Brownback: Internet Porno Made Me Do It

by on November 19, 2004 · 2 comments

Sen. Brownback is on a crusade to rid the ‘Net of pornography. According to this article, members of a panel organized by Brownback compare pornography addiction to heroin or crack. As Reason Magazine Senior Editor Jacob Sullum has pointed out in his book Saying Yes: In Defense of Drug Use and elsewhere such comparisons are geared to to instill fear about one thing by comparing it to something the reader already believes is extremely harmful, thereby obviating the need to prove that the first thing is harmful.


The demonization of porn and referring to consumers as addicts by Brownback and others also serves to eliminate personal responsibility for porn consumption and the adverse effects that may have in some people’s lives. One panelist said as much when she advocated that police search for pornography at crime scenes. Maybe the presence of porn could be made an aggravating factor for certain crimes, like we do with guns used in crimes.

Or, perhaps we should use common sense and hold people responsible for their actions. I know that’s a crazy idea, but it used to work pretty well. If you think you have a problem with porno or anything else for that matter, by all means seek help, but don’t try to make the rest of us pay for your problems by making certain forms of speech illegal.

Freedom of Speech?

Even Brownback acknowledges that congressional efforts to restrict Internet porn face a pretty large obstacle: the First Amendment. Whether you like it or not, free expression includes content that many find offensive or disgusting. Trying to restrict speech just because you don’t like it makes the law into an enforcer of subjective preferences rather than an objective standard designed to protect the rights of all.

  • matt

    just one question. why is the Senate Commerce Committee hearing testimony on this? isn’t there some other agency better suited? i understand that there is a definite tie between pornography and commerce, but isn’t making money and paying taxes good for the country?

  • matt

    just one question. why is the Senate Commerce Committee hearing testimony on this? isn’t there some other agency better suited? i understand that there is a definite tie between pornography and commerce, but isn’t making money and paying taxes good for the country?

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