A flogger’s yearning to ‘inflict pleasure’

Today’s guest blogger, Stephen James, is well known here as a regular commentator whose succinct contributions often provide a sensible counterpoint (or antidote!) to some of the always welcome but often wild “thinking outside the box” we tend to see in the heretical comments here. He has also written for the NAMBLA Bulletin and for the Newgon web magazine Uncommon Sense. His logical approach is consistent with his work as a published author of formal philosophy. He is well qualified for this, as he read philosophy and modern languages at Oxford and holds a Ph.D. in philosophy. Stephen guest-blogged here a few years ago on why “Virtuous Pedophiles” will fail. Today he turns his attention to a literary theme.

 

DEPICTING A BOY-LOVER IN CRISIS

Frances Vernon’s The Fall of Doctor Onslow

In 1859, the eminent clergyman Charles John Vaughan unexpectedly resigned as headmaster of Harrow School in England. Harrow was (and still is) a prominent boys’ public school (that is, an independent fee-paying secondary school in the confusing terminology used by us Brits). The real reason for Vaughan’s abrupt resignation was not known until the 1970s when the diaries of the gay (and BL) writer John Addington Symonds were discovered. According to Symonds, a fellow pupil of his at Harrow told him that he was having an affair with Vaughan and showed him love letters as proof. Symonds, apparently anguished by the revelation, did nothing about this for over a year but then informed his father. The latter threatened to expose Vaughan if he did not resign his post and also insisted that he must not accept any high position in the Church if it were subsequently offered to him.

Not everyone accepts this account of events. Trevor Park, in his 2014 biography of Vaughan, argues that Symonds’ version from his diaries is unreliable and he has produced an alternative explanation for Vaughan’s resignation. But this factual question is not my concern here. What I want to talk about is the brilliant reconstruction of Symonds’ account in the novel The Fall of Doctor Onslow by Frances Vernon. Vernon renamed the main protagonists and locations and of course included many imagined details. There are also bit parts for other eminent figures of the time (with their names unchanged) such as the scientist T.H. Huxley and Samuel Wilberforce, the Bishop of Oxford, whose opposition to Darwin’s theory of evolution was ridiculed by Huxley in a famous debate, also depicted in the novel. The result is an enjoyable drama with a rich sense of authenticity.

And what is particularly surprising from our point of view is that the pederastic behaviour of Doctor Onslow (the novel’s stand-in for Vaughan) is not treated with horrified revulsion but with a sympathetic intelligence:

Onslow shifted in his seat as he blamed his falling into sin on his headmaster’s duty of flogging boys. He thought if it were not for that, he would never have given way to desire, never have known he desired – but it was not that he enjoyed inflicting pain, as some did. He wanted to inflict pleasure more than anything else in the world.

But the novel does raise moral issues connected with boy love. Martin Primrose, Onslow’s kindly and forgiving brother-in-law, also a man of the Church, but much more liberal in doctrine than Onslow, persuades the latter that his chief sin lay in the fact that in entering into sexual relations with the boys he had “misused [his] authority”. Explaining further, he says:

… they could not have been able to – to consent to do as you wished altogether freely, George, and therefore you – you must be partially guilty of their error as well as your own.

This argument about abuse of power sounds remarkably contemporary. But it is worth noting that merely by not exposing Onslow to the authorities at once, Primrose (and Anstey-Ward, the novel’s equivalent of Symonds’ father, who issues the threat to the beleaguered headmaster) would in our day and age likely be denounced as engaging in a “cover-up”.

But before I continue reviewing the novel, I would like to make a brief comment about the “abuse of power” argument. Should it be 100% convincing to those who would like to take the more objective approach to adult-minor sexual relations encouraged on this blog? It is certainly true that Onslow/Vaughan was not only an adult but also in a position of authority over the youngsters. They may indeed have reasonably thought that if they said “no”, he would punish them in some way. But I don’t think it follows that such a danger exists in all situations of this kind. The adult (even, in some possible worlds, a headmaster?) can say “If you say no, I won’t hold it against you” and the youngster could believe this if he knew the adult well and knew him to be trustworthy. In that case, if the youngster says “yes”, then, assuming he truly understood what was involved (which would usually be true for older adolescents at least), I suggest that would be valid consent.

The evocative front cover of the original 1994 hardback edition published by André Deutsch. The book is now available as a paperback in the Faber Finds series, published by Faber & Faber in 2014.

Now back to the novel.  How is Onslow himself portrayed? Throughout most of the story, he is not exactly likeable.  In Chapter One, he hypocritically flogs a boy for writing a love letter to a younger friend (though by the standards of the time, this might have been considered a mild punishment). He is sarcastic to pupils who make mistakes in their lessons. Above all, his treatment of his wife, though not out of kilter with the misogynistic times, is often arrogantly dismissive. Louisa Onslow comes across as an intelligent woman who is forgiving in relation to Onslow’s secret “vice”, though naturally distressed at his foolishness in letting it be discovered. On several occasions, Onslow fails to confide in her or heed her wise advice. In her he has a soulmate, but he seems barely able to accept the support and help she gives him.

And yet ultimately, Onslow is revealed to be a sympathetic character. I will not reveal in what way, though, as this would be something of a spoiler and I would like people to read the novel for themselves. (I would also advise against potential readers’ looking any further into the life of Vaughan before reading the novel, as this would also give away too much.)

Generally, the novel is extremely readable. I will admit that I found some of the conversations early on taxed my understanding of the fine points of ecclesiastical doctrine in mid-Victorian England. Fortunately, this becomes less and less prevalent as the novel proceeds and in the end the only religious distinction that matters is that between theism in its Christian form and atheism.

From my brief review of this novel, readers may rightly gather that the author was an unusually perceptive person. But who in fact was Frances Vernon?

She was born Georgina Frances Vernon in 1963, the firstborn child of the tenth Baron Vernon. The photographer and author Michael Marten, who later encouraged and helped her with her writing, says:

From a very young age, maybe six, certainly by eight, she spoke and behaved and thought just like an adult … In fact she had very strong opinions about childhood, and wanted to be treated as an adult from a much younger age than is usual.

Marten goes on to tell us that Vernon later found some support for her attitude in the book Centuries of Childhood by Philippe Ariès, which argues that modern childhood was, from about the seventeenth century onward, an invention. Up to that point, children were basically thought to pass from childhood proper to adulthood around the time of puberty. Vernon thought that we should return to this idea and that modern childhood was basically a form of slavery – a notion that will resonate with some readers here.

Vernon started writing her first novel, Privileged Children, in her mid-teens, and she was still at school when it was accepted for publication by Michael Joseph. She went up to New Hall, Cambridge at around the same time, but found student life hard to cope with and left. At this point, being from a wealthy family was a critical advantage: her father gave her a flat in Camden and, in the words of her mother, “she had a sort of independence, at the ripe age of eighteen, and embarked on this life of living and writing alone”.

Frances Vernon, a brilliant, troubled, writer with strong views on childhood.

Privileged Children was a great critical success, winning the Author’s Club Award for Best First Novel. It too features an age-discrepant sexual relationship: the female central character, when in her twenties, becomes intimate with a fourteen-year-old female runaway.

It seems that Vernon’s interest in matters surrounding sexuality and gender to some extent reflected personal issues in her own life. Marten tells us that she may have regretted that she was not born a boy, and this might have had something to do with her father wanting to have a son to inherit his title. Her mother reports that in the opinion of her younger sister Janna, “Frances wanted to be a homosexual man, because she wanted sex with men, but to be a man”. (These themes are explored indirectly in another of her novels, The Marquis of Westmarch.)

The Fall of Doctor Onslow was Vernon’s last novel. Its first draft was rejected by Gollancz, who had published The Marquis of Westmarch. She was bitterly disappointed but rewrote the book significantly as a result.

Frances Vernon committed suicide at age twenty-seven on July 11, 1991, soon after completing the second draft of the The Fall of Doctor Onslow. She had long suffered from depression, in which simple tasks, such as going on an outing, created enormous anxiety. Her illness worsened through the course of her twenties, despite the help of a psychotherapist, and, it seems, eventually became intolerable for her.

After her death, Michael Marten sent her new draft of “A School Story” (as she had originally entitled the Onslow novel) back to Gollancz, but they turned this version down too. He then tried a number of other publishers and eventually it was accepted by André Deutsch. The book was published to great critical acclaim. Michael Marten believes it was Frances’ best novel, having greater depth than its predecessors (excellent though these are).  Lucasta Miller’s words in the Independent are especially apt: according to her, the novel’s “posthumous appearance is both a tragic reminder of what she might have gone on to do, and a testimony to what she did achieve”.

 

DOUBLETHINK ON SOME DARK MATERIALS

No one who saw the news last month that a guy in Texas had been given a 40-year sentence for running a website featuring fantasy stories about the rape, torture and murder of infants and toddlers would have been surprised that a long prison term had been imposed.

Few would have been upset, either, although it is disturbing to note that Thomas Alan Arthur, 65, had managed to make a living from his Mr Double site for 20 years, telling us there must a substantial market for his dark materials, and one imagines these customers will be dismayed.

For a very practical and ethically sound reason, so should we be. We may find fantasies of this type loathsome and nauseating (I certainly do), but the “safety valve” argument is a strong one, backed up by significant research: where pornography of all kinds is permitted, real life sexual offences go down, not up. People who get their appalling jollies reading about nasty things being done to kids are actually much less likely to do actually do nasty things to kids.

At pretty much the same time, ironically, as the Americans were making their counter-productive knee-jerk response to (presumptively) bad guys having (definitely) bad thoughts, the literature-loving French were celebrating sadistic child porn, declaring a famous example of such writing to be a “national treasure”. Seriously. This month the French state bought the manuscript of 120 Days of Sodom by the original sadist himself, the Marquis de Sade, for over $5 million. The culture ministry hailed the text as a “monument” that had influenced numerous authors. The leading French news agency (AFP) reporting the story called it “the 18th-century erotic masterpiece”.

No one in the French literary world appeared to be saying the text had corrupted other writers, or that if published today the author of such a depraved work could expect a long prison sentence.

But be in no doubt, Sade’s work is every bit as disgusting as anything that could possibly have been on the Mr Double site. I won’t go into detail here. I have no wish to churn stomachs. I will simply point out that there is a Wikipedia page on the 120 Days, which specifies the (many) fictional child victims in question, with their names, ages, and the ghastly fates assigned to them by de Sade’s poisonous pen.

Astonishingly, the French think their Mr Double is marvellous! Funny old world!

 

TESTIMONY TO OUR TREMENDOUS TESTICLES

The Open Biology papers of the Royal Society, no less, recently published an apparently serious article titled “Brain and testis: more alike than previously thought?”

In the Abstract, we learn that:

…an association of intelligence with some semen quality parameters has been reported and a relation between dysfunctions of the human brain and testis has also been evident. Numerous common molecular features are evident when these tissues are compared, which is reflected in the huge number of common proteins. At the functional level, human neurons and sperm share a number of characteristics, including the importance of the exocytotic process and the presence of similar receptors and signalling pathways. The common proteins are mainly involved in exocytosis, tissue development and neuron/brain-associated biological processes.

Better not comment any further. I would only be talking bollocks!

 

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Pat

Hi Tom…What do you make of this video. I know it’s biased and the reasoning is much what you would expect from Vir-Ped etc. I usually agree with them on other issues regarding civil liberties, standing up to i.d cards that could bring a social credit system etc. I know Blair tried it but we have better tech now so it is a real threat. Back to the issue. I think a remember reading you mention this “experiment” in Germany where they gave homeless kids to “paedos”…..The guy seemed to regret it in the end. You are probably more familiar with any nuances on the subject. They are dragging up past associations with pro-paedophile groups from the 1970s. PYE was mentioned too.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OwkVDmpvA2o

sugarboy

Contributors so far include Bailey himself, plus Prof Oliver Schultheiss, Professor of Psychology, Chair for Experimental Psychology, Motivation, and Affective Neuroscience, Institute of Psychology, Friedrich-Alexander University, Erlangen, Germany, Prof David Puts, Professor, Department of Anthropology, Center for Brain, Behavior, and Cognition Center for Human Evolution and Diversity, Pennsylvania State University, Richard Lippa,, Professor of Psychology Emeritus, California State University, Fullerton, Robert Bauserman, public health professional famed as part of the “Rind, Tromovitch, Bauserman” Holy Trinity of scholars, Dr Marshall Burns, of the “Consenting Juveniles” website, and others.

What about James the Guru (of Virped)? I have not heard of him for a long time.
Is he still on Sexnet?

sugarboy

Schultheiss, Puts and Lippa all expressed views strongly against my position.

Do you mean your position or your presence on Sexnet?

Fata Morgana

How does one go about getting on Sexnet?

Fata Morgana

Thanks for the detailed response, Tom. That really helps. I initially heard of Sexnet through Ethan Edwards, though from his occasional descriptions I understood it to be very much a closed shop. Yes, my motive is largely to keep abreast of academic discussion.

I’m assuming it would be OK to join under a pseudonym. I know you’re out and proud, but Ethan and Nick don’t know each other’s real-life identities, so presumably Ethan isn’t using his real name on Sexnet.

Prue

Ah, Helmut Kentler! I tried to read about this when it was big news not too long ago. Did you know he authored the introduction to Show Me! ?
Link here https://docs.google.com/document/d/1DD05vy-WuM_-BH5tfbSswOXEQQt5OnYS37zhAtyx0x0/edit?pli=1#!

The thing that struck me about the reporting was that, at least from what I was seeing, only two people (two men) came forward voicing misgivings about their foster care, yet the media consistently implied a large number of “victims”. I have not kept up with the reporting and / or investigations, though I think, with hysterical scandals like this, it was a good move to wait a while for info to come out and weigh up the veracity of such content. [From what I’ve seen I think the term “hysterical scandals” is appropriate; ppl are angry bc the “P” word was used, not bc legions of ppl, at least to my knowledge, have claimed they were “raped” or “molested.” It’s outrage over simulacra, to use a fancy term!]

Sensing that a lot of “rush to judgement” literature was about to appear that would never give fair credit to Kentler’s work, views, intentions, etc, I actually made a bit of effort to go read some of his writings, which meant me haphazardly putting German into a translator to try and get the gist. (This took so long I only got through 1 piece)…

From a quick look over his Show Me! intro, written in English, he certainly shows off his leftist credentials! He writes of how a pro-sexual attitude prevailed in Central Europe during the 17th century that would seem alien today, and attributes its decline (at least partly) to industrialization and the development of capitalism. Here’s some passages I found pretty interesting by today’s standards:

In the historical development of four centuries of sexuality, joyful play and pleasure transmogrified into something shameful and disgusting from which children and young people must be protected by all means. What separates the end of the Middle Ages from the Modern is a process that might be called “desexualization”: Sexuality is reduced to reproduction; any sexual behavior that is not intended reproduction is frowned upon, taboo, and finally suppressed and relegated to secrecy; and the “purity” of the child is discovered, now children are regarded as asexual beings; young people are expected to have the power of total asceticism, sexual needs during adolescence are interpreted as symptoms of moral decay and severe personality damage; sexual practices are eradicated, the sexual language stunted, more and more people abide by a morality of prudery; the sexual sensitivity of the body surface is restricted to the genitals, the body becomes a working tool. This desexualization is closely linked to constraints and oppression for other vital needs and the expulsion of death from everyday life.” […]

“The economic and social changes between 1500 and 1900 (reconstruction of the feudal economy to a capitalist economy, restructuring of the social levels in a class society), required the modeling of a human type that met the requirements of the new living conditions. Desexualization of life and of his own body, control of emotions and moods by restrictive internalized standards, distance to others and to their own physicality, were needed to plan life rationally, to make people the efficient consumers demanded by the construction phase of capitalism, urbanization, and industrialization, and at the same time desensitize people from the increasing alienation from others. […]

the hostility towards sexual expression which is not aimed at reproduction, as well as the denial of the sexual needs of children and the elderly, is ultimately an effort to indoctrinate people so that the bourgeois industrial-capitalist social order is maintained in the structure of their characters indefinitely.”

Less related but I find this line interesting:

“In a sex-negative educational environment, sexual needs are pushed into the shadows and seek relief in the camouflage of role-playing games (“Doctor”, and “Father-Mother” games).”

Note that Kentler gives some interesting examples of youth sexuality, some very young in years, that heretics might find interesting, even quite funny!

Anyway, if Kentler held leftist viewpoints like these consistently, I would imagine that the idea to have “paedophiles” [I suspect he knew the greek origin – child lover – and knew such people reflected that caring, “loving”, nurturing dimension] as foster carers doubled as both a significant intervention to benefit many young people, and as institutionalized resistance to “desexualized” capitalist / bourgeois relations, where young people’s normative [generally] non-reproductive sexuality could find a “safe space” for expression.

He closes with “the minimum conditions must be created in order to solve the problem of “child sexuality”:
 
1. A society whose highest value is the principle of efficiency can only ever treat children as weak, inferior outsiders because they can’t yet meet the required obligations. Neither can sexual culture develop in such a society. “Lust friendly” values and values which children can participate in developing are the precondition so a sexually friendly culture which also integrates children can arise.
 
2. Children must always, as far as according to their age is possible, be taken seriously by adults as equal partners, and they need an area of increasing independence and autonomy in which they can control their sexual desires themselves in mutual consideration and respect. The still prevailing sexual hostility and child protection claims are camouflaged antipathy to children, and may for a time act as inhibition of thought, and certainly act as a resistance to the implementation of such considerations”

Be treated as “equal partners”, he can’t be serious?! XD I’m joking of course. Interesting guy! I hope the Sexnet debate goes well and it’s very educational! It’d be interesting to have a Tom O’Carroll take on Kentler, though part of the problem may be that most of his work [and the last time i checked the reports condemning his programme] are all in German…

Stephen James

Yes, the video is terrible. The main speaker is Sargon of Akkad, aka Carl Benjamin, who not too long ago stood unsuccessfully in Britain as a UKIP candidate. What fires Benjamin up is hatred of an amorphous entity called ‘The Left’, who all believe exactly the same things -and – wait for it – they’re all pro-paedophile, or just a hair’s breadth away from it. If only!!!

Also, if you do watch the video, look out for the thinly-disguised anti-German xenophobia.

Fata Morgana

There’s nothing more tiresome than pedestrian thinkers who conflate the political left with social liberalism.

Damion

Marthjin/Tom

Could anyone here please give me some advice on how to become a famous activist like the two of you I have try to be one in the past but when I did this and poured my heart out over social media Tom and EC (not going to mention his full name) told me where to go and did everything they could to push me away so if that is what is going to happen then what would you suggest I do?

Damion

If I am already outed one way or another anyway jobless, isolated and disrespected in general (ppl can deny it all they want but the truth is the truth) then why should I have the same opportunity as other activist and show the world YOU WILL NOT ISOLATE ME you get to be famous so why not me its not fair that I get singled out.

Stephen James

>If I am already outed one way or another anyway jobless, isolated and disrespected in general 

Just to be clear, Damion, are you saying that this has already happened to you? If so, won’t you be making your position even more difficult if you openly support minor-attraction? What you will most likely get is not fame so much as notoriety, which can be a much more uncomfortable thing. It would likely make things even worse for you.

And if you haven’t already been outed, then won’t supporting minor-attraction also be a problem given that it will probably make people suspicious about your personal inclinations? Maybe you don’t mind people having these suspicions, but again it is not a comfortable position to be in. You have to think about other effects it may have on your life.

Dissident

or that if published today the author of such a depraved work could expect a long prison sentence.

Not to make light of Arthur’s situation, but in the sense of convenient irony, I believe Sade was already in prison when he wrote The 120 Days of Sodom, correct? So, he did not have to fear a fate that had already befallen him!

Btw, the 1976 film version of Sade’s book (called Salo, The 120 Days of Sodom), which updates the tale by turning his disgustingly horrific protagonists into Italian fascists during World War II, is a guaranteed challenge for virtually any viewer to sit all the way through, no matter how strong their stomachs.

How tragically ironic that any of Mr. Double’s tales could have escaped scrutiny by the law if, for some reason, they were declared as having artistic value for “brilliantly exploring the realm of human depravity” etc., et al.

David in Kent

just ordered this book….another one to watch out for is the soon to be released documentary “the most beautiful boy in the word” trailer on youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=movf4weZq30 although present day Björn Andrésen could easily be mistaken as a latter day Jesus Christ incarnate!

Stephen James

>Andresen seems incredibly ungrateful…

Yes, he does. In contrast, the boy who seems to have been the model for the original Tadzio, Wladyslaw Moes, who gave Thomas Mann the hots when he spotted him on holiday in Venice, inspiring him to write ‘Death in Venice’, seemed quite happy about the whole thing even into adulthood.

Are all above texts by Stephen or are DOUBLETHINK ON SOME DARK MATERIALS and TESTIMONY TO OUR TREMENDOUS TESTICLES written by Tom?

Stephen James

>No one in the French literary world appeared to be saying the text had corrupted other writers, or that if published today the author of such a depraved work could expect a long prison sentence.

The Overton Window seems bigger in the context of literature than in that of politics and current affairs. The French enthusiasm for De Sade may just be an extreme case of this. Literature often seems to oblige us to look beyond the normal boundaries of what is considered acceptable. The Fall of Doctor Onslow can also be seen as an example of this.

Dissident

It also makes me wonder if perhaps Arthur’s stories were tainted by an inherent bias over the fact that they were presented exclusively online, along with the fact that he never claimed they represented an artistic exploration of any theme, and they were never presented to a general audience of readers. There definitely appears to be a bias against anything that is published exclusively in an online venue rather than committed to paper by a legit publishing label. This is much like how anything that was aired on the new medium of television during the 1950s was unfavorably compared to anything that appeared on cinema during that era.

Prue

Freedom of speech is under threat and, disappointingly for me, the Left seems to be creating the conditions for a new McCarthyism against them by not standing behind it as a core value. All it would take is for Joe Rogan and Ben Shapiro types (big media platforms) to push narratives about leftists being a danger to kids and, in time, a sympathetic government will start cracking down on anyone dubbed a Leftist. We are seeing this happen to some extent with hysteria over “drag queen story hour,” and recently there’s been an explicit anti-LGBT bill passed in Hungary https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hungarian_anti-LGBT_law after fearmonger over “pedophilia”. The “P” threat is the one thing reactionaries, conservatives, sexophobic and authoritarian groups can use to pull whole societies in the direction of repression.

The argument from harm seems to have been abandoned in favor of the possibility of harm arising. If you come from this angle, writings and drawings, artistic expressions of any kind, where “harm” would otherwise be nyon impossible to determine causal connections, are fair game to fearmonger about because you can always argue there’s a potential, a risk, even if those potentials or risks never amount to anything. With omnipresent threat, reading and writing is treated as if it were the same as, or in any way causally linked to, engaging with real-life young people…

A very relevant paper about crackdowns on the written word is:

Ryen Rasmus, ‘The Auto-Authentication of the Page: Purely Written Speech and the Doctrine of Obscenity’, in William and Mary Bill of Rights Journal, 20:1 (2011), 253-285 <https://scholarship.law.wm.edu/wmborj/ vol20/iss1/8>

It describes at length a case of a grandma convicted under obscenity law for writing sadistic fiction featuring pre-adolescents.

I was ranting about some censorship I saw of material featuring very innocuous shota, and a friend broke out the “First they came for me”. They didn’t finish it so here’s my attempt.

First they came for pornhub [ ], and I did not speak out-
Because I didn’t care for pornhub.
Then they came for the hentai, and I did not speak out-
Because I didn’t care for hentai.
Then they came for the anime, and I did not speak out-
Because I didn’t care for anime.
Then they came for me – and there was no one left to speak for me.

Zen Thinker

>The “P” threat is the one thing reactionaries, conservatives, sexophobic and authoritarian groups can use to pull whole societies in the direction of repression.

Conservatives are hellbent on a kind of vacuous, stultifying “innocence” and absolute moral purity for children. Additionally, casual perusal of conservatives on social media shows a phenomenal hatred for any individual with MAP tendencies, and any social force that liberalises children. As an example, a comment like “anyone who argues for childhood autonomy needs their hard drive checking”.

But they are fighting a lost cause. Counter-intuitively, with the high degree of societal hatred, time is actually on the MAPs’ side. The social media generation of children are very much liberalised already, and conservatives are living in an ignorant bubble. In time inevitable social forces will lessen the stigma of an attraction to children, which was obviously never fair to begin with as sexual orientation should be sacrosanct and a protected characteristic.

Conservatives win local battles but are slowly losing the culture war, as society slips away from their grasp. Some conservatives are so backwards they still stigmatise on the basis of homosexuality, which mainstream society moved away from a considerable time ago. I don’t think conservatives are the real issue.

Fair-minded centrists and liberals are the ones who will be gradually brought over to the idea that minor attraction is a legitimate sexual orientation. Although the stigma is currently intense, with a whole slew of offensive slang terms, I have no doubt that conditions will inevitably improve, as technology radically liberalises society.

>With omnipresent threat, reading and writing is treated as if it were the same as, or in any way causally linked to, engaging with real-life young people…

In my opinion reading and writing will always be protected to a large extent. “The Lolita Complex” was still available on Amazon last time I checked. But any argument for the “danger to minors” of writing uses a lesser echo of image arguments, that is that it creates a market for abuse and is therefore reprehensible. The real reason of course is that it is a danger to society for these things to be popularised, so they are vigorously suppressed.

The attempted repression of MAPs will always fail because as Plato pointed out two and a half thousand years ago, “nothing taught by force stays in the soul”. Sexuality is an innate characteristic that will not be altered by forced psychological sessions. “They” (people in power) probably just want to keep a lid on minor attraction for as long as possible, knowing full well that it will eventually reach critical mass and there will be a major societal shift. But the power of hatred and stigma current in the population probably rivals one’s national enemy in wartime; we are “the evil hun” right now. Irrational hatreds will eventually die out with succeeding, more liberal, generations.

I have studied morality and ethics extensively, and while there may be arguments for certain criminalisations involving children, especially where they are brought to harm, clearly having a sexual orientation is not an indictable matter. This is where stigmas, shaming and taboos come in, to organically seek to discourage the emergence of minor attraction as a legitimate sexuality within society. Perhaps the golden rule (Aristotle & Bible) is the most important ethical principle: “treat others as you yourself would wish to be treated”. And to shame someone on the basis of their sexuality seems to break the golden rule. Also, treat all other people as ends in themselves, instead of means to achieving one’s own selfish goals (Kant). In other words, recognise the humanity and worth of everyone, which I think is another important principle.

Above all, find peace in the fact that societal neuroses and hatreds will eventually move on from MAPs and settle on a different target, as nothing is forever.

Dissident

Conservatives are hellbent on a kind of vacuous, stultifying “innocence” and absolute moral purity for children…

Agreed, and the modern Left is every bit as bad with that. In fact, you often see the silliness of mainstream conservatives and liberals accusing each other of being purveyors of “child porn” or other material that “sexualizes” kids. This is one thing that all extremists can agree on.

societal neuroses and hatreds will eventually move on from MAPs and settle on a different target

Being the progressive optimist that I am, it’s my firm hope that one day WEIRD society will evolve past the point where societal boogeymen are needed, either for keeping authoritarian measures in place or the psychological needs of a culture that thrives on “saving” certain groups of people from some imagined.

sugarboy

>and recently there’s been an explicit anti-LGBT bill passed in
>Hungary after fearmonger over “pedophilia”.

At least, they don’t discriminate…

gordok

So glad I read this. I’ll be reading the book by this weekend. Always nice to find something to expand the mind and at the same time, have a good time doing it.

As for Mr. Arthur, where the hell is the ACLU? Here in the States, it used to be that the written word wasn’t obscene, despite many attempts to make it so. The descriptions of those stories on that site, are as is often the case, prosecutor speak, just as every minor / adult sexual relationship is rape and every child porn bust features the most depraved rapes of infants.

I had more than once “perused” that site and the vast majority of stories were of consensual relationships and the supposed child porn images were all cartoons or drawings. This is a major slip down a slippery slope and one that I fear will end very badly considering the left and right are now eager to censor thoughts and ideas. I think this is the start of a very dangerous trend and if thoughts and words are crimes, this can only spread like a fungus.

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