I want to make three points.
We cannot allow pornography on the Internet and oppose child molestation. The second follows the first as surely as tsunamis follow earthquakes.
Certainly not everyone who views pornography will become a child molester just as not everyone who goes to the casino will become a gambler. But pornography is a necessary ingredient in a poison that zombifies the soul. To support the first unfettered corruption is to accept the second.
If my premises are correct, pornography is a matter of life and death.
First premise: pornography is addictive. Certainly not everyone who views pornography will become an addict, just as not everyone who gambles will become an addict. But there are enough studies and stories supporting this premise. This is fact.
Second premise: pornography is progressive. What you start out with is not what you end with. An addict seeks more, and—because it’s an addiction—they need more. There are tests verifying both these premises. There will be future tests that verify them.
The third premise: pornography alters the chemistry of your brain. A simple test supports this premise: try to remember the first photograph you ever saw. (You likely cannot.) Now try to remember the first pornographic image you saw. (You likely can.) A simple memory test does not prove the point, but there is a raft of research dating back decades that prolonged exposure to pornography alters the way the brain works.
I first formulated these thoughts in 2004. Some people listened, skeptically. Now other thinking people are expressing concern. In 2009, Cindy Gallop gave one of the most talked-about speeches at TED2009. She states that hardcore porn has changed the way young men think. She has a book and a website, Make Love, Not Porn. In 2012, the book, The Demise of Guys: Why Boys Are Struggling and What We Can Do About It generated much buzz. It’s a website (with resources, logins, and forums) and it’s a book. In it, the authors Philip G. Zimbardo and Nikita Duncan claim that “widespread hardcore Internet porn is wreaking havoc on relationships” and ruining young men. Thankfully, they also offer researched solutions.
Few people would care if something was addictive but was not progressive. Or progressive but was not addictive. So what if looking at naked women is addictive? At least it won’t lead to anything else. So what if gorging your sexual appetite is progressive? At least you can stop any time. Certainly caring people would still care, but it would not be ominously dangerous.
On the other hand, if pornography is addictive and progressive and alters your brain, then it is a matter of life and death. Not merely figurative death of morals or character or relationships or health. But physical death. Someone is going to die.
That might sound alarmist or sensationalist. Except it’s not. If pornography is addictive and progressive and alters the brain, then to what other conclusion does it take us?
It is akin to handing out free beer at every school in America. We will end up with more alcoholics.
That does not mean that we should rid the world of porn any more than drunk drivers mean we should rid the world of alcohol. But the free, available-to-all porn? It has to go. The only people who would argue for free pornography on the internet are sophists, porn addicts, or those making money off it. None of those positions have any merit. If anything, each of those positions are arguments against free porn for all. There simply is no argument supporting free porn on the internet. It should be at least as difficult to get as alcohol. Currently, it is easier to get than water.
We can no longer claim that the internet is too new for us to have figured out how it should operate. The Internet has been around for a while and we have many reasonable laws governing speech. Why do we allow pornography to be available for free on the Internet? We do not allow children or teens to even walk into “adult” establishments in “real life”. We do not allow children to be in front of pornography. We are sickened by people who use children or teens in pornography. We had good reasons for keeping porn away from kids. Why did we stop?
The internet is people. That’s all. People uploading content. Why do laws, which apply everywhere else, no longer apply on the internet?
Some people have argued that we cannot censor the Internet because it is private. We cannot tell people what to look at in the privacy of their homes. This argument makes no sense because the same Internet can be accessed at home or in public. Furthermore, we definitely do care what people view, smoke, and do in private.
Some try to argue that it is up to individual parents to monitor the Internet. This too is wholly absurd. We do not allow schools to have porn displays and expect that the teachers will keep students from looking. No, we insist that porn is no where near schools.
You can make it a matter of morals if that’s your thing. But it is more than that. It is logical and legal. And taking action is not pushing prudism. The world is in no danger of becoming prude. It is, however, in danger of becoming so sexual that horrors become accepted.
Lust is an appetite that grows as it is fed. How much are we willing to let it grow? Until child molestation is no big deal? Until children raping children is no big deal?
“There is a storm coming. I can feel it.”
So starts the article, “Children and the culture of pornography” which discusses what is happening, right now, among teens. You might not want to read the article if you have children. But then again, you might.
Will we not all be liable? Will we not all be guilty of gross negligence?
Some people are more into sex than other people(!). This has always been true. It is reasonable to assume that some people making porn love doing it (making porn). More power to them. I know some people who are really into alcohol or gambling. And I know people who won’t touch either.
Recently, GQ ran an article about a porn star who loves his job. He feels it is his purpose(!) and he sounds downright blissful. You can look up the article if you wish. (I did not link to it because it contains explicit descriptions.)
We needn’t take all porn from all people. But we must stop free, online porn. Before my first point proves true.