November 15th, 2013

The Misguided Movement to Restrict Internet Porn

A new citizen petition on the White House website asks the Obama administration to “require porn to be an ‘opt in’ feature with Internet Service Providers rather than a standard feature.” In an effort to collect enough signatures, proponents of this request are heavily promoting it on email lists and social media. Their efforts are misguided and in fact dangerous.

As a person whose livelihood requires using the internet on a regular basis, I have, like many others, encountered content I find objectionable without my actively looking for it. This is the basis of the petition’s request: people who want pornography should be allowed to opt in and get it, but the rest of us—and especially our children—should not have to stumble upon it accidentally, subjecting ourselves to images that cannot be forgotten, and whose effect can be psychologically and spiritually detrimental.

As a parent, I can sympathize with this desire. I, too, want to protect my children. I, too, want to shield them from illicit images and degrading content. I want the same results that the petition’s proponents want, and yet cannot in any way support their methods of pursuing those results. Let’s look at a few reasons why.

The Absence of Authority

Petitioners have embarked upon their quest in the wake of a similar movement in the UK, led by Prime Minister David Cameron. Rather than seeking legislative change through Congress, they are making their pitch to the president—in other words, asking him to issue an executive decree, violating the Constitution by circumventing Congress and imposing a unilateral mandate upon businesses. Do the petitioners really want to establish more precedent and centralize more power that, while in this case may be useful to their goals, could very well result in other presidential decrees to which they strenuously object?

But let’s imagine that the petition solicited congressional support. Congress can only constitutionally enact laws based upon authority they have been delegated. Where in the Constitution is any power delegated that would justify mandating businesses to alter their services and restrict the access of their customers to select content? The general welfare clause doesn’t offer support and the commerce clause’s delegation of power “to regulate” does not mean Congress can “regulate” in the sense that it’s understood today.

I don’t think concerned parents supporting this proposal are too worried with questions of authority—though they should be. Many of them are simply desperate that something be done. They don’t want their 8-year-old son, for example, being exposed to a hyper-sexualized image of a nude woman, causing feelings he’s not prepared to handle, eliciting questions he’s not ready to know the answers to, and sparking curiosity for more (and more obscene) imagery. In short, parents want to simply protect their kids, and if Obama can snap his fingers and make it happen, why not ask him to do so?

Scope Creep Censorship—Sometimes

Why not indeed? Well, let’s look again to the UK anti-porn plan, where the list of censored material is far greater than mere porn. Establishing a censorship standard—even if justified with a “think of the children!” argument—means that political pressure will combine to influence that standard in one direction or another. Should sexual education content be blocked? What about artistic websites with semi-nude or nude models? What about lingerie ecommerce sites? How about Sports Illustrated?

Anybody who understands the nature of government knows that it is inherently unable to restrict itself to a core, stated purpose. While pornography is the censorship proposal in this instance, if the system is put in place how can anybody guarantee that other type of content—deemed objectionable by whichever politicians or bureaucrats are in control—will not be added? China, which has long engaged in pornography censorship, has likewise banned all sorts of other allegedly objectionable content—including historical information the state would rather its subjects not have.

Despite its pornography censorship moving forward, PM Cameron has had to backpedal and acknowledge that it won’t be able to—or simply won’t—censor everything considered by some to be pornographic. Images of topless women, for example, are expected to remain accessible. In short, any attempt to require country-wide censorship can and will be abused.

Technical Hurdles Galore

While the decision to allow certain images and ban others can at some level be considered a question of where one draws the censorship line, there are substantial technical obstacles in place to achieving pervasive censorship of any kind of content. Consider how China’s censorship system (its firewall) works: Internet Service Providers in China are licensed by the government and must comply with strict regulations regarding their technical systems. These ISPs connect to a series of routers that funnel into a single node—funneling all internet traffic into China through a single point of access. This intentional bottleneck enables Chinese censors to better control what passes through.

The internet is a network—or, in the infamous words of Senator Stevens, a “series of tubes.” This decentralized set of systems has allowed the free expression of ideas, the innovation of new technologies, and the proliferation of and easy access to content. Much of this content is beneficial, uplifting, and educational. Much of it is degrading, filthy, and mind-numbing. This mine-pocked landscape has required parents to employ filters, restrict access, and deal with the uncomfortable encounters that accidentally may occur.

But the patchwork and competition of various filters and technologies is exactly what we want and need. Empowering the state to employ a single standard and system means it will not be the best, will be prone to abuse, and will be politically controlled. Further, the cost and controls necessary to get such a system off the ground, let alone to maintain and continually enhance it, are themselves quite obscene. We all love to hate the TSA and its parent department DHS for their heavy-handed tactics, stupid processes, and infringement upon liberty. Imagine duplicating this department for the (supposedly) sole purpose of blocking objectionable content online. The federal government is inept and inefficient—do we really think they’ll be better at this?

False Positives

One of the technical problems involved in this proposal is that of false positives—content being banned that shouldn’t be banned. With the filter I use, this is not an uncommon thing. A website I wish to access might have been flagged by another set of users as containing content that violates one of my criteria, such as pornography, violence, drugs, etc. Or, perhaps, an automatic analysis of the website’s keywords and images flagged the filter without any human intervention. Using my filter, if I really need or want to view the website, I can “whitelist” it and within three minutes the website is accessible. Conversely, if I encounter a website that should have been filtered but wasn’t, I can “blacklist” it and add it—preventing myself or others on my network from accessing it on our network in the future.

False positives are going to be given when one wishes to censor the entire internet. So how should they be handled? Should parents and individuals be able to immediately customize their own preferences, or do we really desire a centralized authority that determines and manages the standards? Do we want to have to contact our ISP every time we want a change, hoping they agree with our request and unblock a certain website, or worse, do we want to have to lobby a bureaucratic panel of appointees whose permission is needed to allow access to a website?

The reply of proponents will suggest that none of this is necessary. If I want access, I can just “opt in” and have full access. But what if I don’t want full access to everything? What if I don’t want to be on the government’s “opt in” list—branding myself as somebody who has indicated I desire to view pornography, which in the case of my false positive would not be true? Such a list can be leaked, hacked, or used internally by government agents to apply pressure on political enemies (lest the information be leaked to an unsuspecting spouse, for example).

Personal and Parental Responsibility is the Key

As a tech-savvy, curious child, I was able to circumvent the filters and password restrictions my parents put in place. No censor—including China’s—is perfect. Those who want access to certain material may find a way.

Consider the so-called “war on drugs,” in which trillions of dollars are spent, thousands are incarcerated, and the legal system is bogged down with drug offenders. Despite all this effort, drug addiction hasn’t changed much. Kids can get drugs from friends. Adults can find it on the streets. All the money and law enforcement officers thrown at the problem haven’t abated it. Those who want it, get it.

The same will be true of any pornography censorship system, whether “opt in” or, like China’s, mandatory. Where there’s a will, there’s a way. Thus, while good parents will make an attempt to shield their children from this material with filters and family standards of internet use, a censorship system is not, and should not be considered, a solution. As parents, we must help our children understand that the world is filled with land mines, and they need to learn to recognize and avoid them.

While pornography is the easy land mine to target and shout about, there are many other damaging things that could, but shouldn’t, be censored. Total censorship will produce a generation of weak children; strength comes through resistance. I do not want the state to impose itself upon my family and assume the duties that are mine alone. It would do so at too high a cost.

Conclusion

Pornography is corrosive and addictive. Like many people, I have been exposed to things that I wish I did not see. It would be great to make it all go away with the push of a button. But knowing a thing or two about the nature and tendencies of the state, especially when it is given additional, centralized power, I know that the proposal in this petition is ultimately harmful to society.

I share the petitioners’ goal, but would like to see more people focus on fighting the demand of this content, rather than trying to restrict its supply.

25 Responses to “The Misguided Movement to Restrict Internet Porn”

  1. Jeremy
    November 15, 2013 at 12:28 pm #

    In addition, the government fails at so much. So it could easily get to the point where real porn gets through fine and free market stuff is blocked like a bikini e-commerce site. In addition, it teaches to parents to rely on government to take responsibility for what they should be doing themselves then when government fails to execute well tons of children are exposed to porn and tons of parents blame the government when the parents themselves are at fault thinking it was no longer their responsibility.

  2. Alan
    November 15, 2013 at 1:12 pm #

    I have already seen what can happen when u let someone have to much power on what you are or aren’t allowed to see. I belong to a Blog where we post MoTs and discuss Anime for fun and also so that if we thinking bout watching something we can find out what others have thought about it and if it worth watching. Unfortunately in the time I have been there several Shows have been banned from discussions/posting pics of cause 1 or 2 people complained that they found it offensive. Now I dun blame the mods cause they just doing their job and with this blog having people from many countries they have to make moves that though unpopular with most will cover their assests in the long run. But seriously some of the shows that have been banned from discussion are Like My Little Pony cause someone was offended by talking horses. REALLLY Growing up we had Ed a show bout a talking Horse I never heard a single complaint. Another show was banned cause someone was offended cause one of the Magical girls weapons had a cross on it. Swords if hold them point down look like crosses so they why do people not get offended by Highlander, Mid evil movies and the like? The funniest thing is while they have banned these kids shows, they allow in the discussions shows where people get murdered or teens are cutting themselves, even a show where a girl trying to protect her friends gets her head bit off, but supposedly these shows are just fine while shows that teach friendship good wholesome lessons are banned? If we let the government control the internet we are going to loose a lot of the good while the Bad will still slip through just cause this group or that finds this good message bout life offensive but they enjoy blood and gore. I would rather self regulate the internet and be able to see what I wanna see than to have someone telling me what I can and can not see.

  3. Stephen Palmer
    November 15, 2013 at 3:58 pm #

    Astoundingly articulate, Connor. Love the penetrating reason.

    Another thought I had about the campaign was what a simple and effective way for the federal government to collect millions of email and IP addresses…

  4. Terrie Lynn Bittner
    November 15, 2013 at 5:15 pm #

    Thank you! I was starting to think I was the only person worried about this law. One thing the BBC analysis noted was the pornography addiction recovery sites ended up blocked in many countries that put this in–certainly not something we want to happen. It’s so much better for parents to take personal responsibility for this. It’s part of the cost of buying a computer.

  5. John
    November 15, 2013 at 10:19 pm #

    I strongly disagree with you. The vast bulk of your arguments are exactly the same arguments that have been made against attempts to protect societies from filth and sleaze over many decades.

    Your arguments are no different than the arguments used to put down lewdness laws. Laws against lewdness require central authority. They require judgement calls about what is lewd and what is art. There are widely varying ideas about what is lewd, and many things are not displayed publicly that some people, maybe even yourself, might consider acceptable as art. “Think of the children” is often a corner point of such laws, but those who oppose lewdness laws point out that it should be the parents who decide such matters on a one on one basis. Whether you realize it or not, you have done a very nice job of parroting the arguments that have been the shield and protection of sleaze and trash through the years.

    When we lived in Toronto a publicly displayed newspaper had a front cover full color topless woman. I tried to complain. The police officer I spoke to condescendingly told me they didn’t have the same legal restrictions that we in the U.S. do.

    Rather than listening to the philosphies of men, because that is what those are, may I put forth words spoken by our prophet when he took up the topic.

    “With evangelical zeal we protect the so-called rights of those who would contaminate with smut and destroy all that is precious and sacred.

    Apathy towards pornography stems mostly from a widespread public attitude that it is a victimless crime and that police resources are better used in other areas.

    Some persons struggle to differentiate between what they term “soft-core” and “hard-core” pornography. Actually, one leads to another. How applicable is Alexander Pope’s classic, “Essay on Man”:

    Vice is a monster of so frightful mien As to be hated needs but to be seen; Yet seen too oft, familiar with her face, We first endure, then pity, then embrace.”

    He says that as part of “our battle plan” we should make “a pledge to wage and win the war against pernicious permissiveness” and then concludes

    “Let our voices be heard. Let our actions be felt.

    Then … pornography will be halted in its deadly course. Pernicious permissiveness will have met its match. And we, with Joshua, will safely cross over Jordan into the promised land—even to eternal life in the celestial kingdom of our God.

    That we may do so is my sincere prayer, in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.” (Thomas S Monson, Pornography – the Deadly Carrier, 1979 General Conference)

    You can decide for yourself, but frankly when he says “Let our voices be heard. Let our actions be felt. Then … pornography will be halted in its deadly course” it sounds to me like he sees this, as I think many members do, as a tremendous and crucial battle against a terrible enemy, in which worrying about blocking images of breast cancer and nude art is as silly as worrying about skuffing your boots during the invasion of Normandy. If you aren’t going to help in the charge, at least stop harrassing the troops.

  6. Connor
    November 15, 2013 at 11:06 pm #

    As you might imagine, John, there are many ways to “let our voices be heard” and “our actions be felt.” Elder Monson’s 1979 statement is not an endorsement of the proposal made in this petition. To conflate the two is disingenuous. Nothing I wrote in this post contradicts the excerpt of his statement that you posted. I haven’t suggested we be apathetic towards pornography at all, nor that we be permissive towards it. It’s a logical leap to suggest that fighting pornography necessitates (unconstitutionally) empowering the government to do it on our behalf.

  7. Zach Averett
    November 16, 2013 at 6:25 am #

    Connor,

    I understand that there are flaws in the whole ISP-blocking-porn idea. But should signing a petition in order to get some recognition be considered “misguided”? A bunch of people actually signed a petition to get the Death Star built. Did they get it? No. Was it realistic? No. Are there limitless flaws to the idea? Yes. Did it get a formal response from the government and a few policy-makers’ attention (albeit humorous)? YES!

    I would hope that most would not consider the actions of thousands of people trying to get attention for the matter “misguided.” To do so is blatantly condescending – especially when only criticism is offered instead of solutions. Permissiveness is allowing something to progress, unhindered. Other’s have claimed that you are permitting the issue of pornography (Elder Monson’s 1979 talk) – to which you claimed you were not. So why not come up with some solutions (supporting your claim that you are not being permissive), without scoffing at those “misguided” people who do.

  8. Steven Jensen
    November 16, 2013 at 9:45 am #

    Connor, I’m surprised that you are so concerned about the effects that this petition could have. If you really think that governmental action happens because of these then you’re off your rocker. All that these merit is an “official response.” (It’s just to get the idea into leaders minds and get the general public thinking about solutions..obviously it worked on you…) I wish you would have taken an solutions based approach to give direction to the cause, rather than a problems/antagonistic approach and degrade the cause. All this aside you seem like a great guy, but hypothetically if “opt-in” and “opt-out” options were made available for internet porn would you be in or out and why? That’s what I’m interested to hear from you. I think you would have great arguments for both, but I’d love to hear you give a response and take a stand.

  9. Ty
    November 16, 2013 at 4:01 pm #

    @John, @Steven and @Zack —

    Connor does reference the solution when suggesting that demand be attacked (with the link he referenced to ftnd.org). It is through supporting entities like that and through the support of churches that preach morality that a proper attack is made. Attacking the supply side by centralizing authority and by restricting civil liberties, besides being illegitimate, is a futile game of whack-a-mole (with a bopper that would be inherently inefficient and error prone, to boot).

    It is understandable and human nature, I suppose, to desire a quick fix. Unfortunatley, for that it is to the heavy hand of government that we’ve been conditioned to turn. The clunky, grossly expensive, oppressive, scope creeping, self preserving hand of government. Propping it up as a coercion based “church” and by so doing, taking true persuasion based churches out at the legs.

    Resist the urge. The ends, noble and right as they may be, don’t justify the means. Let your light shine and actively persuade those in your social circles to aspire to virtue and the shunning of vice!

    That’s how we should get where we want to be when it comes to issues of morality.

  10. Akila
    November 18, 2013 at 3:05 pm #

    I would like to stand in defense of many of the arguments made previously. But to give you some preface I am a seventeen year old girl who goes on the internet every day. I do not like seeing some of the things that make their way onto websites, so I avoid those websites. But for the most part the internet safety my father has set up does its job very nicely. He didn’t need a government official to set up the safety he went directly to companies who already do a marvelous job at filtering. Now does that mean that everything is blocked? No, sadly it is not. But I and my younger siblings have been taught by our PARENTS what to do when inappropriate material makes it’s way onto the screen. If we put it up to the government to provide the opt in or opt out or any other form of censorship we loose the very values of families that the same man(President Monson) and the church he represents stands for. It is the duty of the parents to teach and guide and the responsibility of the father to protect. If it is indeed all about the children why would we choose to raise them to be reliant on someone else telling them what is right and wrong. There comes a point where they MUST learn to choose for themselves. While I detest porn and what it has done to our society, government censorship will not make up for it or do any better.

  11. Taylor
    November 18, 2013 at 8:19 pm #

    This. Well said Connor.

  12. Mark
    November 19, 2013 at 9:44 am #

    What does this mean? That you “…would like to see more people focus on fighting the demand of this content, rather than trying to restrict its supply.” ??

    LOL, Okay. Ready… go! You speak of a misguided petition. It sounds like your desire is the misguided one. Good luck lowering the demand for pornography. It is people like you that are part of the problem. Saying things like… “Well what technically is offensive…” I think it’s pretty clear what is offensive. What other excuses do have for sweeping this issue under the rug? Come on! It’s high time we do something about this!

    I don’t see what the big deal is. We have regulations on what can be viewed on TV, seen in movies, heard on the radio, printed in magazines and newspapers. There isn’t a huge uproar there about where this “murky line” is. The internet is the open and unrestricted medium. It’s always baffled me that we restrict everything else… so why not the internet? Sure there will be hiccups along the way, such as sites that shouldn’t be restricted… but guess what? They can be unrestricted once it’s found that they are ok sites!

    The situation is that supply DOES need to be cut. The internet is a cesspool of this crud. Considering 80% of men regularly look at this stuff, I’m not surprised there is opposition here. We are already seeing many of the negative effects of this stuff. With the spread of smartphones in the pockets of kids, it’s gotten much much worse recently. Perhaps you aren’t aware of this, or have children or spoken with many educators on this topic. This stuff is offensive to women as well. In this world in which we speak of women’s rights, we degrade them in our vulgar perception of them.

    I won’t go into the details on why pornography is destructive to society, other than to say that it most definitely is destructive. Good luck restricting demand. I voted for the petition because your desire is unrealistic and I highly doubt you will be effective at it. In fact I think it’s a cop out. You will do nothing to lower demand, other than abstaining yourself. Parents can only do so much in installing filters, and frankly many are completely ignorant. Even if parents are ok with their children looking at this stuff, it is unacceptable that we as a nation are ok with it.

    This problem is not going away. Demand is not going down. We need to take measures to protect ourselves.

  13. Pierce
    November 19, 2013 at 2:18 pm #

    Mark,

    “Good luck lowering the demand of pornography.”
    That, ultimately, is the only thing we have a right to do. Since you have no right to tell me what I may and may not do, so the government has no right to tell me what I may and may not view. We have a moral obligation to persuade men and women to let virtue garnish our thoughts, but not a legal one.

    “I think it’s pretty clear what’s offensive.”
    So you are going to sit on the panel and be the sole dictator of the internet and determine what is offensive to everyone and what is not? Big task, my friend. I wonder how many people will agree with your assessments.

    “They can be unrestricted once it’s found that they are ok sites!”
    Yeah, I’m sure the federal government will jump all over that and get it resolved as soon as possible. They can’t even run a website.

    “Considering 80% of men regularly look at this stuff, I’m not surprised there is opposition here.”
    What an ignorant statement. People don’t oppose this because they love porno, they oppose it because getting the government to regulate their lives and choices is a mistake and a gross overstepping of delegated authority.

    ” I voted for the petition because your desire is unrealistic and I highly doubt you will be effective at it. In fact I think it’s a cop out. You will do nothing to lower demand, other than abstaining yourself.”
    It is only unlrealistic only if the goal is to force people into making specific choices. The goal for any Latter-Day Saint is to teach correct principles and allow the Saints to govern themselves (Joseph Smith), and to bring people to Christ. It is not micro manage people’s lives and choices for them, especially through a secular government that has no authority whatsoever to legislate such things.

    “We need to take measures to protect ourselves.”
    It sounds more like you don’t trust yourself to make correct choices, since you currently have the power and ability to protect yourself and your children. Perhaps that is why you are relying on the government to make these decisions for you. Read Akila’s post above. That is an example of someone who has taken measures to protect herself, not looking to the government to do it for her.

  14. Nik
    November 21, 2013 at 2:26 am #

    *then

  15. Nik
    November 21, 2013 at 12:56 pm #

    Wow, blatant fear tactics. This petition’s not really that much of a big deal, guys.

    About a year ago there was a petition for Texas to secede, that received the required 100,000 signatures. That petition was also on the We the People site. The government’s response was pretty placid: https://petitions.whitehouse.gov/response/our-states-remain-united

    100,000 signatures doesn’t really represent a large enough percentage of the American population (0.032%) for major decisions to be based off of. So we can all relax

    If the “Opt-in” petition got enough signatures, the administration is only committed to post a response, similar to the response mentioned above. No one is asking President Obama to invoke any executive power as this ironically misguided article suggests. In fact, the petition doesn’t call for any of the approaches that the article calls for. All the petition asks is that people should have to ask for porn before it made available to them. It doesn’t say how, or by what means. It simply asks for the politicians to look at the problem, surely we’d want them to do that? If a law like this is passed and you feel like your rights are being trampled upon, just “opt-in”.

    This article is just a bunch of noise that gets in the way of people voicing their concerns to there government, by making them scared of things that don’t really apply to this situation.

    If you want your government to address the topic of the ever increasing availability of pornography in society, then sign the petition. Or, if you think that because 0.032% of the population signs a petition, the Oboogeyman is going to do anything, then you probably have bigger problems than this petition hahahahaha

    God Bless America.

  16. Dave Ferrel
    November 22, 2013 at 9:30 am #

    Author asks fair questions, but I disagree strongly and will support the petition.

    First, there is nothing in the petition to the Whitehouse that suggests petitioners are requesting an executive order, which would be inappropriate. Presidents champion legislation and public opinion all the time (exhibit 1 – Abraham Lincoln). That would be an appropriate use of Presidential authoritah in response to the petition.

    Second, concern for censorship creep is real. But real life is dealing with gray. Either we deal with censorship creep or we go black/white on the issue. Censorship (a.k.a. regulation) exists all around us. It should be contained. But I don’t want to live in a society with absolutely no censorship, nor do you or anyone else but the most depraved. The internet is the only medium in our society with such laissez faire pornography regulation. And though “censorship creep” is a danger, “opt-in” hardly represents censorship. It’s there, you can have it, all you have to do is ask.

    Third, technology is ancillary to the core debate. It’s like Obamacare. The website is an utter failure and that raises anew concerns about the whole program. But at the end of the day, the website’s failures really have nothing to do with the merits of Obamacare. It’s just technology. “Opt-in” can be technologically implemented correctly or incorrectly, but either way it has nothing to do with the core debate. Obamafilter, as envisioned by the author, would be bad. FCC-style fines for failure to provide your own opt-in filter may be appropriate. Many websites already post opt-in filters such as “Some may find the content on this page objectionable. Click to continue.” Opt-in compliance, done.

    To conclude, opt-in is just as it sounds. Fairly benign. It hardly counts as censorship at all. It’s consistent with already existing regulation in other mediums. The petition is not asking for a War on Pornography or Obamafilter, it’s asking for reasonable regulation.

    I agree with the author on his feelings about internet neutrality, censorship, China, productivity, government efficiency, and parental responsibility. Bad things COULD happen. But to use examples of how opt-in could go terribly wrong while ignoring how it could be done consistently within the framework of our already existing regulatory framework begs the questions, why do we regulate anything at all? Should pornography abound in every comparable medium as it does on the internet?

    Lastly, I’m speaking on my own behalf. This isn’t a protect-the-children issue for me. It’s a “I’m sick of having to watch my every click” matter. I can drive my car, watch TV/movies, open my mail, and shop in public with a reasonable expectation that I will be warned if I’m about to encounter pornography. Generally I would need to seek it out. The same can’t be said about using the internet in everyday, customary ways.

  17. David Jolley
    November 22, 2013 at 9:38 am #

    Thanks Conner. This really does make a lot of sense. A simple look at the extreme partisanship in Congress right now gives a clear picture of the potential for drastic flip-flops and debates on whatever legislation were to be put in place. I recognize and agree with your point. Not on the argument that people should be free to watch pornography if they so chose, but on the personal responsibility and opportunity to regulate it within our own homes as parents. I also strongly agree with your petition to fight demand rather than hinder supply. Without a strong demand, no commercial market can survive. I appreciate your insight, and thank you for the article.

  18. Randy
    November 26, 2013 at 8:31 am #

    Parents need to monitor their children’s (or their own) internet activity. It is our responsibility, not the federal governments. What’s next? Should the government monitor how much fast food we eat because hey, we have an obesity epidemic in America! “It’s for the health of our children!”. What about bathtubs? Should we have Big Gov’t “monitor” the amount of water we put in there because after all, there are over 4000 deaths every year due to drowning! “It’s for the safety of our children!”. How about the over 6000 deaths a year that die due to falls? Shouldn’t we also have Big Gov’t mandate grab bars in every bathroom? and every kitchen? I mean if it “saved just one life, shouldn’t we do it”? We need to ‘do something’ to save 6000 preventable deaths a year, right?

    The more power we give Big Gov’t, the less power and control we have. The bigger the federal program, the greater the loss of liberty, the higher the pricetag, and the more disastrous the consequences.

    Let’s look at all the failed programs and wasted money the government has already done and see if we can learn from these:
    War on Drugs,
    War on Terror,
    DHS,
    TSA,
    Assault Weapons Ban,
    No Child Left Behind,
    Medicare,
    Medicaid,
    Social Security,
    Immigration Reform,
    Farm Subsidies,
    Ethanol Subsidies,
    Green Energy program

    Do we really need big gov’t to get even BIGGER?

  19. iimx
    November 28, 2013 at 2:43 pm #

    Randy,
    Well, I am only opposed to a few on the list. Farm Subsidies, Ethanol Subsidies and DHS and TSA. Otherwise, I guess you can get rid of all laws if it suits you.

  20. Lilli
    December 1, 2013 at 11:53 am #

    This question about protecting against porn, is probably a higher principle than the Constitution addresses. The Constitution is just the best the founding fathers could get passed at the time, it is far from perfect.

    Christ’s laws should be the basis of our society, as will be soon. All righteous people and leaders would support making Christ’s laws the laws of our society as far as they are able.

    Thus, in a righteous society with righteous leaders, we would not only be protected from porn on the internet, but it would be outright illegal in and of itself anywhere.

    But what I find most interesting is that most everyone who protests porn are doing or supporting far greater evils than porn ever was, yet they choose to overlook the greater evils they choose to support and focus on a smaller issue like porn, which is probably just a symptom of the greater evils they choose to ignore, support or commit themselves.

  21. George
    December 5, 2013 at 2:54 pm #

    “protecting against porn, is probably a higher principle than the Constitution addresses…Christ’s laws should be the basis of our society” I agree whole heartedly with both statements. And the church has made stances in the past with moral legislation such as prohibition, civil rights, and gay marriage just to name a few. If we look at The Book of Mormon, we see that the initial laws setup by King Mosiah to establish a free government amoung the Nephites was also based off of moral laws. However, so was our constitution. The Bible was one of the main sources used during its framing. And it is part of our doctrine that the constituion was inspired of God through wise men. We should support the framework established by the hard work of these men and propose legislation by the voice of the people through constitutionally sound methods.

    My biggest concern over this petition is the interpretation of what “porn” is. As was stated in the article, there are wide differences of opinion of the definition of porn. Even if this petition was able to influence legislation, there is little evidence that it would end up the way most people want considering the modern track record of our government. We simply cannot trust the implementation of a moral and righteous principle in the hands of corruption. It is my opinion that organizations similar to the gadianton robbers now have great influence over our precious country and government. The prophet Moroni prophecied this would happen in Ether chapter 8. It is impossible that legislation of this nature would turn out how it should in such circumstances.

    It is true that most petitions of this nature get a lackluster response from the whitehouse and it may come to nothing as some have indicated on this forum. It is true that 100,000 is a small representation of the population of our country, but special interest groups get legislation passed all the time and they rarely — if ever represent the majority. Does it raise awareness? Yes. Is that a good thing? Yes. But I worry that it will give good people the wrong impression that we should always look to government to solve our problems. This is a complex issue that has many angles that need to be thought over and examined before something is rushed into. I don’t think it is wise to jump in head first into a possible solution just because the “talking points” are desireable.

    If, at a future time, the Church voices its support for this petition or other ones like it, then I will add my own but until then I will not. In the mean time, the Church has put together a wonderful website on combating pornography which is available off of the main website. This site has wonderful suggestions and solutions for individuals and parents to keep pornography out of our homes, one of those being filter software mentioned by the post author. This, may only be a temporay solution, but it is one that works well with a little effort and cost until a better solution comes along. I just don’t think this petition is it.

  22. Adrien Gonzalez
    April 4, 2014 at 11:33 am #

    We shouldn’t look for the government to avert our eyes on the internet any more than we should have the government protect us from what we see on the street. This requires people to take responsibility for their own internet exploration.

    I find it interesting that people accidentally find themselves on porn sites – I have never accidentally visited a porn site and I don’t claim that I’ve always been “above” the topic. This is like telling the administration that we need additional labeling on brothels. If someone, or their kid, accidentally found themselves in a brothel, the question isn’t whether brothels need additional labeling. The questions should be a) why were you walking in the brothel district or b) why do you let your kids wander around the brothel district?

    In my experience, it is extremely difficult to imagine how people accidentally find internet porn without some other precondition. So no, we don’t need more inefficient government wasting resources to pass more laws that won’t fix this “problem”.

    Citizens simply need to take responsibility for their porn viewing and stop letting their kids use the same computer to explore the internet.

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

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  2. The Stupidity of the White House Porn Petition » UncleSamsPress.com - November 22, 2013

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    […] The Misguided Movement to Restrict Internet Porn I fully believe that there is value in restricting pornography use from minors, however I don’t feel that the internet petition that was happening this past month was the best way to do it, and this guy was very good at articulating why. […]

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