(Picture found corrupting weak minds here).
Can a film critic claim to be libertarian while calling for the banning of a film he hasn't watched?
This (oxy)moron thinks so.
There's a new film out filled with sex and violence. Sounds like fun. I know there are those who think Libertarians would have infant-school day trips to watch it, but not so. It would be the parents' responsibility to decide whether their child can watch it and once they're old enough to join the Army, they're old enough to make their own decisions. Joining the Army can be a life or death decision. No bigger decision is possible so if they're judged old enough for that, they're old enough for anything. Currently the Army takes recruits at 16 and a half years old and they could be killed defending the country before they're old enough to go into the booze aisle of a supermarket. If you think that makes sense, I have a very nice bridge for sale.
Back to our authoritarian libertarian, Christopher Hart.
A film which plumbs new depths of sexual explicitness, excruciating violence and degradation has just been passed as fit for general consumption by the British Board of Film Classification.
General consumption? You mean they'll shelve it with Disney films?
They have given the film an 18 certificate.
Aha, this is the restricted general consumption that goes along with compulsory volunteering, killing in the name of peace and A* grades without knowing the subject - also known as 'freedom is slavery, war is peace, ignorance is strength' in that order. I see.
As we all know, this is meaningless nowadays in the age of the DVD because sooner or later, thanks to the gross irresponsibility of some parents, any film that is given general release will be seen by children.
Ah, but Libertarianism is all about responsibility. Corrupting children harms them, and the central tenet of Libertarianism, 'cause no harm to others', is therefore violated and the parents will be held responsible for their actions. As it is, they aren't allowed to take responsibility, so many of them don't. Besides, films like A Clockwork Orange, The Exorcist, Hellraiser and much stronger stuff is all on DVD now. If parents are likely to let their kids watch this one (which I doubt many would) then those kids have already seen some blood and boobs. I'm not saying it's right, I'm saying it's happened already.
You do not need to see Lars von Trier's Antichrist (which is released later this week) to know how revolting it is.
Actually, I would need to see it to know how revolting it is. There's no other way to judge. I'm not going to take your word for it just because you didn't like it.
I haven't seen it myself, nor shall I
Huh? So you're telling me I shouldn't be allowed to watch a film you have decided is utterly without merit, and you haven't even watched it yourself? How did you come to this conclusion, pray tell?
and I speak as a broad-minded arts critic, strongly libertarian in tendency.
You're not sounding very libertarian here. You're sounding New Labour to the core, I'm afraid. Are you trying to give the impression that libertarianism is the same as Labour, Tories, Lib Dems etc? It's an interesting new approach but it's not working.
But merely reading about Antichrist is stomach-turning, and enough to form a judgment.
Is it? Depends who wrote what you're reading, wouldn't you say? Someone who didn't like it, wrote a review and exaggerated? Someone in PR thought it might be a good idea to hype it up? The British Board of Film Censors actually watched it and let it through. They didn't rely on second-hand reports. Neither will I. As a 'libertarian critic', neither should you. At this point I'd like to ask - isn't watching films your, ah, job?
The husband and wife go to stay in a log cabin to recover from their grief. There, horrors the likes of which I have never witnessed unfold in graphic detail.
Well of course you've never witnessed them. You've never watched the film. You don't know what these horrors are, how they are portrayed, whether they are on screen or off screen, nothing. Yet you deride the film and call yourself libertarian!
Now the anonymous moral guardians of the British Board of Film Classification (BBFC), in their infinite wisdom, have passed this foul film for general consumption
But you don't like it, so the anonymous moral guardians are wrong. We must all bow to the Morals of Hart, for they are superior to ours.
Oh, and he doesn't miss the 'for the cheeldren' part...
Another bizarre but typical judgment from this panel of experts whose names we don't even know (and so we don't even know if they are parents).
No, they are Augustine monks watching films on a remote Scottish island in a cinema powered by harnessing lightning with a big machine run by a hunchback called Igor. I don't know if they are parents either but odds are, some of them have children. But we don't know their names, remember, because Hart has said so twice. Then he says -
We do know that its president, Sir Quentin Thomas, gets £28,000 for 25 days' work a year. Nice job if you can get it.
How can this be? The name nobody knows is here, in print before our eyes. What dark magic is this? And he earns £28,000 a year for 25 days of work. Shocking. He could be on triple that if he was an MP. But we cannot possibly know this man's name, salary or working hours because he is an anonymous moral guardian. Mr. Hart, meet Mr. Logic. You haven't met before.
I tried to find out more from the Institute, but to my small surprise they disdained to reply. But you can be sure that they in turn are funded by the EU and so by my taxes - and yours.
Possibly. But you're assuming here, not declaring a definite truth. It would be wrong to carry on as if your assumption were true.
How do you feel about that? If not shocked, then weary, furious, disgusted? Well you can complain all you like, but no one is listening. Our arts mandarins, along with the rest of our lofty liberal elite, don't work like that.
What, you mean how do I feel about your assumption that the film was paid for by taxes when you present no evidence? Shocked, perhaps. How would I feel if the film actually was funded by taxes? Well, our taxes are spent on much more wasteful and pointless things than films so I don't mind all that much, actually.
Oh, and I don't agree that our elites are 'liberal' in any sense of the word other than the doublethink one.
How odd that while government-appointed health czars are so obsessed with anything that might harm the nation's physical wellbeing - hanging flower baskets, conkers, too much sunshine, not enough sunshine - any concern with the nation's moral or spiritual well-being has completely vanished.
Ah, Mr. Pretend Libertarian, you seek to justify adding more control to our lives by saying 'well, all that stuff is controlled so we should control this too'. That is not libertarian, that's insidious Righteous creeping totalitarianism, which is what we're going through now. Those things you mention cannot harm the nation's well-being, only the individual's, and the individual should be allowed to assess their own risks and make their own choices. You use these spurious examples to justify control of the entire population's morality. Specifically, everyone must think as you do or they are immoral.
As for this -
Censorship today seems to have been reduced to the feeble principle that if it doesn't harm children, then it should be allowed.
As soon as it's released on DVD, Antichrist will harm children anyway, deeply and irrevocably. But when did this principle of protecting only children arise anyway? What about harming adults?
He's extended 'For the cheeldren' into 'For the adults too' and he calls himself libertarian! He wants to decide what ADULTS can and cannot watch! Look, some people won't want to see this film because it contains sex and violence and that's fine. Nobody is going to pin their eyelids open and force them to watch it. It's a matter of choice. A Libertarian would understand that.
A Righteous would not.
If I were to see Antichrist, I don't believe for a moment that it would incite me into copycat violent behaviour or make me a danger to others. But it would poison my mind and imagination, with explicit, ferocious scenes of sexual violence that would stay with me for ever.
Then don't watch it. Some of us have minds made of stronger stuff. We haven't all lived permanently comfortable lives and some of the stuff I've seen - without choosing to - in real life means that nothing on film is going to 'poison my mind'. I can tell what's real and what's not. Most adults can.
Isn't that good enough reason to ban it, or at least demand extensive cuts?
No. Just because you don't like a film you've never watched, funded from a source you imagine is taxes but might not be, passed as okay by nameless people you then name and give salary details for, is not a good enough reason for a ban. You don't like the sound of it. Fair enough. Don't watch it. Do NOT attempt to control everyone else's morals and then have the gall to call yourself libertarian.
But have we - that is to say, the hesitant, fumbling, comfortably cushioned, value-free Leftish elite who now govern us - got the guts? I doubt it.
All I can say is - wow. What planet has this man been on for the last decade? Have the government got the guts to ban something? Look around, Righteous Hart. They've banned pretty much everything and you, calling yourself Libertarian, want to ban some more!
It seems 'Libertarian' has become a 'cool tag' now, and is used here by one of the most ferocious Righteous I've come across. He clearly has no idea what 'libertarian' means.
Here's a clue for the clueless, Righteous Hart. It does not mean 'total control'.