Watch Out: Cincinnati Native J.D. Vance Is Coming for Your Porn

"I think the combination of porn and abortion have basically created a really lonely, isolated generation."

click to enlarge J.D. Vance speaks during the Ohio Republican Senate debate on March 28, 2022. - PHOTO: YOUTUBE SCREENSHOT, OHIO DEBATE COMMISSION
photo: YouTube screenshot, Ohio Debate Commission
J.D. Vance speaks during the Ohio Republican Senate debate on March 28, 2022.
Ohio Republican Senate candidate and Middletown native J.D. Vance is out with the latest and bravest plank in his Conservative Family Values platform: banning porn.

It remains to be seen whether or not doing so will remain the private desire of a man for whom the disintegration of the nuclear family and the declining (white) birth rates are national emergencies — a man who, in recent days, attributed the horrific mass shooting in Uvalde, Texas, not to easily accessible assault rifles but to fatherlessness — or an actual advanceable policy priority. Either way, it should give pause to Vance's base of Trump cultists and ethno-fascist tech bros, seeing as many of them are likely to be among the 40 million U.S. adults who visit pornographic websites regularly.

It was Liz Skalka of HuffPost who recently unearthed the 2021 interview with Vance by Crisis Magazine, a Catholic organ for those militantly opposed to "fashionable secular dogmas." Vance admitted in that venue that his personal preference would be to ban porn "outright."

"I think the combination of porn [and] abortion have basically created a really lonely, isolated generation that isn’t getting married, they’re not having families, and they’re actually not even totally sure how to interact with each other," he said.

Let the record reflect that Vance likely doesn't believe anything he says. He is a bestselling memoirist and Yale Law School alumnus whose candidacy has been bought and engineered in a petri dish by venture capitalist Peter Thiel. Literally the only reason he won the Republican primary is because Trump endorsed him at the 11th hour and resuscitated his gasping campaign
Vance's stated wish for a porn ban is, in any case, a step beyond other Republicans, who have periodically made consternation about pornography part of their public personas, presumably to appeal to older and more devout constituencies (It's certainly a far cry from Donald Trump himself). The GOP even declared porn a "public health crisis" in 2016.

Per Skalka, though, porn regulation has long been a "thorny subject" for the GOP and its libertarian wing, as they are "torn on whether tamping it down would undermine individual freedoms."

Vance evidently is content to err on the side of undermining freedoms: "We made a political choice that the freedom to consume pornography was more important than the public goods, like marriage and family and happiness,” he said at a 2019 conservative conference. “We can’t ignore the fact that we made that choice and we shouldn’t shy away from the fact that we can make new choices in the future."

No such logic occurred to Vance on issues like masking during the height of the coronavirus pandemic
Vance's ultimate aim seems to be getting as many honest, God-fearing white people to have as much sex as possible in an unprotected way and then compelling women to carry their pregnancies to term, all in an effort to outnumber migrants at the border. The bearded porn hunter is ready and willing to ban whatever it takes in order to achieve these ends.

Be on your guard, gamers. Video games could be next!

For anyone taking this shit seriously, Vance's bleak view that pornography consumption leads to all manner of individual and societal decay has not been borne out by recent research. Though the pandemic did occasion a huge uptick in porn usage, researchers at Ohio's own Bowling Green State University found no evidence that it caused corresponding hikes in "problematic behaviors, such as addictive, compulsive, risky, or unhealthy activities. They also uncovered no signs that depression or anxiety levels rose among avid porn users." 
In November, Vance will take on Democrat Tim Ryan in the general election. A poll among likely Ohio voters released Wednesday by the nonprofit Innovation Ohio found that in a theoretical head-to-head matchup between the two, Ryan leads Vance 43% to 41%.

The poll was conducted April 25-29, directly before the May 3 primary election, and the results fell within a 2.5% margin of error, so the contest should, for the moment, still be considered a dead heat.

As of June 10, Vance continues to prominently display "endorsed by Donald Trump" graphics on his social media accounts even as the televised testimonies about the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol continue to strongly suggest that Trump played a large role in the deadly insurrection.

A version of this story originally was published by CityBeat sister newspaper Cleveland Scene.

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