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Hullabaloo


Thursday, March 15, 2012

 
Santorum wants to ban internet Santorum

by digby

Rick Santorum has a new crusade:

Internet pornography could conceivably become a thing of the past if Rick Santorum is elected president.

The unapologetic social conservative, currently in second place behind Mitt Romney for the GOP nomination, has promised to crack down on the distribution of pornography if elected.

Santorum says in a statement posted to his website, “The Obama Administration has turned a blind eye to those who wish to preserve our culture from the scourge of pornography and has refused to enforce obscenity laws.”

If elected, he promises to “vigorously” enforce laws that “prohibit distribution of hardcore (obscene) pornography on the Internet, on cable/satellite TV, on hotel/motel TV, in retail shops and through the mail or by common carrier.”

Although the idea of Santorum vanquishing Internet pornography may seem far-fetched, a serious effort to combat online smut might actually be successful, UCLA law professor Eugene Volokh told The Daily Caller.

“If the government wanted to aggressively move against Internet pornography, it could do so,” explained Volokh. “Here’s the deal: In most parts of the country, a lot of pornography on the Internet would plausibly be seen as obscene.”


I'm fairly sure he wants to just ban the internet. It hasn't been kind to him. But this is a good first step.

There's just one problem:

The more one examines the data, the more evident it becomes that Republican-dominated states with a heavy concentration of far-right culture warriors are also states where erotic entertainment is very much in demand. Adult industry advocate Bill Margold, who was one of the top adult film stars of the 1970s, has often described the United States as a place where people hypocritically condemn adult entertainment with one hand while pleasuring themselves to it with the other hand; recent data bears that out.

In 2009, Benjamin G. Edelman of the Harvard Business School published the results of a state-by-state study on the number of people who were subscribing to adult membership Web sites; Edelman found that eight of the 10 states that had the highest per capita consumption of online porn were states that Republican John McCain won in 2008’s presidential election. Utah topped the list, and other red states in Edelman’s top 10 included Oklahoma, Mississippi, Arkansas, Louisiana, Alaska, North Dakota and West Virginia. The only states in Edelman’s top 10 that Obama won in 2008 were Florida and Hawaii.

More recently, in December 2011, Rutgers University researcher/blogger Omar Haq published the results of his study on Google searches for gay porn. Haq found that between 2004-2011, the top 10 states that had the most Google searches for gay porn included five states that McCain won in 2008 (Texas, Mississippi, Kentucky, Louisiana, West Virginia) and five states that Obama won (New York, Ohio, New Mexico, Nevada and Florida). “People subscribe to a lot of porn in the southern Bible Belt states,” Haq noted. “I really believe it is suppression. Freud himself said that the more you suppress people, the more they are going to want to do something. It might be due to conservatism; I think that definitely plays a role."


Yeah, I think it might too.

The statistics also show that way more men watch porn on the internet than women, so maybe Santorum has a method to his madness. These red state women seem to love his earnest, blue-nosed boyishness, so this could be a way to solidify his vote with them. He's going to need them - crusading against porn is obviously not going to win the male vote in the Red States.

The truth is that this is often a winning issue all around. I don't know if those men will vote against Santorum because of this when they are alone with their ballots (if you know what I mean) but parents in general have been very queasy about porn on the internet since the beginning of the internet. It does seem that the hysteria has died down a bit since the early days, which I assume has to do with all this fancy filtering softwear that's available now.

Still, I think most people feel uncomfortable defending porn, for innumerable reasons. It's a cheap get for the social conservatives. The reason it never goes anywhere is because it's such a huge, huge part of the media business. And I think we know who wins when it comes to a battle between the so-cons and the Big Money Boyz.

The big twist is that porn profits in the majors are down --- not because people are watching less internet porn, but because of new ways they are consuming it. Maybe Santorum's found his moment.



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