The Social Costs of Pornography

Do you know about the Witherspoon Institute’s The Social Costs of Pornography: A Statement of Findings and Recommendations?

It might not be the most spirited of holiday presents, but we’d encourage you to check out the project’s site. The project began with a conference at Princeton hosted in 2008 by the Witherspoon Institute that sought to gather leading experts in several fields, including economics, psychology, sociology, and law, to present a rigorously argued overview of pornography in today’s society.

The debate regarding porn use is one that has massive consequences for the mental, emotional, and physical health of families and individuals. As Jean Bethke Elshtain (Professor of Social and Political Ethics, University of Chicago, and Thomas and Dorothy Leavy Chair in the Foundations of American Freedom, Georgetown University) puts it,

I used to be much more of a “live and let live” person on this issue, years ago, in part because some of those who pushed for the censorship of pornography were so authoritarian. But the new technology has sent me in another direction…. I hope the analyses, the data, the arguments, and the images that flow forth from the pages of The Social Costs of Pornography will assist the reader in the future to avoid the pitfalls of unrestrained libertarianism, on the one hand, and unrestrained, top-down censoriousness, on the other. The “moral” need not be the cramped and cribbed “moralistic.” The point to be considered is: What sort of community is this? Is it reasonably decent and kind? Is it a fit place for human habitation, especially for the young? What happens to the most vulnerable among us? How do we ill-dignify the human body, and how do we forestall such affronts? These questions are not easy, but this learned volume helps push the debate forward in discerning ways.

These questions – “What sort of community is this? Is it reasonably decent and kind? Is it a fit place for human habitation, especially for the young? What happens to the most vulnerable among us? How do we ill-dignify the human body, and how do we forestall such affronts?” – are largely the topic of Harvard’s anti-porn week in February.

If you’d like to help organize anti-porn week in February, contact us at trueloverevolution@gmail.com

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