Seaton: Senator Beavers Goes To War With Porn

Tennessee formally recognized a serious public health hazard in April. It’s not the opioid abuse epidemic that has a stranglehold on the state’s poorest citizens. That’s wishful thinking. According to the state legislature, the major public health crisis is pornography.

The Tennessee General Assembly approved a joint resolution that “recognizes pornography as a public health hazard leading to a broad spectrum of individual and public health impacts and society harms.”

SJR 0035, introduced by Senator Mae Beavers* of Mount Juliet, swept the state Senate unanimously. The state House of Representatives was nearly unanimous. Governor Bill Haslam signed the joint resolution on April 24.

With such widespread, bipartisan support, one wonders what makes pornography such a public health hazard** that the General Assembly could cross party lines and get this ridiculous bill on the Governor’s desk in record time. A read-through of the resolution gives you an answer: propaganda lines nearly curated from “Reefer Madness” and tailored to porn.

[P]ornography is contributing to the hyper-sexualization of teens, and even
prepubescent children, in our society. Due to the advances in technology and the universal
availability of the internet, young children are exposed to what used to be referred to as
hardcore pornography at an alarming rate, with twenty-seven percent of older millennials
reporting that they first viewed pornography before puberty.

This is leading to low self-esteem and eating disorders, an increase in problematic sexual activity at younger ages, and an increased desire to engage in risky sexual behavior as young adolescents***

What a cushy job, being a Senator who gets to cherry pick statistics to peddle rhetoric that reeks of horse shit a mile away. The twenty-seven percent viewing statistic most likely comes from this article by the “Institute for Family Studies,” an organization with a stated mission of strengthening “marriage and family life.”

Senator Beavers’ assertion that pornography contributes to the “hyper-sexualization” of children has no basis in reality. The claims of low self-esteem and eating disorders are similarly-situated bullshit. A quick Google search reveals no credible authorities to back Beavers’ assertions.

Let’s go for round two and see if this joint resolution gets any stronger with its assertions.

{C]hildren and youth are exposed to pornography that often times serves as
their sex education and shapes their sexual templates. Because pornography treats women as objects and commodities for the viewer’s use, it teaches girls they are to be used and boys to be users.

Here, Beavers asserts pornography is the newest form of sex education, teaching women they are to be used and boys to use women. This is an interesting assertion debunked in 1988 by Patricia Tjaden, who stated, “There is little scientific information on how pornography teaches people about sex, whom it precisely teaches, or what it teaches people about sexuality relative to other sources of information.”

No redemption yet for Senator Beavers. Let’s keep digging to see if the joint resolution gives us any semblance of justification for wasting legislative time.

[P]ornography normalizes violence and abuse of women and children. Pornography treats women and children as objects and often depicts rape and abuse as if they were harmless…pornography equates violence towards women and children with sex and pain with pleasure, which increases the demand for sex trafficking, prostitution, and child sexual abuse images/child pornography

Once again, the joint resolution spouts statements with no basis in fact. The rationale for the sex trafficking statement in the above quote can easily be attributed to groups like Covenant Eyes, another organization devoted to the protection of marriage and family.

The endgame of SJR 0035 is simple: Call porn a public health crisis, acknowledge a need for “education, research, and policy change” over material protected by the First Amendment. This is the sort of legislation adopted for a feel good, morally pure society without regard to the fact that pornography is still considered protected speech. To add insult to injury, the Governor signed this joint resolution into law.

We elect officials to represent us at the state level to meet our local needs. The expectation is they will address the needs of the constituency, pass laws to address those needs, and serve as guardians of the public who trusted them enough to elect them to public office. When elected officials spend their time pushing resolutions like this through the General Assembly instead of addressing real public needs, it’s time to start wondering why those officials hold public office in the first place.

For now, Senator Beavers won her war on pornography. Maybe that will earn her points in her gubernatorial bid. It doesn’t change the fact that SJR 0035 is fear mongering bullshit, shat into the world without credible evidence to back its assertions, and presents a potential First Amendment challenge for the Volunteer State.

*It’s perfectly okay for you to revel in the delicious irony of a resolution condemning pornography sponsored by a Senator with a seventies porn star name.

**It might behoove any reader who doesn’t understand what Rule 34 is to engage in some serious scientific empirical research of their own. Trigger Warning: May include bodily fluids.

***Paragraphs from the joint resolution quoted are broken up for readability.

9 comments on “Seaton: Senator Beavers Goes To War With Porn

  1. Adam

    SJWs of all stripes and creeds, left or right, agree. Your “rational” “non-hysterical” flight of fancy doesnt stand a chance.

    Meat-filled hands are the devil’s plaything

    1. CLS

      If meat-filled hands are the devil’s plaything, then there’s a lot of people out there performing demonic summoning rituals as I type this.

      It also doesn’t change the fact Tennessee’s legislature would rather pass “resolutions” doing a whole lot of nothing but moralistic preaching instead of address real problems, like the indigent representation problem the state spent buckets of money “studying” for two years that just released recommendations which apparently fell on deaf ears.

  2. John Barleycorn

    Sheared, natural, or trimmed Mae sounds like a one trick pony to me.

    I bet Andrea Marie Truden, also from Tennessee is rolling over in her grave. Heck I bet Mae Can’t even sing.

    RIP Andrea

    https://youtu.be/RlJGrIyt-X8

  3. DaveL

    So porn is a public health hazard, and its available for free, instantly, to anybody anywhere with a smart phone.

    Maybe they should declare it a public utility. That way in 30 years, it will become increasingly expensive, quality will suffer, and the delivery infrastructure will fall into disrepair and neglect.

  4. LTMG

    Everybody wants to be on the fake news bandwagon. “Don’t leave me out!”, the Tenn. senators say.

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