Over the past several years, the world of politics has been turned on its head, effecting a complete reversal of left/right principles and positions I have long thought to be solid, possibly even immutable.
When I was a teenager, for example, Republicans were constantly freaking out about Russian hegemony, while Democrats called for criminal investigations of the CIA every time William Casey sneezed. Now, Democrats get upset when the President criticizes the CIA, while Republicans seem to think Vladimir Putin is the best foreign leader since Winston Churchill.
Another thing I’ve noticed lately is that despite the Republican grousing about “nanny states,” the modern GOP sure seems to want Uncle Sam to do a whole lot of (selective) babysitting.
From the White House suggesting this administration will step up enforcement of the Controlled Substances Act in states that have legalized recreational marijuana use to Republican-led legislatures in various states declaring porn a “public health crisis” (no doubt as prelude to further regulatory measures aimed at porn), the GOP seems to have completely abandoned all pretense of its opposition to the nanny state.
To be fair, when a measure to declare porn passes 65-0 (as South Dakota’s porn/public health crisis measure did in the state’s House of Representatives), it’s not just Republicans voting for these resolutions, obviously. If you look at who is sponsoring and championing the legislation state by state, though, it’s equally clear the GOP is driving the bus and hammering the porn panic button with all its might.
Utah State Senator Todd Weiler, the legislator primarily responsible for Utah’s public health declaration and a new bill that would allow porn users to sue porn producers for alleged harms done by their products, rejects the idea his proposals are nanny state-like, an epithet he seems to believe in this context should be reserved for outright censorship by the government.
“It’s not government coming in and saying what you can and can’t watch,” Weiler said of his latest proposal. “It’s just basically a message to the pornography industry that if someone in Utah can prove damages from the product, that they may be held liable financially.”
Sounds reasonable, right? Except, here’s the thing: No matter what product a company manufacturers, if someone can “prove damages from the product” then the person damaged can, under existing law, sue the company that made the product. This is kind of the whole point of product liability law, after all — something I’m sure Weiler, an attorney, knows.
I suppose Weiler would respond by saying under current case law, it would be difficult for someone to sue a porn company for damages done simply by watching the company’s movies. I would respond to that observation, “Yes, Scott, and that’s a good thing.”
If Republicans really want to go down the road of making it easy to sue people for harm done to them by watching movies, they should be forewarned: As soon as such a law passes in my home state, I’m filing a lawsuit naming Alex Kendrick, Affirm Films and its parent company Sony Pictures Worldwide Acquisitions (hey, I have to get some deep pockets into this lawsuit somehow, right?) over the damage done to my brain just by knowing the movie War Room exists.
To be clear, I haven’t seen the entire film and don’t know much about it. What I do know is ever since I watched the trailer, I’ve felt both dumber and less tolerant of others. This can’t be a mere coincidence, because so far as I’m aware, mere coincidences aren’t legally actionable.
Once I’ve prevailed in Suroeste v. Kendrick (or more likely, once all the liable parties have ‘seen the light’ and settled with me), I’ll turn my attention to the fuckers responsible for the “Left Behind” series.
Among other things, I just can’t fathom how a movie about the fucking Apocalypse can have a sequel. How does that work, exactly? God remakes the world, some proto-blonde eats a magic sin apple and the whole show starts over? In the new version of the Lord’s glorious creation, does Jar-Jar Binks make a cameo appearance in Exodus?
At any rate, regardless whether I ever get to sue a Christian filmmaker for making me dumber, we can all rely on Democratic and Republican politicians to be, selectively and alternatively, both for and against “big government” and the primacy of federal law.
Many Democrats will argue in favor of states’ rights when a state passes gun control measures stricter than federal Second Amendment precedent supports, while many Republicans will say the feds need to step in and enforce the law when people in any given state are getting stoned without first pretending to have some sort of mysterious stomach illness only recognized by doctors who are willing to prescribe medicinal marijuana.
In the meantime, many libertarians will continue to advocate getting stoned while “target shooting” stop signs through the window of a speeding vehicle, then complain about having to pay taxes to maintain the road beneath the vehicle, because paying taxes makes their stomach hurt and medicinal marijuana hasn’t been legalized in their state yet.
Hey, it’s called “democracy,” folks. Don’t like it? Move to… Well, not to Russia I guess — not until we’ve decided whether Russia is still an enemy, anyway.
How about moving to North Korea? I hear they’re doing amazing things with porn there these days.