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Rupert Goodwins' Diary

Tuesday 17/04/2001Here's another area where religion has lots to say -- pornography. It's a fractious, three-sided argument: in one corner, libertarians say that as adults, we can do what we like if it doesn't hurt anyone else.

Tuesday
17/04/2001 Here's another area where religion has lots to say -- pornography. It's a fractious, three-sided argument: in one corner, libertarians say that as adults, we can do what we like if it doesn't hurt anyone else. In another, those worried about human rights say that pornography degrades and exploits those connected with its production, while the morally concerned say that it's basically sinful anyway and damages society by perverting the purpose of love. I guess most people's feelings about the issue lie somewhere in the triangle defined by these three points of view; mine do, even if the locus moves around. And pornography covers such a multitude of sins... The debate may never end, but the world moves on. In particular, the Internet has effectively removed all barriers between the producers and the consumers of smut. To quote one of the newer e-commerce cliches, the only two groups of people making money on the Internet are the Washington Post and the pornographers. This fact has not been lost on many other Internet companies but, as often happens, it's left to Yahoo to test the waters first. It relaunched its adult DVD section... for a week, until pressure from the likes of the American Family Association made it back down. Clearly, whatever people get up to in private it's not on for public evidence of the fact to exist. Which, as always, leaves the field clear to the sort of people who might be tempted to take advantage of their demimonde status to perhaps not behave as well as they could. Prohibition rarely works.