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Porn and the free market

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samr
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Im posting a lot, I kow, but the comments in this thread keep inspiring more questions.

Vox, are you saying that, as an artist, I should invest all my time into my art. Surely one does not make enough money for a home, food and clothing off his art, before that art is actually created. What shall I do while I am making my personal masterpiece, become emaciated, die of exposure to the eliments, beg for pocket change, live off of my parents, what? Are you saying that I should suffer for my art?

One needs to ask themselves how their chosen mode of production satisfies their needs. Artisitic expression is one need/desire. However, their are other ones such as supporting your family unit (which is assumed to be of value here) and your own health.

So Howard Roark had real skills that he knew he could depend on in the future, and when he couldn't depend on those skills to bring him the work he needed (honest work, not sham work that would ruin his aritistic abilities) he went and worked in a quarry and used that as a means to educated and feed himself.

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Is anyone here defending the porn industry? I assume we all make use of it to some extent or another. I don't view it as lacking virtue, as the actors or producers lacking virtue.

I'm with you on this one.

As time goes, I become more and more convinced that porn has such a bad rap because of ages of Christian influence on the culture. Like drugs, since porn had to go "underground," it picked up a lot of shady characters in the process. Knocking porn as such is like knocking your own sex drive.

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This is in regard to recreating the world around you in some way as to produce a completely new product or service (with respect to the it's original state, not necessarily creating a new invention or something). It's about producing something, this is not related to changing or manipulating other people in any way. It scares me that this is the first thing that somehow comes to your mind when you think of production.

what do you mean by "recreating the world around you?" This vague statement without any example is what scares me. How does one do this exactly. I would like an example please. How would you personally do this?

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One needs to ask themselves how their chosen mode of production satisfies their needs. Artisitic expression is one need/desire. However, their are other ones such as supporting your family unit (which is assumed to be of value here) and your own health.

So Howard Roark had real skills that he knew he could depend on in the future, and when he couldn't depend on those skills to bring him the work he needed (honest work, not sham work that would ruin his aritistic abilities) he went and worked in a quarry and used that as a means to educated and feed himself.

I am in complete agreement

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Porn is entertainment, and one may have an interest in it or not. Many people like movies about vampires and with gratuitous violence, explosions and endless car chases. That's fantasy. Most porn is equally borning. There are issues of free speech, the right to earn a living, as well as child pornography, but what consenting adults do is their own business, and if people find that interesting they have a right to observe human procreative behavior. The state and churches should butt out of this matter, expecially since a fair number of homosexual priests have been taking advantage of little boys for centuries. Let them cast the first stone.

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This needs to be unpacked a little ...

Working for yourself, earning your income is virtous according to objectivism.

So far, you're doing fine.

Being successful, and producing a product many want to buy also is.

This is where things start getting sticky. Objectivism upholds productive, creative work as a higher value than the reward one receives for it. Absolutely, one should be rewarded for one's efforts, and it's great if what you do makes you wealthy as a consequence. But it's not the pursuit of wealth qua wealth that is a virtue; it's the pursuit of wealth by producing something that you have your soul in, such as running a retail store, writing music, accounting, health care, education, etc. Otherwise, there would be a moral justification for fraud, which there is not.

In essence, Objectivism is about having the freedom to work, not about "getting rich."

One could even argue that the more successful one is, and the more widespread is one's product the more virtous it shows him to be.

And one would be wrong. Popularity is a consequence, not a prime mover, and thus it's a second-handed standard at best. The difference is illustrated in The Fountainhead, but another way to look at it is that a narcotics cartel may be selling a popular product, but it's the legitimate pharmacy that's doing the more virtuous work.

According to the above, a porn star should be one of Objectivism's heroes, and the porn industry - a celebration of the spirit of objectivism.

Since we've knocked the second-handed standard of "popularity" out of the water, as well as the reversal of cause and effect in the work-wealth relationship, these are not valid defenses of producing pornography.

But let's say, for the sake of argument, that you're a photographer or director that is passionate about producing erotic entertainment (regardless of how well it sells) because you have a particular vision to manifest. The issue of sex being an almost exclusively intimate part of one's life, properly conducted within a specific context, becomes an issue, as well as proper forms of art. The issue of producing pornography involves so many issues of morality and esthetics that cannot be ignored because doing so may be merely legal and profitable.

To change the object of discussion a little, Objectivists believe the government has no right to engage on a "war on drugs" - but that does not constitute an endorsement of using or selling mind-altering or addictive narcotics. If one is passionate about the science of medicines, then working in a legitimate pharmaceutical enterprise is the moral choice, not working for a narcotics cartel.

But there is nothing noble in being a porn star, and in the porn industry. So perhaps it shows something is wrong with the premises above?

In short, your premises are flawed, but also the issues are also mixed up some.

I think it's possible to produce erotic entertainment that doesn't contradict the nature of sex as a personal and intimate act, and I certainly think there's nothing wrong with nude art or photography (in general) - though I couldn't begin to tell you what would be Objectivist-legitimate or not. To do so would take someone learned in Objectivism, healthy sexuality, and proper art to correctly identify.

Those that produced "legitimate" erotic art and did so with vision and passion and creativity would be virtuous; those that indiscriminately have sex (or engage in a number of beastly, deviant sexual acts) on camera with anyone for money would not be at all "noble."

Edited by Lemuel
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I think it's possible to produce erotic entertainment that doesn't contradict the nature of sex as a personal and intimate act, and I certainly think there's nothing wrong with nude art or photography (in general) - though I couldn't begin to tell you what would be Objectivist-legitimate or not. To do so would take someone learned in Objectivism, healthy sexuality, and proper art to correctly identify.

Those that produced "legitimate" erotic art and did so with vision and passion and creativity would be virtuous; those that indiscriminately have sex (or engage in a number of beastly, deviant sexual acts) on camera with anyone for money would not be at all "noble."

That's a funny way of looking at porn, as a work of art. I mean, I consider some hard workers to be virtuous, but is porn really hard work? You don't have to be a mental genius to be virtuous: swimmers, body builders, runners, etc. make their living on physical acts that require a ton of effort. But porn?

I guess the main question is, 'can you be virtuous with any job (if you're a hard worker), or does the job also matter?' And would the answer to this be subjective? For instance, I would say that a person who creates child porn is not virtuous.. mainly because the kids involved don't have a choice in the matter, but also because I find the concept gross. So whether the child porn director is a "hard worker" or not doesn't matter to me, because the job in itself cannot produce virtue.

Edited by Michele Degges
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  • 3 weeks later...

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