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Making Larry Flint Blush
Commentary by Greg Lewis / TheRant.US
We're in the midst of a technology-driven transformation of the meaning of the word "morality" that would have been impossible to foretell even a quarter century ago. The virtually instantaneous availability of — to cite only one example — pornographic material of every imaginable (and some unimaginable) variety to anyone with high-speed internet capability veritably defies our society's ability to manage it.
Whether we're considering the sheer rapidity with which enhancements to the technologies that facilitate such access occur, or the economic inducements to (in this case) porn principals, particularly producers and female stars, to continue to pursue their chosen "careers," we're dealing with an industry (pornography), not to say a cultural phenomenon, that epitomizes an unprecedented change in what is morally acceptable to the American public. Indeed, the mainstreaming in a variety of venues of what has traditionally been considered off limits stands to render obsolete the very moral and spiritual standards that have formed the foundation of our nation since it was created more than two centuries ago.
For starters, the consequences of recent changes in the way information is transmitted would have defied any of our country's founding fathers' abilities to foresee. I mean, who the hell could have predicted in 1985, let alone in 1785, that pornography would be mainstreamed to even a fraction of the degree it is today? Who could have told you in the mid-1980s, during the heyday of the centralized distribution of porno films via "adult" theaters, that within ten years or so a few clicks of your computer's mouse would enable you (or, perhaps more to the point, your adolescent son or daughter) to access, in the comfort of your home, pornographic images that would make Hustler Magazine publisher Larry Flint blush?
The real upshot of this technology-driven mutation in moral values is its effect on our society's young people between the ages of about 10 and 17. It is our sons and daughters who are growing up as members of a newly minted, digitally mediated, anything-goes generation. From the raunchy and irresponsible sexuality flaunted via such venues as MTV, to a drug culture that pervades our lives, to schools whose teachers and administrators — in a cowardly bow to the left's imposition on our society of its lack of principles — willfully refuse to stand up for, not to say promote, positive moral and spiritual values, our kids are, in too many cases, set adrift in a bewildering environment, one in which, given their collective lack of a moral compass, it must be enormously difficult for them to get their bearings.
The moral and behavioral principles that many of us 50- and 60-somethings internalized as we were growing up during the 1940s and '50s too often today are looked upon by our children with a "so-what" attitude. Where our kids are accosted on all fronts by an information technology that promotes a culture of violence and promiscuous sexuality and whatever-gets-you-over ethics, principles of behavior that counsel restraint and adherence to a code of conduct which runs counter to quick success and immediate gratification are hard to sell.
This circumstance was exacerbated by Democrats who, in their attempts to mainstream Bill Clinton's dalliances (to put the best face on the former President's occasionally rapacious relationships with the female predatees — is "predatee" a term that can be invoked to refer to the objects of a predator's attentions? — whom he stalked prior to and during his presidency) have managed to define sexual perversity, not to mention the acceptance of same, upward.
But notwithstanding the desperate attempts of liberal justifiers of the legitimacy of sexual promiscuity who surfaced to defend their embattled President, even Democrat perversity-flaks would have been hard-pressed to foresee that the U.S. pornography "industry" would be legitimized to the point where it was holding its own annual awards ceremonies — the venal counterpart of Hollywood's Academy Awards — in which we could witness porn starlets (the porn industry is dominated by women; men are only coincidental, and underpaid, adjuncts to the success of porn productions) breathlessly thanking their producers and directors and co-stars for voting them "this honor." Indeed, these young women not infrequently go so far as to acknowledge their families' contributions to their surpassing prowess at the art of screwing for the camera.
Which is to say that, in the past several years, the act of having remained emotionally uninvolved while having sex with any number of partners and at the same time managing to convince porn addicts (who, admittedly, are not among the most discerning of audiences) that you're being transported to the heights of sexual ecstasy by what your partner is doing to you has become the acknowledged standard by which a whole class of actors' performances are judged and rewarded. Not only that, it's become a standard which the porn industry is more than happy to flaunt through rebroadcasts on obliging cable TV networks of its awards ceremonies.
Indeed, porn is now being granted legitimacy as a full-blown (sorry!) industry, a segment of the American economy that generates revenues significant enough to warrant recognition. Porn's economic clout, as measured by the sheer dollar-volume of sales of pornographic videos and sexual paraphernalia and internet-based subscriptions and other related merchandise, has given rise to nothing less than a "star system" populated by young women who, usually at a fairly green age, decide to "get into" porn and, by dint of a combination of innate personal appeal and hard work and perseverance, manage to create a distinctive identity for themselves among the genre's enthusiasts. But porn's ascendancy is, if nothing else, a disturbing reminder that the broad acceptance of lowest-common-denominator popular culture in America is a phenomenon against which appeals to traditional morality and adherence to higher standards of behavior carry increasingly less and less weight.
In the most important sense, it is the ascendancy of the left/liberal/Democrat agenda that has enabled this state of affairs to come about. Hell, in the name of freedom of speech, public libraries aren't even allowed to block access to internet porn to the kids who use their computers. That's because protecting Larry Flint's right to spew filth indiscriminately trumps the rights of everyday citizens — including our right to fulfill our responsibilities as parents — to inculcate in their children a sense of what is right and wrong that will enable them (the children), at the low end, to avoid contracting an STD, and, at the high end, to become genuinely upstanding members of their communities, citizens who uphold and perpetuate the values we must live by and pass on to subsequent generations in order that our unimaginably wonderful way of life might be perpetuated.
The situation today has an inordinately high perversity coefficient. Liberals and feminists will insist that males in the workplace who tell an off-color joke in mixed company be pilloried and then dismissed from their jobs for sexual harrassment, while at the same time they defend the rights of producers of pornography to distribute their material without restriction, even to children. Adult working women must be protected at all costs against the slightest affront to their sensibilities, while innocent children can be subjected to all manner of the most degenerate pornographic material without its purveyors suffering any consequences. Comedian Dennis Miller summed up the situation with his usual caustic acuity: "The ACLU will bitterly contest our right to display the Nativity on public property at Christmas, but they'll defend to their dying breath the drunk who stumbles onto the same Nativity scene and tries to screw one of the sheep."
Because we have allowed the Left to frame the cultural/moral/spiritual debate for the past half century or so, we have abdicated the moral high ground, not to say the psychic territory defined by spiritual truth. When leftists are allowed, through political and cultural and judicial activism, to impose upon the American people positions that are incompatible with, not to say destructive of, the values and principles on which our nation has risen to its current position of global prominence and positive influence . . . when we cede the right to even defend, let alone promote, universally positive values as representing the foundation of a truly harmonious global community, then we shrink from our most important responsibility to the world community. It is a responsibility we must not continue to abjure, not to say one which we must reclaim with all due haste.