America’s Quiet But Powerful Censorship Group


Written by: Nazzy, Puff Critique

You would never think that a film ratings board would hold so much influence over a society. The Motion Picture Association Of America (MPAA) was established in order to free society from censorship by implementing a ratings system that would shield children from the obscenity of adult language and behavior. Lately, however, it’s activities in bed with Congress and the big studios, its anonymity, and the way in which it arbitrarily judges films is iniquitous.


How bad can it be for the film industry, it’s only a ratings board?

Ratings matter. Good luck trying to get sponsors and ads for your film if it’s given an NC-17 (no children allowed) rating. No company would want to take responsibility for that. Good luck getting the studio to release it in theaters or getting people aware of the film in the first place. It won’t happen. Most film studios and filmmakers beg and strive for the R-rating (parental guidance for children), at least people would know about it. And if you feel like declining and not take a rating? Unrated films are basically anonymous unless you head down to your local DVD store (if there are any around nowadays). Generally, filmmakers make two versions of a film, the rated and then the unrated, where we see all the dirty details.


Who are the MPAA?

Nobody knows. We don’t know who they are, on what basis they prescribe ratings, or how many there are. Kirby Dick attempted to find out, for all details watch the documentary This Film Is Not Yet Rated; a great film that basically explains the worst of the ratings board and tries to find out who’s on it. Apparently, it was supposed to be made up of “ordinary” parents who have children from the ages of 5-17 years and have a term limit of five years. Reality says otherwise, most of them have kids in their 20s and have been on the board for years. There is also a strong relationship between politicians and administrators on the MPAA. Just Google the names Jack Valenti or Chris Dodd (the same guy who drafted the Dodd-Frank Wall Street bill).


So why not just make your films less graphic?

There are two things wrong with that.

First, we don’t know how far to go with the graphics. Generally, films made by independent studios have absolutely no idea what material they need to cut if they’re given a strict rating. When South Park producers Trey Parker and Matt Stone were making the South Park film (produced by Paramount) they got details and notes by the MPAA board on what they should cut in order to get the R-rating. When they were doing Orgazmo under an independent, the MPAA “couldn’t tell them what to cut because that would make them a censorship group.” How ironic. The big studios (Viacom, Time Warner, Disney, etc.) are practically in bed with the MPAA.

Second, it means taking it. Take the rating and deal with it, because we’re in charge. We’ll tell you what is okay for movies; we’ll set the standards, and tell you how to raise your kids. The MPAA has a history of rating films more conservatively for sexual behavior rather than violence. Heads being decapitated? No problem PG-13 as long as it’s not too graphic. Exposed breasts? R-rating minimum. No negotiations. If I were a parent, I would be much more cautious about violence around my kids than nudity or language.


So what do we do?

I have two suggestions. Either, cut the MPAA or change it.

You can make the organization more transparent with their ratings and their administrators. Who are they? What are their values? What are the ratings based off of? And, most of all, who funds them?

You can either do that, or just cut the MPAA altogether. Let me clarify, I’m all for a ratings system, but this group was established in the 1960s when information was hard to come by. Now, you can Google a film and you’ll have countless independent reviews and recommendations of the film and its intended audiences. Go to (though I’m not fond of the organization, but at least it’s not mandatory) and they will give you a play by play of every naughty word, violent act, and sexual innuendo a film has. The ratings would be unofficial but still valid because the consumer is choosing where their sources on based on their own values. Forget this anonymous board of “ordinary parents” and let us have our say. All in all, the MPAA ratings board is an indirect, but powerful form of censorship.


Nazzy S. is the author and editor for Puff Critique. Twitter: @PuffCritique

Voluntaryist Evolution


Throughout recorded human history, governments have taken many forms. From the vast far eastern empires of the Chinese dynasties to the feudalistic monarchies of Europe, the State has always dominated its people. From time to time, rays of liberty have shone through the tyranny in cutting edge and forward thinking cultures. The ancient Greeks invented the first forms of Democracy and direct voting, giving citizens a word in their government. Around the same time, the first Republic was established in the Roman Empire, establishing the Senate. As cultures became more enlightened and technology advanced, so did forms of government.

All of the advancement culminated in the newly formed American government, a Constitutional Republic. This budding bastion of liberty would be the example for the world to follow. After the great bursts of technological advancement were sparked by the Industrial Revolution, new forms of government were being developed and implemented. We see the modern forms of Republics and Democracies, but we were also introduced to the concepts of Communism, Fascism and Socialism. Regardless of their individual governmental flaws, most modern States are much less oppressive than any of the past.

As we move deep into the age of the Internet, free information and advanced technology, are we ready for the next great leap forward regarding government? Even with our seemingly war-like culture, statistics show the world is becoming much less violent. Human rights and individual freedom is at the forefront of many social movements around the globe. The Internet is creating a worldwide population of informed individuals, able to see things for what they truly are. No longer can governments and Statists hide the truth, deceive its citizens and propagandize its populations. No longer can the story be kept to only one side.

Now picture this, what if culture and technology advances to the point to where government becomes irrelevant? What if the State’s monopoly on the use of force “to keep us safe” harms more than it protects? What if we did not need politicians and officials to dictate what is moral and correct? Could free individuals interact and coexist on a strictly voluntary basis, free from coercion? Some say we are already there, while others see it as a far off utopia. My question is not when, but if. History shows that technology, culture and government are linked in their progression. Will we ever peacefully transition into a Volutaryist Stateless Society? My opinion is a resounding yes.

Lysander Spooner said that the Constitution of the United States…”has either authorized such a government as we have had, or has been powerless to prevent it. In either case, it is unfit to exist.” I could not agree more in the context of evolving into a Stateless Society.  The Ancient Greeks and Romans didn’t look at governments of the time and settle, neither did the Founding Fathers. Just like the innovators of the past, we must also analyze the role of government. We are moving into a digital age and must identify the State’s relevance. We do not need a bureaucracy to be our father figure, our news source and our moral compass. We are free, beautiful individuals born with natural rights. We have the right to be free from coercion, aggression and force. We have the right to engage in any voluntary association that we please. We have the right to control our bodies, private property and have the fruits of our labor.

The role of the State will be phased out peacefully. The only question that remains is… Are you in?

The Weekly Free-for-All Debate: Rehabilitation or Retribution?


From now on there will be weekly ‘free-for-all’ debates on issues where many libertarians differ. The first of these is to be on criminal punishment and which form of it is the most libertarian one. While there are other theories of punishment, the main two are that of reforming the criminal and that of punishing him in proportion to his crimes. Of course, there are other theories - many libertarians believe in restitution rather than the proportionality theory - and all input is welcome so long as all participants (you can participate by commenting below) are courteous and refrain from swearing and from making comments unrelated to the topic up for debate.

Sould libertarians be pacifists

In the wake of the nuclear threats emanating from North Korea in the last week, and the apparent seriousness of those threats, the US has taken steps to prepare its military for a nuclear attack. Although it is highly unlikely North Korea could target the mainland US, it could quite easily target US military bases in the region, such as on Guam. With these events in mind, and a semi-global conflict possibly just around the corner, it seems right to once again have the discussion of what, if anything, constitutes a just war. What I think is perhaps surprising about the libertarian approach to just war theory is that libertarians hold highly varied positions. Continue reading