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Is it an abridgment of freedom to restrict access to internet pornography? How would such an abridgment work?
Pornography: What it is. For purposes of discussion I will be using the term in 3 different contexts: 1, referring to the collection of visual depictions of erotic activity, usually but not always involving full contact sex; 2, as well as the production and transmittal of same; 3, the industry in general, its depiction, portrayal, and distribution. At every step I hope to make clear in context which I’m referring to.
What I won’t be referring to is whether there is an intrinsically detrimental effect to the consumption of pornography. Research seems clear that when it comes to issues of linking porn to violent or sexually aberrant behavior, there are no causal relationships that can be established (Diamond, Jozifkova, Weiss, 2011, Math, et al., 2014).
Pornography: What it is not. Although there have been a number of cases throughout the 20th century (and, depressingly), still into the 21st, that attempt to cast one or another work of literature as being pornographic or against community standards, we won’t be discussing Huck Finn or James Joyce’s Ulysses here. A case could be made that sections of the latter are pornographic; they are certainly erotic.
Pornography as an industry, generates an estimated $100 billion per year. The questions that arise are: Are consumers obligated to know where and how products come to us to be consumed? Is the prod uction chain of any concern to us at all? Is there an immediate danger or concern to us personally? Is there a long term concern to us personally? Is there a danger to producers or workers in the short or long term? Are we supporting misery not just in the primary instance, but the secondary instance (at home) or tertiary (abroad)? In the 2009 preface to his book, How Good People Make Tough Choices, author Rushworth M. Kidder discusses how there has been a sea-change in the treatment of ethics in the workplace (Kidder, 2009).
In looking at the issue again, it is worthwhile to see if the assumptions regarding pornography stand up under scrutiny. In regard to the claim that every aspect of the production of pornography is rife with criminal involvement, the source of that claim is the infamous Meese Report, since discredited (Calidia, 1986). While there are credible reports of criminal involvement in the production of porn overseas, the involvement in the trade is concerned mostly with the acquisition, production and distribution of illegal materials (Diamond 1999, Diamond 2011). There are a number of effective reportage and discovery procedures in place, so the dissemination through mainstream distribution channels is negligible. The same is true about sex slavery to produce pornographic materials, with some of the more sensationalized claims being several decades old (See Meese Report, and Lovelace 1980). The problem therefore of sex slavery to produce pornography in Japan, China, Eastern Europe, Europe and America is virtually nonexistent. This is not to say that the industry is totally absent from these egregious instances of abuse. There is no way to get that number to 0%. The best means to combat trafficking is to reduce the demand for commercial sex (Duong, 2012). The one prerequisite in the sex industry is the existence of clients. Without them, the industry falls apart.