Skip to comments."Bare it or Bar it?" Should the Government Regulate Adult Pornography? A Debate
Posted on 08/02/2007 10:55:58 PM PDT by monomaniac
"Bare it or Bar it?" Should the Government Regulate Adult Pornography? A Debate
Porn critic states, "Pornography is a major contributor and facilitator in the development of the sexual addiction and depravity"
By Elizabeth O'Brien
SELINSGROVE, PA, August 1, 2007 (LifeSiteNews.com) - In a passionate debate earlier this year, two specialists discussed whether the government should be able to regulate adult pornography or whether the issue should be left entirely as a personal matter, determined only by subjective choice.
The Susquehanna University's Arlin M. Adams Center for Law and Society, a society that discusses the role of law in private and public life, hosted the lecture and debate this March, entitled "Bare It or Bar It: Should Government Regulate Adult Pornography To Prevent Exposure To Minors?" The keynote speakers were Professor Nadine Strossen, President of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and Mr. Michael Johnson, senior legal counsel for the Alliance Defense Fund (ADF).
Michael Johnson, who has helped dozens of city governments draft restrictions for Sexually Oriented Businesses (SOB's), began by pointing out the massive harm caused by the $13 billion dollar pornography industry. In a case in the late 70's, for example, a study of the City of Detroit found that in some cases the rates of crime, sexual abuse and molestation were 400 to 500% higher in areas where pornography and sex shops proliferated than in other parts of the city. Many other cities and towns have reported similar results.
Johnson also cited cases in which adult pornography was a cause of grievous harm to children. In a certain study of 43 pedophiles, for example, every single one exposed the victim to adult or child pornography in order to lower the child's inhibitions.
He stated, "Pornography is a major contributor and facilitator in the development of the sexual addiction and depravity, such as child molestation, and exhibitionism, and voyeurism, sadomasochism, fetishism, and rape and all the other perversions. And yet so called soft porn, we know it's harmful. It can be a gateway to harder material and the societal ills that it brings, and yet it's protected."
Many people argue that the First Amendment should protect an adult's right to pornography. Johnson explained, however, that the First does not apply if something is considered obscene.
Nadine Strossen, on the other hand, emphasized the importance of personal and parental responsibility when it comes to adult pornography. Her central argument was that "in our wonderfully diverse society we all have widely divergent ideas, values, and taste."
She continued, "Those divergent values certainly and especially extend to matters about sexual expression, what we find positive, what we find negative for ourselves and for our children. Therefore, we can't responsibly delegate these inherently personal choices to anyone else, neither government officials nor our fellow citizens."
According to Strossen, the courts can't objectively define obscenity because everyone sees the world subjectively. By giving the government more censorship power, people are opening up the door to erratic and inconsistent rulings on what is considered indecent.
She mentions many court decisions which ruled that the constitutional rights of adults to pornography cannot be contravened in order to protect minors. As one example she quotes the Supreme Court stating, "The level of discourse reaching a mailbox cannot be limited to that which would be suitable for a sandbox." She also believes that people should spend more energy tracking and enforcing already existing laws against pedophiles than on cracking down on something that is for adults.
Quoting certain child safety organizations that oppose censorship, she stated, "We cannot put them (children) in a bubble and say, 'You are never going to see anything that will disturb you.' Some people will be disturbed by sexual images. Some will be disturbed by violent images. I am in that category. Some are disturbed by discriminatory images. Some are disturbed by antireligious images. We all have very different values."
"But the answer to speech that some of us may find harmful to ourselves or to our children is not to get rid of it, not to regulate it. If we went down that road, there would be no free speech at all."
Johnson agreed that the responsibility should be on the parents. Nevertheless, he vehemently disagreed with the basis of Strossens's argument. He stated, "The problem is the basis and premise on which she brings the argument is moral relativism and it's the idea that there is no moral absolute. There is no right or wrong. She ably described it, 'all of us might define it differently.'
Appealing to the objectivity of moral conscience, he cited a 2006 Morality in Media poll that found that 73% of US adults know that viewing pornography online is morally unacceptable. On the grounds of natural law, therefore, he rejected her arguments.
Read full lecture and debate:
No. Adult pronographairians should marry, and regulate themselves.
Heehee, oh brother did you just open a can of worms!
I really don’t care what consenting adults do or watch in their homes. I have my own things to worry about. However, if someone likes adult videos and has children around, those flicks should be out of reach from the kids. In a locked gun safe, if needed.
I’m sure you are familiar with Dr. James Dobson, and his interview with Jeffrey Dahmer. Not all people who watch pornographic movies or read Playboy, turn into maniacs, but it seems that most maniacs are addicted to pornography.
I’m not talking “Debbie Does Dallas”, or Ron Jeremy flicks. For the record, my bf and I don’t like or watch porno, and buried my son’s stash in ziploc bags. He can have them back when he moves out.
So long as illegal acts are not depicted and everyone is over 18 then I don’t see why. I don’t like the nanny-state tendancies of a lot of todays so called “conservatives.” If you don’t want to see porno, then don’t surf there. If you don’t like the content of a TV show, don’t watch it. No need for people to go running like libs to the government everytime something offends them.
Porn goes back to caveman days and will exist until the end of time.
Government trying to interfere again. Great. They will just make it easier to get porn if they get involved and probably have even worse type of porn. Government is a job when it comes to morals. Let every person decide for themselves and their families.
I would not hit that.
"Show me just what Mohammed brought that was new, and there you will find things only evil and inhuman, such as his command to spread by the sword the faith he preached." - Manuel II Palelologus
Which is why it is good that the internet was still in the infancy when he was elected. By the time it really started to become regular daily routine for people, he was getting ready to walk out the door.
I think you meant Ted Bundy and Bundy was playing him for a fool. He was doing everything he could to delay the death penalty. He even tried to barter with the undiscovered bodies of some of his victims “if he could only have a little more time to remember”.
Serial killers cannot be trusted with ANYTHING they say!
If it’s adult themed for adults only, what’s there to regulate? I can think of the .XXX domain but what else?
Never thought of the fact shops could be near schools, etc.
Good Point — Look at the nuts in iran. A woman’s ankle is obscene to them.
My pornograph has been broken for several years. ;o)
Ooops you’re right, it was Ted Bundy. Serial killers and psycopaths are notorious liars, but other sources have confirmed the porn connection. The real “over the top porn” stuff.
As the father of four, I can testify that "turn the channel" is an impossibility anymore, and the same can be said for the net.
While I am against the proliferation of pornography in any form, I am not trying to prevent you from viewing it if you so desire, providing you are fully grown.
I would greatly prefer that it were put back on "the wrong side of the tracks" if you understand my meaning. It has no place in proper society, and is probably detrimental.
Putting the rowdy drinking/gambling/prostitution etc. across the tracks has been the historical compromise in American society. Perhaps we could agree to that. -Bruce
Oh, fer Chrissakes!
I can recall being a 12 year-old in 1981 and discovering my dad's stash of Playboy and Penthouse magazines. Yeah, I was looking for them and when I found them tucked away (unlocked) in the back of his closet, it was like striking gold!
I stole them all and distributed them equally to all my other 12 year-old friends.
Somehow, we were not warped from the exposure.
When did we suddenly discover that if a child sees a photo/movie of carnal copulation, he or she is going to be damaged for life?
Your ancestors did! :-)
That's why you're here!
Probably by the same person that walked in on their parents doing it. Which can be a frightening experience, unless your mom is like Christie Brinkley and then, well... you've got a whole lot of Freudian issues that are going to beset you.
But back on topic, I don't see how they could put that genie back in the bottle. As someone else mentioned, man has been looking at, and creating, sexual "art" since the beginning. And with the Net, I can't see how they could regulate it without some serious invasions into every packet that traverses the net. And that right there opens up a whole nother can of worms.