Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Some Shenanigans on LiveJournal

It looks like the administrators of the blogging service I used previously are conducting some interesting filtering.

Of course, this isn't censorship to me. LiveJournal is a private company, so they should be able to do whatever they want. Censorship should be clearly defined as something only the government can do.

What strikes me as silly though, is why they're cracking down on this. It doesn't seem to me that sexual offenders and pedophiles have anything to lose really. LiveJournal is stifling discussion of sex crimes, but it doesn't seem to me that this action alone could actually do anything to prevent or even slow sex crimes in real life. Even still, maybe the administrators feel some kind of guilt for having condoned filthy discussions of this nature, and they don't want to tolerate it anymore. They can clean their hands of it, but really, they ought to know that they aren't really accomplishing anything in the real world.

This raises a question about pornography in general, specifically child pornography. Now, pornography can be simply text. Should child pornography be illegal, where it is only synthetic? That is, if someone writes a pornographic short story involving children, there are no victims. What about sexually explicit depictions of children that are entirely computer-generated? There's no victim there. I believe that under current law, possession of this "synthetic" child porn is a crime. Proponents of this policy might argue that those who create, distribute and consume such synthetic child porn would be encouraging crimes in real life. That argument doesn't hold a lot of weight to me, since popular culture references and even glorifies all sorts of other crimes. Think of all the movies about the Mafia, or car thieves, burglars, and others. Conservatives would probably still make this argument that condoning synthetic child porn would encourage crimes against children, but I say, it could even have the opposite effect, from catharsis. I don't want to immediately take the side and say that consumption of this type of pornography would be cathartic, but I can say pretty confidently that the world is nowhere near as scary as fictional media products would have you believe. What's fantasy is fantasy, and any fool can tell the difference. At the same time, I definitely would not like to associate myself in any way with the kind of person who would watch synthetic child porn. Now, the instant one tries to touch a child inappropriately, they should be locked away forever, but we can't be making certain thoughts a crime.

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