Tuesday, August 25, 2015

The Constitutional Right to Watch Porn on Library Computers




Earlier today, I was working with a tutoring client at a local public library. I looked up and noticed that across the room there was someone using one of the library computers. I was not absolutely certain, but I was pretty sure that the man was using the computer to watch porn. I am not naive about what is out there on the internet nor am I the kind of person inclined to try stopping people from pursuing their own good in their own way as long as it does not involve directly initiating physical violence against someone else. I will defend to the death, the right of people to watch porn to their heart's content in the privacy of their own homes, on their own computers and with their own internet connections. That being said, using a publically financed building and computer to watch porn in public struck me as just a little bit inappropriate. Furthermore, this was at a time when school was getting out and I was sitting in the "Teen Zone." So I went over to a librarian to tell them that I thought someone was using a library computer to watch porn and to inquire what the library's policy was in regards to this matter. In my experience, library computers are supposed to be used to look up books and do research. Even to look at your email is something frowned upon. To my surprise, the librarian responded that the person had a First Amendment right to use the library's computer to look at whatever he wished.

It is great every once in awhile to run into a situation where the libertarian and conservatives sides of my brain come together in perfect synchronicity, leaving no conflict between the two. As a libertarian, I would point out that this is the inevitable conclusion of the obscenity known as positive liberty. If you are going to claim that people have a right to libraries then you must admit that people have a right to computers and then decent internet connections. Just in case you were fooled into believing that all of these things were to be used so people could read Adam Smith and, as such, were necessary to uphold a liberal democratic society and stop us from degenerating into the darkest savagery of the Scottish Highlands, tax-payer funded government libraries are for porn.



As a conservative, I take it very personally that this patron and the librarian have entered into a conspiracy to rob me at gun point and violate my religious convictions by making me support the distribution of pornography. (And I thought I would only have to bake a gay marriage cake.)

It is shocking that the librarian failed to appreciate the public relations implications of her position. The moment we acknowledge that the existence of public libraries mean that people have a constitutional right to use them to watch porn, conservatives would rebel in mass and refuse to fund public libraries at all. Imagine if every time a librarian took the stand at a public hearing over library funding they were asked what steps they were taking to making sure that government money was not being used to support porn.

In this time of crisis, as we try to figure out whether the First Amendment covers using library facilities for porn, I call for the shutdown of all government libraries until the Supreme Court can weigh in on this matter. I would be fine with whatever the court rules. If they rule against library porn then that would be a victory for a sane First Amendment. If the court rules in favor of library porn then that will be the end of government libraries.

Of course, the court might come to rule that the people must fund libraries with computers; how else are people going to watch porn? That could never happen here. (Cue Trekkie Monster laughter.)
 

3 comments:

Dan Kleinman said...

“To my surprise, the librarian responded that the person had a First Amendment right to use the library's computer to look at whatever he wished.”

Not to my surprise, the librarian, knowingly or not, has flat out lied to you. The US Supreme Court ruled in 2003 that there is no First Amendment right to Internet porn in public libraries. That was 13 years ago, so that librarian lied to you.

Contact me if you would like the benefit of my 15 years experience exposing these lies.

“It is shocking that the librarian failed to appreciate the public relations implications of her position.”

To you it is shocking. To almost everyone in the USA it is shocking. To me it is not. The American Library Association has worked for decades to mislead librarians into misleading their own communities into defying the law and following ALA/ACLU diktat instead. I’ve been studying this. Most people don’t, they understandably assume librarians would block porn in libraries. Many do not, either due to willingly following ALA diktat or due to fear of being fired if they do not.

“In this time of crisis, as we try to figure out whether the First Amendment covers using library facilities for porn, I call for the shutdown of all government libraries until the Supreme Court can weigh in on this matter.”

That sentence right there shows me the effectiveness of ALA’s pro-child porn policy. You are not even aware that very issue was already asked and answered 13 years ago. Read United States v. American Library Association, 2003. What a coincidence ALA is the losing party, right? Not.

Izgad said...

Thank you for offering some context. As you can tell, I am new to this issue.
It would seem that the Supreme Court merely ruled that the government can tell libraries that if they want funding for internet connections they must install filters. It does not directly confront the issue of whether librarians (or tax-payers) can stop people from using library facilities to look at porn. For example, what should be done if a patron can get around the filter?

Dan Kleinman said...

Izgad, correct essentially. US v. ALA does not require Internet filtering. Given only the federal CIPA law, libraries are free to filter or not filter as they choose, just so long as they filter if they are accepting money from the E-rate program for Internet Access, as opposed to Telecom Access.

But there are other laws that apply. State laws. Even municipal ones.

In Illinois, for example, a law allows for the creation of libraries for the "use and benefit" of the citizens. Libraries are not created to be absolutely anything anyone wants. They have to be for the use and benefit of people. Porn is neither for the use nor benefit of the people. Actually, it harms the people. It harms the librarians who get sexually harassed as a result of unfiltered porn. It harms the children seeing the men masturbating. It harms the people in the porn itself as it feeds into an industry that destroys people lives. Do library patrons have a First Amendment right to watch the rights and lives of porn performers being taken away? No, but ALA says yes.

So porn is harmful. Besides, US v. ALA found libraries have always blocked porn.

So porn, being harmful, is NOT for the use and benefit of the public AS THE LAW REQUIRES.

Therefore, allowing Internet porn is ACTING OUTSIDE THE LAW. If a library will not comply with the law, a city government can force it too WITHOUT piercing a library's veil of autonomy TO ACT WITHIN THE LAW.

This scares the American Library Association, this is why it NEVER discusses this. This is why it is involved in a federal SLAPP suit against me to silence me from revealing this and related matters.

Why? Because the laws needed to require the blocking of porn in public libraries ARE ALREADY IN PLACE! All that's needed is for people to wake up from the American Library Association fog and APPLY THE EXISTING LAW! Depends on the state law, by the way.

As far as a patron getting around a filter, the US Supreme Court acknowledged what we already know that filters will never be perfect. The American Library Association position is, among others, that filters will never be perfect, therefore they should never be used. That's like saying vaccines can harm a few people, therefore they should never be used.

So a patron can get around a filter? That may merely be an indication that the filter is not the best, not updated, or not managed well. Some libraries buy filters, put them on, then set them to the absolutely lowest setting that essentially does nothing, just to defraud the federal government of CIPA funding. So the circumstances are relevant as well.