Monday, May 11, 2009
PHIL-1100 Ethics: First Essay Assignment
There continues to be a heated debate over the legal status of explicit materials, despite the ongoing cul-
tural liberalization of American society as a whole. Pornography, like any other media, material, drug, food or
any other consumable, is available because there is a demand for it. If we propose to be a freedom loving, liber-
al democracy we ought to allow any media to be subject to acceptance or rejection by the market. It is accept-
able to censor materials that are intended to harm, or are the product of harm, such as child pornography.
However, as thinking reasoning beings with an extensive justice system we ought to be able to control harmful
material and allow explicit materials the same protections we allow almost all other media.
Sexually explicit materials are protected by freedom of expression laws in a society that values individu-
al freedom as long as those individual freedoms do not violate the human rights of others. The production of
sexually explicit materials does not cause harm to the producers of the material, it does not lead to hate, or dam-
age to society, is voluntary and the the mutual benefit of the participants. Therefore, sexually explicit materials
fall under a category of expressive material, like literature and art, that should remain protected by freedom of
expression and not be made illegal.
In order to examine why pornographic materials should not be made illegal, we must first examine why
it is currently legal. Sexually explicit material is protected under the same laws that protect the press, public
speech and artwork, the First Amendment. The First Amendment states that congress shall make no law that is
intended to prohibit or abridge the press or freedom of speech (U.S., 1789). This ideal serves to protect the
press, art, and public speech from politically motivated censorship. Explicit materials, pornography, qualifies as
a form of expression in the same way that a novel or painting is an expression of creativity by the writer or
artists. By having laws, like the First Amendment, society has demonstrated a belief that we should not make
any media strictly illegal without due cause. We do however, believe that some materials that cause harm, such
as hate speech, should be controlled to protect society. The adult industry that produces the majority of sexually