In Britain, the privately constituted Longford Committee (Amis, Anderson, Beasley-Murray, et al., 1972) reviewed the pornography situation in that nation and concluded that such material was detrimental to public morals. It too dismissed the scientific evidence in favor of protecting the "public good" against forces that might "denigrate(e) and devalue(e) human persons." The officially constituted British (Williams) Committee on Obscenity and Film Censorship, however, in 1979 analyzed the situation and reported (Home Office, 1979): "From everything we know of social attitudes, and have learnt in the course of our enquires, our belief can only be that the role of pornography in influencing the state of society is a minor one. To think anything else . . . is to get the problem of pornography out of proportion (p. 95)." A review report by McKay and Dolff (1984) for the Department of Justice of Canada essentially says similarly: "There is no systematic research evidence available which suggests a causal relationship between pornography and the morality of Canadian society . . . [and none] which suggests that increases in specific forms of deviant behavior, reflected in crime trend statistics (e.g., rape) are causally related to pornography." In Canada, the Fraser Committee in 1985, after a review of the topic concluded the evidence so poorly organized that no consistent body of evidence could be found to condemn pornography (Canada, 1985, pp. 99).
In short, others have imagined, that the greatness of the sin should aggravate the crime. But the fallacy of this opinion will appear on the slightest consideration of the relations between man and man, and between God and man. The relations between man and man are relations of equality. Necessity alone hath produced, from the opposition of private passions and interests, the idea of public utility, which is the foundation of human justice. The other are relations of dependence, between an imperfect creature and his Creator, the most perfect of beings, who has reserved to himself the sole right of being both lawgiver and judge; for he alone can, without injustice, be, at the same time, both one and the other. If he hath decreed eternal punishments for those who disobey his will, shall an insect dare to put himself in the place of divine justice, to pretend to punish for the Almighty, who is himself all-sufficient; who cannot receive impressions of pleasure or pain, and who alone, of all other beings, acts without being acted upon? The degree of sin depends on the malignity of the heart, which is impenetrable to finite being. How then can the degree of sin serve as a standard to determine the degree of crimes? If that were admitted, men may punish when God pardons, and pardon when God condemns; and thus act in opposition to the Supreme Being.
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misfortune, and this very hard law, with which I was so sensibly affected, prompted me to cast my eyes on the criminal code of nations. The humane author of the Essay on Crimes and Punishments, had but too much cause to complain, that the latter frequently exceed the former, and are sometimes detrimental to the state they were intended to serve.
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in criminal cases, have no right to interpret the penal laws, because they are not legislators. They have not received the laws from our ancestors as a domestic tradition, or as the will of a testator, which his heirs and executors are to obey; but they receive them from a society actually existing, or from the sovereign, its representative. Even the authority of the laws is not founded on any pretended obligation, or ancient convention; which must be null, as it cannot bind those who did not exist at the time of its institution; and unjust, as it would reduce men, in the ages following, to a herd of brutes, without any power of judging or acting. The laws receive their force and authority from an oath of fidelity, either tacit or expressed, which living subjects have sworn to their sovereign, in order to restrain the intestine fermentation of the private interests of individuals. From hence springs their true and natural authority. Who then is their lawful interpreter? The sovereign, that is, the representative of society, and not the judge, whose office is only to examine, if a man have or have not, committed an action contrary to the laws.
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It is accepted that the application of the appropriate laws or the social forces at play might not have been consistent over time. Any short term glitch in how the data were volunteered, solicited or recorded, however, should not effect the overall trends. Regardless, it is safe to say that over this prolonged period, interpretations of the definitions of obscenity have been getting less rigid with more material passing as acceptable and entering public awareness while the prosecution of laws relating to rape and sexual assault have been getting tougher. Currently less sexual "license" for sex crimes is accepted by the general Japanese population or by victims than was true 25 years ago. And surely one can not attribute the decrease in murder and nonsexual violent assault to a reluctance to report concomitant with an increase in SEM.