Milllions of Americans are no longer required to allow the government to raise their children for them.
The Child Online Protection Act, Bill Clinton’s panicked reaction to the mysterious new Internet, was denied certiorari by the Supreme Court, meaning that it is thoroughly dead. As someone to whose care a child is entrusted, I find this entirely good.
That’s because when I think of the children, I think of people who have parents to guide them. If you don’t want your child to look at what you consider inappropriate—not what a jury somewhere thinks is inappropriate, or what Congress thinks is inappropriate—you are in the best positon to, through a combination of education, monitoring, and, if needed, filtering, prevent them from doing so
Children are not typically victimized by online pornography per se. If I was reasonably typical, either they won’t see it at all, they’ll ignore it, or they’ll go looking for it. The first two aren’t a problem and the last is something best left to the parents to fix, both because it’s more efficient and because it lets the rest of us alone. As Melissa McEwen notes at Shakesville, “a law designed to ‘protect the children’ from pornographers necessarily impinged on the freedom of expression of feminists/queers engaged merely in the promotion of their radical ideas about equality.”
Tuesday saw the inauguration of the first president to really use the Internet, make it part of his campaign, and integrate it into his approach to public service (as evidenced by the introduction of a blog on the White House Web site). Hopefully his familiarity with the Internet will help him avoid missteps like COPA.