Do prisoners have a constitutional right to pornography? I dunno that’s kind of a weird thing to think about.
fwiw, i find that language objectionable, as does Hef.
BUT WAIT, back to dick jokes:
The deprivation does not end with porn, though. While you might think of masturbation as a sort of last refuge for the incarcerated—a truly inalienable freedom, given the happy proximity of the sex organs—that is not the case. In fact, a number of state prisons regard jerking off as a rule infraction. American University law professor Brenda Smith, who conducted a 50-state survey of prison masturbation policies in 2006, says restrictions are “well-entrenched” in the correctional environment. In North Carolina, for example, it is a violation to “touch the sexual or other intimate parts of oneself or another person for the purpose of sexual gratification.” Violations can lead to disciplinary segregation or the loss of “good time” credits. Tennessee forbids “[a]ny behavior intended for the sexual gratification of the subject.” Ohio prohibits “[s]eductive or obscene acts, including indecent exposure or masturbation.” Kentucky regards inmate masturbation as “[i]nappropriate sexual behavior.” In California, where some 170,000 men and women live behind bars, masturbation is permissible provided it is stopped immediately if noticed by staff, blue balls be damned. If the masturbator perseveres, even if concealed by bed sheets, he can be cited for “Intentionally Sustained Masturbation without Exposure.” These policies are part of a long correctional tradition to forbid all forms of sexual activity. Prison officials say they need the rules to keep order and deter exhibitionism.
In practice, inmates are seldom sanctioned, so long as they touch themselves discreetly. In Connecticut, masturbation is against the rules only when performed “in a lewd and public manner.”
Anyway, FOR YOUR (too much) INFORMATION, I’m just going to be slightly more smug about california’s general superiority vis a vis the prison industrial complex next time I’m touching myself.
Let me offer two statements, and ask what is the morally relevant difference between them.
1. I don’t socialise with Asians. I just don’t find them that appealing.
2. I don’t date Asians. I just don’t find them that appealing.
(1) is clearly objectionable. It looks like straight-up racism. If someone sitting next to us at a bar made a statement like that, we’d probably quietly slide over a few stools. I think we are more tolerant of (2) — yet it looks exactly the same. And is it any different than:
3. I prefer to date Asians. I really find them specially appealing.
No one can stop you for from feeling more, or less, attracted to a particular type. But we might think you have a moral obligation to try to overcome that preference. You could examine where this particular preference comes from, and you could make a special effort to date other types.
Someone might object here that the harm of prejudice comes not from the attitude itself, but the way the attitude affects society, and our dating choices don’t affect society. People who are racists, for instance, pass qualified people over for jobs, or allow their attitudes to affect their voting behaviour, and that makes us all worse off. There is, on this view, no measurable harm of this kind when it comes to dating.
I think the harm exists, but is more subtle. It is the harm of living in a society that is less tolerant than it might be. Other things being equal, we are better off in a society where people are as free from prejudice as they possibly can be, and where everyone can succeed on their merits in all spheres, including the sexual. In such a society, everyone can feel that they’ll be given a fair chance, and they can be confident that the rest of us will have no patience for anyone who refuses to judge them as individuals. Also, a society where people have strong sexual type-preferences, and these preferences are tolerated, is very likely going to be less efficient at matching up sexual partners, because people miss opportunities. There is therefore less sex being had in aggregate – and I believe that, other things being equal again, a society that contains a greater aggregate quantity of sex is better than one that contains less. For these reasons, our personal preferences decrease the total welfare of the society, and this creates an obligation to work to overcome them.
::: via Moral Lust :::