Magazine February 24, 2020, Issue

Pornography Is a Public-Health Problem

A visitor takes pictures of an adult film actress during the Eros Show in the Bulgarian capital Sofia, April 2, 2008. (Stoyan Nenov/Reuters)
The solution begins with evidence and education

Should we ban online pornography? This question has been greatly exercising the Right. Many libertarians say no, since to do so would be an affront to free speech. Many social conservatives say yes, since not to do so would be an affront to the common good. Both positions are compelling, which is why they are unhelpful as a starting point. A better place to begin is the apolitical medical research establishing the facts about porn beyond a reasonable doubt, to be followed by a dogged public-health campaign, and then targeted political action. 

Since the advent of the Internet, porn has enjoyed

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