Read the full article by Elizabeth Nolan Brown at buzzfeed.com

Evidence-free freakouts over erotica are a time-honored tradition, from fears about “pornographic” French novels in the 1890s to consternation over cable-TV porn in the 1980s. Modern history is littered with authoritarians of all stripes convinced that censoring sexual imagery was a necessary social good.

And with each iteration, what porn prohibitionists lack in actual facts to support their doomy view they make up for with warnings that this time it’s different — that whatever new medium exists for producing or distributing porn is uniquely dangerous to the youth and degrading to good women.

For decades now, this supposed difference has been chalked up to the proliferation of online pornography. Though the 1970s and ’80s panic over porn had begun to simmer down by the early ’90s, the advent of the internet fueled its slow burn back into a full-scale boogeyman.

Elizabeth Nolan Brown is an associate editor at Reason magazine, where she covers policy, culture, and current events from a libertarian and feminist perspective. Follow her on Twitter.

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