Moral Absolutists Attack Pornzilla

Asa gave a little airtime in his blog to the eminently talented Jesse Ruderman, linking to a post about how Jesse tests application security. Moral absolutists, those who wish to define what is right and wrong for everyone and bar dissent, turned it into a forum for ad hominem attacks on the porn industry, insults on the intelligence of women (declaring porn degrading to women despite the fact that many women disagree), and declaring tens of millions of people as sexist purely based upon their excercise of their first amendment rights. One even insinuated that the Mozilla Foundation should somehow stop Jesse from using the name Pornzilla, and chided Asa for merely mentioning it.

I find these closed minded people to be anathema to the foundations of America and our preservations of Freedoms. Apparently they feel we’re free only to believe as they do, and if we do not, we’re branded as sexist and immoral. It’s also anathema to the ideals of open source and free software, that you can use and change the software as you please provided you return your changes to the public. I never saw a morals clause in the GPL.


  1. anonymous had this to say,

    May 6, 2005 @ 3:58 am

    I guess no one should tell them that they are are using libpr0n and what that stands for 😉

    Pornzilla rules!

  2. Mathieu Pellerin had this to say,

    May 6, 2005 @ 4:37 am

    I’m working as a consultant in a Cambodian local NGO. USAID gives money to organizations there and in their contracts they include clauses that says, black on white, that the ngo that receives money _can’t_ have any relation with prostitutes nor can they promote condoms…

    we must find a new country to relocate the statue of liberty

  3. anonymous had this to say,

    May 6, 2005 @ 7:59 am

    Porn is not an essential freedom, and claiming that people with morals are a threat to your freedom is absurd.

    That said, Jesse Ruderman should be allowed to write whatever he wants, "Pornzilla" or not.

  4. Ada had this to say,

    May 6, 2005 @ 9:00 am

    I question the value of morals if "people with morals" are such idiots. They /are/ a threat to our freedom because they are loud, not just on Asa’s blog, but in the political sphere, where they attempt, and sometimes succeed, in passing laws that restrict our freedoms. I’m not /just/ talking about porn (which is certainly not essential, but I don’t recall anyone claiming that it is?), but there are several issues that "people with morals" get on their high horse about and ruin it for the rest of us through legislation.

  5. David Naylor had this to say,

    May 6, 2005 @ 9:03 am

    Like firearms for instance… Why shouldn’t we be allowed to go around killing each other left right and center if we so wish?

  6. Grey had this to say,

    May 6, 2005 @ 9:05 am

    Porn itself is not essential to liberty, no. But when you start saying "This isn’t essential, so we’ll get rid of it" you set the stage for other liberties to be taken away, based solely upon someone’s decision that it isn’t "essential", a purely subjective decision. Maybe cursing and slurs aren’t essential either, so we’ll ban them. Well, since we banned them, we ned to get rid of these books like Huck Finn. Andyou know what? Since we got rid of porn, these books about sexual reproduction aren’t needed, because they might be seen as porn. And the ability to print up flyers in your basement isn’t essential either, so we’ll make it so that you have to have a gov’t approved license to publish written materials like newspapers and magazine. We have to make sure people don’t ignore our porn ban, so this way we can approve of what they print before it’s distributed… Etc. And don’t tell me it doesn’t happen. That’s EXACTLY how it happens.

    "Anyone who trades liberty for security deserves neither liberty nor
    security.” – Ben Franklin

  7. trajj had this to say,

    May 6, 2005 @ 9:13 am

    In essence, isn’t your point that these people ought to believe as you do, or that they shouldn’t exercise their first amendment rights if they don’t, or at least use them in a way that you approve of? In other words, what makes you different? Are you free to criticize, but they are not? They can’t describe people as sexist and immoral, but you can declare them anathema to the foundations of America? The blade cuts both ways.

  8. Grey had this to say,

    May 6, 2005 @ 9:34 am

    David: There’s a huge difference between freedom of speech and expression, and murder. That’s a straw man.

    Trajj: No, my point is these people shouldn’t force their morality on others. I disagree complete with the Evangelical crowd on many issues, but it is their inalienable right as Americans to HAVE those views, and I respect that. I do not respect their desire to force those views on me.

    With respect to pornography and obscenity, the current balance based on "contemporary community standards" is a tolerable compromise. I would never suggest PornWorld should open with full color billboards right across from a school. But being across town in a sensible building harms no one.

  9. anonymous had this to say,

    May 6, 2005 @ 11:34 am

    Moral absolutism is how our society functions. If we were to practice moral relavitism, for example, I could kill someone and justify it by saying that _my_ morals allow murder. Not that I agree with the religious right, but a morally relative society would be a disaster.

  10. Steve Masaon had this to say,

    May 6, 2005 @ 1:45 pm

    The religious right (the "moralists") want to take away two things from everyone; freedom of choice and freedom of thought. In their world there is no room for alternatives or disagreement. You are with them or you are a sinner and you goto hell. This country was founded on free choice and free thinking. The whole point of pornography is that for those that choose to view it it is there but you have the *choice* not to view it. Decency, right and wrong, these are all subjective views that no one person or religion can define.

  11. mawrya had this to say,

    May 6, 2005 @ 2:33 pm

    Community and individuality are difficultly intertwined aren’t they?

    The reason we all agree to impose the moral "thou shalt not kill" on each other is simply because we all agree that it is serious and bad. (Yes, I recognize our allowances for self-defence, and just wars.) We give up our freedom to kill others to achieve security of life. If you look at all these sorts of morals we have agreed to impose on one another, they tend to deal almost exclusively with one individual’s interaction with another, particularly when that other person is almost guarenteed to be opposed to the action. It’s clear cut, there is a blatant victim, perpetrator, and end result, so it is very easy to make judgements regarding these types of morals.

    Its the "fuzzy" moral issues (same-sex marriage, porn, etc.) that are much more difficult to pin down. They are difficult because they deal not with an individual against another individual but with an individual and the community. Notice I did not say an individual AGAINST the community. That’s what we all grapple with: should there be an "AGAINST" in that sentance or not? And we grapple with it precisely because it is the effects on a community as a whole that are hard to judge. Its hard to show exactly how Bob, browsing porn at home, will effect the community and the individuals that compose the community.

    There is no doubt that it will affect the community, everything we do affects others simply because we live in a community. The challenge is determining if those effects are trival or serious; negative or positive; or variable depending on other factors. That’s hard to show, and its very disturbing to all of us because we all know that making a wrong judgement could lead to significant consequences, whether those be a repeal of too many freedoms or a society of runaway crime that is bred from certain freedoms.

    One thing is sure, there is no middle ground – criminalize porn or not – a decision is being made either way. People are divided because they feel there are serious consequences surrounding which decision is made. Hard to make a bullet-proof case either way though, since we are in uncharted waters with numerous variables and unknowns.

    Interesting to think about.

    PS: what’s the context of that Benjamin Franklin quote? Obviously, Ben traded the freedom to steal and murder for the security of his own belongings and life. There must have been some particular freedoms surrounding that quote.

  12. Minh Nguyen had this to say,

    May 8, 2005 @ 7:29 pm

    mawrya, the quote attributed to Ben Franklin above is actually a variant of this, according to Wikiquote:

    "Those who would give up Essential Liberty to purchase a little Temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety."

    (See… .)

  13. danbeck had this to say,

    May 12, 2005 @ 2:45 pm

    JesusX, tell us, how exactly are you are any of us being forced to do something?

    What liberty is being taken away here? Are you being barred from going out and buying porn right now? Are there any laws being considered in your local legislature that would keep you from buying it?

    What exactly is all the whining about? It seems to me that you people don’t like the idea that someone else might have a different opinion on the matter than you do and you ESPECIALLY don’t like the fact that they make that opinion known.

    People like you and the author of this blog post love to bitch about your freedoms being taken away at a mere dissenting thought from someone else, but you never stop to consider that you might be doing the same exact thing in reverse.

    I wish people would stop beating the same dead horse to death. Your freedoms are well intact.

  14. Cascade had this to say,

    June 12, 2006 @ 11:42 pm

    1) Pornography is destructive to the individual viewing it and that individual’s family / relationship. Whether that individual acknowledges it or not. Pornography debases both men and women and turns them into objects in order to bring about sexual stimulation.

    2) A threat to freedom? This country was established on the foundation of moral absolutism and Christianity – wake up. The only reason we have the freedoms we do in this country is because of Christianity’s "one-way or no-way" stance.