Peter Suderman on the Continuing War on Porn


War on porn

Even before the Internet, Americans loved porn. In 1983, the three most popular nudie magazines—Playboy, Penthouse, and Hustler—then ranked as the 14th, 17th, and 57th largest magazines in America, distributing a combined 9 million copies each month. The Playboy Channel, a pay-cable network devoted to the finer things in life, was in more than 700,000 homes. The Adult Film Association of America boasted that some 65 million X-rated movies-back when that's what they were called-were rented or purchased in 1984. All without a single connection to the World Wide Web. But while millions of Americans appreciated pornography, their government didn't. Three decades later, writes Reason Senior Editor Peter Suderman, the crusade against pornography continues.