Utah

Home » Utah

Utah Resolution Claims Pornography is a ‘Health Crisis’ — Lawmakers Want to Handle it Like Tobacco

in First Amendment, Liberator Online, News You Can Use, Personal Liberty by Alice Salles Comments are off

Utah Resolution Claims Pornography is a ‘Health Crisis’ — Lawmakers Want to Handle it Like Tobacco

This article was featured in our weekly newsletter, the Liberator Online. To receive it in your inbox, sign up here.

Small government and libertarian advocates often like to poke fun at the nanny state. Now, it just got easier. According to Fox News, the Utah House of Representatives has just passed a resolution that declares pornography a “public health crisis.” The resolution is causing quite the uproar, especially among people who are concerned about the potential ramifications.

CigarettesAccording to S.C.R. 9, “pornography is a public health hazard leading to a broad spectrum of individual and public health impacts and social harms.” Representatives who authored the resolution state in the document that there’s a “need for education, prevention, research, and policy change at the community and societal level,” which must address the “pornography epidemic that is harming the citizens of Utah and the nation.”

While the resolution is nonbinding and is incapable of effectively banning the production or consumption of pornographic material, the fact lawmakers came together to bring this to light seems somewhat unsavory. Especially when you consider the limited role the legislature should have in the private lives of citizens.

“Society must see this evil like the epidemic it is,” said Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, a supporter of the resolution and member of the LDS Church’s Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. “We do need to see this [pornography] like avian flu, cholera, diphtheria or polio, … It needs to be eradicated.”

To Sen. Todd Weiler, a sponsor of the resolution, pornography is “a serious issue.” To the legislator, we must not “pretend that this has no impact on our values and on our society and culture.”

His goal with this resolution is “to start a national movement to do the same thing with pornography—not to ban it, but to protect our children from it.” Seeing Internet providers change their policies in order to adopt an opt-in solution to the pornography issue—much like Great Britain providers already do due to government pressure—is one of the ideas Sen. Weisler would like to see implemented in America. So shouldn’t this pressure come from consumers instead?

While claiming pornography is a public health crisis may seem odd to many of our readers, this isn’t the first time prominent groups make such claims.

In November of 2015, the US Bishops’ Conference condemned the damage of pornograpy during the group’s Fall General Assembly, calling it a public health crisis. While leaders of the Catholic church appear to agree with Sen. Weiler in character, their actions were never interpreted as an effort that could lead to a legal ban or restriction.

According to an article on Utah Political Capitol, what Utah lawmakers may be trying to do in the long run is to restrict pronography through the development of policies that would make pornographic material less accessible to consumers. In other words, handle pornography the same way we handle other “vices.”

“We recognized as a nation a couple of decades ago that tobacco was addictive and it was harmful,” Sen. Weiler told the House Health and Human Services Committee last week. “We didn’t ban tobacco. What we did instead was we changed our approach in order to try to protect children from tobacco,” an effort that Weiler wants to repeat by urging lawmakers to deal with “pornography … more like tobacco and alcohol.”

According to Heartland Institute, “sin taxes” and other efforts to discourage individuals from consuming products deemed “harmful” are discriminatory, and often represent a disproportionate burden to lower- and middle-income people. If Utah decides to take that path, effectively applying “sin taxes” to pornography, history shows us that consumers will end up relying more on the black market for their needs.

Is that an effective way to keep our children away from products deemed “unhealthy?”

How He Did It: Two Hundred New Libertarian Students Recruited — in One Semester

in Communicating Liberty, Liberator Online by Sharon Harris Comments are off

(From the President’s Corner section in Volume 19, No. 12 of the Liberator Online. Subscribe here!)

Michael Melendez and OPH at LDS Business College

I was delighted to get this email from Michael Melendez, Young Americans for Liberty State Chair in Utah:

In one semester, I recruited more than 200 students on campuses all over the state of Utah.

There is no tool more effective for a campus liberty activist than the Operation Politically Homeless (OPH) kit.

I just ordered another OPH kit. Thank you!

Thank you, Michael!

I had the pleasure of meeting Michael at the November 2013 Utah Student Liberty Forum, where I conducted a libertarian communication workshop. Currently a student at Brigham Young University (BYU), Michael has been active locally with Campaign for Liberty since 2009. He was chief-of-staff for Senator Howard Stephenson in the Utah State Senate during the 2014 legislative session. Michael founded a Young Americans for Liberty (YAL) chapter at BYU in 2011 and was made a YAL chair for the state of Utah in January of 2013. He also served as a Campus Coordinator for Students For Liberty (SFL) during the 2013-2014 school year. Whew!

Michael is a great example of the new generation of libertarian activists who are making liberty once again a burning issue in American politics.

And — as his quote indicates — he’s using the Advocates’ OPH to find hundreds more young people to join in this great crusade.

OPH is the Advocates’ acclaimed “event in a kit” that enables libertarian groups to quickly and efficiently discover dozens or even hundreds of libertarian-leaning people in their communities or on their campuses — and get their contact information and sign them up!

William Jergins opening minds with OPH at Southern Utah UniversityOPH is one of the great success stories of the libertarian movement. Hundreds of thousands of people have encountered the ideas of liberty through OPH. And millions more people are out there, just waiting for someone — maybe you? — to introduce them to libertarianism.

OPH works like magic. Wherever people are gathered, OPH will attract them. It turns an ordinary (yawn) ho-hum outreach booth into a crowd-drawing fun event! Bonus: it’s fun!

FREE OPH KITS for libertarian student groups: The Advocates is giving OPH outreach kits free to student libertarian groups. All we ask is that you use them at least three times during the next year and send us photos documenting your OPH activity. OPH normally sells for $50.00 plus shipping. Learn how campus libertarian groups are doubling and tripling their membership with OPH here.

Right now is a great time to do OPH! As students return to school, as freshman begin exploring ideas and organizations on campus, use OPH to open their minds to liberty and welcome them to your campus liberty organization.

Could your libertarian group benefit from dozens — or even hundreds — of new sign-ups? How much stronger would the liberty movement be if hundreds of OPHs were conducted across America this year — discovering thousands of eager new libertarian activists, supporters, donors and voters?

It’s up to you! Start now by learning more about OPH!