Monday, November 29, 1999

Week of 11/29/1999

Target: Moralism - Part 3
Lying Is Par When Moralism Is Involved
- by David Matthews 2

At 8am, police officers, federal agents, and several vans surrounded the Gold Club of Atlanta. The news first hit traffic reporters and morning radio shows before the traditional news services started reporting what was going on. But by nightfall, the local news stations were quickly making up for lost time with plenty of allegations and speculations of what federal authorities MIGHT have been doing in the adult strip club.

Months later, the allegations became indictments, and the owner, several managers, and two former Atlanta police officers were charged with a variety of crimes, including credit card fraud and racketeering. They even inferred that professional athletes were given preferential treatment and even dancers who were paid for their time and "free sex".

But the media in this land of rampant hypocrisy was not satisfied with those allegations. They wanted more. So they got hold of a copy of the search warrant, where all the allegations were made by federal agents to authorize a search, and that’s where they hit gold. Claims by "informants" of rampant sex and drug use in the private rooms of the club. Claims that could not be substantiated for a criminal indictment, but were more than enough to conveniently leak to the media in order to demonize this nightclub and give any possible juror enough prejudicial information to side with the government. Also more than enough to cause Atlanta Mayor Bill Campbell to use his "emergency powers" to suspend the club’s liquor license.

Rather damned convenient for the federal government and the City of Atlanta to be so open with those warrants. Apparently the notion of a person being considered "innocent until proven guilty" doesn’t apply here. Then again, these are the same two government bodies that did such a phenomenal job of protecting Richard Jewell’s rights when he was wrongly suspected of being the Olympic park bomber in 1996.

Fortunately, those with working brains questioned the City of Atlanta’s allegations and demanded proof that criminal activity was still going on at the club. The city couldn’t prove it, so a county judge said Mayor Bill Campbell exceeded his authority and let the club resume serving alcohol until a formal hearing of the Licensing Review Board.

A typical reaction from an elected official who put the "jerk" in "knee-jerk"? Just another day in the office of a political thug? Perhaps.

Meanwhile, in a neighboring state, the City Council of Tampa, Florida, is considering a ban on "lap dances" - where a nude dancer can have full contact with a clothed customer. The city already banned the sale of alcohol in these clubs, and with a six-foot "no contact" ban being considered, it could very well force the closing of the few remaining clubs.

Supporters of the ban say that lap dances "promote prostitution" and the transmission of diseases.

Transmission of diseases? If one party is fully clothed, and there is no genital-to-genital contact, HOW IN THE WORLD is that possible?

One has to wonder what kind of demented, wacko physician would be willing to stake his career simply to support that kind of allegation. No doubt someone who still believes that all the world’s ailments can be solved with leaches.

Of course, it should be noted that the person making the allegation that strippers somehow transmit diseases by mere physical contact is a LAWYER, not a doctor. Probably the same kind of lawyer that steps on a crack and complains he suddenly developed whiplash.

I hope you’re noticing the trend.. unsubstantiated allegations to support some kind of moralistic action. In both cases, the credible facts are somewhat lacking.

Now let’s get brutally honest here.. when it comes to moralism, ANYTHING is fair game. Real facts, if one can find them, are nice, but a moralist is never above using rumors, distortions, superstitions, absurd speculations, false allegations, and outright LIES to get what they want.

One has to remember that moralism itself is based on a lie. After all, a moralist wants everyone else to believe that THEIR vision of the world is the absolute, unquestionable, vision of how things must be. Image and illusion is everything to a moralist, so the seeds of denial are already a part of their lives. What’s one more lie to them?

When Congress passed the Communications Decency Act as part of the Telecommunications Deregulation Act of 1996, it was mostly based on a research study by Martin Rimm, who was then an undergraduate of the Carnegie Melon University. Rimm’s study suggested that over eighty percent of the Internet contained sexually-explicit material, even though the study’s own notes stated that their search was confined to the most sexually explicit areas of the Internet.

Rimm’s study was not only questioned and criticized by many more credible net-savvy researchers, but even the university and Rimm’s own advisors quickly distanced themselves from the report. But by then it was too late.. the damage was already done. Time magazine had their cover story, moralists had their PR ammunition, and Congress had their excuse to step in and violate the US Constitution yet again.

Remember all those allegations that you can catch AIDS from drinking fountains and toilet seats? Guess who started those nasty rumors? You guessed it! Moralists who wanted to use the issue to isolate those with AIDS from the periphery of their world. They preyed upon the fears and ignorance of other parents to railroad their views into becoming law.

The name of the game for moralists is to frighten, intimidate, and browbeat others into doing their bidding. Like obsessed stalkers, moralists prey on your fears. They eat away at your defenses, doing everything in their power to make you feel weak and afraid, to make you dependant on others to tell you how to live your life.

Moralists also use deceptions and lies to demonize that which they abhor. That’s where the media comes in. The members of the media live for headlines and things that get the attention of the general public. That’s why they prey on issues involving sex, violence, and scandal. They prey on our most imbedded forms of dysfunction.

In the play "The Flies" by Jean-Paul Sartre, the Greek god Zeus tells King Ægistheus of a deep, dark secret: "The bane of gods and kings. The bitterness of knowing that men are free…. But your subjects do not know it, and you do."

And that is also the terrible truth about moralists as well. They too know that men and women are free, but most do not know it. It is their need to make others dependant on them that motivates the moralist to act. And for that, they will utilize every trick possible.

For a moralist, the truth is their worst enemy. It was the truth of how the Internet works that defeated the Communications Decency Act. It was the truth that helped stem the wave of discrimination against those with AIDS. And it has been the truth that is slowly helping break the dysfunctional views we have about sex.

But the truth does not come quickly, which is why moralists are always quick with their attack. Those that pretend to be like gods must act quickly, because once the truth comes out, they have no control over it.

Or as Zeus said it best in "The Flies": "Once freedom lights its beacon in a man’s heart, the gods are powerless against him. It is a matter between man and man, and for them only, to let him go his gait, or to throttle him."

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