Not Free Speech: Time for a Legislative War on Pornography

In the aftermath of the sexual misconduct accusations against Harvey Weinstein, Bill Cosby, Bill O’Reilly, Roger Ailes, Mark Halperin, Ben Affleck, and about 50 other powerful men in America, thinking people should be making an observation.  A country that is rightfully outraged by their behavior should be scolded and rebuked for mocking Vice President Mike Pence a few months ago when it became public knowledge that he sets boundaries for his behavior in order to respect his wife and guard his marriage.

As it turns out, several of the same Hollywood females who have been victims of dirty old (and young) men would have probably preferred having a man with the personal integrity of Pence as their movie director, co-star, or boss.

But just like now is a great time to acknowledge the wisdom in Pence’s ground rules for marriage, it’s perhaps an even more important time to address the hideous, sin-infested, soul-corrupting, culture-destroying monster that is at the heart of most all these problems: pornography.

Pornography is not harmless and it is not free speech.  It is libelous defamation of the integrity of our fellow human beings, responsible for a corrupted view of sexual dignity that has dire consequences for our safety and well-being as a people.

With research now showing that 90% of children between the ages of 8 and 16 have interacted with pornography online (with 11 being the average age of first exposure), it should be apparent that we are breeding a nightmare.  After all:

There are a few basic themes in pornography: (1) All women at all times want sex from all men; (2) women enjoy all the sexual acts that men perform or demand, and; (3) any woman who does not at first realize this can be easily turned with a little force.

You cannot rationally bemoan the abusive coercion of sex committed by Bill Cosby, the gross sexual intimidation of Bill O’Reilly, and the arrogant sexual overtures of Ben Affleck and simultaneously remain content that those themes are being ingrained in our children’s minds under the guise of free speech.

You cannot march in the streets objecting to campus “rape culture” while simultaneously defending the porn industry as legitimate expression.  Consider:

The prevalence of porn means people are becoming desensitized to it, and are seeking out ever harsher, more violent, and degrading images. Even the porn industry is shocked by how much violence the fans want. As one pornography director put it, “People just want it harder, harder, and harder . . . what are you gonna do next?”


Robin Morgan’s phrase “pornography is the theory, rape is the practice” captures the link between the production and consumption of pornography and violence against women and children. The point isn’t that porn causes all viewers to sexually abuse others, but that it creates what some researches call “rape culture” by normalizing, legitimizing, and condoning violence against women and children.

Pornography is not legal expression of sexual liberty.  It is an illegitimate expression of sexual licentiousness – the greatest enemy of true liberty.  As a society we have made it illegal to willfully disseminate false speech.  Lies that defame or disparage a person’s good name or reputation are not protected forms of speech.

It is past time that we acknowledge pornography – speech that falsely represents the human form, disparages the character of its victims, deforms the minds and attitudes of its viewers, exploits and enslaves its participants, and breeds pathological dehumanization of nearly half the population – falls under that same category.

If slander, libel, fraud, false advertising, and perjury are forbidden, it is unconscionably absurd that porn isn’t.  It’s time that changed.

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Peter Heck

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