Confusing the Scientific and Moral Appeals of Suppressing Vice
History suggests that rapid social change in media representations of intimate human behavior, whether violent or sexual, throughout the last century in Western countries, has justified censorship on the pretext that violent fiction is a lynchpin of actual violence. Careful re-assessment of the evidence fails to support such alleged causation. Nonetheless, the rational rejection of the empirical link should not overshadow recognition of the moral accomplishment achieved through the allegations of moral injury in public panics over tolerance for explicit representation of sex and violence in fiction and entertainment irrespective of harm. The juxtaposition of these competing rationales for public policy is reflected in Canadian case law regarding pornography and prostitution.
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