Too-free freedom puts Six in a fix

A state law regulating billboards advertising sex that was scheduled to go into effect today has been put on hold by a federal judge.
The law would limit the size of billboards advertising “adult” stores and strip clubs and stipulate what they may say.
Federal Judge Julie A. Robinson said a lawsuit filed by the owners of the Lion’s Den Adult Superstore must be adjudicated before the law can be enforced — if then.
Attorney General Stephen Six intended to enforce the law. But his spokeswoman, Ashley Anstaett, pointed out that similar laws in Georgia, South Carolina and Missouri have been struck down by court decisions, so the attorney general is taking another look at the Kansas law.
The case against state regulation is that stores such as the Lion’s Den are legal and are therefore free to advertise their merchandise. Ditto for the strip clubs. Regulating the size and content of the roadside signs they put up would be “an improper restraint of commercial free speech,” the lawsuit claims.
Freedom has its complications.
The best solution to the fix that Six is in would be to close down the sex shops and the strip clubs. Making them illegal would probably win the approval of an overwhelming majority of Kansans. And also would be challenged in court with the likelihood of success.

SUCH BUSINESSES didn’t operate in the open until the last few decades.
I don’t know when those billboards went up beside I-70 in Dickinson, Geary and Russell counties. We take that highway to Colorado at least once every year. To my memory, the signs have been up only a few years, so I surmise the Lion’s Den is equally new.
Maybe there is an equivalent porn shop somewhere in southeast Kansas. Pornography is pervasive on the Internet and has been around since Eve ate that apple. But it is also true that pornography is roundly condemned in the United States almost universally. And that leaves our society with a dilemma.
On the one hand, all legal businesses should be allowed to advertise their wares without government telling them how, when and where to do it. Just as obviously, society should be allowed to shape itself; to foster what it deems good and useful and ban what it judges to be base and destructive.
These principles are mutually exclusive, producing a problem without a solution. In the past, panderers catered to man’s animal nature by relegating pornography to under-the-counter shops, locked back rooms and peddlers with big overcoats. Naked women dancing could be found in speakeasies in sleazy sections of inner-cities or in the boondocks.
Today our very free enterprise philosophy allows the pandering to be done in the open. We have the First Amendment to blame.

— Emerson Lynn, jr.