Mitt Romney will put an end to porn! (somehow)

Guess what Mitt Romney said? This:

“I want to make sure every new computer sold in this country, after I’m president, has installed on it a filter to block all pornography.”

Here, you can hear it for yourself:

YouTube Preview Image

Someday I need to write a post about porn. I grew up hearing it condemned as essentially the ultimate evil. Heck, Michael Pearl had this to say about porn:

We live in a spirit world of both righteous and fallen angels. We are surrounded by evil spirits seeking the moral destruction of every human soul. The children of godly parents are protected from unclean spirits by being under their moral umbrella. But when a father gives his mind over to wicked lusts, he removes the hedge of protection around his family and invites impure devils into his home. Wishing them away will avail nothing. Any prayers you pray for their safety are negated the moment you open the pages of a pornographic book or glare at an electronic image. When you tune in to electronic pornography you have established a two-way link with the spiritual underworld. When you lie in bed at night and conjure up wicked images, the devils won’t stop with your mind; they will gleefully rush into the bedrooms of your children and assault their little souls and bodies. Evil thoughts will come to their minds – thoughts you have been thinking that are telegraphed to them by the devils. Your defenseless children will be taken captive, and you are the one that threw the gate open to the enemy.

Yeah, I definitely need to write a post.

Also, for some old anti-porn footage from the 1980s, take a look at the video embedded in this post on the Friendly Atheist.

  • mikev6

    Ignoring 1st amendment issues, I’d love to see him try this. Mittens vs millions of tech-savvy hormonal teenagers. It would be circumvented before I could finish this comment.

    • Hibernia86

      The hacker group Anonymous would have fun with this.

      • Mark Temporis

        A universal filtering software? Would be easy peasy to reverse the white and blacklists so that people could ONLY view porn and nothing but porn!

        THAT would be fun! Not very nice, admittedly, but really funny.

  • trj

    God forbid we leave it to people to volountarily install content blockers. It has to be mandated by the state.

    So much for small government.

  • Bill

    Unfortunately you made it sound like he said that all computers would block all porn right out of the box. He actually said that there would be a button for parents to push. Mittens is a dolt, but that completely misrepresents what he said, and makes our side look as capable of twisting words as the other side.

    • machintelligence

      Misrepresenting the statements of the opposing party is as American as apple pie. Let the Republicans see what it feel like for a change.

    • trj

      He’s advocating mandatory pre-installed software, even if it’s not activated. I don’t see how we misrepresent him.

      Not that the details really matter. We all know this has no chance in hell of becoming reality.

      • Bill

        I think it just sounded as though no adult would be able to surf porn at all on their brand new computers, ever. I don’t as much mind restricting access for kids, but don’t touch MY porn! :)

  • http://jw-thoughts.blogspot JW

    I think there are devices to do such things as Mitt is talking about. He is either not in the know or he is playing Politics. He has Good intentions but we can’t have government meddling in our lives over this stuff even if some think porn is wrong. Should be another avenue.

    JW

    • Rosa

      There are, but they are not very good.

      For instance, when my mom got breast cancer, she couldn’t show her students any information about it because the school’s filter didn’t allow anything with the words “breast” in it.

      • Mogg

        Just imagine how difficult it is to do your job if you are a breast care nurse working at a hospital with this kind of software installed. It was truly a facepalm moment when I heard that.

      • Liriel

        I remember a decade or so ago a (fairly) local university had to take filtering software off their computers, because the nursing students couldn’t get to the websites they needed because of stupid things like that.

      • Liriel

        Ooh, ooh, and I also remember a Spider-Man or comic site getting blocked (also years ago) and the only reason the site owner could come up with was their “we don’t know what *sex* the new Spider-Man is” and the “don we now our *gay* apparel” and a mention of Thor’s *breast*plate. I have no idea how good or bad filtering software is these days, I admit.

      • Judy L.

        Yep. When I was working with a cancer research funding agency many years ago, our newly-installed junk email filter quarantined every message containing the word “breast”. Fun times.

      • http://blog.luigiscorner.com Azel

        I had fun times with filtering software in some French D&D forums: the usual abbreviation for one of a personage ability scores is CON, which being considered as an insult by the software (insulting manner to say idiot in French) was filtered. That meant we couldn’t straightforwardly talk about D&D personages on a D&D forum…

      • Arresi

        My doctor had to tell me to look up stuff related to pap smears on my own because the (Catholic) hospital’s filters wouldn’t let her look up a summary and print it off. This was within the past 5 years.

  • http://blog.luigiscorner.com Azel

    So Mr Romney prepared a harebrained scheme against the dangers of Internet…A project which is likely to be costly, inefficient and to foster imagination amongst the young in methods to violate the law. Why do I have an air of déjà vu ?

  • Steve

    Bad move. Utah has the highest rate of online porn subscription

  • Saraquill

    I wonder how many people he alienated with that statement. Furthermore, this pledge makes him sounds decidedly ignorant, considering the multiple Supreme Court cases regarding porn and where it stands under the 1st amendment.

  • Ken

    When you live in fantasy land, planning for after your death, current reality can be quite an obstacle to rationality. And this guy may become president, with his finger on the Doomsday button?

  • http://thaliasmusingsnovels.com/ Amethyst

    A post about porn could easily be expanded to the cover the “instant addiction” scare tactic. If any man views half a second of a pornographic video, he’ll be instantly addicted. (Women will, of course, be repelled since they don’t have sex drives. Or they aren’t visual. Or something.) If anyone has one drink once in their life, they’ll become an instant alcoholic. I think I even remember some stuff about the beat of Rock and Roll Music being addictive.

    • Steve

      I believe porn addiction it’s greatly exaggerated by Christians. Sure, it exists, but it seems for them anyone who regularly consumes porn is addicted.

  • Judy L.

    Is Romney’s obscenity blocker going to block truly obscene websites like Exodus International? Why does this man keep telling lies about what he’s said and done and what he believes, and keep making promises to people about what he’d do as President that he actually couldn’t keep because they’re beyond the purview of the Presidency?

    Restricting access to pornography is dangerous. I’m not claiming a causal relationship, but the access to and consumption of porn appears to be inversely proportional to the incidence of rape.
    http://www.dailykos.com/story/2006/08/24/239656/-Study-As-Porn-Goes-Up-Rape-Goes-Down

    The hypocrisy of religious Conservatives is just nauseating. Utah residents are the largest consumers of online porn in the U.S., and it can be the case that all that porn is being consumed by the non-Mormon population in the State.

  • Azura

    If anyone is interested in more about the anti-porn lobby, both from the left and right wings, try JordanOwen42 on Youtube. He does pretty logical parsing of both radical feminist anti-porn arguments as well as the religious fundamentalist arguments. Both are insanely flawed of course. Both think that porn is teh eval.

    I think trying to protect the poor women from the men and degrading their ability to make choices, whether of employment or sexuality, is just as harmful as from the religious angle. This is why I think radical feminists are not feminists at all, but just misandrist and misogynist authoritarians and prudes. Apparently something’s wrong with me because I *like* sex of the rougher kind. If people like Gale Dines has issues with deep throating, they won’t like floggings and rope either, which is too bad for them. Really, that’s more harmful than the religious extremists because they’re supposed to be feminists and they should know better.

    That said, I’d love for Libby to do a piece on Factcheckme or Femonade. I just discovered her blog a few days ago, and her anti-PIV position just makes my head spin. I thought it was only Dworkins who thought that crap, but nope.

  • Stony

    Okay, this is a cracked.com article, so not 100% reliable, but it immediately came to mind when I read this. One of the driving forces behind the computer revolution IS porn: http://www.cracked.com/article_18888_5-ways-porn-created-modern-world.html

  • Noelle

    I’m holding out for your porno post.

    • http://patheos.com/blogs/lovejoyfeminism Libby Anne

      Oy! Now there’s a way to put it! :-P

      • Noelle

        It’s what the people want, Libby. :)

        I am sincerely interested in reading your thoughtful opinion on the subject someday.

  • Sarah

    What about erotic “literature”? Where does that fall in Romney’s plans? No more fan-fic boards? What about all the scenes in Planet Earth where animals are having sex? Banned as well?

    I seem to remember a time in history when knowledge of the human body was considered dangerous and sinful … something about the Church impeding medical and scientific progress for a thousand years or so.

  • machintelligence

    I suppose it is time for a little Tom Lehrer:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LzmtYkPCQgg
    Enjoy!

  • Meggie

    A couple of years ago two 10 year olds at the school I teach at managed to hack the school intranet and disabled the filters on the whole school system. They weren’t after porn or violence or anything – just two kids trying proving how clever they were. It took staff hours to reestablish the filters! If two kids can disable a system put in place by state education department computer experts, what sort of system is Mitt going to put in place to block profession hackers?

    • Noelle

      I figured he meant it in the same way most computers come with at least a trial package of an anti-virus software. You’d need something that’s continuously updated like that. As already mentioned though, a filter looking to keep the kids out of porn sites isn’t as straight-forward as looking for viruses. I know the filters on my work computer keep me from easily finding medical information on some body parts.

      Not that I want my kids finding porn yet on the Internet (more questions than I’m up to answering today), but I’m also not ready for them to come across gruesome images of mass murders or dead Syrian children either. I don’t know if I can ever explain that kind of atrocity to them. Yes, I know I can’t shield them forever, but if I had to choose I hope they find the nudies first. Is there software to block real-life horrors?

      • http://brokendaughters.wordpress.com Lisa

        Amen to that. There’s so much evil stuff beyond porn on the internet. Just think of the pages where people are mocked to a degree you should put them into jail for (e.g. there exists a site making fun of kids with progeria, using their images and writing real nasty stuff about them), pages that exist only for the purpose of looking at pictures of dead people (which are, of course, also being made fun of – i remember stumbling over a pictures of a tortured women with a cross around her neck, the caption read “where is your god now?”), pictures of animals getting burned alive etc.
        Before I’d let my kids see any of that, you bet I’d load the porn for them myself.

  • Liberated Liberal

    So, Mitt’s plans are:

    1) Making sure the government doesn’t spend a dime on healthcare, environmental protections and improvements, or women’s reproductive health, because, ya know, the government shouldn’t be all up in yo b’ness and isn’t responsible for any of it.

    and…

    2) Making sure the government implements a program requiring a ton of money, time and headache to be all up in yo b’ness to make sure you don’t get your freak on (and enjoy it).

    Brilliant.

    I hope he puts an end to naughty underwear, too. I think my g-strings have put the universe in peril.

    • Rosa

      to be fair, he proposed this a long time ago. I’m not 100% clear on his timeline of pro/con stances but I seem to recall that back then he was in favor of a plan quite similar to Obamacare, and said he’d keep his hands off women’s health decisions.

  • smrnda

    OK, I’m a programmer and I studied artificial intelligence and machine learning. Most porn-blockage software is dumb because the people designing it figure that it’s only being used by parents to make sure their kids don’t get porn at home, and that having the software running on any machine not being used by an 8 year old is not part of its design specifications. It’s like some ridiculous thing you have to create since there’s demand, but since nobody really thinks any sensible person would put this stuff on a computer to be used by adults, no effort is made to make it more intelligent.

    Speaking of Mitt, Mormons and Utah, someone once told me a joke that a Mormon’s favorite flavor is *bland*

  • http://timothy.green.name Timothy (TRiG)

    I’m not sure what it says about me and my interests that my immediate reaction was to think about the impact such a law would have on the Free Software movement. The ethical underpinnings of Free Software are all about putting people in control of their own computers, and any form of mandatory software installed would be anathema.

    TRiG.