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Though conservatives ought to be glad about anything that helps stamp out porn, they should be concerned that the Supreme Court had to rule at all on a case that hinged on the fact that federal subsidies go to libraries.

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Why Federal Aid to Public Libraries?

Though conservatives ought to be glad about anything that helps stamp out porn, they should be concerned that the Supreme Court had to rule at all on a case that hinged on the fact that federal subsidies go to libraries.

The Supreme Court has published one of those decisions we’re glad about, but that ultimately drives another nail into the Constitution’s coffin.

The nine nawabs decided Congress can force public libraries to install anti-porn software on library computers to protect our little ones from smut.

Nothing wrong with stamping out porn, but those of us concerned about the Constitution and the legitimate role of government ask several questions, not least of which is why public libraries are a federal responsibility.

The Case

The answer to that question is the basis of the lawsuit. In 2000, Congress passed a law forcing libraries to either install porn filters or lose federal subsidies.

Like you, I didn’t know local libraries received federal subsidies, but everything else does, so why not bibliotoria?

Anyway, the Supreme Court says the law is acceptable.

Funny thing is, after all the court costs and legal filings, two justices suggest the law is permissible if a library can turn off the filter off for patrons who ask.

Their idea is to ensure legitimate sites aren’t blocked for non-porno patrons, but one wonders what good the filters will do if anyone can simply ask the librarian to turn them off.

Not surprisingly, the American Library Association is aghast. It vows to keep fighting for the right of perverts to view porn on the public dime.

Not The Federal Government’s Business

The case notwithstanding, a few simple principles of law and philosophy deserve discussion, not least of which is how this silly case landed in the Supreme Court.

Answer: Everything is a federal issue or gets a federal subsidy, from collecting child support to writing novels. Congress regulates or subsidizes on a planetary scale. In this case, another unconstitutional law generated the predictable, and bogus, free-speech lawsuit.

The law is unconstitutional not because the First Amendment protects a pervert’s “right” to view dirty pictures using tax money, but because the Constitution does not authorize subsidies for public libraries. Library management isn’t among the federal government’s many activities our primordial federal law permits.

The Constitution, of course, has never stopped a politician from using it to advance his agenda. The Republicrats relentlessly struggle for control of Leviathan, and they use unconstitutional laws to expand its power and buy votes.

Library subsidies? Oppose them, and you oppose reading.

Simplest Solution

The simplest solution to the library-porn problem is closing the libraries.

For one thing, this fight is yet another example of what happens when we use public money for private purposes. In this case it was reading, and mostly reading for pleasure at that.

The inappropriate use of public money energizes the ceaseless debates over sex and evolution curricula in public schools, pornography subsidized by the federal National Endowment of the Arts, or in this case, federal library funds, and on and on. No one agrees on how tax money should be spent. Yet if we weren’t spending it on illegitimate projects, we wouldn’t have the debates or the lawsuits.

As well, taxpayers are not obliged to provide free reading material to the masses, and public libraries compete with private enterprises called bookstores.

Now, the do-gooders say people who cannot afford books need libraries. Fine. Then let the do-gooders pay for them.

Bottom line? Congress should cut off the unconstitutional subsidies and let state and localities support their own libraries.

Better yet, let’s abolish them.

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Written By

Mr. Kirkwood is managing editor of the Daily News-Record in Harrisonburg, Va.

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