Here’s How Conservatives Will Come For Your Porn, Internet

Though most conservatives don’t make much to-do out of the availability of pornography, you get the sense that for some, it’s a begrudging thing. I mean, obviously it’s contributing to the decline of Western Civilization. Someone has got to have a plan to rid us of this, right?

Someone indeed does. Her name is Morgan Bennett, and she is a law student at Pepperdine University as well as a legal clerk for the Heritage Foundation.

Sarcasm and hyperbole aside, if you ever wanted a look at how an ultra-conservative group might try to abolish pornography in all its forms, Bennett’s hypothetical on the subject makes for an interesting read. The basis of her argument is that First Amendment protections should not apply to sexually explicit content, because it can also be considered “obscene.”

Additionally, she appeals to the Founding Fathers, arguing that they would have considered pornography harmful to society.

“Surely our current jurisprudence, which protects depictions of prostituted — and therefore criminal — sex acts, cannot be the proper interpretation of the First Amendment,” Bennett wrote.

The entire paper, published in The Witherspoon Institute journal Public Discourse on October 10, can be read here. Otherwise, here’s the shortlist on how Bennett would go about abolishing pornography:

  • Agree that the effects of Internet pornography cannot be kept private, and that it requires regulation.
  • Agree that pornography “de-incentivizes” the “family unit,” and this represents a harm to society.
  • Enforce existing obscenity laws.
  • Apply prostitution statutes to porn actors and actresses.
  • Launch a campaign to advertise the harmful effects of pornography.
  • Eventually censor pornography.

At first flush, Bennett’s plot to abolish pornography doesn’t look all that dissimilar from various public interest campaigns designed to push public opinion a different way (anti-smoking campaigns come to mind). Where her argument kind of unravels is on the issue of censorship.

She calls for a “statutory system of narrowly-tailored, criteria-based censorship would use accurate and effective censorship technology similar to content-control software,” and seemingly doesn’t realize that she broaches a much larger issue with that argument: That is, government influence of any kind over the Internet.

Instead of providing some sort of boring rejoinder to Bennett’s points, I’ll just cite two things if you’ll allow me: One, how unsuccessful government attempts at policing the Internet have been in the past and two, a reminder that there are other countries that censor the Internet. Countries like China.

And I would love to see an uber-conservative admit that we want to be China.

So maybe let’s find a less-totalitarian way to rid the world of pornography, mmk pumpkin?

[Image: Shutterstock]