June 14, 2018

“America has a long history of episodic moral panics in which self-styled experts, sensationalistic journalists and public officials used emotionally charged language and a barrage of (often distorted) statistics to portray a particular social problem as widespread and urgent….

“The 1980s brought [a] moral panic precipitated by unease about double-income families and the supervision of children by strangers at day-care centers….

“All these scares produced unexpected political alliances. Conservatives concerned with moral purity, law-and-order and Christian values joined forces with feminists worried about victims of sexual trauma and liberals in favor of strong government regulation. When forces from the right and left converge in a moral panic, their causes possess greater appeal to the public. We see this today as women’s rights advocates join the sex-trafficking fight along with the religious right. The result is a runaway train with no real political force left in opposition….”

– From “President Trump signed a new law that aims to fight online sex trafficking. Here’s why that’s bad.” by Sascha Cohen in the Washington Post (April 12)