KIDDIE PORN STORIES AND INTERNET CENSORSHIP
Freedom of speech certainly seems like a good idea. But try to consider what kind of a world we'd be living in if there were perfect free speech and things like child pornography were allowed to freely circulate. In this world while child pornography does circulate to some extent it is illegal both on the Internet and off the Internet. The argument is that while there is freedom of speech, this freedom of speech does not allow anyone to take away a child's right to innocence—even if the child consents to the sexual act because of the child's inability to consent. The argument is that child pornography encourages child molestation and also allows child molesters to try to legitimize child sex.
While the banning of child porn is, many people would consider, a good thing, consider that the following are circulating all over the Internet and in most cases are legal: child porn literature; rape fantasy videos, images, and stories; and bomb recipes.
The key argument against child porn is that for the production of a child porn image or video, a child was harmed in the making. However, with child porn literature, the writer protects himself by claiming that everything he writes is simply fantasy and not based on reality. There are very many child porn stories on the Internet. An Internet search of "lolita bondage" or "perverts r us" proves this. Does pedophilia increase as more and more child porn stories circulate? Is it the case that people who know they are pedophiles seek out these stories and read them to gain sexual gratification or is it the case that ordinary people accidentally stumble across these stories (while searching for normal sex stories—bundling allows them to accidentally stumble across these child porn stories) and then, while reading it for curiosity's sake, are suddenly addicted to child porn stories because the story triggered a latent pedophilic desire within them that they didn't fully realize they possessed. The child porn addict, after immersing himself in the world of pedophilia, may try to rationalize his actions. After frequent contact with pedophilic themes he may believe that sex with minors is normal.
Rape fantasy is another issue. Many people gain sexual stimulation from the look of discomfort on other people. All over the web there are websites with videos and images of women being raped by soldiers and so forth. They have guns shoved in their mouths and knives held to their throats. Sometimes they are tied up and whipped till their skins turn red. The websites protect themselves by saying at the bottom in fine print that the site is about rape fantasy only and that actors and actresses were paid. But the problem still remains that the prevalence of rape movies may trigger rape desires within more people, leading to greater expression or even normalization of the behavior.
Some people argue that if someone is dumb enough not to be able to separate fantasy from reality then that is his own fault. The problem with this argument is that it matters that innocent people are harmed. It may be a man's fault for not distinguishing between fantasy and reality after reading a child porn story, but because he cannot make this distinction he thinks it is normal to have sex with child and actually goes out and tries it and a child is hurt. While some believe that more child porn literature on the Internet will encourage more child abuse, others believe that it is the opposite. They say that kiddie porn stories give pedophiles an outlet for their perverse desires, making them less likely to actually abuse children. I won't know whichever way the truth swings until more research is done on the issue.
Many people may argue that there should be censorship on the television (as there already is) but that there should be no censorship on the Internet. Their argument may be through the simple reality that television content can be regulated while Internet content is hard to regulate. Or it may be that television content is easily available and that there is a real danger that questionable content like porn will be seen by children if put on television. That is why sexual material is put on at night generally. This assumes that there is some sort of significant barrier between children and the Internet, yet with increasing technology, the Internet may be integrated to so many things, such as phones, radios, cars, bus stops, and maybe even walls and pavements. If such a state of the world arises, everyone will be exposed to the darkest side of humanity, whether he wants it or not.
Another issue to consider is the rising importance of Internet advertising. As the Internet becomes more popular and as more and more firms turn to the Internet to advertise, Internet content may well be driven by a desire to make money. As many television viewers know, free-market television is extremely trashy. In the highly censored world of television, free-market television created the perverse yet highly profitable show that is Jerry Springer. But on the Internet, a world with virtually no censorship, who knows how low the corporations will go to get your attention. They are motivated to squeeze as much advertising revenue as possible from the Internet advertising market. They will mass produce and normalize perversions like rape and pedophilia because such perverse desires are undeniably potent and have huge drawing power.
So what to do? If Internet censorship is possible, how do we know what to censor and what not to censor? Who decides appropriate taste? The arguments that free speechers make about how bad this world would be if there were no speech is a valid argument. Perhaps it is a better alternative to accept the evil side of humanity than to try suppress evil because one person's idea of evil is another person's idea of good, and censorship will simply be the expression of good to the masses, the perception of good being that of those in power.