This blog is normally about economics, although I've written about politics a few times. The following story really caught my attention and I felt compelled to blog about it.
The L.A. Times is reporting that the Supreme Court will hear a case this fall to decide whether or not videos of animal torture are protected by the 1st Amendment. At issue are various types of videos marketed to people with certain sexual fetishes. These videos are meant to sexually stimulate the viewer by showing small animals, kittens and such, being crushed and burned to death. Also at issue are dogfighting-related videos that show animals being trapped and left defenseless only to be killed and torn apart by pit bulls. 
Liberals are launching an all-out campaign to overturn federal legislation that makes these types of videos illegal. The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) is leading the charge. A coalition representing major media interests, including movie producers and journalists, is providing a ton of legal aid to the producers of these films under the guise of supposedly defending free speech. However, even the extremely liberal L.A. Times points out that their argument is complete baloney. The existing federal law explicitly states that depictions of hunting, fishing and other sportsmen-related activities are not illegal, nor are images that have "religious, political, scientific, journalistic, historical or artistic value" such as, say, a video of a medical/veterinary animal dissection or a documentary on food production. The law is specifically and only aimed at sadistic depictions of animal cruelty, torture or death. The things depicted in these videos would already land their producers in prison in all 50 states under existing animal cruelty laws, were they to be caught in the act of perpetrating them. Yet, Hollywood and corporate media interests are trying to convince the public that somehow your right to free speech will be infringed if these videos are banned.
Where were these liberal champions of free speech when individuals were being arrested for putting up images that depicted President Obama as The Joker?  Where were Hollywood's expensive lawyers when corporate interests had a billboard that criticized an insurance company censored and removed in Los Angeles?  Nowhere, that's where. So stop and think about that for a second before you take these jokers (heh) at face value. Why is it that they don't seem to give a damn about defending political speech, especially if that political speech criticizes their candidate of choice or challenges powerful financial interests, but they become raging libertarians when it comes to defending the "right" of some degenerate to painfully kill an innocent animal so that they can masturbate? I ask that question in all seriousness because I don't have definitive answers. All I know is that when I look around at contemporary America I see a culture that glamorizes death, promotes moral relativism (often through coercion and almost always undemocratically) and denigrates anyone who dares to believe in the dignity of living things or who dares to live by a moral code.
After all, how many of the people supporting the production of these videos are the same people who criticize anyone who hunts or fishes? When was the last time you saw Hollywood paying for lawyers to defend the 2nd Amendment? When was the last time the ACLU launched a campaign to defend the rights of hunters and fishermen? Apparently, humanely and legally hunting game to feed your family is barbaric but crushing a kitten to death under a woman's high heel (psychoanalyze that fetish, eh? ... better yet, don't) so that you can masturbate is just fine and dandy.
How are we not living in a culture of death?
This brings to mind another low point in Hollywood's history: the execution of Stanley "Tookie" Williams. In case you don't know, "Tookie" Williams was the founder of the Crips street gang who was convicted of four murders. Not only did he admit to shooting an innocent man at point-blank range and finding the man's dying gasps "hilarious," not only did he admit to targeting white and Asian victims solely because of their race, but he is also indirectly responsible (through the creation of the Crips gang) for destroying the lives of an untold number of people and transforming entire neighborhoods of Los Angeles into war zones. Yet, a wide variety of individuals in Hollywood stood by Williams and criticized the state of California for executing him. Liberals gathered in droves outside of San Quentin Prison on the night of his execution to publicly mourn the death of one of the most vile, destructive human beings to walk the earth in recent memory. These are the same people who think that anyone who has any qualms whatsoever over abortion must be a theocratic, far-right fundamentalist Christian that only wants to control women's bodies. No contradiction there, right?
What kind of society not only accepts but commercializes the suffering, misery and death of the weak, defenseless and innocent while simultaneously valorizing and praising violent psychopaths that kill other living things for their own amusement?
Is this the kind of society you want your kids to grow up in? No doubt years from now when kids are perpetrating more acts of violence, when more kids are medicated daily so that they can "deal" with reality, when more kids are psychologically damaged, liberals will blame it on ... not spending enough money on schools. Yep, we need to spend more. The possibility that it could have something to do with growing up in a culture that expresses itself through sadism and cruelty? Nah. You must be one of those old-fashioned moral absolutists. Quit making value judgments.
Am I the only who thinks our society is messed up? Not just messed up but deeply messed up? Who's promoting this culture of death and why?