This Conservative Is Trying to Use the #MeToo Movement to Ban Pornography

A New York Times columnist is blatantly promoting censorship.

Photo Credit: Lumen Christi Institute

New York Times columnist Ross Douthat thinks we should ban pornography. Yes, it appears that he is serious.

In the column published this weekend, Douthat attaches his argument for censorship to the #MeToo movement. Douthat believes that recent stories of men engaging in sexual misconduct, if not always criminal behavior, suggests that they are getting their terrible and abusive ideas from porn.

"[W]e are supposed to be in the midst of a great sexual reassessment, a clearing-out of assumptions that serve misogyny and impose bad sex on semi-willing women," he said. "And such a reassessment will be incomplete if it never reconsiders our surrender to the idea that many teenagers, most young men especially, will get their sex education from online smut."

It is demonstrably true that the porn industry has serious problems. Much pornography can be racist and sexist, and those employed in the sex industry can be subject to abuse or mistreatment. But viewing porn only through the lens of industry failure ignores the full picture. Some porn is made by and for women and LGBT people. 

Douthat addresses none of this, writing, "The belief that it should not be restricted is a mistake; the belief that it cannot be censored is a superstition." 

Libertarian blogger Tyler Cowen seems to agree that porn would be worth banning, but thinks such a ban would be unworkable. The editors at Newser appear to side with Douthat.

Even in the age of Trump, with a president accused of paying hush money to a porn star to hide an affair, conservatives continue to find ways to shame sex and embrace censorship.

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Cody Fenwick is a reporter and editor. Follow him on Twitter @codytfenwick.