Licence expires for French men of letters

What do you call a guy who can openly celebrate his sexual relations with children in books and on TV without being prosecuted?
A giant of French literature.
Things are different in France, or have been until recently for elite figures in the cultural establishment. One of those figures, Gabriel Matzneff, is a feted novelist, a winner of numerous literary prizes who appeared many times on France’s top cultural TV show of the 1970s and 80s, Apostrophes. Back in the day, he wrote: “Once you have held, kissed, caressed, possessed a 13-year-old boy, a girl of 15, everything else seems bland, heavy, insipid.” One of those minors was a girl who met him at 13 and was his lover at 14; now, at 47, she has given France a #MeToo moment, denouncing the man she once fell for in a sensational book, Le Consentement (Consent). It is flying off the shelves, quickly selling out at Amazon and needing seven re-prints in only three weeks.
That girl, that woman, is Vanessa Springora, these days head of the prestigious Paris publishing house Éditions Julliard, a position giving her the ear of the media and hence immense personal power to pursue a vendetta: Le Consentement has been all over the press and Springora has done the rounds of the TV shows.

Not content with consent: Springora’s book is flying off the shelves

What, then, is her complaint? We see no bad behaviour along the lines of Harvey Weinstein’s alleged sexual coercion. She has admitted she wanted sex and consented to it with Matzneff. The Washington Post’s  version says that “for the teenage Springora, Matzneff was the 50-year-old for whom she developed a schoolgirl crush after her mother, who worked in publishing, dragged her to a dinner party. There, she met and was bowled over by the writer who seemed to have eyes only for her.” After that, we hear, “he then set about grooming her”.
But it has to be asked, who was grooming whom? Vanessa’s mother had been a press officer for her firm. She would certainly have been alert to the potential for giving her daughter excellent prospects in the business by “dragging” her to glamorous parties where she could meet famous writers, making contacts that could be hugely advantageous later on. And so it turned out. After an elite private education at the lycée Fénelon and the Sorbonne, Vanessa went on to enjoy a glittering career, to which her early association with the great Matzneff would certainly have added lustre, making her a person of note and allure. It is not as though the relationship was ever hidden: he shared with her his Parisian life in the literary world; she joined him for dinners, visits and interviews, presumably without needing to be “dragged” along.
Not that the relationship lasted. Springora broke away from Matzneff  when she was 15. “Are you sure?” her mother reportedly asked her, “He adores you.”
The problem, for young Vanessa, was that he apparently adored lots of other girls her age as well. And boys. Reportedly, it was Matzneff’s own writings that did it. While he was away on a trip, she read his torrid accounts of sex with other youngsters, works he had told her not to look at. They killed her illusions that their relationship was an exclusive and special romance.“His books were populated by other 15-year-old Lolitas,” Springora writes. “This man was no good. He was, in fact, what we are taught to fear from childhood: an ogre.”
If he deceived her, that would have been caddish indeed. Very reprehensible. But he had not been not such an ogre, it seems, that she ever felt it necessary to go to the police, even later in life, over a relationship of a kind now being rebranded by victim feminists around the world  as “rape”.  She claims that what pushed her into writing her account of their relationship was her disgust over his reception speech upon winning  the Renaudot literary prize in 2013. The prize is awarded for new novels, but Matzneff claimed it was for all his work over the years, which included his early celebration of sex with minors, in works such as his essay Les moins de seize ans (The Under Sixteens) – published in 1974 by, ironically, the company she now directs, Éditions Julliard! He wrote:

What captivates me is less a particular sex than extreme youth, that which extends from the tenth to the sixteenth year and which seems to me to be – much more than what is usually meant by this expression – the true third sex … In my view extreme youth alone forms a particular, unique sex.

He described sex with children as “a holy experience, a baptismal event, a sacred adventure”, and deplored the fact that the “erotic charm of the young boy” is denied by modern Western society, adding that “the two most sensual beings I have known in my life are a boy of twelve and a girl of fifteen”. In 1990, he published Mes amours décomposés, his diary for the years 1983-1984, in which he admitted engaging in sex tourism in the Philippines, picking up “little boys of eleven or twelve years”.
One can well imagine that being obliged to compete with enterprising street urchins would be an intolerable humiliation for many women. Even so, I am sceptical over her explanation. She claims her indignation and ire were provoked in 2013. Why then, did it take until 2020 to write her slim book of only 216 pages and get it published? She is a publisher after all: how hard could it have been?
My guess is that a stronger motivation for her to go public came much later, starting with the Me Too movement, with its explosion of public discourse not only on sexual harassment and rape but also on the meaning of sexual consent. Victim feminists have been increasingly insistent on the need for “affirmative consent”; “rape” has been re-defined much more broadly in the UK and elsewhere to include a range of physical acts that were never traditionally considered rape; consensual sex with minors is now called rape.
It is no accident that Springora’s book is called Consent.  She claims to have been manipulated, reportedly speaking of “the frightening ambiguity in which the consenting, loving victim is placed”. It seems, in other words, that her aim is to seize the moment, cashing in on a Paris court case that she must have known, with her sophistication and publishing experience, put her in prime position to surf the victim culture zeitgeist by exploiting the very concept of consent itself – a concept under unprecedented scrutiny and pressure, especially in the Anglophone world but also beginning to stir in France. The Paris case gripped the public’s attention in the autumn of 2017, coinciding almost exactly with the start of #MeToo in America.
What shocked the French public, we are told, was a story about an incident in the Paris suburb of Montmagny. A girl aged 11 willingly had oral and vaginal sex with a man of 28 and told her mother about it later the same day. The mother immediately called the police, expecting that the guy would be charged with rape. But no. The public prosecutor said there had been “no violence, no coercion, no threat, no surprise”. The girl had consented.
From outraged media coverage around the world, it might have been supposed that France had suddenly woken up to find that instead of having an age of consent set at 15, as it thought, it actually had no AOC at all. It was presented as though a perpetrator was going to get away with his “predatory” deeds entirely.
Propagandist crap! Sure, the villain of the piece could not be charged with rape, which was the only charge that would satisfy the victim feminists. But because the girl was under 15 the man was still in the frame for a charge of “sexual infraction”, punishable at that time by a prison sentence of up to five years. This was played down to the point of invisibility, as though the worst he could get would be hardly more severe than a typical parking fine.
Nonsense it may have been, but this media pressure had the desired effect, leading to a tough new law in 2018. Not that you would know it from the impression given by the media in the UK and US. Britain’s Independent ran two headlines, “France votes against setting minimum age of sexual consent amid backlash” and “President Macron accused of missing opportunity to protect minors”. Further into the story we hear “there is still no law establishing a legal age of sexual consent in France”.
Fake news! While it is true that the legislators declined to say minors under 15 could never consent, if the threshold for rape was not met judges could now classify the incident as “sexual assault” and offenders would face a prison sentence of up to 10 years. Also, if “the victim lacks the ability to consent” the offence would be classified as rape, with a sentence of up to 20 years.
A day after Springora’s book hit stores, French prosecutors announced that they were opening an investigation into “rape committed on a minor under 15” related to the allegations in Le Consentement. The publishing house Gallimard, which released Matzneff’s latest book in November, has halted sales of his work. The Kindle version of Les moins de seize ans is no longer available on Amazon, and we are told Matzneff could lose a state pension for writers that he has received since 2002.
It must all be getting a bit traumatic for the literary superstar, now aged 83 and perhaps utterly bewildered by what must be an unexpected fall from grace after getting away with so much for so long – in terms of candid revelations at least, rather than serious crimes, of which he appears to be entirely innocent. We might expect him, as an old man, to be rather stuck in the culture of the past, which in France has long meant that the concept of “literary licence” has been extended not just to what writers write but also to an exceptional degree of freedom in their lifestyle.
So where was this French exceptionalism coming from? How did they ever come to be given such a free pass to be “immoral”, as many would have thought, or “perverted”?
Well, the moralists could start by blaming the French Revolution, which swept away the old criminal laws and in 1791 a new code was introduced that deliberately focused on “real crimes”, excluding moralistic old offences such as incest, bestiality and homosexuality, which were decriminalised. And there was no AOC. Not that the revolutionaries were entirely easy-going: if you destroyed evidence of someone’s marital status you could be clapped in irons for 12 years! Napoleon’s much longer-lasting penal code of 1810 did not include an AOC  either. It specified rape or any other indecent assault committed with violence as criminal offences but said nothing about non-violent sexual acts with children, so these were legal. Very sensible!
The spoilsports eventually got their act together though. In 1832 a new law specified that indecent assault on a child of either sex, under the age of 11, without violence, was an offence. So this was at last an AOC; the age was raised to 13 in 1863 and 15 in 1945. Interestingly, though, the courts have at times resisted applying the law.  For instance, Anne-Claude Ambroise-Rendu cites the case of Nicolas B., accused of indecent assault on his 5-year-old niece, who in 1865 benefited from extenuating circumstances on the grounds that his victim had not been deflowered. However, as the man was charged with a non-violent attack and not with rape, the question of defloration should not have arisen. As recently as 2015 (following a recasting of the entire penal code in 1994), the Constitutional Council reasserted that French law “does not set an age of discernment in regards to sexual relations: It is for the courts to determine whether the minor was capable of consenting to the sexual relationship in question.”
At all events, the low AOC in the early part of the 20th century gave plenty of scope for writers such as Henry de Montherlant and André Gide to indulge and write about their sexual tastes for young boys without fear, thereby setting the tone for post-war writers – a permissive tone that found more general expression in the sexual revolution of the late 1960s, supported by such immense figures as Sartre and Foucault.
By the 1970s, backing for children’s sexual freedom had become fashionable, at least in the intellectual world, and the middle of that decade saw books by no less than four major authors cheer-leading for paedophilia – including their own. One of them was Metzneff, as already noted. Another was the philosopher René Schérer, whose 1974 essay Émile perverti  supported pederastic relations between teachers and pupils. A third was Tony Duvert, who won the Medici prize in 1973 and the following year his first openly paedophilic essay appeared, Le Bon Sex Illustré.
Finally, we have the most internationally famous of them all, the Franco-German firebrand Daniel Cohn-Bendit, who shot to prominence in the great student protests of 1968 as a leftist revolutionary dubbed “Danny the Red”. In later years re-invented himself as an elected politician, leading both the German and French Green parties and becoming a leading member of the European Parliament. This successful track record was amazingly achieved despite his extraordinary chapter in a 1975 book called Le Grand Bazar, devoted to “the sexuality of children”, in which he spoke of his interactions with little children when he had been a kindergarten assistant in Frankfurt the previous year. It included incidents in which, as he put it, they would open his flies and tickle him, and he would caress them. He also appeared on Apostrophes in 1982, saying: “You know that the sexuality of a kid is absolutely fantastic…. When a little girl, five years old, starts to undress you, it’s fantastic! It’s fantastic because it’s an absolutely erotomanic game!”
These early indiscretions have come back to haunt him from time to time, but simply by denying  any paedophilic interest in children he has managed to avoid any really damaging scandal. I don’t think he would have got away with it in the US or UK.
Perhaps the most high-profile contribution by the French intellectuals in these years, though, came in the form of petitions in 1977 issued after a trial that saw three men jailed for non-violent sex offences against children aged 12 and 13.
“Three years in prison for caresses and kisses: enough is enough,” one petition said. Incredibly, among the 69 signatures were those of two government ministers, Bernard Kouchner and Jack Lang.
“French law recognises in 12- and 13-year-olds a capacity for discernment that it can judge and punish,” said a second petition signed by Jean-Paul Sartre and Simone de Beauvoir, along with fellow intellectuals Michel Foucault, Roland Barthes, Jacques Derrida; a leading child psychologist, Françoise Dolto; and writers Philippe Sollers, Alain Robbe-Grillet and Louis Aragon. “But it rejects such a capacity when the child’s emotional and sexual life is concerned. It should acknowledge the right of children and adolescents to have relations with whomever they choose.”
That was the place! Those were the days!
 
SCRUTINISING SCRUTON
I made a rare post on BoyChat yesterday, following a thread there in which the recently deceased philosopher Roger Scruton was discussed and mention was made of my critique of his work. One or two people had put in a good word for Scruton. Nothing wrong with that. I am all in favour of fair and balanced assessments but it did seem to me that they had forgotten just what a nasty piece of work the great man himself could be. So I put in my own two penn’orth here.
One thing I didn’t mention is that even as a father the old reactionary might be a bit of a bastard, if we are to take him at his word (though we probably can’t!) Back in 1999, when his son was a baby, Professor Scruton penned a piece in the Guardian on his plans for the boy’s upbringing, titled “Raising Master Scruton”. He wrote:

…my wife Sophie and I have decided to offer Sam a genuinely deprived childhood… It goes without saying that Sam will not enjoy his childhood…But that is not the point. Childhood is not an end in itself but a means to growing up…
The most important factor in the old systems of education, the factor which caused children to emerge from them with all their wildness and selfishness subdued, was religion. Sam is to get a good dose of this. His parents are Christians.

It sounds as though Sam, now into his twenties, might be dancing on his dad’s grave! I have a horrible suspicion, though, that he is a chip off the old block: it appears he studied theology at Oxford. And if he has done a jig atop his old man’s sod it would have been after reading from St John’s gospel at the funeral.

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Andrew Meier

Entirely off-topic, but the following news article from Dutch news website NU.nl may interest some of you:
Disgraced paedophile Nelson M. arrested for child pornography
19 February 2020 20:28
Last updated: an hour ago
Paedophile Nelson M. from Lelystad was arrested on Tuesday morning due to police officers finding child pornography at his home, a spokesperson for the public prosecutor’s office confirmed to NU.nl on Wednesday evening following coverage by De Telegraaf.
The search of his home was carried out within the compass of the criminal investigation into the possible continuation of banned paedophilia advocacy group Martijn. Prior to this, two suspects were apprehended: a 75-year-old man from Haarlem and a 32-year-old man from Hengelo.
Paedophilia advocacy group Martijn was banned in 2014 because the group minimised sexual contact between children and adults, which the Supreme Court of the Netherlands deems to be detrimental to public order.
M. under fire following statements on television programme
M. disgraced himself at the start of last week when he said on television programme Danny op Straat that he considers sex with a three or four-year-old child to be entirely normal, on the proviso that the child consents. He also wished to set up a political party to legalise sex with children.
The show provoked a furious backlash and there were threats to track down M. in Lelystad. Police confirmed that there had been an ‘altercation due to animosity towards a resident’, though could not confirm whether the anger had been targeted at M.
The public prosecutor’s office explains that the show ‘has nothing to do’ with the current arrest. ‘M. was arrested on the basis of the material discovered’, states spokesperson Wim de Bruin. Nelson M. is set to appear before the magistrate’s court on Friday.

Andrew Meier

I posted this yesterday on the assumption that Nelson M. was associated in some way with Vereniging Martijn. The Dutch media often use pseudonyms for suspects. Today, however, I managed to watch the programme in question, only to discover that Nelson M. has nothing to do with the banned group. Which raises a concerning point: the police had nothing on him, but drew a parallel between his views and those of Vereniging Martijn in order to provide a pretext for raiding his home.

Andrew Meier

It’s an interesting discussion. I’m keen to hear Kit’s alternative to the liberal status quo in more detail, if he has the time and inclination to expand on it. He’s obviously a highly educated individual, and so I feel there’s plenty I could learn from hearing such a case argued.

Andrew Meier

Apologies, Tom, I missed this response! It might come as no surprise that I don’t use my own e-mail address or name when commenting here. I’ve just scanned through the article and it looks interesting, but it’s something I’ll need more than a few minutes to read properly and consider. In the meantime, I hope you’re having a good week!

Andrew Meier

That’s an interesting article, though it makes Houellebecq sound like a very drily didactic writer, which puts me off reading him (I haven’t yet read any Houellebecq).
What it boils down to for me is this: I can accept most of Kit’s criticisms of liberalism, just as I can accept many criticisms of capitalism on a theoretical level. In the case of the latter, I tend to find myself uneasy with capitalism yet lacking the imagination to come up with a workable, superior alternative. Certainly the laissez-faire experiment that eventually led to the financial crisis and the failure to address the causes of that crisis since 2008 have left me feeling that economic forces need to be controlled and regulated to some extent, though preferably not by the UK Conservative party, and certainly not by Dominic Cummings, Boris Johnson, the ERG and Priti ‘fight counter-terrorism’ Patel. The meritocrats without merit club.
Perhaps we need a drop of Foucault in the mix here. The laissez-faire approach assumes that when no top-down power is exerted, market forces will correct themselves and everything will even out nicely. But that’s an oversimplified view of power. Within even the most economically liberal of environments, there are plenty of active parties seeking to aggressively curtail and constrain. So too in the sphere of social liberalism, which is why I don’t accept that everything that occurs in a broadly socially liberal society can be labelled as ‘liberal’ prima facie, even if people like Peterson co-opt liberal discourse to argue their illiberal case.
If I were debating the merits and flaws of capitalism with a Marxist, I would say something along these lines: ‘I can accept many of the criticisms, but show me a workable, superior alternative’. And then I would point out that experiments with communism created their own strata of privilege and oppression, because they didn’t (couldn’t) change the underlying human psychology. My response to Kit’s criticisms of social liberalism is in the same vein. I can accept the criticisms, but what is the workable, superior alternative? And in what would the alternative’s principles be anchored?

Andrew Meier

I’m not English, but have lived in England for a long time, so I hope the following will therefore be taken as constructive criticism from a semi-insider. The UK is too insular for the social mindset found in many European countries, including the Scandinavian countries, where the focus is very much on building a society that works. In England, by contrast, it’s every man for himself, and more about competition (keeping up with the Joneses) than coming together to construct something universally beneficial. And while I’m at it, the Brits are prone to hysteria, but I doubt anyone posting here would disagree with that point.
I fear that the UK is on the verge of becoming more insular, and the prospect of a trade deal with Papua New Guinea won’t do much to resolve that. Tariff-free kotekas shouldn’t be a priority.

Explorer

Adults’ fear of children’s voluntary sexual expression is continuing to increase, reaching the levels of insanity.
Unfortunately, modern high-tech may too easilty assist the panicking adults in taking away the last semblance of freedom from their children. In Japan, a smartphone has been invented; it is designed to act as a built-in AI censor, interfering with the kids’ attempts to photo themselves naked. And, what is worse, it will be a snitching AI as well, informing the parents about these attempts:
https://klgadgetguy.com/2020/02/19/tone-e20-phone-nudes-android/
Digital totalitarianism for the young. This is expectable: for a child or an adolescent, every state, even the most “liberal” and “democratic” one, is totalitarian.
In fact, totalitarian states may be defined as the states that treat modern adults the way the modern adults treat their children…

Christian

I have seen an article about that new option for smartphones.
A few years ago, I saw on TV news some examples of paranoid parenting in France: parents who sew a GPS inside the pocket of their children’s coats, or a mother having an app on her own phone (or computer?) to discretely monitor the internet use of her children.

galileo1439

Instead of saying “lisence expires” you should say “it’s time to renew the lisence” for French men of letters. Your article should set a tone of demanding Matzneff be completely exonerated and that the activities he did back then get accepted in society today, not give in to how society has changed like you did in this article.

galileo1439

Jury nullification is the best way to decriminalize sex between old men and young girls. It is time for the MeToo era to come to an end, simple as that. That starts in the jury box when a man is on trial for sexual misconduct of any kind towards a woman. Automatically vote not guilty of you’re on the jury, no matter what the prosecution claims.

Zen Thinker

I will quite openly state that I am an outsider to the paedophile movement and one criticism I have is that it assumes and shares society’s fixation with sex. Now, to take a young girl to a nice restaurant and spend two hours in her company would be a dream. And this of course is perfectly legal – but completely impractical as things stand. It is an impossible dream. But this might be far more interesting than any sexual alternative.
Society’s fixation with sex was given legitimacy by Freud, who put sex right at the root of the psyche, and in fact considered civilisation to be a frustration of our native impulses, in order to conform to the reality principle. The reality principle was meant to directly oppose the pleasure principle. But this is an ideology that all of modern society has gullibly and naively followed.
Might it be suggested that actually taking a young girl to a restaurant and engaging in conversation and polite interaction, in the sublimity of the moment, is actually more fulfilling than a sexual encounter at any stage of life? Speaking as a virgin of course, and as someone who has never dated, but sees the beauty in a high romantic encounter that might be lacking in a sexual encounter.
I have a natural distrust of sex and sexuality, for complex reasons that can stem from its proclivity towards baseness and cheapness, and of course the heavy legal sanctions, both historical and current, against some forms of sexuality.
It would be better, in my opinion (in the Zen Thinker utopia), if relationships could be formed with the young which would be one of instruction, friendship, even Platonic romance, which would allow a full blossoming of relationship and character.
I’m speaking from the heart here; you may disagree, but modern society’s obsession with sex is unhealthy and while I believe in the full existence of child sexuality, which I don’t think is biologically disputed, I think it can be more significant and meaningful to form lasting relationships based on paternal tendencies and sublimated love.
Of course our society is so saturated by the ‘paedophile menace’ collective psychosis that any relationship with a young child outside one’s immediate family would be harshly rejected, even on Platonic grounds. And this is the true tragedy of the situation, as almost certainly in a prior age, before the mass delusion and hysteria, such a beautiful relationship was possible. Think of Lewis Carroll and Alice Liddell for example.

Explorer

“I’m speaking from the heart here; you may disagree, but modern society’s obsession with sex is unhealthy and while I believe in the full existence of child sexuality, which I don’t think is biologically disputed, I think it can be more significant and meaningful to form lasting relationships based on paternal tendencies and sublimated love.”
Well, Zen, your stance here seem to be similar to one of the interpretation of the Christian ethics, one that may be called an “ethics of sublimation”. I, myself, have learned about it from the works of the Russian religious philosopher Boris Vysheslavtsev – one of the many thinkers of the so-called “Silver Age” of Russian culture (late 19th – early 20th centuries), when religious (as well as spiritual, mystical, magical, whatever you call it) philosophy thrived as never before (and never after):
https://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/vysheslavtsev-boris-petrovich-1877-1954
According to Vysheslavtsev, the uniqueness of Chrisitan ethics (and spirituality) was exactly in this “sublimating” nature. It seeks to transfigurate and refine the base drives of a man – including, but not limited to, sexuality – into a higher and nobler form. In this, he says, it was different from all the previous forms of spiritual ethics of Antiquity. Before that, the choice was either between the complete ascetic denial and rejection of the lower nature of man, with an aim to leave this fundamentally evil world for the sake of outwordly light and purity (Gnosticism); or an orgiastic surrender to the unrestrained sensuality and passion, to dissolve into the dark, deep base of the world and escape the painful limits of personhood (Bacchism). In Christianity, the world, and the worldly passions of man, are considered to be neither intrinsically evil (no need of full rejection) nor intrinsically good (thus not surrendering to them completely is also important). Instead, they are fallen – a shades of a higher, closer-to-God man’s nature that was radically lowered by an original sin. So, the most virtuous path, for Vysheslavtsev, is sublimating and refining them, raising them back from the base and primitive forms to the higher ones.
Of course, this includes sublimating sexuality, raising it from a fleshy desire into love and sympathy. Much like you would like it to be, I suppose.
_____________________________
And I, an anarchist, would like to see a free world where your vision of a Platonic intergenerational love would be realised – together with the vision of a liberated intergenerational sexuality that fully include the “fleshy” component, the one that is shared by most other MAPs here (except the “virtuous” / “celibate” ones, of course). In a free society, there will be a place and a possibility of all type of mutually voluntary and pleasant relationships between children and adults – from Platonic to erotic ones.
Personally, as a “currently-normal” adult-women-attracted heterosexual teleiophile, I have no problem in fulfilling my own fleshy sexual desires with willing adult women. But my vision of freedom, of a liberated society where everyone would be accepted and no one would be demonised, is not fulfilled yet. And this “higher” vision is no less important for me than my “lower” desires – while I’m quite respectful to Christianity (it effectively created the modern Western world, that would not exist without it), I’m not a Christian myself, and do not sublimate anything in myself; I accept myself fully, from sexuality to intellection to aspiration towards a better world, and treat all parts of my nature as equal. Other may choose another way in life. And what is important for me, is to ensure that each of them would enjoy a possibility.

Zen Thinker

Explorer, thank you for your considered response. I too could form relationships with adult women if I so choose, but I haven’t to date. Many women are attractive to me, but it lacks that reverential spark of affection I have for young girls. I think that affection can be demonstrated in various ways. But to have to repress it altogether, and feel guilty about it at the same time, sucks to be honest. I find writing is an outlet and I’ve written around 110,000 words so far on my thoughts and experiences surrounding minor attraction. But I find the least painful way to deal with it is to try and avoid young girls altogether. At least until broader attitudes change it shall remain so for me.

Andrew Meier

Society’s exclusive fixation on anything that can lead to genital tumescence or orgasm reveals that child protection, though an admirable goal, is but a veneer; the true aim—the underlying biological impulse—is to control and police sexual expression and sexual conquest. A man can, if he wishes, flatter a young girl until she falls in love with him and then callously and deliberately break her heart. That would be a very damaging thing to do to an impressionable young mind, but it’s not illegal because it’s not sexual. At the same time, a drawing or an animated cartoon of a child engaged in a solo sexual act would be illegal in many jurisdictions, despite no real child being harmed.
I have seen that romantic love—entirely chaste in expression—between a man and a girl is emotionally possible. I have seen that it is practically (and, in many respects, morally) problematic. I have seen how a young mind can be brainwashed over many months into reinterpreting that bond as something malignant and ugly. And I have seen people damage that young mind beyond repair, in the name of protecting it, for the unthinkable transgression of requiting an adult’s love.

Zen Thinker

Yes I agree with you 100%.
Sexual expression has always been policed by civilisation, especially in the institution of marriage. At one time (and in fact it still applies) you would divulge all your sexual sins to the local priest, so that power would rest with the Church. In the Old Testament and in some Islamic states, adultery warrants the death penalty. So sexual expression has always been jealousy overseen by juridical and administrative power.
Freud has some interesting ideas on taboos on sexuality. Obviously incest was (and remains perhaps) the primal taboo – we have Sophocles’ Oedipus trilogy of course. Ancient Greeks may have been more relaxed about sexuality overall, but don’t forget Socrates was given the death penalty in Athens for ‘corrupting the young’. This was an intellectual infringement not a sexual one (he argued against the gods) but it is instructive of society’s perennial need to oversee and punish, even where to an objective eye wrongdoing is questionable.
Yes I imagine much trauma is created in the minds of the young by hysterical and intrusive overreactions to their slightest sexual acts. This is unfortunate but who is being protected? The State of course, the existing power structures not the poor individual, who is thrown under the bus.
The State must police sexuality, perhaps because it is linked to work and the productivity of the populace, but also for powerful psychological reasons which have existed since tribal times, and even exist now in wolf packs and the like. We are not free but we are fed the lie that we are free, and today this happens through an ersatz culture industry. But we have enough freedom to choose to intellectually reject some of the reigning paradigms of our flawed society.

Liz

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/02/11/world/europe/gabriel-matzneff-pedophilia-france.html
An interview with Matzneff. The journalist’s take is awful but there are some interesting historical gossip in this article.

Andrew Meier

This is a response to two comments by Kit Marlowe below, namely those of Feb 08, 2020 @ 20:04:35 and Feb 09, 2020 @ 12:03:25.
I understand your point about the poverty of liberalism’s moral vocabulary. I understand your point that ‘liberalism’s pretensions to defend human equality are both superficial and fatally compromised by its commitment to economic freedom (that is, the freedom to be unequal)’, though one can of course be a social liberal without being an economic liberal (and vice versa), and the fact of a social conservative being an economic liberal doesn’t automatically make him/her a liberal. I understand your analysis of Foucault. However, although you state that you don’t think it’s your place to suggest a way for liberalism to overcome its own internal contradictions, I can’t help but be curious as to what alternative to liberalism you have in mind, and in what ways this alternative wouldn’t be ‘mean and imprisoning’ in some other way.
I disagree that JP’s championing of freedom of speech is genuinely liberal in nature or in motivation (and this will lead me on to a broader point below). In a liberal society, we have a considerable degree of freedom of speech. Legal sanctions are kept to a minimum, though there are reasonable limits in the criminal and civil arenas (defamation, common assault, incitement to kill, advertising cigarettes to kids, etc. etc.). Of course, legal sanctions aren’t the only kind of sanction possible; there is often a ‘social cost’ to what we say. JP and his followers are free to express their conservative views. Nobody is making a sincere and sustained effort to deny them a voice. It’s my opinion that JP and his followers are appropriating a liberal philosophy because they don’t like the social cost of expressing their conservative views, and the easiest appeal route in a liberal society is to frame the social cost as an infringement on freedom of speech. One might reasonably wonder whether, if the conservative views of Peterson and his followers predominated, they would be championing freedom of speech and denouncing no-platforming with the same degree of fervour.
Based on this assessment, I’d contend that it’s not that social conservatives are ‘unable to appeal to a non-liberal moral vocabulary’, but that they recognise that doing so is unlikely to win out in a predominantly liberal environment, and so appropriate liberal values piecemeal to further their agendas. In other words, it’s window dressing. And it’s for that reason that I think one can’t straightforwardly deem social conservatives in modern Western society to be broadly liberal simply because they’re using society’s ‘native language’ to challenge it.

Cyril

And talking about “celebrating” adult-child sex, it is a real tradition of the French literature: see Rableias, de Sade, Tournier, Guyotat…

Cyril

And Abélard, of course. Paintings by Renoir and Balthus, and “Leone” movie showing how bad policemen are. Frenchmen are freedom-loving and frivolous, they don’t care about saying controversial stuff, or almost saying.

sodomight1

Won’t be long until having a PDF of 120 Days of Sodom on your computer will garnish a felony charge.

Kit Marlowe

I confess myself puzzled at the idea that studying (technically ‘reading’) theology at Oxford is proof of an inherently reactionary and barstardy disposition. I have known a few paedophiles who took degrees in theology from Oxford, and none of them could be confused with Roger Scruton. Moreover, reading the Gospel at a parent’s funeral (or even having affection for a deceased parent) seems quite reasonable enough to me. Let us not presume to visit the sins of the father upon the children.
I do wonder, though, exactly what part of that quote shows Scruton to be a bastard: the conviction he expresses (childhood is not an end in itself but a stage that serves the human telos – the fully-developed adult person) seems to me to be widely-shared in our society, not least by medical and psychological-psychiatric discourses. Children are, by and large, not valued in themselves but as ciphers of the human person they will one day become: they are sort of human larvae that we tend in the hopes of producing a butterfly that will somehow reward the effort. The very language of ‘human development’ suggests that children are somehow undeveloped, unready, unripe. I think there is something faulty about this kind of reasoning, but Scruton is hardly unique in subscribing to it. It’s the orthodoxy of our age.
I am also not entirely sure that being a Christian makes you necessarily a bastard, although it has always been my opinion that Scruton could have done with a bit more theological education himself: he was less an orthodox Christian than an Enlightenment deist like his hero Kant. As Pharmakon pointed out on bC, Christianity takes the teleological theme in human life to a far more radical extreme than Scruton suggests: not just childhood but all of human life is an education, a preparation for eternity. (Christians would also agree with Scruton that life is not primarily to be enjoyed, at least in any superficial sense.) Scruton, however, has not a Christian but an Enlightenment idea of personhood: a human person is not a child of God but a rational, responsible, adult individual; an economic agent; a contractual subject of sound mind – the kind of person who can undertake a legal contract or a sexual relationship (which are very much he same thing when we start talking about informed consent). And as a result, children are non-persons or at least not-yet-persons: rationally, economically, contractually, sexually.
The French Revolution may have torn away the crumbling, tottering feudal relics of French law, but it also laid the foundations for an absolute regime of public liberalism (and if you need to see how illiberal that can be, witness the effects of the French Law of 1905 in suppressing public displays of religion – and in particular unpopular religions – in France.) The logic that buttresses the dominant public attitude to child sexuality today is the product of modernity: it arises from liberalism, not Christianity; capitalism not feudalism; the Enlightenment rather than the Middle Ages. The irony is that Scruton was himself very much a liberal in this sense – a true child of Enlightenment rationalism, which has never been slow to dehumanise those deemed insufficiently rational.

Explorer

“Right now, though, I really must be on my way to Black Mass.”
Devout Pizzagate fans and stubborn Satanic Panic remnants (and there are still a lot of them around the Web…) would probably interpret this jocular remark of yours as literally and humourlessly as it gets. :-O

Zen Thinker

As a committed Christian, I agree with this entirely, and I commend the writer on many intelligent points.
The legacy of liberalism and the Enlightenment is the modern society we know today, with all its faults and paradoxes. Christianity, like the past, is a foreign country; they do things differently there.
And the debate surrounding minor attraction, or ‘paedophilia’ (a loaded term given our toxic press) has much deeper implications than sexual ‘transgression’. In Christianity almost everything is sexual transgression, that’s kind of the point. One must perform the missionary position with one’s wife without contraception, and if single one can’t masturbate or fornicate. But Christianity is not the enemy here – it is the liberal modernist Enlightenment society that has singled out child sexuality and agency as an abhorrent evil above all sexual evils, ever since the myth of the ‘innocence of the child’ was born in the eighteenth century.
St Augustine knew children weren’t innocent – read his ‘Confessions’ from 400AD. He is one of the three foremost Christian thinkers in world history.
My point is simply that I agree with Kit and Enlightenment rationalism has far more to blame for our social imbalance and societal ills.

Andrew Meon

The terms ‘liberalism’ and ‘Enlightenment’ are being bandied about almost interchangeably in a couple of responses here. Which leads me to a question (open to anyone): specifically, in what way is the current conception of childhood sexuality the product of liberalism?

Zen Thinker

Well I’m not an expert in political theory but John Locke was the founder of liberalism and we have Edmund Burke as the father of the modern right and Jean-Jacques Rousseau as the father of the modern left. The contemporary ‘conservative’ and ‘progressive’ in Western politics are born from that continuum, and there was established a strict approach to AoC laws in Anglophone countries, in the course of moral panics generated from the ‘liberal consensus’. Locke’s theory of the blank slate contributed to this, the founder of liberalism and the entire modern establishment said that children were born without any innate qualities, as ‘tabula rasa’ upon which the events of sense experiences were written. This obviously led to the notion of children as underdeveloped beings. In the course of the nineteenth century AoC was raised from 10 in English Common Law to 16 by an Act of Parliament, and from 10 on the Eastern seaboard of the US to eventually 18. (By contrast, Gratian, founder of Christian Canon Law in the twelfth century, set the AoC at 7, the age of reason, although some authorities allowed for younger than this). The Napoleonic code had established AoC at 11, raised eventually to 15. So clearly something happened in the later nineteenth century, during the heyday of classical liberalism. In fact our strict interpretation of child sexuality today can all be traced to the attitudes and acts of liberal democracies, nothing to do with Christianity whatsoever, other than superficial moral arguments that at their heart weren’t traditionally Christian but instead the result of the liberal framework.

Andrew Meier

I would echo Tom’s concern about interconnectedness. For example, I can’t see how Locke’s concept of the tabula rasa can be subsumed under liberalism simply because Locke is considered to be the founding father of liberalism.
I’d suggest that the picture is less clear-cut. In this regard, I’d like to raise two points for consideration:
1) Although Locke’s concept of the tabula rasa and Rousseau’s ideas on the child and child-rearing provide a philosophical background to the Romantic conception of the child as pristinely innocent, it’s the Romantic poets and artists themselves who develop this image as part of their reaction against excessive Enlightenment rationality and (no less importantly) against the increasing mechanisation of society and the exploitation of children in that mechanised society. In their efforts to chasten the figure of the child, there’s a heavy dose of artistic licence rather than rigorous adherence to philosophical precedent.
2) The raising of the age of consent in England and Wales (twice) in the latter half of the 19th century was largely down to the so-called social purity movement and the climate of moral panic they created. Their morality was expressly Christian. (In the USA during the same period, John Harvey Kellogg was waging a deeply abusive war on children’s sexuality, also from a Christian perspective.) I’m not an expert on this topic, but I’m sure it could be argued that the Romantics’ conception of the child as pristinely innocent was co-opted by the social purity movement to serve their partisan ends.
In summary, my understanding is that the modern conception of the child is not a product of Enlightenment philosophy but a reaction against it, isn’t particularly connected to liberalism, and has to a considerable extent been honed and amplified through moralising tendencies (including explicitly Christian casuistry), especially in the latter half of the 19th century but also during the decades since the sexual revolution.

Kit Marlowe

The Romantic poets, I think, had a slightly more nuanced idea of childhood than is commonly believed: Blake, certainly, did not treat ‘innocence’ as an unproblematically positive term in opposition to ‘experience,’ and Wordsworth seems to have seen childhood as a sort of haunted state, half-ecstatic and half-terrorised. Innocence, maybe, but not quite as we know it. The Victorians, for their part, had a fantastically schizophrenic view of childhood: as Terry Eagleton remarks in one of his (wonderful) books, “the Victorians could never decide whether children were angels or demons, unfallen creatures or the spawn of Satan. Romantics and Evangelicals joined battle over these amphibious creatures, at once alien and intimate.” How well the Victorians would have understood our reaction to the monster Jon Venables and the fiend-in-human-form Robert Thompson.
My objections to liberalism do not primarily hinge on the question of who was responsible for the doctrine of childhood innocence – in reality perhaps a less influential idea than we tend to think (and certainly less important than Roger Scruton seems to think). If we’re going to trace that particular thread then we probably need follow it back to the ‘birth of childhood’ itself in the seventeenth century. Children were born monsters – Eagleton again: “if there is something unsettling about children, as many a horror movie bears witness, it is because they are uncanny, being at once like their elders and not like them at all, pocket-size adults yet denizens of a different domain.” Of course,this ‘different domain’ had to be created, and in this respect it was the nineteenth century that completed what the seventeenth century began: the removal of children from the economic sphere, their being ‘set apart’ as a special class of human persons. Or – perhaps – not quite persons at all: angels or demons or animals or savages or scapegoats.
The Enlightenment – I think – dealt with children (and women, and non-Europeans, and many others) in a particularly fateful and problematic way, but it certainly wasn’t alone in struggling to find a place for this alien class of creatures that was emerging, and it did not itself invent them. The Enlightenment did, however, give us the beginnings of the ‘developmental’ view of childhood – childhood as a distinct, formative stage of life that demanded special treatment and a safe distance from the world of adult concerns. These sort of ideas found their fullest expression in Rousseau – the hinge between Enlightenment rationalism and Romantic sensibility – but I don’t think they changed all that much over the course of the nineteenth century.
I think I would challenge the dichotomy you suggest between Victorian moral reform (much of it Evangelical in spirit) and liberalism (with a big or small L). Moral reform (temperance, abolition of child labour, etc.) and political improvement (free trade, extension of the franchise, etc.) often went hand-in-hand, as Gladstone’s career illustrates. Victorian Christianity – at least in its middle-class and Protestant manifestations – was thoroughly liberal in spirit.
For the record, I guess I should say the liberal reformers were not all bad. I’m probably opposed to child labour. But I’m pretty much opposed to adult labour too.

Andrew Meier

I’ve posted a response to this under your other comment below.

Kit Marlowe

It’s a very good question, Andrew: ‘liberalism’ is one of those words that seems to be all things to all men. I guess I am using the word to mean a commitment to market capitalism, individualism, rights-based law and representative democracy. (In this sense pretty much everyone in mainstream politics today is a liberal, including Boris Johnson and probably Donald Trump. Only a few of us feudalistic hold-outs still resist.) For me, the connection between the dominant sexual regime and ‘liberalism’ as a political and economic ideology comes down to the question of how sexual subjects are constituted, and revolves around the problem of ‘consent’.
Consent is clearly home-territory for liberals: not only does liberal political theory locate the ultimate legitimacy of political authority in the free consent of the governed (thus democracy of a limited sort), it also makes individual consent the arbiter of all economic relationships (thus market capitalism). Liberalism is, notoriously, less adept at identifying goods that do not boil down to a matter of individual choice – it is, for instance, pretty much useless at arguing that some choices are better than others, except inasmuch as they might be said to infringe somebody else’s individual choices. Inevitably, the unimpeachable freedom of the Other becomes a source of ever-increasing moral anxiety (and legislation). The recurrent crises of liberalism seem to be the result of this vacuity: the unlimited freedom of the individual to choose a good, but no guidance on what a good might be beyond the freedom to choose it.
It’s not hard to see how this kind of logic extends into sexuality: the only arbiter of sexual morality in our culture is consent. There is no other possible standard for liberals to determine what kind of sexual relationship is permissible (much less desirable). But the corollary is that we demand ever more punishing standards for what qualifies as consent: consent must be informed, or it is not true consent. Consent must be framed between parties who are both free and equal. (The doctrine of ‘equality’ – never the liberal’s strong suit! – generates a muddle-headed conception of how ‘power’ operates; liberals have a habit of treating ‘power’ as though it were, like capital, simply something that some people have more of than others, and that if only we were stripped of this ill-gotten resource we could deal with each other in a state of primordial innocence. This germ of modern identity-politics is sometimes blamed on Marxism, but no self-respecting Marxist would be guilty of such a cartoonish analysis of power-relations.) Consent, an idea which has its origins in contract law, thus converts sex into a kind of contractual relationship between partners who must enjoy a kind of equality that liberalism all but forbids outside of the bedroom.
I think this is where Enlightenment ideas of rational personhood intrude. Who can consent if not a full-rational (that is, fully human) person? We have perhaps left behind some of the more outrageous manifestations of the Enlightenment hierarchy of mankind – most of us will now reluctantly admit that women and non-whites are probably capable of being almost as rational as white men are – but children remain trapped in reason’s penumbra. They are (by common agreement) not rational and therefore incapable of giving informed consent. The outrage created by a British academic’s suggestion last year that children should be accorded the right to vote points to the link between political enfranchisement and sexual consent in liberal thinking, and how inconceivable it is that children should be included in the community of liberal rights on either count. But liberalism, like rationalism, has always been defined by its limits. What is the point of having rights if there aren’t people to whom you can deny them?
At any rate, this – I think – is where the relationship between sex and the hegemonic ideology of our age lies. These are, to be clear, not all my ideas! But I do think they are relevant to a paedophile critique of modern sexual subjectivity. Liberalism tells us that consent is necessary and sufficient for an ethically-permissible sexual relationship. Critics of liberalism might reply that consent is neither sufficient nor (in its most punishingly extreme form) even necessary for an ethical sexual relationship. I appreciate the fact that Roger Scruton – for all his many, many, many faults – does attempt to go some way down this road. He does at least try to offer up an alternative basis for establishing a sexual ethic. But in the end he too is ship-wrecked on the reef of Enlightenment rationalism and contemporary prejudices about who can be a sexual subject. In the end, perhaps, he turns out to be just another bloody liberal.

Andrew Meier

Thanks for the detailed response, Kit. I’m glad you didn’t mind my original question. Too often these days the word ‘liberal’ is used without a nuanced understanding of liberalism or ad hominem-style, sometimes even within academic circles (a certain Canadian psychology professor springs to mind). Some thoughts on your response:
1) As you rightly observe, the notion of consent is a necessary ingredient within a predominantly liberal environment of competing rights and freedoms. But when you say that ‘the corollary is that we demand ever more punishing standards for what qualifies as consent’, one has to wonder whether the fact of an environment being predominantly liberal means that such a demand therein must necessarily stem from the liberal voices prevailing therein. Is there no room to entertain the idea that the demand might (or might also) stem from socially conservative elements? To take the predominantly liberal environment of England and Wales as an example, (at least) from the Sexual Offences Act 2003 onwards there has been a tendency to proscribe ever more actions of a sexual nature, irrespective of whether those actions involve consent, a genuine victim, or even another party at all. Such proscriptions are illiberal in nature yet have arisen within a predominantly liberal environment. Hence I’d like to call into question the idea that the demand for ever more punishing standards vis-à-vis what qualifies as consent is a necessarily liberal phenomenon simply by virtue of the predominant nature of the surrounding context.
2) In my response to Zen Thinker above, I mention the role of the social purity movement in shaping our ideas on sexual consent. Are we not at risk of affirming the consequent when we assume that liberalism endorses x, society endorses x, therefore society is liberal (or that society’s endorsement of x is liberal)?
3) The idea of equality is not exclusively Lockean. It’s also found in the Bible, for example.
4) On the subject of power, does your portrayal of the liberal perspective on power take into account the paradigm shift that occurs in conceptions of power from Foucault onwards? It strikes me that many of the paradoxes ascribed to liberalism can at least partly be resolved by reconceiving of power as something diffuse rather than merely top-down, and by taking personal autonomy to be a central focus of liberalism (e.g. we are free to make a choice, but is the choice genuinely free or has it been influenced by, for example, cultural narratives we have internalised?) rather than just rights and freedoms.
5) On your final paragraph, I’d like to ask whether a ‘paedophile critique of modern sexual subjectivity’ would advocate extending capacity to give informed consent to those trapped in reason’s penumbra (thus preserving a consent-based social and legal order) or else advocate dispensing with the notion of consent altogether (thus rendering a consent-based social and legal order the exclusive preserve of liberalism)?

Kit Marlowe

I certainly hope I didn’t leave you with the impression that I am sympathetic in any way with the tepid anti-liberalism of Jordan Peterson (only my third least-favourite Canadian psychologist, as it happens; they seem to be Canada’s primary export to the world). To address your points in order:
1) and 2) I do think there is an inherent connection between ‘liberalism’ and anxiety around consent, and I think it comes down to a point I hinted at in an earlier post: the poverty of liberalism’s moral vocabulary. Because liberalism cannot countenance an argument that there are intrinsic and universal goods (beyond the absolute freedom of each atomised individual to pursue his or her own individual good), it struggles to deal with the threat of transgression. How, in short, can liberalism deal with the problem that might, in a former age, have been called evil? Liberals can only diagnose the problem as a lack of respect for individual autonomy, and to defend against the problem must mount ever more formidable defences around the sovereign, rational individual. Neoliberal economics – which I see as the apotheosis of liberal logic – gives a material manifestation to this mode of political reasoning: in a society where greed is good and the only valid function of the state is to defend private property, how can we avoid quite literally building walls around ourselves (and around the one social unit that neoliberal capitalism seems to tolerate – the nuclear family)?
As this connection between liberalism and neoliberalism suggests, I do not deny that ‘socially conservative’ elements may play a role in the alienation and persecution of unpopular sexual minorities. But – at the risk of straining the definition of the word and your patience yet further – I don’t really think such voices are particularly ‘conservative’ at all. The so-called right’s fatuous talk about banging up offenders for years and years shares an awful lot of basic ideological ground with the rehabilitatory rhetoric of the so-called left (not least the language of social contract and respect for the rights of the law-abiding citizenry; Tony Blair, though remarkably stupid in many ways, recognised this point of connection between appearing ‘tough on crime’ and the rhetoric of economic liberalism). This is part of my point: *everybody* is a liberal (except for me and perhaps a few of my friends!). Certainly every mainstream voice in British and American politics has its roots deep in the soil of liberalism. Even Jordan bloody Peterson, who can’t stop banging on about freedom of speech, is a bastard child of Rousseau. Social conservatives are (with a few marginal, more-or-less-fundamentalist exceptions – the DUP, I guess) basically unable to appeal to a non-liberal moral vocabulary, because there just isn’t one publicly available to them. It’s not just that the liberals are liberal: the conservatives are too (and in the US, the conservatives are hyper-liberal to a bizarre and frankly pathological degree).
In passing, I want to raise a point of order regarding the use of the word ‘illiberal.’ Suggesting that illiberality is the opposite of liberalism implies that liberalism should be associated both with liberty and liberality – that is, with both freedom and generousness. But in fact I think it is neither. I think liberalism is mean and imprisoning, as suggested by its near-total hold on our mainstream political thought (even if neoliberal economics finally seems to be in decline).
3) I wouldn’t want you to think that I am particularly opposed to equality! Unlike Peterson and Scruton, I have no interest in trying to mount an argument for inegalitarianism. My point is rather that liberalism’s pretensions to defend human equality are both superficial and fatally compromised by its commitment to economic freedom (that is, the freedom to be unequal). The fact that I possess the abstract right to own an Olympic-sized swimming pool is not much use to me if my actual material conditions prohibit it. It is the assumed blindness of liberalism to material realities that makes its talk of equality so grating – but this is hardly a new observation, and it was being mounted long before Marx. Christianity is not entirely free from blame here either: whereas liberalism tends to shunt equality into the realm of abstract political rights, Christianity has all-too-often deferred equality to the eschatological hereafter. Still, I tend to think that Christianity is better-equipped than liberalism to take seriously the problem of how radical human equality may be manifested in social and political terms. Not unconnected with this is the undeniable fact that liberalism is, at its root, the class-ideology of the bourgeoisie, though I think that this acknowledgment must be modified by the recognition that the second half of the twentieth century has seen the assumption of middle-class values and fashions both by the elite and by the working class. The extension of middle-class prejudices and sentimentalities into working-class communities strikes me as especially fateful for MAPs. But this is a matter for another post, and perhaps another time.
4) Foucault’s relationship to liberal individualism is an interesting and complex one, but I would suggest that (in his earlier work especially) Foucault destabilises and demythologises the individual subject in the same way that many other French thinkers of the later twentieth century do (influenced in various ways by phenomenology, Marxism and psychoanalysis). The question is, what role remains for the deliberating, individual human subject if our choices don’t really belong to us at all? Although Foucault launches a ‘return to the subject’ in his later work (notably, I think, in his trilogy on the History of Sexuality), I think it’s hard not to see this as a fundamental challenge to the core assumptions of liberalism. If the faultlines of power and ideology run right through us, how can we claim to be rational agents at all? (A possible defence of some kind of liberal agency could perhaps be found in Bruno Latour’s work, which sees power truly existing only in action, but there it lies in social networks rather than in individual subjects; the individual agent is still marginal.)
5) As you’ve probably noticed, I’m not a friend of most of the dominant ideologies of our culture: secularism, capitalism, what I’m calling ‘liberalism.’ Distancing yourself from the hegemonic ideologies is never easy, but I think it’s a lot easier if you’re an MAP – or a Christian, for that matter – in which case you may perhaps have a certain sense of abstraction from the things you are told you should value and aspire to. So I don’t really think it’s my place to suggest a way for liberalism to overcome its own internal contradictions. I don’t wish it well.
Naturally, I can only speak for myself. It seems to me that children present an insoluble problem for liberal capitalist cultures. It seems to me that there is no way of getting around this that does not involve a major political and economic reconfiguration of the way in which we live. And I think we will need to reject the political and moral language that liberalism offers us altogether, including the idea that ‘consent’ (from the Latin con-sentire, ‘to feel together’) has to be understood only in the terms that have been offered to us hitherto. But I am wary of the risk of seeming to defer this promised future, this longed-for liberation, to the eschaton.

Andrew Meier

Any extreme caricature brings with it the trace of its opposite. The figure of the child is something of an undecidable. If the concept of innocence in the 19th century casts children as angels (or demons), the concept has morphed to leave them equivocal between asexual (or desexualised) and sexual (or sexualised). Obsessive efforts to chasten only serve to foreground erotic potential.
Of course, these caricatures say more about our (adult) investment in and desires surrounding the child than they do about children’s intrinsic nature; it’s not so much that children embody the angelic or the asexual but rather that we look to them to represent these qualities so that a comforting prelapsarian state can be constituted.
On the ‘dichotomy […] between Victorian moral reform […] and liberalism’, I have to point out that I wasn’t presenting it as a dichotomy. I suggested that the picture was less clear-cut, by which I meant that responsibility for the creation of our current conception of the child can’t straightforwardly and exclusively be attributed to liberalism. Moralists and conservatives of various flavours are part of the picture too.
As for the claim that 19th-century Christianity was ‘thoroughly liberal in spirit’, I have to admit that I’m struggling with that. At the very least, I’d question the use of the word ‘thoroughly’.

Kit Marlowe

I am inclined to agree with the poster Zen Thinker, who suggests above that both the “liberal” left (via Rousseau) and the “conservative” right (via Locke) are steeped in the assumptions of liberalism. I have in fact just been looking at one of Scruton’s columns for the Spectator (available online) called “Kant vs cant: how liberals lost their way” in which he makes basically this point: that “liberalism” and :conservatism” share an awful lot of common ground. “In a real sense we are all liberal constitutionalists now,” says Scruton, observing that the presence of religious fundamentalists and extremists “has only served to confirm our commitment to the liberal inheritance.” Scruton seems to think that this ‘liberal tradition’ is something that we can all rally around when faced by the threat of those who are excluded from it.
Personally, I am sceptical of the idea (advanced by the current crop of populists and nationalists) that an ultimate locus of identity and moral value can ever be found in the nation state. Accidents of history and/or geography do not in themselves necessarily provide a sound basis for moral community. At the same time, I’m not quite so sure that we live in a ‘post-religious’ society – if it is true that our society lacks a single religious consensus, then it must also be admitted that we live in what Habermas calls a post-secular society. If we lack a consensus around a single form of religious identity, we don’t necessarily have a consensus around the value of secularism either.
If moral value can only be found in voluntary communities that are external to the state (a community of paedophiles, perhaps), then liberalism cannot pretend to be the neutral ground from which all other communities emerge. Secularism, capitalism and liberalism do not constitute a ‘naked public square’ that permits other ideologies to flourish in the private realm (as the French in particular like to imagine). Rather, they are just three public ideologies among many others, and there is no good reason to privilege liberal political values over – say – Sunni Muslim ones.

Andrew Meier

I’ll post a response separately.

Rianmo

A few days ago Gabriel Matzneff gave an interview to French television in Italy, where he remains in exile following the Springora case. He preferred to hide his face, but he was very affected. He was about to cry. In his own words, he is devastated. He said he regrets his past. He said that at that time no one spoke of crimes, but of corruption of minors or non-violent indecent assault. He said his love affair with Springora was the most beautiful love story of his life. He said he feels very alone. He said that the state wants him to kill himself and that now he will have to live on other people’s charity, since they are going to take away the pension he receives as a retired writer and he does not keep any fortune. Sad end to the license of French writers. Sad end to the dream of an era.

Rianmo

And I don’t know if I understood correctly, but I think when he said that the state wants him to kill himself, he immediately added, “I will, I will. The interview was broadcast on BFMTV and can be seen here: https://www.pausefun.com/es/video/gabriel-matzneff-interview-sans-concession/?utm_source=pausefun&utm_medium=recirculated_sidebar&utm_campaign=un-opera-dans-un-parking
The truth is that I couldn’t expected such a reaction from Matzneff, the man who for decades wrote and spoke publicly in favour of paedophilia.

Explorer

While many people gather now here, on the Heretic TOC, LSM has made a new blog post as well:
https://consentinghumans.wordpress.com/2020/01/21/why-are-there-so-very-few-prosecutions-for-fgm-in-the-uk/
As for now, there are only three comments below. Let’s give a part of our time and attention to it as well!
I hope Tom will excuse me for this act of diverting the attention to the other blog… 😉

Andrew Meier

If we want to find some means of undermining the ipse dixit that people under an arbitrarily selected age lack the capacity to give meaningful consent to sexual activity, we need look no further than the statute book itself. Close-in-age exemptions suggest that a young person’s capacity to give meaningful consent to sexual activity is not, after all, contingent on his/her own maturity or development; instead, it is contingent upon the chronological age of his/her chosen partner.
In my view, Germany strikes a fairly sensible balance between youth rights and child protection through its two-tier age-of-consent legislation. For those unfamiliar with it, the age of consent is 16, but if there is no suggestion of coercion or manipulation (or, indeed, abuse of power), then sexual activity is also permitted with minors aged 14 and 15. On paper, then, young(ish) adolescents are permitted a degree of autonomy and self-determination. In practice, however, this two-tier approach has come to be treated as little more than a close-in-age exemption, which is to say that it has become normative in case law for an assumption of coercion to be made wherever there is a significant age differential.

Remus

The age of consent in germany is 14 as long as there is no “dependency “(abhängigkeitsverhältnis) between the parties, otherwise it is 16.
This reminds of a case in germany a few months ago. A teacher was sentenced by the court for a sexual relationship he had with a then 14 year old pupil. He appealed the decision and it subsequently was overthrown due to the fact that he never taught her class, there the dependency that is usually assumed between a teacher and a student was not present in this case. Sadly the painted this court decision as a case of abuse and politicians were quick to announce to “correct that legal flaw”.

Andrew Meier

The relevant point is to be found in §182(5) of the Strafgesetzbuch (Penal Code):
‘In den Fällen des Absatzes 3 wird die Tat nur auf Antrag verfolgt, es sei denn, daß die Strafverfolgungsbehörde wegen des besonderen öffentlichen Interesses an der Strafverfolgung ein Einschreiten von Amts wegen für geboten hält.’
In other words, the public prosecutor is free to pursue prosecution even in the absence of a complaint from the minor if it deems such a course of action to be in the public interest. In practice, the public prosecutor’s office seldom takes the view that a significant age differential is anything other than an indicator of coercion, and therefore is apt to pursue prosecution in cases where a significant age differential exists on the assumption that it is in the public interest to do so.
The issue of a relationship of dependence crops up elsewhere, namely §180(3). The parallel between the ‘Abhängigkeit’ and the (abuse of a) position of trust found in sections 16-24 of the Sexual Offences Act 2003 in England and Wales should be clear.

Rianmo

I have always found it very curious that in France, for decades, writers such as Gabriel Matzneff, René Schérer or Tony Duvert could explicitly defend paedophilia in their books and even narrate their experiences with minors without anything happening. Matzneff or Daniel Cohn-Bendit even appeared at the end of the 1970s in television programmes openly defending paedophilia, which can be seen on Youtube. In 1977, after the publication of the Petition against the age of consent, supported by intellectuals such as Michel Foucalt, Jean-Paul Sartre, Simone de Beauvoir, Gilles Deleuze, Louis Aragon or Roland Barthes, and even two ministers, Foucault participated in a debate with Jean Danet and Hocquenghem broadcast by Radio Paris in which the three explained their opposition to the age of consent, a debate which was later published under the title “La Loi de la pudeur” and in which Foucalt, by the way, predicted very well the anti-pedophilic hysteria that would soon follow. Newspapers like Libération supported and gave voice to the defenders of pedophilia, and presented those who opposed their ideas as reactionary moralists. In addition, paedophile activist associations such as FLIP (1977), FRED (1977-1979) or GRED (1979-1987) emerged and magazines such as Le Gai Pied supported or tolerated the paedophile movement and gave voice to authors such as Tony Duvert.
At the same time, Edward Brongersma appeared on Dutch and American television programmes defending paedophilia during prime time.
From today’s perspective, all this seems incredible. It seems that at that time paedophilia was beginning to be tolerated.
In 2010 there was a great controversy in Spain after the writer Ferando Sánchez-Dragó insinuated in a book that in the 1960s he had been seduced by two teenagers in Tokyo. However, in the late 1990s or early 2000s he even openly criticized the repression of pedophilia in some of his literary programs on Spanish television without his words having any echo or repercussions.
By the way, the Spanish writer Jaime Gil de Biedma also wrote some diaries in which he talks about his relationships with minors. They were published posthumously.

Rianmo

In Spain there is a great hysteria. I heard about the Springora case by reading Heretic Toc and after writing my previous message I looked for information in the Spanish press. In the newspaper La Vanguardia I found a news item entitled “El debate sobre Gabriel Matzneff se extiende a autores como Joan Ferraté o Gil de Biedma” (The debate about Gabriel Matzneff extends to authors like Joan Ferraté or Gil de Biedma). The author considers it a proven fact that Springora was “the victim of an aggression” and echoes the opinions of a publisher and professor of literature from Barcelona who describes the writer Joan Ferraté as an “aggressor” for having maintained a loving and spoiled relationship with a 16-year-old boy, whom he describes as a “victim”. This professor says that he does not censor Ferraté’s work, but at the same time he finds it outrageous that it should be published.
In 2015 the age of consent was raised to 16 in Spain, but many people don’t think that’s enough and believe that relationships with people over 16 should also be criminalised. Anti-pedophilic hysteria is an insatiable monster.

Linca

Thanx for posting this Tom. Looks like a treasure of information to discover.
Linca

peterhoo

Tom, a piece of writing that is worth reading more than once.
A number of French authors are people I hold in high regard, as I suspect you know.
That view will not shift merely to accommodate fashion, although the shifts in modern-day politics social movements, with their intolerance, authoritarian style, and taste for revenge (Douglas Murray rightly discusses the difficulty of forgiveness in his recent political, ‘The Madness of Crowds’.) points to this shift as more than fashion!
My hope is more people pen pieces like the one you offer here, and I use a slogan as significant as the term “metoo” – “lest we forget”.

peterhoo

Your support for many views and diversity of thought, as might already know, has my full support!

Peter Herman

It is strange that we expect love focused on only one partner when it is quite all right for a parent to have many children and love each individually equally as much as any of the others.

T, Rivas

Here are some relevant thoughts about this: https://www.ipce.info/host/rivas/discussion.htm#Multiple%20partners

T, Rivas

There are voluntary relationships between girls and men about which the former girl feels absolutely no regret later on.
Not all adults (men or women) in such a relationship deceive children (girls or boys) about their intentions and possible other relationships See: https://www.ipce.info/host/rivas/positive_memories.htm
However, t may be one of the main blind spots of some advocates that makes them deny that basic honesty and openness as well as consent co-determine whether a relationship is morally sound or not.This is not a minor insight, and it has nothing to do with bigotry or #MeToo hysteria but with common decency and respecting human rights. If Springora is wrong about other things, this does not invalidate this central point./
It one wants legislation to become more reasonable, one should really stop depicting indefensible behavior of the kind that does not involve coercion or psychological violence as relatively unimportant. It actually IS a big deal if children are willingly misled and manipulated. That goes for Michael Jackson and for Gabriel Matzneff
This is what I say about in the latest (and final edition of my book Positive Mememories about some people in this field
“may be inclined to defend the moral integrity of any other “minor attracted persons” even if they must admit that these have clearly crossed the line, ethically speaking.
A relevant example concerns Michael Jackson, who was posthumously accused rather convincingly of misleading and manipulating his young male friends and their families, in the 2019 documentary Leaving Neverland.
Several learned proponents of the emancipation of intergenerational relationships with minors seemed to believe that Jackson was a real non-violent ‘pedophile’ and therefore deserved their community’s unconditional support.
Such intellectuals may even go as far as exhorting allies to “lighten up” about ethics and heavily criticizing those who don’t go along with this type of defense. They may also stress that in cases like that of Jackson, the children involved really had been in love with the adult and that their love never completely disappeared after they had grown up. They may prefer to belittle other – negative – aspects of the relationships and blame any apparent psychological damage mostly or exclusively on societal taboos.”
I mean, that is not the way to go. Ethics first!

T, Rivas

Well, acknowledging that people have acted immorally toward children does NOT imply that the person doing so declares him- or herself better than the adult in question. It is not primarily about how bad SOMEONE would have been, (and how good the ones who condemn the behavior would be) but about the quality of his or her ACTiONS.
To be honest, I personally find it nauseating and appalling if condemnation of very real, sometimes psychologically very destructive faults is mostly left to people who are opposed to the emancipation of voluntary (erotic and platonic) relationships! It should be a major part of the agenda of proponents of change.
It should be very clear that people who are in favor of emancipation are against such behavior!, and that they don’t consider it of only minor importance and they show empathy towards the victims.
That they therefore approve of maximum openness of adults,strict adherence to ethical criteria, and the monitoring of relationships by parents and care-takers. That they do mind, in other words.
“Several” – I don’t want to mention any names, but rest assured that this is what happened at the time..

T, Rivas

I agree with that, Tom, as long as it does not mean that we trivialize the problems caused by that person’s behavior or show too much skepticism about such problems. Expressing major skepticism is something that should largely be limited to the defamation of really positive voluntary relationships.
We don’t need to demonize anyone, but we should not act as if problems are mostly imaginary, or the result of supposed typically female narcissism, or just the effect of the repressive, reactionary Zeitgeist.

Peter Herman

What would you have expected from a man-child like Michael Jackson who grew up quite isolated from the world? What do you do when the consequences of acting on your despised orientation will be equal or worse than if you were a serial killer?

T, Rivas

My point is NOT that his faults aren’t understandable, but that they were real and destructive and should be recognized as such.

Peter Herman

I suspect a hyper moral standard on your part, and life is not that simple. There are far far worse emotional and physical harm done to children, in Western societies as well, that do not meet local standards of criminality. Let’s focus on these sins first and work our way down to the less egregious ones once we have successfully dealt with the greater abuses.

T, Rivas

That’s a lot like saying that we don’t need to address the problems of Western children as long as there are children in Third World countries who have it much worse. Or that we should ignore dental problems as long as cancer has not been completely defeated.
Besides, I mentioned this in the context of emancipation of voluntary relationships and the obvious, important responsibilities that come with it. My standpoint is that proponents of emancipation should be especially aware of such issues. It’s not about being overly moralistic, or holier than thou. It’s about basic decency – within anyone’s reach – that children are entitled to. The kind of decency that people can only belittle because of some blind spot..
It seems your position is more related to what I wanted to criticize here, Peter.
Anyway, I think that is what I wanted to say about this (in this thread).
Cheers

Peter Herman

Other than writing a detailed thesis, it is difficult to parse every sentence I make to avoid making an unassailable argument. Of course, I am for basic decency. But if I have cancer or those I care about suffer from it, that is what I will concentrate on and leave dental work as a secondary concern. Less hand wringing on Michael Jackson and more on the many whose orientations make them pariahs in the hyper moralistic world you appear to defend. Life is complicated, and I am willing to forgive the smaller sins of others while trying to avoid them in my own life.

T, Rivas

I replied to this before, but somehow my reply did not show up in this thread. Let me just summarize by saying, Peter, you’re very wrong to suggest that rejecting such faults has anything to do with narrow-minded moralism. It has everything to do with taking the human rights of children really seriously. Something that most certainly cannot be skipped in the process of emancipation. Let this be my final contribution about this topic here.
[TOC: Apologies for late appearance of earlier post. I might have missed it although messages are sometimes delayed “in the post”. I have no idea how.]

T, Rivas

[No problem, Tom.] Regarding your latest response, Peter, let me just stick to what I said before.

Nada

>deny that basic honesty and openness as well as consent co-determine whether a relationship is morally sound or not
Would you insist that a pedophile should out himself to would-be pedophile murders, be they parents, or concerned neighbors, of the child with whom the pedophile enjoys a mutually willing relationship?

T, Rivas

I was talking about a situation in which this would be safe and legal, of course. Personally, I’m against sexual relationships in the present context, because of the possible social consequences both for the adult and the child. After legalization, I believe relationships should be monitored by parents or caretakers.

warblingjturpitude

I don’t get this. Why is the concern/care/attention what-have-you of persons quite external to a relationship automatically understood to be superior in some way, in its judgements, to that of the participants themselves? How else are we to understand your requirement for monitoring, for goodness sakes? How, just for a start, would we avoid the very real risk of sheerest envy or jealousy, when the monitor wishes s/he could be in the participant’s place?

T, Rivas

“I don’t get this. Why is the concern/care/attention what-have-you of persons quite external to a relationship automatically understood to be superior in some way, in its judgements, to that of the participants themselves?”
We are not talking about superiority or inferiority here, just about safety!
The parents or caretakers would protect children from people who just want to take advantage of them by misleading them, etc.Also, they would be checking if there are any major misunderstandings or misconceptions in the child, and so forth. See: https://www.ipce.info/host/rivas/discussion.htm#role
So the underlying ideas are (1) Not ALL sexual relationships that are voluntary from the child’s point of view are automatically psychologically harmless for the children involved (think of MJ’s relationships, exposed in Leaving Neverland: they were totally voluntary, but really wrong all the same, if we may believe the former children’s testimonies) and (2) The existence of real child molesters who may pose as morally sound without hiding their sexual orientation, is, unfortunately very real. (See: https://www.ipce.info/host/rivas/discussion.htm#child%20molesters)
“How else are we to understand your requirement for monitoring, for goodness sakes?”
Why would ANYONE want monitoring for heaven’s sake? I just answered this/
>How, just for a start, would we avoid the very real risk of sheerest envy or jealousy, when the monitor wishes s/he could be in the participant’s place?<
Please note that i;m talking about a future, in which voluntary, morally sound relationships would be legal and morally accepted, and in which parents would have to justify their decisions both towards their children and even towards their friends.
So, whereas jealousy may often remain hidden nowadays, as a parent's ultimate motive, because relationships aren't deemed acceptable anyway, by then they would need a solid reason for any negative decision they would take.
I hope this satisfies your standards of "marvellous, yea scrupulous attention to detail".

warblingjturpitude

From the first, reading you at IPCE, I’m getting not attention to detail but an almost complete reliance on heavy abstractions, such as “morally/ethically
sound” “moral standards” ethical principles’ even “wrong”, “harmless” etc etc .. It seems to me the very idea of a principle must possess a certain arrogance, given that it presupposes nothing in the future can ever present us with something the ‘principle’ cannot be expected to deal with, which itself automatically gives the lie to any pretense of what might be said to be truly ethical or ‘situational’ considerations.. this whole collapse of moral into ethical and vice versa, in fact, suggests to me someone who is rather entranced by the very sound of those words, long before he is concerned with exactly what he’s doing with ’em…
>>We are not talking about superiority or inferiority here, just about safety!
The parents or caretakers would protect children from people who just want to take advantage of them by misleading them, etc.Also, they would be checking if there are any major misunderstandings or misconceptions in the child, and so forth.
I looked hard to see if I could find any understanding of what the writer would consider a “misconception” in the child, but all I got was the sense that the writer/monitor himself must possess the superior conception of what was ‘going on’, even if he was never prepared to set about describing that!
>>So, whereas jealousy may often remain hidden nowadays, as a parent’s ultimate motive, because relationships aren’t deemed acceptable anyway, by then they would need a solid reason for any negative decision they would take.
Again, “solid reason” belongs to the basket into which only the heaviest abstractions can fall. And in your futureworld where everybody gets to monitor everyone else, one can only wonder how such solidity of reason would be weighed ..

T, Rivas

“From the first, reading you at IPCE, I’m getting not attention to detail but an almost complete reliance on heavy abstractions, such as “morally/ethically
sound” “moral standards” ethical principles’ even “wrong”, “harmless” etc etc .. I”
Are you serious? I must say I find this remark a bit frightening.
“t seems to me the very idea of a principle must possess a certain arrogance, given that it presupposes nothing in the future can ever present us with something the ‘principle’ cannot be expected to deal with, which itself automatically gives the lie to any pretense of what might be said to be truly ethical or ‘situational’ considerations.. this whole collapse of moral into ethical and vice versa, in fact, suggests to me someone who is rather entranced by the very sound of those words, long before he is concerned with exactly what he’s doing with ’em…”
Really? For me, this is a very alienating response.
“I looked hard to see if I could find any understanding of what the writer would consider a “misconception” in the child, but all I got was the sense that the writer/monitor himself must possess the superior conception of what was ‘going on’, even if he was never prepared to set about describing that!”
Well, read the Discussion of my book Positive Memories for more details (,https://www.ipce.info/host/rivas/discussion.htm) but I get the impression you would not agree with them either. We obviously have completely incompatible views on these issues.
>>So, whereas jealousy may often remain hidden nowadays, as a parent’s ultimate motive, because relationships aren’t deemed acceptable anyway, by then they would need a solid reason for any negative decision they would take.
Again, “solid reason” belongs to the basket into which only the heaviest abstractions can fall. And in your futureworld where everybody gets to monitor everyone else, one can only wonder how such solidity of reason would be weighed ..
It’s almost as if you just WANT to misunderstand me.
I will leave it at that.

Christian

Indeed, France has an AoC of 15, above which consent is deemed valid, but no “statutory rape” age, or “age of non-consent” under which consent is deemed non-existing and sex is presumed to be coerced. They tried to introduce it in the new law, but the Constitutional Council criticised that on the ground that it contradicts presumption of innocence. So they hardened the previous law by punishing with 7 years of jail instead of 5 consensual penetrative sex with an under-15, and introducing circumstances of “vulnerability” that would imply impossibility of consent, but it is to the judge to interpret it case by case.
The Matzneff affair shakes the literary world and leaders of bourgeois feminism, but for common people, the main issue today is the retirement pension reform and the strikes, nobody talks about Matzneff, and for them the word “violence” evokes rather police violence. You have the France of above and the one of below, with very distinct concerns, ever more opposed to each other.

Christian

I must add that bourgeois politicians and the shrinks and “child protection” gurus at their service increasingly resort to voodoo psychology to deal with sex between different people. According to their doctrine, there is some “power” attached to age and to male gender. Thus a 50-y-o man is very “powerful” and a teenager girl is very “powerless”. Now the “powerful” one exerts an “emprise” (a hold, a grip) over the “powerless” one, who experiences “sidération” (is stunned, flabbergasted); it is like a rabbit in front of the cobra. This is used to deny sexual consent. Consensual relations between adults and teenager are thus presented as “violence” by “predators”. This loudly proclaimed doctrine is applied only to sexual or conjugal relations, and it is never invoked in other relations where difference of power is evident: a child in front of parents or a teacher, an employee in front of a boss, a suspect interrogated by police, a youth from poor derelict suburbs facing a judge, etc.
Media often repeatedly highlight cases of sexual abuse of young women in sport or in the movie business, but this #metoo interest ignores the categories of people who are most vulnerable to sexual violence: refugees, sex workers and prison inmates, whose rapes are never highlighted in the main media.
One day, a woman had been killed by her former husband, and about 30 refugees had been drowned in the Mediterranean. Both events got roughly equal coverage, then some women celebrities raised the catchword “is a woman’s life worthless?” in relation to the murder, while nobody did the same for the 30 refugees.
There was a case of a toddler girl murdered by her mother. The police made a TV alert when she was kidnapped, then the next day the media announced that her corpse was found, the next day that the mother confessed the crime, and the next that she confessed having premeditated it. Then it was over: silence. Maybe they will talk about it when the trial comes. On the other hand, we had several days of lengthy talk and debates about the chair of the national skating federation who was pressurised by government to resign, and finally resigned, accused of having neglected cases of rapes of young athletes by coaches.
On the other hand, for the “France from below”, there is another type of “violence”: the “non-lethal” weapons used by police during restless demonstrations (in particular of Yellow Vests), “flash ball” rubber bullet launchers, sting grenades and TNT-powered tear-gas canisters, which mutilated a few dozens protesters, some losing an eye or a hand. I have a cartoon joke from a trade union magazine: at the top is written “in France spanking is forbidden”, and below a cop in full gear comments “But flash balls remain allowed”.

Andrew Meier

Consider in this regard the very real possibility of a sexually assertive, controlling young adolescent manipulating, coercing or blackmailing an adult into entering or remaining in a sexual relationship. Perhaps even solely on the basis of a threat to fabricate an allegation. Who holds the power in such a scenario? And if such a scenario is conceivable, what does this say about the received orthodoxy?

warblingjturpitude

Just re-entering the heretic zone and catching up on the marvellous, yea scrupulous attention to detail that is everywhere evident here! And first of all I would like to say how very much I liked THIS particular, revelatory comment by Christian!

Christian

The official campaign about violence against women, as it appears in the media, social networks and in the political sphere, stresses the murder of wives by husbands, or the rape of movie stars and top sportswomen, but totally ignores violence against prostitutes, especially if they are transgender and migrant. On February 21 this year, a Peruvian transgender prostitute, Jessyca Sarmiento, was killed by a car running on her, the act seemed intentional. A week later, one hundred people marched in the Bois de Boulogne to pay tribute to her, and they denounced the lack of action by the police and the State to stop violence against sex workers and transgender people. Recall that on August 17, 2018, another Peruvian transgender prostitute, Vanesa Campos Vasquez, had been murdered.
The death of Jessyca Sarmiento was briefly mentioned on radio after the tribute march, but it did not go into the TV journals. After the presidency of the French skating federation, now the new “scandal” that excited social media and drew feminists in the street, has been the ceremony of the César price awards (French equivalent of Oscar) for 2019 films, were the Polanski film J’accuse about the Dreyfus affair had got 12 nominations, then Polanski was awarded the price of best film director (and there were two other awards for costumes and adaptation).

Yurinho

Girls are so sensitive. If she is now in her 40s, then she read those accounts of sex with other kids back in the day when having multiple partners was a big taboo. She thought she was special. Poor girl… Plus, he also related to boys. That makes things even worse, for yesterday’s morals.

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