  • So, basically, you're admitting that the parents' lack of caring is the root problem. (If I am incorrect in this conclusion, flame me via email.)

    I'm sorry if you've gotten the impression that I've been flaming you. I hardly think that's true. In fact, I do agree with you. A lack of caring is the root of the problem. However, your proposed solution is not a very good one, I think.

    Politicians should instead attack the root of the problem: make parents legally directly responsible for the vast majority of their childrens' actions.

    This is generally the case already (many exceptions, though). The problem is not the children's actions, but what they're seeing. The government proposals are mostly to prevent 6-year-olds from seeing porn, not from keeping 13-year-olds from getting bomb plans (though that is probably a concern also).

    My point is simply this: you cannot make a person a good parent, you can only make it easier. Your proposal (which does not solve the real problem) just makes it more unpleasant to be a bad parent, which while it might be effective at solving some things, would not be the most efficient way of doing things (resulting in more jail time).

    The solution proposed (universal regulation) is too broad

    But that's not the proposed solution. The proposed solution is universal classification, not regualtion. This gives parents more information than they otherwise might have. You think this is wrong for some reason?

    You must also remember that even the most diligent parent cannot stop everything. There is some point where you have to trust a child on its own--constant shadowing is a bad form of parenting. Human beings are complicated and cannot be programmed like a computer (I get the feeling you don't have kids either). If a family adopts an abused child and that child grows up to be a bully, is it the adoptive parents' fault? If a child has ADD and gets too rambunctious, is it the parents' fault?

    Your proposal is far more draconian than the proposed "solution". Again, I must say: I think that the world would be much better off if every parent did a perfect job, but that's impossible--being a parent and making a living is too hard--and even if that did happen, it wouldn't solve everything. The only good way to make parenting better is to make parenting easier, and that's what this proposal is talking about. Making bad parenting harder is not the way to go--negative reinforcement never is.
  • On second thought, after reading some other comments, I'm inclined to say that a rating system seems to have worked great for movies. Why couldn't something similar work here?
  • But I believe it's on a state-by-state basis. To the best of my knowledge, it's handled like this in most states: minors can drink with the consent and supervision of their parents.

    This extends even to places like restaurants; the parent is free to buy the drink and give it to his kid.
  • You've got to stop thinking of law in terms of how it benefits people.

    Perhaps you should start thinking of laws in those terms. That is why we have laws. Almost every social philosopher since the 18th century has said the exact same thing--we have laws to make society a worthwhile deal. If they were not for that purpose, people would not choose to live in society (the social contract). If you do not like the laws of your country, move to Antarctica or somewhere where there are no laws.

    Punishment can serve as a corrective or deterrant. You seem to be proposing using it as a deterrant. This is fine. However, you must remember that courts and jails are overflowing as it is. Any equally effective solution which does not involve judicial authorities (this includes fines) is preferable to one that does. Are you so sure that your solution would work that it is worth that imbalance?
  • Hmm... I'd have to disagree with you on a few things. First, Hitler didn't target "faithful Christians" exactly. He targeted anyone who wouldn't cooperate with his regime in the destruction of the Jewish people. Included in this were faithful and loyal Catholics, Lutherans, Quakers... anyone who thought that he was wrong. This said, he did, in fact, target some specific religious groups, such as Catholics, since they were more likely not to follow his doctrines.

    Hitler always considered his "crusade" against the Jews, as well as his plans for world domination, to be part of God's Will. Listen to his rhetoric. Somehow, he was able to combine Christianity and Nietzche and not look too much like a hypocrite to his own people. What made is worse was that the german Bishops of the Lutheran and Anglican/Episcopalian churches supported him fully in his efforts to eradicate the Jewish people. Christianity has long been advocating the destruction of the Jews, from just after Constantine legitimized the faith, through the Great Schism, through the Inquisition (which was targeted primarlity at the middle class land-owning Jews), all the way through World War 2. In fact, it was the latter that forced most major Christian religions to rethink their ideas about the Jewish people. For Catholicism, that meant a speech from the Pope, for Protestant churches, it was a bunch of councils.

    Most of the worst atrocities of the world were caused by those who believed they were doing God's will. Slavery, for example, which last hundreds of years, was started and perpetuated by Christians. The Ku Klux Klan has always claimed to be doing God's will, at least if God is Protestant and White (Blacks, Jews and Catholics were the first added to the KKKs hatred list. Muslim and those of Arab descent were added later). The screams and cries of "whore," "sinner" and "killer" that surround abortion clinics across the country, and the sometimes deadly confrontations outside those same clinics are almost universally organized by "Christian" groups. These daily emotional and physical beatings of people are far worse than the atrocities of the Holocaust, because it creates a culture of hatred and dominance based on faith, color or belief. Look around you. The hatred you see isn't caused by violence on TV, or sex in the movies. It's caused because there is one vocal group that insists on telling everyone else what to do, and refuses to admit that any other view may be valid.

    Now, before you start flaming me with bible quotes, I spent a great deal of time studying the Bible and religious history. I know where you're coming from. My point is that we should let everyone live the way they want to. If you feel like trying to convert the entire U.S., that's fine. But legislating it won't work. (If you doubt my words, ask the Romans. Ask Ausonius if he was a devout Christian. I'll give you a hint... you'll find him someplace extremely warm.) Start with the person next to you. And flaming me isn't going to gain you any points.
  • The article is right where it talks about how subjective the ratings are. I think that at least the MPAA has been good about taking each one case by case.

    For instance, "Saving Private Ryan", and IIRC Shindler's List also, would probably have been rated NC-17 if they were different movies(in terms of what they were depicting). However, Saving Private Ryan was not showing violence for the sake of violence, it was realistic. Same with th nudity in Schindler's List.

    Because of that, the MPAA gave Spielberg a break, and put on R ratings(it was also because the films could be viewed as educational, and an NC-17 would've made sure no kids could see the movies).
  • by seth ( 984 ) on Sunday September 05, 1999 @03:42AM (#1703453)
    Okay, from what I skimmed, this law says that people must properly label their products so that parents, school, etc can make proper and informed decisions.

    What is wrong with that?

    If I were a parent, I would want to know if a product contained what I judge as inappropriate content for my children to view.

    That isn't a limiting of freedom, that is informing the consumer.

    Or do you think that a manufacturer has a right to lie to consumers.

    Maybe this is overlegislated, but it doesn't sound like an evil removal of freedom.

    Or am I missing something?
  • Unfortunately, this approach doesn't work for the net. Instead of 70 or 80 channels, I have millions of websites. None of the filter companies can keep up. So, I have to watch my son every second on the net.

    That's called being a good parent. Are you saying you don't want that, that you'd rather not take personal involvement in your child's life and instead relegate it to some piece of software which will never be adequate?

    I agree with you that a simple standard filtering tag would be nice, but you forget: no one will use it. It's not profitable to do so. You can throw as many laws as you want at the problem; they never solve it.

    Personally, I see the fact that the Net cannot be controlled by software as a blessing, rather than a curse. Perhaps it'll get more parents to realize that they do have a child, that their responsibility to that child overrides absolutely every single other personal concern, and that they need to start spending time with their kids. Quick-fixes like filters won't do the job.

    To you, I can only say the following: Spend the Net time with your kid. Surf the Web together; use the time to learn his interests and get him into yours; the Net is actually very good for things like that. Talk with him, tell him why this sort of thing is wrong in terms he'll understand, rather than the over-puritanical bull we all hear from the religious right and just about every single person in government nowadays. In the end your child will be a better person for it.

    NOTE: Despite the semi-inflammatory wording of this post, it is not intended as a flame at all. If it pisses you off, read it again and consider it for a while before you respond. If you're going to flame, please do us all a favor and do it by e-mail rather than waste space on Slashdot.
  • Read the federalist papers some time. You will find that the words mean... (and this is a paraphrase)

    well-regulated = well maintained

    militia = armed citizenry (The militia was basically all able-bodied men from 18 to 45)

    So the 2nd Amendment means (in modern English)

    A well-armed citizenry being necessary for the security of a free state, ...

    Sounds a little different when you actually find out what the words meant back then, doesn't it? In other words, it means that an armed citizenry is a check on government tyranny. I'm amazed by how many people are either ignorant of or deliberately ignore this point.

  • The government keeps throwing more money at the public schools, and standards keep declining. What is needed to improve the schools is not more money, but more competition. Only when parents have a choice as to the schools their children attend (and the ability to take their tuition with them) will schools have the incentive to clean up their acts. Yes, more money would be nice, but schools already get far more money (adjusted for inflation) than they have in the past, and I don't see any improvement. Private schools typically get the same job done with half the funds, and the expensive private schools provide world-class education for about the same price as your average public school.
  • I was reading it, and having a rating system didn't seem like a bad idea, but then came one part:

    Like the Federal Cigarette Labeling and Advertising Act it would amend, the bill would also prohibit the sale of labeled products to minors.

    okay, now this would totally suck, I hope this thing won't get passed or whatever, if so, we need to fight back!

    $mrp=~s/mrp/elite god/g;
  • No one said anything about lying to consumers being accpetable! Nobody even suggested it but you. It is pure unadulterated FUD on your part. There is a big difference between not providing information and lying. Most books aren't rated. Does that make the publishers liars? This website isn't rated. Does that make Slashdot a bunch of liars? How about music CDs or Computer games? How about Geeks In Space? Does that need a rating too?

    Parents should take a little responsibility and not rely on the government to raise their children for them. Is it really too much effort to read a review of a movie before letting your children see it?

    People don't parent their children anymore and that is the real problem. They just expect the government to provide a safe world for them to live in so they don't have to expend the effort involved in raising children. I have news for you all the government has done is provided a much more dangerous world to live in.
  • No, glorified violence in the media is not a problem. It's simply a symptom of a problem far worse.

    Ask any moviemaker why they put so much sex and violence in their movies. Most will probably dance around the answer for a while, but every one of them will eventually give it to you straight: people will pay exorbitant prices to see it (and by "exorbitant" I mean the fact that the only thing which hasn't gotten cheaper in the US over the past fifty years, once inflation is accounted for, is movie-theater tickets). The fact is, there's one hell of a lot of profit in violence and sex in movies.

    We don't crave violence because we see it; we see it because we crave it. Take the violence and sex out of the media, and you've done nothing to solve the problem. Indeed, if people can't see it in the media they'll turn to other sources, and we could quite possibly be in real trouble then.

    So what is the problem? I don't claim to know that. Some cultural thing, probably; the fact is something in the fundamental culture of the U.S. is going to have to change if this problem is to be solved, and frankly I don't know what it is. You can blame any of a million different things. My personal belief is that it has much to do with the breakdown of parenting in recent years; kids aren't taught to respect all people anymore (I suppose one could argue that they never were, but in any case the situation on this has gotten much worse). Couple this with a society which has come to hold strength and physical beauty over real virtues like knowledge and kindness, and you have the recipe for a Really Bad Situation.
  • And a private school system could go a long ways toward fixing the problems you cite for a simple reason: they can kick kids out.

    Yes, that's harsh, but frankly some kids need a good kick in the rear. Particularly if you are dealing with parents that don't give a damn or even take their kid's side, it might give the *parent* a wake-up call to do a better job at their parenting. And if a few kids simply get kicked out and stay kicked out, I'm not sure that's that big a deal. Students who repeatedly disrupt classrooms weren't likely learning much anyway.

    Also, it might be profitable to set up private "boot camps" to whip bratty kids into shape. These would concentrate not so much on discipline as on getting kids to behave so they could return to the normal classroom.

    The point is not that the above specifically will solve the problem, but that the ingenuity that is sparked by the free market will drive teachers and administrators to find better ways of dealing with these problems. The public schools are restricted in what they can do, and are forced to take all students no matter how atrocious their behavior. This lack of freedom for the teachers makes it much harder for them to deal with the problem students and concentrate on teaching the 80% of students who are somewhat interested in learning.
  • Well, you are right to an extent, but that is greatly simplifying the problem. I could just as easily say.

    The jails are full because people are bad parents

    The jails are full because we don't kill enough people.

    The jails are full because baby formula does not contain DHA.

    The laws which benefit people are largely the same as the ones which protect people's rights. Prosecution of victimless crimes (I, however, don't think there is such a thing; or at least it is extremely rare) do not "benefit" anyone, do they? Are you making two different thoughts? I just don't understand the connection between laws which benefit people and victimless crimes.

  • The issue is: why does the government have to do it, and force its rating on the rest of us?

    There are lots of ways that the market already provides parents with information on the contents of music. Walmart, for example, only sells products that meet a certain standard. And manufacturers already put a "warning: explicit lyrics: label on CD's (although this might be government mandated. Movies have a standard rating system, as does TV.

    Keep in mind also that once the government has an "official" rating system, the next step is to start regulating access to objectionable content. It never occurs to poiliticians that their ratings could be wrong or that adults should have access to "objectionable" materials. It is therefore a good idea to stop the first encroachment rather than waiting til they screw us over more before we react.
  • What freedoms are they taking away? Are they preventing the production of these products? No. Are they preventing the distribution of these products. No, not really. They're trying to prevent them from being sold to minors. Guess what, kiddies. Kids don't have the same rights as their adult comrades. You know why? They don't vote. I see this labeling idea as the same thing as alcohol restrictions. Alcohol is labeled. Minors can't buy alcohol, legally. Is anyone crying about the Constitutional right to drink alcohol at whatever age you want? No, because that's asinine. Let government do some regulation of products that may or may not be harmful to society.

    Slashdot needs to get over the "Anytime the US Government passes a bill, it's taking away the freedoms of its citizens" kick that it's on. Unless you're a 16-year-old video game junkie, this isn't going to affect you in the least, and if you are a 16-year-old video game junkie, convince your parents to buy it for you. Or are you afraid that mommy and daddy won't approve of the games you play?
  • But that's an isolated incident, in which the antagonists were relatively secluded, and in which the governemtn generally had government support. Imagine if every tenth arrest resulted in a Waco-style seige with several government officials getting injured in each seige. It would be hard for the government to get much done then.

    So yes, handgun ownership does not guaruntee that the government can't screw you over, but if a large minority of the populace were to arm themselves and refuse to cooperate with the government, it could slow down that government a whole lot. Certainly, it can't hurt, and if they're going to take me off to a concentration camp, I'd rather take a couple of them with me.
  • The trouble with that is, Ginger toms like to eat mice just as much. You are right though, a two party democracy is a joke and unfortunately the third options have all but disappeared in my country of origin, Britain, as well (actually, the second option seems to be on holiday too). I'm not totally clued up on the American system and forgive me if I'm wrong but most of the campaign energy seems to be towards the president, rather than the party and it's policies. However, he seems to have about as much clout as the Queen of England or the Japanese Emperor which is to say, not a lot (symbolic figureheads with no political power). So who is in power? the house of representatives or the president's party? Cliton asked for gun controls, the NRA's lobbyists start spouting crap and win the day, Cliton asks for an increase in NASA's budget and it gets slashed to hell. As an aside, after the columbine killings, waves were to be expected but looking at it, the groups with the strongest political faction win out and those that don't bother with all that political stuff (i.e. the games industry and Hollywood) take all the flak. Sorry but the question of what doom and nasty films did to those kids minds is one for psychologists and it is difficult to prove either way whether or not that would have prevented the killings. Not having vicious weponary in their cupboard would have prevented it. It doesn't seem to matter in the slightest who you vote for, there are always going to be power groups who are there and there to stay who will veto any good ideas that come along; But anyway, what the hell do I know, I've never even been to the U.S. :) Tim.
  • This bill isn't necessarily about freedoms, it's about violence in entertainment, and ratings. And in my opinion, the entire bill is horseshit.

    Basically, the bill says that every type of entertainment media, be it a Video Game, a TV show, or a Movie, will have a rating. This rating will be universal thoughout all mediums. So for example, if a Movie gets rated R (Under 17 not admitted w/o parent), that could apply to a similarly rated TV show. Mortal Kombat, for instance, would have an R-type rating. (The rating would carry the same symbol throughout the entertainment industry.)

    Like the Federal Cigarette Labeling and Advertising Act it would amend, the bill would also prohibit the sale of labeled products to minors.

    This would surely backfire. Guess what? If a minor isn't allowed to buy it, they'll get it another way, opening the door to increased illegal crap. The article goes on to say "The Judiciary Committee report, in part, urges Congress to begin a national media campaign to educate parents and to create a national clearinghouse on children and entertainment violence. It also recommends that the various industries rate their products using a universal system." Parents don't need to be educated. The ones who know how to be parents know how to raise their children. The rest (I.E. That Mother who complained about Kenny on SouthPark) aren't going to listen to "Government Education", so that plan is useless.

    The MPAA president summed it up quite well already. ...Valenti says that the senators' attempt to legislate and enforce a uniform labeling program across most of the entertainment spectrum won't work.

    Why? You won't see full nudity on television, and it's rare in video games. So if a movie is rated R, and that rating would apply to a television show as well, would one expect to see the same type of content? Probably not. (Yeah, it's about violence not nudity. I was using an example. If you're that concerned, replace 'nudity' with 'gore'.)

    -- Give him Head? Be a Beacon?

  • Trouble is, the political system is set up in a way that political parties are all but inevitable. Not only are ballot access laws skewed toward the major parties, but the "winner take all" nature of the electoral process encourages people to band around a handful of candidates to avoid splintering their votes, and thereby strengthening the two-party system.

    Also, political parties serve as a kind of labeling system for candidates. No one has time to do a detailed study of the positions of each candidate, but if you know you agree with most of the Libertarian (or Democratic, Republican, Reform, Green, etc) Party, then you can safely vote for them because you can assume that they will represent your views.

    That's the theory, anyway. It tends not to be true with the Republicrats, since they are often in it more for their own advantage rather than any kind of political principle. And the Reformers are mostly staying in the party because there are millions of dollars in federal money available to their presidential candidate, so everyone is trying to get that money.

    Anyhow, I don't despise the members of other political parties, although I think their leaders are pretty despicable. And we're exclusive because we're fighting for a set of ideas, not simply as a sort of political club. We have an agenda for bettering the nation, and therefore we want to ensure that people who join us share our goals.
  • I can't find myself making any reference to victimless crimes anywhere

    That's because I wasn't responding to you :)
  • by Evan Vetere ( 9154 ) on Sunday September 05, 1999 @03:56AM (#1703544)

    As a teenager, I want better labeling of content so I can tell at a glance while scanning DirecTV's film listings which shows contain nudity, which contain wanton violence, and which are just pansy-ass dramas. With proper and thorough labeling, I can zero in on the shows that have the naughty bits, and not waste my time on other, less entertaining programming.

    Bring on the new system!

  • The whole point of the militia was that it was *not* a standing army and was therefore not a threat to peoples' freedoms. The militia were average citizens-- farmers mostly-- that were only called up in time of national emergency, and who made their living in the private sector the rest of the time. The US army is *not* a militia in the historical sense of the term, and that was not what the 2nd Amendment is talking about. Think about it: why would you write an amendment saying "The US military shall have the right to keep and bear arms?" I don't know of any country that has disarmed its own military. That would be retarded.
  • What if I choose not to play along? Then they take the gun, put it at my back, and march me off to camp?

    What is wrong with this is that it substitutes brute force for thinking.

    If you as a (theoretical) parent want to judge if a piece of art is appropriate for your children, you should THINK FOR YOURSELF and choose wisely. Yes, you and your children will bear the consequences if you choose poorly, but that is justice.
  • First, I don't think that this violates the first amendment. It seems to me that this is no more sinister than asking that a box containing poison be labeled with a Skull and Crossbones. If you choose to eat the poison, that's fine, it's your privilege. But I think it's absurd to talk about the labeling requirement violating freedom of speech.

    To reiterate the analogy, I regard much of what comes out of our media outlets as moral poison. It teaches is to regard ourselves and our fellow women and men as no better than objects -- the plots degrade men and women with casuol sex and casual murder.

    On the flip side, is there any point to this kind of law? I doubt it. Bluntly, I vote with my dollar. If a media network refuses to show some reasonable restraint in what they show, I REMOVE THAT NETWORK FROM MY HOME.

    So, my cable service does not include networks such as Comedy Central, or even the Cartoon Network (do you really want kids to learn behaviour from cow & chicken or southpark?)

    I realize that, by doing this I am sacrificing my "freedom" to watch these materials. SO WHAT?!?! I regard this whole "adult material" standard as ludicrous. If something is not healthy for my child to watch, then how on earth is it worth my time? I have better things to do (like read kernel source).

    Unfortunately, this approach doesn't work for the net. Instead of 70 or 80 channels, I have millions of websites. None of the filter companies can keep up. So, I have to watch my son every second on the net. Why can't offensive web sites show some responsibility? Why will they not actively label themselves as to their content? I would settle for a standard <porn> tag. That's all I ask!

    In a world where my son can legitimately find pornography while looking for the president's home page ( []) -- that is, where pornography is deliberately disguised as legitimate information and resists all attempts to get them to label themselves -- how can I (even as a freedom lover) argue AGAINST mandatory labeling?

    Are you an ISP? Exercise some diligence on the sites on your servers before the government has to!

  • why does the government have to do it

    Because that leaves three other possibilities:

    1. Community regulation - in this case, a group of people would create their own rating system for information. This is arguably the best solution, unless it conglomerates into one big community, in which case you have the same population that elected the government reviewing things, only they're not bound by the Constitution (tyranny of the majority). But this would presumably not happen.

    2. Independent entity regulation - these are the services that filter content for a fee. It makes sense, except that they are more susceptible to outside monetary influence than other solutions (for instance, I could imagine if things were done like this with the MPAA, the studio that put out American Pie might have offered bribes to whoever makes the decisions). This is not to say that there isn't bribary in government (ha!) but at least that's quite clearly illegal and more heavily investigated.

    3. Self-regulation - AOL (just when I was starting to like them) and some others recently proposed a self-regulation system of the Internet. But one has only to look at the current set of voluntary TV ratings to see that this is a really lame solution.

    None of these solutions is perfect. Arguably the best solution is the first, but then why hasn't it happened on a large scale yet? There is certainly a positive side of having a ratings system; the only concern is that it is not abused. Considering that the population at large has not adequately taken this issue up on their own and considering that I most definitely do not want for-profits deciding the ratings, that leaves the government. It certainly has its own problems (or more importantly potential problems), but at least there's the Constitution to slow them down.
  • The second amendment is not treated more highly than the first. In fact, the First Amendment is the only amendment that most journalists and politicians really pay any attention to. The Second Amendment has been emasculated to the point where it is now all but meaningless. Leftists have reinterpreted it to mean basically that the National Guard needs weapons, and they say it has nothing to do with private citizens having guns. I wouldn't be too suprised if we started seeing more gun bans in the next few years. The NRA keeps giving in, and pretty soon guns will be outlawed.

    It's scary.
  • Only the government can make their ratings carry the force of law, and only the government is completely immune to market pressures. If an independent rating system started taking bribes, people would find out, they'd get pissed, and they'd switch to a different service. If the government starts taking bribes, there might be an investigation, but if they are clever about it, nothing is likely to come of it. The kicker, though, is that you are forced to pay for their ratings (and likely they will enact laws around those ratings) whether you like it or not. No private organization can force you to use its services. That's why private organizations don't need constitutions. If they mistreat you, you can go elsewhere.
  • Have a look at this []. Try not to laugh too hard.


  • Of course, the guy also sounds pretty unintelligent(maybe he's not good on TV).

    Nope, he's a moron. As a Minnesota resident, I can tell you that you do *not* want Jesse as president. He's a fraud, a disgrace, and an idiot. Allow me to elaborate.

    Fraud Jesse ran on a mildly libertarian platform of less government spending, lower taxes, and generally liberal on social issues. He was pro-concealed carry, said he might consider legalizing pot and prostitution, and was generally an ok guy.

    After he got elected, he surrounded himself with moderate Democrats, and did a policy about-face. Now he thinks tax cuts are "irresponsible," he wants to spend more money on light rail and education. He's against school choice. We haven't heard a word about vouchers, pot, or prostitution, and he's generally taken the Democratic side on every issue. We might have voted for the Democratic choice for governor.

    If you're a Democrat, that may sound good to you, but the point is that the man broke many of his campaign promises and has no compunctions about lying if he thinks it's necessary. And he hasn't done much of anything towards repealing restrictions on social issues. I wish he would, as that's what he campaigned on. In short, he's a fraud.

    Disgrace Jesse seems to delight in shocking people. He published a book which features his sex life and drug use. He refereed at a WWF event. At one point he started yelling at a welfare mother during a press conference. He seems to be more interested in the publicity than anything else. I don't think he ever expected to win, so now that he's won, he probably figures he can milk the system for all he can get.

    idiot I really don't think he has any sort of political philosophy. He got into politics to bolster his faltering carreer as a talk show host, and he seems to form his political opinions on the spur of the moment. His campaign adds featured action figures showing him "fighting special interests." (which, by the way, he's been courting as badly as any major-party politician) In short, he's got nothing to offer but a simple freak show. His policies are those of a mundane centrist Democrat.

    In summary, please don't vote for him if he runs for President. I'm embarrassed enough that he's our governor. I don't want to put up with his crap for another 4 years.

    If you want a real alternative, check out the Libertarian Party []
  • by Analog ( 564 ) on Sunday September 05, 1999 @05:04AM (#1703616)
    You forgot the only alternative that will actually work. That is, for parents to keep track of what their kids are watching/doing, and (what most people seem to miss) communicate with them about it.

    I frequently hear the excuse that "I don't have time to check everything my kids see". If that's true, it's a good sign that your kids are watching too much tv, spending too much time with video games, etc. Like it or not, being a parent carries with it a huge amount of responsibility - if you don't want it, don't have kids!

    I for one am getting pretty damn tired of the government telling me they know better than I do what my children can and can't see, and even more tired of people saying "that's ok" because it lets them shrug off the responsibilities they took on when they became parents.

  • So the Libertarian party supports my right to join (or form) a labour union?

    Absolutely. Who says we didn't? As long as workers are free *not* to join that union, and as long as the government doesn't give labor or management any special rights, we wholeheartedly support your right to form any type of organization you like, including a labor union.
  • by MenTaLguY ( 5483 ) on Sunday September 05, 1999 @05:12AM (#1703623) Homepage

    Stalin was a priest. You forgot Hitler -- Hitler and the Nazis followed an Aryan-Christian-Mythology; not atheists. Of course, people like you will say "they weren't true Christians" or some shit like that

    I dunno, that might make sense, considering that faithful Christians were among the people they explicitly targeted for extermination, as they wouldn't cooperate with the regime.

    As for the crusades, yes, those were just an unmitigated mess. Those and the Inquisition are very good examples of why Theocracy is bad -- not just from a political standpoint, but also from a religious standpoint. It corrupts both the state and the religion.

    We can argue about whether or not the people involved were "true christians" without any sort of satisfactory resolution, but if you can call them Christians, they certainly were ignoring some rather important moral principles of their faith.

    Berlin-- []
  • Because most of the shooting is done by criminals, and the criminals aren't likely to turn in their guns.

    The police simply do not have the resources to protect you 24 hours a day. If you get robbed, raped, or murdered, they might show up in time to scare the intruder away, but more likely, they'll just pick up the pieces and hope they find the bad guy later. If you're armed, you can stop him on the spot. Just whip out your gun and tell him to back off.

    Also, private gun ownership *is* a deterrent to tyrrany. The first actions of many dictators is to round up all the weapons. It's much easier to order people around when they can't fight back. Some of the early battles of the Revolutionary war were touched off by British efforts to confiscate citizens' weapons or ammo.

    And if you don't think that this is relevant in a modern world, look at Kosovo. Yugoslavia has had gun control laws for years, and the result is that all those refugees are completely helpless, and forced to go where they are told and do as their told. It's much harder to "ethnically cleanse" a town if every third townsperson tries to put a bullet between your eyes when you come to arrest them.

    I don't have a gun, because I don't really need one. But I feel safer knowing that other law-abiding citizens are armed, as it makes it much harder for the goevernment to push people around. And if there were indications of an impending handgun ban, I might be inclined to buy a gun and bury it somewhere, just in case.
  • by Fastolfe ( 1470 ) on Sunday September 05, 1999 @04:51AM (#1703639)
    Wow, I really thought your post was rather rational and clearly written, right up until that last word.

    The day that the slashdot kiddies figure out that they can make a valid point without resorting to name-calling will be a pleasant day indeed.
  • Basic econ buddy. Markets are great at creating efficiency. But as any good economist (like me) will tell you, they _inherently_ create massive inequality.

    Obviously, some people earn more money than others. I'm not sure about the "massive" part. But the idea that the public school system creates equality is laughable. Go to an inner city school sometime. Then go to a suburban school. Then visit a private school. Tell me how much equality you see.

    The fact is that the public schools are failing our kids. Test scores keep dropping, and standards drop as well. Many kids who go to the worst schools would be better off not even going, as all they learn about is gangs, drugs, and violence. Yes, markets are not perfect. But government schools have a lot more problems.

    That may be acceptable in a normal market, but education isn't a normal market- there are too many externalities and free-rider problems.

    I'm not sure what you are talking about here. I can't think of any externalities involved, and the only free-rider problem I can think of is the idea that everyone benefits from an educated populace. That may be true, and if so there is some argument to be made for a means-tested voucher system to ensure minimum education for all people. But there's a big difference between a subsidized but private system and a government-run one.

    Not to mention that that inequlity will only further serve to exacerbate the inequality of opportunity in the labor market.

    I don't think this is necessarily true. When leftists lament the "gap between the rich and poor," what they fail to mention is that *who* is in those categories changes all the time. A poor family in generation 1 can be a middle class family in generation 2 and a rich one in generation 3. The free market is extremely dynamic. Unlike other social organizations, there are no "classes," because no one is forced to stay in the income level into which he was born. A top-notch education helps, but it's not essential. Equally important is determination on the part of the student and good carreer choices.

    Besides, your argument seems to be that if everyone can't go to a really good school, we should drag the rich kids down to the same crappy level as the poor kids. If you have a plan for giving the poor kids a better education, let's hear it. But if the rich parents want to spend extra on their kids' education, why should we object?

    Anyway, the view that government has been "throwing money" at schools is absolutely ridiculous. If anything, they've been cutting back again and again. The Right has made a concerted effort to convince people that this isn't true, however.

    Got any evidence for that? The (admittedly right-wing) sources I've heard on the subject say that state funding of education (at least in Minnesota) has been going up faster than inflation for about 10 years now. I admittedly don't have the numbers on me right now, but I'd be suprised if you produced numbers showing education funding being cut.

  • IMO, they can't, really. Court decisions have tended to uphold the principle that "obscene" and "violent" are words that can only be defined at a community/local level, and never nationally. FCC rules are intentionally vague in this respect, giving local communities the ability to decide what is appropriate on their airwaves (well, to a certain point).

    I personally don't have a problem with a mandatory rating system, but I don't really see how it can work unless you give the communities the ability to set the standards, and that's just impossible to do for widely distributed stuff like this.
  • Stalin was a priest.

    Hrm. Can you offer documentation of this?

    Berlin-- []
  • I didn't say that the government would instantly turn on its citizens the moment the last handgun was collected. But the danger certainly is there, and if another Hitler were to come to power, the Brits would be better off if some of them had weapons.
  • Yes, minors have, in reality, a different set of rights than adults. But, purchasing a Batman comic book is in no way like buying a fifth of Jack Daniels. And, if the legislation causes producers of content that I use to reconsider what they publish because of labelling (and its effects on sales if nothing else) then it DIRECTLY affects me.

    Your unnecessary comments aside, why isn't purchasing a Batman comic book like buying a fifth of Jack? If it's adversely affecting the psychological well-being of America's youth (which may or may not be true; I personally think it isn't, but that's not the point here), then I contend that it's just like buying alcohol. If the American public doesn't think so, they should go and tell their Congresspeople that. America, right now, is voicing the opposite view. Sometimes democracy is wrong (eg. Prohibition), but it usually manages to correct itself. That's the beauty of it all.

    Government's job, btw, is not to determine for me what may or may not be harmful to me. I'm sorry you live in a one-party psychological hell, but I don't buy your dogma.

    What are you talking about? That's entirely what government's job is. They set rules for emissions, they set rules for social interaction (murder, rape, public drunkeness), they set rules for what products can and can't be shipped to the consumer, the list goes on and on. All they do is determine what's harmful for you! A government that doesn't work to do this is essentially a facade of anarchy. While I'm sure that many Slashdot readers wouldn't mind a little anarchy, I kind of like the way that America looks right now. If you're really into anarchy, haul yourself over to Russia and enjoy the fruits of a lack of government control.

    Eventually, the market will determine all this. The MPAA puts R-ratings on its movies and it doesn't seem to diminish the audience's turnouts for them. Yes, NC-17 turns teenagers away, but the rating system has worked well for movies and I don't see why it can't work well for other entertainment forms. The values will shift according to the values of the time and the market will determine how successful the products will be, not the ratings.

    Not only is labelling being made mandatory, but if you mislabel you are fined, as I read it. But... there are no clear guidelines on how to label (what is "violent" and how violent is a given rating?). So it's at the whim of review boards or the courts to decide if you screwed up and have to pay.

    As I understand it, the industry itself would be required to develop the rating system. If for some reason, the government's inplementation of the development of this rating system ("develop this or else!") is unconstitutional, well then, that's why we have courts. That's also why we have elections to put in new people who agree with us.

    One must have faith in the government to work as it should. The system of checks and balances that we have have done a remarkable job of keeping the country from delving into anarchy as well as delving into a totalitarian dictatorship. The CDA was defeated in the courts. Prohibition was defeated through the people. Quit assuming that a law that isn't even on the books yet will a) make it into law and b) survive the Constitution. If these issues aren't brought up, they'll never be defined, and the government has much more control over areas that it hasn't defined.

    I personally think this bill is fine. I don't see 'moral reevaluation' of a product as censorship. It's been happening without ratings and it's been happening with ratings. If you had any idea how much stuff hasn't been printed because of its content, I'm sure you would be convinced that all of America is part of some censorship conspiracy.
  • In theory, this bill has some good points and some bad points. The idea of a ratings system is to keep a child who isn't mature enough to handle certain things from being placed in that sort of situation (with that child's maturity being evidenced by the fact that a third party who is mature enough will buy it).

    However, this idea of a "formula" system doesn't work. What's more, it's not going to solve anything; in fact it will probably only make the problem worse. Why? Because filmmakers and such put sex and violence in their movies for one reason and one reason only: it's profitable. People want to see this sort of thing for whatever reason, and taking it away from the media will only force them to seek other sources (which spells real disaster; after the media the only source of sex and violence is reality). Media violence isn't a cause; it's a symptom. At worst, it's a catalyst, but chemistry tells us that a catalyst can't do anything unless all the reactants are present. Already some have developed such a huge craving for these things that they can't get their fix from the media anymore; I see the Columbine killers as a grim example of that. Ratings are a quick-fix; they won't change anything in the long run. What will? I don't know, but it will probably take nothing less than a fundamental shift in our nation's culture, and I don't claim to know what that shift would be (I'd hope it's a shift towards the attitude that all people are to be respected simply by virtue of the fact that they're people, but I doubt that's ever going to happen.)
  • The job of the US Government is to represent the will of the people and act upon their behalf. I do not doubt that this bill was written with the highest of intentions, yet often it is hard to predict how something such as this will affect people.

    Secondly, your analogy to alcohol is skewed since alcohol is known and proven to impair judgement and rational thought, while in my experience, I have yet to meet a 16 year old who has been scarred or tainted by violent video games and television.

    While you are correct in saying that minors do not have the same rights as adults, it is not because merely because they do not vote, it is because the majority of society has deemed that a person under 18 years of age does not possess the maturity necessary to do so.

    In light of that, recent times have proven that 14, 13, even 12 year olds are being held accountable as adults for heinous crimes. While I am not going to discuss that topic, I bring it up because I wish to use it as a basis. If children this young are deemed old enough to be given adult sentences, should they not also be given the freedoms and priveledges that go along with being an adult? (While my opinion on this matter is quite obvious, I am sincerely interested in opposing points of view)

  • I don't know about New York specifically, but their web site is at [] You can visit there and either send them email about theit ballot status or join the party.

    Anyway, why would you want to vote for John McCain? If you're a libertarian (or even close) he's a terrible choice. (I assume you mean the Arizona Senator) His big issues are tobacco legislation and campaign finance "reform," neither of which is the least bit libertarian. On other issues he's a pretty standard moderate Republican. Nothing to get excited about. None of the Republicans are really worth supporting, but if you must pick one, vote for Steve Forbes. He's at least got a semi-libertarian outlook in his economic views.

...there can be no public or private virtue unless the foundation of action is the practice of truth. - George Jacob Holyoake