The Offense Principle
The Offense Principle claims that individual liberty is justifiably limited to prevent offensive behavior. I believe that the Offense Principle provides the correct liberty limit n principles that the state should invoke. The state should prevent behavior that causes shame, embarrassment and discomfort from pornographic material and cts.
There are three conditions that are typically understood to be part of the Offense Principle. The first condition states that behavior must be significantly offensive. A person burping in public is not offensive enough to be limited under this condition. But a man urinating as he walks down the street is significantly offensive and should be limited.
The second condition states that the behavior must be offensive to almost everyone. This is an important condition because I think that if only a few people find something offensive, does not constitute the act to be limited. Many people may believe that someone picking his nose in public is offensive but not almost everyone believes this act to be offensive, therefore, this act could not be limited. A man masturbating in public is offensive to almost everyone, therefore, this act should be limited.
The final condition states that an offensive act should be limited if you have to go out of your way to avoid the act. An "adult" bookstore containing pornographic material should not be limited because one does not have to go out of their way to avoid the store. They simply just do not enter into the store. But a man and woman having sex on a bench should be limited because one would have to restrain from looking in certain directions to avoid seeing the offensive act.
I believe that pornography in public should be banned. This includes stores that sell pornographic material. Instead, these magazines and other pornographic materials should be kept separately in a private room, where you must be an adult to enter and purchase materials. Pornographic material that is kept privately either to be sold or to be viewed or used in the privacy of one s home, should not be banned. I see absolutely no reason why a person should not be allowed to view pornographic material in the privacy of their own home.
Some people may argue with me and say that the Harm Principle should be invoked by the government. They may say that pornography increases the likelihood of harm. And I somewhat agree. I am sure that some harm has occurred because of pornography. But harm has also occurred because of alcohol, patriotism, cigarettes andXreligion. These things are not banned so neither should pornography. There is even proof that cigarettes are harmful and they are still not banned. There is no proof saying that pornography causes people to do things that they normally would not do.
Pornography can be erotic, which is something that is designed to produce sexual arousal. Someone may argue that it is wrong to produce sexual arousal. But people are given the right of freedom of expression. Pornography can be considered an art. There are many famous artists and pictures that include naked bodies that could be considered pornography. If pornography is abolished, these great artworks would have to be destroyed.
Some people may argue with me and believe in the Principle of Legal Moralism, which states that individual liberty is justifiably limited to prevent immoral behavior. This principle seems to force morals on people. Every person has his or her own morals. If this principle was passed by legislation, rights of people would be taken away because of morals of others that are different from their own morals. Gambling (in some states) and homosexual relationships are examples of rights that may be taken away because of the Principle of Legal Moralism.
Many people argue that pornography exploits women. As long as these women are not forced into participating in the pornographic material and it is of their own free will, there is no reason to completely limit pornography like some people would like to do.
A major problem with the complete limitation of pornography is that the material is going to be made, whether it is made legally or illegally. If pornography is banned, an entire black market would start up and the government would not have any regulation at all.
The Offense Principle provides for the above problems that people find with pornography. I believe that pornography is socially beneficial. Pornography provides pleasure without producing significant harm. It provides sex by proxy for lonely and deprived people. Pornography cuts down on criminal behavior by providing a release of tensions by substitute satisfactions. It gives people a way to release their sexual desires that might otherwise be harmful to others if not released.
The principle protects nonconsulting adults from offensive displays of pornography. As long as I am not forced to see pornography or not warned in advance, I have no problem with people watching or taking part in something they enjoy. It is similar to individual sexual preference. I have not a single problem with homosexual lifestyles as long as I am not forced into anything. Pornography will never be abolished as long as it is regulated and not forced on people. People must respect others, and if there is respect than there should be not problems with pornography.