America, "land of the free, home of the brave." Never have we heard this patriotic expression more than in the months following the September 11th terrorist attack on our country. But when asked what freedoms we enjoy in America, some people just haven't got a clue, while others will almost always start by saying "freedom of worship." The next freedom most frequently sighted is the "freedom of expression," which is hereby being put to the ultimate test. But no matter how ignorant, or how well informed, no one will ever mention the "freedom to indulge one's vices," which is by implication enshrined in the Declaration of Independence under the right to the "pursuit of happiness." And there's good reason for their silence; Americans are just too ashamed and fearful to admit to their sexual peccadilloes and other "bad habits." Our moral code and the law, operating hand-in-hand, have simply made anything but the most conventional, procreation-based sex at best shady, and at worst criminal. Everything from prostitution (outlawed in every state but Nevada) to sexually active teens (in 17 states it is illegal for persons under the age of 18 to have sex) to sodomy (outlawed in 15 states, with 4 that single-out homosexuality) to gay marriage (only Vermont recognizes same-sex civil unions) to gays in the military (the armed forces prohibit gays from serving openly) is hypocritically and arbitrarily censured. Also under heavy pressure are abortion rights as well as anti-discrimination protections for sexual minorities, both of which are under constant assault by right-wing, neo-Puritan radicals. Just remember, it was the Puritans who brought us the Salem Witch Trials of the 1690s and the commie/queer-baiting Red Scare of the 1950s.

Such repression is a thing of the past in the progressive democracies of the industrialized world. Gay domestic partnerships, gays in the military, 14 to 16 year ages of consent (for straight and gay youths) and government regulated legal prostitution are more-or-less the norm in Canada, Australia, England, France, Germany and most other European nations. Europe and the British Commonwealth are the Western World, and if we are to continue identifying with Western values, as opposed to the values of our sworn enemies (homophobic, sexphobic, misogynist Islamic extremists), then a reassessment of our social policies is desperately needed, and it couldn't come at a more crucial time. Are the aforementioned nations in any way uncivilized, unproductive, lawless, corrupt or impoverished? Has fire and brimstone and the Wrath of God rained down upon them? On the contrary, it was our largest city and our nation's capital which went up in smoke on 9/11 (something which might have been prevented if it weren't for the gross ineptitude of the FBI, CIA, INS and NSA). Meanwhile, Europe's new currency, the Euro, is pulling ahead of the U.S. Dollar, and unlike America, its political and business leaders have not been implicated in multi-trillion dollar corporate fraud scandals, and its clergy has not been exposed as a pack of wolves in sheep's clothing. In rapid succession, our most respected institutions (Martha Stewart, Inc. and American capitalism itself, federal law enforcement and intelligence agencies, the Catholic Church) have fallen mightily from grace with the same sudden impact as the collapse of the World Trade Center.

America has a serious stick up its ass when it comes to sex, and because of it rape, abduction and serial murder is rampant, and our culture of greed and gluttony has proceeded unchecked to the point where most Americans are seriously overweight, depressed and deep in debt. The flag-waving populist talking heads in media and government tell America's critics to "love it or leave it," to beat it to those "cheese-eating, free-love welfare states of Europe with their universal health care and nudist beaches;" they even offer to pay the airfare. But these chauvinistic bully-boys could take a lesson from history; the most sexually repressed societies have committed the worst crimes in the name of "God," "law and order" and "decency." From the Holy Inquisition and the Holocaust to the Stalinist Purges and Mao's Cultural Revolution (each of which imprisoned, enslaved, tortured, and massacred millions), tyranny has always sought and found a scapegoat for society's ills (i.e., the heretic, the Jew, "the enemy of the people," "the counter-revolutionary"). And now, in the good old U.S. of A., they've identified the new boogie men: "the pusher," "the pothead," "the pedophile/pervert," and the "subvert" (animal rights, vegetarian, environmentalist wacko). And the prison-industrial complex has become, after pornography, our greatest growth industry as the jails fill up at a record pace. In the year 2000, the United States pulled ahead of Russia as the nation with the highest prison incarceration rate in the world, and has set a new record every year since. Currently over two million Americans are behind bars, with another four million on probation or parole (these figures do not include millions of ex-cons and others who have gone through the correctional system in years past). Half of these law-breakers are non-violent offenders punished for victimless crimes such as possession of a controlled substance, public lewdness, sexual solicitation, and statutory rape (in cases where the sex is consensual and the so-called "victim" is as old as 16 or 17). Robert Downey Jr., Peewee Herman, Hugh Grant and George Michael have all been busted for violation of so-called "morality laws." Is this really what is meant by "the Land of the Free?" What have permissive "atheist fag" countries like Holland and Denmark ever done to anyone? Instead of all the "un-American traitors" hopping the next flight to Amsterdam or Copenhagen, leaving their loved ones and their life's work behind, isn't it better, in light of the recent upheavals that have shaken our nation to the core, that we take a collective, naughty peek at ourselves? Perhaps this will enable us to find "the whore within," that noble and free spirit that can break the shackles of shame and consign the Puritan Police State to the ash heap of history. Hallelujah - the happy hooker cometh! We can still dream, can't we?

Full article available in Propaganda issue #27.
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^Chick with a stick. This cell block mama's got a hard-on for cherry-poppin' pervs, hookers and druggies - you know, the "usual suspects."

Model: Brooke Hansson

^It's just so simple, and PC, to raid cruising parks and stake-out public toilets in search of lewdness. It's quite another thing to track down terrorists in their houses of worship, or crooked corporate CEOs in their board rooms.

Model: Lui Antinous

^"Quality of life" crimes and other acts of "terrorism" must be crushed. "Hey toots; you're comin' with me!"

Models: Shannon and Heather

Copyright 2002 by Propaganda Magazine, Inc. All Rights Reserved.