Chapter 5 Pornography, Hate Speech, and Censorship
* Is a government justified in limiting the access of consenting adults to pornographic materials? * Censorship laws seek to limit access to pornographic materials but preventing their distribution, sale, or exhibition. * Censorship laws can also prohibit the production of pornography or even its possession
Commission Reports on Pornography
The 1970 Commission
Had an explicit anticensorship stance.
* Congress est. the Commision on Obscenity and Pornography * Members had to do a thorough study of obscenity and pornography and on the basis of the study, submitting recommendations to regulate obscene and pornographic materials * Fundamental recommendation: all legislation prohiting the sale, exhibition, or distrubition of sexual materials to consenting adults be repealed * Commission recommondeation: 1) continue lesiglation intended to protect nonconsenting adults from being confronted with the materla through public displays and unsolicited mailings. 2) continue lesiglationprohibiting commericial distribution of certain sexual material to juveniles * They made these recommendations on this basis: Thereis no evidice to support the contention that exposure to explicit sexual material plays a significant role in the causation of either social harms or indivudal harms * Recommendation report cons
* 12/18 members supported the fundamental recommendation * President Nixon believed the report unsatisfactory * Public outcry that the conclusions were “morally bankrupt” * Conclusion: there was no significant movement to implement the fundamental recommendation The 1986 Commission
Supported censorship and laws already criminalizing sale, distyrubtion, or exhibition of legally obscene pornographic material * Later, an 11 member commission reexamined the problem of porn in society. Attorney General’s Commission on Pornography submitted the final report: * Defines pornography: material that is predominantly sexually explicit and intended primary for the purpose of sexual arousal * Distinguish among violent pornography, non violent but degrading pornography, and nonvioland and nondegrading porography * Conclusion: both 1 and 2 but not 3 bear a causal relationship to undesirable attiduinal changes and acts of sexual violence * Gave attention to child porn
* Since production of child porn entails sexual abuse of children, commission pointed out that there is a distinctive rationale for laws that prohibit the production sale, exhibition, or distribution of child porn * Observed that over the past years, porn has become increasingly violent, degrading and pervasive * Miller v. California
* According to the “Miller standard” material is legally obscene if 3 are satisfied: * 1) average person would find that the work taken as a whole appeals to the lustful interest * 2)the work depicts sexual conduct specifically defined by the applicable state law * Content must be explicit in nature, rather than merely suggestive * 3)the work as a whole lacks serious literary, artistic, political, or scientific value
Limitation of individual liberty involves laws limiting the access of consenting adults to porn materials. Four suggested liberty-limiting principles are noteworthy to justify the limitation of individual liberty: 1) The harm principle – Individual liberty is justifiably limited to prevent harm to others a. Most widely accepted liberty-limiting principle
b. This category involves both personal injury and general welfare of society c. John Stuart Mill believes that only the harm principle is a legitimate one d. Mill strongly rejects no. 2 and 3
2) The principle of legal paternalism – Individual liberty is justifiably limited to prevent harm to self e. Supporters believe...
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