September 19, 2002


PERVERTS, PART 6: I can't believe I almost missed it. Sunday, Mickey Kaus reacted to this Wired piece on an arguably overzealous federal child porn sting. Eugene Volokh gives some of his professional legal insights into the issue (for my amateur legal opinions see here and here; see here for my thoughts on policy, and here for my thoughts on why adult-child sexual relationships are wrong.)

Kaus notes that there are other forms of entertainment that hurt those involved (car crash videos, for example) which we don't outlaw, and Volokh follows this line of reasoning to opine that a ban on animal "crush videos" is unconstitutional. Are you surprised that I've written about crush videos, and sex-driven animal cruelty in general, here?

Volokh draws a distinction between child porn and crush videos because of the seriousness of the crime involved, i.e. child molestation vs. animal cruelty. I basically agree with his analysis, but as I noted in the post linked above (the most recent "here"), animal cruelty in the form of sexual abuse isn't really about animals, and introduces unique policy questions.

Steve Silberman, who wrote the Wired piece, emailed Kaus (see the update at the end of his post) to say that he agrees with the logic of banning child porn with which Kaus quibbled. "But then [Adam Vaughn, Silberman's] poster-boy victim belongs in jail, no?" Not necessarily, Mickey. I agree with the logic of traffic signals at busy intersections, but that doesn't mean I think running a red light should warrant five years in prison with no parole. Vaughn, who has no apparant pedophile inclinations, downloaded super-human amounts of porn, most of it legal, and left some of it (which was not legal) in a "Too Young" file. He should probably get some long and unpleasant probation, but there's a point where "setting an example" goes too far.

Posted by John Tabin at September 19, 2002 04:48 AM