Political Compass #58: Pornography should be legal.

Many political debates here have included references to The Political Compass, which uses a set of 61 questions to assess one’s political orientation in terms of economic left/right and social libertarianism/authoritarianism (rather like the “Libertarian diamond” popular in the US).

And so, every so often I will begin a thread in which the premise for debate is one of the 61 questions. I will give which answer I chose and provide my justification and reasoning. Others are, of course, invited to do the same including those who wish to “question the question”, as it were.

It would also be useful when posting in these threads to give your own “compass reading” in your first post, by convention giving the Economic value first. My own is
SentientMeat: Economic: -5.12, Social: -7.28, and so by the above convention my co-ordinates are (-5.12, -7.28). Please also indicate which option you ticked. I might suggest what I think is the “weighting” given to the various answers in terms of calculating the final orientation, but seeing for yourself what kind of answers are given by those with a certain score might be more useful than second-guessing the test’s scoring system.

Now, I appreciate that there is often dissent regarding whether the assessment the test provides is valid, notably by US conservative posters, either because it is “left-biased” (??) or because some propositions are clearly slanted, ambiguous or self-contradictory. The site itself provides answers to these and other Frequently Asked Questions, and there is also a separate thread: Does The Political Compass give an accurate reading? [size=2]Read these first and then, if you have an objection to the test in general, please post it there. If your objection is solely to the proposition in hand, post here. If your objection is to other propositions, please wait until I open a thread on them. (And for heaven’s sake, please don’t quote this entire Opening Post when replying like this sufferer of bandwidth diarrhea.)

The above will be pasted in every new thread in order to introduce it properly, and I’ll try to let each one exhaust itself of useful input before starting the next. Without wanting to “hog the idea”, I would be grateful if others could refrain from starting similar threads. Finally, I advise you to read the full proposition below, not just the thread title (which is necessarily abbreviated), and request that you debate my entire OP rather than simply respond, “IMHO”-like, to the proposition itself.

To date, the threads are:

Does The Political Compass give an accurate reading?
Political Compass #1: Globalisation, Humanity and OmniCorp.
#2: My country, right or wrong
#3: Pride in one’s country is foolish.
#4: Superior racial qualities.
#5: My enemy’s enemy is my friend.
#6: Justifying illegal military action.
#7: “Info-tainment” is a worrying trend.
#8: Class division vs. international division. (+ SentientMeat’s economic worldview)
#9: Inflation vs. unemployment.
#10: Corporate respect of the environment.
#11: From each according to his ability, to each according to need.
#12: Sad reflections in branded drinking water.
#13: Land should not be bought and sold.
#14: Many personal fortunes contribute nothing to society.
#15: Protectionism is sometimes necessary in trade.
#16: Shareholder profit is a company’s only responsibility.
#17: The rich are too highly taxed.
#18: Better healthcare for those who can pay for it.
#19: Penalising businesses which mislead the public.
#20: The freer the market, the freer the people.
#21: Abortion should be illegal.
#22: All authority must be questioned.
#23: An eye for an eye.
#24: Taxpayers should not prop up theatres or museums.
#25: Schools shouldn’t make attendance compulsory.
#26: Different kinds of people should keep to their own.
#27: Good parents sometimes have to spank their children.
#28: It’s natural for children to keep secrets.
#29: Marijuana should be legalised.
#30: School’s prime function is equipping kids to find jobs.
#31: Seriously disabled people should not reproduce.
#32: Learning discipline is the most important thing.
#33: ‘Savage peoples’ vs. ‘different culture’
#34: Society should not support those who refuse to work.
#35: Keep cheerfully busy when troubled.
#36: First generation immigrants can never be fully integrated.
#37: What’s good for corporations is always good for everyone.
#38: No broadcasting institution should receive public funding.
#39: Our civil rights are being excessively curbed re. terrorism.
#40: One party states avoid delays to progress.
#41: Only wrongdoers need worry about official surveillance.
#42: The death penalty should be an option for serious crimes.
#43: Society must have people above to be obeyed.
#44: Abstract art that doesn’t represent anything isn’t art at all.
#45: Punishment is more important than rehabilitation.
#46: It is a waste of time to try to rehabilitate some criminals.
#47: Businessmen are more important than writers and artists.
#48: A mother’s first duty is to be a homemaker.
#49: Companies exploit the Third World’s plant genetic resources.
#50: Mature people make peace with the establishment.
#51: Astrology accurately explains many things.
#52: You cannot be moral without being religious.
#53: Charity is better than social secuity.
#54: Some people are naturally unlucky
#55: Schools and religious values.
#56: Sex outside marriage is usually immoral.
#57: Gay couples should not be excluded from adoption.

**Proposition #58: Pornography, depicting consenting adults, should be legal for the adult population.

SentientMeat** (-5.12, -7.28) ticks Strongly Agree.
Two people have sex. OK? Good. Light from various sources reflects from their bodies. OK? Fine. That light encounters a silver halide emulsion or CMOS sensor circuit. OK? Hmmm, it’s getting a little dubious but, well, OK. Next, light reflects from that image and bounces into the photo-sensitive cells in someone else’s eye! They’re seeing someone else have sex! The horror!

The dread spectre of Catholic guilt (and its occasionally more vocal Protestant and Muslim equivalents) rarely appears as strongly as in discussions of pornography which, surprise surprise, arouses religious people just as it does anyone else. Humans are sexual beings: their evolution equipped their visual processing and endocrine systems to respond to other people fucking (this response being far more apparent in males than females), so as not to find themselves outfucked, outbred and out of the future.

And now that we are ‘civilised’, what are we to do with this response? Suppress it? Deny that we even have it? Or, heck, enjoy it while we can, before our mortal coil is either shuffled off or no longer springy enough to shuffle in the first place? The question, as usual, is: Where’s the harm?

And so we come to (stop it) the morality of sexual employment. While I think pornography has more in common with exhibitionism than prostitution, it seems that objections might be fourthcoming on the basis that someone being paid to have sex is not really consenting as such, but is coerced by their economic situation, and perhaps indirectly by prior instances of abuse. Understandable though those concerns might be, I feel that they are only as relevant as any other dangerous or demeaning McJob (stable-hand, slaughterhouse worker, professional soldier etc), and if there’s one thing you can say about porn workers it’s that they really do look like they’re enjoying their comparatively well-paid work (heck, others do it for free!).

Photographs of a legal (and, indeed, evolutionarily necessary) activity being illegal? Come on!

Sage Rat (1, -1) Strongly Agree

I have yet to find the evil part of the body.

rayh (-6.13, -6.56) strongly agree

Here in the UK pornography is legal (with some exceptions). Hard core pornography can be purchased from a licensed sex shop.

Consenting adults? Bring it on, baby.

I have no problem with any activity between consenting adults.

Strongly agree. As long as no minors or animals are involved, all I care is that you don’t do it in the street and scare the horses.

Couldn’t agree more. Visit my site http://www.bondagerotica.com and I think nuff will be said.

Strongly Agree.

I don’t exactly recall my figures and am coming into this whole series rather late…I can tell you that I scored somewhere around the Dalai Lama on the “famous people” chart. And like the Dalai Lama, I heartily endorse the idea of pornography, the possession of pornography, and most of everything else pornography related, so long as it is between consenting adults.

Disclaimer: I have no personal information on the Dalai Lama’s stance toward pornography.

He who dallies with llamas surely breaks the consenting adults rule.

And once your self is abolished, who exactly are you playing with?

Check between your ears.

While it is possible for individual brains to be evil , I think what he was saying was in regards to body parts in general. :slight_smile:

(-0.63, -4.10)

Strongly Agree. If all parties involved are capable of legal consent, the government has no place in regulating their interaction.

(-6.5, -4.82) Strongly agree.

Might I ask what anyone has against–so specifically–bestiality? Certainly animal rape I would be against, but that I am aware most animals don’t much care or, if anything, would be digging it.

Disclaimer: 9 out of 10 doctors warn against gerbil stuffing. And the tenth one is one kinky bastard.

Like a young child, we can only guess at their state of suffering or otherwise since they cannot tell us. So it is really just a cautionary definition of “consent”, even though they (or children) might, as you say, dig it.

Since we don’t know if it causes them pain or alarm, it’s best not to do it. Unless it is your pet or your dinner, animals have the right to be left alone. Even if it is your pet, serving as your sexual plaything isn’t part of the deal.

Seems reasonable.

I’m assuming the question is asking whether the possession of pornography should be legal, and not the production or sale of it…

Right, but the question isn’t whether boinkin’ animals should be legal, it’s whether pictures of it should be legal. I think it’s icky, but not such a horribly insidious thing that we should restrict civil liberties to suppress it.

I’m a bit of an absolutist when it comes to the first amendment; I think posession of any kind of media (including pictures and thus pornography) should be legal (so I’d tick “Strongly Agree”), but I think the sale of pornography depicting certain heinous acts (like anything involving children) should be illegal, and I think committing illegal acts for the purpose of producing pornography should be viewed in a very negative light during the sentencing for those acts.

If you can’t get pictures of having animal sex without having animal sex, then the pictures to me are proof of a crime against nature. I like the First Amendment as much as anyone, but photographs that would not exist without a crime being committed don’t qualify for protection.

So surveillance camera footage of, say, conveience store hold-ups shouldn’t be protected?


Strongly agree as worded–consenting (human) adults.