Category Archives: Morals

Can pornography be made unpopular?

My friend Cam has started a cause called Fight the New Drug (FTND). That “New Drug” is pornography, and their approach parallels the fight against tobacco.

This is about changing the messaging. For example, if smoking is a way to rebel against authority, then parents and medical experts saying Don’t smoke! only reinforces the rebellion. But if smoking is succumbing to executives at Big Tobacco, then smoking isn’t a form of rebellion at all, it’s a form of conformity. What rebellious kid wants to conform to Big Tobacco executives? That’s the message of The Truth campaign.

Become a Fighter - Fight the New Drug

Fight the New Drug

Imagine a similar change of messaging around pornography: Pornography isn’t glamorous, it isn’t sexy. Love and romance without pornography is glamorous and sexy. By making the negative externalities of pornography more visible, it would become less appealing. While organizations like CP80 and Lighted Candle Society fight the supply-side of pornography, FTND fights the demand-side.

I’m very excited about this approach.

Mary Eberstadt at Stanford’s Hoover Institution calls pornography the “new tobacco” and said:

Yesterday, smoking was considered unremarkable in a moral sense, whereas pornography was widely considered disgusting and wrong — including even by people who consumed it. Today, as a general rule, just the reverse is true. Now it is pornography that is widely (though not universally) said to be value-free, whereas smoking is widely considered disgusting and wrong — including even by many smokers.

Can we change minds again?

Columnist Kathryn Jean Lopez said:

…I’ve been flashing back to something Traci Lords once said: “I have to thank Ed Meese for saving my life.” At 18, her career as a porn star ended in a federal raid. How many Tracis are on a computer near you today? And who else is porn harming? It’s a question that our society — which in its rhetoric and culture says it cares about women and children and lives and love — needs to grapple with. If Eberstadt’s comparison is right, the time [is] coming. The shrugs will cease. Yet I hope the turnaround comes, not because the government has made porn highly inconvenient, but because we have decided we want something better. (Smoking Is Out, Porn Is In.)

Seth Godin said you can’t fight an ideavirus (“pornography is okay”) by “challenging the medium in which it spreads.” Instead, you must counter “one ideavirus with another one.”

You don’t counter racism by making the act of uttering racist statements against the law. You do it by spreading an idea (racism is hateful, wrong and stupid) that keeps the racist from expressing his ideas because all his friends will shun him if he does. (“Thinking about this war”.)

Here is some of the FTND messaging, paraphrased:

1. Educate people about the negative effects of pornography and let them choose their pornography involvement for themselves. We do not contest the legality to produce pornographic material.

2. Just because it’s legal to smoke cigarettes, doesn’t mean it’s healthy. Similarly, porn can have devastating effects on you and your loved ones.

3. Although pornography consumption can lead to powerful addictive behaviors, we don’t contest people’s right to view it.

4. People need to be educated about the negative effects of pornography on individuals, families and businesses.

5. We fight against the demand for pornography. Through education, we believe people will no longer want to use porn and those with addictive behavior will seek help from professionals.

6. People addicted to porn often feel they have no options. We’re letting people know that they have a choice.

7. We want to infuse more sexiness into the world. Two committed people together — that is sexy. A lonely, addicted person sitting in front of a computer is not sexy.

Please make a $10 donation to FTND to become a “fighter”. Ten dollars from 1,000 people is better than $10,000 from 1 person. The money will be used to develop messaging campaigns to fight the demand for pornography. This will be a grass-roots movement to make pornography unpopular.

I’ve put in my $10 and I’m hoping many, many more friends will as well.

Traffic Control: CP80 would protect children and families from porn

Last Thursday we watched Traffic Control, a documentary which highlights Ralph Yarro’s technology initiative to fight pornography called CP80. (I’ve written about CP80 previously.) The quick explanation is that if CP80 were legislated by government, pornography would be split from other content on the Internet into a separate “channel,” making it easier for parents, schools, and businesses who choose to reject it.

Traffic Control does a good job of explaining the porn epidemic that is sweeping through the nation, especially among youth. For example, one scene shows an interview with a pornographer who surmised that only a small percentage of youth were interested in pornography, then cut to interviews with high school kids who say almost everyone they know is involved. YouTube and MySpace make it easy for youth to view and even produce porn, and many are doing it.

The movie also has interesting interviews with former porn stars, psychiatrists, business leaders, and Ralph Yarro himself. Porn is sickening even to those who produce it, produces physiological addiction in those who consume it, and drains money and time from businesses.

There will be another free screening of Traffic Control tomorrow, Jan 30, at 7:00 at the Carmike Wynnsong theater in Provo (the Riverwoods.) Get there early to get a seat.

On a side note, I just finished reading John Harmer’s book The War We Must Win. Mr. Harmer has battled a legal war against pornography for many years and now chairs the Lighted Candle Society. For an excellent read, see Elder Jeffrey R. Holland’s speech at their annual banquet last year.

From A War We Must Win:

By “drawing the line” I do not mean to exclude ourselves from that society. I do suggest that we must confirm and coalesce our opposition to the surge of degeneracy that now permeates our entertainments, our literature, and our so-called arts. We can no longer casually endure (if not ultimately embrace) the continued downward spiral of our culture’s art, literature, and entertainment into the abyss of vile perversion. As Joshua challenged Israel, so we must accept the challenge to “choose you this day whom ye will serve.” As Christ taught so directly, “Ye cannot serve God and mammon.” Latter-day Saints can no longer accept the false notion that it is possible to honor the covenants we have made, to be loyal to the Godhead who have revealed themselves to us, and at the same time participate, even in the role of a passive observer, in the practices all about us that are leading to greater and greater degeneracy.

UPDATE: Traffic Control is now available for sale on DVD at www.trafficcontroldvd.com.