Hotel Porn vs. Government Intervention
08/23/2006: Many traditional values groups–including the Family Research Council and Concerned Women for America–have launched an offensive against hotels that offer pornographic movies to customers. Their initiative involves (1) calling on th Justice Department to investigate hotels to determine if they are breaking any laws and (2) calling attention to a directory of hotels that have pledged not to offer smut.
I support the latter but not the former.
Being a non-television person, I rarely turn on the TV when I travel, and even then just to check the news. Pay-per-view smut just does not register on my Richter Scale. However, in a market economy, anyone who opposes hotels that offer such filth is free to select a hotel that does not.
Unfortunately, hotels offer such movies for a reason: they are a significant source of revenues. Many such hotels are franchises–I know a little about this because my father was an executive for a large hotel company, and he specialized in franchise operations–and the franchise owners often see this as a means of padding their profit margins.
In fact, in the wake of 9/11, many franchise owners would have been loathe to drop–or eager to add–such “amenities”, given that their revenues had declined remarkably.
Complicating matters, any effort to use federal government to harass such establishments will meet with the same successes (nil) that traditional values groups enjoyed in the 1980s and 1990s.
When will traditional values groups–as well-intentioned as they are–understand the futility of using the federal government to enforce arbitrary decency standards?
Fact is, the Internet has rendered most government anti-porn efforts moot. And any hotel that offers free high-speed Internet access is also providing another means for such a customer to access porn that is irrespective of movie access through the hotel.
Don’t get me wrong: I have much respect for the Concerned Women for America. Their membership–which more than doubles that of NOW–is a very respectable bunch, and I have met founder Beverly LaHaye a few times. She’s a sweetie. Anyone who thinks NOW speaks for American women is smoking something I want.
That said, CWA and other like-minded traditional values groups would find better results through preaching and teaching of the Gospel–which provides a positive, Biblical answer to the nihilism, narcissism, and hedonism that drives the proliferation of porn–and the use of free-market dynamics to provide consumers the knowledge of hotels that eschew smut.