Returning the TV Clicker to Parents

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Now that a court has told the Texas child welfare authorities that the parenting rights of even polygamists are paramount, I suggest we use that same principle about what kids can watch on TV—instead of letting the government decide, let’s put parents in charge.

That means letting parents use methods like the V Chip, ratings system, and cable TV lockout system. Parents can even decide not to own a TV if that’s what they want. The important things is that we get the government out of the business of deciding what TV shows kids OR adults can watch.

The FCC was originally established to monitor the technical details of broadcast operations. It slowly evolved into the morality watchdog it is today—which necessarily means it will favor one worldview over another.

This is outrageous and un-American.

Our precious Constitution is clear: “Congress shall make no law abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press.” What part of this is unclear?

As part of the expanding Executive branch of government, the FCC has simply seized power it doesn’t—and shouldn’t—have. Today’s “decency” groups say “the people” should decide about broadcast content. OK, let ‘em. So memo to individual members of the Parents Television Council and Morality in Media: shut your sets, or change your channels, if you don’t like what you see. That’s how “the people” can decide for themselves, without deciding for ME.

And that’s how democracy works—each of us has an enormous range of rights, and can make whatever private decisions we like. But when “morality” is dragged into governance, those in charge aren’t satisfied with making their own choices—they want to limit OTHERS’ choices as well. They say “since we believe you SHOULDN’T watch that show, we want to remove your RIGHT to watch it.”

Members of groups like PTC, MiM, and the Family Research Council don’t want their neighbors watching porn, The Sopranos, or South Park. That’s why they want such things off the air.

Incredibly, these groups claim that it isn’t the American public that demands “trash” on TV. No? Who’s paying for HBO, Showtime, pay-per-view porn? Those things are EXPENSIVE. You gotta really want them if you volunteer to pay those bills.

These groups ask “when it will stop,” as if there’s some unwanted sewer pipe pouring sexual crap into our TVs. I can tell you exactly when it will stop—when consumers stop wanting it. Then it’ll be off the airwaves in a second. Whether it’s Howard Stern or Pat Robertson’s The 700 Club, the market is exquisitely sensitive to people’s tastes.

Ah, the market—where people vote with their dollars, and everyone believes in its wisdom—until some Americans notice what the market says about their neighbors’ eroticism.

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