What A Porn Star Can Teach Us About the NSA

We’ve got another awesome Sex and the State guest post! If you would like to submit a guest post, please fill out my contact form with an brief outline of what you want to write about.

Ladies and gentlemen, boy and girls, and all those in between, please join me in shedding light on a subject that deserves more than your run-of-the-mill light shedding effort. Leave your flashlights and your dangerous incandescent bulbs at home because what we need here is the rhetorical equivalent of the Sun at high noon. I do not say this lightly, for only something as massive as our planet’s star will suffice in combating the massive imbecility of some of our fellow citizens’ opinions concerning the voyeur to end all voyeurs: the NSA.

The particular brew of jackassery of which I speak is that sheepish yet pervasive bromide used to defend the NSA’s mass surveillance programs, I have nothing to hide, a statement which is most certainly a lie nine times out of ten and is just as certain to transform into the prying inquisition “do you have something to hide?” as soon as the sentiment drips from the lips of authority.

I have tried different ways of appealing to people’s hearts and minds about the totalitarian creepiness  of the NSA’s operations, and I am happy  to say some people did not need convincing. A special thanks to you folks. I am also happy to say some people who needed convincing were receptive to those appeals meant to awaken their latent love of liberty, peace, and privacy. Again, I say thank you to them and to all those people who stand up in the effort to preserve our community’s liberty.

Yet still, there are some among us who insist there are no skeletons in their closets. These “open books” claim to have no secrets they wish to keep hidden from the prying eyes of the state. Either (1) these folks are lying to the public and themselves or (2) they are truthfully admitting their lives to be the reason words such as boredom, ennui, and tedium were birthed into existence.

So I must ask these frigid squares a solar-hot question: Would you be interested in having sex on camera for all the world to see?

Now before you get your boxers in a precarious butt bundle, let me be clear: I’m no purveyor of porn. I have nothing against sex workers and think their profession deserves more respect from the authorities as opposed to the usual scorn, derision, and condescension, but when it comes to my personal life, I answer the question of performing in porn with a “no.” To me, sex is a celebration; it is one of the greatest things life has to offer; I simply prefer it privately.

But this isn’t about me. It’s about you “open books.” So what will it be? Would you be interested in starring in your very own porno flick? Most likely, you have answered “no.”  Most people would answer “no.” But in case you are considering a dalliance, moonlighting, or a full-blown career in the porn industry, I recommend reading this crash course first.

I especially like this golden nugget of wisdom from the author and porn pop star, Stoya, regarding the importance of consent:

Remember that short of holding a gun to your head, nobody can force you to engage in a sex act that you do not want to perform, or with partners you do not want to perform those acts with. I would recommend avoiding people who threaten others with guns.

Hear, hear! Enthusiastic consent should be the name of the game. But with all that being said, allow me to ask a few more questions of you “open books.”

What if you weren’t allowed to say “no” to the question of performing in porn? What if the question was never even asked? What if your consent did not matter to and was not sought out by some Peeping Tom, peeking and prying into your private sex life? What if it wasn’t a one-off Peeping Tom but a whole group of people backed by the legal force of law? And worse than peeping into your love life, this group of voyeuristic government do-gooders had the ability to glean information about you more intimate than whatever it is you call your sex life. And after discovering these people’s prying ways through months of drawn-out “debate” in the national press, what if your so-called representatives decided you weren’t allowed to shut the blinds on these voyeurs. What if, at the end of the day, you aren’t  allowed to avoid the “people who threaten others with guns?” What if saying “I have nothing to hide” was helping those in power hide their own misdeeds?

You see, the state is the institution that can legally punch you in the face and then exonerate itself from its act of aggression. Sounds absurd? Maybe so, but much in this world is both absurd and true, especially when it comes to justifications of state power.

For instance, here is an excerpt from U.S. District Judge William H. Pauley’s “counter-punch” ruling in regards to the NSA’s ability to peer into the naked “truth” of your life (emphasis mine):

Regarding the statutory arguments, there is another level of absurdity in this case. The ACLU would never have learned about [ the NSA’s spying] but for the unauthorized disclosures by Edward Snowden. Congress did not intend that targets of [the NSA’s spying] would ever learn of them. And the statutory scheme also makes clear that Congress intended to preclude suits by targets even if they discovered [the NSA’s spying] implicating them. It cannot possibly be that lawbreaking conduct by a government contractor that reveals state secrets–including the means and methods of intelligence gathering–could frustrate Congress’s intent. To hold otherwise would spawn mischief.

This example is merely one in a long list of abuses and usurpations perpetrated by the United States federal government, all of which flow forth from the concept that “we” are the government and thus are bound to the government’s diktats under a “social contract” that rests upon the passive, general, and implied consent of “the public” rather than enthusiastic, individual, and explicit consent of the actual flesh-and-blood persons who make up “the public.”

Is it any wonder now that the federal government without your express consent or even initial Congressional consent assumed the power of modern-day general warrants because “we” have passively implied our consent by using our own communication devices? Is it any wonder now that this government claims the discovery of its own actions by the “passively” consenting public as something that could “spawn mischief” because the consenting public was never intended to know what it was consenting to? Is it any wonder now that this government treats the “social contract” as a self-serving rubber stamp for power, “passive and implied consent” as a green light to trample over our individual rights, and those who have “nothing to hide” as useful idiots in their attempts to hide government secrets?

Thus, when I hear these “open books” claim “I have nothing to hide,” I am of the mind to tell them that based upon the rules of the current game that is not for them to decide. It has already been decided for you, and your passivity in the matter will only lead to more decisions being made for you.

And for those smarty-pants people who argue in the abstract that this government in particular should have the NSA’s power to stand above the law through its ability to arbitrarily make, enforce, and dispose of positive law (“policy”) as it sees fit because it is “popularly sovereign,” then I can only assume you are the type of person who confuses consenting porn stars with private individuals who happen to fall victim to peep holes because, you know, the peeping tom happens to have a badge of authority that some mob indirectly gave him.

In the coming years, we will see if the “open books” and the powerful people using these rubes are allowed to continue peeking and prying into our lives. Right here and now, they have already won; they have and will continue to spy all they want on me whether I consent or not, and I feel violated in a manner far beyond what any Peeping Tom could ever accomplish. Accordingly, I plan on living as free as possible in this unfree world, for if they ever come sneaking around my house they’ll hear this song and hopefully its words blasting out of my stereo:

“What’s the matter with the world today?

The land of the free? Somebody lied.

They can bug my phone and peep around my home

They’ll only see you and me making love inside.”

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Joey Clark is a freelance writer and political commentator. He is currently a radio producer and talk show host in Montgomery, AL. Read his blog. Send him mail.

2 Comments

  1. Douglas Mayfield

    Mr. Clark addresses important questions including what are the proper limits on government and what rights do individuals have against unwarranted government intrusions into their privacy.
    He does so in the context of a specific question ‘So I must ask these frigid squares a solar-hot question: Would you be interested in having sex on camera for all the world to see?’
    Deeming myself not a frigid square (or if I am ‘equi-sided’, I’m pretty sure that I am at least moderately warm), I’d like to see Mr. Clark address my own hypothetical question.
    In the context of the modern world in which there are those, domestic and foreign, who hate America and would love to see it destroyed, and everyone who lives here murdered, what specific limits would you put on government as it goes about what I deem is its proper job, defending the rights of Americans, including the right to life?

    No routine surveillance of anyone without a warrant? Routine surveillance of foreign nationals without a warrant but American citizens only with a warrant? Only convicted felons without a warrant?
    In other words, I agree that Mr. Clark has identified a serious problem but I would be interested to hear his specific long term solution to the issue of what government surveillance, if any, is necessary to defending Americans against terrorism.
    He may argue that I’m raising a legal question more suited to resolution in the courts, but I believe that good government begins with discussions among individual citizens so I ask my question in that context.
    And for the record, no, I don’t want to have sex on camera for all the world to see.

    • Seth MacLeod

      I’m afraid of the bogeyman too.

      Okay, putting snark aside, this cartoon villainy where the bad guy just wants to see the world burn is just that, cartoon villainy. Ignoring motivations leads to an oversimplified understanding of the world. Surveilling people who have done nothing wrong is not how one should go about addressing the problem of terrorism, which, by the way, is virtually nonexistent in America. Ignoring the motivations of “Islamists” and actually adding to their list of grievances (some of which are legitimate, such as killing their families, friends, and neighbors) is a sure-fire way to aggravate the problem.

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