The Ban on Philosophical and Economic Indecency
Do you ever wonder why you never hear terms such as ‘free banking” and “public collection of ground rent” on television or radio? It is because they have been secretly banned by the FCC! Any mention of this ban in TV and radio is itself banned, so we never hear about it. But now the secret bans on philosophical and economic indecency have come to light.
by Fred E. Foldvary, Senior Editor
Four television broadcast networks have filed court challenges to a ruling by the U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) that several TV programs used indecent language, and will be fined millions of dollars. The FCC justifies the fines by the rulings of the US Supreme Court, which have declared that indecent speech has no absolute Constitutional protection.
The FCC regulations state that “It is a violation of federal law to air obscene programming at any time” and “It is also a violation of federal law to air indecent programming or profane language during certain hours.” Title 18 of the United States Code, Section 1464, prohibits the utterance of “any obscene, indecent or profane language by means of radio communication.”
Many Americans have rushed to their dictionaries to find out just what “indecency” means. A few Americans have also looked up the First Amendment to the US Constitution to look for the asterisk that makes indecency an exception to the statement in that amendment which states that “Congress shall make no law ... abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press.”
Dictionaries tell us that “indecent” means behavior or expression that are not within socially accepted cultural standards, and therefore offensive to some people. Its opposite, decency, means conforming to sociocultural standards. The term “decent” derives from the Latin decentem from decere, to be fitting and suitable.
Decency and indecency are cultural standards, and when government makes indecency a crime, it is enforcing a particular culture. Freedom in the governmental context means the absence of any imposed restrictions and costs on an activity or state of being which does not coercively harm others, so free speech means no restriction on speech which is peaceful and honest.
Fraud, libel and slander are not honest, and may properly be crimes, but speech which merely falls outside the cultural norms of some people, even a majority, is still peaceful, and should not be restricted or punished in a free society. What is offensive is subjective and cultural, and banning merely offensive speech is a violation of one’s right to express one’s culture.
One of the grounds for the appeal is that indecency rules of the FCC are vague and inconsistent. The broadcasters have also argued that parents and others can use the V-chip and other devices to block offensive programs. But even if the FCC rules are clear, such as absolutely no utterance of particular words, they would violate liberty. And even if some content cannot blocked, a ban still violates free speech.
There is growing control by the US federal government over what viewers can see and hear in broadcast television and radio. There is also a push to extend controls to cable and satellite programs, as these are become more viewed than broadcasts. Most alarming, it has now been exposed that long ago, the FCC secretly extended indecency to philosophy and economics!
The head of the FCC office that enforces standards of philosophical and economic decency is Ima Tyrant. The officials in the previously secret Office of Philosophy and Economics (OPE) came up with a set of seven terms that are banned from broadcasts as philosophic and economic indecency (PEI). The seven indecent terms are:
- free banking
- free-market banking
- public collection of rent
- pure free market
- tap the rent
- universal ethic
These terms have been determined by the OPE to be PEI because they do not conform to established philosophical and economic norms and standards. “Free banking” and “free-market banking” are banned because they challenge the authority of the Federal Reserve System and central banking in general. According to Ima Tyrant, these concepts are held to be indecent because the great majority of economists believe in central banking, and few mainstream economics textbooks even mention the taboo concept of free-market banking.
The OPE decided that the term “land value taxation” may be stated in broadcasts, because folks don’t like taxes. But the concept of using rent to pay for public goods is considered to be outré in mainstream economics, so you will never hear the terms “public collection of rent” or “tap the rent” in broadcast programs. You may say “free market” in broadcast programs, because most folks are not offended, thinking that today’s economy has a free market. But, according to Ima Tyrant, if you say “pure free market,” that makes people think that today’s economy is not free, which is highly offensive!
Ima Tyrant stated in a recent meeting of OPE that the ban on “self-ownership” will continue, despite protests from a few libertarians, because many philosophers consider the concept to be meaningless, or if it does have a meaning, it is highly contrary to philosophical norms. Self-ownership implies that each person has full authority over his own life, and therefore that taxing his wages or banning offensive speech is morally wrong. Self-ownership is therefore a danger to the established order, and must not be uttered on television or radio broadcasts.
Finally, the “universal ethic” is banned as violating today’s sociocultural standards, as most folks today believe that their personal, cultural, and social morals are the correct ones, and the concept that there is a universal ethic independent of their views would be highly offensive if this were to be broadcast.
The Los Angeles Times cited FCC spokeswoman Tamara Lipper as saying, "Over 20 years ago, the Supreme Court upheld the FCC's ruling that George Carlin's monologue about the 'Seven Dirty Words You Can't Say on Television and Radio' was indecent." Likewise, Ima Tyrant stated that since the seven indecent philosophical and economic terms had much more social significance, the argument for banning them was that much stronger.
So that’s why you have never heard these seven indecent philosophical and economic terms on broadcast television and radio, and as the FCC extends its authority, you will also in the future not hear them on cable and satellite programs. Ima Tyrant is seeking to extend FCC authority to the Internet, school classrooms, and even to matter printed on paper. A special ink is being developed that can be scanned by FCC sensors and censors, and Ima Tyrant is seeking to make it mandatory for all future books and magazines to use this ink.
So in the future, you will not longer be able to say free banking, free-market banking, public collection of rent, pure free market, self-ownership, tap the rent, and universal ethic anywhere, not even in college classrooms. These are the seven indecent philosophical and economic terms. Say them now, while you still may!
P.S. for those who don’t know the meaning of satire, look here.
Private Profiteers and Public Airwaves
Foldvary: What Do You Know About Freedom?
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