Should we censor porn?

In 1971 Irving Kristol said yes, today Ross Douthat says yes.  I am sympathetic with the notion that porn in the “I know it when I see it sense” is a net negative bad for society, even if it helps some people revitalize their sex lives (Alex differs).  That said, I cannot find an attractive way of censoring it.

Ross tweeted:

I think you start with the rules we have, and think about how they might be applied to ISPs.

Yet playing whack-a-mole with ISPs does not always go well, a truth to which a number of emotionally well-balanced MR commentators can attest.  And porn users and suppliers I think would be especially willing to find workarounds, including VPNs.  So I don’t think porn would end up all that ghettoized.  My fear is that the American internet would evolve rather rapidly toward Chinese-style institutions of control (though they would not used right now), without stopping porn very much, but leading to increasing calls to censor many other things too.

Keep in mind also that porn has been a major driver of innovation, not just for the VCR but for the internet too, including for means of payment, methods of streaming, and anti-piracy.  Might porn drive the demand to build networks of virtual reality?  So I’m not ready to ban it just yet.

Comments

Those who really want porn will be able to find porn. But making people put some actual effort into acquiring it would likely reduce its current ubiquity.

The Left has already shown us how to do this. We "empower" the victims. Or rather we make some victims up. Just as the Left claims that Ben Shapiro is committing violence by supporting free speech.

We could do it in easy stages. The feminists are already arguing that women are victims of porn. We find a woman who has been sexually assaulted by her boyfriend or a rapist in a manner suggestive of a famous porn film - and we let her sue the living daylights out of everyone and anyone associated with the production. If a girl said that her boyfriend watched Deep Throat and then forced her to perform oral sex, we track down the distributors and she sues them for emotional harm.

Once the flood gates open - and it only takes a sympathetic jury or two - all sorts of people will be crawling out of the woodwork. We find a couple of "experts" who will testify that watching porn makes you emotionally numb and every other low life will be suing.

The best thing is that it will be precisely those who are able to find porn who will have the greatest ability to sue everyone for damages.

It worked for "passive smoking".

'If a girl said that her boyfriend watched Deep Throat and then forced her to perform oral sex'

You are familiar with the Deep Throat's actress's story, right? Why make up scenarios when you can use actual reporting (OK, admittedly, you have to believe the actress over her husband, so that might explain a certain reluctance to talk about an actual porn victim and Deep Throat) - 'In a 1980 article in Ms. magazine, "The Real Linda Lovelace", Gloria Steinem discussed Traynor and Lovelace's relationship. Steinem stated that "the myth that Lovelace loved to be sexually used and humiliated was created by her husband" and that he kept her as his prisoner. Lovelace claimed that Traynor forced her into prostitution by threatening her with a gun, repeatedly beat her, forced her to make pornography, and allowed men to rape her repeatedly. Lovelace tried to escape from Traynor three times before she was successful. She said that during Deep Throat one can see visible scars and bruises left on her legs from a beating by Traynor. According to Steinem, Traynor once stated, "When I first dated [Linda] she was so shy, it shocked her to be seen nude by a man... I created Linda Lovelace." https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chuck_Traynor

The commercial porn industry is full of disgusting human beings - luckily, that industry is dying out because plenty of people have no problems enjoying sex in front of a camera.

As usual you completely miss the point. Well done.

On top of which, everything Traynor was alleged to have done is actually already a crime. All she needed was the will to sue and a good lawyer.

Wasn't the point that someone forced to perform a sexual act is being victimized? In which case, no need to make up a story involving Deep Throat.

Though oddly, you seem more concerned about those doing the forcing, and how they just might be penalized for their behavior.

Wasn’t the point that someone forced to perform a sexual act is being victimized? In which case, no need to make up a story involving Deep Throat.

The point was that an potential route to banning porn is to use the 'sex trafficking' approach. If Linda Lovelace was an unwilling victim, she'd be an excellent poster-girl for banning porn using this strategy. The idea is that there are no sex workers/porn actors with agency who've chosen their professions freely. Instead all are victims of both pimps/producers and johns/porn consumers -- who are the real criminals and should be charged -- what's to prevent this model being used for porn:

http://www.spiegel.de/international/europe/criminalizing-the-customers-prostitution-ban-huge-success-in-sweden-a-516030.html

Slocum February 12, 2018 at 9:01 am

The point was that an potential route to banning porn is to use the ‘sex trafficking’ approach.

Actually no, my point was that a potential route to banning porn is to use the passive smoking approach. Juries might well say that a porn star has agreed to be a porn star. They know what they are getting into. And they are paid. But if someone says "I was just a teenager and I did not know that watching porn would make me unable to perform with a real person", well, the pool of potential litigants is much bigger, many of them will be underage, some of them highly sympathetic. Porn does not come with a warning label after all.

All you need is the right jury and any porn fan could make millions.

Seems to have tripped something -

'If Linda Lovelace was an unwilling victim, she’d be an excellent poster-girl for banning porn using this strategy.'

As she was, though not quite involving sex trafficking as such - do read about her time involved in the 80s anti-pornography crusade at wikipedia - which seems unpostable as a link

"But if someone says, 'I was just a teenager and I did not know that watching porn would make me unable to perform with a real person'”.
Actually, I favor that method and think it is worth teying it to ban pornography, but I would also laugh at the person. I hope the money compensation is worth it. Well, beggers can not be choosers. The Civil Rights movements waited until having a Rosa Parks' case. I guess there will be no Rosa Parks' pornography case (unless rule 34 is at play). Repulsive people will be have to be used.

Hey it worked for Bill Clinton. So I am disinclined to accept moral lectures from people who worshiped the ground a rapist stood on when they start to talk about some staffer against whom mere accusations have been made.

Bill Clinton did not rape anyone. He WAS a womanizer - that was common knowledge in Arkansas when he was governor. Comparing Clinton to a wife-beater or a rapist is way out of line. Disgustingly so.

Comparing Clinton to a wife-beater or a rapist is way out of line. Disgustingly so.

LOL!

Just curious: how is it out of line?

I totally agree. See, we elected yet another rapist to the presidency. Trump raped 13 year old girls. These leftists sure opened the floodgates.

The rapist accusation is just more brain dead partisan bs we have to wade through. Clinton was a rapist! Trump was a rapist! The nice thing is it's a good heuristic: anyone who says that kind of thing can be safely ignored thereafter.

There's multiple accusations of Bill Clinton sexual assaulting women. There is once accusation of rape.
I've got no idea where the truth lies.

"Four women over the past few decades have publicly accused Bill Clinton of sexual assault or harassment. One woman accused Clinton of raping her."

"Juanita Broaddrick has made the most serious allegations against Clinton, accusing him of raping her in 1978 while Clinton was Arkansas' attorney general.
....
The Washington Post reported that two people close to Broaddrick said she described the rape to them at the time."

http://www.businessinsider.com/these-are-the-sexual-assault-allegations-against-bill-clinton-2017-11/#juanita-broaddrick-1

I think a lot of Democrats like to ignore these accusations and sweep them under the rug.

Under oath, when it counted, JB said that actually her relationship with Clinton was consensual.

Charge her with perjury?

"Broaddrick shared the hotel room with her friend and employee Norma Rogers. Rogers attended a conference seminar that morning, and says she returned to their room to find Broaddrick on the bed “in a state of shock,” her pantyhose torn in the crotch and her lip swollen as though she had been hit. Rogers says Broaddrick told her Clinton had "forced himself on her."[12] Rogers helped Broaddrick ice her lip, and then the women left Little Rock. Rogers said that Broaddrick was very upset on the way home and blamed herself for letting Clinton in the room.[3]"

Moo Cow is not only a little rape apologist b*&$%, but he apparently, much like Hillary, is angry at Bill Clinton's accusers and wants to hurt them. Sad.

OK Thomas, now do Trump's victims!

"Under oath, when it counted, JB said that actually her relationship with Clinton was consensual."

No, that's not true. Juanita Broaddrick did give a signed affidavit that said: "
"I do not have any information to offer regarding a nonconsensual or unwelcome sexual advance by Mr. Clinton."

You'll note the wording. She's refusing to give information, not saying that the event was consensual. She later clarified the issue with an affidavit that alleged sexual assault.

https://www.vox.com/2016/1/6/10722580/bill-clinton-juanita-broaddrick

Those are all easily obtainable facts. You'll note that this is an article from Left leaning Vox.

"It worked for “passive smoking”."
People don't actually smoke through the internet. That approach would work to defeat more official and established players (and, I admit, would be a good beginning), but would not defeat underground players, as the War Against Drugs proves. Anyway, I support that approach.

The ideal solution is to not ban porn, but ban women in porn. Heterosexuals will have to make do with men dressed as women, like in Kabuki theater. Sad day for straight men, but a new golden age for gays and fetishists!

Nice tribal signaling. But let me try to make this conversation somewhat productive.

Presently the right doesn't have much of an argument against porn as they have aligned with a literal pornographer for President but previously their argument against porn was in regards to virtue. Namely it corrupted one's personal virtue which has collective effects on society (although that may be hard to prove and mostly this is various pundits trying to latch onto anecdotal data like people putting off having children or more males opting to live at home).

The left's argument against pornography centers around its production and message. Namely coercion both overt (human trafficking) and economic (the only way you can pay for living is doing porn).

But this is only an imperfect overlap. The right doesn't really care about the trafficking/coercion angle (odds are there's probably more slave labor going into your socks than your porn) and the virtue aspect runs up against individual autonomy on the left. The two are only going to work together by pretending their interests overlap (say by pretending all porn is made by coercion even if individuals in porn swear they are doing of their own free will).

Trump makes porn?

Banning porn or reducing its availability is a wonderful idea, as long as the goal is increasing both rape (https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/all-about-sex/201601/evidence-mounts-more-porn-less-sexual-assault) and prostitution, and thus female homicide rate (http://econlog.econlib.org/archives/2018/01/craigslist_redu.html).
Not to mention the damage to all the man for which porn is the only available outlet for sexual urges.
What could possibly go wrong?

SCIENCE(tm) has spoken!

Counterpoint:

From Ted Bundy's final interview, prior to being executed:

“I’ve lived in prison for a long time now and I’ve met a lot of men who were motivated to commit violence just like me and without exception, every one of them was deeply involved with pornography. Without question, without exception, deeply influenced and consumed by addiction to pornography.”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vlk_sRU49TI

Ted Bundy is not all that reliable - 'In a last-ditch effort to be “too important to kill,” Bundy met with Dr. James Dobson, a religious psychologist and crusader against pornography. Despite Bundy’s reputation as a manipulator, Dobson accepted his tearful confession as genuine.

On the video of this interview, Bundy appears sincere as he describes how he became addicted to pornography as a boy through detective magazines. This is what Dobson wanted to hear but it contradicted other accounts. To one detective, Bundy had pointed to cheerleader magazines as his inspiration, while he’d denied to Ann Rule that he’d ever read a detective magazine.' https://nsc2793.wordpress.com/2014/12/17/was-he-crazy/

I wouldn't consider Bundy to be entirely reliable either, and it's possible the video just shows a psychopath trying to garner sympathy. BUT his sexual compulsions were central to his violence, so I don't see what's so implausible about his claims here.

Here is another account from a different murderer, Arthur Gary Bishop:

“I am a homosexual pedophile convicted of murder, and pornography was a determining factor in my downfall. Somehow I became sexually attracted to young boys and I would fantasize about them naked. Certain bookstores offered sex education, photographic, or art books which occasionally contained pictures of nude boys. I purchased such books and used them to enhance my masturbatory fantasies... Finding and procuring sexually arousing materials became an obsession. For me, seeing pornography was lighting a fuse on a stick of dynamite. I became stimulated and had to gratify my urges or explode. All boys became mere sexual objects. My conscience was desensitized and my sexual appetite entirely controlled my actions.”

'BUT his sexual compulsions were central to his violence'

And if physical evidence is to be believed, this was Bundy's pornography - 'Stephen Michaud, who had personally interviewed Ted Bundy and written a few books about him, immediately debunked this Keirns’ claim:

“Look,” Michaud had stated.” The last time Bundy was caught, you know what he had in his car? A stack of well-thumbed pamphlets for cheerleader training schools. He was into cheerleader pamphlets, and he wasn’t using them for scratch paper. He also got off on his college physiology text, which had diagrams of female genitalia.” http://www.thecrimemag.com/ted-bundy-product-hardcore-pornography/

Hope that makes Bundy's claims less plausible.

Bundy is just a bad example in such cases, though he was held in high esteem by those in the anti-pornography crusade as an example of the evils of porn. That article has plenty of other names, including your second one.

Yeah, I'm sure the causality goes from "watches gay pedophile porn" to "becomes gay pedophile" and no the other way around. Doesn't sound at all stupid.

Well, of course you'd expect rapists and murderers to be also more interested in porn that the average person, I would be surprised of the contrary. If porn is consumed as a substitute of rape I would expect porn use to correlate strongly with sexual violence. What is lacking here is a control group.

Yeah, porn was pretty much non existent, or a very tiny niche (nudie nickelodeons?) for the entire modern era until the 1970s. Were there gangs of porn-starved men raping and killing women before then? Men can masturbate without porn, like they did for millennia.

msgkings, for most of history, most adult men had a wife that they could use sexually however and whenever they wanted. That has changed.

For the worse? Anyway, masturbation would still be legal even if porn wasn't so readily available. And are you saying we didn't have porn-starved raping before because all the men were married and could have sex with their wives whenever they wanted? I'm pushing back against that particular pro-porn argument (I'm not in favor of making porn illegal, but that's a dumb argument).

Yes. One of the main reason of tribal warfare has always been the kidnapping of women from rival tribes, and has been documented all over the world. The Romans even have a myth about that (https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Rape_of_the_Sabine_Women). Read any account of a war, from any period in human history and you'll find that the winners always indulge in rape after taking a city. Berlin in 1945, Nanking taken by the Japanese, or ISIS today if you like. Really, you have to try really hard not to see any of it.
Curiously, the incidence of rape has declined in the last decades, at least in western armies. Just as porn grew more available, even though I suspect the primary motivator has been the increase of footage and images fed to the public, and a decreasing tolerance regarding violence.

Should we censor anything? Would it be consistent with the first amendment to censor anything. If so who decides what to censor. I would like it if the censored movies and TV and removed all references and acts that are homosexual. I'm sure many would disagree. But to me that is offensive porn. Why not censor that and NOT censor pure natural man-woman love? Then there is rap music; it begs to be censored. Censorship is a slippery slope. Pick something to censor that we can all agree on and then parlay that into censoring things we would never agree on. You are begging for misuse of those powers.

"Why not censor that and NOT censor pure natural man-woman love? Then there is rap music; it begs to be censored."
It is not pure, natural man-woman love. It is artificial, scripted, rehearsed, commodified, satanical lust.

" It is artificial, scripted, rehearsed, commodified, satanical lust."

What's not to love about that? Some of it of course is really well done, some appeals to the darker side of us. But regardless of anyone's own feelings about porn it should not be something that the most uptight of us decide what is good and what is bad or worse (and you know this will happen) what is legal and what gets you 20 years in prison.

The point is, it is not "pure, natural man-woman love". It is people's destruction.

it is not “pure, natural man-woman love” How do you know what goes on in people's bedrooms? Who are you or anyone to decide what is pure or natural in love/sex? That is the problem with censorship it reduces everything to the lowest common denominator.

"It is people’s destruction"

I don't know if you mean the viewer or the actor but there are worse things we tolerate simply because common sense and sometimes the constitution advises us to stay out of people's business.

As I read the constitution we cannot really censor anything. We do it of course because judges and politicians are only human and can't resist forcing their beliefs on us all at least if we let them. But why would we let them you ask? By phrasing the request in a way that a majority would agree. We open that door a crack and those who would control our lives enter through that crack.

If we undermine our morals, we lose everything our forefathers built!!

"If we undermine our morals, we lose everything our forefathers built!!"

I am opposed to undermining our morals which I believe censorship will. There is more to "morals" then sex. I also do not believe it is the job of government to be the arbiter of what we see or read. I am quite disturbed by how such a censorship would be enforced too. Are you really ready to put people in jail for reading Playboy? Your morals are your business not the governments business.

Prohibition always works out.

People did consume less alcohol during that Prohibition, didn't they? Echoing Thursday above.

And counting the resulting increase in organized crime, was that a net positive or negative thing?

Could you show me some hard data that actually quantitates the rise in crime with prohibition?

I always hear about how Prohibition fueled an increase in crime, I never hear a percentage or how it differed with Prohibition other than something else.

After all, the Mafia started out as an extortion racket on the lemon trade so I suspect they may have been able to profit off criminal enterprises regardless of Prohibition. Undoubtedly alcohol provided a bunch of cash and had a real impact, but can you quantify that? It is awfully hard to talk about policy when legalization and prohibition are always treated as Just So Stories.

Murder rates during prohibition increased ~50% very soon after it started and declined to around the pre-prohibition rate veey soon following its repeal. Source: some authoritative looking website I read a week or so ago, use the Google.

This is why I ask for real data. According to google the murder rate in 1922 (when Volestad went into affect) was 8.0/100,000, by 1933 it had reach 9.7. More interestingly was the fact that in 1911 it was at 5.5. Also interesting is the fact that from 1922 until to 1930 the murder rate never crested 9 the entire time.

Even more fun, the murder rate in 1900 was a whopping 1.2.

Me, I would be far more interested in what raised the rate 800% rather than what managed a 21.3% increase.

As far as the return to baseline, well that basically never happened. We managed to get back to the prohibition baseline in '37 and briefly dipped below it once we began drafting huge numbers of men for war. After the war, crime went back up and did not settle back down until the 50s. Mostly that looks like the generational swing that came with the uptick in religious observance with The Greatest Generation. when the boomers come of age we see a marked increase that tops out in 80s. In spite of a massive push towards more enforcement of drug prohibition, the 80s were basically steady on crime and then fell under Clinton and onward.

Always, legalization is touted as something that will significantly reduce crime. I am still waiting for data showing anything close to that claim. A 21% increase inline with the pre-existing secular trendline is not that.

If you need hard data for everything in life then I don't know how you go through your day to day. There are a lot of things that are clear from evidence without "hard data", like that organized crime had a huge boost from Prohibition.

In my line of work a lack of hard data tends to kill people. Why exactly is it malpractice if ignore hard data about which drug to prescribe, but policy effects that are far more far reaching are "hey just roll with the Just So story" instead of finding the actual data?

This guy is not a fan of prohibition: https://object.cato.org/pubs/pas/pa157.pdf

"So what about crime? According to the University of Pennsylvania Department of Criminology’s Associate Professor Emily G. Owens, increases in racial diversity and urban concentration were the real reason for rises in violent crime over the years of Prohibition: “Americans, especially black Southerners, were moving into cities at the same time as immigrants from Europe and China.” The increase, in fact, occurred predominantly in the African-American community—and African-Americans at that time were not the people responsible for alcohol trafficking. Furthermore, any increases in death were entirely concentrated to individuals in their 20s—deaths unequivocally fell for those 30 and older. Crime rose because of urban yoots, not because of prohibition. Or as Owens puts it, the “relative increase was largest” in “urban states with large foreign-born populations.”

Owens points out that national prohibition didn’t introduce any sudden or drastic change: by the time the federal government got involved in prohibition, it was already illegal to sell alcohol in a full 32 states—and it remained illegal in many states even after repeal; Mississippi did not legalize alcohol until 1966. What this means is we can actually track the effect of prohibition on crime rates by looking at the states individually, one-by-one. When we do that, we find that “depending on the model, the actual effect of going dry ranges from a 5 percent increase to a 13 percent decrease in state homicide rates, with margins of error of 4 percentage points.”"

https://www.counter-currents.com/2017/12/bring-back-prohibition/

Alcohol consumption went down. Liver cirrhosis went down. Rates of drunk driving went down. Divorce rates, also down. Savings rates for the poor, up a decent bit.

Outside of the major metropolitan areas prohibition was an incredibly successful public health endeavor. Inside the major metropolitan areas it was less successful, but we have rarely seen things like a 25% drop in cirrhosis.

And when we ended it, we basically got money for the government and not much else. Organized crime grew in size and became more violent as it shifted to extortion, racketeering, prostitution, and loan sharking. Pretty quickly organized crime was shopping around of toxic substances with addicting properties.

You can argue that the costs of prohibition were too high, but on its own terms (though I suspect, as always such argumentation would be devoid of actual data) it was largely successful.

Do you have any credible data on this? It seems to me quite hard to find some reasonable data for alcohol consumption when it was illegal.

"Organized crime grew in size and became more violent as it shifted to extortion, racketeering, prostitution, and loan sharking. "

This seems to suggest that people are not considering substituting legal work for illegal activities. I don't think that's true;

"Pretty quickly organized crime was shopping around of toxic substances with addicting properties"

I guess the drug prohibition is also a resounding success?

I found this: http://www.nber.org/papers/w3675.pdf - and I'd say it's more inline with the idea that it takes time for people to find a way around prohibition. The rise of organized crime seems to be repeated by pretty much in any document I have found; the fact that a huge percentage of the population was taking part in illegal activities (either as producer or as a consumer) doesn't seem to be very positive either. 'on its own terms' should contain *all* benefits and costs, shouldn't it?

https://www.nber.org/papers/w3675

As far as crime goes, I have far more experience with criminals (I get to treat them) than most. Crime, like any other human endeavor has a set of skills - avoiding authorities, soft money laundering, lying, intimidation, violence, bribery, etc. - this represents a large stock of human capital. Individuals face a real shock following legalization, but they still have useful human capital.

Say you work for a drug cartel as a respectable face for bribing officials. You are good at picking useful marks who both have real power (e.g. the secretary who can misfile things) and are amendable to bribery. We legalize your cartel's product. You, having no experience in the drug production itself, cannot go into the newly legal industry. You can join the unskilled portion of the economy ... or you can go find some another criminal network (say one supplying illicit firearms or human trafficking) and begin bribing people there. We generally do not expect people to just burn useful capital when they can put it to productive use, why would we expect the human capital of the drug cartels to be any different?

We have a real world experiment. We legalized alcohol. The mob got stronger. Continuously. Until we amped up enforcement in the 70s. We had to create easily abused abominations like RICO because the mob did not wither away after prohibition.

Or we can take Colorado. We legalized the most popular illicit drug. Legalization happened in '14. So far Colorado has had net increases in crime every year. So far, Denver has had much larger increases in crime (e.g. a 9.9% increase in homicide for 2016 over an elevated year in 2015). Whatever effect legalization has, we are not seeing dramatic crime reduction.

And this is international experience. Finland repealed prohibition ... and saw no drop in crime.

At best, legalization is a wash and specific small localities become vice tourist destinations. On a large scale, I have seen no evidence that legalization actually helps with crime. It mostly just pushes the cost from the wealthy (cannot indulge, pay taxes for law enforcement) to the poor (make bad life decisions, go insane, die).

You're cherry picking if you mean to look at the cost/benefit of legalization through crime rates alone. Colorado's cannabis market was largely not the domain of hardened violent criminal organizations before legalization so I don't know why you focus so much on that. There are lots of other social indicators to consider, like drunk driving rates and drug overdoses.

Because I am not the one making a claim that policy change will improve society. The claims made prior to legalization was that it would empty the jails, that it would disarm the gangs, that it would reduce murder rates.

We see none of that.

And Colorado get the bonus effect of being the initial Las Vegas of pot ... a place where people will travel for illicit tourism.

So again, if we are going to be grown ups and make policy changes then where is the actual data? I see the downsides everyday where increased pot use leads to increased schizophrenia in a dose dependent manner. The data on the health effects are pretty clear, pot, particularly in the <25 crowd, causes a small percentage of major debilitating psychiatric issues. The data is at least as good as anything we had on cigarettes and cancer in the 70s.

So what is the offset? We spend less on law enforcement? Why just do some version of decriminalization instead of legalization? That the upper castes can have fun?

Marijuana legalization is decreasing crime: http://www.complex.com/life/2018/01/medical-marijuana-legalization-states-decrease-crime

You seem to have an agenda beyond "data". Drugs and porn are not the causes of our problems. They are the symptoms.

Steve:

The paper does not claim that crime goes down, it claims that cartel related crime goes down in specific areas. This is one of those wholly unimpressive things to me and I am highly skeptical of any conclusion that requires multiple union statements to be true. Multiple hypothesis testing giving rise to spurious conclusions seems even more likely given that by their own methods, medical marijuana does not decrease Mexican murders or organized crime murders. So somehow lesser demand for illicit marijuana in NM and AZ reduces drug related homicide in AZ and NM adjacent to the border, had no statistically significant decrease >250 km from the border, and and has no observed effect on Mexican violence.

After all the grand total drop in the AZ murder rate was from 6.4 (/10,000) the year medical marijuana passed, bottomed out at 4.5 and is already back up to 5.5. Likewise in NM the murder rate was at 4.8 and is already back up to 6.7. In both cases, the states were in long term decline and the minimum appears to be controlled by the actual date rather than the date post-intervention.

If you build a sophisticated enough model you can fit anything. So sure, I will take it under advisement that an analysis showed a small, 11%, drop in homicide rate that has not been sustained. Maybe it is real, but this is not exactly clear cut to me. I am still betting on the null hypothesis - that legalization results mostly in a wash in the long term.

Sure,

You have the causality backwards. Happy mice do not abuse cocaine. Being poor sucks therefor the poor do a lot of stupid stuff. Do not take liberty from the rich because the poor can't handle it. If we are even debating the merits of legalization that should mean it is close enough to be in favor of it.

"It seems to me quite hard to find some reasonable data for alcohol consumption when it was illegal."

Cirrhosis fell. Unless heavy drinkers managed to find out how to avoid it(and then forgot in 1933) they consumed less, and yet they're the people you'd predict would be least likely to reduce their consumption, as addicts. I think it's quite reasonable to assume that light drinkers were even more likely to quit entirely due to the higher price and illegality.

Prohibition of child porn (criminalizing possession of it as well as the sale or production of it) has not eliminated it and has driven it underground. Nonetheless, it seems likely there's less of it being produced and consumed than there would be if it were legal.

'and has driven it underground'

When was child pornography ever legal in the U.S.?

Damn, Cowen just f**ked clockwork_prior up right here LOL:

"a truth to which a number of emotionally well-balanced MR commentators can attest."

T.R. would say, "So this is what America has become: sexual decadence not seen since the late Roman Empire that requires Chinese-style censorship to restrain."

God d*mnit Msgkings.

I almost lost it in a meeting with a CEO seeing that comment.

I had to fake cough for at least a minute to cover up the laughter.

Maybe you should not plat at the Internet and meeting CEOs at the same time.

You close your eyes in the shower so you don't see yourself naked, don't you?

'is a net negative bad for society'

Well, that seems a harsh way to describe James Joyce and Ulysses - 'James Joyce's "Ulysses" changed literature and the world, not necessarily in the ways its author intended and certainly in ways we still don't entirely understand. One of the unexpected effects of the novel, which was first published in its entirety in Paris in 1922, was the most famous obscenity trial in U.S. history, conducted in 1933. That trial serves as the culmination of Kevin Birmingham's astute and gorgeously written "The Most Dangerous Book: The Battle for James Joyce's 'Ulysses,'" an account of the tortuous path Joyce's masterpiece took to print. Publishing is not the world's most fast-paced and high-stakes business, but when it came to introducing the English-speaking world to a novel that one critic deplored as "full of the filthiest blasphemies" and "afflicted with a truly diabolical lack of talent," the ride was a wild one.' https://www.salon.com/2014/06/15/the_most_dangerous_book_when_ulysses_was_obscene/

There are always people willing to use censorship to ensure that we are only taking the right steps to their much better world.

However, 'but leading to increasing calls to censor many other things too' is a statement easily 15 years out of date. There are a number of web site addresses that are hard to reach from many locations (and which cannot be posted in this comment section anyways), thanks to the tireless efforts of the entertainment industry. Not to mention that the filter industry is well established at this point.

Yet playing whack-a-mole with ISPs does not always go well, a truth to which a number of emotionally well-balanced MR commentators can attest. And porn users and suppliers I think would be especially willing to find workarounds, including VPNs.

Wait, I thought this place was called "Marginal" Revolution?

Well, Ross Douthat has officially jumped the shark.

This particular opinion article has definitely made me revise my Bayesian priors on anything else he advocates.

Why? How much porn do you watch?

According to which definition? For example, naked people are generally considered pornographic in the U.S., while in Germany, they normally aren't. What has been interesting to see is how Internet filters - mainly done by American companies - have reshaped the German online media landscape. Bild will show a naked person in its print edition, but will black out the relevant bits online to ensure they are not blocked by a filter. The same applies to Stern, Spiegel, Die Zeit - it is quite interesting to have seen this transformation. The same applies to language, which is really amusing - web pages/sites will be blocked in Germany due to 'language,' but the language is a word like 'fuck,' which has about the same degree of unacceptability in Germany as 'scheisse' does in the U.S.

Not to mention that Germany will tolerate a politician confessing (well boasting really) to the sexual assault of children and continue to elect him to the European Parliament and then give him a hefty pension. Great! Even better significant numbers of them will vote for his party despite its long history of defending sexual relationships with children.

These sophisticated Europeans are just so much better than us. So advanced! So progressive!

The kind used as a masturbation tool. Don’t be obtuse.

@SMFS: That sounds bad, I was not aware of that case. Could you share who this is about?

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Daniel_Cohn-Bendit#On_paedophilia

But he said he was only joking! His party did eventually come clean about their past, more or less.

http://www.spiegel.de/international/germany/past-pedophile-links-haunt-german-green-party-a-899544.html

But it was fashionable on the Left at the time. The British Labour Party is still full of figures like Harriet Harmon who defended the Pedophiles Information Exchange as a young lawyer. And France has had a Minister boast about going to Thailand to sleep with boys. No one minded that.

'Not to mention that Germany will tolerate a politician confessing (well boasting really) to the sexual assault of children'

Assuming you are referring to Trittin, that is not an accurate summation of his position in 1981, one he now says he regrets. Assuming you are talking about Daniel Cohn-Bendit, who actually is a MEP, he is French (though also German - but not in terms of who elects him). https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Daniel_Cohn-Bendit#On_paedophilia

Of course, if one is interested in the 21st century, then maybe you mean Edathy, who was definitely not re-elected - 'Former MP Sebastian Edathy quit his job and left Germany after videos of naked children were found on his computer.

The news shocked Germany when it emerged in early 2014.

Sebastian Edathy, a rising star of the Social Democratic Party (SPD) had quit his job “due to ill health” just a few days before investigators searched his home and parliamentary office.

His name was featured on the client list of a Canadian company that sold naked videos of children to customers all over the world for several years beginning in 2005.' https://www.thelocal.de/20160527/im-definitely-not-a-paedophile-disgraced-mp

'These sophisticated Europeans are just so much better than us. So advanced! So progressive!'

You do know that the German nudism movement is not about sex, which is why nudity is not considered sexual - 'Freikörperkultur (FKK) is a German movement whose name translates to Free Body Culture. It endorses a naturistic approach to sports and community living. Behind that is the joy of the experience of nature or also of being nude itself, without direct relationship to sexuality. The followers of this culture are called traditional naturists, FKK'ler, or nudists. The German nudist movement was the first worldwide and marked the start of an increased acceptance of public nudity in Germany. Today, there are only few legal restrictions on public nudity in Germany.' https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Freik%C3%B6rperkultur

Which is why basically no one considers a picture of a nude man or woman in any way shape or form pornographic. And there is no distinction between types of nudity - the idea of 'full frontal nudity' compared to any other idea of nudity seems bizarre in a country where public mixed saunas are common. And of course, there is only one shared dressing room.

@SMFS: Ah, so your claims aren't actually true. Thought so.

Oreg February 12, 2018 at 8:03 am

Ah, so your claims aren’t actually true. Thought so.

That is remarkable. In what sense of the words "not true" is that not true?

@SMFS: 40 years ago, Cohn-Bendit discussed whether there might be acceptable forms of pedophilia with a child's consent. In the decades since, he has renounced his statements numerous times, calling them "obnoxious".

Your claims:
* C-B was "confessing (well boasting really) to the sexual assault of children"
-- He denies this, parents and their children at the Kindergarten in question defend him and no potential victim has come forward.
* The Greens have a "long history of defending sexual relationships with children."
-- That history is rather short, dating back to the very beginning of the party's existence decades ago. The subject was very controversial and legalizing pedophilia was never an official party position.

So, no, your claims aren't true.

If I had never watched porn in my life, I'd still drastically shift my view of you if you advocated something as absurd as banning pornography.

The kind used as a masturbation tool? I only need to find a Miley Cyrus video. Shucks, man, our advertising and music industry is so titillating that outlawing porn is nonsensical and hypocritical. And probably counterproductive.

Outlawing snuff porn or child porn I would heartily support. Or any other porn that relied on violence. But they are already illegal, I think.

Why are you convinced it is a net negative. Access to porn is well correlated with a decrease in sexual violence. What social ill do you believe it causes that overcomes that social good?

Castration is well correlated with a decrease in sexual violence as well.

I support banning pornography and castrating sexual criminals.

I support banning people whatever music you like. Even?

It doesn't even make sense,

They don’t have porn is South Africa? Seriously, most social science findings are nonsense.

What kind of porn do you want to censor? The male version (the videos on YP) or the female one (the Shades of Grey type books)? Both?

If the unstated goal is increasing fertility rate, then the latter would be more effective but radically more difficult

Douhat only argument seems to be “ hard-core pornography is not an appropriate guide to how the sexes should relate.“

Who says it is or should be a guide. ? Is McDonald an appropriate guide for a healthy diet ? And is that ground for banning it ?

What is the alleged net negative of porn ? Has violence against women , crime or sexual harassment increased ? Is there less interest in sex , more apathy in the bedroom ?
Can we point to something concrete or is it just that we find it distasteful or gross, not respectable enough for elitist sensibilities.

" Is there less interest in sex , more apathy in the bedroom ?" - there is talk of millenials being less sexual actually, and they are the group who grew up with easy access to lots of porn.

I believe Douthat's rationale for wanting to ban porn is that porn is "not an appropriate guide to how the sexes should relate." Indeed, it is not. However, suppose someone wanted to advocate that the behavior depicted in porn *is* appropriate. Would such speech be protected by the First Amendment? Of course, it would. The First Amendment protects even bad ideas. So, if we can't censor speech that directly and *purposefully* tries to misguide young people about sex, then by what principle can we censor porn for *speculatively and inadvertently* misguiding young people about sex?

I think that there are many sources of speech that misguide young people into supporting inappropriately Big Government and such Big Government produces many negative consequences to society. Can we censor all those too?

"I think that there are many sources of speech that misguide young people into supporting inappropriately Big Government and such Big Government produces many negative consequences to society. Can we censor all those too?"
Of course. If you get the votes and/or convince he proper statemen.

I'm in favor of censoring action movies. They are not an appropriate guide to how people should relate.

Oh, and soap operas definitely, too. With all their cheating, betrayal, etc.

Ah, screw it, just movies in general, except documentaries. Well, actually, also those documentaries pertaining bad things, like nazi germany or even worse, duck sex.

"Well, actually, also those documentaries pertaining bad things, like nazi germany or even worse, duck sex."
Documentaries about bad things (Nazism, racism, the Gulag, etc.) teach us the consequences of bad things. Such educational ends are not the ones of pornography. I favor censoring action movies, soap operas, etc. on a case to case basis.

Unfortunately, all too often the real-life perpetrators of bad things end up unpunished. Even nazi germany, which is about as clear-cut as it gets in terms of "bad guy rises to power, but the heroes come and save the day", has on closer inspection innumerable people in middle to lower management who avoided punishment.

Additionally, if the acts shown in porn are so bad they need to be banned, it seems only reasonable to me that the same practices should be banned altogether in bed rooms. Otherwise, the argument that they shouldn't be depicted because that's not the kind of behaviour we want seems weird - deep-throating your wife is okay, but jacking of to paid, professional pornstars getting deep-throated isn't ?!

Though I fundamentally disagree on all your points because I believe we shouldn't ban media unless we have very good evidence for its negative effects(and even then only if these negative effects are sufficiently strong), kudos for being consistent. I've always been annoyed by the american tendency to present porn and even mere nudity as some exceptional evil that needs to be eradicated in media, while other often arguably worse issues like violence in action movies, the overall obnoxious behaviour in many soap operas, etc. are generally looked over even when clearly presented in a positive light.

For me, this is issue is yet another data point in favor of an archipelago solution.

"I’ve always been annoyed by the american tendency to present porn and even mere nudity as some exceptional evil that needs to be eradicated in media, while other often arguably worse issues like violence in action movies, the overall obnoxious behaviour in many soap operas, etc. are generally looked over even when clearly presented in a positive light."
All evil must fought against.

The courts will kill any such structure quickly. Recent courts, and especially the Roberts Court, don't seem to be interested in litigating matters of public morality. Look at the decline of obscenity laws for TV.

Douthat can jerk to this all he wants -- really just tradcon signalling at no cost because he knows it'll never happen -- but the courts in America are just tired of being asked to define ephemeral things like poor taste.

There is ALWAYS something a bluestocking (left or right) wants to ban.
And it's ALWAYS a bad idea.

We already do censor porn! Child porn is illegal, for example, and you will not find it on typical porn sites. Other stuff falls into this category too.

I feel like Ross did not sufficiently research this article. Lines like "we cannot imagine such censorship" are not believable when, in fact, we already do this censorship.

'Child porn is illegal'

Yes, but essentially because child porn is proof that a child was sexually abused, which is a criminal act. Actual porn with actual children is not a 1st Amendment issue. Much the same way that an inability to sell videos of actual people being murdered for entertainment is not a 1st Amendment issue.

(Yes, it gets complicated, but not on that fundamental point.)

Child porn is illegal whether or not a child was harmed. A picture of a child engaging in sexual activity is illegal. A manga like La Blue Girl was only allowed into the US with an entire character's sex scenes cut and the English translation changed to make a 16 year old, 18 years old. Britain flatly refused to classify it at all, in effect banning it.

And it is hard to turn on an evening movie these days without seeing someone killed. It is just that faking a murder where no one was harmed is somehow different from faking a rape where no one was harmed.

So it is a First Amendment issue. Just not one anyone wants to take on.

"And it is hard to turn on an evening movie these days without seeing someone killed."
A sad reflection on our society.

Psst: Porn sex isn't "faked"

The actors and actresses actually, you know, fuck. Douthat isn't talking about censoring R rated movies (well, he probably is, but that isn't the case he's making in his article)

That depends on how you define porn. A lot of Japanese cartoons have no actual sex at all. Still banned.

And that's the point. We have a line between what is real and what is not that is rarely observed. We do not accept faked sex if it is the wrong sort. We do accept fake rape and fake murder. We actually accept real death - some times quite close up - as long as no one enjoys it. God knows how many times I have seen actual people die in Space Shuttled blowing up or planes crashing. Or a South Vietnamese police chief blowing the brains out of a VC captive.

There doesn't seem to be any obvious rule here except that some things disgust enough people.

Watching a spacecraft blowing up or Vietcongs dying probably doesn't change the moral makeup of society. But commodifying sex destroys the basis of marriage and undermines the society's morals.

'Child porn is illegal whether or not a child was harmed'

Um, no - a picture of a naked 7 year splashing in a pool is not child pornography per se, even in the U.S., assuming that the picture was taken by the parents, and only shared with family, for example. The 'harm' is seen the same way that the harm in statutory rape is viewed - it is illegal to engage in/record sexual activities of any variety with children, and that such activities are considered harmful

This might help you understand American law in this regard - 'Images of child pornography are not protected under First Amendment rights, and are illegal contraband under federal law. Section 2256 of Title 18, United States Code, defines child pornography as any visual depiction of sexually explicit conduct involving a minor (someone under 18 years of age). Visual depictions include photographs, videos, digital or computer generated images indistinguishable from an actual minor, and images created, adapted, or modified, but appear to depict an identifiable, actual minor. Undeveloped film, undeveloped videotape, and electronically stored data that can be converted into a visual image of child pornography are also deemed illegal visual depictions under federal law.

Notably, the legal definition of sexually explicit conduct does not require that an image depict a child engaging in sexual activity. A picture of a naked child may constitute illegal child pornography if it is sufficiently sexually suggestive. Additionally, the age of consent for sexual activity in a given state is irrelevant; any depiction of a minor under 18 years of age engaging in sexually explicit conduct is illegal.' https://www.justice.gov/criminal-ceos/citizens-guide-us-federal-law-child-pornography

'And it is hard to turn on an evening movie these days without seeing someone killed.'

You do know that people are not actually being killed in movies, right?

You do know that children were not actually sexed in La Blue Girl, right? It is a bunch of drawings.

clockwork_prior February 12, 2018 at 7:34 am

Um, no – a picture of a naked 7 year splashing in a pool is not child pornography per se,

Yet again you show an utterly amazing ability to fail to understand simple English sentences put in front of you. Obviously something that is not child porn is not child porn. That is not a very helpful insight there.

The ‘harm’ is seen the same way that the harm in statutory rape is viewed – it is illegal to engage in/record sexual activities of any variety with children, and that such activities are considered harmful

Which include, for instance, some Japanese cartoons. Even though no child was hurt in the production thereof.

Visual depictions include photographs, videos, digital or computer generated images indistinguishable from an actual minor, and images created, adapted, or modified, but appear to depict an identifiable, actual minor.

So can you read and actually understand what you cut and paste? Computer generated images. Images created, adapted or modified. Do you understand what those words mean?

'Do you understand what those words mean?'

Sure - if you place an adult's head on an image of a child having sex, it is child pornography. And if you put the face of a child on an adult having sex, it is child pornography.

I think you really missed this part of my first comment concerning child porn - '(Yes, it gets complicated, but not on that fundamental point.)' And that is the fundamental point - most commercial child pornography involves real children.

However, there is a definite degree of absurdity stretching back decades - like my pointing out how clothed children were also seen as being pornographic in 1994, which was absurd of course.

I actually agree with your basic point that a drawing of children having sex does not involve the harming of children. And I don't care, the same way I find age of consent laws to be too rigid, but so what? Drawing a line and saying something is illegal on its very face does not bother me. If only because pedophiles are so good at arguing that their case is extra special - if 17 is OK, then how about a really mature 13? Or how about an extra special 9 year old? It is all just arbitrary, right? No, the law is explicitly clear, and that is how it is.

You seem quite conflicted, to be honest, on the one hand attacking someone who suggested sex with consenting children, but on the other hand having sympathy for someone writing down their fantasies, who might be 'sent back to jail.'

I am really surprised you did not bring up this case - 'A German-language film that won top honors in the film industry but was banned in Oklahoma County does not contain child pornography, a federal judge ruled Tuesday.

The 1979 Oscar-winning film "The Tin Drum" includes about two minutes of scenes that suggest sexual conduct involving minors, but as a work of art it is protected under Oklahoma and federal law, U.S. District Judge Ralph Thompson said in an 11-page order.

The decision was a victory for the Oklahoma County Metropolitan Library System, which argued that Oklahoma City police wrongly confiscated the film in June 1997 after complaints by an anti-pornography group.

Lee Brawner, system executive director, said the library will get out its existing copy to put it back into circulation.' http://newsok.com/article/2630316

Yes, yes, child porn is moderately difficult to get -- because there's an international consensus against it. Somebody tries putting up a kiddie porn server on the public web in Canada, France, Japan, Brazil, or anywhere else, that site is going to go down, because the local authorities are going to go after it.

Similarly, it's moderately difficult for Americans to gamble online, because the US government has the ability to lean on credit card processors, banks, and the like. So cutting off access to pay sites is within practical limits.

But the sort of censorship that would have to be involved to deny access to, say, xHamster (which, I'll note, already operates from Cyprus)? You'd have to build a Great Firewall like the Chinese. Except the Chinese Great Firewall mostly works at denying casual access; determined efforts to bypass it work. And the mass demand for porn is a lot higher than the mass demand for political criticism.

Ross's favourite hierarchy is also not an appropriate guide to how the sexes or ages should relate.

It's a good reminder that they are still grousing about gay weddings. Porn and gay people have devalued marriage and children, and we should ban porn, is that right? Solve for the equilibrium?

I am in this very moment in Gujarat, which is a dry state. I consider it so offensive for them to limit how I use my body, that I will never go back to do business here. I cannot even image that someone could have the power to regulate my porn.

What does even mean if it is good for society? Society does not exists in a literal sense. What exists is a bunch of individuals, each with his own scales of preferences. Given that consumption of porn does not have an impact on other people liberty, let us live how we feel like.

People have he right to protect heir ocety of deleterious phenomena like drugs, alcohol, smoking, usury and pornography.
"I consider it so offensive for them to limit how I use my body, that I will never go back to do business here."

I was going to respond to your ultra conservative posts, but once I got to ‘usury’ in your list, I’m starting to think you’re just a troll.

We limit the consumption of alcohol, smoking, and drugs because of the real negative health consequences to other people that are associated (eg. drunk drivers, second hand smoke, weird stuff people do when on various drugs).

Usury and pornography are not in the same category. At most you could argue for regulating the production, where there are some fairly shady things happening.

They degrade society, undermine societal moral standards, prey on the weak-minded, tear asunder the fabric of our society.

Actually, Chris, I think usury is the only one in this list that should be regulated. Look, we (the society, that is) are not only "allowing" usury in the same sense as we are, so far, allowing alcohol or smoking. We are *enforcing* usury, in the sense that if a debtor has entered a contract of usury debt with a creditor,
our police, judicial system, and prison system will intervene, if needed, to force the debtor to pay its due. This is the government in its role of "enforcer of contracts". But since we help the creditor with his/her contract, I think that this gives us (the society) the right to regulate this contracts, saying for instance that only the ones where the interest rate was clearly indicated without cheating are enforceable, or even decorating a maximal interest rate (e.g. 25% a year).

But really I can't understand what abject failure in their education or thinking process makes people like Dothan think they have the right to regulate my consumption of coke, meth, alcohol or porn.

At which point the people who are such bad credit risks they can't get a loan at 25% a year turn to black-market loan sharks. Six-for-five guys (that's an old name for 'em, reflecting the 20% per week interest rate charged) managed to collect despite not being able to turn to the courts to enforce their contracts. Legal payday lenders pay taxes on their profits and respect (however unwillingly) bankruptcy filings.

Like the war on drugs, a war on porn would be very expensive and ultimately futile. Young folk in are always drawn to the forbidden. I'm surprised to see Douthat and Cowen making such naive demands and not even backing up their presumptions of social harm with any evidence.

Other commenters have pointed out that we in fact already censor some types of porn -- child porn in particular. That's because it severely harms a third party (the children). Prosecuting it is also affordable because the perpetrators and consumers are such a small minority.

As noted above, child porn involving actual children is evidence of a crime. It is also not possible to sell videos of someone actually being raped, for precisely the same reason. In neither case is 'censorship' the appropriate concept.

Except, to state the obvious, child porn laws cover a great many things that do not include actual children. If you draw a cartoon of two Simpsons characters with overt sexual organs you may well find yourself on the wrong side of child porn laws. If you write a diary about things you feel powerless to stop thinking about you may well find yourself back in jail. Any number of Japanese cartoons are illegal in the West.

On the other hand if someone like Simone de Beauvoir is willing to write in your defense, you may well find explicit accounts of the kidnapping, rape, torture and murder of small children is perfectly acceptable. As with de Sade.

I probably have a video tape of someone faking being raped by the way. That would probably be Sudden Impact with Sondra Locke and Clint Eastwood. I am pretty sure that Death Wish has one too. Classics in their field. Both of them.

'Except, to state the obvious, child porn laws cover a great many things that do not include actual children.'

You seem very interested in this subject. But yes, American laws in this entire area are absurd to a major degree. I believe it was the Clinton Administration that attempted to prosecute someone selling pictures of underage clothed models. Ah, here it is - https://www.washingtonpost.com/archive/opinions/1994/01/30/the-child-porn-storm/0ec42e51-b2c1-410b-b292-bf21547a9430/?utm_term=.9538cb847d17

Nonetheless, the fact remains that there is a market involving the sexual use of children, and I personally have no problems with the main objective to keep that market as small as possible. That there always fringe cases will always be true, of course. Nonetheless, the main subject is not about free expression, it is about raping children for profit.

'If you write a diary about things you feel powerless to stop thinking about you may well find yourself back in jail.'

Probably not, in much the same fashion that the many teenagers with pictures of themselves engaging in sexual activities are not charged. Distribution tends to be the main point in such cases. Of course, that 'back in jail' suggests a different scenario. Quite honestly, a convicted arsonist who continues to write about setting fires - particularly with sufficient detail - just might find themselves facing certain legal questions regarding their diary also.

'someone faking being raped'

Is it too subtle to point out the difference between actual rape and fake rape?

Ah, a minor error - the producer of the catalogs was not charged, just someone possessing a copy.

>You seem very interested in this subject.

Yeah, and you're an asshole.

clockwork_prior February 12, 2018 at 7:54 am

Nonetheless, the fact remains that there is a market involving the sexual use of children, and I personally have no problems with the main objective to keep that market as small as possible. That there always fringe cases will always be true, of course. Nonetheless, the main subject is not about free expression, it is about raping children for profit.

No one objects to keeping that market as small as possible. It simply remains a fact that you were wrong - not all porn involves real children. And that we are all prepared to toss the First Amendment in the right circumstances. It is not always about raping children for profit. See La Blue Girl. The question is, why is drawing a picture of Bart and Lisa Simpson with large but otherwise anatomically correct genitalia in near proximity to each other illegal? See - there goes the First Amendment.

Probably not, in much the same fashion that the many teenagers with pictures of themselves engaging in sexual activities are not charged.

You do realize that when I say that I have a specific case in mind? So yes, actually, you can be put (back) in prison for evil thoughts written down in your diary.

Is it too subtle to point out the difference between actual rape and fake rape?

Depends. You still have not got the point about cartoons not involving children.

'It simply remains a fact that you were wrong – not all porn involves real children.'

And not all depictions of minors in sexual situation is porn - see above about the Tin Drum.

'And that we are all prepared to toss the First Amendment in the right circumstances.'

No, we aren't - as the Tin Drum case proves. Or read about Balthus - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Balthus

'The question is, why is drawing a picture of Bart and Lisa Simpson with large but otherwise anatomically correct genitalia in near proximity to each other illegal?'

Copyright infringement comes instantly to mind - oh wait, you aren't arguing about that.

'See – there goes the First Amendment.'

Basically every copyright holder begs to differ.

'So yes, actually, you can be put (back) in prison for evil thoughts written down in your diary.'

I am not really sure how to put this to you, but if a man who has been jailed for beating his wife writes down in his diary his fantasies about killing her, including details of when and how, he too is likely to be going back to prison too if he violates the terms of his probation. And the case you are so coyly referring to is State v. Dalton. Where he did not fulfill the terms of probation, which led to his mother handing over the diary. And in the end, though serving full time for his original offense, his second offense was dismissed in the end. In part because the 1st Amendment still protects writing, even of convicted pedophiles who violate probation.

'You still have not got the point about cartoons not involving children.'

See above - I have no problems with making a law that does not allow loopholes, apart from those already recognized by the 1st Amendment. But please, do tell me about manga's artistic virtues - maybe you can convince the ACLU to get some court to agree that Japanese commercial pornography has such artistic value that it trumps laws concerning child pornography. Good luck.

I'm fine with drawing lines with regard to porn, but I don't think your reasoning is very persuasive. For example, the child porn (perhaps involving a 17 year old) could be legal and consensual in the country it was produced.

Furthermore, how often does possession of pornography involve a sale? So the harm is rather questionable.

Most things in life are a matter of degree, but I think it's insane to try to ban all or most porn. Perhaps a slight expansion of what counts as obscenity would be fine.

It's curious how this kind of stuff comes up just news of Donald Trump's affair with a porn star was reported. Just like how the Me Too movement was a reaction to The Donald.

What's next, a ban on golf?

We have to bear in mind ( before any tantrum about "censorship") that a large chunk of the porn industry is still very exploitative of women and it is built up upon sexism, patriarchal beliefs, homophobic values, sexual commodification and commodification of women. The industry lacks legalisation/criminalisation, laws that protect women/children and institutional and emotional support for women. …oh apologies…are these are left old fashionable views?

so only women matter? what about gay porn?

Yes, they are.

" is still very exploitative of women"

Porn is one of the few industries where women earn more than men

"it is built up upon sexism, patriarchal beliefs"

What this even mean? My impression is that most pornography does not have a "story", then it is impossible to say if the women are portrait as being submissive and obedient, or as independent and pro-active.

"homophobic values"

Again, what this mean? Yes, most porn is hetero (because, lets face it, most people are hetero) - but we can say the same about almost all artistic works about relationships.

" sexual commodification and commodification of women"

Again, what "sexual commodification" means? If it means "treating people as sex objects", then any kind of pure sex desire (without romantic attraction) is "sexual commodification" - meanig that the talk of "sexual commodification" is nothing more that the old traditionalist talk of opposition to casual sex, but now with pseudo-progressive clothes

'Porn is one of the few industries where women earn more than men'

Nope - it is merely actresses are paid more than actors. The people making the most money are mostly male. And they are not the ones in front of the camera.

"institutional and emotional support for women"

And the finance industry is just crushing it, right? Politics is definitely getting right -- ask Rob Porter's wife. Hollywood? Nailed it. Sports? Ask the Olympics gymnasts.

It's like there just might be a bigger, different problem than veneration of the tradcon feminine ideal. It's that humans are all garbage in the eyes of modern Americans. All just meat to be consumed.

You lost?

Some porn is already illegal (the kind with children in it), I guess look there for roughest idea re implementation and effectiveness.

The internet has become noticeably more awful in last half decade. I favor a porn ban so that people would learn how to visit more than three websites (facebook, youtube, pornhub).

There is no excuse for leniency with pornography! It destroys one's soul. It destroys families. It destroy the polis.

A polis willing to censor should be destroyed at the soonest possible opportunity, a stake driven through its heart, burned, with the ashes buried at a crossroads at midnight. Just to be sure.

Images of naked people engaging in sex is pornographic but images of people being blown to smithereens, shot full of holes and cut into pieces is acceptable? The word "shit" isn't used in newspapers or on television but words like "abortion", "rape", "murder", etc. are. The Puritan mindset continues to exert its weird influence centuries after its decline.

Fun only: You may have missed CNN after the eruption of "shithole"! It was like the Purge movies--one day of no rules shithole-ing. So bizarre, and I had a good laugh. Now back to regularly scheduled programming

If the president does it, it is not illegal.

I’m in favor of censoring only the offensive elements in porn, like the Japanese do.

Clearly you've never seen Japanese porn. Mosaiced genitalia doesn't make the stuff more wholesome. In fact, it's easy to argue the opposite, just from the amount of simulated-rape porn available on Amazon Japan.

-j

Will movies, tv shows, magazines, and video games receive the same scrutiny? Game of Thrones, I'm looking at you. Who decides what is indecent? For all the talk of political correctness, we are prudes when it comes to sex. Abstinence only is a perverse joke taught in many schools. We are surrounded by sexual imagery yet we cannot stomach genuine conversations. No wonder there is confusion.

Embrace more realistic versions of sex. https://blog.ted.com/cindy_gallop_ma/
Would Ross also censor consenting adults who upload "boring" sex?

So far as I can tell, Twitter is a net harm to society. It's destroyed attention spans, fueled revolutions and wars, dumbed down political thought, spread the SJW hate cult (and other awful extremists), and got Donald Trump elected.

Let's ban Twitter first.

It is not the same.

It definitely isn't the same. If it were, I might spend more time in Twitter

The point is, Twitter doesn't engage in illegal activities.

Redtube doesn't engage in illegal activities either. But we could change that by writing some laws, about both.

It engages in very immoral activities, which undermine the society.

Be honest and stick to the former part, that is, enforcing your Puritan ethics. Once you start talking about "undermining society" you have to talk about Twitter, which you clearly don't want to do.

It is different. People are doing at Twitter what they do at home, with email, phone, etc. They are talking to each other. It is no difference from the telegraph.

People are doing in porn what they do at home: having sex

But by sharing it, they are undermining society's moral norms.

>[Twitter] got Donald Trump elected

No, that was Hillary Clinton.

I suppose you want to ban her?

For economics blog, I find it amazing that nobody considers what consumption pornography is substituting for?

On the good side it likely substitutes for rape and some alcohol fueled less than fully consenting sex.

On the bad side, it likely is also substituting for dating and marriage relationships.

A lack of social support is on par with or worse than obesity for health. I have seen estimates that place it just below smoking. And this makes sense, having someone in your life regularly allows for them to notice symptoms (like altered emotional states) that others miss. It also provides you with extremely cost effective basic care (e.g. changing dressings on a healing wound on the buttocks). Not to mention that merely have someone in your life is an insanely good predictor of both hospital expenses and life expectancy.

Does porn delay marriage? It would appear so, my younger patients are far less willing to put effort into compromising and building relationships. As a doc I get to ask all manner of hideously personal things for medical reasons (e.g. suicide screening), and in general I can pretty easily predict that people who report the most porn use are the least likely to have healthy relationships and vice versa. Heavy self-reported porn use is a decent predictor of all manner of nasty things among my patient population.

Unfortunately, most of this misery is concentrated among the poor and socially marginalized. Like with alcohol or marijuana, the people who can manage their porn habits tend to be highly educated, affluent, and of high social standing, or in other words the sort of people who will easily manage long term investment into relationships regardless. So once again, we will all have to pretend that the personal experience of the affluent are normative. Those who are harmed, well they are unseen and they were too feeble minded to resist a mild "nudge", so we can safely ignore them.

Sure, your post is nearly perfect, what I had in mind as I was scrolling down. The image I have is of an assistant manager at a Taco Bell going home to masturbate looking at porn photos of perfect women rather than making a forceful, rape-ey push on an employee.

How many relationships, in your estimation, are made more stable through the more sexually ravenous partner using porn as a part of living a sexually satisfying life? I assumed this was incredibly common - almost the rule in healthy relationships - but I'm not a clinician.

From my experience, exceedingly few. With the caveat that most of the time I get to see people they are in pretty rough shape (I tend to see people over relationship difficulties when there is violence, suicide, or extremely risky behavior in the mix). From what I hear from the psychiatrists to whom I typically refer (i.e. the list of maybe 40 who might take a new patient and might take any given insurance), they also see pretty few. Most of the time couples that can tolerant discordant porn and sex preferences can work through it regardless (e.g. one partner agrees to more sex or kinkier sex than they would like, the marriage is opened to one degree or another).

But that is ancedote.

What the data shows that if such a protective effect exists, it is swamped by some destablizing effect. Weekly reported use of pornography according to a preprint that was making the rounds roughly doubles the risk of relationship dissolution compared reported non-use of pornography. Likewise, daily use is around double the risk of relationship dissolution of monthly use. Granted, this does not show cause and effect; perhaps regular porn users just suck at sustained relationships. But you need a lot of idiosyncratic torture hidden in the data to make porn use to be a net good for relationships.

By the data, the healthiest things you can do for the population are: stop smoking, get (& stay) married, and be religiously observant. The decrements in all cause mortality from these three things are simply insane - each handily beats the net QALY effect of every single drug brought to market in the last 30 years. Doing anything that mucks up the marriage rate or the church attendance rate is roughly equivalent to uncuring some disease. Our suspicion of any that increases smoking, decreases marriage stability, or religious observance should be really high. Now sure it may be inhumane to take some steps and the benefits might be higher than the costs to all cause mortality, but having an ~2% annual breakup rate lurch up to ~5% is basically a couple of planes full of people crashing into the ground every day.

Thankfully, this mainly just blights the poor, the uneducated, the rural, and the those with lower socioeconomic status, so we can all go back to pretending that the experiences of the wealthy are normative.

Except for smoking, you seem to conflate correlates of health with causes of health. Do you think it would have been fair for the editors of the Literary Digest to say that "you need a lot of idiosyncratic torture hidden in the data" to make Roosevelt a viable presidential candidate in 1936?

Oh good grief, I am summarizing hundreds of pages of research. We have dose responses (e.g. longer married, more religious observance), we have twin correlations, we have SES correction still showing the response, we have have studies strictly from arranged marriages showing it. We have evidence from case controls and from longitudinal studies.

All any study ever measures is correlation. At some point you have to actually look at the data and say what is the simplest explanation for this correlation.

When the evidence shows that something is correlated with very bad things, then we should try to minimize that something unless we have specific evidence showing the correlation to be spurious. You claim this is a spurious correlation, great, then show me your data.

As is, if porn were an infectious disease with this sort of correlation it statistically far stronger than what I need to close down a restaurant for a mandatory inspection. It is far stronger than what I need to get a review of a problematic physician. Anything that dumped this many QALYs with this sort of correlation in so many other aspects of life would get a deep dive. Because the proponents are wealthy, educated, and high status nobody cares because the harms are concentrated among the poor, uneducated, and low status.

I'll bet there are a lot of extremely effective drugs that if you looked at the mortality rate of the population using vs not-using would imply those drugs are terrible for you.

When the direction of causality can go either way this kind of reasoning is just not very sound.

Dr. Sure,

Your eloquent response is the reason I do not trust physicians with anything involving math.

Omitted variable bias. When you leave out key variables you can end up with spurious correlations. And we’re talking about dudes here so:

Lack of conscientiousness, addictive personality, high sexual appetite/testosterone level, etc. All of these are positively correlated with marriage or relationship dissolution. All would presumably be positively correlated with porn usage.

Show me the porn study with an actual regression analysis controlling for these variables. The nerd adult version of “pics or it didn’t happen.”

Just saying.

Drugs like that have prescription limitations. You take on malpractice risk whenever you prescribe outside of indications. Porn appears to be a determent to the majority of relationships so like anti-seizure drugs its use should be limited.

This really is not that hard. Porn is clearly substituting for something. Society watched 4.4 billion hours of porn in 2015, and that was just PornHub. Even if every would-be rapist on the planet were streaming 24/7 that would not make a dent in that number. So what is porn displacing? Food? Not so much, last I checked we had an obesity epidemic going on. Entertainment? Hours of television consumed have not dropped. Possibly you could argue that this is just more Bowling Alone ... but the data suggests that displacing group recreational activities with solitary ones is unhealthy. Sleep habit have not changed. So basically we come down to handful of things:

Work - a really good thing for your health and the global economy
Relationships - be they intimate, familial, or friendly these are all but necessary for people to maintain health.

So again we literally talking about billions of hours going to an activity that barely existed 40 years ago. What is gone now to make up for that? My professional experience is that relationships are the things to go. I am open to hearing conflicting data or analysis, but it somehow is never forthcoming. Instead the hours spent watching porn just magically come out of the ether with no cost or externalities.

Potato:

Do you believe smoking causes lung cancer? At what point historically do you think we should have treated cigarettes as a primary cause of lung cancer?

Correlational data is all we had on smoking and cancer for decades. Had we acted more robustly on it we would have saved millions of lives. At what point are you willing to say that correlation is suggestive enough to inform change?

After all, absent a double blind RCT, you can get no other data than from correlations. Does obesity lead to heart attacks? Correlational data. Did birth control lead to breast cancer? Correlational data.

So what things make me suspect that correlations are causative:
1. Dose response relations. We see, pretty clearly, that people who use more pornography have more relationship troubles and the curve fits pretty nicely (better than Tylenol and pain relief). So we are not talking about qualitative difference that selects for porn use, it can only be some attribute that is quantitative.
2. Time depth. We have seen these correlations hold over a decade. Most people have significant changes in their life situation and life skills in a decade. So whatever your X factor is that causes the spurious correlation it has to be something that holds for the long term.
3. Gender blind response. Contrary to your assertion the data has looked at female porn use and there it is also correlated with relationship fragility. So again the X factor has to be something that correlates with porn use, but is not too gender correlated.
4. Discontinuation. Reducing exposure to porn among previous porn users results in lowering their odds of divorce and other harms. Whatever your X factor is, it cannot be strictly immutable.

Taken as a whole this does not leave a lot of room for a spurious correlation. Something that is quantitative, time stable, bigendered, and mutable (without breaking the porngraphy correlation) is a pretty constraining set of properties. So what exactly is your best guess for this X factor?

The other thing, that makes sense to me, is that like with cigarettes I have a straight forward plausible mechanism. Porn use comes out of the hours people used to devote to relationships. We have observed strong correlations between time spent on relationships with quality of those relationships. We would expect anything that reduces time spent on the relationship to be bad for the relationship (and we do see this with positive things like children and promotions). Porn may be worse than just the time it sucks out (after all if your partner uses porn they are more likely to find you less attractive, again with a dose response relationship); but if nothing else those 4 billion hours of porn use are substituting for something.

So why not do a more robust analysis? Well for one, you will get a spurious positive result if you control for enough things. Unless things are inversely correlated, we expect that 5% of our control variables will be randomly correlated in a given analysis. Secondly, "control variables" often themselves are correlated.

For instance gun shot wounds are correlated with high mortality when I see you. They are also correlated with blood loss. Finding a null relationship between GSWs and mortality when controlling for blood volume does not diminish our strong belief that GSWs cause mortality; blood loss is just a mechanism by which GSWs cause mortality.

So take something like unemployment; we know that unemployment is correlated with relationship fragility and that it also correlates with porn use. However, we also have a lot of self-reported data that porn use led to unemployment (e.g. porn use at work is pretty common and pretty bad for your long term employment). If one of the mechanisms that porn use causes relationship instability is via unemployment regression analysis will not save us.

Likewise if porn use is a direct result of some X factor, it may be that "treating" porn solves for some of the problems created by X. For instance, GSWs kill you by disrupting your visceral and leaking blood. If I give you blood I am not actually doing anything about the visceral disruption, but nonetheless you live. It may well be that high testosterone levels remain a problem but we mitigate their harm by limiting pornography.

So again. We have a new good that is consuming billions of man-hours each year. Where do you think those hours are coming from? Things we know it is not are sleep, entertainment, and eating. Maybe I am wrong, but I think the balance of evidence still suggests that policy should not view porn as harmless (note this does not mean we should ban porn, just that when we analyze it we should not treat it as harmless).

Why are Ross Douthat's views on pornography relevant?

Because you American have been way too tolerant with this kind of bigots -- Catholic bigots. In France since the revolution, the Vendee repression, the 1905 laws, etc., we have taught them respect and now they know their place. They still can speak but they do so with modesty and prudence, they advice and suggest rather than imprecate and prohibit.

Maybe you are the bigot!

À votre service.

And all it cost you was a eternally divided country that capitulated as fast it could to the Germans. Thankfully us Puritan yanks rode to your rescue I guess. Not that it kept you from becoming German's bitch anyways.

True. Sadly. Except that it is not mainly division that caused this shameful defeat. Worse than that: there was a strong unity in the will of not fighting too hard. But what you say is true essentially.

America too is multiple, and deeply divided, however (fortunately for instance not everyone likes Douthat) and the beautiful GIs who came and saved us in 1944/45 have left an image here which is quite opposite to that of a puritan pastor. We'll keep loving America for its porn and despite its Douthats.

You’re being trolled by a fake Brazilian using two different names.

Learn to ignore.

I knew that Ribeiro = Charbes A, but you're saying that Sam Hayaom is also the same person?

Free porn with ads, suscription sites, DVDs, magazines?

The most ironic outcome of Douthat crusade would be the revival of Playboy , Hustler (for the articles) and porn movies that pretennd to tell a story.

And he would probally be ok with that.

Jordan Peterson's 12 Rules reject porn because porn produces masturbation which doesn't produce children which are necessary for a thriving culture. The taboo of masturbation is as ancient as, well, civilization; indeed, it's right there in the Hebrew Bible for Christ's sake. Get a grip. An aside, here is a fair explanation of Peterson and His Rules: http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2018/02/why-they-listen-to-jordan-peterson.html

But he thinks people should act like lobsters, and I'm sorry, but the American lobster engages in external fertilization.

So I'm afraid Americans will have to get a grip.

"Hebrew Bible for Christ’s sake"

Unintended stupidity lacking in self-awareness is the best kind. For Christ's sake.

You just don't appreciate irony.

Alex is correct.

Perhaps Mr. Douthat needs to interview Stormy Daniels to better understand the economics behind the porn industry.

One person's porn is another person's art treasure?!

https://edition.cnn.com/style/article/censorship-nude-art-modigliani/index.html

This year marks the 100th anniversary of an exhibition of paintings by the Italian artist Amedeo Modigliani, at the Berthe Weill gallery in Paris. The exhibition, displaying a number of nude works, was too much for some and shut down within hours of its opening. The police commissioner at the time had been offended by the depiction of pubic hair.

I really don’t know how any proposal to sensor porn would make it past even a cursory 1st amendment review.

Beyond that, where would you even draw the line? There is an infinite variety of pornography, from murder fantasy to women eating. Find a clear, bright line in there that you can defend.

And why are we even banning it at all? Because of some groups moral stance on sex? Because of some unidentified negative economic effect? Because it delays marriage? Because it’s production is exploitative?

Which of these excuses holds any water upon further investigation? Morals are not universal and it isn’t the job of the state to enforce one groups morals upon society. I don’t know of a negative economic factor in the existence of porn, rather, historically it has been a boon to technological progress, often driving adoption of new standards. Even if you could pin down causation of delayed marriage, could you also make an argument for why that is in itself bad? Are you then going to make the same argument against women working or higher education, both of which have been shown to delay marriage rather significantly? And while the production of some porn has a history of exploitation, that would be much easier to solve with regulations and workers rights laws than with banning consumption. If you drive the industry underground it’s likely to become much more exploitative as those involved lose the protection of the law.

The discussion of sensorship of any kind is moot without an actual harm identified that would not be better addressed through regulation of some sort.

Pornography helps undermine society.

It wouldn't.

The whole argument from Douthat is just stupid. It's tradcon signalling, and worse it's signalling that can be performed at utterly no cost to him. He still gets to go home tonight and beat off to the hardcore, shame-inducing BDSM videos that are doubtlessly driving his crusade to beg others to stop jerking off to what he enjoys. (Remember: all tradcons are doing all the things they complain about. Count up all the abortions asked for by anti-abortionists and the gay sex had by anti-gay crusaders.)

Is this even a serious topic? Egads.

So we legalize smoking, drinking, pot-smoking, polygamy (if married in an Islamic nation you can bring your wives to the US). Most libertarians convincingly argue prostitution should be legal. I guess strip clubs too. Swinger clubs too. So I guess watching live people have sex is legal but not filmed sex. Oh, and gambling. Boxing. WWF (now, that is pornography).

I feel debased just commenting on this stupid topic and I wish I hadn't.

You make no sense!!

There was another new York time piece about porn last week and it's troubling "toxic masualinity". It appears to me these folks don't want to actually ban porn for utilitarian and health reasons, but they want to ban certain types of porn. The piece singled out lgbhqz+ and other "alternative" forms of porn actually teach positive life lessons and spread social justice wokeness. The fact a so called "conservative" doesn't know he is being played and the only advocacy going on here is viewpoint discrimination explains why this national review crowd are such craven failures.

+1

Where I am, morality is preventing people, especially young people, from having sex.

So if pornography reduces the amount of sexual activity and sexual relationships people have then it is on balance moral. In the past pornography was frowned upon as it was been seen as something that might inflame passions and lead to sex, but if it actually reduces sex then it is a moral plus.

Of course, our interpretation of morality may explain why we generally try to have as little to do with it as possible.

Oh wait, I forgot, masturbation is also immoral. I'm not sure how many masturbations are required to equal the immorality of two people having sex together, but if pornography increases the amount of masturbation then it might result in more immorality than it avoids.

Sorry I didn't properly think this through in my previous comment. It's almost as if it is difficult to think logically about arbitrary moral judgements.

It has just occurred to me that perhaps the quantity of immorality should be determined not by the number of sex acts, but by their duration. So perhaps someone who can get a sex act out of the way in say 30 seconds is much less immoral than someone who spends ages getting one sex act done. So those who are expedient could be much more likely to get into heaven than those who take their time. Or be more likely to have been already chosen to get into heaven if you are a Calvanist. I'd go into how sexual immorality may interact with other religious beliefs, but I think they may actually all be immoral. I'll have to ask Father O'Flannery about that when I see him down at the Blue Oyster Bar.

What is porn in 2018? By the standards of my childhood most cable TV shows (certainly GoT, Shameless, Westworld, Californication, etc.) count as porn. There are plenty of „art“ films on Netflix that seem to consist mostly of explicit sex. The porn horse left the barn a long time ago.

Anyone who thinks it's a good idea to have 12 year old boys with access to limitless high-speed internet porn is completely crazy. This isn't just kids sneaking a peek at a Playboy anymore. Today it's a kid with 14 tabs of hardcore video.

Alex's tweet is typical libertarian autism. People do it, therefore, by revealed preference, it's welfare-enhancing, QED, end of discussion. At best, it's "welfare-enhancing" in the way that junk food is welfare-enhancing. But from a societal perspective the question is not whether people like things that give them an immediate rush of dopamine because of course they do. The larger question is whether these things are ultimately self-destructive and socially destructive.

But to compare porn to junk food is far too generous. Porn is a poison, of the mind and soul. It threatens the healthy sexualization of young people which is vital to marriage and family and as such it is a legitimate societal concern. That libertarians dismiss such things out of hand reveals the bankruptcy of their rigid and impractical ideology. The appeal to the individual right of young teens to wank away their lives is wholly unconvincing.

Should parents in general just provide 12 year olds with limitless access to high speed Internet?

Do you deny that millions young people *do* have easy access? Do we just chalk it up to parental failure and oh well? Many parents are simply naive about it and often less technologically savvy than their kids.

No but unlimited high speed internet consumption via unsupervised device use does not seem like it should be the default setting for children. It's not even really porn that makes me say that. I think it is interesting that people like Zuckerberg reportedly do not give their children unrestriced access to the internet via ipads, phones or laptops.

How is this generation's young teens doing compared to previous? Better actually in most indicators, despite looking at a lot more porn.

I thought I'd read that there was a major increase in anxiety and depression among this generation of teens, but less sex and driving. Because they are all just online now (with porn being a big part of that).

Valid question.

I think the answer lies in tradeoffs, personally, but I’m not epistemically confident in any conclusions.

My “just so” story would be:

People have much less depression and anxiety on average when they have a family group with a solid base foundation. This includes, for male adults, a sexual partner. It could be for religious, legal, cultural, social reasons, whatever. But the idea that there are ties that bind us to others that we can support and are supported by in turn is evolution based and a massive driver in mental health. And for men having a long term willing sexual partner seems to be a driver of mental health, given what I see in the corners of the interwebs that involve incels.

Then again, it could be that insane people are incel and involuntarily celibate people are unhappy because they are insane. I don’t think the data supports that but hey. It’s not a topic I’m invested in.

Purely anecdotally, as a Millennial male who used to watch the average amount of porn and doesn't really watch much now because I become bored and apathetic about sex, I'm not sure I'd be more interested in sex and relationships with no porn.

I don't have a relationship, essentially, because women don't consider me 'boyfriend material'. 'Boyfriend material' is confident, makes the first move, stylish, career focused, spontaneous, conventional interests, physically fit, vaguely left wing. (It's not quite "Chad" but not a million miles from that, that's just a bitter take on it).

But I like being free to be anxious, I like not having to care too much about how I dress, I like having leisure time and an easy, undemanding job, I like following a routine, I like obsessing about politics, science and stuff that 99% of society has no interest in, I have no interest in spending time working out, and I don't believe the pop-left; "diversity" really has any useful value, more government spending wouldn't help us, etc.

I'm sure there are those who'd say this isn't how men should be, that it's slack and undisciplined, but to me, what women seem to seek in "boyfriend material" seems a basic, conformist way of living.

If there were no porn, I think I'd probably just have lost interest in sex and women sooner. I wouldn't have wanted to be What Women Want any more than I do. Banning porn wouldn't suddenly make men who don't have relationships and sex because they're not What Women Want into What Women Want.

You're a nerd, and there's nothing wrong with that. There are nerdy girls out there too, you just have to find one. The catch, though, is just as nerdy guys aren't 'boyfriend material' like you describe, nerdy girls aren't ideal 'girlfriend material' either. They've opted out the same way you have, they don't care too much about hair and makeup and clothes, they are 'free to be anxious' etc. They don't look like the girls in the porn you used to watch.

To me a lot of involuntarily celibate types of both genders are simply people who refuse to go after people on their level. They're 4s who only want to date 8s. Find another 4 and you'll find a partner.

Guilty as charged on nerddom. Still, I don't know, if I'm selecting only 8s or anything. Average girls, like 60-70% (mostly in the 4-6 range) seem perfectly acceptable to me.

Maybe to some degree that's true, and there's an element of excessive choosiness there. Though I think there are a few nuances on it being exactly parallel

1) women are happier to accept old men, so you've got more female 5s accepting old 5s and young male 5s being lined up to young female 4s as a result, if anything. Of course, at the other end of the age scale, this means more divorced or widowed women without partners, but its perhaps less frustrating for them than for young men who've never been with an equal.

This is probably the major reason it's rarer to find young women who don't have a partner, and no one talks about bitter isolated young women so much. Even fairly uncool, unattractive girls can count on the "trade it in for a younger model" effect. This isn't necessarily better for women overall, but it's a different situation.

2) selection on looks and personality is probably a bit different for men and women. I suspect that a girl who's a bit dorky and uncool, unexciting, cautious, low career prospects but who is pretty has an easier time getting a relationship, than a non-gay guy who's equally lame but handsome. Selection by males of females seems mostly without too much regard to charisma. (From my very limited experience).

This is arguably unfair for genuinely cool, confident young women who *really* aren't the best looking (we all know some of these people), but again it's a bit of different situation in terms of feeling like you can't have a partner because of who you are, and society generally is at least supportive to these women over men's "shallowness". So it's not better for men or women.

Again, though, I'm mostly OK (now) that it's a choice not to compromise on how I am, or what I want, but I wouldn't see banning porn as making any of that work out too differently - I wouldn't really see women who were less physically attractive than my averagely physically self as acceptable, or to try and "be someone else" to be more of an attractive personality any more.

"The appeal to the individual right of young teens to wank away their lives is wholly unconvincing."
Exactly what the 12-year boys "wanking away" their lives would be doing without porn they can't do now? Making sex with real women (girls?)? Whatever it is, the same is true about television, movies, internet, etc.

Sucks to be a kid nowadays. You're just not treated like a person. Parents trying to impose on you a Buddhist lifestyle they themselves have no chance of following.

Those urges you have to watch TV, not be bored out of your mind, wank? Your child has them too. He's a person with a brain. If you would hate it for the FBI to forbid you from the using the Internet, perhaps consider not doing the same to the people you have absolute power over. Even if it makes you feel virtuous.

I think people would be healthier and more active without porn, or at without so easy access to s much of it. Same goes for things like Netflix as well. Or maybe even television. I asked what her parents used to do in the evenings in her childhood. And she remembers that once they got television, they mostly just watched television. We need scarcity to be healthier.

"I asked what her parents used to do in the evenings in her childhood. And she remembers that once they got television, they mostly just watched television. We need scarcity to be healthier."
What they did before it?

Facebook, youtube and a host of other sites already do ban porn and since they are major players that does dramatically limit how much porn is available. But it also makes the argument for censorship weaker for a few reasons:

1. Their method of banning is private sector taste based. Facebook and Youtube, for example, do it mostly by banning nudity. As a result a lot of non-nude stuff goes through. If such huge sectors of the internet can impose different styles of ban, though, why should one style be imposed centrally?

2. Their method isn't free. It entails keeping a staff of people to review stuff, R&D to tweak AI algorithms and handling angry customers who think they banned the wrong stuff. China, which invests heavily in censorship tech, also demonstrates there is no cheap censorship option. It either imposes directly on the taxpayer if the gov't is going to do the censoring or directly on the 'small business'...namely the competition to big players like Facebook/YouTube/etc. that would be required to add to their costs by a censorship regulation.

People are totally polarized on this: either do nothing, or ban entirely. Why not something in the middle? Anyone that's spent a little time on PornHub knows that there's a lot of trash, and then there's some vanilla stuff. Why not just ban the trash: gangbangs, anal, double penetration, (I won't go on, for the sake of keeping this relatively family-friendly, but you can surely fill in the rest of this list), etc. Why not require that all scenes to only have two people? Let the people have their porn, but make sure it's relatively vanilla and relatively similar to actual sexual encounters that real people are likely to have. This will ensure that porn doesn't give young men a highly distorted view of real-world sex, but it doesn't totally remove a form of mostly harmless pleasure for lots of people.

Anyone with me on this middle-of-the-road solution?

No? Because "real people" have anal sex, double penetration, and gangbangs. These things all predate the contemporary internet era, and they are--gasp!--things that even _women_ enjoy.

Non-vanilla sex is widespread, even if for you sex is lie back and think of England.

Homosexual propaganda

I'm with you but the 1st Amendment is pretty absolute. What needs to happen is norms need to evolve to keep up with the tech. Weird sexual stuff should be frowned upon, and most will avoid it. And parents need to be proactive and teach their kids that the weirder stuff they can find online has very little to do with real life. Be parents.

"I’m with you but the 1st Amendment is pretty absolute. "

Not on that issue. There's nothing in the first amendment protecting porn that I can see, and the courts agree with me. On occasion, particularly disgusting pornographers are prosecuted:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rob_Zicari

This is a recipe for shaming queer or gay kids.

Or kids with a kink.

That’s not the right response. Essentially we’ve opened the gates to specific desires.

The answer isn’t to shame people for their sexual desires. That’s no different than abusing homosexuals.

The answer is to say who cares.

Totally agree with potato. One should stop looking at and trying to interfere in other people's sex life (except of course if someone is forced to do sexual things and asks for our help). It seemed that this principle had
entered the collective mind (at least in countries like the US) and was here for good, but right now history is going backwards and old reactionaries like Douthat and many in the #MeToo movement are in a bid to reestablish the Victorian mores and values. I have had enough sex in my life already
not to care too much personally (and losing my job would be a deliverance anyway) to really care,
but this epic struggle to make the 21st century a remake of the 19th is terrifying and grandiose and a spectacle of almost cosmic proportion. Let's enjoy the show.

I wouldn't compare it to Victoriansm. The Victorians got strong families at the price of sexual repression. What do the feminists offer us?

In general, it is probably a good idea, but I could see, for instance, violence rising rather quickly if porn were to suddenly disappear. Not a good idea to take away people's poor substitute good unless there's a chance in hell they can find access to the original good.

And there's John C. Dvorak's point- that there are huge differences between nudity and porn. But there's not much delineation on the internet- it's either safe search on, or safe search off and viewer beware.

Is decline in rape not coupled with decline of other forms of violent crime? Why is it assumed to result from porn?

I don't think such a case can be made clearly. Plus porn is a very variable concept. Facebook 'bans porn' in the sense that it bans nudity but there's a lot of fake 'cheesecake' type porn that goes around either as memes or fake account bots. On one hand a 'porn ban' would mean a ban on material used to help sexual arousal and masturbation....which I could see that may be linked to rape increasing. In practice, though, most porn bans are effectively just a ban on certain types of material, for which other materials are substituted in place.

I think there was a study or two. Not sure how reliable they were, but the libertarian outlets were happy to talk them up.

I wonder if Charbes A. and The Truth Seeker are the same person?

Yes, absolutely (or so I believe). And Thiago Ribeiro too. Does he use other names here? It's a fun Turing game to recognize all his incarnations... I am not very strong at that game, it seems.

It's not hard with him. So far those are the only 3 names I can detect he's used. It is fun messing with him.

No, they are not.

Yes they are.

Stop impersonating me!

In an ideal world, pornography would not exist. You can find a lot of people accusing you of having some sexual hangup if you oppose it, and many fewer who will want their 15 year old son to be watching that crap.

It's WHO will be banning it which is what troubles me. Cucks like Douthat, who make a show of their disagreements with the Left but whose main complaint seems to be that men are screwing up the feminist project. It's beyond hilarious to believe, as Douthat implies, that the actions of Aziz Ansari(assuming he did what he is accused of) are due to the influence of porn. If women are going to slut, there will always be an abundance of alphas to use and discard them.

The other criticism, that it substitutes for marriage and family, is valid, but ask yourself why. If men are deciding a 2d screen is better than dating or marriage, maybe there's something wrong with modern dating and marriage? Porn allows social conservatives to ignore the real reasons for the decline in the American family in favor of something more PC to criticize.

Finally, everyone who's comparing the prohibition of child porn to the prohibition of adult porn and claiming the latter will be as easy than the former is wrong. Child porn is repressable not just because of the government but because of private citizens banishing links to it from their websites and reporting anybody who posts them. Almost everyone agrees it is gravely immoral. In contrast, if porn were banned, a solid 30% of the population would treat the law with nothing but contempt. They would allow the urls to be posted on their websites, or at least take a few days before they "see" and delete it. Attempts to repress the urls would meet the Streisand effect. May in law enforcement would b. A much better comparison would be to internet piracy, it's quite easy to find.

Reminds me of a GT quote, "after homosexuals, most of all I hate homophobes. Both tend to be fags."

I think we could test the claim above about child porn. I believe in some countries porn is permitted if the person is 16+ while other countries 18+. If the real reason child porn is effectively banned is because a super majority abhors it, then this age difference between countries shouldn't matter. Even if 16 yr old porn is legal in one country, this social abhorrence should reduce its prevalance to levels one sees in countries where the age is 18+.

I'm old enough to remember when this was known as a libertarian blog.

In the US the very worst sort of porn would be video of dogs being butchered and eaten. Producers of it would get the death penalty.

But if someone made a video of Native Americans being tortured to death, they'd win like 50 Oscars!

Yeah. Wonderful idea. Help young men become even more desperate and resentful. What could possibly go wrong?

Jesus Christ. How can an intelligent person hold this opinion in this country at this time?! It’s ridiculous. Pure lunacy. How can Tyler be “sympathetic”?

The availability of internet pornography has disproven every prediction of every pornography doomsayer that has ever put pen to paper. Period. At some point, just admit you’re wrong.

Yeah I was looking if that just wasn't a quote from the 18th century or something. I couldn't believe someone could write that in 2018.

Anything that arouses a desire to copulate with a fertile human female in a "reasonable man" or offends or causes harm to any woman's feelings should be banned. Exceptions might be made in cases of legally married mixed-sex couples, provided the female is "in the mood" and doesn't make her feel unsafe, and she gives her consent in writing (just to be safe, it should be notarized).

To avoid such discomfort-inducing controversies in future, everything that is not permitted should be banned and censored.

By the way, prostitution is still illegal in Thailand.

It has been a number of years now since Dame Edna Everage called for a tougher stance on pornography in Australia.

Her reasoning was a lot of pornography was quite weak and could do with toughening up.

"I am sympathetic with the notion that porn in the “I know it when I see it sense” is a net negative bad for society, " what? Really? This is insanity: a liberal thinking about censorship of forms of entertainment because it is bad for society? In which century was this sentence written? 18th or 19th at the latest? Oh no, it's from 2018. Really shows how decadent the US culture has become.

I have a better idea: let’s ban essays by Ross Douthat!

Seventeen or more dead in another school shooting.

Tell me again how it's pornography that needs to be banned.

free porn needs to stop. you should have to provide a credit card to browse free porn or buy porn. youporn xhamster and the rest should not be able to operate like this.

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