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The GOP Platform and Public Health policy: How silly it is for the GOP to fear sex, but not guns?

by Dog Gone on July 19, 2016

I heard a joke from a child some years ago.
Q. Know why when geese fly in a Vee formation, one side is always longer than the other?
A. More geese (on the long side).

photoshopped image of Sarah Palin much enjoyed and circulated by gun-porn loving conservatives

 

Red states consume more porn that blue and purple states.  Yet the GOP put an anti-porn plank in the 2016 platform.

 

Porn in the USA: Conservatives Are Biggest Consumers

 Americans may paint themselves in increasingly bright shades of red and blue, but new research finds one thing that varies little across the nation: the liking for online pornography.

A new nationwide study (pdf) of anonymised credit-card receipts from a major online adult entertainment provider finds little variation in consumption between states.

However, there are some trends to be seen in the data. Those states that do consume the most porn tend to be more conservative and religious than states with lower levels of consumption, the study finds.

“Some of the people who are most outraged turn out to be consumers of the very things they claimed to be outraged by,” Edelman says.

While one might posit that there is massive consumption by a few liberals holed up in these red states, like lots of lonely individuals, alone on their separate little desert islands, that is not a hypothesis with any substantive evidence to support it.

 

Rather it appears that the reason red states – conservative states – consume more porn because all that internet porn is disproportionately consumed by the greater number of conservatives in those states.  That also tracks with other disgusting and immoral attitudes about sex and sexuality we see from conservatives in spite of their contrary lip service, like more teen pregnancies, divorces, adultery, rape and pedophilia……….especially in the Bible Belt states.  And it includes GAY PORN, from all of those anti-LGBT conservatives too!  The new “let’s stamp out sexuality” GOP has put more anti-LGBT planks in their platform this year than in previous.  Hyopcrites.

 

Like the GOP.  I would argue that conservatives, as a group (signalling a generality here with all of the imperfections and challenges that go with generalities), have a very traditional but emphatically dysfunctional view of sex, while having an equally failed belief and viewpoint about violence (including but not limited to gun violence).  There is still some truth to the oversimplification that conservatives are against sex but pro-violence; they see nothing wrong for example in old classic westerns where there is a lot of hitting and shooting, but little or no kissing, and no portrayal of anything more sexual at all.

 

It is worth noting that the GOP is putting a plank in this year’s platform t hat is focusing on internet porn as a public health issue.  Not on guns, which actually kill and injure people; no, they are focusing on SEX, which appears to terrify conservatives at the same time it lures them as smirking, lecherous forbidden fruit.  This applies to both heterosexual themed porn AND gay porn.

 

Another and related plank of that platform is the requirement that the Christian Bible be taught as both literature and as part of American History.  It is worth noting that the Bible has a lot of passages about sex slavery, and rape, and other really heinous sexual conduct that is both morally abhorrent and thoroughly illegal.

 

GOP platform subcmte passed the amendment that the bible be allowed to be taught in schools as a historical document.

It is worth noting that the GOP is also pushing back against attempts to reduce rape on college campuses.  Because 1. Obama has made it an issue; and 2. because a large number of conservatives apparently believe that anything other than no (possibly backed up by a gun or other lethal weapon) is not rape — they have tried to define drugging or otherwise incapacitating a victim and then raping her or him as not rape (think Bill Cosby drugged sex accusations as not being rape) and they have tried to erase the definition of statutory rape – of someone being incapable of informed consent because they are a child as rape.  And of course we have the defense of Donald Trump by his attorneys speaking on his behalf that he could not be guilty of raping his first wife, NOT because he didn’t do it, but because a man cannot rape a woman who is his wife (which is and was legally incorrect in NY where Donald and Ivana Trump resided).

 

It is also worth noting that sex trafficking is expected to increase enormously in and around the Republican convention in Ohio.  In 2012 at the GOP convention, prostitution spiked upwards by 50%.  And it is not only sex workers who are part of the conservative convention sex circus, there is a huge increase in attendance at strip clubs and specialty sex clubs (ie BDSM, etc.).

 

Is there sex connected with Democratic conventions? Yes. But the Democrats do not hypocritically put anti-sex or anti-porn or pro-rape planks in their party platform, and Democrats do not try to regulate the private sexual conduct of people in their own bedrooms the way that the conservatives do.  And the Democrats correctly identify which is the larger public health issue in terms of severe injury and death – which is guns, not erotic content by consenting adults.

 

From Newsnet5:

 

CLEVELAND – Both law enforcement and advocacy groups are predicting an increase in sex trafficking during Cleveland’s Republican National Convention in July.

In Cleveland, the Renee Jones Empowerment Center and the Collaborative Initiative to End Human Trafficking are actively working to raise awareness of human trafficking in the weeks leading up to the convention.

“We know that it will occur,” said founder Renee Jones. “There’s no question in my mind.”

So……..IS sex really a public health issue? Are the claims made that pornography is addictive true?  Is it the most serious addiction problem facing public health policy? NO.

 

NO, not according to WebMD or other professional sources.  But it is a premise of conservative evangelicals that porn is a sin,, and therefore it must be eradicated — legislated out of existence, as if punishment somehow is a sufficient deterrent to the strong physical and emotional drives in human beings like sexuality, or using the public health system to combat it.

 

What I find to be the better definition of what is and is not addiction is provided by not only behavior where we have that whole compulsive vs. addictive definition problem, but how the human brain is changed (or in the case of other addictions, damaged ie changed for the worse rather than better). THAT has to be the definition of a public health issue, along with a better quantified indication that the problem is sufficiently widespread – like gun violence or AIDS – to target with public health $$$$.

 

We do not to date have EITHER the determination that porn is genuinely addictive (as distinct from those individuals who are prone to compulsive behavior disorders) or that it affects sufficiently large numbers of people in an adverse way when consumed.  A comparison here would be looking the very large number of people who safely consume alcohol with those relatively few who become alcoholics, in deciding to treat all alcohol consumption as a public health issue because of addiction.

 

From WebMD:

Is Pornography Addictive?

Psychologists debate whether people can have an addiction to pornography.

In November 2004, a panel of experts testified before a Senate subcommittee that a product which millions of Americans consume is dangerously addictive. They were talking about pornography.

The effects of porn on the brain were called “toxic” and compared to cocaine. One psychologist claimed “prolonged exposure to pornography stimulates a preference for depictions of group sex, sadomasochistic practices, and sexual contact with animals.”

…There’s no doubt that some people’s porn consumption gets them in trouble — in the form of maxed-out credit cards, lost sleep, neglected responsibilities, or neglected loved ones. But Weston is one who takes issue with calling problem behavior involving porn an addiction. “‘Compulsive’ is more appropriate,” she tells WebMD.

The difference between describing the behavior as a compulsion or an addiction is subtle, but important.

Erick Janssen, PhD, a researcher at the Kinsey Institute, criticizes the use of the term addiction when talking about porn because he says it merely describes certain people’s behavior as being addiction-like, but treating them as addicts may not help them.

Many people may diagnose themselves as porn addicts after reading popular books on the subject, he says. But mental health professionals have no standard criteria to diagnose porn addiction.

And from PubMed at the US National Library of Medicine, the National Institutes of Health efforts at determining the effects of pornography produced this study from 2011, looking at destructive changes to the human brain as an indication of addiction taking place:

Surg Neurol Int. 2011;2:64. doi: 10.4103/2152-7806.81427. Epub 2011 May 21.

Neuroscience research fails to support claims that excessive pornography consumption causes brain damage.

While there are some behavioral addictions accepted by the various professional mental health organizations, it is worth noting that the American Psychiatric Association has added some of these, notably internet gaming, and gambling, to their Diagnostic system, but NOT porn consumption. While this might change in the future as more SCIENTIFIC information becomes available, the SCIENCE at this point does not support treating Porn as a public health issue.

 

From September of 2015, again from PubMed, etc.

Behav Sci (Basel). 2015 Sep; 5(3): 388–433.

Published online 2015 Sep 18. doi:  10.3390/bs5030388

PMCID: PMC4600144

Neuroscience of Internet Pornography Addiction: A Review and Update

Todd Love,1,* Christian Laier,2, Matthias Brand,2,3, Linda Hatch,4, and Raju Hajela5,6,

Andrew Doan, Academic Editor

The American Psychiatric Association (APA) also acknowledged the phenomenon of behavioral addiction, as can be seen in multiple passages within the DSM-5. For example, the “Substance Related Disorders” chapter was renamed “Substance Use and Addictive Disorders”, a “Non-Substance-Related Disorders” subchapter was created, and perhaps most notably, Gambling Disorder (formerly named Pathological Gambling) was moved into this the newly formed subchapter, due to its “reflecting evidence that gambling behaviors activate reward systems similar to those activated by drugs of abuse and produce some behavioral symptoms that appear comparable to those produced by the substance use disorders” [12]. Further, a diagnosis of Internet Gaming Disorder (IGD) was placed within Section 3—Conditions for Further Study of the DSM-5. In support of this new diagnosis, the APA stated in their press release/fact sheet on IGD:

the APA went on to make the following statement in the Differential Diagnosis section of IGD:

Excessive use of the Internet not involving playing of online games (e.g., excessive use of social media, such as Facebook; viewing pornography online) is not considered analogous to Internet gaming disorder, and future research on other excessive uses of the Internet would need to follow similar guidelines as suggested herein.

The GOP is the do-as-I-say, NOT-as-I-do party, and they are the rabidly anti-science party; as such they should not be elected, should not be given the power and authority, to make ANY such decision about public health issues or priorities.  They don’t do them well, and in too many instances related to sex (like the failed abstinence only sex ed) they don’t deal at all with the realities defined and quantified by science.  Rather the GOP are hypocrites and prudes who do a bad job at effective governance.

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