Rhode Island Wants in on All Immoral Profits


Given the national attention, Rhode Islanders can probably expect their legislators to shy away from implementing Providence/North Providence Democrat Senator Frank Ciccone’s proposal to impose a government fee for viewing online pornography.  Let’s take the lesson, though.

Reason’s Elizabeth Nolan Brown puts her finger a growing attitude that I’ve been pointing out in Rhode Island government, lately (emphasis added):

What makes all of this especially ridiculous is that under Ciccone and Gallo’s proposal, anyone over 18-years-old could have the filter removed by making a request in writing and paying a $20 fee. The money would go to the state’s general treasury “to help fund the operations of the council on human trafficking.” (But… if people are paying the state $20 to access prostitution sites, doesn’t that make the state a trafficker?)

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With its fingers in alcohol, gambling, and marijuana, Rhode Island government continues on its path toward replacing organized crime.  Government officials will want a cut of anything that has the feel of a vice.  Whereas mobsters built an infrastructure to provide what the law had blocked, government has that infrastructure already in place and capitalizes on it either by making things that are currently legal slightly less so or by letting things that are currently illegal filter through its coffers.

Meanwhile, Ciccone would have the state collect a record of every Rhode Islander who requests access to pornography.  Nobody should be comfortable with gangster government’s having access to a list like that.

  • Rhett Hardwick

    Sin Taxes have always been popular, they go down well with the public. “I don’t watch porn, and anyone who does should pay!” Similar to taxing cigarettes. Such statistical analyses as I have seen indicate porn viewing is much more pervasive than imagined. As must be child porn, judging from the number of arrests I see. As I understand it, child porn requires the use of the Deep Web. If it were effortless, I wonder what result.

  • Northern Exposure

    And there will also be the required question of any candidate for public office, “Have you requested that porn be blocked by your provider or will you continue to want access for free?”

    • Rhett Hardwick

      Recently, I was in my public library. A man, seeing me in a suit leapt up from a computer and hurriedly made an exit. Not able to resist, I clicked “History” on the computer he was using. Wouldn’t you know, “Bestiality.com”. Perhaps that should be blocked in a library. When I was a kid, the best we could hope for in the library was National Geographic. Not being married, I notice, more and more, that women request things they saw on a porn site. PorbnHub (which I understand owns most of the free porn sites) has recently opened a “toy” store in Manhattan. There are several of these in Providence. I once stopped at the one near the new Post Office. It was listed in the Yellow Pages under “leather clothing”. It had airplanes painted all over it, and I wanted a bomber jacket. Did my head ever get turned around. I felt like my inner child had fallen down a well.

  • RITaxpayer

    RI government has been like this since day one. Centuries ago, we gave pirates a new, legal name of privateers. It was still piracy and frowned upon by the other colonies, but if the privateers ‘shared’ their booty with the ‘right people’ in RI, it was deemed OK and they were given safe haven here.
    Some things never change.

    Privateers are us.

    • Rhett Hardwick

      The Federal government took this over for itself. The Constitution provides for issuing “Letters of Marque”.