(1) According to Mackinnon, what is the difference between obscenity and pornography?
According to MacKinnon, obscenity is a moral issue, whereas pornography is political issue. MacKinnon claims that obscenity is “ideational and abstract” and “probably does little harm,” whereas pornography is “concrete and substantive” and “integral to attitudes and behaviors of violence and discrimination” against women. According to MacKinnon, obscenity deals with the legality of the depiction or portrayal of sex, whereas pornography deals with the representation of women as sex objects as natural.
(2) Who has the most persuasive argument: Dworkin or Mackinnon? Explain.
Dworkin has the most persuasive argument. As loathsome as the majority may find pornography, and as virulent as its production and consumption may be, this does not justify the violation of the right of the minority to the freedom of speech and of the press guaranteed by the Constitution. While I include myself in the majority who find pornography loathsome, I am nevertheless bound to defend the freedom of the minority who do not. I contend, along with with Ayn Rand, that “in the transition to statism, every infringement of human rights has begun with the suppression of a given right’s least attractive practitioners. In this case, the disgusting nature of the offenders makes it a good test of one’s loyalty to a principle” (“Censorship” 173).