Pornography, Public Morality and Consitutional Rights: PUBLIC DISCOURSE

Pornography, Public Morality and Consitutional Rights

An essay by Robert P. George, McCormick Professor of Jurisprudence at Princeton University and editorial board member of Public Discourse

This essay, published 17 October 2011,  is adapted from remarks he delivered earlier this month at a conference honoring John Finnis at the University of Notre Dame.

Copyright 2011 The Witherspoon Institute – PUBLIC DISCOURSE – Ethics, Law and the Common Good.


“….the familiar depiction of the debate over pornography regulation as pitting the “rights of individuals,” on the one side, against some amorphous “majority’s dislike of smut,” on the other, is false to the facts. The public interest in a cultural structure—in which, as Dworkin says, “sexual experience has dignity and beauty”—is the concrete interest of individuals and families who constitute “the public.” The obligations of others to respect their interests, and of governments to respect and protect them, is a matter of justice.”

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