Letters to the Editor

A world without pornography | Federal Way letter to the editor

If it is true that you can tell a lot about a man by who his enemies are, then State Rep. Mark Miloscia (D-Federal Way) is a very good man.

In one day, he managed to make himself the enemy of one of the most vile, destructive industries in the history of industry. Not plastic bag manufacturers, but the pornography industry.

Rep. Miloscia recently introduced a bill that would place an 18.5 percent sales tax on the sale of pornography. Judging from some of the reactions, you would think he proposed a tax on food, water and leukemia medication for children.

The editorial board at the Federal Way Mirror accused him of joining forces with the Family Policy Institute of Washington to assist in our moral crusade. They did not specify what that moral crusade was. If they are implying that there is some kind of movement aimed at eliminating pornography, my only thought is “I wish.” And if there was such a crusade, I would be certain to join it. Unfortunately, I am not aware of such a movement.

We spend far more time educating the public about the dangers of greenhouse gases, lead-based paint and plastic bottles than the dangers of pornography. This is particularly unfortunate because of the incalculable damage that pornography does to individuals, families and society. It is correlated with the breakdown of the family unit because consumption of pornography increases the likelihood of separation, divorce and infidelity. It decreases sexual satisfaction and marital intimacy. Those who consume it devalue marriage, monogamy and the importance of raising children.

It ruins the lives of the (mostly) women objectified by it. They are far more likely to have sexually transmitted diseases, suffer from depression, commit suicide and be addicted to drugs than women who are not objectified in pornographic productions.

Studies have repeatedly shown that men who view pornography develop sexual callousness toward women, trivialize rape as a criminal offense, have distorted perceptions about sexuality, develop an appetite for deviant, bizarre and violent sexual behavior, and devalue the importance of monogamy.

The role that pornography has played in the lives of virtually every sexually motivated serial killer, including Ted Bundy and Gary Ridgway locally, is very well documented. Not surprisingly, the habitual consumption of pornography can result in diminished satisfaction with mild forms of pornography and a correspondingly strong desire for more deviant and violent material.

Pornography has a devastating impact on children as well. One study found that 77 percent of child molesters who molested boys and 87 percent of those who molested girls admitted to the habitual use of pornography in the commission of their crimes. Children who are exposed to pornography are more likely to believe that sex without responsibility is acceptable, which leads to unwanted pregnancies, poverty and sexually transmitted diseases — not to mention devastating emotional wounds.

Pornography is not the source of all the world’s problems, but there is no question that the world would be a better place if it did not exist. To pretend otherwise is denial, ignorance or simply dogma.

Rep. Miloscia’s bill would have been a good opportunity to highlight the damaging effects of pornography while providing much-needed funds to assist the GAU program. However, the Federal Way Mirror and a lot of other people suddenly became really concerned with the impact our tax structure was going to have on the state’s business climate. Perhaps this new pro-business philosophy will manifest itself in the debate over the Cap and Trade proposals as well. For some reason I doubt it.

Joseph Backholm, executive director, Family Policy Institute of Washington

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