If You're Even Thinking about Hardcore Porn, You May Already Be Guilty

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Britain is getting closer to "outlawing the possession of images of extreme sexual violence, necrophilia and bestiality" on the theory that such materials either incite and/or reflect desires to do the same. From the UK Guardian account:

The Home Office minister Vernon Coaker said: "Such material has no place in our society, but the advent of the internet has meant that this material is more easily available and means existing controls are being bypassed. We must move to tackle this. By banning the possession of such material the government is sending out a strong message—that it is totally unacceptable and those who access it will be held to account. This is a complex issue on which we have consulted widely.

The proposed legislation is a response to a brutal 2003 murder. More here.

England, proud home of the unlicensed press, sometimes has a sketchy understanding of the freedom of speech. Who else remembers the appallingly widespread you-get-what-you-deserve reaction to Salman Rushdie after The Satanic Verses hit the stands and lulled all but Islamist extremists into the deep sleep of serioso-yet-unreadable (and unread) novels? Or the ambivalent response to the thug's veto of the play Bezhti in 2004? The Guardian's special report from earlier this year on speech and censorship issues, well worth a read, is here.

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  1. Britain is getting closer to “outlawing the possession of images of extreme sexual violence, necrophilia and bestiality”…The proposed legislation is a response to a brutal 2003 murder.

    Of a dead horse?

  2. That was a good article in the Guardian.

    I don’t like living in the UK. Everything’s doom and gloom. I want to move to the San Fernando valley.

  3. I’ve always wondered: is it possible to support the freedom to produce and view pornography while at the same time acknowledging it’s detrimental effects on society as well as the individuals who are involved with it?

    People seem to alway fall into “it should be banned” vs. “there’s nothing at all wrong with it” categories.

  4. I’ve always wondered: is it possible to support the freedom to produce and view pornography while at the same time acknowledging it’s detrimental effects on society as well as the individuals who are involved with it?

    People seem to always fall into “it should be banned” vs. “there’s nothing at all wrong with it” categories.

  5. Yes, Dan, absolutely. It’s akin to say, hardcore drugs or heavy alcohol use. Up to the individual to reign in their personal proclivities, not the government’s.

  6. I’ve always wondered: is it possible to support the freedom to produce and view pornography while at the same time acknowledging it’s detrimental effects on society as well as the individuals who are involved with it?

    Isn’t that the whole point of being a libertarian? Endorsing cheeseburgers, smoking, weed, booze, porn…reserving the right to harm yourself.

    Of course, this broad was saying porn fundamentally harms others. I call ‘bullshit’ on that one. I think if someone’s a psycho then they’re a psycho regardless of sex tapes.

  7. Yes, Dan, absolutely. It’s akin to say, hardcore drugs or heavy alcohol use. Up to the individual to reign in their personal proclivities, not the government’s.

    But if you take the view that such individual vices harm society (or, if your porn or drug use affects me), doesn’t that cloud the issue a little bit?

  8. Of course, this broad was saying porn fundamentally harms others. I call ‘bullshit’ on that one. I think if someone’s a psycho then they’re a psycho regardless of sex tapes.

    It’s difficult to prove either way, except I always thought that the power of speech/expression to change the views of others was one of the main reasons why it’s an important right to protect.

  9. But if you take the view that such individual vices harm society (or, if your porn or drug use affects me), doesn’t that cloud the issue a little bit?

    Dude, you do not want to go down this road. You’ll end up blaming video games and rock and roll lyrics for the nations ills.

    Sex is a hard one because it’s still a natural taboo for a lot of people and most of us aren’t honest about what gets our rocks off. But a lot and lot and lot and lot of people (yes, this does include relatives) get off on wiiiieeerrrrddd shit and thet don’t murder people.

  10. The really funny part is that the availablity of porn has risen even as rape and other violent crimes have decreased.

    So really, if there’s any connection it’s that porn is good and reduces crime…

  11. Dude, you do not want to go down this road. You’ll end up blaming video games and rock and roll lyrics for the nations ills.

    This is what I was talking about. To suggest that “speech” may have any negative aspects suddenly means that you’re blaming “the nation’s ills” on such things.

    Sex is a hard one because it’s still a natural taboo for a lot of people and most of us aren’t honest about what gets our rocks off. But a lot and lot and lot and lot of people (yes, this does include relatives) get off on wiiiieeerrrrddd shit and thet don’t murder people.

    I agree but turning a person into a murderer is not the only way someone can be negatively affected.

    I would suggest that the natural taboos around sex might have developed as a type of collective wisdom about the power of sex to be used and abused.

  12. But if you take the view that such individual vices harm society (or, if your porn or drug use affects me), doesn’t that cloud the issue a little bit?

    In the first place I neither take that view nor have I read a credible, peer-reviewed study that does much to support it. In the second place, if my porn or drug use harms you it is already actionable.

  13. …pornography is simply quenching certain desires and that it’s prevelance is a timebomb ticking amidst the hoardes of furiously masturbating youth.

    That’s one explosion I don’t want to be around for.

  14. I agree but turning a person into a murderer is not the only way someone can be negatively affected.

    Sure thing, I agree. But you cant legislate on ‘causing offence’.

    Oh, hold on, wait a minute, the UK already has….

  15. By banning the possession of such material the government is sending out a strong message – that it is totally unacceptable and those who access it will be held to account.

    Gah! Enough with the “message sending” analogy. Alright already. We get it. You can stop now.

  16. In the first place I neither take that view nor have I read a credible, peer-reviewed study that does much to support it.

    I?m reasonably sure there have been numerous studies on the amount of money drug abuse costs society in lost productivity, medical costs, crime, etc. to give one example.

    In the second place, if my porn or drug use harms you it is already actionable.

    I don?t know about that. If you OD on a drug and have to be treated in the emergency room but can?t pay for it, then I?m affected because the hospital charges me more to make up for that expense. I doubt I can sue you for that, however.

  17. I?m reasonably sure there have been numerous studies on the amount of money drug abuse costs society in lost productivity, medical costs, crime, etc. to give one example.

    I guarantee you, with no need to conduct a study, that alcohol causes more. And fast food.

  18. I’m reasonably sure there have been numerous studies on the amount of money drug abuse costs society in lost productivity, medical costs, crime, etc. to give one example.

    You are absolutely right, forcing employers to keep unproductive drug addicts because they are protected by the Americans with Disabilities Act does cost money. Forcing taxpayers to pay for the cost of medical care for those who are unable to does cost money. So let’s allow employers and employees to set the terms of employment instead of the government. Let’s allow hospitals to turn away people who are unable or unwilling to pay for the cost of their own care. Why should they be different than any other business?

  19. If you OD on a drug and have to be treated in the emergency room but can?t pay for it, then I?m affected because the hospital charges me more to make up for that expense. I doubt I can sue you for that, however.

    Uhmm…and if you walk into traffic and get hit and wind up in the emergency room and and can’t pay….how is that different? Or if you fall off of your roof cleaning the gutters??? Or if you cut off a finger/hand trying to get grass off the lawnmower blades.

    By your standards Dan, wouldn’t any one of these scenarios be “detrimental” to society?
    It seems that the problem in the scenario you describe is that the accident occuring isn’t detrimental to society…it’s being poor and not being able to pay if an accident occurs is the detriment. Maybe we should outlaw being poor?? That would make more sense than outlawing drugs (or anything that could potentially cause any kind of physical harm)

    I’ve always wondered: is it possible to support the freedom to produce and view pornography while at the same time acknowledging it’s detrimental effects on society as well as the individuals who are involved with it?

    The problem with this line of thought is that what is “detrimental to society” is so subjective that it becomes very difficult to define. Personally, I believe that we would all be better off as a society if the sex issue wasn’t as taboo and people looked at sex like something that should be embraced and enjoyed as opposed to something that should be private and never discussed in mixed company. But that’s me…and I would never think to force others to conform to my beliefs…..yet the restrictionists (is that a word??) want others to conform to theirs.

    Would legalization of prostitution be detrimental to society??? Many would argue yes because of their moral beliefs and their sexual taboos, but if you look at the positive effects (reducing the crime element…putting pimps out of business…empowering unskilled / uneducated people to earn a legal living and potentially gettting out of poverty…reducing infection rates via regulated exam schedules) a case can easily be made that legalizing prostitution is a no-brainer (look at how many other countries have legalized it without society falling apart)

    Now when talking about something like “pornography” which for the most part is staged and only looks “dangerous” (like every action movie we watch) — it’s very hard to see what the detrimental effects are when you take the moralism angle out of it. The fact that most porn consumers do not engage in any kind of violent or sexual crimes should be the proof that is needed to dispell the whole myth of “S&M porn makes people do violent sexual things to people” — but it doesn’t — because in some people’s mind — if even one consumer, who most likely already had psychological issues before exposure to porn, does something bad, he effectively condemns the whole group. It’s silly and stupid and treats rational adults like criminals and children.

  20. I’m reasonably sure there have been numerous studies on the amount of money drug abuse costs society in lost productivity, medical costs, crime, etc. to give one example.

    Why do we need random urine tests?

    Seriously. If drug users wreck the havoc the drug warriors say they do, why can’t we spot them? Why do all the drug-free workers have to pee in cups on HR’s whim? Wouldn’t you think that a worker who can’t produce because he’s stoned would stand out because, well, he isn’t producing work?

    Crime? Give me a break. The war on drugs costs way more than any crimes that would occur in a society where drug use was legal.

    If you OD on a drug and have to be treated in the emergency room but can’t pay for it, then I’m affected because the hospital charges me more to make up for that expense.

    True. But drug abusers that irresponsible are likely to have fatal ODs before they start collecting Medicare and Medicaid. Therefore you and the government end up saving a bundle.

  21. The latest view is that porn reduces sex crimes?

    See:
    http://tinyurl.com/h5klc

    By an eminent Americam law professor, who has been involved in this debate for many years?

  22. Britain is getting closer to “outlawing the possession of images of extreme sexual violence, necrophilia and bestiality”

    That’s just beating a dead horse.

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