“Anthony Comstock may be the only man in American history whose lobbying efforts yielded not only the exact federal law he wanted but the privilege of enforcing it to his liking for four decades. Given that Comstock never held elected office and that the highest appointed position he occupied in government was special agent of the Post Office, this was an extraordinary achievement–a reminder of the ways that zealots have sometimes slipped past the sentries of American democracy to create a reality that the rest of us must live in.”

— Margaret Talbot in “Purity,” The New Yorker, July 26, 2021


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