fighting for free hearts

Room (Un)Service Porn

Robert P. George,  the McCormick Professor of Jurisprudence at Princeton University and a Visiting Professor at Harvard Law School, and Zaytuna College President Shaykh Hamza Yusuf recently co-wrote an article for The Witherspoon Institute’s publication Public Discourse about a Scandanavian hotel chain owner’s decision to stop offering in-room pornography to customers.

Petter Stordalen, owner of Nordic Hotels, became involved in international efforts to fight the horrific practice of trafficking women and girls into sexual slavery, the authors write. Stordalen recently announced:

“The porn industry contributes to trafficking, so I see it as a natural part of having a social responsibility to send out a clear signal that Nordic Hotels doesn’t support or condone this.”

This is encouraging news given the disappointing response of hotel owners in the United States after the Witherspoon Institute sent a letter to each one asking them to take the same step Stordalen has taken.

George and Yusuf write:

Indeed, it is time for Mr. Stordalen’s American counterparts to follow his commendable example. If Nordic Hotels can demonstrate this kind of moral and social responsibility, then there is no reason that Hilton Hotels and the other large chains cannot. Let them stop trying to deceive the public—and perhaps even themselves—with rhetoric about respecting or even protecting their customers’ liberty. Pornography is a social plague with horrific real-life consequences for real live people—addicts, spouses, children, communities, girls and women trafficked into sexual servitude.

The authors add:

At this late season of our nation’s experience with the social costs of pornography there is no longer any excuse for supposing that porn is merely a form of harmless naughtiness. Even the socially very liberal nation of Iceland is moving to ban or severely restrict it by law. Whatever one thinks of legal prohibitions or restrictions, everyone should recognize that pornography is a moral and social evil that no decent person would want to profit from or have anything to do with.

While i agree with the thoughtful words of the article, i have to say that one of the shifts i see having already occurred in our society is a shift away from consensus on this final point.   Everyone should recognize that pornography is something that no decent person would want to profit from or have any association with, and yet porn is now so mainstream that it is seen as a valid source of profit and it is considered an entirely legitimate business.

We are the worse for this cultural shift.

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