Dear Editor,

Oct 162005

This is in response to your editorial "Don't Stop The Porn," in Friday's paper.

I am disappointed by your defense of pornography at our university's library. You assert that adults should be able to access any information they want, within legal bounds. "Information" is a euphemism, since among other images we're talking about graphic sex. It is convenient that you exclude illegal information, because doing so relieves you of any need to articulate a set of standards for yourself. The government has done that for you. One reason for this might be that you equate what is moral with what is legal. But if laws against child pornography were repealed tomorrow, then you would have no grounds to argue against it, and your arguments would lead to its defense.

To articulate standards would undermine your own position, since you state, "the line is too fine." To be fair, you did provide a standard, but on behalf of those who oppose pornography on the university's library computers. That's like the prosecutor in a criminal trial deciding what the defendant's case will be. You seem to believe the standard of thinking college students opposed to pornography is simply that anything "offensive" or "inappropriate" should be restricted. Thank you, but a deliberately weak and vague standard intended simply as fodder for your own powerful intellect is not welcome. How about restricting the standard to the category of sex acts instead of the category of "anything." Second, why not begin with those acts that are clearly at one end of "the line," like images of sexual penetration, anal and oral sex. That would at least be a start before we get bogged down in details like whether we should burn semi-naked depictions of Adam and Eve.

I think the essence of your view is in fact a rejection of the traditional authority of society and government over the behavior of the individual. It is evident in your rhetorical question that asks, "who is to say what they [people] can and cannot look at." It is also evident in the title of your opinion, "Don't Stop the Porn," which sounds more like the rallying cry of a group of desperate sex addicts than a call to the defense of constitutional and intellectual principles. This must be why you make the absurd claim that "restricting any kind of information will lead to a totalitarian society where free access to information is impossible." Apparently, you equate any authority over the appetite for "information" as illegitimate. But people have no right to military secrets or information about nuclear technology or other information that responsible governments restrict. Maybe you meant to restrict your statement to information that is "within legal bounds" again. Well, what justifies "information" being legal or illegal?

Apparently it is too hard for the editors of our college newspaper to think about that question, so they've adopted the "anything goes, unless government tells us otherwise, so long as what government tells us is convenient" standard of morality. That's clever.

James Easton


second bachelors degree

 Posted by at 5:00 pm

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