War on Sex part LXIX..... (Why do they give a crap?)

Hmmm...

Maybe the title should be "Why I won't email Oprah."

Anyway, I get email. And the latest is from a man named Justin Hart, who's with an organization I'd never heard of before called Family Fragments, which is in turn run by the Lighted Candle Society.

Here's the email:

Subject: O Oprah...!
ES - Be sure to thank Oprah for oiling up the slippery slope.

http://www.familyfragments.com/2007/09/oprah-show-porn-and-adultery-good-for.asp

cheers,
Justin
I don't know how I'm supposed to thank Oprah when I don't watch Oprah, but I suspected Mr. Hart was being sarcastic. This tempted me towards an immediate outburst of counter-sarcasm, but I've tried to temper that with a thing called "self control" that they tried to instill into me when I was a small boy.

The following long quotation in his email gives examples:

Oprah conducted a poll of her own audience bringing to light several choice examples of the slippery slope that families face in our culture. Take Winnie, for example, who says she saw a gorgeous home, and she told her husband of 44 years about it that night. "He hawed about it and I said, 'I'll give you the best sex tonight you have ever had. I don't care if it's all night,'" she says. "And so we did and I got the house the next day."
I find it hard to be shocked by a husband and wife having sex. Whether that is supposed to be a shocker I guess depends on whether you're part of the conservative war on sex, or the liberal Dworkin/Atkinson/Marcotte version on the left.

There's more, and maybe I lived in the San Francisco Bay Area too long, but it made me want to stifle a yawn.

Next, Oprah talks to Janee who owns a small collection of pornography, or, eh, "erotica" - as she prefers to call it. "I think with respect to my mother's generation, her mother's generation, you know, exploring the adult entertainment industry was just unheard of. It probably wasn't even an option for them,"

Another expert, Dr. Saltz, chimes in advocating pornography to women for overcoming their concerns about the addiction that their spouses indulge. To her credit, Dr. Saltz notes: "The problem is, it can be a double-edged sword in that anything really pleasurable can become kind of addictive."

Next, Oprah trots out the best of the breed Greg and Hollie, married with two children enjoying all the normal things that families do... and, oh yeah, practicing "open marriages", read adultery. As Oprah recounts the story:

During a long car trip Gregg asked Hollie--who says she had never had sex with anyone besides Gregg--if she was curious about being with someone else. "And I said, 'Well, nothing's missing. I don't need it. I don't really think about it,'" Hollie says. "But sure, I mean, if you're curious, if you've only had one partner your whole life, I mean, sure, you'd wonder what it would be like with somebody else."
...

Eventually Hollie started dating and eventually sleeping with one of their mutual friends. Gregg says he's flirted with other women but hasn't started an outside relationship of his own.

"She just has more love in her life," Gregg says. "It doesn't take anything away from what the two of us have."

As we pointed out previously Oprah has aired numerous shows delving into the topic of pornography addiction. These included the sad tale of woman who killed her husband in self defense after he went on a porn-induced rage and a former gospel singer whose life was shattered by the addiction. Why Oprah, whose influence is unmistakable, would backtrack to advocate pornography and adultery is beyond us.

Oprah's "advocacy" isn't exactly staring me in the face there, but I didn't see the show. Might the piece be confusing her failure to condemn all pornography out of hand with advocacy?

Never one to shy away from sarcasm, I thought about emailing back, but I remembered that debates solve nothing, and that this man is an activist. Activists believe that debating constitutes "leading," and they don't believe in idea sharing so much as they do in fighting. A dissenting view is seen as invasive, as a threat to be countered rhetorically, and thus any disagreement from me would simply be seen as an invitation to more.

Besides, what could I say? This is not just a concerned reader, but the vice president of an organization with a mission:

Our Mission

Lighted Candle Society was created to awaken our fellow citizens to the ultimate dangers of pornography and its effect upon society by:

*Supporting civil litigation against producers and distributors of pornography
*Financing scientific research into the addictive nature of the disease
*Publishing information revealing the sources and effects of the scourge
*Providing help to those who have been harmed by the addiction or caught in its vice even now.

Our Vision

Lighted Candle Society envisions a world where pornography is shunned, spurned and widely recognized as a serious threat to our way of life. We strive for a world where the negative consequences of producing and distributing pornography far outweigh the financial benefits.

Our Call to Action
Lighted Candle Society calls on the best in each of us, courting the courage of concerned citizens everywhere to help us take evil to court.

The organization also wants to pursue what it calls scientific research:
The second mission of the Lighted is to pursue scientific research into the effect of pornography.

To that end the LCS is committed to financing scientific research that will enable us to obtain the clear verifiable evidence that pornography leads to critical mind altering changes destructive to mental and emotional health. We anticipate using the recently developed technology of functional Magnetic Resonance Imagery (fMRI) in order to demonstrate the effect of pornography upon the human brain. The ultimate cost of this research will be in the millions of dollars. The ultimate benefit of this research will be to save the millions of individuals who because of the addictive venom of pornography would otherwise experience the destruction of their hope for happiness and fulfillment in life.

(My reaction to that is looking for deleterious effects is as scientific as it would be to look for beneficial effects, but I guess that depends on who's funding the science.)

The organization also has a stated belief grounded in victimology:

4 - Find Help for Victims

We believe that the entire breadth and effects from pornography is only just now being made evident. The victims of pornography are numerous. Individuals become numb, couples are separated, and families are torn apart. Lighted Candle Society will help you identify resources you can use to thwart the challenges of pornography in your life.

By any standard, the above constitutes activism. Knowing that I could never persuade an activist (activists cannot be persuaded of things that contradict their beliefs, because that would nullify their purpose), my initial impulse was along these lines.
Hi Justin,

Thanks for your email. This comes as news to me as I don't watch Oprah. Whether I should thank her as you suggest I don't know. I mean, if I wrote to her and said "Dear Oprah, I want to thank you for oiling up the slippery slope," she might not understand my meaning. And I might not mean it, as I'm disinclined to believe in the negation of free will which I suspect is implicit in your organization's argument that there are "victims" of visual depictions of sexual activity. (This makes about as much sense to me as the claim that people are victims of guns.) As the suggestion (and information) came from you, perhaps my letter should be along the following lines: "Dear Oprah, Justin Hart asked me to thank you for 'oiling up the slippery slope," although I think he is being sarcastic. I'm afraid that's the best I could do, because you have failed to persuade me. I take it your email was prompted by something I said on my blog (http://www.classicalvalues.com/), because you wrote to the blog's email address, but I can't be sure. Can you be more specific?

I think this whole thing is as much of a waste of time as it is to get into arguments with commenters who show themselves to be activists. As it is not my purpose to argue with committed activists or waste time, I see no point in responding to the email. However, it does supply a basis for discussion, because I'm fascinated by the pornography issue. This is much more complicated than whether it's dangerous or whether I think it should be allowed and someone else doesn't, as it goes to the essence of what constitutes human nature, and totally divergent views of how the human brain is influenced -- and who has responsibility.

A threshold problem is that in the case of this anti-pornography outfit, there is no definition of pornography. It would seem that in order to be against something to the point where you want people prosecuted for it, you ought to define what it is. Precisely what are they against? It's one thing to oppose kiddie porn, but are they talking about Playboy? Apparently so. The guy who emailed me about Oprah also wrote a post in which he called Playboy part of the "porn industry":

Recent developments in the online Porn industry are not surprising but terribly disconcerting. Note these recent startups:

[...]

* As if college kids didn't have enough sex on the brain... Playboy steps in with a user-sharing website for pornography restricted to college-age kids. See here.

The link goes to a site which advertises another site called PlayboyU, which by its own admission, is not even as graphic as the magazine:
In what may be a bummer for some, the site will be "an exclusive college-only non-nude social network". Furthermore, it will be a place to "show your school pride, connect with other students and celebrate the social side of college". But I'm sure they're not going to police the whole network for porn.
I don't know whether they're policing it or not, but when I went there it looked fairly dull. Plus, they discriminate!
.edu emails required.

Sorry, but high schoolers, old dudes and your Mom can't join.

At 53, I'm probably an "old dude." And without an .edu to my name, I face double discrimination. But the point is, if this is less racy than Playboy, and it's pornography, then I guess the group's definition of pornography is broader than most people's.

Unless I am reading them wrong, they are convinced that sexually oriented pictures of the sort in Playboy have harmful effects on the human brain.

I have a serious conceptual difficulty with the idea that pictures or videos can do that, and while I'm sure that certain parts of the brain are aroused by sexual titillation, I don't see how sexual arousal constitutes brain damage, unless we posit that having sexual thoughts of an unauthorized nature is inherently bad. Obviously, that goes to the core of my disagreement. I don't think having sexual thoughts is bad in and of itself. If the thoughts are unwanted, then they might be bad for the individual who has them, but I do not understand how thoughts would ever become the business of others. Now, seeing that the primary purpose of pornography is the stimulation and encouragement of sexual thoughts, it follows necessarily that whether another person uses pornography cannot possibly be the legitimate business of anyone other than that person himself, or possibly his sexual partner.

For the purposes of this argument, it does not matter whether pornography is defined as the more racy or the less racy stuff. It might even be things that we (at least most reasonable people) could all agree were not even pornography, provided that they acted to stimulate the sexual imagination of whoever wanted to look at them. For example, Victorian men were often turned on by women wearing corsets. I'm sure that some modern men are too. Likewise, a number of modern gay men are turned on by men wearing black leather (and some straight men are turned on by women wearing leather). Thus, attractive models wearing corsets or leather might be exactly what someone wanted (and thus pornographic to him) without meeting any legal definition of pornography -- and perhaps without meeting even the Lighted Candle Society's unstated definition of pornography.

Uh, oh.

It just occurred to me that there might be some sexual purist out there who might possibly be reading this post. Possibly even people who think that pictures of models wearing leather and corsets are pornographic, and that any production of them which in any way catered to such tastes constitutes evil. So let's switch to a less common fetish -- rubber. Suppose a guy was incredibly turned on by neoprene wearing, wanted to see pictures of attractive models wearing rubber, and ordered wetsuit catalogs from companies catering not to rubber fetishists, but to SCUBA divers. If you hook him up to the telltale MRI machine pursuant to the stated desires of the Lighted Candle people and hand him a wetsuit catalog, that little sexual pleasure center in his brain will light up just as brightly as it would in the brain of a guy into "normal" pornography depicting the usual "sexy she sluts" doing naughty things with genitalia.

So is there a loophole for such "abnormal" interests as rubber fetish that might be fully satisfied by wetsuit catalogs?

This begs the question of what is pornography, and of course, what constitutes victimhood. It's easy to say that someone is a victim of the thing that turns him on when we resort to villain language like the "Porn Industry." But it's hard to see a catalog produced by Dave's Dive Shop as victimizing anyone.

But what about the models? Why are women who dress up as sexy she sluts victims, yet not the wetsuit models? Presumably, the former know perfectly well what they're posing for, and have a pretty good idea of who is likely to be looking at their pictures, and why. In that sense, the girl in the wetsuit is more "innocent" as she never consented to being the object of the sexual desires of a total stranger. Who is more "exploited"? The knowingly exploited, or the unknowingly exploited? (Remember, I don't think either one is, but I'm trying to follow out this argument.)

We often think of the idea of "model as victim" to be the central argument against kiddie porn, but here again, an adult with an abnormal interest in children might conceivably be able to satisfy it by resort to catalogs of children's clothing. Would that be illegal? If so, why? What, precisely, would we be punishing? The possession of the material? Or whether it satisfies the sexual pleasure centers of a human mind? Surely punishing the desire for sexual gratification cannot alone supply the basis for laws against pornography, because like drug laws, they are possessory in nature, and do not require any interest in the prohibited material objects. In theory, someone could break into my house (or my computer) insert criminal pornography, and I'd be just as guilty of possession as I would if they broke into my house and put heroin in a desk drawer.

My lack of interest might be a question for the jury, I suppose, but the goal behind making possession an offense is predicated on punishing illicit desire. Without the "thought crime" to go along with it, heroin is meaningless white powder, and "Sexy She Sluts" is slick paper covered with ink. There is not even arguable "harm" without desire. (To illustrate, put on a blindfold and try to distinguish between pornography and an annual report from a Fortune 500 company.)

Not only is porn theory far from settled, it is going to become infinitely more complicated by technology which will enable the creation of highly individualized, custom-tailored pornography to suit an individual's particular tastes. Such "virtual pornography" will not involve real models, but computer-generated images, which are on the verge of becoming as photorealistic as any photograph of a real model. But because there will be no real models involved, the "model as victim" theory (long a basis for the claim that porn "exploits") will no longer apply. Moreover, if the software gets "good" enough (which it inevitably will), there won't be any need to capture, create, or sell images of anyone. A guy will be able to sit down at a computer, and imagine his fantasy into virtual reality.

Glenn Reynolds recently touched on the virtual porn issue in the context of a pending Supreme Court case involving distribution of "virtual" kiddie porn:

Williams v. United States4 deals with the constitutionality of 18 U.S.C. §2252A(a)(3)(B), which prohibits knowingly advertising, promoting, presenting, distributing, or soliciting any material that reflects the belief, or that is intended to cause another to believe, that the material is illegal child pornography. The question before the Supreme Court is whether this prohibition is unconstitutional on grounds of vagueness and overbreadth. A statute is ''vague'' if its language is so unclear that a person of reasonable intelligence cannot tell what it prohibits, opening the way to arbitrary and discriminatory enforcement. A statute is overbroad if it significantly prohibits conduct that is protected by the First Amendment as well as conduct that is not.
Well, for starters, what does it mean to "reflect a belief"? If it is known that the images are not real people, and thus could not reasonably be believed to be real people, what is the being criminalized? A belief, or a fantasy in someone's imagination? Either way, I see major constitutional problems, and if this nonsense is allowed to continue, I could see it leading to the development of thought crime police.
In an online chat room, defendant Williams had shared nonpornographic pictures of children--and adults digitally manipulated to look like children--with an undercover federal agent. Williams promised, but did not deliver, genuinely pornographic pictures of children, and was charged with ''pandering'' under §2252A(a)(3)(B).

Before the Eleventh Circuit, Williams argued that the statute was overbroad and vague. The Eleventh Circuit found that it was, and struck down the statute:

First, that pandered child pornography need only be ''purported'' to fall under the prohibition of § 2252A(a)(3)(B) means that promotion or speech is criminalized even when the touted materials are clean or nonexistent . . . In a noncommercial context, any promoter . . . be they a braggart, exaggerator, or outright liar . . . who claims to have illegal child pornography materials is a criminal punishable by up to twenty years in prison, even if what he or she actually has is a video of ''Our Gang,'' a dirty handkerchief, or an empty pocket. 5
The government's justification was that shutting down a market in child pornography requires banning all promotional speech, regardless of whether it actually involves child pornography.
While it doesn't appear that there was mutual knowledge the pictures were not in fact real, suppose that all the parties did agree that the pictures were not real, but fake and simulated. The possibilities can get pretty crazy. Does this mean that if a husband asks his young-looking wife to pose for pictures dressed up in a school girl uniform, he is soliciting the creation of kiddie porn? Suppose he does that and then (with her permission) runs an age regression software program on the pictures, thus creating the appearance that his wife is only 13. Suppose they both enjoy this, and share the pictures with friends. Is any "child" exploited? I don't think so. Rather, I believe this hypothetical scenario would constitute a thought crime, in this case a consensual thought crime between husband and wife.

Could age regression software allowing someone to do that be constitutionally punished? I don't see how, although I don't doubt that there are people who seek to criminalize it.

But age-regression aside, what is "age"? I'm an "old dude" by the standards of the PlayboyU website, but I have plenty of pictures of myself when I was younger and handsomer. If I lie about my age, do I become a purveyor of purported child pornography?

Here, for example, is a youthful me, wearing leather (gasp!) and holding my young bitch (gasp!) who is clearly trying to break free from the man who not only keeps her in bondage, but who subjugates and disciplines her:

Henrietta_SM.JPG

Suppose that, in despair over my waning attractiveness quotient, I used that picture and said "that's me!" in the hope of turning on some total stranger. Sure, it's dishonest to lie about my age (and probably not to disclose that I don't look like that now), but it's not a crime simply to create a false impression, is it? Under what theory should it become a crime to run software which would create the appearance of taking another ten years off my age? Who's the victim? And why? Am I the victim of myself? If so, isn't that my business?

Apparently not. The central idea behind opposing pornography is that thoughts matter, that unapproved sexual thoughts are evil, that there is such a thing as a guilty brain, and above all, that the guilty brain influences and is the responsibility of other people.

This debate is hopeless because it is a debate over influence. Pornography is seen by some people as an influence which must be stopped. By influence, and by force if necessary.

I think the dispute is grounded in "monkey-see, monkey do," and I will try to explain.

M. Simon emailed me a link to a discussion of what one columnist calls a "who gives a crap" gene:

Andrea Nemerson is the San Francisco Bay Guardian's sex columnist. I don't imagine that my answers to the questions about why X person is into Y weird thing ever satisfy anyone, since no matter what the experts, from Krafft-Ebing to John Money, have claimed, nobody has the slightest idea why people like what they like, and it's all completely random as far as I can tell. As for me, I have always been and still am utterly confounded by homophobia and similar hatreds. I don't mean this in a "Why must people be so meeeaaan?" kind of way; I mean I truly cannot fathom why anyone gives a crap, and I've read all the theories. I guess I'm missing the "gives a crap" gene. I'd like to have it, actually--it's not helpful in my line of work to simply not comprehend what other people are feeling, but every time another one of those anti-gay-marriage ordinances passes, I'm all, "Huh? Who gives a crap?" again.
I am forced to give a crap only because others give a crap. The existence of the "give a crap" forces requires me to give a crap, even though I resent giving a crap.

Ann Althouse linked a fascinating video of Bonobo chimps (you know, the evil buggerers who enjoy bisexual screwing for pleasure), and it triggered what may be my "give a crap about those who give a crap" gene, because after all, these people so badly give a crap that it may cause the Republican Party to lose to Hillary Clinton (something I definitely give a crap about). I see a serious disconnect over the "are we apes?" issue, and I worry that it might go to the core of what we call the "Culture War" as well as the difference between communitarians and libertarians. It may well trigger and exacerbate divisions between red staters and blue staters, Republicans and Democrats, liberals and conservatives.

PLEASE NOTE: the video that Ann Althouse links is not pornographic in any way. Readers looking for hot Bonobo action, please be advised to look elsewhere.

For starters, there's no agreement on whether we are apes. The Bonobos strike close to home, as they are so similar to us that it's a little creepy. The libertarian, individualist in me abhors the mob, and very much wants to avoid doing things because others do them. But by wanting to avoid the mob, I have to take the mob into account, and thus I am influenced by it whether I like it or not. Also, I like to think that humans have evolved past the ape stage, and I dislike it intensely when I see clear evidence that not all of us have. Clearly, some humans are more animalistic than others, and some people are more in denial of the animalistic nature of humans than others. Conservatives and libertarians tend towards a belief in the dark side of human nature, but disagree over what to police and how to best police it. Libertarians tend to be people who like to think that they do not behave as animals, and hence resent being herded and ordered around under the assumption that all are. Conservatives see animalism as a lurking possibility to be constantly guarded against, and they care a lot more about the people who might act like animals, or others who might allow them to. Which is the more realistic assessment of human nature depends on your view of the ideal society. While I try to be unselfish towards friends and people I like, I resent animalistic behavior in others (especially in people I don't like), and I see no reason why I should have to be bound in my own life by concerns that I should not do something or advocate something simply because some people might be inclined to imitate me. (I know this sounds silly, but there are people who think that by owning a gun or a pit bull or opine on certain subjects, I am therefore "setting an example." Sorry, but I never agreed to have my life be an "example" to anyone.)

I won't buy cigarettes, so cigarette advertising does not matter to me, and I do not wish to be bothered worrying about the minds of people who are unable to resist monkey-see, monkey-do impulses. Put the cigarettes back in the mouths of sexy she sluts from hell. I don't care. The Seagram's Distillery does not victimize anyone, nor does pornography, nor do gun manufacturers.

Liberals and progressives, on the other hand, tend to believe in the innate goodness of man. Man has evolved past the ape stage, or else he can be made to, and that human perfectibility is achievable by humans, and thus can be undone by humans. Again, there is a belief in the power of monkey-see, monkey-do, and this tends to be a shared belief of liberals and conservatives.

As I dislike the unfortunate human tendency toward monkey-see, monkey do, I resent whatever power it has over people, and I especially resent further empowering it with policy decisions. The war against pornography goes to the essence of the monkey-see, monkey do, because it is seen as a virus spreading from one chimp to another. Even pornography viewed in private has a contagious social effect, as the guilty mind will be spreading filth through guilty attitudes.

Thus Mitt Romney has run into trouble with his own followers over "pornography" issue. (As it happens, Justin Hart, the man who sent me the email is not only Vice President of Communications for the Lighted Candle Society but was appointed to Governor Romney's Faith and Values Committee. "Our ultimate mission is to bring civil litigation against the producers and distributors of pornography," he claims.)

Romney is accused of having close ties to the Marriott Hotel chain, which is said to be bad because the hotels allow guests to pay extra to view videos which the critics describe as "pornographic."

During his run for President, Romney has campaigned on a platform of "family values" recently telling a graduation class, "Pornography and violence poison our music and movies and television and video games."

Some of these conservative grassroots activists want to know whether he spoke up or tried to put a stop to Marriott's business dealings back then.

Phil Burress, founder of Citizens for Community Values has been fighting hotel chains for decades on this issue. He tells The Brody File that every month a group of roughly 15 anti-pornography leaders meet in Washington to discuss the latest happenings.

Mitt Romney's Marriott connection has come up repeatedly. "Ever since he announced president, it's been a topic of discussion."

Mitt Romney's campaign told CBN the following: "Governor Romney's role as board member was in an advisory capacity on financial matters related to the company and, obviously, he did not have a role in the day-to-day operations or decisions of individual franchise holders."

John Harmer, President of the anti-pornography group The Lighted Candle Society and the former Lieutenant Governor of California under Ronald Reagan isn't buying it. He wants to hear more.

I'm tempted to say "Get your hands off my remote, you filthy ape!" but that would persuade no one.

The problem is, what would?

If what we're arguing over is whether we're apes influencing each other, any attempt to be persuasive would in and of itself be apelike conduct.

The most highly evolved human thing to do is not give a crap.

As I say, I'm working on it.

But I'm not perfect. There's a little bit of ape in all of us.

Anyone heard of self control?

Or is that up to others?

drzaius.jpg

Beware the beast man, for he is the Devil's pawn. Alone among God's primates, he kills for sport or lust or greed. Yea, he will murder his brother to possess his brother's land. Let him not breed in great numbers, for he will make a desert of his home and yours. Shun him, for he is the harbinger of death.

--Dr. Zaius, Minister of Science and Chief Defender of the Faith.

(No simian moral comparisons intended or intentionally omitted.)

posted by Eric on 10.02.07 at 12:28 PM










Comments

Real science starts out with "what is the effect of".

Junk science starts out with "we want to prove".

M. Simon   ·  October 2, 2007 4:51 PM

I can't see the connection between the beliefs in "perfectibility" and "innate goodness" you perceive in the left, or even why you perceive them as believing in those things.

They sometimes talk of an Edenic human nature obscured and distorted by capital and such (while decrying the idea of an undistorted human nature as itself just such an obscuring mind-trick), but do they act like they mean it? Do any of their solutions to our fallen-ness offer us release from these demons? Or do they only want to be the demons?

Even accepting the terms, the "perfectibility" they act on is only man's inability to resist coercion. That may also be their definition of "innate goodness," instinctual obedience, but it's not ours.

I've heard conservatives offer the same diagnosis of "liberals" for years. It's never made sense.

guy on internet   ·  October 2, 2007 6:20 PM

"Edenic human nature obscured and distorted by capital" sounds like the "noble savage" theory.

I don't mean to generalize, and certainly Communists don't seem to believe in inherent goodness of man, but that the good of man is possible under the right "leadership."

I do think that pacifism and the related doctrine of "conflict resolution" are both based on the mistaken idea that man is inherently good, or can be made that way. The negation of evil is a serious problem for the left.

Libertarians and conservatives do accept the existence of evil, and both believe in defending the good. Pacifist liberalism and many varieties of post modernism reject such a division, and IMO, this allows evil to go largely unchallenged.

Along with conservatives, I tend to see animalism in humans (especially in undifferentiated children, and adults who eschew responsibility for their actions) as forms of evil.

Liberals generally do not.

The idea that pornography has victims and causes "addiction" is, IMO, liberalism in cconservative drag.

(I guess that's also known as "communitarianism.")

Eric Scheie   ·  October 2, 2007 11:15 PM

I couldn't help but comment on this thread since 1) I received that same email, 2) I happen to belong to the same church as both Justin Hart and Mitt Romney (as well as the Marriotts)which church is very outspoken on such issues.

So, admittedly, I am an Activist. I also havent read your blog long enough, or deeply enough to fully appreciate your philosophical premises (except for your affinity to some brand of libertarianism) so forgive me if I dont fully understand from where you are coming.

I agree that victimhood is overused, and I agree with Tammy Bruice when she said: "When victimhood is the source of ones power, then the cure becomes the disease," but who is gaining from these labor intensive battles against pornography? What power is derived from this effort-intensive battle? There are plenty of people, like yourself, who look at our efforts to minimize pornography (which we believe results in substantial socio-personal harms) and gaze in incredulity. And granted, some of the harms of pornography are matters of faith and are therefore subject to doubt. Unlike Big Tobacco, Big Pharma, or the asbestos manufacturers, those who fight against pornography wont get a big paycheck, or even hope for substantial power since so many are indifferent or active participators on the part of pornography.

You are right that the battle against pornography is ideologically driven, much like the efforts of the ACLU, the Neocon nation-building Iraq War, or what was once the Cold War, the French and American Revolutions, etc; so it doesnt depend on science (even though science is a useful blunt instrument for crafting social policy).

I suppose the American People will just need to make the decision whether they want to affirm policies that are family-centered or those which tend toward cultural libertarians political servitude and social license. As for me and my house, I am not interested in doing the bidding of sexual revolutions Che Guevaras, and that is why I stand on principles which I have reasonable, but uncertain grounds to stand on (just like Reagan did when he gave his Tear Down This Wall speech).

I agree that I dont know exactly what would happen if we cut the anchor to our nations sexual mores; liberating them to be tossed by the winds of individual desire, but every time I try to go down that road the prospects become too frightening.

Joseph D. Walch   ·  October 3, 2007 7:03 PM

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