Friday, August 15, 2008

McVety's continuing censorship dreams

The discussion going on here in the comments about the uneasy alliance of social conservatives and libertarian conservatives reminded me of yet another example of why this marriage of convenience is so inexplicable.

The ever-loathesome socon mouthpiece Chuck McVety has censorship on the brain, and he's determined to make his censorious fantasies come true. His first kick at the censorship can, Bill C-10, was de-fanged and eviscerated by a couple of Liberal senators, but that won't get him down -- not while he's still got this one in the hopper. Lately McVety's "Canada Family Action Coalition" has been emailing their membership to remind them about this issue, so they're obviously trying to give it some traction.

It goes without saying that child pornography is odious and despicable -- but it also goes without saying that it's already against the law, and we have entire teams of cops working on nothing but that particular crime in all its venues, including the internet. If purveyors of child porn are caught, they're prosecuted: simple.

But that's not good enough for McVety, who feels that the government should get in on the act and force ISPs to block such sites. McVety's "block kiddyporn" website encourages concerned Canadians to sign petitions, call their ISPs and rattle their MPs' cages, all to that end... so that ISPs and the government can start blocking websites.

In typical socon fashion, it's a sneaky strategy, using the kiddyporn straw man to get the jackboot of censorship in the door of the worldwide web. But is online child porn activity so huge and so widespread that the police can't handle it? Is it so massive and out of control that it justifies something as extreme as giving government and ISPs the means of censoring websites? Give me a break!

This is more of what socons like to call "incrementalism" -- knowing their agenda wouldn't fly with most Canadians, they realize their best shot is to do things in small, acceptable and barely-noticeable increments. Chip away at reproductive rights... for the women. Chisel away at online free expression... for the children. Like an abortion law wouldn't end at banning late-term abortions, online censorship wouldn't end with child pornography. What McVety proposes would set a dangerous and ugly precedent.

And you don't have to be a libertarian to recognize that.