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SHAPIRO: The Problem With ‘Common Good’ Conservatism

By  Ben Shapiro
A feather quill and inkwell sitting on top of the American Declaration of Independence. The quill and inkwell sit next to the scribing of one of the most famous dates in world history, July 4, 1776. A warm golden color scheme dominate the image.
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Over the past two weeks, a fascinating intellectual conflict has broken out on the Right over pornography, of all things. The debate was prompted by a letter from four Republican congresspeople to Attorney General William Barr, calling on Barr to “declare the prosecution of obscene pornography a criminal justice priority.”

This, on its face, should be unobjectionable. There is no fundamental First Amendment right to pornography — it is not merely an aspect of free speech, as the Supreme Court has explicitly ruled, and as Founding-era philosophy makes clear — and there are clear externalities to certain aspects of pornography. So, for example, it’s hard to imagine why any conservative, even a conservative with libertarian leanings, would oppose banning the dissemination of pornography to minors, or the ability of local communities to bar the posting of pornographic images in public spaces, or a legal crackdown on sex trafficking (I’m not aware of many libertarians, even socially liberal libertarians, who oppose any of these things).

Ben Shapiro
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