Sunday, May 15, 2016

Social goods and individual goods

The Barna Group, an evangelical Christian polling firm, looked into how people think about pornography in US society. The distress their findings caused the study's conservative religious sponsors is well-illustrated in this graphic.
Their respondents rank most all the options they were offered as more immoral than viewing porn! In the accompanying verbiage, the Barna authors offer a plausible picture of why this is:
"While it may seem crazy that younger generations see not recycling as a greater evil than watching pornography, it’s also true that not recycling—as well as most of the other activities ranked above pornography—has a societal impact,” points out [Roxanne Stone, editor in chief at Barna Group.] “Watching pornography, on the other hand, is perceived by many as simply an individual choice. Affecting no one but me. ..."
The emerging Millennial generation is often described as more socially concerned than many of their predecessors. Well good for them. They face the task of creating the social cohesion needed by a diverse society to solve massive social problems. Glad to see they have their heads screwed on properly.

The question posed for me by Barna's graphic representation of their findings, is why so dismissive of the moral implications of recycling? Recycling may seem trendy and trivial, but it is an attempt to conform personal behavior to the common good -- pretty much an unalloyed positive moral impulse. What's not to like in this finding?

I'm not a fan of many values in much porn, but this isn't about that. It is about the choice many young people make to assign greater moral weight to social structures than to individual behaviors. That orientation is becoming pervasive and may be life preserving in our circumstances.

H/t to The Lead for the Barna link.

3 comments:

Rain Trueax said...

I've only seen a little porn and soft core at that. My problem with it was I was laughing and then it got too boring to watch it all. I had a friend at the time and she and her husband regularly rented porn and liked it for their relationship. She said my problem is I was only looking at soft not hard. I have no idea if that's true as don't know what the difference would be... That said, I don't see it as a problem for those who enjoy it and are adults-- unless it is perverted toward violence or involves those under age.

Some years back, we were on the road south and stopped at a video store that had a sale on. It had a backroom with porn videos. I took a look around and started laughing as I read some of the titles to my husband. A guy in there left and only returned when I left ;).

janinsanfran said...

Rain: people who have studied these things find your reaction well within the normal range. Back during the feminist sex controversies of the early '80s, Carole S. Vance propounded something which I can't find on the web, but still seems wise to me: viewing porn arouses perhaps one third of us; causes yawns among another third; and leads to giggles among others. And we can shift back and forth between categories.

Rain Trueax said...

Because I have sex in my books, some consider that porn. I consider it a healthy way to view sex between adults. I have read some erotica, years back, that was arousing to me, but mostly these days, when reading, I skip long drawn out descriptions. Erotica (porn for women) though is what they say generally gets to women more than movies.

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