Monday, December 7, 2009

Pernicious Behavior

Moral suasion is a powerful social tool to alter behavior, and a justified one in certain circumstances. Citizens of Abilene, Kansas took up the cause against what many thought was a pernicious new intruder to their town. What evil entity were these people combating? An "adult superstore." From Time:
But Abilene — terminus of the great longhorn cattle drives, boyhood home of Dwight D. Eisenhower — fought back. Some folks anyway. Citizens launched Operation Daniel, named for the biblical prophet who was thrown into a lion's den but somehow tamed the beasts. As lonely truckers pulled into the parking lot, protesters met them waving signs that threatened, "Think Again or We Report." They vowed to send the tag numbers of porn-purchasing drivers to corporate employers. Wal-Mart soon put out the word to its drivers to steer clear.
They used intimidation to prevent private individuals from purchasing legal products like sex toys, adult videos, and "sheer little costumes." If you want to see pure, naked hatred for humanity, look to people who think "there is a link between pornography and fantasy-driven criminal behavior."

The article focuses on a legal battle over commercial speech, which the store ended up winning (for now). But what jumped out at me was the mentality that thinks porn (read: sexuality) leads to "the rape of a child." Perhaps I have been naive, but how is it possible that people really believe this? Frightening.