Painting Ourselves Into a Corner on Porn

Ross Douthat’s idea to ban porn is entirely sensible:

In this weekend’s New York Times Magazine there is a long profile of a new kind of pedagogy unique to our particular stage of civilization. It’s called “porn literacy,” and it involves explaining to young people whose sexual coming-of-age is being mediated by watching online gangbangs that actually hard-core pornography is not an appropriate guide to how the sexes should relate.

For anyone who grew up with the ideals of post-sexual revolution liberalism, there is a striking pathos to these educators’ efforts. The sex education programs in my mostly liberal schools featured a touching faith from the adults in charge that they were engaged in a great work of enlightenment, that with the right curricula they could roll back the forces of repression and make sexuality a place of egalitarian pleasure and safety for us all.

Although he puts it differently, Douthat has put his finger on the central dilemma of feminism and the #MeToo movement: when you live in a society whose elites believe that the central purpose in life is to get laid, high, or drunk, getting away from anything that encourages sexual activity simply cannot happen, or life loses its significance.  As a consequence they have painted themselves into a corner, and are not big enough to either admit it or seek alliances (which Douthat recalls from the 1980’s) with people who have common cause on at least this issue.

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