The Atlantic

If Porn Could Be Banned, Why Not AR-15s?

People willing to discuss regulations on sex-related media should conceivably be open to discussing further regulation of firearms.
Source: Rich Pedroncelli / AP

Pornography is officially a “public-health crisis” in Utah, according to 2016 legislation. The Republican representative Todd Weiler, who championed the bill and told me at the time that he sees a lot of porn in his Twitter feed, has been working to make it illegal for internet service providers to provide internet that contains porn.

When I covered this story it felt like a fringe movement, born of conflicting ideas about the role of government in public health. Banning porn means expanding government oversight in a way that infringes on personal liberties and squelches an enormous industry that creates wealth and jobs. These tenets seem contrary to many conservatives’ stated objectives and free-market approach, yet it was conservatives beating the drum.

This week, the columnist Ross Douthat took the argument mainstream with his “Let’s Ban: “Porn oppresses women, eviscerates manhood, destroys marriage, robs children of purity, and enslaves people in private morose self-indulgence. Ban it indeed.”

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