Bob Guccione, founder of Penthouse magazine, has died. His pornography empire was built upon a premise: The viler and more graphic, the better.

News reports tell us that his publications featured every imaginable form of deviancy capable between human beings. I will not use this space further to describe the horror —- I use that word most intentionally —- that Guccione brought to thousands of young women and to those who viewed his debasing exploitation of them.

Yet in the stories about his life, his obituaries in the mainstream media give us a remarkable window into the way the secular Left thinks about such things as truth, decency, and honor.

National Public Radio tells us that Guccione kept pushing the limits of porn and getting edgier.

The Washington Post seems almost celebratory: According to its obituary, Guccione revolutionized the adult entertainment industry.

And the New York Times argues that Guccione broke taboos and outraged the guardians of taste, to which it might as well have added, and good thing, too.

None of these obits describe what Guccione wrought as wrong, cruel, deviant, the very essence of cultural debauchery. To do so would imply objective moral standards exist. To affirm this belief would be an affront to the sensitivities of our age.

Let me see if I have this straight: We can be edgy —- i.e., prurient and self-destructive —- when it comes to sex. We cannot be edgy —- i.e., honest and straightforward —- about what is good and right.

As to the New York Times phrase, the guardians of taste: Yes, the vast majority of the American people, sickened by seeing young women used for perverse sexual pleasure in the most vivid and shocking of ways, do have a sense of guardianship toward obvious assaults on human dignity.

This is not about taste or edginess. Its about whether or not women are made in the image of God. About whether some things are right and others wrong, and about whether liberty can be reduced only to issues of privacy and consent, while excluding virtue and restraint.

If we lose our virtue, and as a society, were well on our way, moral chaos will reign. Widespread personal moral collapse leads to social disintegration, which leads to desperate pleas for order and security. Whereby a dictator arises, and liberty is lost.

Family Research Councils friend Pat Trueman has written, To equate the free and robust exchange of ideas and political debate with commercial exploitation of obscene material demeans the grand conception of the First Amendment and its high purposes in the historic struggle for freedom. It is a misuse of the great guarantees of free speech and free press.

Gucciones career was based on the abuse of women and the misuse of liberty. He gained much that the world has to offer: Great wealth, sexual wantonness, a massive art collection, etc. But what, in eternity, has he lost?