May 3, 2004

Why not cut to the chase and just make sex itself illegal?

The Times ran an Op-Ed by one Jonathan A. Knee yesterday arguing that pornography can be simply and easily banned by treating it as a form of prostitution.

If that sounds like one of those why-hasn't-anyone-thought-of-that-before ideas, it's probably because somebody has thought of it — specifically law enforcement agencies, which routinely (and futilely) used anti-prostitution laws to bust up the adult film biz until 1988, when the California Supreme Court reversed the pandering conviction of an adult film producer, noting that, "the self-evident purpose of the prosecuting authority in bringing ... charges was to prevent profiteering in pornography without the necessity of proving obscenity."

Really, you can agree or disagree with the idea (and for the record, you should disagree) but shouldn't the relevant history at least have been mentioned in the article? I'm pretty sure Knee knows about it because he specifically wants to create new law that would nullify the obscenity test.

It's not too hard to imagine the worst-case scenario if Knee's porn-free paradise comes to pass. Already, zealous cops have used prostitution laws to arrest one married couple for having sex with each other.

But perhaps the funniest part in Knee's article comes when he says laws designed to protect minors aren't enough, because, "With 70 percent of men aged 18 to 34 visiting a pornographic Web site at least once a month, this material affects everyone."

That's right — the significant majority of adult men like something, so obviously "America" should want to ban it.

Posted by Daniel Radosh


Why arrest people for porn or prostitution, why not just decriminalize prostitution and end violence agaainst women?

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