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Can Pornographic Books be Banned?

I totally support the 1st Amendment in regards to free speech. But when I was arguing with my friend over book-banning, he asked me one of those ridiculous questions. "What if a book has 200 pages, 100 of which are pornographic pictures of men and women, and there were pictures of sexual activity in there?"

I hate when my friends pull out these ridiculous arguments, but however ridiculous and extreme they are, it is still a question that must be answered, I suppose. Should a school board be allowed to say that a pornographic book cannot be in an elementary or junior high school?

Now, having attended public school and never seeing a book with pornographic images in my life, I'm sure there's some law out there that forbids these kinds of books but still follows the Constitution. I just haven't figured out that argument yet.

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Cyril's picture

It's not by banning immoral things/behaviors that peoples become

It's not by banning immoral things/behaviors that peoples become moral in societies.

It's by having moral peoples in free societies that immoral things/behaviors disappear or become marginal.

And how to get peoples be more moral, in free societies?

Stopping the subjection, plunder, engineering they suffer coming from their (sick, corrupt) Supermen would be a good start :


"Cyril" pronounced "see real". I code stuff.


"To study and not think is a waste. To think and not study is dangerous." -- Confucius

The right to free speech doesn't guarantee

you a venue in which to be heard. It means that, unlike in Russia, East Germany, and other Soviet block countries, or China or some other countries today, the GOVERNMENT can't ban a book or haul you off to prison because of what you have expressed. Bookstores, mass merchandising outlets, convenience stores, airports, schools, public libraries, or any other places that sell or loan out books are under no obligation to carry particular titles. In selecting their inventory, it's up to them what they choose to carry, based on whatever parameters or standards they deem appropriate re marketability, decency, age appropriateness, popularity... Indeed, I find it galling that school libraries promote "Banned Books Week: Celebrating the Freedom to Read," urging students to read a "banned book," by which they mean books that at one time or another weren't considered appropriate by some, or most, schools. There is nothing intrinsically good about literature that doesn't make it into school libraries. Indeed, there are books there that the vast majority of PARENTS would never allow their children to read at home.

When we try to pick out anything by itself, we find it hitched to everything else in the Universe.
~ John Muir

"freedom of speech"

In my opinion and long held belief is that "freedom of speech" is of a political nature. And after that, anything else is not technically supported but has been wildly exaggerated. The politically reference seems to be always missed for whatever reason, its one of the most fundamental beliefs and complaints that the Constitution tries to uphold of the Founders.

edit - update: the problem lies with who is doing the bannin'? If federal government? Well, that gives them more power. Should state gov. have the authority? Possibly? If not, who should do it?

Schools, even though they are

Schools, even though they are technically government entities, have greater power to do things that the government cannot do in other circumstances.

Think of it this way. Who gets to decide what kind of donuts are made in a donut shop? Ultimately, the owners of the donut shop. The government owns the schools, and so the government (local in most cases) has to make some decisions about how the place is run. For example, it has to decide that the school day is 8am to 3pm. This doesn't mean the government has some kind of power to determine everyone's workday generally. Likewise, it has to decide what books it wants to put in its library.

The analogy doens't always hold up-- there are some things that private entities can do that the government cannot, even in the context of schools. But it is largely a sound guiding principle.

I'd say that the schools can "ban" any books they want.

I would say that it should be up to each individual school's discretion. Key word being individual, because every school or school district should be free to tailor their education program.

Likewise, each person should have a choice of which school their children will attend. In this scenario, the best schools would rise to the top in a free market.

If the case exists where the people of a community wish to have a public school system, then why not contract the schools individually? It would be a must for the schools to perform, otherwise they'd be out of business...and obviously nobody would want to send their children to schools offering pornography; that would be a very bad policy for a school.

Anything centralized seems to fall apart, there are just so many wrongs about centralizing things. Although centralization does give opportunity for diabolical control freaks to excercise covert agendas. And the risk with complete centralization is that if the system goes corrupt, everyone is screwed and who you gonna call? If an individual state government goes corrupt, then the citizens can appeal to a separate state for help (by force if need be).

In general, people tend to be good in nature and not evil. Bad groups, gangs, and evil people do pop up and seek power and wealth above and beyond what good and honest people do. Centralization is the only way they can succeed and is a risk we should do away with.

Sorry, was way off topic....

Short answer is that in a free market, no school would offer pornographic material to the students. They would get no business if they did.