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Pornography is a public health crisis, but it is a symptom of a larger malais.

Michael Cook, writing at MercatorNet, makes excellent points in "Is pornography a public health crisis?". Clearly we do not live in a "Theology of the Body" informed culture. This article touches on the impact of pornography on marriage, parenting and the desensitization of the normal aversion to violence and exploitation.

If we are willing to look deeper, we will recognize that every aspect of our culture is infected with moral hazard, specifically the devaluing of moral integrity, personal responsibility, patience, prudence and self-sacrifice as well as the corruption of virtues like compassion and solidarity.

The vast majority of people seek shortcuts to gratification. ("Damn the consequences! Full speed ahead!") It explains our debt crisis (government, trade and personal!), our tendency to violence, our substance abuse, our nanny state, our immigration crisis (driven by short term goals of politics and economics), our electoral politics and even much of our contemporary Constitutional jurisprudence!

Recognizing that pornography is a public health crisis is undoubtedly a step forward. Whether it sets us on a path of building a culture of virtue remains to be seen. It will have little or no impact in that direction if it has no more impact on our culture than the demonization of smoking has had. Lest we forget, the very same culture that has demonized tobacco is beginning to excuse marijuana.

More than anything we need to reform our vision of virtue and to recognize and appreciate the interaction of virtue, social fabric, economics, politics and culture.

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