Censorship and Child Pornography

A lot of people say that they oppose any and all forms of censorship and that people should be allowed to choose for themselves what they do and don't read or watch. I've got two words for such people: "Child Pornography". Why should banning child porn get a pass, while other forms of censorship don't?

Now, before I go any further I think I should make it clear that I'm not try to argue for the de-criminalisation of child pornography. While I feel uncomfortable with the idea of government censorship (seeing that it's easy for the government to go overboard), I'm also capable of reason and my reason tells me that sometimes you have to take the lessor of two evils.

One suggestion I've heard is that child porn requires the commission of a crime in it's production, and that therefore we can ban it, but that doesn't work for two reasons. The first is that some forms of child porn do not require the commission of a crime to produce, for instance written erotica, examples that use adult actors that look like children, or porn with CGI actors, but most people would agree that these are still wrong.

The other reason it doesn't work is because there are other works that are produced via the commission of a crime. To give a trivial example, if the government dared suggest that imagery of other crimes be treated the same as with pedophilia, you could just imagine the screams of outrage.

I suspect the best solution to this is to censor things where "there is a reasonable chance that the materials in question would incite a significant portion of the people who would wish to have access to the materials, to the commission of a serious crime." Now that's awkward, but then all compromises are. :-) To use the example of child pornography: "there is a reasonable chance that the materials in question [child porn] would incite a significant portion of the people who wish to have access to the materials in question [people who find children sexually attractive] to the commission of a crime. [pedophilia]" I think the biggest fault with this is defining what is a "reasonable chance" and what is a "serious crime", but beyond that I suspect this may be one of the better solutions. Obviously I'm willing to hear other opinions on this matter.

Categories: Politics
Date: 2008-11-08 23:03:53, 9 years and 104 days ago

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