What I Want for the Holidays

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No, no ties or socks or chocolate (OK, chocolate’s always great).

What I’d like is for everyone to receive their basic sexual rights. Then, of course, I can have mine. This isn’t a complete list, but it’s a start:

* Free condoms
Every time someone uses a condom it benefits everyone, so let’s make them free. They should be available everywhere: gas stations, ATMs, the place you rent skis. In fact, there should be a dispenser in the wine/beer/booze section of every supermarket and 7-11. Government should supply the condoms, and require a dispenser if you want a license to sell alcohol.

While we’re at it, could we please start packaging condoms in non-slippery containers?

* Encourage the study of child porn & pedophilia
“Everyone” knows child porn is increasing, it’s horrible, it ruins lives, etc.—except that no one knows anything.

The government won’t let anyone study child porn. All we know is what “morality” groups scream at us, and phony numbers like “X number of children exploited and abused” (what does that mean?) and “Y number of children sexually solicited on the internet” (most of whom are teens, contacted by other teens).

People who make or use child porn can’t be studied because anyone who listens to them can be forced to disclose their identity and activities. So society is stuck with stereotypes like “all molesters look at child porn” and “everyone who looks at child porn is a molester”—both of which are obviously untrue.

The government should establish a license permitting individuals and institutions to possess and study “child porn.” A background check and project proposal would be required, along with a description of what will be accessed and for how long. Similarly, legitimate investigators should have immunity to study specified populations for specific projects.

Of course, fewer and fewer Americans actually believe, much less understand, science. But science is the only way to get the facts about this supposedly widespread phenomenon that frightens and angers so many people.

* Publish the criteria used in internet filtering software
The makers of filtering software claim the criteria for blocking sites is proprietary, like the formula for Coke.

But this blocking software is now a quasi-public utility, as libraries, schools, and government offices are increasingly required to use it. Corporate lawyers are seeing the software as good insurance, too.

So the public has a right to know—how does the software decide what to block? If it blocks breast cancer sites, youth soccer league sites (“boys under 14”), Middlesex County, and my blog, can we really say these sites “block porn”? More importantly, the media should stop saying that people against mandatory filters are “against protecting kids from porn.”

* End the legal concepts of “obscenity” and “indecency.”
Sex is not dangerous. Sexual words and images are not dangerous. Limiting access to these words and images doesn’t necessarily increase a community’s “morality,” just as expanding people’s access doesn’t necessarily decrease “morality.”

The idea that our local, state, and federal governments can actually prevent us from reading, hearing, or seeing certain words or pictures for any reason is actually staggering. Here are just some of the governmental agencies screening your life for “obscenity” or “indecency”:

~ Federal Communications Commission
~ Justice Department
~ Commerce Department
~ Customs Service
~ Department of Homeland Security
~ Department of Alcohol, Tobacco, & Firearms
~ state alcohol control commissions
~ city & county zoning commissions

I’ll tell you what’s obscene: people who would rather prevent me from watching South Park than use the “off” button on their TV remote. Darn those people.

* Sexual rights as human rights
Being able to take that for granted would be a wonderful, life-affirming gift. I hope you—and all of us—get this very, very soon. Happy Holidays.

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