opinion

Freedom Isn't Free

Stephen Yagielowicz
Freedom: It's something that many of those who have it take for granted, and something that those without it would kill, and die for. It's also something that many of us could preserve for ourselves, if only we paid a little more attention to what we're doing...

Foremost on my mind today is tomorrow's elections in Iraq. While I make no claims at being a historian, it is my understanding that these will be the first meaningful elections ever held in that country. Despite being "the cradle of civilization," Democracy is a new concept in this part of the world, and for the very first time, the "folks" will have the chance to choose their leaders, and influence their future.

Balancing the wonder of this historical moment is the fear of an incredibly likely chance that the whole affair will turn into a blood bath at the hands of the enemies of freedom.

Such is the price of freedom; and tomorrow, the Iraqi people may learn its true cost. The elections will go on, however, regardless of the toll – and in years to come, the Iraqi people will learn the true value of what it is that they have sacrificed for. I pray that all goes smoothly, the situation improves, and for a swift (but appropriately timed) return home for our Marines, soldiers, sailors, and airmen doing their duty far from home and their loved ones.

The fight for freedom isn't simply limited to Iraq, however, but to every country. Like the Yin and the Yang, the forces of liberty and repression will always oppose one another; and the best that we can hope for is to find a balance between the two. Such is the case here in America, where some elements of our industry and beyond with an "anything goes" mentality are waking up to the realization that "everyone else" has a different take on the subject...

For example, recent news of the dismissal of the Extreme Associates obscenity case should not be seen as a green flag to race off into excess, but a warning sign that "Plan B" could soon come into effect. This will most likely be the widespread enforcement of 2257. While some elements in government and private life would rather have the 'moral victory' of dealing a blow to "obscenity," the more pragmatic may simply be content to see relatively massive numbers of adult webmasters jailed on felony 2257 violation charges.

Prosecution over technicalities surrounding federal record keeping statutes won't have the same taste of victory for our opponents, but it will get the job done – quickly, and easily.

This is a prime example of where freedom demands responsibility. Sure, you can continue to offer online adult entertainment, even material that some communities might find 'obscene' – but you had better have all of your paperwork in order.

Sadly, most webmasters are too busy building sites and drumming up traffic to bother with ensuring that their "i's are dotted and t's crossed." These people could have a few years sitting in a federal penitentiary to contemplate their business skills.

I saw the tail end of an interview with the President on television the other day. I don't know the context of his statement, but the part I did see had George Bush saying that he supported our First Amendment rights, but that there needed to be 'limits' on how those rights were expressed.

I agree, as do most Americans. The textbook example is that while you have freedom of speech, it does not include yelling "fire!" in a crowded movie house. If you can't control yourself, the government will do it for you.

By accepting the responsibilities that accompany freedom, we demonstrate that we are worthy to have it. Be careful in what you're doing, and remember: no one ever profited from poking a finger in Uncle Sam's eye. Take care! ~ Stephen

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