This is the fifth part of the series Legal or Illegal1. We have already seen how frivolous arguments are used to suggest prostitution2 as crime and pimping3 as a legal offense, we have also seen that there is no reasonable purpose behind criminalizing drugs4 that can be fulfilled. Here we will analyze about the irrationality of governmental laws that tend to criminalize pornography watching porn. Please read the initial post Logic of Legal or Illegal to understand the basic line of arguments behind these discussions.
Pornography is not a new concept. People are enjoying their sexuality since the past. However, in the old era, people were free to express their sensual imaginations freely by depicting their sexual inclinations in form of erotic sculpture (as in Khajuraho Temples and in Roman sculptor Giambologna’s work ‘Rape of the Sabine woman.’) Nowadays, pornography is considered as immoral and people claim that pornography increases sex crimes. People believe that pornography can potentially degrade the morals of a society. Yet, the advent of internet which emerged as the most impressive, fast and influential medium of expressing freedom has provided easy access to porn. This has reduced the intensity against pornography. Yet, for some people, any or all type of pornography seems to be immoral and they claim it should be illegal.
Talking about child pornography is completely taboo. Even if I dare to say that in a libertarian free society, all sorts of pornography will be legal, many people will start claiming that libertarians are no better than the hippies or beats generation. The instant reaction will be, Oh My God! You want to make whole society to follow immoral American-style, with your kids ruining their lives by watching porn”.
Only a few societies which are extremely conservative and can’t even allow their women to show their faces to other men as it might bring impure thoughts are strictly against any sort of pornography. Yes, I am talking about middle-eastern societies which are still bound with Islamic roots and forces Burqa on their women. In other moderate societies, such as in India, women vehemently oppose any such irrational claim that women wearing western cloths and exposing their skin tend to increase sexual crimes by performing slut walk.
Except those extremely conservative societies, all other moderate societies allow pornography to flourish within limits. Special ratings are provided for pornographic movies such as the famous Ⓡ for Raunchy movies in USA, or the popular Ⓐ for adult content in India. India is the country which gave rise to the revolution of nudism, the great Indian saints of past such as Gautama Buddha, Mahavira, or saint Gargi roamed naked and free in this country during their time. Even now, religious Jain saints are free to roam free and naked on Indian streets, yet depicting full frontal female/male nudity is illegal and showing full sexual intercourse is criminal. Thus, there hardly are any quality Indian porn movies available in India and importing porn movies from other countries is also a crime. This gives support to the bootleg porn movies and these movies showing full sexual intercourse are known as Blue Films in India.
Despite of all restrictions, Blue films were easily available during the era of VCR’s and now when internet services are easily available, nothing can stop a person from watching porn movies or Blue films.
Japan has more freedom for pornography but one cannot show male/female genitals and hence Japanese porn movies depict blurred or granulated pictures of genitals.
If we exclude child pornography, the United States provide almost all freedom for creating or watching pornography. This is because of the right of Free Speech which is a part of American constitution and it states,
“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”
There are many Americans who want to ban or criminalize pornography but American constitution allows pornography to flourish. In other countries, the right of Free Speech is not as strongly defended as in the United States and hence there is no consistency in other countries for making laws against or in favor of pornography. The United States government cannot act against pornography irrespective of what people want but in other countries like Japan, China or India, governments make irrational laws to restrict people from watching porn and they do so by exploiting the privacy of citizens and by deciding what they can do or cannot do in their own homes.
Yet, Khajuraho Temples are one of the most popular and attractive tourist spot of India. People often fail to realize that pornography is an important aspect of life. Those who enjoy pornography are no better or worse than those who find it despicable.
People claim that legalizing porn will increase immorality in society. However, this is a contradiction in itself. Watching beautifully erotic sculptures of Khajuraho doesn’t make anyone immoral. If a person wishes to watch porn movie, is he immoral? And if he is immoral, by forcibly restricting him from watching porn, can you make him moral? Only an immoral person can think of raping a girl or woman. No morally strong person will rape a girl even if he sees her naked. If a rapist claims that while he is morally strong, the girl was wearing raunchy cloths, short skirt, high top and that made him immoral enough to rape her, then it is nothing but the victimization of the raped and forcibly exploited girl. In addition, if you restrict such an immoral person from raping anyone ever, will it make him moral? Morality cannot be forced, immorality cannot be exerted.
Pornography is a victim-less crime, a thought crime, nobody is victimized or exploited while making a porn. Sex is not a crime, than how can depictions or recording the action of sexual intercourse on a canvas or disc can be crime specially when the girl and the man in the intercourse are willing to film their love-making? If people are allowed to have sex in the privacy of their home, why are not they allowed the freedom to record their intercourse on film?
Watching pornography can also not be called as a crime. If a person is watching a porn movie, who is he harming or exploiting? He is victimizing nobody. Discovery Channel regularly shows different species of animals having sexual intercourse. What makes it a crime to watch a man and a woman having the natural process of love making? There is no logic of criminalizing the act of watching porn and certainly it is not immoral.
Similarly, selling pornographic movies cannot be called as crime because the person who sells pornography doesn’t force anyone to create pornography nor he exploits the rights of the buyer, he doesn’t hurt, harm, steal or rob anybody’s right. Selling pornography is completely non-aggression.
We discussed about general Adult soft porn movies in this post. In next part of this series, we will discuss about the legality or illegality of specific pornography such as child pornography, gay pornography, BDSM movies or hardcore pornography.