Front Page Titles (by Subject) Pornography - Literature of Liberty, April/June 1978, vol. 1, No. 2
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Pornography - Leonard P. Liggio, Literature of Liberty, April/June 1978, vol. 1, No. 2 
Literature of Liberty: A Review of Contemporary Liberal Thought was published first by the Cato Institute (1978-1979) and later by the Institute for Humane Studies (1980-1982) under the editorial direction of Leonard P. Liggio.
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“Is Pornography Good for You?” Southwestern Journal of Philosophy 7 (1976): 95–118.
Can censorship harm the individual by infringing on autonomy? The thesis proposed is that there should be no statutory restriction on pornographic materials. Pornography may be good for you, but censorship never is.
Censorship may be defined as “any action which seeks to control or exclude from consciousness those ideas and/or feelings considered to be intolerable to the censor, or which the censor judges intolerable for the censee.” Censorship may be conscious or unconscious, its controls administered autonomously (by the person himself) or heteronomously (by others). Only heteronomously imposed censorship can be a matter of concern in formulating public policy.
Leading legal opinions and current public debates confuse obscenity and pornography. Pornography may or may not be obscene; what is essential to pornography is that it be exclusively or primarily sexual in content and effect. Obscenity, by contrast, may or may not be pornographic; what is essential is that it be filthy, grotesque, repulsive to ideals or principles, or to generally accepted notions of what is appropriate. Pornography, obscene or not, ought not be subject to censorship as a matter of public policy.
A variety of considerations support the view that censorship is not 'good for you.' The present law is ambiguous; sometimes it is unenforceable, or sometimes enforced inconsistently and selectively. The enforcement power itself is liable to abuse and corruption.
The distinction between illegality and immorality can support the view that the immorality of any conduct is not an adequate reason to have legal or criminal sanctions against it. Censorship threatens and harms individual rights and minority interests. Further, the belief that pornography is socially harmful is not well-founded. Modern society need not uncritically accept dogmas of the past.
Moreover, censorship is at least an impediment to morality if it is not itself immoral: it infringes on free choice and autonomy, the preconditions for morality.
In arguing for the positive value of pornography, one can adduce its potential to be cathartic, instructive, and informative. Moreover, it can be an art form and a way of knowing. Its explicitness can reveal “the tragic, demonic element in human sexuality.” Although a preoccupation with pornography—the censor's as well as the reader's—can indicate that sexuality is not well-integrated into the total personality, that evil does not belong to pornography per se.