It is my contention that the review board should give ratings only to provide information to parents and the general viewing public, not to censor which is its consequence with the existence of the NC-17 rating. If we want the limits of what people can experience in a cinema or in their homes to be only what is sought after, then the current censorship, not by the government, but by the mentality of all being “ad-friendly” and inoffensive must be done away with.
Though I cannot demonstrate that the Libertarian premises are the correct ones, it is obvious to all that if we are to value human choice over the potential welfare of the public then we must welcome all art and expression, even what is offensive to us.
The argument of protecting children is non-effective, because this is what the ‘R’ rating should be. While the ‘R’ rating is supposed to be a stern warning to prevent children from seeing the film, the NC-17 rating is a stern warning to movie makers that their art will not make money or be widely distributed, not from lack of audience but lack of acceptance in movie theaters. Legally a parent can take a child to an ‘R’ rated film which should be done away with both to protect the child from what is supposedly so harmful but also to protect the movie-going public from the invalid argument that we should have a NC-17 rating to protect children from what they should not see.
The rating ‘R’ is in itself usually undesirable even in many horror movies because it means less profits for the movie studio. And this is partly unavoidable as long as humans continue making movies with the incentive of making money, and we continue to deem it unsavory or undesirable that a child see an ‘R’ rated film. It is a reasonable sacrifice we make for the sake of children. But to prevent art to be seen by any eyes in an ineffective attempt to protect children is what is inexcusable and is what the NC-17 causes.
The documentary This Film is Not Yet Rated is an excellent documentary to watch if you’re interested in this topic.