What is it about the Carolinas?
I mean, yes, the Republicans have long displayed an unhealthy interest in what’s under people’s clothes and what consenting adults do alone and with each other–does anyone else remember the Meese Commission Report?
But lately it seems as though the Republican-controlled Carolinas are taking the lead in screwball sex-related legislation. Back at the beginning of the year, we had North Carolina’s infamous HB2 and its precursor, Charlotte Ordinance 7056.
Before anybody tries to claim HB2 isn’t sex-related–and I’ve seen that claim–I’m going to point out that, in addition to the notorious bathroom clause, the ban on anti-discrimination policies, the minimum wage clause, and the child labor regulation, HB2 specifically defines “sex” for the state of North Carolina.
And no, I’m not unduly conflating sex and gender here. Don’t forget that North Carolina still has a law banning “sodomy in same-sex relationships” on the books. It’s unenforceable, yes, but let’s not forget which party is going to control the makeup of the Supreme Court for at least the next two years. That being the case, the definition of sex has a certain added relevance.
But I digress slightly.
The latest sexual stupidity is coming out of South Carolina where, as multiple news outlets are reporting, next month the legislature will be considering a bill to require any computer or other device that can access the Internet to come with a porn filter.
Now, granted, there’s a long series of steps between consideration of a bill and it becoming a law. But the mere fact that somebody–specifically, Republican State Representative Bill Chumley–can even propose something so out of touch with reality boggles the mind.
Leave aside the fact that we’ve got two decades of studies that show porn filters don’t work. After all, we’ve had adequate proof over the last several years that Republicans don’t believe in studies that prove anything they dislike.
But Mr. Chumley seems to believe that Apple, Dell, HP, and all the other computer manufacturers will cheerfully create special “South Carolina” editions of their systems that come with a filter installed, that the filter will somehow magically update its list of blocked sites, and that filter removals will raise enough money to make a meaningful contribution to the fight against human trafficking.
Yes, that’s right: the claimed purpose of the bill is to help prevent human trafficking by charging people twenty bucks to remove the filter.
Apparently, Mr. Chumley is unaware that every computer operating system provides a way for users to uninstall software. By themselves, even, without asking a computer dealer to help. How likely is it that anyone other than Mr. Chumley himself will bother paying to have the filter uninstalled?
Mr. Chumley is apparently also unaware of the so-called “Internet of Things”. By calling for filters to be installed on all devices with an internet connection, he’s saying that your next lightbulb, door lock, and refrigerator will need to come with porn filters. And South Carolina will, I’m sure, be happy to take your Jacksons to remove those filters. After all, you wouldn’t want your door lock to be blocked from its daily dose of sex acts, right?
Hey, President Jackson was born in Carolina–though it’s unclear whether that’s North or South. Do you suppose that’s why Mr. Chumley chose $20 as the filter-removal fee? If so, it’s the only sensible part of the entire bill.