A lot of attention has been paid recently to Republican presidential candidate and former Sen. Rick Santorum’s pledge to go to war against pornography. He sees porn as an obscene pandemic that is threatening the very fabric of American life – and he’s made it clear that amongst other things, he will fight to stamp out pornography if he becomes president of the United States. The results of him picking up this fight have been, to say the least, probably the opposite of what Santorum expected when he went on this quest to quell lust.
Let us step back for a second and look at what ‘going to war’ on porn would really mean, anyway. From an economic standpoint it would mean fighting to end what is a legal, multi-billion dollar industry that employs thousands of people across the county. And, yes, they actually vote. We’re not talking about the on-screen talent, but the directors, producers, writers (yes, porn films do have writers). Consider that Barry Sonenfeld, who directed The Adams Family and Men in Black, proudly talks about how he started off in skin-flicks before moving to wacky all-ages films. Fighting to stop child pornography is an entirely different issue since that is illegal whether films are involved or not.
I don’t think there is any sane person out there that favors making actual (as opposed to simulated) violent or child endangerment porn legal, but Rick is going a bit too far. What he’s shooting for is akin to doing away with pay cable because Cinemax gets even racier after 11 p.m.
The moral harm question about Santorum’s War Against Porn is questionable, as well. While we are all aware of the stereotype of the sick porn watching pervert, or the porn addicted man whose viewing habits have ruined his marriage, these people are apparently few and far between in reality. Most recent research shows that moderate consumption of porn (moderate being the key since that depends on individual sexual desire) has little or no impact on people’s ability to establish relationships, intimacy or even perform sexually. In some cases porn consumption, the ability for individuals to act out their socially inappropriate fantasies in the comfort of their homes, makes them less likely to seek out such acts in their public lives.
The point being, if you were going to be a pervert, a flasher or sexually frustrated with your spouse you are likely going to have those problems whether you logged on or not.
Lastly, and I think most importantly for Santorum, he might want to be careful about going after porn if he has any hopes of winning this nomination. I, along with Blaze and CNN contributor Will Cain have joked on the air that if Santorum goes after the porn industry he’ll lose the youth vote and the men’s vote. However, this is not just an attempt to show Santorum as the outsider moral crusader that he is. Rather let’s give the man some honest-to-goodness sound campaign advice. According to a recent study from the Harvard Business school, porn will cost Rick Santorum quite a few votes:
Eight of the top 10 pornography consuming states gave their electoral votes to John McCain in last year’s presidential election – Florida and Hawaii were the exceptions. While six out of the lowest 10 favored Barack Obama.
In other words, those who are more likely to go into the voting booth for a Republican are more likely to be making visits behind the beaded curtains at Happy Family Video sometime later that week. And in a bit of political irony that exemplifies the 2012 elections, it turns out that some conservative bloggers view Santorum’s anti-porn pledge to be a civil liberties issue. What right does the government have to control or limit what people buy for their own private use? Isn’t that what the anti-Obamacare revolution in the 2010 election was all about? Besides, what’s the harm in a little moderate porn consumption? Maybe this explains why former centerfold beefcake Scott Brown (R-Mass) has been playing the dozens on Santorum’s religious fervor over the last few weeks.
Santorum doesn’t have much room in his big political tent it seems. Let’s check the list: he’s alienated women, Blacks, Puerto Ricans and a whole slew of other folks. Adding porn consumers to his list won’t be making him any new friends. No need to go after the good porn watching folks in the conservative South, either. They’re already Red with shame.
This article originally appeared online at Politic365.com.