Monday, April 24, 2000

Week of 04/24/2000

Guilt By Coercion
- by David Matthews 2

"The sense of inferiority and the sense of guilt are exceedingly difficult to distinguish." - Dr. Sigmund Freud

Let me ask you.. are you feeling guilty?

You aren’t? WHY? Don’t you know what this past week was?

This was the one-year memorial over two punk kids who stormed their high school and killed thirteen people before killing themselves! You’ve GOT to feel guilty about that!

And if that wasn’t enough, this week also marked the five-year anniversary of two extremists blowing up a federal building in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma! All of those lives lost!

What? You aren’t feeling guilty over that? What’s wrong with you people? There must be something seriously wrong with you.

Granted, we have the two men responsible for blowing up the federal building in Oklahoma City, and the two punk kids who shot up Columbine killed themselves… but that’s no excuse! You HAVE to feel guilty about those deaths!

Doesn’t that sound absurd? And yet that’s what we are being told we must do.

We’re being told this from members of government, who are eager to exploit each tragic occurrence for their own pet programs. We are told we MUST feel guilty over each tragedy.

The media, naturally, is eager to cooperate in this emotional form of mind-control. It doesn’t take much effort for them to put together a whole miniseries telling you how you should feel. They already have all of the news footage from the archives. All they have to do is cobble together a group of so-called "experts", get sound bites from the politicians, and run a few biased polls. Presto! A five-part miniseries to make people feel guilty about something they have nothing to feel guilty about!

Let’s get brutally honest here… there is NOTHING for most people to feel guilty about for the tragedies in Columbine or for Oklahoma City. NOTHING. They happened. They were tragic, and a lot of lives were needlessly lost, but there was realistically nothing any of us could have done to change or to stop them.

No new law or regulation would have ever stopped those tragedies. Indeed, when it came to Columbine, over one hundred federal and state laws were broken by those two punk kids. Even the friend who purchased the guns said that no background check would have prevented her from purchasing guns she had a legal right to purchase. No matter how many laws Bill Clinton wants to shove down our throats, none of them would have ever stopped that event from happening.

Ah, but there’s the rub! This is not really about remembering tragedies, but rather it is about getting laws passed and freedoms infringed.

Libertarian talk show host Neal Boortz once pointed out that the difference between liberals and conservatives is that conservatives think things through while liberals are concerned with what people feel. Well, I disagree. I think both liberals and conservatives try to play upon the emotions of the public, especially when they cannot use rational arguments in their favor. Certainly when it comes to the way things "used" to be, conservatives try to play upon a sense of insecurity and fear to sway the public to their side.

Politicians, then, want us to feel guilt over these tragedies. To make us feel guilty for having so many freedoms, and thus able to remove those freedoms through laws and regulations.

Consider, if you will, the recent anniversaries of tragedies the government wants us to remember. They want us to remember the tragedies of Columbine and Heritage high schools. They want us to remember the tragedy of Oklahoma City. According to Bill Clinton and his supporters, it’s our fault for having so much freedom in our lives that these tragedies can happen.

But what about another tragedy that happened on the same day as Oklahoma City just two years earlier? What about the tragedy in Waco, Texas, where dozens of men, women, and children were burned to death? Why were there no remembrance ceremonies? The answer, of course, is that the government has nothing to gain from this tragedy. In fact, the federal government is very much responsible for creating the events that led to that inferno. The only thing that can be remembered from this incident would be that of government failures and gross overkill. So rather than try to blame society in general for Waco, the federal government foists all of the blame on David Koresh and hopes that the people will forget that it ever happened.

Worse yet is that we are being told that we HAVE to feel guilty over things like Columbine and Oklahoma City just so President Clinton and the gun control lobbyists can shove new gun control legislation down our throats. Clinton even had the audacity to demand that Congress rubber stamp his gun control legislation just so he could proudly proclaim having passed it on the one-year anniversary of Columbine. What gall of any elected official to demand that Congress heed his will just to fulfill some manufactured ceremony.

You know, it is one thing to play upon feeling that already exist. People can get emotional over the most pathetic of situations. Just look at the number of people who cried when Morris the Cat died, or took the death of John F. Kennedy Junior personally. Even trying to tell people what to think has been a problem ever since the first governments discovered public relations. But to try to tell the public what they are supposed to FEEL just so they can get some kind of law passed is perhaps the height of arrogance for any body of government.

Emotions are temporary, dependant upon the situation of the moment. Laws are not. Those legislators who try to use emotions to push legislation are not the kind of legislators who should govern over a society that claims to cherish freedom.

Monday, April 17, 2000

Week of 04/17/2000

Defending Playboy
- by David Matthews 2

Never before in the city’s history was there ever a such ruckus over the name of a street. Protesters were abound, carrying flashy signs and proclaiming the crudest of allegations. Supporters were equally numerous, but rather reserved.

Over 800 people were honored by street names on Chicago’s Magnificent Mile. Men and women of Chicago who have stood out in that city’s history. Quite often it is merely a matter of protocol for the City Council to approve of a name. A mere showing of hands, and the deed is done.

But not this time.

So one has to wonder just WHO it is that is provoking so much hostility? So many protesters? So much.. dare I say it? .. HATRED over using that name for a street? You would think that people were talking about naming a street after serial killer John Wayne Gacy, or of legendary mob boss Al Capone.

But no, all this fuss is for a lonely magazine publisher named H. Marston.

Good old H. Marston who started in 1953 with nothing but an idea, some money, and an old typewriter. He had an idea for a publication called Stag, which would be a magazine for men’s interests. He included in this magazine some photos he purchased of a lovely young pin-up girl by the name of Norma.

It was a hit-or-miss idea then. Nobody knew if there would be enough interest in the magazine to even warrant a second issue. But a second issue was published. And then a third, and then a fourth. Before anyone knew it, H. Marston’s publication was a huge success.

That idea for a magazine for men’s interests became a worldwide sensation, enabling him to live the kind of life he had always dreamed of. And he would even share that idealistic life with his friends and associates, and eventually with others through clubs around the world. His philosophy of individual freedom over government-forced morality helped shape a whole generation of young men and women. The magazine would be published around the world, and would eventually have its own television channel, a line of highly successful videos, and a dominant place on the Internet.

Of course, you’ve never heard of a successful magazine called Stag. That name was changed just before the first issue hit the stands. The lovely nude blonde named Norma who graced that first issue? Well, her full name was Norma Jean Dougherty, but you knew her best as the legendary Marilyn Monroe.

And that successful publisher H. Marston? Well, the "H" stands for Hugh, although most people recognize him more for the first three letters of his last name. Hef.

That’s right. Hugh Marston Hefner, founder and publisher of Playboy Magazine, is the target of so much protest in Chicago.

And suddenly, the sides become clear. Once again, the bane of moralism has reared its ugly head to stop the city of Chicago from recognizing Hef.

Now, in the world of adult-oriented publications, Playboy is relatively tame. Most of the magazine is comprised of stories, in-depth articles, letters to the editor, interviews, and advice on all manners of questions from what kind of condom to wear to how to configure your stereo speakers so you can get that "theater-like" experience when watching Star Wars. The women who make up the delightful "eye-candy" appear sporadically, although their presence cannot be missed in the magazine. Their nudity is what many would consider to be "tastefully-done", emphasizing an overall appreciation of the female form instead of focusing on one specific body part like other publications do.

Some of the women who have appeared in the pages of Playboy have gone on to do much more bigger and better things. Many have become actresses. Others have become models. Who would have even heard of Cindy Crawford if not for her appearance in Playboy? It would also be a sure bet that Carmen Electra would have never gotten where she did in the entertainment world without her own appearance in that magazine.

Certainly the entertainment world has benefited from Playboy. Who would have heard of James Bond if Playboy didn’t first publish a little story by Ian Flemming called "Doctor No"? Other noteworthy authors whose works have appeared in Playboy include Ray Bradbury, Stephen King, Harlan Ellison, Arthur C. Clarke, and Kurt Vonnegut. Celebrities from actors, singers, writers, journalists, athletes, politicians, and even one president-elect have been interviewed by Playboy.

Even the women who have been honored with the title "Playmate" (as compared to those women who simply appeared in the magazine) can boast their own success stories. The ranks of the famous include Bettie Page, Jayne Mansfield, Stella Stevens, Cynthia Myers, Shannon Tweed, Kathy Shower, Pamela Anderson, and Jenny McCarthy.

Hefner, Playboy, and the Playmates have also taken part in events that have contributed society besides just offering pleasing images. The Playboy Foundation has been on the forefront in preserving the First Amendment from the very critics who would silence them. Playmate Rebekka Armstrong, the first and only Playmate with HIV and the AIDS virus, has been helping educate people on safer sex. Hefner, himself, has been instrumental in the restoration and preservation of the classic motion picture movies so that future generations will be able to enjoy them.

And yet, despite all the good things that Hefner and everyone associated with Playboy have done, the critics still manage to do everything in their power to demonize Playboy.

So who are these people who consider Hefner to be the devil incarnate?

Well let’s start off with that waste of oxygen that calls themselves the "American Family Association". Essentially it is a lobbying group with one goal - to turn America into a theocratic police state. Their leader, Gary Bauer, recently tried to run for President, and found out that people have a hard time supporting someone who resembles a cross between Adolph Hitler and that talking Taco Bell dog.

Let’s continue with the whining of Chicago Alderman Carrie Austin, who complains that Hefner made his money "on the backs of women." Austin was one of the people who used her power on that board to suppress the creation of "Hefner Way". So you want to talk about making money on the backs of women, Alderman? As compared to what? Using women as a human political shield to further your own legislative agendas? As exploiters go, politicians have done far more damage to women than any publisher ever could.

Then there is the Archdiocesan Council of Catholic Women, who claims Hefner furthers "his social agenda of irresponsible sexual behaviors." You want to talk about irresponsible sexual behaviors? Who is responsible for premarital sex? It certainly isn’t Playboy. Try it is the Catholic Church, which has piously decreed that sex is for procreation only. Who is more responsible for the spread of AIDS? Playboy, which has pushed for safer sex? Or the Catholic Church, which has encouraged ignorance?

And then there are all of the allegations made by the Council that Playboy uses "pictures of infants and children." Allegations that were supposedly based on a book by anti-sex feminist Judith Reisman. Well I hope the Council has good lawyers, because such allegations could be considered very slanderous without any kind of credible proof. Speaking of which, given the number of lawsuits involving priests and alter boys, the Archdiocesan Council of Catholic Women should rather be looking towards their own church for pedophilia than trying to find fictitious allegations manufactured by a discredited author.

Then there are the jackals of this quasi-Inquisition, the journalists themselves. The members of the media who are ever so quick to grab the most baseless of quotes by the critics of Playboy, but are hesitant to summon even a quick soundbite from those who would speak in support of Playboy. People like Peggy Wilkins, who spoke to the press in support of Hef, but never received even one reference. I have yet to read in any of the news services how while the City Council was in debate, hundreds of people were lining up just down the street to see Hefner and some of the beautiful women by his side. I say again, HUNDREDS of people. Eligible voters, one and all, who would shout down the critics easily if given the chance. The press loves to proclaim themselves to be unbiased, but clearly their own bias shows when they pander to the moralists instead of adhering to their own proclamation of journalistic integrity.

Let’s get brutally honest here… There is a reason why the moralists have pulled out all the stops in trying to prevent "Hefner Way" from becoming a reality, and it is a reason that nobody would ever admit to.

They’re scared.

Up until now, moralists and theocrats have all taken comfort in belief that their dysfunctional philosophy would be eternal. Publications come and go. Oui magazine certainly didn’t last for very long. Clubs come and go. The Playboy Clubs, even though making a resurgence overseas, went out of business in the 1980’s. The faces of buildings change with every owner. Societal attitudes shift constantly. What was once liberal is now conservative, and vice-versa. Men certainly come and go. Hefner himself is in his seventies. But some things are constant. Churches remain. Universities remain. Street names remain.

The naming of a street after Hugh Hefner is a terrible symbolic blow to moralists. It means that Playboy is considered to be more mainstream than they would ever admit it to be. It would mean that the changes that Hefner has espoused through his Playboy Philosophy are more than just temporary, but something that has become a permanent part of society. This would not be something that they could zone out of view, or regulate to oblivion, or banish outright like they have piously done in the past.

And what a slap in the face it would be to moralists to know that there is a street called "Hugh M. Hefner Way" in Chicago! To know that there would be buildings with a street address saying "Hugh M. Hefner Way" in phone books and directories. To know that people would be giving directions using "Hefner Way" as a reference point. To one day turning on the TV set and seeing an ad for a business on "Hefner Way".

In short, it would mean that the moralists have lost.

Sadly for them, the moralists can only blame themselves. It is their dysfunction which created the need that made Playboy such a success almost fifty year ago. It is their zeal to censor that which offends them that summoned the curiosity of the public.

Playboy and Hugh Hefner have contributed much to society. They have helped challenge traditional prejudices about sex, women, and civil rights, and encouraged individual freedom, and subsequently individual responsibility. Things that the dominant religions in America and the traditional political groups have only given lip service to at best.

It is right to recognize Hefner for his achievements, and a shame on those who would attempt to squash it.

Monday, April 10, 2000

Week of 04/10/2000

Taxation Song And Dance
- by David Matthews 2

"There is no worse tyranny than to force a man to pay for what he does not want merely because you think it would be good for him." - Robert Heinlein

Just about this time every year there is a little game that is played in America. It’s called the "Taxation Two-step".

Every year just around Tax Day, we have a general discussion about how we pay our taxes. Most Americans really have no idea how much they’re paying in taxes every year until it is time to file our tax report with the Internal Revenue Service.

Now I’m sure some of our international friends would like to know why that is. Why is it that the average taxpaying American has no idea of how much they pay in taxes until the following year?

Well, once upon a time, we KNEW how much we paid our taxes because we would have to figure it all out ourselves. When the federal income tax was first levied, it was up to us to pay it in its entirety. We would fill out the tax form, do the math, and then write out a check to the government for how much we owed them for the previous year. We still do something like that with local property taxes, which is why we are very sensitive over our property values, what the government assesses that value to be and what the millage rates are.

But then around World War II, the politicians had this brainstorm of an idea. They needed some fast cash to fund the war effort. They couldn’t wait until the following year to get the money, so they came up with the idea of having the employers take the tax percentage out of each worker’s paycheck and give it to the government. Employees wouldn’t have to worry about writing out a check to Uncle Sam every year because it would already be paid before they even see the paycheck. Nice idea, right?

Well, one of the side effects of that is that now people do not really know how much money is being taken out to pay Uncle Sam and his fifty spoiled brats. It’s taken out a bit at a time, long before we even see the money ourselves. So the only way we really know how much of our money is given to the government is when we have to report it.

This has also given government officials on all levels the chance to play games with our tax rates. Since taxpayers have no idea how much they owe the government until tax time, they usually never know when the government decides to take a little extra.

Did you know, for instance, that the government taxes you extra for every hour of overtime you put in at work? The excuse from those in government is that they don’t want people to get rich off of overtime. The more overtime you put in, even more taxes get taken out. But you wouldn’t know that unless you did the math yourself.

How about that refund check you got from last year’s taxes. Did you know that in some states you have to report that as extra income and pay taxes on it again? Surprise! You’re getting taxed on the same money twice! And it’s perfectly legal too. After all, the Fifth Amendment protects one from double jeopardy, but not double-taxation.

It’s a given that nobody likes to pay taxes. We look at government and find it to be incredibly inept at what it does. We’re not happy with how it is run, and we certainly aren’t happy with who is running it, no matter who that person or party is. So we feel they aren’t worth our hard-earned money.

However, while we feel that the politicians don’t deserve OUR hard-earned money, someone’s gotta foot the bill for all those government services we want. After all, how else would we pay for the police officers, and the court system, and the firefighters, and the street sweepers? These folks need to be paid for their services. They certainly don’t operate purely out of the goodness of their hearts.

So we believe taxes to be a necessary evil, one that we would avoid any chance we can get. But to pay for those services we do want, we feel other people should foot the bill. Not only that, but some people feel that they are paying a "disproportionate" amount of taxes, and that other people are getting away with not paying "their fair share."

It is that feeling of "unfairness" that gives politicians plenty of ammunition to further con the American people into paying even more taxes.

There are many ways that politicians con the American taxpayers. The first is the very notion that not everyone is paying "their fair share" of taxes.

Let’s get brutally honest here… NOBODY in America pays "their fair share" of taxes! Nobody. If you claim any kind of deduction, no matter if it is for yourself, your spouse, or for your children, you certainly are not paying your "fair share" of taxes. If you write off your home mortgage as a tax exemption, you are not paying your "fair share" of taxes. If you claim you are a full-time student, you certainly are not paying your "fair share" of taxes. Those examples alone show that a majority of Americans do not pay their "fair share" of taxes. It is safe to say, then, at some point in our lives we all will not pay our "fair share" of the tax burden.

The only way the tax system would ever be "fair" would be if everyone was paying an equal percentage of taxes. A straight flat tax. No exceptions. No exemptions. No deductions. It wouldn’t matter if you made $1000 a year, $10,000 a year, or $1,000,000 a year, you would still have to pay the same percentage of taxes. The more you make, the more you would still have to pay in taxes. You can get no fairer than that.

So unless you’re willing to abandon this punitive tax system and push for a pure flat tax, you have absolutely NO grounds whatsoever to talk about "tax fairness."

Of course, not too many people in government really want that kind of tax system. A flat tax system would mean less money for them to play around with. It would also eliminate a lot of incentives politicians use for special interest groups. How can small town America bring in businesses if they can’t offer them huge tax breaks?

That brings us to the next way our elected officials and their wannabes try to con the American public, with so-called "tax relief" games.

The game works like this: the people complain about taxes. The politicians shed their crocodile tears and promise to offer the public "tax relief." The "relief" won’t come from a tax cut, though. Instead, they’ll offer up a glorified IOU that they claim will be just as good as a tax cut. As a matter of fact, they often go so far as to call it a "tax cut" - even though it is nothing of the sort. You will still have to pay the same amount of taxes as you have been, but now when you file your tax report with the IRS, you can then claim this "tax credit" to be deducted off how much you were supposed to pay last year. Slick, huh? Your "relief" would not take effect for a whole year. A whole year for the government to play with your money, collecting the interest off of it, instead of giving it to you like they are supposed to. Worse yet, not everyone would be eligible for this "tax relief." Single adults, for instance, who don’t have children usually are not eligible for any such "tax relief", and thus have to shoulder most of the tax burden. For people who complain about those who do not pay "their fair share", what they offer is neither "relief" nor fair in any sense.

Then there is "tax-reform roulette" - the political version of the Three Card Monty. In this game, so-called "tax-reform" politicians offer up not one or two, but a whole bevy of tax reform bills for the general legislature to vote on. No doubt any of these bills probably would be a welcome relief for the public; and if decided upon alone, it would be political suicide for any politician to vote against them. But decided upon all together, in a marathon "tax-reform" spree, it is a sure bet that NONE of the bills would ever be passed. Each politician would support one or two of the bills, then vote against all the others, making sure that no bill gets a majority vote. That way, every politician can then go back to their constituents and tell them that they "tried" to do something about the tax system.

While we’re at it, don’t forget the other tax game that politicians love to play, the "taxation name game." Our highest elected con man, President Bill Clinton, loves to play this game because he gets to hide his socialistic drivel by bastardizing the English language. In this game, tax money is not "spent", but rather it is "invested." Clinton, for instance, would claim that the American public doesn’t need a tax cut, because, supposedly, he feels that the people would just spend that money, while he would "invest" it in programs he feels are in the public good. By playing the taxation name game, he can insult the American people while at the same time pretending to care about them.

And Clinton is not the only one who plays the taxation name game. This is an election year, after all. How many of our representatives and senators will be crowding the airwaves with talk about all of the federal funds they have "invested" in their state? All the while, they condemn the "investments" of their political associates as being "wasteful spending." Political pork by any other name is still spent just as quickly. Even the 2000 Census talks about those federal funds being "properly invested" if everyone turns in their forms, as if somehow the whole purpose of the census was to figure out how to spend tax money and not fulfilling a constitutional requirement.

Each of these con games have one purpose, of course: to keep the tax system as complicated and as convoluted as possible. To keep the tax preparers, tax accountants, and tax auditors employed. To keep the tax software on the shelves and in the computers where they belong. In short, those in government keep us confused and keep on deceiving us to maintain the status quo.

If we want real tax reform, then, we must be willing to see through the deceptions our elected officials give us. To see through the slick words of our so-called "reformers" and challenge them to actually deliver that which they promise, or to remove them when they fail to deliver. We must be willing to accept the fact that the only "fair" tax system is where everyone pays the same tax percentage, and that to accept our own exemptions is to allow other people to do the same.

The best way to stop a con man is to not act like an easy mark. The best way to stop a political con man is to stop playing the gullible fool.

Monday, April 3, 2000

Week of 04/03/2000

Stripping Away Freedom
- by David Matthews 2

"Necessity is the plea of every infringement of human freedom. It is the argument of tyrants; it is the creed of slaves." - William Pitt

There are times when I look at the American system of government and I breathe a sigh of relief that there is a system of checks and balances. Times when I look towards the judiciary and be thankful that the members of the US Supreme Court are not beholden to polls or to special interest groups. That they look to a document called the US Constitution and all of its amendments, and decide not on what some poll or what some focus group says is right, but what is right by the Constitution.

Sometimes they make the right decision, a decision that reminds people of what freedom is all about. Those are the times I take that breath of relief, because in those instances, the American system works.

Then there are times when they are wrong. Times when they stray away from enforcing the Constitution and start placing priority on redefining the Constitution in what is "for the good of society". Those are the times when I have very grave fears about America. It doesn’t happen often, but it does happen with enough frequency to make one concerned.

This is one of those times.

The case involves an ordinance passed by the local government in Erie, Pennsylvania, which outlawed nudity. The ordinance specifically target Erie’s adult-only strip club, requiring the dancers there to cover up certain parts of the female anatomy. The local government knew that eliminating nudity would help bring the demise of that club.

This ordinance was challenged in the courts, and the Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruled that it violated the freedom of speech.

But then it went to the US Supreme Court, and in a 6-3 decision, the justices said that Pennsylvania’s highest court was wrong. Writing for four of the six justices, Justice Sandra Day O’Conner said that even though nudity is a form of expression that deserves SOME First Amendment protection, local communities CAN outlaw nudity to prevent what they say are "negative secondary effects." And that even though the ban violates speech, O’Conner says the effect is "minimal."

The majority decision, though, was not in complete agreement by all six justices. Justices Anthony Scalia and Clarence Thomas said they supported the ban to support "the traditional power of government to foster good morals.. and the acceptability of the traditional judgement.. that nude public dancing itself is immoral."

Now folks, I’ll be brutally honest with you… I believe that Justice O’Conner and the other five justices are Constitutionally wrong. Not just mistaken. Not just wrong. CONSTITUTIONALLY WRONG. They have erred on the belief that any Constitutionally-protected right can be limited simply because of so-called "negative secondary effects."

This decision does have some very dangerous consequences. For instance, the government can now use this decision to outlaw gun sales, claiming that recent gun-related violence poses "negative secondary effects" that outweigh the right to bear arms as guaranteed by the Second Amendment. And besides, one would argue, the effects to limit individual gun sales would be "minimal." After all, we do have the police, don’t we?

Using this decision, government can now outlaw certain religious practices, claiming that certain religious-based incidents pose "negative secondary effects" that outweigh the First Amendment freedom of religion. Say good-bye to any religion that does not hold a domineering stance in society. Besides, as one would argue, government has a "responsibility to foster good morals", right? And wouldn’t it be in the "best interests" of society if religious beliefs that some would consider to be cult-like be stifled? (By the way, did you know that some have called Judaism, Catholicism, Hinduism, and Buddhism to be cults?)

Using this decision, government can now claim that incidents of rioting, as demonstrated at last year’s chaos surrounding the World Trade Organization’s meeting, constitute a "negative secondary effect" that outweigh the freedom to assemble peaceably as guaranteed in the First Amendment. After all, you can still protest… just not in large groups.

Do you see now how dangerous this decision is? ANY right guaranteed in the US Constitution can now be made null and void by the government if they claim that right has some "negative secondary effects."

But I reserve the brunt of my disgust for Justices Scalia and Thomas, who piously believe that government has a "traditional" role to foster morals. How many times do we have to pound this into people’s heads… THAT IS NOT THE ROLE OF GOVERNMENT! Maybe once upon a time it was, but NOT in a society that is established on the basis of individual freedom.

And certainly Clarence Thomas should remember that there were OTHER things that government traditionally supported. Things like slavery and race-based discrimination. Things that would have kept him from being a member of the Supreme Court if the government continued to support them as they have in the past. These were also supported by the courts "for the good of society." The fact that government traditionally supported these things does not make it right.

Don’t think, however, that this is an easy win for the moralists, though, because the Supreme Court has left open one crucial avenue of attack… and that is attacking the "negative secondary effects" themselves. In the majority opinion, Justice O’Conner noted that NOBODY questioned the validity of those "secondary effects". In a separate dissent, Justice David Souter wanted to have the government prove those effects really existed.

And that is where the government is at its weakest. Indeed, few people ever challenge the validity of those claims of "negative secondary effects." What constitutes those claims? Actual police reports? An in-depth study by impartial bodies interested in presenting unbiased and indisputable facts? Hardly. In most instances, any kind of "proof" is based on studies conducted by questionable or biased sources. Those studies may even be thirty years outdated and have absolutely nothing to do with the affected establishments. Yet those "facts" - if you can even call them such - are accepted on face value simply because some politician, whose bias is often well-documented, offers them for consideration.

As I have often mentioned, moralist-led laws are not written based on fact as much as they are founded on baseless fears, superstitions, rumors, innuendoes, and sometimes even slanderous lies. Moralists use these to intimidate those in government to do their bidding because they are faster and more effective than trying to collect facts to support their claims. Believe it or not, those in the adult entertainment business have the truth on their side, and it is a powerful weapon they must now wield like a machete to cut through the government-endorsed lies.

Granted, strip clubs are not for every adult. Watching naked women - or men for that matter - dance about on a stage or on top of tables is truly an acquired taste. Then again, some people get their thrills watching others line dance, or do the polka, or do the Lambada. Some people even get their jollies watching large congregations assemble like mindless sheep to hear their every word as though it was from God above. The only difference is that nobody ever tries to claim "negative secondary effects" to shut down churches or dance halls. Maybe that’s something that should be changed as an object lesson in what tyranny is really all about.

Tyranny does not show itself all at once. Like the Dance of the Seven Veils, tyranny exposes itself one layer at a time, gracefully removing each layer of protection, each pretense of justification, until there is just naked aggression. It is a far greater evil in a society that claims to cherish freedom than any mythological "negative secondary effects" erroneously associated with strip clubs.

That, unfortunately, is yet another lesson that the members of the US Supreme Court have failed to learn.