Scholar hounded over pederasty studies

No fancy philosophical focus on Foucault and his ilk this time, folks. No festive season reflections on the passing year and decade either.
Christmas is usually slow for news because the politicians and the other movers and shakers who make the headlines are at home with their feet up just like the rest of us, somnolently finishing off the mince pies.
There is seldom any let up in bad news for us heretics, though, and this month has seen a particularly shocking story unfolding in America. What makes it so alarming is that it is not a sex scandal. There is no Kevin Spacey or Jeffrey Epstein in this story.
The truly appalling news is that a man of utterly unblemished character, a distinguished intellectual, a professor, finds himself being hounded for his scholarship on pederasty in ancient Greece and for questioning whether the age of consent needs to be as high as 18, which it is in many of the states in the USA. Worse still, he is not being given the robust support by his university that should be expected. Every reputable institution of learning knows the value of academic freedom; when such places begin to waver in defence of unfettered scholarship, we have to fear the direction society as a whole is taking.
I refer to the University of Texas, Austin, and to Thomas K Hubbard, who is a professor of classics there, is 63 years of age, and ought to be able to look forward to an honour-garlanded retirement after a couple more years. Trouble kicked off publicly early this month when the city’s main newspaper, the Austin American-Statesman reported that following protests against professors “with histories of sexual misconduct”, a group of students was calling for Hubbard’s removal for allegedly “promoting harmful ideas about the age of consent and sexual relations with minors”.
The story was taken up by other papers, including, online, The Daily Beast, and later the Chronicle of Higher Education. The latter, in a report about a week after the Statesman one, signalled an ugly atmosphere, with worrying hints of a lynch mob mentality. Protesters had massed outside the professor’s home, banging on the door, shouting that he was a predator.
A rabble-rousing journal called, appropriately enough, Incendiary News, would later report that “He needed multiple officers to get away from the wrath of the students” and that one student, giving a speech, said “Pedophilia apologists like you deserve to be confronted and to feel afraid! We will make you scared to teach, scared to leave your home, scared to even exist in the City of Austin!” The same paper featured a photo of masked vigilantes with a banner and placards used in the protest, calling Hubbard a “pedophile” and “perv”. Video footage was posted, too, in which the mob are heard chanting their abuse. In a second video clip, Hubbard was filmed as the police escorted him away to safety.Graffiti were also reportedly seen daubed on a wall in the area reading “Pedo Hubbard, watch your back”. Other sources have reported that Hubbard’s house was likewise vandalised with hostile messages sprayed in red paint, and bricks may have been thrown at the dwelling.

Masked vigilantes in a hostile act of trespass outside Prof. Hubbard’s home

It might be thought that the university would be falling over itself to see such intimidation against a member of their staff brought swiftly to a halt. They could have ordered a thorough investigation of any suspected instigators among the student population and insisted the police conduct their own determined probe into the vigilantism, which clearly went far beyond legitimate peaceful demonstration.
But no, although the police have said they are indeed looking into what happened, right from the outset the university set about washing its hands of its responsibilities. In the initial Statesman story, University of Texas spokeswoman Shilpa Bakre was quoted as saying “The university condemns ideas or world views that exploit or harm individuals”, as though accepting that Hubbard’s “ideas or world views” do indeed “exploit or harm” anyone. While conceding that the First Amendment to the US Constitution protects “even offensive ideas”, there was no reported enthusiasm for this law by the university itself, nor any defence of the need for academic freedom in order for scholarship to thrive. This was before the vandalism and intimidation at Hubbard’s home; but the university’s attitude only went from bad to worse afterwards, notably as expressed in a letter to the Dallas Morning News by the Austin President of the University, Gregory L. Fenves.
This letter followed a lengthy editorial in that paper. Saying they wanted to know for themselves whether Hubbard’s position was in line with the protesters’ claims, they read one of his articles, titled “Sexual Consent and the Adolescent Male, or What Can We Learn From the Greeks” in a 2010 edition of Boyhood Studies (then called Thymos: Journal of Boyhood Studies). They wrote:

What Hubbard learned from the Greeks, apparently, is that society really needs to reconsider age-of-consent laws that are intended to protect children from sexual predators. Ancient Greece, he argues, showed us that “where age-discrepant relationships are commonplace and positively reinforced, they cause little or no long-term harm to the younger partner and often confer great benefit,” he writes.
That’s not all. The problem of boys without fathers in their lives might well be resolved by having men have sex with those boys, he writes. “Pederastic intimacy evolved in part as a social mechanism for addressing it.” He goes on to write, “contemporary U.S. culture has not compensated for the magnitude of the problem.”
No, thankfully, contemporary U.S. culture has not gone the way of the Greeks.

The editorial goes on to claim, “No one is more eager to defend academic freedom than we are.” But they have an odd way of showing it. They say, “Should Hubbard wish to explore his considerations at some university, he should be able to do so. But Texas taxpayers shouldn’t be on the hook for supporting him while he does…” While stopping short of saying he should be sacked, the editorial adds:

Instead, we urge students to do what they are doing: Stand up against this. Make your voice heard. And as important, make your wallet heard. Let Hubbard’s classrooms be empty. Let his papers go unread. And let the school know with letters and through any reviews of your education experience that this is unacceptable. Let Hubbard’s ideas, wrong and terrible and unlearned, be first challenged and defeated and finally neglected and forgotten.

Echoing this narrow philistinism, the follow-up letter from Fenves published the next day also sided with the protesting students, saying “I understand their concerns about his ideas. I personally find them outrageous.” He too claimed to support academic freedom but then hinted that he thought Hubbard might have crossed a line by teaching controversial matter that had no relation to the subject he had been assigned to teach. He wrote that:

…we are aware of the concerns and complaints about those classes this semester. We have been and are reviewing them and will take appropriate action, within the bounds of academic freedom and the constitutionally protected right to free speech.

For the university, then, it seems investigating Hubbard’s classes is more important than probing the intimidation used against him.
As for what Hubbard has been thinking and feeling about all this, we can get a pretty good idea, from two important sources, the Chronicle of Higher Education article and also his emails to psychology professor J Michael Bailey’s online academic forum, where Hubbard and I are both members.
The Chronicle report took up the theme that NAMBLA has in the past given publicity to Hubbard’s work:

His papers have been promoted and distributed by the North American Man/Boy Love Association, or NAMBLA, a group that advocates for the legalization of pedophilia. NAMBLA has been dormant in recent years, and Hubbard has said he does not endorse NAMBLA’s radicalism or criminal activity and does not have “personal enthusiasm for sex with teenagers.”
“If people in these groups support me, it may be because I am one of the few academics who is willing to listen to them and learn about their motivations, instead of demonizing them as incurable monsters,” Hubbard wrote in an email. “How can one do scholarship on pederasty or sex offending if one doesn’t talk to pederasts and sex offenders?”

As for Bailey’s forum, Hubbard’s approach to that group enabled him to rally support from a number of the world’s most reputable scientists and other scholars working in fields relating to sexuality and sexual ethics. Together, they signed a letter to go to the Dallas Morning News as a response to the papers’ editorial and the university president’s letter. The letter referred to Hubbard’s status as an accomplished classical historian, whose work had been recognized by a prestigious Guggenheim award.
Hubbard’s Guggenheim citation in 2017 directly commended his work on “a particularly sensitive and controversial aspect of Greco-Roman culture, namely the widespread practice of homosexual pederasty”.
On 21 December, Hubbard emailed Bailey’s forum. He said the forum’s letter had not yet been published, nor had another one from the distinguished historian and theorist of sexuality Prof. David M. Halperin. However, wrote Hubbard:

…they did publish this craven letter from our University President, in which he claims to be “personally outraged” by my views. I seriously doubt that he has actually read my publications or could understand them if he had (he is a civil engineer). He has made no statement whatever about the mob violence at my house.
I have not been officially informed by the University of the nature of their “investigation” of me or been asked to provide any course materials. This letter to the Dallas paper is the first I have heard about it, which violates all kinds of due process. One cannot discuss ancient Greece or Rome without commenting on the differing social constructions of sexuality in those cultures.
The implication in his letter that I have introduced “irrelevant” material or personal advocacy into my courses is utterly false and threatens academic freedom fundamentally.

So far, I have been referring to Prof. Hubbard impersonally; but long-time followers of Heretic TOC may recall that he has been mentioned a few times here and that we are acquainted. We met once, a few years ago, at a classics conference in Edinburgh and he kindly gave a pre-publication endorsement for my book Michael Jackson’s Dangerous Liaisons. I am familiar with some of his work and find much to admire both in his scholarship and his steadfast outspokenness and opposition to censorship. The latter was very much on display in his book Censoring Sex Research: The Debate over Male Intergenerational Relations, co-edited with historian Beert Verstraete. Published in 2013, this book finally allowed a long-censored 90-page essay by Bruce Rind, another unjustly attacked academic, to see the light of day. As Hubbard put it in his introduction:

Dr Rind contextualizes his earlier analyses of psychological data through an aggressively interdisciplinary approach, showing that his earlier finding that male intergenerational relationships are usually not harmful is not as surprising or implausible as critics claim.

Incidentally, I just recently chanced upon a very well informed and deep – if somewhat nihilistic – review of this book by Diederik Janssen.
As for what the future holds for Tom Hubbard, who knows? He knows that the demonstrators constitute only a tiny minority of trouble makers and that many other students are interested in attending his classes. Whether they will feel intimidated and will stay away, only time will tell. We can only hope that they, and Tom himself, will feel able to hang in there.
 
OUR MAN BUMPS INTO GRETA THUNBERG
A regular follower of this blog had an interesting chance encounter with Greta Thunberg recently, on a train passing south to north right through Germany and onwards to the young climate change activist’s native Sweden.
It was a fraught journey, with a train breakdown, much chaos, and a three-hours-late arrival in Malmö, in the middle of the night.
Long before that late arrival, waiting on a platform for a replacement train around lunch-time, Heretic TOC’s Europe Correspondent (as I will think of him from now on!) saw “a rather attractive girl of (I thought) about 11, slight in build”. The thought occurred to him that “if she were just a little older and larger” she could even be Greta Thunberg.
Greta will be 17 on her birthday this Friday, but still famously has the appearance of quite a young child.
Two or three changes of train later, our correspondent continues, on the way into Denmark, he “literally bumped into this girl” when they both needed to board another train for the onward journey. He said he thought he recognised her; her brief response confirmed he was right. They ended up sitting quite near to each other, “although she was surrounded by her adult keepers”. Our correspondent continues:

I exchanged one or two bits of small talk with her “keepers”, one of whom was her dad, but quickly understood that Greta herself was incredibly tired and wanted little more than to sleep. It was a first class carriage, with very few passengers, so she could and did stretch out and sleep.
She literally looked no more than a very slender 11-year-old, behaving as any 11-year-old would after a long and tiring train journey. She asked to sit away from the aisle “so that people don’t come up to me and want to talk”. She woke up about 20 minutes before another change of trains, and asked tetchily if she could sleep some more.
Her “keepers” talked of this and that, for example of how if the Madrid summit didn’t achieve anything it would just be a climate-negative in that 3000 delegates had been flown in.
It all got me thinking of the accusations you hear, of how Greta has just been manipulated by adults around her. Seeing her revert to a “normal”, tired, apparently 11-year-old, after a long train trip, did nothing to dispel that. And her expression later, when getting off the train, anxiously looking to see if there was yet another reception committee to deal with, almost made me think she was on the point of crisis. Absolutely in need of a long rest.
Later I saw she’d posted a picture of herself sitting on the floor of “an overcrowded German train”. This has turned into her “Corbyn moment”, because shortly afterwards the German Railways (DB) issued a curt tweet saying that she could have shown her appreciation to the staff in her first class carriage that had efficiently seen to her needs!

What our correspondent does not tell us here – although he did later – is that Greta’s post had not been “fake news”, as those keen to discredit her would be quick to allege, just as Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn’s many enemies had done in his very similar case. She really had been on an overcrowded train that day and really had found herself with nowhere to sit but the floor, as journalists travelling on the same train confirmed. But that was one of the earlier trains in the sequence, before Deutsche Bahn, the German railway company, sprung into action to help their VIP passenger – and limit the damage to their reputation caused by the breakdown.
That apart, we are left with a more interesting question. Is Greta Thunberg really an exploited child? Or an heroically committed young woman?
 
A WARRIOR RIDES TO HIS VALHALLA
In July, I reported the death of no fewer than three prominent heretical activists with whom I was well acquainted, within the space of less than six months. And now, still within the same calendar year, I need to mention another sad departure.
Dr Nigel Leigh Oldfield, died on 21 November, aged 59. Along with about a dozen other mourners, mostly relatives, I attended his funeral in a private ceremony at Rawdon Crematorium, Leeds, just before Christmas, on 23 December.
The ceremony had to be private for security reasons. There could have been, if not a riot, then serious disruption and unpleasantness. That is because Nigel, or Leigh as he was called by those who knew him, had been a courageously defiant figure in the face of anti-paedophilic vigilantism in his local area (ominously, that “V” word seems to be rather prominent in more than one of today’s blog items).
Heretic TOC ran a piece about him in 2015 titled Hail, brave warrior, Nigel the Noble! It will be plain enough from that article as to why he attracted vigilante ire and why I found his response admirable.
Less clear, though, was the downside of his personality that played a large part in arguably making himself his own worst enemy – even with so many others – leading to his death at an early age by modern standards.
He had done very well to conquer difficulties in his early life, taking a doctorate in chemistry at Nottingham University; and, as a teacher, he distinguished himself sufficiently to gain a post as a head of department at a big comprehensive school in Buxton, Derbyshire.
But he was depressive. And he drank heavily. Common problems, both, for those of us who are Kind in an unkind society. He fell afoul of the law. He lost his job and his livelihood. He went downhill, from bad to worse, despite the amazingly loving and loyal support of an improbable partner in his final years – that, at least, is an inspirational story; but now is not the right time for its telling.
 

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[…] Sayers. And I stick with Sweden for my two other nominations. The man I dubbed Heretic TOC’s “Europe Correspondent” after he told us about his encounter some time ago with Greta Thunberg, has been keeping up the […]

eqfoundation

Nigel will be sorely missed…In fact, he has been for some time.
He’s easily been out of the activist scene for a good year, now.
I used to interweave with his activities on Twitter, very frequently…and consider both him and his significant other to be a friend.
This probably seems totally inappropriate, but…
I created Nigel as a character in my Magnificent Wrestling Federation…
I should probably inform you, that you and Nigel won the MWF tag team championship on December 25th, 2019, at the Santa’s Hurt-Shop event, by defeating Shota Con and Loli Con…and you’ve successfully defended several times, since.
Congratulations. 😉
https://youtu.be/CJUxuCDM0Cw?t=400
Viamund, after defeating Pedo Bear some time back, has been the reigning federation champion.

eqfoundation

They had a nice run as champions…and they may return to the top.
Baby faces get a shot at the belts, even when held by other Baby faces. 🙂
And yes, she likes it.

Rianmo

There is a book in Spanish, “El mito de la homosexualidad en la antigua Grecia” by Eduardo Velasco, whose author maintains that the tolerance of pederasty in ancient Greece is a myth without real basis created and spread by homosexual authors during the last century and a half. I’d like to know if you know about this subject, Tom, and what you think about it.

Rianmno

Thank you, Tom.

Andrew Meier

I can see why an appeal on the basis of lack of definitional clarity would be deemed inadmissible. The article to which you linked suggests that the members of the jury were instructed to ignore context, which would reinforce the idea that only indecency as an inherent quality of the imagery mattered.
Your case came in the same year as R v Oliver (the case in which the SAP scale was formulated). Was that used in your trial?
The adverse inference phenomenon stems from the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994 and applies to the aspect of the warning given by the police that runs: ‘it may harm your defence if you do not mention when questioned something which you later rely on in court’. It’s not so relevant to anything not mentioned either during police questioning or subsequently in court. But I can see why not being able to explain why you thought the images were not indecent would have impacted on the outcome of your case, particularly as (as you say) it wasn’t a strict liability offence that you were being charged with. I’m sure your barrister adequately discussed the pros and cons with you, but in your case I’d say you were damned if you did and damned if you didn’t. The prosecution certainly wouldn’t have allowed you to put a positive spin on your past campaigning if you’d been cross-examined.
The privilege against self-incrimination was hard-won, but I’m not convinced that adverse inference marks a significant reversal of or impingement on that privilege. You’re right that the Miranda warning in the US hasn’t been altered along similar lines.
On the McCormack case, I’m not familiar with the specifics, but I’ve learned not to read too much into CP offences. Dysphemism and misrepresentation abound. The connotative range and scope for interpretation of a term like ‘indecent’ is vast and (as you say) there’s no guidance, and sometimes no logic. A man could engage in sadistic sex with a consenting 16-year-old girl, yet not possess nude images of a girl one year older. One can watch (and, if one chooses, masturbate to) the film ‘Three Guys, One Hammer’ with impunity, yet not view images of 12-year-old girls in bikinis because, it’s argued, this is detrimental to the public morals. Meanwhile, of course, young girls posting hundreds of photos of themselves in skimpy bikinis has become the norm on Instagram.

galileo1439

Whenever there’s a jury trial involved there should be jury nullification.

Explorer

[This comment was initially intended to be a response to the Christian’s comment “Jan 04, 2020 @ 18:31:03”, posted above the comment section to avoid “the comment shrinking effect”. Yet, as you can see, it grew into a full-blown essay of its own, and I would be really glad to see everyone’s responses to it!]
1. POSSESSION OF THE CULTURAL POWER AS THE “MAINSTREAM – FRINGE” SEPARATOR
There are a lot of things that you misunderstand about the “mainstream-fringe” dynamics, Christian. Let me give you a short description of what is a “mainstream”, what is a “fringe” and what separates them – with some examples to explain the things better.
For a view to be classified as a “fringe” one, it is not necessary for it to be defended only by a small minority of population. To the contrary: no matter how paradoxical it may initially sound, most “fringe” positions are supported by the majority of the general populace. So, Christian, your – undoubtedly factually correct – statement, that about a half of the American population reject the catastrophic anthropogenic global warming (CAGW) explanatory model, is simply irrelevant for the case of its positioning of these people’s view on the “mainstream – fringe” scale. There are a lot of other similar examples: say, more than a half of the American population thinks that there is an intelligent design behind the evolution, and the combination of random mutation and natural selection (and time) is not enough to explain it; however, this view is clearly “fringe”. Much more than a half of the population of any developed Western country, European countries included, accepts the objective existence of parapsychological phenomena like telepathy; nonetheless, this position is also “fringe”. A sizable portion of a population – maybe not majority, but quite a notable part for sure – express doubts about the safety and efficacy of some vaccines, and / or some specific contents of a vaccination schedule, yet such doubts are more than just “fringe” – they are much further from the “mainstream” on the “mainstream – fringe” scale than any of the topics are mentioned previously; “fringe of the fringe”, to call it so.
So, what makes all these topics “fringe”, despite the massive support for any of them? The fact that they dare to defy the positions supported by the hierarchical power – to be precise, by the cultural hierarchical power, one of its three forms (with political and economic hierarchical powers being the other two).
What is a cultural power? It is a hierarchical power, tightly held by a small, yet very active and highly vocal, entitled minority, to define “(un)reality”, “(im)possibility” and “(in)evitablity” themselves – and then to try to force this definition, oftentimes in a forceful manner, on a majority of non-entitled people who, unlike the aforementioned minority, held small-to-zero cultural power, either individually or collectively. This power is not something to be jocular or dismissive about; sometimes it can be more forceful – and therefore more dangerous, damaging and devastative – than the political and economic powers combined. By forcing people to accept the particular dubious and controvertible notions concerning what is “real” and what is “unreal”, what is “possible” and what is “impossible”, what is “evitable” and what is “inevitable”, as if they were indubitable and incontrovertible, the cultural enforcers can control not just their behavior – as political and economic powers are also quite capable of doing – but their very thoughts, and, by extension and to some degree, even their direct experience. And, if some people can resist and reject the attempts of being controlled in such a way – and such people are always present – the cultural power can easily denigrate, defame and dehumanise them, thus also turning them into an easy target for repressive acts by the political and economic powers as well – and, what is most horrible, by large masses of powerless people, who accepted the culturally enforced version of “reality” as their own and are willing to enjoy their own small yet intoxicating drop of illusive “powerfulness” by persecuting, vigilant-style, someone who even more powerless than them – the counter-cultural rebels.
What is the minority that is entitled with a cultural power? In different societies, different minorities claimed the right to define “reality”; but in modern Western society, the near-monopoly of “reality-defining” cultural enforcement is granted to the institutionalised academia. The academicians as power-wielders are, however, are not perfectly monolithic; they are separated in two groups, that are, simultaneously, mutually connected and dependent, since they share the same academic institutional space, yet also mutually competitive and adversarial, since they have to distribute the same power-resource of “defining reality”. In effect, this is a duopoly, quite similar to the Republican-Democrat political duopoly of the USA; two sides of it may be in a perpetual conflict with each other, yet they share the same overarching interest of not letting anyone third (let alone fourth, fifth etc.) to claim their exalted, power-providing status. One side of this cultural power duopoly is the institutionalised community of the technoscientific experts – the expertocracy. Another side of it is the academically entrenched and exalted coalition of the Authoritarian Left activists, usually of the SJW / PC or hardcore-environmentalist nature – the activistocracy, as I call it. It is the dynamics of power struggle (and yet, power alliance) between two powerful minorities of the expertocracy and the activistocracy within the power-permeated halls of academic institutions that define the powerfully enforced versions of “(un)reality”, “(im)possibility” and “(in)evitablity”. And the sum of such versions are exactly what we call the “mainstream” – the picture of the world according to the academic elites.
(An important digression: while it is the Authoritarian Left that are currently in control of the academia, and thus dominant in the sphere of cultural power, it has to share the space, and power, with the Authoritarian Right in the spheres of economic and political powers. As for the Libertarian Left and Libertarian Right, they are equally disempowered, and thus marginalised and banished into the “fringe” zones of society and culture. One may say so: while not everyone who is on the “fringe” is libertarian, almost anyone who is libertarian is on the “fringe”.)
However, the uneasy yet stable alliance between the expertocrats and the activistocrats faces a problem that is not just hard – it is getting progressively harder year by year: the large masses of people, who are culturally obliged to trust the duopoly of the technoscientific experts and academic activists, and to believe everything in the versions of “reality” formulated by them in the blind and thoughtless fashion, dare to scrutinize and check expert and activist pronouncements, and the assertions lying in their foundations – and well as personal and professional integrity of the ruling experts and activists themselves. And, in most cases, they find both the experts and activists themselves, and the positions presented by them as “reality”, badly wanting. As a result, they lose both the trust in the wielders of the cultural power, the expertocrats and the activistocrats, and the faith in the justifications of the cultural power, “the scientific consensus” and “the social justice”.
Such disillusioned people become the new supporters of the “fringe” – the large sector of society, in fact, the majority within it, that is solely defined (and loosely connected) by its defiance of the academic establishment and its “consensus” positions. And, happily for them, they get an increasing support from within the halls of academia itself: there are an ever-growing number of the “renegade” experts (as well as the “renegade activists”) who reject the “consensus” positions and support the “dissensus” ones instead – and encourage the populace to defy the academic elites further. So, the “fringe” sector of society and culture appears, as an alliance between the external (large swathes of the disillusioned populace) and the internal (“renegade” technoscientific experts and academic activists) opposition to the monopolistic, oppressive cultural power of the academic elites, and its anti-hierarchical counter-cultural counter-power is steadily growing.
2. “FRINGE’S” OWN “MAINSTREAM”: THE COUNTER-POWER DYNAMICS WITHIN THE COUNTER-CULTURE
As I said above, the most important characteristic of the “fringe” sector of society and culture is its profound diversity, since “fringeness” of a position is defined only negatively, not but what it is but by what it is not: it is not a position supported and enforced by the duopolistic academic establishment. Otherwise, it can be just anything: from the decisive rejection of the materialism and its highly questionable idea of the inviolability and immutability of the laws of physics – to the moderate doubts about the safety and efficacy of some vaccines; from the radical condemnation of the violent institutional psychiatry – to the detailed criticism of the purely Neo-Darwinian, intelligent-design-excluding interpretation of the biological evolution; from the hesitations and reservations about the usage of GMOs – to the publicly expressed acceptance of the existence of the consensual intergenerational sexuality.
And, not surprisingly, some of the contrarian views have much more popularity and support within the “fringe” circles than others, thus effectively creating its own internal variant of the “mainstream – fringe” hierarchy: now, one can speak of “the mainstream of the fringe” and “the fringe of the fringe” (or “fringe squared”, as I named it). And – not surprisingly – the degree of the “mainstreamness” and the “fringeness” within the “fringe” is largely defined by the relative degree of social power held by the supporters of this or that position.
One can ask here: but the “fringe” is defined by its powerlessness, isn’t it? Yes and no; “fringe” is defined only by a cultural powerlessness, and even this type of powerlessness is still somewhat relative: to be clearly classified as a “fringe”, a position should be dismissed by the cultural-power-wielding academic elites as a whole – that is, by both sides of the cultural power duopoly, by the expertocracy and the activistocracy, in the same time and to the same degree; and this is not always the case. Moreover, the cultural power is not the only one in existence – political and economic powers also exist, and their influence in the sphere of culture – including technoscience – should not be underestimated.
So, let me describe you a kind of “fringe’s” own informal hierarchy, to clarify how a counter-power can turn into a power of its own.
1) “Almost-mainstream”. This is the highest position of the “fringe’s” hierarchy: views that are supported either by expertocracy or by activistocracy, but not by both at once. The most well-known of such views is the criticism of the GMOs: GMOs, while being enthusiastically promoted by the vast majority of the technoscientific expertocrats, in company with the large segments of the economical and political elites, are being actively opposed by the notable part of the environmentalist activistocrats, in company with smaller parts of economic and political elites, as well as a few “renegade” technoscientific experts. Another one is anti-psychiatry and critical psychiatry: while dismissed by most members of the technoscientific expertocracy, as well as the vast majority within the political and economic establishments, they are constantly kept afloat by the portion of activistocrats in alliance with the “renegade” minority of the expertocrats.
2) “Core of the fringe”. These positions are rejected by the vast majority within technoscientific expertocracy, and dismissed by most wielders political or economic power, yet the activistocracy is not overtly hostile towards them. Therefore, a few “renegade” experts, and a small minority of political and economic actors who support them, can work without being intensely demonised. The most common “fringe” sphere of research with such status – as well as, probably, the most well-known “fringe” area at all, often symbolising “fringe” as such – is parapsychology, accompanied by transpersonal psychology, near-death studies and non-materialist philosophy of mind. Other areas with a similar status include some heretical models and applications within physics and cosmology, such as applied cold fusion – or, as it is more commonly called today, low energy nuclear reaction (LENR) or chemically assisted nuclear reaction (CANR) – or Big Bang-rejecting Electric Universe model.
3) “Distant fringe”. These are the stances that are not just dismissed by the vast majority within expertocracy, but are also furiously attacked by the overwhelming majority within activistocracy, because of being associated with the Right-wing (and activistocracy is dominated by the Authoritarian Left). An easy example of such stance is the criticism of the catastrophic anthropogenic global warming (CAGW) explanatory model: it is demonised by almost the whole culturally powerful academic elite, technoscientific expertocrats and environmentalist activistocrats alike, as well as their numerous allies within the political and economic elites, yet the support of the other parts of political and economic elites, ones where the Authoritarian Right is still powerful, keep the CAGW criticism, and the small bunch of “renegade” experts who support it, at the margin of the academic circles, not allowing it to be damned completely and banished to the area that may be called…
4) “Fringe of the fringe” (“Fringe squared”). Here reside the views that are dismissed the overwheming majority within all elite circles combined – be they cultural, economic, or political – and supported only by a coalition of powerless populace (oftentimes a large number of such populace, however) and a very small number of “renegade” experts and activists – “renegade” enough to be banished from the expertocratic and activistocratic circles for their heresy. Any criticism of any particular vaccine, or any specifics of the vaccination schedule, leads one to this censored, ostracized, persecuted area. So is the doubt of the currently dominant explanatory model of AIDS (the one that states that it is caused by HIV).
Yet even the “fringe squared” is not the limit of heresy – and of censorship, ostracism and persecution. There is still an area that is situated even further in the “fringe” direction – an area where we, the people who is now on this comment section, are dwelling.
3. THE ULTIMATE “FRINGENESS”: DEFENDING CONSENSUAL INTERGENERATIONAL SEXUALITY
5) “Fringe of the fringe of the fringe” (“Fringe cubed”). Well, here we are together: on the furthest margin of the modern culture. We are in the zone that not just condemned, but hatefully damned; not just censored, but forcibly gagged; not just ostracised, but utterly dehumanised; not just persecuted, but violently assaulted. This is the zone there the defence of the consensual intergenerational sexuality – along with child and adolescent sexuality, and paedosexuality, as such – currently reside.
The repression that the people who dwell here may face are beyond everything the “closer-to-mainstream” parts of the “fringe” – even the “fringe squared” – tend to experience. For these, slightly more powerful and socially accepted, parts of the “fringe”, repression usually take the form of professional and academic reprimands and dismissals, combined with a public defamation and insults, and some degree of ostracism in the powerful sectors of society; yet this repression still tend to stop at the border of overt physical and psychological violence. For the defenders of the intergenerational sexuality – and, even more, for the ones who are paedosexual themselves – it does not stop at all, anywhere, moving all the way forward to the atrocious and the sadistic.
Here one can endure the cruelty perpetuated by the violent arms of the cultural elite – coercive (read: violent) institutionalised psychiatry, the police force of the technoscientific expertocracy, and the vigilante gangs, the activistocracy-blessed informal enforcers of “politically correct” dogma. The political elite, which base its power on violence, assist them with the police and other “law enforcement” violent actors, while economic elite adds to the repression with the intense and unrelenting online platform censorship.
One who becomes these violent power-wielders’ captive, can be subjected to the treatments that will horrify anyone as insanely cruel and unusual… unless they are directed at the supposedly inhuman abomination of the “paedo”. They may range from the psychological and even physical torture (“treating cognitive distortions”, “aversion therapy” etc.) to the physical maiming and crippling (such as chemical castration).
But what is most horrid, is that gruesome repression is not limited to the “mainstream”. The relatively powerless “fringe” areas, usually quite accepting of, and friendly to, the heresy of all kind (even if to a differing degree, depending on the topic), are as hateful, and as prone to the censorship and persecution, toward the paedosexuals – and to the defenders of the intergenerational sexuality who are not paedosexuals themselves – as the powerful “mainstream” ones are.
I’m always filled with pain and disgust when I observe how the repressed and disempowered people on the “fringe” are enthusiastically witch-hunting someone who even more repressed and disempowered than them. It is hard to imagine a visage uglier than powerless persons, who know what it’s like to be persecuted by power higher than theirs, enthusiastically turn into powerful persecutors themselves, seeing someone even lower than them in the degree of powerlessness. In my view, it is just a common manifestation of a hidden lust for power – vengeful and vindictive power – that so many disempowered people harbour in their hearts. Yet, since they are unable to enact their dreamed-about vengeance on their hated powerful persecutors, they seek someone, in relation to whom they, themselves, would be in a position of power, and thus in a position to enjoy the actualisation of the violent vindictiveness.
Of course, they would also need to explain their repressive actions for themselves in a way that will allow them to perceive themselves as noble and heroic, rather than cruel and vindictive; as the defenders of the weak who dare to confront the superior and overwhelming power, rather than the cruel vigilantes who enjoy the power over someone who is even more powerless than them. Well, the “fringe” vigilantes do have the narrative that allow them to see themselves heroic.
Being relatively disempowered, “fringe” dwellers understand the social mechanisms of power, and the behaviors of the elites wielding it, to a good degree. They understand – and correctly so – that not all power is public and visible, and that the informal and covert links and relations between powerful actors across all segments of hierarchical power play a notable role in the elites’ power obtainment and power maintenance. The analysis of the parts of power that are usually hidden from a public view, and thus also from a formal institutional control and accountability, is an important part in the “fringe” social analysis – and, one must say, oftentimes this is a very well-done, perfectly rational and evidential, analysis indeed.
Oftentimes, but sadly not always: such analysis, while being vitally necessary to fully understand the social functioning of the power elite circles, can be easily misused or overused. The clear sign that such misuse or overuse is visible, when the careful assessment of the unprincipled and harmful, yet comprehensible and expedient, covert and semi-covert activities directed at the obtainment and maintenance of power, is abandoned for the sake of what amounts to an unhinged horror movie script – which is, while being produced by an unrestrained flight of fantasy, rather than by a rational analysis, plays a cynical and convenient function in the life of its creators. Its role is: the persecuted ones’ justification to participate in persecuting someone who is even more persecuted than them.
What I mean here is the mythology of the “paedos in the power elite” – the notions that the world is covertly ruled by the cabals of elite paedophiles, who infiltrated, and control, all the areas of social power. I think, that the reason why it was created in the first place, and why it survives for so long, and rebirths each time despite being destroyed, once and again, by objective evidence and argumentation, is simple and ugly: with this mythology, the myth-makers persuade themselves into a worldview based on a power inversion. In their eyes, the most overtly persecuted and evidently disempowered minority in the modern world are perceived as being super-powerful – yet in secret, behind the scenes.
With such a head-over-heels, upside-down view of power hierarchy, cruel vigilantes can perceive themselves not as violent actors attacking ones who are lower in a power hierarchy than them, but as heroic figures engaged in a desperate fight with the overwhelming power of the ruling elite. A highly convenient way to vent off powerless hatred and vengefulness, and simultaneously remain noble and exalted in one’s own eyes.
Such way of self-misunderstanding is, I suspect, common to all enthusiastic witch-hunters of all times and places. However, trying to explain this to witch-hunters themselves is not just useless, but dangerous, since there is a tacit assumption active during any witch-hunt: anyone who defends a witch must be a witch oneself – and thus must never be listened to, but gagged and punished (that’s why non-paedosexuals who try to defend consensual intergenerational sexuality are constantly at risk of being falsely perceived as “paedos” by the hateful opposition). This is what turns which-hunters’ thinking into a constant self-validating vicious circle: one can’t be dissuaded from believing into one’s correctness and heroism if one not only refuses to listen to anyone who disagrees, but attacks the disagreeing person as well.
And, what makes the situation especially sad, witch-hunters are not necessarily cruel or irrational types outside of their which-hunt area. I, being myself a “fringe-dweller” all my life, know many persons whom I can, without a shred of doubt, call outstandingly open-minded and critical-minded at the same time, capable of analysing controversial topics without being overpowered by passion, who was suddenly and radically changed for the worse the very moment consensual intergenerational sexuality was mentioned in their presence; people who were transformed from rational thinkers into hysterical persecutors in a few seconds.
This is what I meant when I called the intergenerational sexuality a “fringe cubed” topic: this topic, and all people associated with it, are demonised and dehumanised to such crazy extent that even the persons who defy both most dominant narratives and their power elite authors, without much difficulty or stress for themselves, are simply incapable to assess this single dominant narrative in a rational way…
…At least, for now. Maybe the next generation would be not as susceptible to it as the current one?

Zen Thinker

Explorer, I for one don’t recognise this sense of extreme alienation from society. For one thing, minor attraction is a personal and private thing to do with me and no-one else, secondly it is incidental to my life and in no way essential, thirdly I situate myself socially and intellectually as quite a mainstream guy. I can fully participate in society and my condition can remain a private matter. People who bravely go public like Tom still get a lot of respect from those who understand the complications involved, not to mention their basic human decency. Human beings, privilege, and power, are complicated matters and cannot be so easily stereotyped and fixed. Intergenerational relationships were not banned during Roman times and we live at this moment in the postmodern world the ‘victims’ of a kind of historical caprice. But that is not to say things won’t change; nothing is permanent. I respect the candour of your essay but think situating yourself on the ‘fringe cubed’ is an act of self-disempowerment. It is healthy to develop a broad range of interests and interact with society however one can. No-one alive is ‘single interest’ or ‘single issue’ – there’s food, travel, books, TV – plenty of broader culture. Therefore don’t make yourself unhappy on account of one thing you are denied – look at all the other things you can participate in (including freedom of speech on this blog). Just my two cents.

Christian

Crude and tedious essay, Explorer…
There are a lot of things that you misunderstand about the “mainstream-fringe” dynamics, Christian.
Pointless objection: I do not give any credit to the “fringe/mainstream” dichotomy or scale. I did not even use these two words in my comment. When the mainstream supports a scientific approach to some topic, the obscurantist opposition advocating an anti-science position is a “fringe”; when the mainstream holds an anti-scientific position on some other topic, the enlightened opposition defending science is another “fringe”. These two “fringes”, the obscurantist and the enlightened, have nothing in common. Same in politics, the followers of Rosa Luxemburg and Karl Liebknecht and those of Adolf Hitler are two totally opposite “fringes”.
Academics do not possess “cultural power”. Unless they are really studying science and disregard power, they become either little local academic politicians and managers, or propagandists for the bourgeoisie, its governments and its ideology; they are then only well-paid servants.
As for the “cubic fringe”, in Western Europe and North America, nobody is jailed for supporting inter-generational sexuality. In France, someone was jailed for persistently denying the Nazi holocaust.
Why do some powerless people participate in the oppression of those further down? This is not new, see the persecution of Jews and witches in older times. I give a quote from Emily Brontë’s Wuthering Heights:
The tyrant grinds down his slaves and they don’t turn against him; they crush those beneath them.

Sugarboy

As for the “cubic fringe”, in Western Europe and North America, nobody is jailed for supporting inter-generational sexuality.
Not yet, but it won’t be long before that happens (and not only for supporting inter-generational sexuality, but even for talking openly about it), at least according to this:
https://marthijn.nl/p/191

colloquial

“As for the ‘cubic fringe’, in Western Europe and North America, nobody is jailed for supporting inter-generational sexuality.”
That might be true with exceptions, but for example in Belgium it seems statements that see adult-child sex as not inherently harmful are prohibited by law. Or at least that’s what the German Wikipedia article about the pedophile movement states in the last sentence of the last paragraph (unfortuntely, without citing a source):
https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/P%C3%A4dophilenbewegung
Though I once briefly talked with a pedophile from Belgium who thought he heard they might not have implemented such a law after all. Another point calling that possible ban into questions is an article from Belgian author David Paternotte about ILGA and its exclusion of NAMBLA:
https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/1363460713511103
While the article’s author doesn’t explicitly state any opinion about intergenerational sex, he certainly discusses positive views on adult-child sex in the article and nowhere criticizes them.
The penultimate sentence of the German Wikipedia article also states two sources discussing ideas to ban such statements in Germany in 2012. In fact, in the early or mid 2000s a German pedophile activist (Krumme 13) was ordered by a court to pay a fine and remove a link on his website to an autopbiographical text of someone who described having had a positive sexual experience with an adult when he himself was a child. The activist went to a higher court, which agreed with the decision of the first court. Only when he went to the Supreme court it was eventually decided that such texts are not illegal, at least as long as they have more than just pornographic values.
If I remember correctly, there’s also a story in Sara Goode’s book about a British teenage pedophile who had to register as a “sex offender” simply because he came out to someone. He hadn’t broken any laws (or even said anything about intergenerational sex), but the court decided he had to register anyways.
As for North America, here’s for example someone at a lecture talking about being contact by a 16-year-old pedophile coming out to his school counselor and then being kicked out of school, put in another school alone in a room and being prohibited to interact with any other students, even those his age or older.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jUpdkSIupKA&t=944
Schools are already in most cases very similar (if not worse than) prisons, so you could call that basically solitary confinement of a teenager, simply for having come out as a pedophile. If that student had said anything positive about intergenerational sexuality, I’d assume the consequences could have been even worse.
I believe recently there was also a case of someone in Texas with a website that hosted fictional stories of intergenerational sex being arrested because of breaking “obscenity laws”. This is even one step more extreme since in this case there’s not even a support for actual intergenerational sex or removal/lowering of AoC laws that is treated as illegal, but mere fictional stories.
Lastly, if we look at Canada (where any fictional stories with intergenerational sex are illegal), here’s a recent story about an author who described in a single paragraph of his novel sexual violence against a child without glorifying that violence in any way:
https://www.vice.com/en_ca/article/3a8nv3/quebec-author-yvan-godbout-charged-with-child-porn-over-hansel-and-gretel-retelling
Nevertheless, he is now charged for “distributing child pornography”. If a single paragraph in a fictional story that just simply describes sexual violence as negative is seen as illegal, then any text arguing that most intergenerational relationships are not inherently harmful and certainly not sexual violence is probably illegal, too. After all, in the 80s people in Canada got arrested for ordering the NAMBLA bulletin, and the laws have only gotten more oppressive since then.

colloquial

forgot to mention: the story about the 16-year-old pedophile starts at 15:45 in the video

Andrew M

“The evidence was weak and in reality I was innocent of the supposed offence […] but the jury did not like my opinions and can only have decided to convict on that basis.”
This is intriguing from a legal perspective. It sounds like the opposite of what’s called a perverse verdict (or jury nullification in the US). Are the full details of the court case anywhere online?

Andrew Meier

Thanks, Tom, for the information and for taking time to cite sources.
On ‘vague laws’, this article might interest you: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/magazine/3672591.stm.
On the ‘quality of indecency in the context’ (mentioned in your Wikipedia page), I have heard rumours of people being convicted in the UK of possessing images of children that are not inherently indecent (term stemming from legislation) and do not feature erotic posing (term arising in case law). These terms refer to properties of images. There is no legal basis for prosecuting presumed viewer response (which is what ‘context’ refers to), which would surely be a human rights issue. Does anyone have any information on successful prosecutions along these lines?
On being convicted of fantasising, the case of Ben McCormack in Australia is disconcerting: https://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-09-26/ben-mccormack-a-current-affair-former-journalist-pleads-guilty/8987272.

Ethics of Paradise

You are a sweetheart Tom!!!!!!!!

Eivind Berge

Yes, when words are criminal it is a whole new world, but this is already real to some of us and I doubt Americans will resist it either. The move to include texts, even fiction, in illegal child pornography is already complete here in Norway. If you so much as described a sexual fantasy involving a minor in a private chat or a diary, and that record is found, then you are potentially in trouble. It seems to me that the sex laws are approaching the mere identification of a “pedophile” as enough to permanently remove him from society, with a definition liberal enough to include just about anyone who isn’t exclusively gerontophilic. As a non-pedophile I never thought I should say this, but pedophiles are now the only ones left who publicly take a reasonable view of sexuality, as well as the only advocates for free speech, with this blog the most outstanding example.

Nada

Did you read the previous blogs about Angelides too? These suggestions seems quite close to the male sexualism you’ve coined.

Christian

Hubbard’s Thymos article rightly shows that AoC and other legislation against the sexuality of minors were in fact devoted to the control of girls and the repression of their sexuality, then later under “feminist” influence the same control and repression were extended to boys … but then he fails to reach the proper conclusion of liberating both boys and girls.
Everywhere there is concern for the sexual needs of boys, but never for those of girls, and the rampant prejudice that boys have a higher sex drive and are more adventurous than girls, that boys cherish their underage sexual experiences while girls regret them, that sex is more risky for girls, that young girls will be bullied by sexual adventures with boys, etc. Finally:
What I am proposing is in many respects like the Greek model, in which females were protected until 17 or 18 (the average age of female marriage in Greece), but boys were encouraged to develop independence and make responsible choices among experienced women (prostitutes or slaves in the Greek context), young men in their 20s or 30s (the Greek pederast), or boys their own age.
Hubbard also quotes the conservative writer C.H. Sommers to support sex-segregated education (because the two sexes distract each other).
No wonder that Hubbard’s tormentors have dubbed him a misogynist. Clearly, his conclusions are outrageous to all those who defend the capabilities and competences of young girls (in particular all girl lovers).
However, Hubbard is not alone, several other BL-ers have dismissed the sexuality of girls and insisted on intergenerational love only for boys. This was discussed here a few months ago.
In reality, girls are known to reach puberty and to psychologically mature earlier than boys, and before female sexuality was repressed, it was considered insatiable. As recognised by Mark Twain, women and girl are sexually competent from age 7 to the grave!

Explorer

Speaking of girl-love… Visions of Alice forum has released the 4th issue of Alice Lovers, with a lot of relevant and interesting materials for study and thought for anyone – for example, an article on the recent conflict between radical / liberationist and “virtuous” / celibate MAPs:
https://alicelovers.net/ezine.htm

Andrew Meier

As a former member of VirPed (no, not Eddie), I found the aforementioned article interesting. A more nuanced portrayal of both VirPeds and RadPeds is certainly needed to help foster mutual understanding and avoid the mustering of straw man armies.
Most importantly, however, one needs to bear in mind that on the path to acceptance, humane treatment, etc. of LGBTQ+ people, progress has largely been achieved through assimilationist strategies, characterised by a series of concessions to the mainstream. VirPed’s agenda is a markedly assimilationist one. The question one has to pose is whether any more radical agenda (perhaps even one as simple as arguing that the age of consent should be set on the basis of science) can be feasible without an assimilationist effort first paving the way, forging alliances with the scientific community, providing a slightly more palatable counter-narrative to society’s mythopoeia, and humanising the figure of the paedophile.

Christian

The article about rad- vs. vir-peds, written by LSM, dates from July 2017, according to a comment by the author. The magazine also has an article on Graham Ovenden that was first published in April 2013 in Pigtails in Paint. So it looks like the contents of this magazine is not up-to-date…

Nada

>Hubbard’s Thymos article rightly shows that AoC and other legislation against the sexuality of minors were in fact devoted to the control of girls
Rightly? Only under the assumption GL is non-existent and the penalties, such as life in a Western Gulag or death, for the man are not even worthy of mention! Girls, who love men, knows this better than Hubbard, the tenured academic.
>As recognised by Mark Twain, women and girl are sexually competent from age 7 to the grave!
Twain may have recognised girls as sexually competent, but do GLs today? They seem far more likely to attack previous societies over sexual conservatism than praise them for, unlike our own, allowing girls freedom.
In Twain’s time, 7 was the AoC in Delaware, and girls were also able to marry men! This is far more radical than the suggestions of brave academics, or equally brave activists, only using man/girl relationships as a foil for their own – while desperate for feminist praise!

Explorer

On Greta Tunberg: I think that both competing interpretations of her status – the mainsteam / dominant one, that she is acting out of her own initiative and determination, and the the fringe / contrarian one, that she is being used by the adults surrounding her – can be both fully true, since there is no contradition between them. I think that Greta herself does believe her own message and acting sincerely – yet the adults who turned her into a living symbol, and now use her as such to the point of exhaustion and crisis for her personally, might has much more self-intersted and cynical motives.
Yet the hardest question for me is neither the Greta’s personal situation, nor the possibly sinister motives of people pushing her forward. The question is the freedom of children and adolescents to formulate their own position concerning the world events – and to defend it publicly. And this freedom today is still in its lowest level, despite the public visibility of the school kids participating in the Extintion Rebellion movement.
The problem is, the Extintion Rebellion is not much of a genuine rebellion at all: it is a reiteration of a mainstream position – this is, the position supported and promoted by most adults, importantly by most powerful adults, in the world, by more brazen, loud and demonstrative means. It is easy to “rebel” than most adults are on your side already.
Yet the real freedom would mean that the children and adolescents should be able to hold and defend positions that most adults dislike and disagree with, without the fear of intense, crushing repression. And this is clearly not the case.
Just try to imagine what would happen to Greta if she would choose to support not the dominant position postulating not the anthropogenic, greenhouse gases-related cause of the quick and severe warming of the global climate we are facing, but the contrarian one – the one that insists that the anthropogenic causes are either secondary or simply irrelvant. Imagine that she would publicly insist that the “consensus” position of the institutionalised science is wrong and that the whole issue is a mixture of hoax and hysteria.
Do you think she would treated with the same reverence? Invited to the Establishment circles to speak? Promoted everythere in the mainstream?
Or would she be dismissed as “a mentally ill child abused by evil adults” – in the case she would be even noted, which is itself unlikely?
And think how many kids doing, or simply saying, something that the adults who have socially and legally authorised power over them disliked or disagreed with, ended being locked and subjected to torture-like will-breaking practices in all types of “behavior-modification centers” and the other forms of “gulag schools”. (This issue that was one of the central for the child liberation movement, in the times when it still was at least somewhat active and visible…)
With all the supposed disobedience of children, and the rebelliousness of adolescents, it is almost impossible for them nowadays to disobey and rebel in the ways, and for the causes, that the power-authorised adults disapprove for real. And it speaks volumes about how badly disempowered – almost dehumanised – are kids in the supposedly free modern society.

feinmann0

“And it speaks volumes about how badly disempowered – almost dehumanised – are kids in the supposedly free modern society.”
Great post Explorer, not just kids but certain sexual minority groups too, don’t you think?

Christian

Greta Thunberg does not enjoy any more a wide support among European politicians, since she accused them of talking and doing nothing, and she initiated at the UNO an action against several countries, including France. And she is not popular in the US, where nearly half the population are deniers, in particular Trump. Her demo in NYC was a failure.
To imagine her defending an unpopular position, I would not choose the denial of anthropogenic climate change, since this concern follows a quasi-unanimous scientific consensus, and deniers look like backward reactionaries, similar to young earth creationists. After all, Greta just asks to follow science.
I would rather imagine her study sexology then call for following science instead of victimology in relation to the sexuality of children and youths. That would be a scandal.

gantier99

“I would rather imagine her study sexology then call for following science instead of victimology in relation to the sexuality of children and youths”
Hear hear! And her aspergers would help her take such a principled and logical stand.

Linca

The attacks on this professor are outrageous as well as the cowardice of the University of Texas. OMG this is awful. I myself am sensing a move to move me out of an LGBT group I have been in a long time. I will know more as this month and next month turn. We have monthly suppers together. Last month suddenly several enemies of mine showed up for the first time. I figure something is up.
Linca

Michael Teare-Williams

My dear Tom, all of the above rings loud bells with me. The University of Western Australia, led by the ignorant prejudice of a Department Head, tried very hard to get rid of me while I was a post-graduate writing a thesis on Shakespeare’s Boy Actors in the late 1990s.
In the modern world, very young people are denigrated as being not mentally capable of even understanding what some of those same kids are more than capable of both doing and understanding. Greta Thunberg is an example of courage and determination — in the face of both mockery and denial — that leaves me in huge admiration of her.
The feats of dramatic excellence of the boys of four centuries ago, proved by documentary evidence from the times themselves, were to be denied by this ignorant professor because of the ever-present sexual element in the humour of Shakespeare’s comedies, in particular. The strong push to get rid of this awkward and heretical student was only stalled by the courage and integrity of firstly, the Academic Council of the University of W.A., and secondly, by the outstanding courage and patient commitment of my thesis-supervisor, who must have had incredible staying power to temper my heresies with some caution, at least…
These Texas people are merely following the lead of UWA in hounding away and denying research into the historical truths of ancient times. Why? Because those truths are embarrassing and because those lazy minds deny the simple fact that children are sexual beings, and capable of understanding sexual things.
Do those prejudiced people really see kids as ciphers, with nothing between their ears? Many do, but I theorize that many others actually do see children as they really are — and it frightens the hell out of them!
Best possible wishes! Michael Teare-Williams.

Zen Thinker

Universities are a place of great intolerance nowadays – the campus is effectively unsafe, and there is an aggressive marshalling to conformity.
Ancient Greece & Rome are a fascinating example of course. The old paganism had very different cultural, social and sexual norms. Christianity restricting sexual relations to the sacrament of marriage completely overturned Western society and civilisation.
Which makes me wonder: now that fornication is no longer a thing, it is strange that a kind of Anglophone puritanism has sprung up around sexuality, in many areas such as the ‘tabloid scandal’ and the strictly enforced age of consent laws.
It is something I cannot quite understand or fathom, given society’s proclivity for a greatly expanded sexual liberalisation in the last fifty years – indeed it is a paradox at the heart of the Anglophone attitudes towards sexual issues.

Sugarboy

It is something I cannot quite understand or fathom, given society’s proclivity for a greatly expanded sexual liberalisation in the last fifty years – indeed it is a paradox at the heart of the Anglophone attitudes towards sexual issues.
The concept is not new: it is called “repressive desublimation” – more here:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Repressive_desublimation

Zen Thinker

Thank you, I need to get up to speed with my Marcuse!

Andrew M

Could you expand on this (i.e. on the applicability of the concept), Sugarboy?

Zen Thinker

Andrew, desublimation refers to an institutional strategy to lessen erotic energy and replace it with localised sexual energy, thus negating sublimation, creating the ‘happy consciousness’ in the populace, and fulfilling a ‘conquest of transcendence’. It is repressive because the greater liberty lies in contraction not expansion of instinctual needs, and it helps to flatten social opposition. Sex becomes a cheap tool of conformity like in Huxley’s Brave New World. I think Sugarboy is saying this explains sexual liberalisation.

Zen Thinker

The paradox is that minor attraction, being censored, invites sublimated erotic energies that can go into societal unrest, but since it is only 1% of the population it is easier to side with the majority whose pent up aggressive energies need desublimating too, in this case on harsh penalties for sexual and societal transgressors. A little convoluted but hope that makes sense.

Sugarboy

The 1% of the population are those who are conscious of it, but the real percentage may be much bigger:comment image

Andrew Meier

@Sugarboy (my last comment was posted before your latest comment became visible to me).
Interesting that the Hirschmann study (1995) isn’t mentioned in that document, which showed a far greater prevalence of significant paedophilic arousal in (heterosexual) males. Nonetheless, I’d caution against conflating arousal with attraction, as arousal can be down to other factors (e.g. taboo, enjoyment of coercive control or the infliction of suffering) rather than the child’s appearance, behaviour or essence.
I have to wonder about the figures for ‘normal men [who] report that they would have sex with a child’. The two presuppositions given, namely ‘if no one would know and there would be no punishment’, don’t include a third, namely something along the lines of ‘if there could be a reasonable degree of certainty that the child would welcome the sexual activity, experience it as positive, and not suffer any adverse consequences as a direct consequence’. (A variant of this third presupposition could even include ‘indirect consequence’ as well.) I don’t know whether such a presupposition was included in the studies cited in the document, but if it wasn’t, I have to wonder whether the percentage of men who would be willing to engage in sexual activity with a child would be higher if they could also presuppose that the sexual activity was enjoyable for the child and caused no harm. The possibility of non-enjoyment or harm would surely be a deal-breaker for many.
I presume that Tromovitch is defining paedophilia in line with the DSM, so when the word ‘child’ is used in the document, it is intended to mean a prepubescent child. If we were to adhere to the notion of a child as a person under an age of majority, then pretty much all males will be capable of significant arousal to adolescent ‘children’.

Marthijn Uittenbogaard

Meier wrote: “Interesting that the Hirschmann study (1995) isn’t mentioned in that document,”
The poster presentation by Philip Tromovitch had (at least) two posters: https://www.brongersma.info/Poster_presentation_about_the_percentage_of_men_with_pedophile_feelings

Andrew Meier

That makes more sense.

Andrew Meier

Thanks, Zen Thinker. I have a (fairly rudimentary) understanding of the concept and a (more solid) understanding of its wider theoretical context but am questioning its applicability. To refine my question, I’m wondering whether repressive desublimination is to be posited as the sole and/or most credible explanation of the emergence of what you term Anglophone puritanism.

Zen Thinker

No, I think ‘Anglophone Puritanism’ as such has its roots in a prior Protestant ethic that has been left over from the process of secularisation. Secular ethics in the West are built on a Christian historical foundation and that is often the root of current attitudes and values. Perhaps the harshness of Calvinist values, etc. Repressive desublimation could not be responsible for a puritanical attitude as to desublimate is to effectively gratify desire, not withhold it. Strict age of consent laws are in fact a modern phenomenon anyway, but compare for example the attitude and policy of France.

Andrew Meier

I think I could be tempted into regarding the ‘puritanism’ partly as a form of sublimation. Adams, Wright and Lohr (1996) showed how homophobia in men correlates with homosexual arousal. Perhaps there’s a comparable correlation between the prevalence and shrillness of bogeyman myths, cries of sexualisation, etc. and the prevalence of reminders of the erotic potential of the juvenile body, be this in advertising, film, music videos or on the Internet. In which case, it might be possible to argue a case for regarding puritanical vitriol as an expression of discomfort at our (adults’) response to that erotic potential, or as an expression of our (adults’) collective guilt surrounding society’s failure to provide an alternative to the ‘sex sells’ ethos of contemporary capitalism when it comes to children, or as an expression of the herd’s panic in response to the perceived assault on one of our primary comfort blankets—the notion of pristine, prelapsarian innocence in childhood—rather than as an expression of straightforward, common or garden sex-negativity or protectionism per se.
The role of feminist discourse in shaping attitudes to attraction to minors (including adolescent minors) can’t be ignored, of course, but that’s a big topic for a slender comment.

Hypersonic

Ping: VoA
Hi sL. I am the real Hypersonic. Happy New Year.

Christian

Please correct the link to your article “Hail, brave warrior, Nigel the Noble!”, it does not work.
When a US journal article is banned from access in the EU, I look at a copy of it on the Internet Archive Wayback Machine, and if it is not archived there, I ask it to save a copy of the URL; since the site operates in the US, it will get the article and show it. Maybe that can help you.
Your correspondent should not speculate on the “childishness” of Greta Thunberg and her possible “manipulation by adults”. One must not forget that she has the Asperger syndrome, a milder form of autism combining high intellectual abilities with difficulties in personal and social communication. Her public speeches show a high intellectual maturity, and at the same time her reactions to people will seem strange.
Note that Hubbard made a Google Doc text answering the attacks against him: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1wGGrODNSdwudrF1G4uerU2DsRxcSx3DR1Nbn6JOd7ho/edit
The Incendiary News is a Maoist-Stalinist journal, it carries thus under a new guise (denouncing paedophilia as a bourgeois predatory behaviour) the old homophobia of Stalinism, which considered homosexuality as fascistic (with Ernst Röhm and the SA homoeroticism given as “proof”), and indeed homosexual sexual acts were banned in the USSR in 1934.
Such a reactionary vigilantism against paedophilia, disguised as “fight against sexual violence”, or even “revolutionary” and “communist” activism, reminds me of the campaign to remove the murals by the communist artist Victor Arnautoff in the George Washington high school of San Francisco: some Black and Native American activists, joined by “liberal” students, claimed that these murals—showing the dark side of George Washington, with his slaves, or presiding over the conquest of the West and the massacre of Native Americans—glorify racism, slavery, violence, etc.
I have read Hubbard’s Thymos article long ago. I will explain in another comment why it irritated me: I found it somewhat misogynistic, and I think that all those who love girls and trust their capabilities will feel similarly.

Sugarboy

Why not simply use a proxy like this for example? https://www.proxysite.com/
You change “EU server” to “US server”, et voilà!

Nada

Tails is a decent option:
https://tails.boum.org/home/index.en.html

Sugarboy

Had I been in his place, I would have taken a hydrant and overwhelmed the mob with sewage from the cesspool. Then I would have told the press (quoting Mohammed Sa’eed Al-Sahaf – aka “Comical Ali”): “They fled, like rats!”.

Yure

It’s Texas, I’m not very surprised. If others would want to attend to his classes, but that minority decides to cause a boycott, can’t he teach online or something?

gordonk

Texas is also the home of a somewhat terrifying situation regarding the first amendment and free speech. Thomas Arthur, who ran the website, MrDouble.com has been arrested on obscenity charges. His website hosted several thousand authors and contained a very large collection of pedophile, incest and taboo stories of an erotic nature and has been up and running for well over a decade.
Now, the Feds have arrested him on obscenity charges. If this holds up, it would be precedent shattering. Words have never been deemed to be obscene and with the new judges Trump has gotten in, they just might be able to change history here. If that happens, it will be a whole new world.
Check out the local news. It is the only source since it isn’t a national story, but they are letting any crackpot face the camera and tell the world it’s about time that stinkin’ pervert gets what’s coming to him. A very frightening turn. It is only getting worse. This will also allow the Fed’s to go on a fishing expedition of all the authors and clients of the site. One article quoted a law enforcement spokesman who claimed that they’ve already found several convicted pedophiles how are members of the site.
Lots of badness out of this story, I’m afraid.

Christian

Maybe the FBI targets this site because it is paying, and they suspect that there is behind more than stories. Indeed, there are several blogs with such intergenerational erotic stories.
[MODERATOR ADDS: FURTHER INFORMATION DELETED]

gordonk

Well, I think that because it’s a pay site may have been a factor, but only because the pay acts as a map to the readers of the site. Proof positive that YOU were there. It shouldn’t matter, though, since until a month ago, purely written stories were not obscene, therefore, any warrant would be merely a fishing expedition. Unfortunately, the Supreme Court has ruled that ill gotten gains are still usable, assuming the LEA acted in “Good Faith”. I haven’t heard of a case where the courts ruled the cops acted in bad faith.
Not to mention, you got total access to the site with a $10 monthly membership. No warrant needed to find out what was there. This was a way to take it down, send a message to other sites and torture the owner of the site and probably take all his money as well. The pedo angle was played up big time in the local press, so he’ll get no fair trial if it ever gets to that point. I wonder why the ACLU isn’t all over this?

Andrew Meier

Given that the incumbent US President has a habit of drawing the term ‘witch hunt’ to the attention of the populace, it’s surprising that some among the more educated echelons of American society can manage to engage in a witch hunt without realising that that’s precisely what they’re doing.
There is, of course, a straw man fallacy lurking in the criticism of Hubbard’s work, based on conflation of reconsideration of age-of-consent legislation with abolition. I’m not familiar with his work, but I’m sure he’s not arguing that there should be no protection whatsoever for children’s well-being. The perennial problem facing society is one of striking a judicious balance between child protection and youth rights—something that can only be achieved through good science and rational discourse. Current age-of-consent legislation is not based on good science or rational discourse. Waites (2005) argues that the main science on informed consent (several studies carried out by Priscilla Alderson et al. in the 1990s and 2000s, which show that children as young as six or seven are capable of informed consent on the rather obvious proviso that they are adequately informed) is equally applicable to the sexual arena. Though he stops short of taking this point to its logical conclusion and instead argues that the age of consent would be better set at 14 (for various reasons), he does at least acknowledge the risk of category errors and special pleading when it comes to society’s conception of young people’s capacity for informed consent to sexual activity.
I hope that Hubbard has trodden carefully in his scholarship. It’s one thing to scrutinise sexual practices in an ancient society and quite another to preach that these offer salutary lessons for our own culture. I don’t see how we can reasonably take the normality of pederastic interaction in ancient Greece as firm evidence that it wasn’t harmful. The argument that ‘a society wouldn’t persist with deleterious practices’ certainly doesn’t hold, as to that way of thinking our own culture’s response to sexual activity between adults and minors (and between minors themselves) can only be salubrious, and yet it stands in stark contrast to the ancient Greek response. At least one of the two cultures must be wrong. The salient point, surely, is that we’re still not in a position to claim we have a comprehensive understanding of the genesis of harm, which is something that will only be explained by good science.

Andrew Meier

A few years ago I read a document on policy, best practice or suchlike in the foster care arena, which drew on Alderson’s work extensively before making clear to its intended audience (social workers) that it should not be assumed that children—even young children—lack the capacity to give informed consent when it comes to decisions that will affect them. What this document showed was that authorities are quite content to concede, in line with the science, that young people are indeed capable of informed consent where it suits them (i.e. the authorities). What discrepancies between ages of criminal responsibility and ages of consent as well as between policy on consent in various arenas (medical, foster care, sexual) show is that society’s approach to children’s capacity to consent has been and still is piecemeal and incoherent.
Children’s capacity to give informed consent to sexual activity is treated as a special case. There should be solid, scientifically underpinned grounds for doing so. Within the scholarship (at least on the sociological side of things), the traditional justification—Plummer (1975) being the earliest source I have to hand—is that the ‘meaning’ of sexual acts is socially constructed, mediated and negotiated, that children are ill-equipped to navigate this process, and that this exposes them to manipulation, coercion and exploitation. Indeed, but what such arguments tend to omit to consider is that meaning is not fixed and immutable once the act is over. A logical extension of a ‘constructivist’ position is that the meaning of sexual acts is prone to reconstruction and renegotiation after the fact.
In this regard, the case of Jason Lawrance (in England) is an interesting one. We could soon find ourselves with a new legal precedent, namely the possibility of withdrawing consent after a sexual act in the light of new information. This would enshrine in case law the notion that interpretations of one’s experiences are open to revision, that positive sexual experiences can be tainted by the way they are subsequently framed.
Thanks for mentioning the Hubbard article, which I haven’t seen before. I’ll look for the full text via JSTOR, Sage or Project Muse.

Andrew Meier

Thanks, Tom, for the material. Much obliged.

Sugarboy

The link to “The Daily Beast” does not work.

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