I cringed when I read this story from the EU Observer that makes it appear that libertarians – at least those in Sweden – are sympathetic to child pornography. If you read the article, the Swedish Pirate Party does have some legitimate concerns about broad and vague laws that can be misused, but this nonetheless seems to be an example of what I call chest-beating libertarianism. This is the impulse to oppose anything a government is doing and thus be a completely-consistent anti-statist. This generally is a very sound instinct, but it can lead to positions that are absurd (do you get rid of laws against murder?). My main piece of advice to hard-core libertarians is that we should focus on getting rid of the programs, department, and agencies that should not exist. And if we ever succeed with those goals, then we can start fighting and squabbling over how to privatize streets and how to protect against child molesters without giving police too much power.
The libertarian Pirate Party in Sweden has set off a storm of controversy by arguing that the country’s current laws on child pornography should be done away with. In an interview with Swedish Radio out on Thursday (5 August) Pirate Party leader Rick Falkvinge described a 1999 child pornography law as “a battering-ram against the open society.” The radio spot and an accompanying article noted how a policy plank in the party’s election manifesto, published last week, would “make it legal to hold the image, text and sound with child pornography” on a computer. …”The big story on Swedish Radio, that said we are positive to child pornography, that is really not the case,” [the party’s communications manager] said. “We want to make it clear that the Pirate Party does not have a positive stance on child pornography, but rather we are opposed to Swedish laws that say that almost anything, pictures, sound, drawn images, anything at all depicting someone under the age of 18 can be called a sexual image.” “What we want is not an end to all child pornography laws but a return to their previous form, which existed before 1999, in which it defined it as images of prepubescent children,” he said. “Swedish child pornography laws since then are more like something like a yoke the police can apply to this or any case. It shows well how the child pornography law can be used on anyone.” …”The law could also cover a 17-year-old taking a nude picture of himself, keeping the picture until he’s 19 and then he is suddenly in possession of child pornography. It’s the 18 cut-off that is the main problem.” Mr Kindh gave the example of how a Swedish comic books translator, who specialised in translating Japanese manga, was last week arrested under the law: “From a collection of around 1,000 comics, the police found 51 images that they misread as child pornography.” The party does want all child pornography laws lifted in relation to any fictional content.