Samhita has picked up the story about Britain’s censorship binge. Missing from all the discussion about whether porn should be dealt with by censorship or by other means of discouraging consumption is one key problem.
In response to the violent murder of a woman by a man that was obsessed with violent internet porn, the British government ruled that violent internet porn is now illegal. Now, I am glad that the government took a stance on the issue and responded to the outcry, but I don’t know how much the banning of internet porn is going to actually stop violent behavior. Violent imagery may incite violence, but is far from the cause of it. What about a culture that normalizes violence for men? What are they going to do to stop that?
The difference between porn/murder and bowling/Columbine isn’t that there’s evidence that men murder women because they watch violent porn but not that highschoolers shoot up their fellow students because of playing bowling. The evidence for both is the same as the evidence for intelligent design.
No, the difference is that there’s a sizable contingent of sex-negative conservatives (fortunately, “sex-negative” is no longer redundant) who will bend reality to esoteric shapes in order to justify censorship, since “I don’t like it” is not considered an acceptable argument anymore. If American censors had considered bowling immoral, they’d have said Columbine was the result of bowling rather than DOOM.
As for “What about a culture that normalizes violence for men?”, there have been many attempts to reduce crime via increasing socioeconomic equality. Stephen Levitt argues that legalizing abortion alone has caused the American crime rate to freefall in the 1990s, for example. There have also been attempts to reduce crime via cultural crime control – basically, Giuliani’s policy of cracking down on graffiti in order to reduce murder – but they’ve failed.