Americans may paint themselves in increasingly bright shades of red and blue, but new research finds one thing that varies little across the nation: the liking for online pornography.
A new nationwide study of anonymised credit-card receipts from a major online adult entertainment provider finds little variation in consumption between states.
"When it comes to adult entertainment, it seems people are more the same than different," says Benjamin Edelman at Harvard Business School.
However, there are some trends to be seen in the data. Those states that do consume the most porn tend to be more conservative and religious than states with lower levels of consumption, the study finds.
OK, here's the issue with this.
It's not about moral hypocrisy. People have confessed one faith while worshipping at the altar of others for millennia.
It's about economic hypocrisy. I get the sense that conservatives would like porn to be kept under the covers, errrr, so to speak, in order to monopolize the market on it.
If we lived in a truly free market enterprise society, then porn would likely be the second largest business, right after alcohol and other narcotics (I'm including cigarettes).
Period. Look at, even as tightly regulated as those markets are, how much is spent in America alone.
Porn could be the stimulus package, errrrrrrr, so to speak, that would help America recover its economy.
So what really keeps porn off the free market? Morals?
We send soldiers overseas to kill for us, yet the Bible tells us not to kill, but nothing about looking at naked men or women.
We open shops and businesses seven days a week (mostly) even though the Bible says to keep the Sabbath holy.
Indeed, about the only two outright bans on any sexuality in the Bible are the story of Onan's masturbation and the commandment that states, "Thou shalt not commit adultery," and even that was less a moral statement than a statement not to screw around with your neighbor's wife (a social commentary).
So how is it on the one hand, conservatives can claim moral higher ground in preventing the distribution of pornography, and on the other hand, utilize it so dramatically?
Errr, so to speak.
The only logical reason I can come up with, errrr, so to speak, is to monopolize the market on it, to prevent those who might limit the supply conservatives have enjoyed from obtaining it.
You know, teenagers.
Which brings up an entire other can of worms regarding the attitudes of this nation towards horny teenagers and sex.
But that, I'm afraid, is probably best left to another column. Or to Bristol Palin.