Even I don't always agree with my opinion


Craigslist Caves To Censorship

Posted September 28, 2010 by jim young in Media

– jim young

As a writer, I abhor censorship.

Except in extreme cases such as hate literature and child pornography.

And I cringe even to those exceptions.

Not because I think there can be any acceptable arguments for them, but because they are exceptions.

And once I concede there are exceptions then the floodgates are open just a crack.

But mostly censorship is wrong.

By definition, it isn’t even workable.

If the morality police decide, for example, that pornography should be censored giving as their reason that it corrupts people and turns them into perverted degenerates; they must first clearly define what would constitute pornography.

There would likely be a very thin line between erotic art and pornography in many cases.

An individual or a group of individuals must then review all works of art from all medium to determine which can be classified as art and which would be labeled pornography.

And if we accept the original premise that extensive exposure to pornography corrupts people and turns them into perverted degenerates, then in time, the very people who are censoring pornography would become nothing more than a bunch of corrupt, perverted degenerates.

And who wants a bunch of corrupt perverted degenerates telling us what we may and may not have access to?

So I think it’s a shame when any business or individual caves to any kind of public or government pressure to censor themselves.

This is the case with Craigslist.

Recently Craigslist in the U.S. succumbed to pressure from the attorney generals of 12 states to remove their Adult Services section.  They were not legally required to remove this service but apparently decided it wasn’t worth the hassle.

Last time I counted, there were 50 states. So 12 doesn’t even qualify this to be considered a democratic process.

And now, Craigslist is coming under the same pressure from the RCMP in Canada.

The Adult Services section of Craigslist became an issue in the United States when a young girl was murdered after meeting her assailant through Craigslist.

And that, of course is a real tragedy.

But to suggest any degree of the onus should be placed on Craigslist is ludicrous.

Adult Services are not the only place where these kinds of things happen. There are traditional classified ads in other media that expose the same risks.

There have been young girls who have been picked up in bars that ended in similar fates. But would we consider closing bars and pubs on that basis?

In fact there have been many good arguments made that closing down Adult Services in Craigslist even endangers young girls that may become victims of similar fates to a higher degree.

The problem is that prostitutes and pimps use the Adult Services of venues such as Craigslist to promote their services. This in turn supports the black market in the human trafficking trade.

I will not debate here the defense for legalizing prostitution.  You can check that article out here instead: The Need For Legalised Prostitution

But it seems to me, if prostitution is illegal and prostitution is being openly advertised in these venues, law enforcement officials should be promoting them, not discouraging their use.

Instead of setting up costly sting operations, the police merely need to log onto their computers and reply to an ad and make their arrests.

Would law enforcement officials complain if Craigslist opened a section devoted to the sale of "Stolen Goods"?

How easy would THAT make arrests for the police?

It seems to me that perhaps what is really going on here is the police are incapable of controlling the so called crime of prostitution and these ads are a constant embarrassment to their lack of effectiveness.

Better to drive the crime underground than allow it to be a very public constant reminder of failure.

I am always suspicious when the government and law enforcement officials get involved in censorship of any kind.

Their business should be enact and enforce effective laws to protect us without trampling on our basic freedom of rights.

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