search slide
search slide
pages bottom

The Government vs Erotica

“[T]he government is…very dangerous…to deal with and it has enormous power. It has an endless supply of money. And if it wants you, if your government truly wants you, your government will have you.” –Wade M. Smith, one of Phil Harvey’s lawyers

This quote opens the foreward to the book (by Nadine Strossen, President of the ACLU) and sets the tone for Adam & Eve’s owner and founder Philip D. Harvey’s first-hand account of the government’s siege of his business.

The government really, really wanted Phil Harvey and to run him out of business, and it’s appalling the lengths they went to to try and achieve this. Sometimes I get so immersed in sex blogging and sex toy reviewing that I forget how puritanical a lot of America is. What is erotic or kinky and acceptable to an individual or group is obscene and can be decided it should be made illegal by others. The Government vs Erotica: The Siege of Adam & Eve is a sobering reminder of the ongoing fight sexually free people, and those who ardently believe in Freedom of Speech and the constitutionally protected rights of all of us, face.

I don’t want to go into too much detail about the book because although we know how it ends, it’s important to read the journey. And I encourage you to read this book. The book has a good bit of heaving reading involved. Harvey includes passages such as full closing arguments and legal decisions. I had to read some passages at least twice to fully understand what was being said. One particular bit that I found especially fascinating is the inside look at jury selection that Harvey gives us. We see which jurors each side wants and the reasons for it.

This book could make anyone paranoid about the activities they undertake in the privacy of their own home. As the opening quote states, the government has an endless supply of money to get you if they want you. That’s a disturbing and frightening truth. Fortunately, Phil Harvey had his own money and resources to fight the government, but it nearly drained him and his business. Other companies weren’t as lucky.

But it wasn’t as easy as simply realizing this was a good fight that needed to be fought. Harvey worried about the affect this would have on his and PHE’s (Adam & Eve’s parent company) finances, as well as the emotional toll it would take on company morale. I can’t find nor do I remember the exact quote, but one of Harvey’s lawyers, frustrated beyond belief, said to Harvey that if he didn’t stand up to government then who will? Who indeed, when everyone else had been bullied out of business. The battle lasted eight years and it’s obvious that Phil Harvey is glad that he fought that good fight, and it’s a very inspiring thing to read. But eight years, people…holy fuck. Eight years of dirty dealing and extreme manipulation of the law and abuses of power. That’s a fucking struggle.

Sex toy businesses and retailers, and those who believe and fight for the sanctity of the First Amendment, owe a huge debt of gratitude to Phil Harvey and his lawyers. Without them, myself and other reviewers would not have anything to review. Or at least it would be very underground and subject to extreme harassment. Not that we’re completely out of the woods yet, but we’re a lot better off now than we were back then.

I confess I knew squat about the history of Adam & Eve and Phil Harvey when I started reviewing for them and until I’d read this book. And now knowing the seemingly insurmountable struggle they suffered and ultimately triumphed over, I have so much respect for Mr. Harvey and his company.

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press, or of the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

“In the long run the public gets just as much freedom of speech as it really wants.” –Zechariah Chafee, former Harvard Law School professor

How fitting that I should this review by encouraging you to visit Adam & Eve and order you own copy of this book, as well as perusing their wide selection of adult sex toys and sexy extras.

Post to Twitter