There was a time in my life when I was totally pro-liberation and my attitude was that freedom of speech was unassailable and if you don't like what you see, don't look at it. I believed that your freedom to swing your arms ended at the tip of my nose and that anything short of that was OK. However, from the vantage point of being a few decades older, I now realize that I was wrong.
I still strongly believe that anything done by consenting adults behind closed doors is nobody's business but theirs and that all drugs should be legal and you, as an individual, should be responsible for your actions. But as I look back over the years and see what the "freedom" movement of the 60's has wrought on society and our culture I have come to conclude that there is, indeed, such thing as too much freedom. Civilization needs a code of conduct, a code of acceptable behavior if we, as a civilization, are going to advance.
The individual freedom creedo of the 60's turned into the "me" generation which spawned the Age of Entitlement and the nearly complete destruction of public mores and acceptable standards of public behavior. The result is a society in disarray. A society in a stand-off with itself, each proclaiming their rights, neither giving an inch to the other. This is the path to anarchy and oligarchy. The science fiction vision of a futuristic America populated by the unwashed masses, ruled by the few from their gleaming towers is, indeed, coming to pass. A Tale of Two Cities and Le Miserables all over again.
Is this what we want? I don't think so.
Values that promote respect for each other, that protect the family, that appeal to the highest and best in us, are essential to an organized, advanced society. We the public have a right, indeed, an obligation, to censor those who respect nothing but their own lust and greed. And we, likewise, have an obligation to support those who speak up for such standards whether or not we totally agree with their positions on other issues. We all have an innate sense of right and wrong, good and bad, and we can reach a general consensus and make it the law of the land. The founding fathers would totally approve.
Again, so as not to be misunderstood, what you do in private is your business so long as no one is injured by your actions. But when you make your business public, it is no longer your business, it's our business.
The original 2009 post:
These images are from a NY Times article about billboards around the city and their effect, pro or con, on public sensibilities. Every reader was asked to vote on which was best or worse. Have we become a decadent society? Does the over-saturation of such images (like the word 'fuck') desensitize us to the point that we simply tune them out? Or do they turn you on and make you want to buy this product? My question is this, have we gone too far? And if so, what can be done about it?