Regulate Pornography: See Centuries of State Obscenity Laws

Porn actresses line up at the opening of the “Venus” erotic fair in Berlin, Germany, in 2013. (Fabrizio Bensch/Reuters)
Restriction would be not only constitutional but essential to the political order.

NRPLUS MEMBER ARTICLE T he most discussed issue in the conservative blogosphere over the past couple of weeks, outside of the impeachment controversy, has been pornography — specifically, the extent to which the federal government should regulate it. This is a topic that animated conservatives in the 1980s, at the height of the culture wars, but it has been largely dormant until, on December 6, four Republican congressmen sent a letter to U.S. attorney general William Barr imploring the Department of Justice to enforce existing federal obscenity restrictions.

This letter prompted many social conservatives to pick up where they left off in the 1980s, condemning

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Jesse Merriam is an assistant professor of political science at Loyola University Maryland. He will soon be joining Patrick Henry College as an associate professor of government.


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