Jump to content
Objectivism Online Forum
Sign in to follow this  
self

Legality and Morality of Child Pornography

Rate this topic

Recommended Posts

[My apoligies in advance for my broken English]

Currently, in the vast majority of the world, all forms of child pornography are absolutlely illegal to posses or share. It feels right for it to be the case, but I'm not sure how could you justify it philosophically. Please bare with me, I know it is a very sensitive topic.

The creation of child porn is, quite obviously, immoral. The exact age of consent is up to debate, but we can all tell that 10 year olds can not give informed consent to sex.

In contrast, the moral justification for banning the possession of child porn isn't as obvious, and include the right of the victim to privacy, and an attempt to discourage pedophiles of creating such material.

The latter of these justifications is pure utilitarianism, and is equivalent to forbidding newspapers to publish mass-shooting stories, in order to avoid playing into the shooter's hands by making them famous.

The former is more to the point, but you can seemingly walk around it by blurring all identifiable details, or even getting the victim's consent when they become old enough.

To me, it seems like a "moral paradox". Our intuition says one thing, but it seems like reason argues the opposite. Could you "solve" it, by finding a good reason to ban child porn, or rather with an intuitive way of looking at it, that leads you to the ight answer?

Thanks in advance

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If you start, as you do, from the fact that a person has no right to create child porn, it follows that a pornographer does not have a right to the results of his violation of the child’s rights, and he cannot rightfully give away or sell such objects. Child porn is analogous to stolen goods: the fact that you as a customer didn’t steal it doesn’t give you rightful title to the goods. There is no generic ‘right to privacy’, but there are property rights. The only person who could have any right to the porn would be the child. Criminalizing recipt of child porn is analogous to criminalizing receipt of stolen goods.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Intent matters. If the purpose of possession is to study criminal or abnormal behavior, it might not be immoral to have child rape videos. Though you might need government permission to own legal copies.

The way you have framed the issue makes child rape no different morally than adult rape. So, why focus on rape of children? Why not address generic rape videos?

I think it's misconceptualizing to call such videos "pornography," which etymologically comes from material about prostitutes. Rape victims are not prostitutes. So, before exploring some ethical/legal question, I would sort out the conceptual issue first. 

Edited by MisterSwig

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On ‎5‎/‎11‎/‎2019 at 4:58 PM, self said:

[My apoligies in advance for my broken English]

Currently, in the vast majority of the world, all forms of child pornography are absolutlely illegal to posses or share. It feels right for it to be the case, but I'm not sure how could you justify it philosophically. Please bare with me, I know it is a very sensitive topic.

The creation of child porn is, quite obviously, immoral. The exact age of consent is up to debate, but we can all tell that 10 year olds can not give informed consent to sex.

In contrast, the moral justification for banning the possession of child porn isn't as obvious, and include the right of the victim to privacy, and an attempt to discourage pedophiles of creating such material.

The latter of these justifications is pure utilitarianism, and is equivalent to forbidding newspapers to publish mass-shooting stories, in order to avoid playing into the shooter's hands by making them famous.

The former is more to the point, but you can seemingly walk around it by blurring all identifiable details, or even getting the victim's consent when they become old enough.

To me, it seems like a "moral paradox". Our intuition says one thing, but it seems like reason argues the opposite. Could you "solve" it, by finding a good reason to ban child porn, or rather with an intuitive way of looking at it, that leads you to the ight answer?

Thanks in advance

Others have answered the question regarding the products of crimes committed against real minors, photos and videos recording those actions, etc.

The more difficult and perhaps interesting question is about fabricated imagery.

We live in a world full of fabricated imagery, from photochopped images, to photorealistic computer generated images and videos (and even video games) and artwork by humans.  We can make visually realistic presentations of almost anything a person can imagine, fantastic beasts, beastly acts, and grisly imagery included.

What of fabricated imagery depicting criminal activity?  Are paintings of beheadings, or rape or evisceration or child murder to be prohibited from the free market?  Is it likely true that statistically speaking, a culture awash in such images of vice, excite and embolden those close to the edge of criminality?  I would say to some degree, yes.  Is it likely a bad thing for a person's psyche to indulge or immerse oneself in that imagery constantly? To that I would also say yes, and probably would avoid looking at that kind of stuff too often.  Would outright restriction of all grisly crime filled imagery be an overreach violating freedom of expression?  [EDIT: removed free speech... imagery technically is not speech]  Yes, almost certainly.

In the end there is a moral and legal fine line to determine.  I'm not talking about a compromise, nor suggesting a "middle way" is best as you might hear in some bromide.  I am suggesting that the actual imagery can be inimical to life (of a person directly) or can pose a risk (to crime) to a person living in a society full of it, if there are not some restrictions on it... but also that it can be a legitimate way of expressing repulsion in art, or presenting a story (Game of Thrones)...  However, single images and or works solely for the purpose glorifying the criminal and for immersing a consumer in the dark ecstasy of crime, rape, murder or the like... or even for indulging them in the complete and utter wild fantasy that child like sex elves are in love with them... these start to become problematic.

Defining the fine line... is intellectually interesting... if somewhat of a morally repugnant exercise.

Edited by StrictlyLogical

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
Sign in to follow this  

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...