It's Not About the First Amendment

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Mark Kastleman

It never ceases to amaze me the lengths pornographers will go to distract us from the true issues of pornography by invoking the argument that "It's all about your First Amendment rights!"

In their smoke-and-mirrors efforts to draw us away from the truth, they would have us believe that they are "champions of the First Amendment" sent to guard this freedom for all of us. This, they assert, is their high and noble right or purpose in making pornography available to the masses.

I find this impossible to believe and I am insulted that they would consider the public so ignorant and gullible as to buy into this "smoke screen."

It has been said: "Your actions speak so loudly that I cannot hear what you are saying." Such is the case with pornographers. They flourish on the oxygen of freedom, then turn around and pollute the very air that made their existence possible. Pornographers prosper financially by stealing personal freedom from others. The more "addicts" they can create, the more money they make.

A pornographer claiming to champion the cause of freedom is like a slave trader who says he is leading his captives to freedom, only to have them discover the real truth when it is too late-when they are in chains below deck! How many men, teenagers and even women, who considered viewing pornography a freedom issue, are now hopelessly shackled in the irons of sexual addiction?

The "Undernet" - A Pornographer's Marketing Dream Come True

Many who distribute information via the Internet are good, decent people driven by positive or, at worst, commercial motives. Then there are those who use the Internet to degrade, exploit and enslave. Internet pornographers have forged a dark, destructive side of the Internet aptly labeled by many as the "Undernet." The Internet has spawned a pornography marketing and distribution vehicle that up until a few short years ago didn't exist, not even in pornographers' wildest imaginations. Think of it-

  • No more city ordinances or other governmental restrictions on selling explicit, degrading porn of every type.
  • No more hassles with city zoning laws to build "adult" bookstores and video arcades.
  • Elimination of all magazine printing costs, postage, expensive advertising, video duplication, etc.

Now at a fraction of the cost, with little overhead, pornographers can pipe their wares directly into the home and office of anyone who has a personal computer! It's pure profit! It's a marketer's dream-come-true utopia! And its effect is the spread of pornography at a rate that already is off the charts.

Millions of Free Porn Images at the Push of a Button

Some industry leaders have estimated that somewhere between 10 and 30% of all sites on the Internet have a pornographic orientation and that the number is growing rapidly. If these figures hold true, that means that of the over seven million new webpages appearing on the Internet every day, some 700,000 to 2.1 million can be considered pornographic.

In addition, tens of thousands of website addresses are out there that are designed to automatically lead users back to these pornographic webpages. Multiple addresses means that any number of different web addresses will link back to the same site, making estimating the number of actual porn sites virtually impossible.

Multiple addresses also means that the likelihood of child, teen and adult Internet surfers being exposed to hard-core pornography is extremely high. Virtually all of these sites post "teaser" photos that anyone can access without adult age verification. Just click on the box that says: "I'm over 18, let me in."

Once in, a user can sample, at no cost, everything explicit imaginable- even beyond imagination. And there are a growing number of sites that allow users to view everything in the site at no charge at all, the costs subsidized by the affiliated pay sites.

What's In It For the Internet Pornographers?

Over the years I have spent hundreds of hours conducting educational workshops covering a variety of subjects. One of the principles I teach deals with "motive." I teach participants that whenever someone is trying to sell you something or convince you to do something, you should always ask, "What's in it for you? What is your motive?"

Recent statistics reveal the following:

  • 40 million adults in the U.S. visit Internet porn sites-and the numbers are growing rapidly.
  • 72 million people worldwide will visit Internet porn sites this year.
  • Internet surfers spent approximately one billion dollars on access to Internet porn sites and this number is expected to rise to more than $3 billion by the year 2003.
  • Pornography is now number one in terms of all categories of Internet sales. It is accessed more than games, travel, jokes, cars, health, weather and jobs combined.

Isn't the pornographer's true motive obvious? How many of these pornographers would be touting themselves as "champions of the First Amendment" if there was no money in the distribution of pornography? Just as Hollywood discovered long ago, pornographers are well aware of the fact that "sex sells"-period. But you have to admit, the First Amendment decoy is a wickedly brilliant strategy, as it sidetracks the public from examining the real issues and makes it difficult for those who have insight into the pornographer's true motive to be understood as they speak out.

Anyone who challenges the pornographers is labeled "pro-censorship," or a "right wing religious fanatic," or is said to favor a "police state." Isn't it interesting-and not a little disturbing-how easily "good can be twisted to appear evil" and "evil can be disguised as good?" With greed as their driving force, pornographers will stop at nothing to increase and protect their profits. They will use every trick in the book to attract and addict as many people as possible.

And anyone seriously addicted to anything will tell you that the most precious gift they have forfeited is their freedom. How can a group of individuals dedicated to the promotion of addiction for the sake of profits dare claim they are defenders of the constitution?

Stealth Internet Sites

If you want further evidence that pornographers only care about profits and couldn't care less about freedom and the First Amendment, consider how they intentionally expose the innocent to pornography on the Internet. Thousands of pornography sites appear on the Internet specifically designed to take advantage of innocent mistakes in order to expose adults, teens and children to graphic sexual images:

  • Mirror Sites: By simply altering the ending of a website address, pornographers are able to expose adults and children to their wares. For example, if someone searching for the official website for the White House types www.whitehouse.com instead of www.whitehouse.gov, he or she will be exposed to a hard-core porn site.
  • Spelling Errors: Pornographers have intentionally given their porn sites addresses that match up to commonly misspelled Internet addresses. For instance, if an Internet user types in www.betscape.com rather than www.netscape.com, or www.sharware.com instead of www.shareware.com, he will be confronted with live sex shows and other X-rated offerings.
  • Misuse of Brand Name: An innocent search on "Disney Cartoons" will of course bring up Internet links to wholesome cartoons-as well as a host of links to sites showing popular cartoon characters engaged in sex acts.

Internet Pornographers Seek to Expose and Addict the Innocent and the Young Through "Index Words"

When someone is trying to find information on a particular subject on the Internet, he will often enter a word or phrase and request a search be done to find the sites that match up to those words.

As part of programming, websites contain a list of index words supposedly pertaining to the material contained on them. Internet search engines use these index words to provide surfers with a list of websites related to these index words. Many children's Internet sites include index words in their programming ("toys," "dollhouse," "girls," "pets," "Beanie Babies," etc.) Teen sites might include index words such as "NBA," "sports," "boys," "cars," etc. Searching the Internet using these words can take the Internet surfer to sites appropriate to children and teen sites, but also to porn sites.

You would expect that pornography websites would only include index words like "sex," "nudity," and other words too explicit to list here. The idea being that if someone really wants to view pornography, he can enter specific search words and the pornographic websites will pop up. Not so.

A few years ago a friend shared his dismay at having porn sites appear when he did a search on the word "basketball." As he investigated the internal programming code of one of the porn sites, he was shocked to discover that the site had included the word "basketball" in its index word list. This meant that any person typing in the word "basketball" would have any number of porn sites thrown into the mix of legitimate sites dealing with basketball. But what was even more disturbing to my friend was that the porn sites had also included in their index word list the names of popular video games and television programs oriented to young children and teenagers. Internet pornographers were clearly attempting to lure innocent children and unsuspecting teens to their sites! This clearly illustrated that Internet pornographers are not a strictly adult-to-adult business. Rather, they are "trolling" our youth to see how many they can snare in their addictive net, knowing that an addicted youth becomes a profitable adult buyer.

Some words on Internet porn index lists appear to be nothing more than gibberish until you realize that they are words that people often misspell or in which letters are easily transposed: IMB instead of IBM. Yes, pornographers have even studied what common words tend to be typed incorrectly when a person is working on a keyboard, and have purposely included those words in their index word lists.

Why would they spend the time and money to put these completely unrelated terms and nonsense words into their programming? In fact, when you first pull up a pornography website's massive index word list, you ask yourself, "Why on earth are all these words listed? They have nothing to do with pornography." Then it hits you! Pornographers are predators who are baiting and stalking anyone and everyone.

Mouse-Trapping

If anyone is yet unconvinced of pornographers' true motives, then this should be the final self-incriminating evidence against them: Every day innocent adult and child viewers are exposed to Internet pornography by one or more of the dastardly techniques discussed above. But then when the viewer attempts to close the unwanted porn site, he is thwarted by a technique called "mouse-trapping," "auto-spawning" or "looping," which automatically begins opening additional sites on the surfer's computer screen. Many adults and children have described the shock of seeing one porn site after another bursting open on their screen faster than they can close them. Finally, the only way to halt the onslaught is to turn the computer's power switch off. But by that time what assortment of explicit images has the innocent viewer been exposed to?

A Special Note About E-Mail

Pornographers commonly engage in plucking e-mail addresses off the Internet. Then they may send out e-mail to 20 million addresses at once and "spoof" an innocent Internet user by showing the e-mail coming from a source such as "Christian Church." When a user opens her e-mail, she is instantly exposed to pornography. On one occasion a friend of mine received an e-mail message from "Karen," along with a note that read, "Haven't heard from you in a while." In that he has a sister named Karen, he opened the e-mail and was instantly blasted with pornographic language text inviting him to click on the link and gain instant access to Internet porn sites.

Make no mistake: Internet pornographers are ruthless and they will literally stop at nothing to make a profit and ensure the long-term continuation of that profit by hooking as many viewers as possible.

An Additional Note On the First Amendment

I believe it is a tremendous insult to our Founding Fathers to suggest that they intended to include pornography in their efforts to ensure freedom of expression to the citizens of this nation. Rather, the purpose of the First Amendment is to protect our right to express ourselves freely. Pornographers have distorted and twisted this noble intention to satisfy their own greed by exploiting the sexual appetites of men, women and teens.

Consider the fact that the First Amendment does not protect slander, false advertising, or perjury. It is a serious offense to yell "Fire!" in a theater or even to joke about having planted a bomb in an airport. Why, then, do pornographers argue that the First Amendment should protect something so obviously harmful, degrading and destructive to our society as hard-core and child pornography?

It is interesting to note that Internet pornographers don't even try to disguise what it is they are selling. On their own websites they use phrases like, "The best filth on the web" or "The raunchiest site on the Internet," two of the more tame references used.

Pornographers arrogantly flaunt the fact that their material is utter trash; their defiance is legendary. They constantly make reference to and encourage the men and teens who view their material to use it to achieve sexual climax. In addition, they refer to and even graphically display this act in their Internet advertisements.

Is this what our Founding Fathers fought so hard to protect?

Mark B. Kastleman is the author of the revolutionary new book titled The Drug of the New Millennium-the Science of How Internet Pornography Radically Alters the Human Brain and Body-A Guide for Parents, Spouses, Clergy and Counselors. Many leading scientists, psychologists, therapists and religious leaders consider this book to be one of the most important works ever written on this subject, and a must-read for parents, spouses, clergy and counselors.

For more from Mark Kastleman, visit www.kastleman.net.