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  #1  
Old 04-03-2009, 04:16 PM
Bloggingheads Bloggingheads is offline
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Default Something Epic (Mark Kleiman & Megan McArdle)

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  #2  
Old 04-03-2009, 04:59 PM
nikkibong nikkibong is offline
 
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Default Re: Something Epic (Mark Kleiman & Megan McArdle)

YESSSS!! KLEIMAN!!!! Thanks bhtv - cant wait to watch this.
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  #3  
Old 04-03-2009, 07:44 PM
TwinSwords TwinSwords is offline
 
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Default Re: Something Epic (Mark Kleiman & Megan McArdle)

Quote:
Originally Posted by nikkibong View Post
YESSSS!! KLEIMAN!!!! Thanks bhtv - cant wait to watch this.
Seconded. It's nice to know that a real liberal can still get an occasional spot on BHTV. Good to see Megan back, as well. Looking forward to listening to this one.
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  #4  
Old 04-03-2009, 07:55 PM
pampl pampl is offline
 
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Default Re: Something Epic (Mark Kleiman & Megan McArdle)

Do we really need faux outrage over jokes about CEOs committing suicide? Jokes are supposed to be outrageous, if you want to complain about that then start by complaining about dead baby jokes and work your way down the list to the poor hurt feelings of the ultra-elite.
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  #5  
Old 04-03-2009, 05:20 PM
Joel_Cairo Joel_Cairo is offline
 
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Default Re: Something Epic (Mark Kleiman & Megan McArdle)

Plus, Peter Suderman's triumphant return to BhTV!


(for anyone who sees this post and thinks "wtf?", some background is here.)
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Last edited by Joel_Cairo; 04-04-2009 at 05:31 PM..
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  #6  
Old 04-03-2009, 05:25 PM
popcorn_karate popcorn_karate is offline
 
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Default Re: Something Epic (Mark Kleiman & Megan McArdle)

16 minutes in, Megan's first falsehood.

Grassley said they (AIG execs) should first apologize and then do one of two things either "resign or commit suicide"

Megan distorts what grassley said into the reverse: they should resign or commit suicide and they don't even get the chance to apologize.

come on Megan, i want to like you! stop lying and try to make your points using REALITY.
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  #7  
Old 04-03-2009, 05:56 PM
popcorn_karate popcorn_karate is offline
 
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Default Re: Something Epic (Mark Kleiman & Megan McArdle)

Kleinman touts a program for getting jobs for prisoners. it works great because you call employers and tell 'em they can get a minimum wage employee, and the state will ensure they are drug free, and if they don't show for work, back to prison they go!

perfect! modern slavery with every perverse incentive you can imagine for the police to lock people for no good reason.

not to mention that you stealing jobs from law abiding citizens in favor of criminals.

Would it be possible to come up with a worse system?
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  #8  
Old 04-03-2009, 06:21 PM
popcorn_karate popcorn_karate is offline
 
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Default Re: Something Epic (Mark Kleiman & Megan McArdle)

Megan,

interesting idea that taxing high earners will displace their labor into lower value things like painting their house etc.

is this a general idea or is their some data that shows the magnitude of this effect or if it actually happens at all?
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  #9  
Old 04-03-2009, 07:15 PM
breadcrust breadcrust is offline
 
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Default Great Moderation: Yeah, Right

Megan,

Interest rates are prices.
Central banks fix interest rates.
Something happens when governments fix prices.

The least you could do is mention the Austrians when discussing the "Great Moderation" (if only to say something snide.)
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  #10  
Old 04-03-2009, 07:38 PM
willmybasilgrow willmybasilgrow is offline
 
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Default Re: Something Epic (Mark Kleiman & Megan McArdle)

Sorry, I don't know NYC real well, but isn't saying you grew up on the Upper West Side before it was gentrified like saying you grew up in Beverly Hills before it was gentrified?

Also - Japanese suicide. I will have to youtube Grassley saying whatever he did, but from what I heard of secondhand accounts, he was not so much talking about death and retribution as about shame.

Interesting to be hearing this conversation on a day when 14 people died in yet another spree killing.

"Except for the murders, our crime is going down," (paraphrased) Marion Barry, former DC mayor, while he was mayor during crack/murder epidemic.

Last edited by willmybasilgrow; 04-03-2009 at 08:06 PM..
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  #11  
Old 04-03-2009, 08:36 PM
uncle ebeneezer uncle ebeneezer is offline
 
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Default Re: Alcohol Conspiracy?

Connection fail? Or did the alcohol lobby jump in to prevent Mark from finishing his statement? You be the judge:

http://bloggingheads.tv/diavlogs/187...2:34&out=12:55
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  #12  
Old 04-03-2009, 10:29 PM
Jay J Jay J is offline
 
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Default Re: Something Epic (Mark Kleiman & Megan McArdle)

Both of our diavloggers thought that punishing people harshly for possessing child porn was insane/tragic. I'm not sure what the exact penalties are, but apparently the person Megan knows spent 6 months in prison; that doesn't automatically strike me as too harsh.

I mean, would there be such a market if there were no consumers? Perhaps there would, but it seems like it would be smaller. The purchase of child porn, or perhaps the amount of clicks registered on certain sites, presumably count as demand, so there is a supply (or the creation of the supply persists).

(I believe the Supreme Court has said that cartoon drawings do not qualify as child porn. To the extent that we're talking about digital imagines and cartoons and such, I agree with our diavloggers).
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  #13  
Old 04-03-2009, 11:16 PM
AemJeff AemJeff is offline
 
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Default Re: Something Epic (Mark Kleiman & Megan McArdle)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jay J View Post
Both of our diavloggers thought that punishing people harshly for possessing child porn was insane/tragic. I'm not sure what the exact penalties are, but apparently the person Megan knows spent 6 months in prison; that doesn't automatically strike me as too harsh.

I mean, would therec be such a market if there were no consumers? Perhaps there would, but it seems like it would be smaller. The purchase of child porn, or perhaps the amount of clicks registered on certain sites, presumably count as demand, so there is a supply (or the creation of the supply persists).

(I believe the Supreme Court has said that cartoon drawings do not qualify as child porn. To the extent that we're talking about digital imagines and cartoons and such, I agree with our diavloggers).
Criminalizing the possession of images seems to me to be about as harsh a rejection of the idea of personal freedom and autonomy as I can imagine. Arguing that the effect justifies the means opens the door to almost anything, in my opinion.
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  #14  
Old 04-04-2009, 12:11 AM
Wonderment Wonderment is offline
 
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Default Kiddie Porn

Quote:
Criminalizing the possession of images seems to me to be about as harsh a rejection of the idea of personal freedom and autonomy as I can imagine. Arguing that the effect justifies the means opens the door to almost anything, in my opinion.
Yes, I agree. The precedent of criminalizing the adult consumption of psychotropic substances -- a horrible and equally insane state intervention -- supplied all the nanny reasoning necessary to criminalize sexual thoughts about minors. Once you've criminalized states of mind ("drugs") it's a slippery slope to criminalizing possession of photos.

Also, there is the long tradition of criminalizing sexual acts like "sodomy" and adultery.

It goes without saying, of course, that any involvement of real children in the production of porn should be banned and the perps should be prosecuted.

I was very happy to see Mark accept some responsibility for the "law and order" monster he helped empower in an earlier incarnation. Perhaps now is the time -- at long last -- to look at how other advanced democracies deal with crime effectively and how they still manage to have incarceration rates not even remotely approaching those of the US.

I lived in Spain for a year and was very impressed with post-Franco criminal justice. This was during the conservative Aznár government, which did nothing to roll back Socialist reforms. Europe, of course, has banned the death penalty, and Spain's maximum sentence for a crime is 30 years. There is no life without parole. Also, the consumption of any drug is not criminalized. But most impressive of all is the European (and civilized, I would say) approach to rehabilitation and life after prison.

It seems those crazy Euros actually believe in not stigmatizing a person for life once s/he has completed the prison sentence. The assumption is that the punishment imposed by the judge is actually the punishment for the crime. When the punishment is over, the person is free. Here, in several states "felons" can't vote, and everywhere they must forever wear the Scarlet F on their foreheads when applying for employment, college enrollment, and so on. Sex offenders are -- as pointed out in the dialogue -- hounded for life.

This last fact is a bit odd in a society which seems to relish the prospect of subjecting men to homosexual gang rape in prison. Perhaps Jay Leno's next soap bar joke can be prosecuted as a thought crime (possession of a gang rape fantasy).
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  #15  
Old 04-04-2009, 02:34 AM
uncle ebeneezer uncle ebeneezer is offline
 
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Default Re: Kiddie Porn

Alan Dershowitz wrote an interesting article on Child Porn laws, years ago in Penthouse I believe. The crux of the argument being: regardless of how distasteful we might find it, how is somebody calling a phone line and listening to an adult pretend to be a child, a criminal act? If no child is actually harmed. It's an interesting question that pushes the boundaries of rights and social norms, and what is an actual threat to the well-being of children and what is just a perverted harmless fantasy. And how do we treat it and on what grounds do we make that decision. Anyways, it was pretty thought-provoking stuff.
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  #16  
Old 04-04-2009, 02:52 AM
Jay J Jay J is offline
 
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Default Re: Something Epic (Mark Kleiman & Megan McArdle)

uncle ebeneezer,

If no child is involved, (like in the case of cartoons, digital images, and adults pretending to be kids), then I don't think anyone is doing any tangible harm (so far as I can tell). I think both diavloggers agreed on that. And I agree with Dershowitz. As do I think AemJeff, Wonderment, and the "Supremes."

AemJeff,

In cases of possessing child porn (and my understanding, as I indicated before, is that cartoon images and the like are not child porn) there are actual children involved. If one believes in the explanatory power of supply and demand, and one is a realist about such explanations, then presumably demand has causal power in terms of what is produced. So the possession of images must have involved the acquisition of images. In acquiring the images, the child porn consumer is creating a situation where actual children will be harmed. Granted, the people who kidnap or coerce or trick the children, along with the producers of the child porn, seem to be a more relevant direct cause. But I do, again, believe that accepting supply and demand as a real explanation involves believing that demand has causal power.

But then again, your use of the word "effect" seemed to acknowledge that, so forgive me for possibly whipping a dead horse.

As for the sentence, "Arguing that the effect justifies the means opens the door to almost anything..."

Forgive me in advance if my style is too dry, but I'm not sure what else ever causes us to employ the means I am suggesting, other than unwanted effects. So I seem to need you to elaborate on that point a bit more.
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  #17  
Old 04-04-2009, 03:06 AM
Wonderment Wonderment is offline
 
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Default Re: Something Epic (Mark Kleiman & Megan McArdle)

Quote:
In cases of possessing child porn (and my understanding, as I indicated before, is that cartoon images and the like are not child porn) there are actual children involved. If one believes in the explanatory power of supply and demand, and one is a realist about such explanations, then presumably demand has causal power in terms of what is produced. So the possession of images must have involved the acquisition of images. In acquiring the images, the child porn consumer is creating a situation where actual children will be harmed. Granted, the people who kidnap or coerce or trick the children, along with the producers of the child porn, seem to be a more relevant direct cause. But I do, again, believe that accepting supply and demand as a real explanation involves believing that demand has causal power.
I disagree with this argument on principle, but I also think it's factually flawed. My understanding is that it is illegal to give away or trade kiddie porn. In other words, there may be no commerce involved. That comes awfully close to criminalizing "dirty" thoughts.

It's also disturbing from a libertarian pov to watch the entrapment programs that have become a big success on television. The police or the media or a concerned citizen pose as underage boys and girls to expose, trap and arrest the perpetrator of nothing more tangible than hitting on a police officer.

Similar entrapment schemes have their precedent in busts of "Johns" soliciting fake prostitutes. Where's the crime? Who is the victim?
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  #18  
Old 04-04-2009, 03:14 AM
Jay J Jay J is offline
 
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Default Re: Something Epic (Mark Kleiman & Megan McArdle)

I also understand that it is illegal to trade kiddie porn, as it is illegal to trade cocaine. It certainly does not follow there is no commerce involving cocaine.

However, if it can be demonstrated that no commerce is involved and the only reason there is child porn is that the producers of it are just sick bastards that enjoy making it, then I will withdraw my argument.

I would like to know more about your dispute with my argument on principle though...

And FWIW, the TV shows you mentioned make my stomach turn. Condemnation makes for great entertainment I guess.

Last edited by Jay J; 04-04-2009 at 04:20 AM..
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  #19  
Old 04-04-2009, 10:11 AM
AemJeff AemJeff is offline
 
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Default Re: Something Epic (Mark Kleiman & Megan McArdle)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jay J View Post
uncle ebeneezer,

If no child is involved, (like in the case of cartoons, digital images, and adults pretending to be kids), then I don't think anyone is doing any tangible harm (so far as I can tell). I think both diavloggers agreed on that. And I agree with Dershowitz. As do I think AemJeff, Wonderment, and the "Supremes."

AemJeff,

In cases of possessing child porn (and my understanding, as I indicated before, is that cartoon images and the like are not child porn) there are actual children involved. If one believes in the explanatory power of supply and demand, and one is a realist about such explanations, then presumably demand has causal power in terms of what is produced. So the possession of images must have involved the acquisition of images. In acquiring the images, the child porn consumer is creating a situation where actual children will be harmed. Granted, the people who kidnap or coerce or trick the children, along with the producers of the child porn, seem to be a more relevant direct cause. But I do, again, believe that accepting supply and demand as a real explanation involves believing that demand has causal power.

But then again, your use of the word "effect" seemed to acknowledge that, so forgive me for possibly whipping a dead horse.

As for the sentence, "Arguing that the effect justifies the means opens the door to almost anything..."

Forgive me in advance if my style is too dry, but I'm not sure what else ever causes us to employ the means I am suggesting, other than unwanted effects. So I seem to need you to elaborate on that point a bit more.
"Causal power" is an awfully slippery idea. Somebody engaging in the perfectly legal act of collecting porn images is made a criminal because among those images is a sixteen-year-old girl? At how many removes is our "causal power" deemed to have attentuated below the threshhold of criminality? Should a collector of vintage child porn be subjected to the same laws as somebody who demands only contemporary stuff? What about a documentarian collecting such images, what culpability has he?

Forcing children to engage in depraved acts is not morally comparable to viewing images of those acts. Distinguishing between "innocent" viewing and less forgivable forms requires effectively criminalizing states of mind. That is an endeavor regarding which I think free societies ought to have extreme care.

It's also important to consider the specific problem of highly emotionally charged areas of law trampling on real legal rights because it's so easy to demagogue [oops, there I go verbing a noun!] such charged issues.
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Last edited by AemJeff; 04-04-2009 at 12:02 PM.. Reason: "how many" not "how may"
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  #20  
Old 04-04-2009, 12:13 PM
Jay J Jay J is offline
 
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Default Re: Something Epic (Mark Kleiman & Megan McArdle)

Quote:
"Causal power" is an awfully slippery idea. Somebody engaging in the perfectly legal act of collecting porn images is made a criminal because among those images is a sixteen-year-old girl? At how may removes is our "causal power" deemed to have attentuated below the threshhold of criminality? Should a collector of vintage child porn be subjected to the same laws as somebody who demands only contemporary stuff? What about a documentarian collecting such images, what culpability has he?

Forcing children to engage in depraved acts is not morally comparable to viewing images of those acts. Distinguishing between "innocent" viewing and less forgivable forms requires effectively criminalizing states of mind. That is an endeavor regarding which I think free societies ought to have extreme care.

It also important to consider the specific problem of highly emotionally charged areas of law trampling on real legal rights because it's so easy to demagogue [oops, there I go verbing a noun!] such charged issues.
Well if causal power is all that slippery, then we would have a problem prosecuting even those who do the actual forcing or tricking of the children into doing the porn. But if you allow me good old fashioned common sense about causation, then it seems like we can distinguish the differences in serious between not only the producers of and the consumers of child porn, but we could also distinguish between the person who has one image of a sixteen year old girl and one who has 300 images of girls who are between the ages of 3 and 10. I mean, we're gonna have problems knowing where to draw the lines any time we make such distinctions, but we can seek to avoid the effects nonetheless if we deem it harmful enough.

In this case I think having 300 images of children between the ages of 3 and 10 suggest more than simple viewing and more than an accidental download or what have you, and I believe it's not hard to conclude that the category of people fitting the description of having copious amounts of porn involving very young children are creating a demand for such material (assuming it is not shown that no economic incentives are involved at all). That doesn't seem like particularly novel reasoning to me. If your concern is about where to draw the line, well we always have the concern it seems, but we decide that certain sociological activities need to be banned and their results avoided, so we employ the means of punishment, how else does it work?

If your original argument about violating personal autonomy is correct, then presumably we could have the argument about whether obvious cases of rampant child porn consumption should be punished (like the way Megan's acquaintance was punished) without worrying about where to draw the line. We could have this "in principle" argument, and then you could still balk at agreeing with me full stop because you would be too worried about punishing too many relative innocents.

But setting that aside for a moment, the balancing act will always be between protecting rights and trying to provide to a disincentive; and again, I don't know any other way we do it besides employing certain means to avoid a certain effect, but I allow that I may be missing something big.
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  #21  
Old 04-04-2009, 12:41 PM
AemJeff AemJeff is offline
 
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Default Re: Something Epic (Mark Kleiman & Megan McArdle)

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Originally Posted by Jay J View Post
Well if causal power is all that slippery, then we would have a problem prosecuting even those who do the actual forcing or tricking of the children into doing the porn. But if you allow me good old fashioned common sense about causation, then it seems like we can distinguish the differences in serious between not only the producers of and the consumers of child porn, but we could also distinguish between the person who has one image of a sixteen year old girl and one who has 300 images of girls who are between the ages of 3 and 10. I mean, we're gonna have problems knowing where to draw the lines any time we make such distinctions, but we can seek to avoid the effects nonetheless if we deem it harmful enough.

In this case I think having 300 images of children between the ages of 3 and 10 suggest more than simple viewing and more than an accidental download or what have you, and I believe it's not hard to conclude that the category of people fitting the description of having copious amounts of porn involving very young children are creating a demand for such material (assuming it is not shown that no economic incentives are involved at all). That doesn't seem like particularly novel reasoning to me. If your concern is about where to draw the line, well we always have the concern it seems, but we decide that certain sociological activities need to be banned and their results avoided, so we employ the means of punishment, how else does it work?

If your original argument about violating personal autonomy is correct, then presumably we could have the argument about whether obvious cases of rampant child porn consumption should be punished (like the way Megan's acquaintance was punished) without worrying about where to draw the line. We could have this "in principle" argument, and then you could still balk at agreeing with me full stop because you would be too worried about punishing too many relative innocents.

But setting that aside for a moment, the balancing act will always be between protecting rights and trying to provide to a disincentive; and again, I don't know any other way we do it besides employing certain means to avoid a certain effect, but I allow that I may be missing something big.
Either we believe in absolute freedom of thought or we don't. I can think and write about any vile act I want and I'm shielded by the constitution(*). I can read any text document describing any real act committed against an existing person, and I'm still protected by that shield. The moment I choose to participate in the commission of such an act, I've left my constitutional protection behind. I don't see any difference in principle between that and what we're discussing here. If you're involved in the commission of a crime, it doesn't matter if you're a tertiary participant. Passive contact with the result of that crime is not the same thing. And there's no principle that I'm aware of that voids the constitutional shield based on content.

We agree, of course, about balancing. But, criminalizing the viewing or possession of arrangements of pixels, regardless of their provenance, strikes me as beyond an inviolate boundary.

Trafficking is a separate issue for me. But, I'd still argue that consumers can't be treated as if they bear the same degree of culpability as distributors. I think there's a nuanced argument available in this case such that laws can be designed to pressure consumers to reveal specific sources, in cases where it can be proved that money changed hands; but, I doubt that I'm smart enough to really flesh that thought out.

As a general rule, I should say, I find that arguments based on a view of "common sense" too vague to assure me that they're meaningful.

Also, I do worry about this sort of law not only creating a lot of innocent victims, but becoming a tool, a means to circumvent constitutional protections - the camel's nose of tyranny.

(*) Added: The exception to that is, of course, a specific threat.
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Last edited by AemJeff; 04-04-2009 at 01:27 PM..
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  #22  
Old 04-04-2009, 02:31 PM
Jay J Jay J is offline
 
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Default Re: Something Epic (Mark Kleiman & Megan McArdle)

AemJeff,

I never meant to imply that the consumer was as *criminally* culpable as the producer, only that there is causal power in demand (I would wish for the producers of such material to spend more time in jail than Megan's acquaintance, who was a consumer). If it is the case that demand is created and/or stoked by consumption, (if it isn't, then my argument fails on factual grounds, but assuming there is demand created/stoked), then it is not as if these pictures just exist already prepared to view on everyone's computer screen. They don't, one needs to acquire them first. It is this acquisition that I am hypothesizing that has causal power.

I don't believe that the consumption of child porn is simply a thought, it involves a transaction (which may or may not involve money) in which the consumer acquires the image. People can and should be free to imagine children doing whatever they want in their own heads, and do it till the cows come home... but that is not all they do when they acquire child porn (which, if I were king, would not include virtual images).

Last edited by Jay J; 04-04-2009 at 02:36 PM..
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  #23  
Old 04-04-2009, 02:52 PM
AemJeff AemJeff is offline
 
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Default Re: Something Epic (Mark Kleiman & Megan McArdle)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jay J View Post
AemJeff,

I never meant to imply that the consumer was as *criminally* culpable as the producer, only that there is causal power in demand (I would wish for the producers of such material to spend more time in jail than Megan's acquaintance, who was a consumer). If it is the case that demand is created and/or stoked by consumption, (if it isn't, then my argument fails on factual grounds, but assuming there is demand created/stoked), then it is not as if these pictures just exist already prepared to view on everyone's computer screen. They don't, one needs to acquire them first. It is this acquisition that I am hypothesizing that has causal power.

I don't believe that the consumption of child porn is simply a thought, it involved a transaction (which may or may not involve money) in which the consumer acquires the image. People can and should be free to imagine children doing whatever they want in their own heads, and do it till the cows come home... but that is not all they do when they acquire child porn.
Ok, Jay. I don't argue about the existence of causal power in the case we're discussing. I just deny that it's a sufficient justification for criminal penalties. If that latter really isn't what you're saying, then we I think our disagreement in that regard is probably pretty marginal.

I do argue that the distinction you characterize as "People can and should be free to imagine children doing whatever they want in their own heads, and do it till the cows come home... but that is not all they do when they acquire child porn" is too ambiguous, and the judgment requires what I believe is unacceptably intrusive hypothesizing about the content of a person's private thoughts. I gave examples a couple of posts ago to illustrate that point.
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  #24  
Old 04-04-2009, 03:07 PM
Jay J Jay J is offline
 
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Default Re: Something Epic (Mark Kleiman & Megan McArdle)

AemJeff,

I hope I'm not belaboring a marginal point, but I'm not sure what's ambiguous. If I am correct, then the production of child porn is not motivated only because the producers enjoy doing it (although this can be a part) but because they know people will view/consume the porn.

A person sitting in their living room thinking sexual thoughts about children is not exercising any causal power. The person who makes a click (with or without making a purchase) is exercising causal power, so I don't see the ambiguity, at least not in principle.

As for whether the causal power is sufficient for criminal penalties, I don't see how there is going to be a way to argue about that. To me these consumers are creating and/or stoking demand, which causes more production of supply. This seems like a sufficient standard for criminal penalties. If we disagree on that, I don't guess there's anything more to say about it, it's just that I dispute that we're simply talking about legislating thought. If you acquire child porn, you influence the causal chain, that is my justification for punishment, (because we should be so concerned with stopping the production of child porn in particular, not that contributing causally to every social harm is sufficient condition for punishment).

Last edited by Jay J; 04-04-2009 at 03:28 PM..
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  #25  
Old 04-04-2009, 05:20 PM
AemJeff AemJeff is offline
 
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Default Re: Something Epic (Mark Kleiman & Megan McArdle)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jay J View Post
AemJeff,

I hope I'm not belaboring a marginal point, but I'm not sure what's ambiguous. If I am correct, then the production of child porn is not motivated only because the producers enjoy doing it (although this can be a part) but because they know people will view/consume the porn.

A person sitting in their living room thinking sexual thoughts about children is not exercising any causal power. The person who makes a click (with or without making a purchase) is exercising causal power, so I don't see the ambiguity, at least not in principle.

As for whether the causal power is sufficient for criminal penalties, I don't see how there is going to be a way to argue about that. To me these consumers are creating and/or stoking demand, which causes more production of supply. This seems like a sufficient standard for criminal penalties. If we disagree on that, I don't guess there's anything more to say about it, it's just that I dispute that we're simply talking about legislating thought. If you acquire child porn, you influence the causal chain, that is my justification for punishment, (because we should be so concerned with stopping the production of child porn in particular, not that contributing causally to every social harm is sufficient condition for punishment).
Sorry, Jay - I didn't really say what I tried to say clearly enough. I agree generally about the existence of causality between consumers of porn and creators. I'm in principle opposed to outlawing actions based on that sole justification - that is, for example, I'm equally opposed to drug laws, and laws against prostitution, because I don't believe that the indirect effects of these forms of behavior are a good argument for state interference in people's private lives. The fact that children are obviously victimized by the production of child porn is clearly a reason to directly outlaw the act of creating it. Following the causal chain beyond the point where the intent to harm somebody can be clearly established is what I oppose.

The ambiguity I'm referring to is about divining the state of mind that led somebody to acquire child porn in the first place. I agree that there are cases (almost certainly the majority, in the real world) in which it really doesn't seem that ambiguous, but I am opposed in principle to the idea that the state can answer, or should even be asking, that question. And it's equally clear to me that there is a substantial class of people who would be wrongly implicated by such a judgment.
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Last edited by AemJeff; 04-04-2009 at 05:46 PM.. Reason: wordsmithing
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  #26  
Old 04-04-2009, 05:25 PM
Jay J Jay J is offline
 
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Default Re: Something Epic (Mark Kleiman & Megan McArdle)

Fair enough AemJeff.

Makes sense. Probably it really would be whipping a dead horse if I re-iterated my view, as I have had ample space for that, and have done so already, I think.

What we have hear is not a failure to communicate, just a disagreement over where the line of govmt' should begin and end... An old fashioned disagreement.

Maybe I hang out in the wrong places, but I don't think it's common to have two people on a blog disagree so sharply and question one another's reasoning, and be able to have both sides lay their cards on the table and trace the disagreement to its root. So, good exchange man.
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Old 04-04-2009, 05:29 PM
Joel_Cairo Joel_Cairo is offline
 
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Default Re: Something Epic (Mark Kleiman & Megan McArdle)

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Originally Posted by Jay J View Post
Maybe I hang out in the wrong places, but I don't think it's common to have two people on a blog disagree so sharply and question one another's reasoning, and be able to have both sides lay their cards on the table and trace the disagreement to its root. So, good exchange man.
BhTV FTW!!
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  #28  
Old 04-04-2009, 05:56 PM
Jay J Jay J is offline
 
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Default Re: Something Epic (Mark Kleiman & Megan McArdle)

Actually the sentence, from Dickens,

"It was the best of times, it was the worst of times..."

nicely describes my experience in the BH.tv comment section. FWIW.
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  #29  
Old 04-04-2009, 05:37 PM
AemJeff AemJeff is offline
 
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Default Re: Something Epic (Mark Kleiman & Megan McArdle)

Agreed; and thanks.
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  #30  
Old 04-04-2009, 09:20 PM
uncle ebeneezer uncle ebeneezer is offline
 
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Default Re: Something Epic (Mark Kleiman & Megan McArdle)

It probably doesn't need to be said but MORE MARK KLEIMAN, PLEASE!!!!

Thank you, that is all.
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  #31  
Old 04-05-2009, 01:04 AM
claymisher claymisher is offline
 
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Default Re: Something Epic (Mark Kleiman & Megan McArdle)

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Originally Posted by uncle ebeneezer View Post
It probably doesn't need to be said but MORE MARK KLEIMAN, PLEASE!!!!

Thank you, that is all.
Count me in! I didn't realize he had a many fans here. His blog has been on my A list for a couple of years now.
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  #32  
Old 04-05-2009, 01:00 PM
nikkibong nikkibong is offline
 
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Default Re: Something Epic (Mark Kleiman & Megan McArdle)

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Count me in! I didn't realize he had a many fans here. His blog has been on my A list for a couple of years now.
What's not to like? He's ferociously smart, has schooled Heather Macdonald and Megan Mcardle on multiple occasions, and has the most impressive beard this side of the Mississippi.

And indeed: he's got a great blog.
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Old 04-05-2009, 01:28 PM
claymisher claymisher is offline
 
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Default Re: Something Epic (Mark Kleiman & Megan McArdle)

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What's not to like? He's ferociously smart, has schooled Heather Macdonald and Megan Mcardle on multiple occasions, and has the most impressive beard this side of the Mississippi.

And indeed: he's got a great blog.
I listen to the podcast so I didn't realize what a righteous beard he has. That man looks like a prophet outta the hebrew bible.

Kleiman is the very role model for liberals (and everyone else too): a hard head and a soft heart. Of course, the reason he's so sensible is because he actually knows what he's talking about. Just the first five minutes of this one is full of surprises (cops vs prison tradeoffs, actual numbers about cops and prisons and crime, varying effectiveness of police departments, crime and the economy, etc). It's a shame that being reality-based takes so much effort. You can't fake the hard work of getting the facts.
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  #34  
Old 04-05-2009, 03:02 PM
uncle ebeneezer uncle ebeneezer is offline
 
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Default Re: Something Epic (Mark Kleiman & Megan McArdle)

At the risk of erupting calls of "Two lefties!", I think a diavlog with Kleiman paired with Josh Cohen, or Glen Loury would be awesome. If the right HAD to be represented, I think Brink Lindsey would be an interesting conversation with MK.
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  #35  
Old 04-05-2009, 05:07 AM
bjkeefe bjkeefe is offline
 
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Default Re: Something Epic (Mark Kleiman & Megan McArdle)

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It probably doesn't need to be said but MORE MARK KLEIMAN, PLEASE!!!!
Yes, and please pair him with someone besides Megan, so I can watch, too.
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  #36  
Old 04-04-2009, 03:04 PM
Wonderment Wonderment is offline
 
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Default Porn, drugs and guns

Quote:
I never meant to imply that the consumer was as *criminally* culpable as the producer, only that there is causal power in demand (I would wish for the producers of such material to spend more time in jail than Megan's acquaintance, who was a consumer).
Would you imprison smokers of tobacco? We already fine them with "sin" taxes. Surely smokers exert causal power with their demand. They jack up end-of-life health care costs which arguably devastates our economy and prevents (to some extent) better health care for children.

You might argue that tobacco is legal. Then we can look at Mushrooms or Peyote. Causal Power #1 says I can grow some plants in my yard and eat them to make me feel better and to pursue my spiritual life and the health of my mind. The state says, "No, we can control your states of mind."

Quote:
I don't believe that the consumption of child porn is simply a thought, it involves a transaction (which may or may not involve money) in which the consumer acquires the image.
Like reading a newspaper.

I'd also be curious about your views on causal agents who purchase "legal" lethal weapons and end up committing mass murder on innocent civilians as happened in New York yesterday.
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  #37  
Old 04-04-2009, 03:26 PM
Jay J Jay J is offline
 
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Default Re: Porn, drugs and guns

Wonderment,

PREEMPTIVE EDIT: This is from my most recent reply to AemJeff, which I think said it better than the entirety of the following post, so hopefully it will be read with this is mind:

"If you acquire child porn, you influence the causal chain, that is my justification for punishment, (because we should be so concerned with stopping the production of child porn in particular, not that contributing causally to every social harm is sufficient condition for punishment)."

I don't view the results you mention from smoking as being as devastating as child porn. Maybe my factual view is skewed, but my reasoning is based on the moral outrage surrounding child porn and its production. As for mushrooms as the like, sorry but I don't see an analogy there at all. I'm all for mushrooms, I don't see the big harm there.

As for your question about guns, I'm not sure I understand it. I mean, as it reads, I think people who kill others should be put away (though I'm not big on the death penalty). But I imagine you mean something different, like law abiding gun purchasers who contribute to the production of guns that are then used in murders. Ok so in the case of guns, I don't see each transaction as involved something horrible. Most don't involve violence at all, whereas if you assume my argument about the causal power of child porn consumption, then each child porn transaction is pernicious. Sure, if I were designing a society from scratch, I would probably make the gun laws much more strict. As it stands, the Supreme Court, and one of our major political parties, believes the 2nd Amendment confers the right to own a gun almost unconditionally, so the zeitgeist is pretty heavily influenced by that.

But in the case of child porn, virtually no one is for it, it's just that we have other concerns about the legitimacy of punishing its consumption. What I am saying is that each instance child porn is a token of something coercive and horrible, which isn't the case with smoking or gun owning. To engage in the causal chain of child porn is to engage in something violent and pernicious from beginning to end, whereas owning a gun isn't, at least not necessarily.

So the fact that there is a causal chain that consumers participate in which results in social harms is not, like, the necessary and sufficient condition for outlawing something, I don't think, and I don't believe I've said that. I think in the case of child porn, however, it's something so non-redeeming, that to participate in the causal chain is to be partially responsible for its continues existence. True enough, the same is true with guns, but I don't think my argument is simply one of form and no content; the causal chain is not an essence that can be distilled and applied equally everywhere. It depends on how throughly bad, or irredeemable, a particular social activity is.

To reiterate, if I had my way, we would go back in time and re-work the kinds of weapons civilians could get their hands on. A plausible argument to me on the 2nd Amendment is that citizens have access to the kinds of weapons private citizens during the founding generation did. Stuff you normally use to hunt with, not what was held in common, which was the stuff you could go to war with.

Last edited by Jay J; 04-04-2009 at 03:31 PM..
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  #38  
Old 04-04-2009, 06:41 PM
Wonderment Wonderment is offline
 
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Default Re: Porn, drugs and guns

Quote:
"If you acquire child porn, you influence the causal chain, that is my justification for punishment, (because we should be so concerned with stopping the production of child porn in particular, not that contributing causally to every social harm is sufficient condition for punishment)."
Yes, I understand your POV.

I don't want to beat the dead horse either, but why would we be so much more committed to stopping the production of child porn than stopping highway fatalities or excessive ecological footprints (destruction of the ecosystem)?

We could, for example, have a War on Speeding. Every driver convicted of exceeding 80 or 90 miles per hour would be sentenced to 10 years in prison and banned from driving for life. We might also arrest people who play high-speed video games that simulate racecar driving.

Or we could have a War on Excessive Consumption. Every person who exceeded her annual allotment of energy consumption would also go to prison. Watching videos about oil spills, Hummers and private jet planes could be criminalized.

Everyone agrees that the use of real children in the production of porn is a serious crime. But even leaving aside the civil liberties issue, the pernicious effects of producing kiddie porn could be dealt with in a more rational manner than prosecuting the fantasizer. I would go for greater regulation of the porn industry, more legal protection for sex workers, more transparency, international conventions for prosecution of offenders under universal jurisdiction principles (we are getting better at that).
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  #39  
Old 04-04-2009, 07:58 PM
Jay J Jay J is offline
 
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Default Re: Porn, drugs and guns

I understand that you understand, my POV.

But I simply can't agree that we're punishing people for being a "fantisizer." I think my POV calls for punishing people for being "acquirers."

I may have missed something in your argument, but I don't see how my view is mutually exclusive with the things you've suggested, I don't see any harm in what you're going after in terms of regulating the sex industry, insofar as I understand your suggestions. But as for the sex industry, I am presuming that child porn is always going to be outside the bounds of legality, so I'm not sure what protecting sex workers is going to do, unless you're offering some sort of 'law and economics' argument about actually legalizing child porn.

Highway fatalities are a big deal. I suppose I don't believe a society would benefit overall (however much it could prevent highway fatalities) by punishing people the way you've offered (by suggesting that perhaps I have no principled way to oppose such a thing, considering my POV of child porn "acquirers"). I don't see the same harm flowing from punishing child porn acquirers. Punishing people over the consumption that you've suggested would be narrow minded and the cure would seem worse than the disease. I don't see it the same way with child porn acquisition.

See with the war on consumption, again I just don't see the analogy, I tried to deal with this before (though I probably didn't do it very effectively) by saying that not every transaction involving guns is harmful, while every transaction involving child porn is (if I'm right about demand creating/stoking supply).

It's OK if we simply have difference intuitions about where the draw the line of government involvement, but well, first there is nothing in my approach that forestalls yours (unless you're calling for legalization of child porn production) and whether one approach or the other is more "rational," well that remains to be seen.
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  #40  
Old 04-04-2009, 10:28 AM
cragger cragger is offline
 
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Default Re: Something Epic (Mark Kleiman & Megan McArdle)

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Originally Posted by Jay J View Post

If no child is involved, (like in the case of cartoons, digital images, and adults pretending to be kids), then I don't think anyone is doing any tangible harm (so far as I can tell). I think both diavloggers agreed on that. And I agree with Dershowitz. As do I think AemJeff, Wonderment, and the "Supremes."
It is possible that my memory is faulty, but I think you will find that the courts have ruled that any sexual representation of someone younger than the state-specified acceptable age is illegal. It does not matter whether that representation is of an actual person below that age, consists of CGI, or involves older persons who are deemed to look, act, dress, or otherwise be presented as being below that age.
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