Friday, October 05, 2007

Exegeting SCOTUS

David B. Hart, "The Pornography Culture," The New Atlantis, shows us how the theologian-cultural critic can relativize and contextualize constitutional jurisprudence without looking like a Con law dilettante:
We have, as a society, long accepted the legal fiction that we are incapable of even that minimal prudential wisdom necessary to distinguish speech or art worthy of protection from the most debased products of the imagination, and so have become content to rely upon the abstract promise of free speech as our only sure defense against the lure of authoritarianism. And perhaps, at this juncture in cultural history, this lack of judgment is no longer really a fiction.
This is why I profess so little interest in the question of the constitutionality of COPA [Child Online Protection Act]; the more interesting question, it seems to me, concerns what sort of society we have succeeded in creating if the conclusions we draw from the fundamental principles of our republic oblige us to defend pornographers’ access to a medium as pervasive, porous, complex, and malleable as the Internet against laws intended to protect children.