During both World Wars, the U.S. government supplied tobacco to our troops. By 1964, 46 percent of adults in this nation smoked—including inside public buildings, during commercial flights, and on televised advertisements. That year, with the help of Surgeon General Luther L. Terry’s book,Smoking and Health, the winds of change began to blow in fresher air.
In 1965 Congress required manufacturers to post health warnings on cigarette packs. In 1969 Congress outlawed tobacco advertising on television and radio. In 1989 smoking was banned on all domestic flights. In 2000 California banned smoking in public places, including bars and restaurants. Twenty-six states have since followed suit, including Minnesota which established an indoor smoking ban in 2007.
Today less than 20 percent of adults in the U.S. smoke. Over the last half century, scientific research, governmental regulation, and public information campaigns have combined to alter our society’s perspective on smoking. While tobacco usage remains legal, what once was widely regarded as a harmless pleasure is now deemed an addictive health hazard.
The Witherspoon InstituteThe Witherspoon Institute (TWI) recently proclaimed that what the U.S. has done with tobacco must now be done with Internet pornography. TWI first met in December 2008 at Princeton, NJ. Its participants published The Social Costs of Pornography: A Statement of Findings and Recommendations, a brief summary of The Social Costs of Pornography: A Collection of Papers, edited by James R. Stoner, Jr., and Donna M. Hughes. It is vital to note that the signatories represent “every major shade of religious belief … from atheism and agnosticism to Christianity, Judaism, and Islam. Both the left and the right in American politics are represented, including social conservatism and contemporary feminism.” The signatories also supply a wide range of professional expertise in “economics, medicine, psychiatry, psychology, philosophy, sociality, journalism, and law” (p. 10).
TWI’s report claims to be the “first multifaceted, multidisciplinary, scholarly exploration in the internet age” seeking to “estimate the social costs of pornography” (p. 7). The signatories draw two conclusions. First, Internet pornography is as destructive socially as tobacco is physically. Second, the citizenry of the U.S. is as ignorant of this danger as we were of the ill-effects of tobacco prior to 1964.
“The received opinion on pornography in our day,” TWI asserts, is that “the consumption of pornographic imagery amounts to victimless personal entertainment.” This popular belief “is falsified by a growing, multidimensional, empirical record of pornography’s harms” (p. 9). TWI further asserts that “research and data suggest that the habitual use of pornography—and especially of Internet pornography—can have a range of damaging effects on human beings of all ages and both sexes, affecting their happiness, their productivity, their relationships with one another, and their functioning in society” (p. 10).
Pornography is no new phenomenon, as ancient Greek vase imagery and the volcanic preservation of the ancient resort city of Pompeii reveal (p. 8). Nor is concern over pornography’s ill-effects a groundbreaking development. The Surgeon General’s report in 1987 concluded that pornography stimulates “attitudes and behavior that lead to gravely negative consequences for individuals and for society,” impairing “the mental, emotional, and physical health of children and adults” (p. 8). What is new with the emergence of the Internet, and what has thus exponentially increased porn’s debilitating influence, is its ubiquity, ease of access, immediacy, realism, and hard-core nature (p. 17-19).
Note that this is a reprint from the article A CALL TO SUFFOCATE PORNOGRAPHY. It is duplicated here with permission of the blog owner.
BE A MAN.