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Politicians Say Wild Things When Trying To Ban Online Porn

The debate over online porn in India has already featured Nazis and the Taliban. That type of rhetoric isn't as uncommon as you'd think.

By Matt Picht | August 4, 2015

The country that gave us the Kama Sutra and those sex sculptures at Khajuraho has decided to ban Internet porn. 

Indian authorities have directed Internet service providers in the country to block access to over 850 websites. Most of the sites are pretty porn-heavy, but somehow College Humor and 9gag also made the list. Something we should know about those sites, India?

According to The New York Times, the list was at least in part inspired by a lawyer who tried to enact a similar ban in an earlier Supreme Court case. The Times says the lawyer's petition to the Court claimed porn was "worse than Hitler, worse than AIDS ... [and] more catastrophic than nuclear holocaust."

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Not to be outdone, popular film director Ram Gopal Varma compared the porn ban to the "equivalent of what Taliban [and] Isis is doing to freedom." Glad to see everyone's keeping a level head about this. 

This type of rhetoric is pretty inflated, but not by much. Across the world, the debate about online pornography rarely stays civil and elevated.

"When it comes to the Internet ... we've neglected our responsibility to children," David Cameron said.

U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron spearheaded his administration's push to filter Internet porn with a high-minded "think-of-the-children" plea.

But when his government tried to outlaw certain sex acts, he found himself facing a lot of ... backlash.

"I love face-sitting. And I've got to say, who doesn't?" one protester told The Telegraph.

When a minister in Iceland proposed banning Internet porn, his political advisor framed it in terms of human progress. "If we can send a man to the moon, we must be able to tackle porn on the internet." That proposal was quickly shelved, by the way.

Porn bans in the U.S. usually don't make it very far, but in 2012 they made it as far as Rick Santorum's campaign. His campaign website said, "While the Obama Department of Justice seems to favor pornographers over children and families, that will change in the Santorum administration."

He was, of course, ritually pilloried by the media for that.

"They say it could hurt Santorum with the 'every-single-man-in-America' vote," Jimmy Kimmel told viewers.

"Santorum lost the moment he was like, 'I'm going after pornography!' Because a lot of us are like, 'Buddy, that's all I got,'" Kevin Smith told Piers Morgan.

The Indian government insists its current crackdown is only a temporary injunction until they can figure out a better solution. And some officials admit that online porn is almost impossible to regulate — bans are easy to get around and new sites crop up every day. 

This video includes an image from Getty Images.

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