Wednesday, 24 July 2013

Correcting some nonsense in the porn debate

David Cameron wants to get ISPs to force households to opt in to porn. This has received wide coverage and is the subject of much conversation on Twitter.

My own opinion is, though it's not my thing, it clearly is to a lot of people. Therefore I tolerate it - as this is more about taste than anything else. I also think the idea of "porn filters" is quite unlikely to work, as people will use proxies and other IT workarounds to get around it. I'm also a liberal, so I'm pretty against banning things, but to argue porn has only had positive effects is probably naive or possibly disingenuous. So, that said, I'm probably somewhere in the middle of this argument.

However, there were two utter pieces of nonsense, on the side of the "liberals", written yesterday.

One was that porn filters would break up marriages

"Some men (and women) in happy relationships may secretly watch pornography without their partner’s knowledge. This, as Mr Cameron admits, will force them to fess up or abstain. A husband whose wife finds he has secretly turned off the porn filter could find himself in trouble – possibly straining the institution Mr Cameron cares most about: marriage"

Apart from being a desperate attempt to link back to Cameron to show some perceived "inconsistency", it's absolute nonsense. If a marriage is at risk because porn filters mean a man has to "fess up" to watching porn, then they are either incompatible or their values are fundamentally different - anyone lying to their partner like that, or having such differences, has issues in their relationship.  So it's the lying that may kill the relationship, not the filters.  

Next up for my ire, this Tory Reform Group piece, saying that Cameron had clearly made this move to "appeal to women".

"First and foremost, the Conservative leadership knows that it has a problem attracting female voters. From the fallout from the now infamous “Calm down dear” jibe to Labour’s Angela Eagles, Mr. Cameron is often portrayed as being out of touch with women and their concerns. So, what could be better than a campaign to protect children from the evils of pornography? Surely that could only endear him to the legions of mothers up and down the land."

 As you see, all women are mothers and also opposed to porn. A twitter user (@Lord_Palmerston) replied they thought this point was sarcastic but I disagree as the other points in the TRG's "threefold" attack are not sarcastic. 

So I put it that TRG are sexist, and wrong. I've had women all over my twitter feed objecting to the idea of porn filters, so it's basically nonsense, again. 

Moreover, I dislike both of these pieces for the "Men vs. Women" theme through them both, and really hope this debate doesn't turn into another War of the Sexes, because if there's one thing I can tell about this whole thing, it's not that.

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