Where prejudice legally trumps truth

Many heretics here will be familiar with AliceLovers Magazine, a colourful occasional publication aimed mainly at GLs and produced to a high standard of attractive graphic design. Today’s blog, written by me, is due to appear in the next issue of ALM and was originally intended for first publication there. Unfortunately, the new issue, originally scheduled for 8 August, has been delayed by Covid-19, I am told, so I have decided to go ahead here with my own article while its somewhat time-sensitive content is still fresh. It is a big one, so I’ll run it here as a two-parter. Thus if ALM can get their show on the road quickly, they will still be able to scoop Heretic TOC by running the whole article, including the second part, before I do. So to the fine folks at ALM, good luck with that! 😊 As will be seen below, Part 1 focuses on an oppressive new prosecution in the Netherlands, and reaction to it. Part 2 will examine the future for freedom of expression and sexual radicalism globally in the light of current trends and whether they are likely to intensify or change direction.

 

PART 1: DISASTER IN THE NETHERLANDS

Who would have thought it, in the Netherlands of all places? Who would have thought a country where brilliant, high-profile advocacy for sexual liberation at all ages led the world in the 1980s – and where the age of consent was effectively lowered to 12 in the following decade – would now be prosecuting people just for proclaiming the truth that children have their own sexuality?

Yes, you did read that last bit right. Earlier this year Marthijn (with letter “h”) Uittenbogaard, formerly prominent in the pro-paedophile Martijn (no “h”) Association, which was banned nearly a decade ago for “glorifying sexual relations between adults and children”, found himself faced with a criminal indictment, charged with reviving the organisation together with three other activists (Public Prosecution Service, 2021). After outlining the alleged revival activities – running websites and so forth – the indictment names the associated “crimes”:

a. denying and/or downplaying the harmfulness of sexual contact between children and adults, and/or
b. the glorification of sexual contact between children and adults, and/or
c. presenting children as sex objects/sexual beings, and/or
d. removing barriers and supporting or nurturing the belief that sexual contact between children and adults is something good, and/or
e. creating a subculture/community in which sexual contact between children and adults is considered normal/acceptable/beneficial, and/or
f. the pursuit for oneself and/or for others of being able to have sexual contact with children

Take a good look at item, c: “presenting children as… sexual beings”.

Sigmund Freud, spinning in his grave, must be glad he is no longer around to face arrest on a weekend break in Amsterdam for claiming that little kids are not only sexual but kinky with it (“polymorphous perverse”), and that they lust after incestuous sex with their parents (the Oedipus Complex).

As for “downplaying the harmfulness of sexual contact between children and adults”, this is not a crime even in the sex-phobic United States. Dr Bruce Rind and his colleagues famously made themselves unpopular with their act of “downplaying” such alleged harm, and both houses of Congress voted to condemn the research in question (Rind et al., 1998). But they were not arrested and whisked off to a federal penitentiary for their work, which demonstrated in an authoritative large-scale survey that children do not typically suffer significant psychological damage from sexual contact with adults. Indeed, they went further: they thought that if their meta-analysis had been able to exclude coerced and forced encounters, focusing only on consensual ones, such contacts might emerge as not harmful in the slightest. Subsequent scientific research has supported this hypothesis (e.g. Daly, 2021; Helweg‐Larsen & Larsen 2007; Rind, 2020).

It is important to emphasise consent because Martijn Association always favoured children’s sexual freedom and self-determination, which plainly implies they were against coercion and force. My understanding is that none of the individuals now charged were trying to revive Martijn Association –including Marthijn himself, whose adopted first name (changed from Matheus) reflects that of the association. But our focus of concern should not be on whether they have obeyed an oppressive, censorious law. Far more important is that they still oppose real child abuse of all kinds, including neglect and cruelty in “normal” family life. Accordingly, the use of such an indictment to smear them by association with harms they would patently deplore is itself a grievous injustice.

The heavy-handed use of power to suppress and “downplay” scientifically established facts has a long and inglorious history. When the Pope moved against Galileo for “downplaying” the key role of planet Earth in Catholic cosmology by giving it the subordinate role of revolving around the Sun, rather than the reverse, it was never going to end well in the long run. Ditto denials of Darwin’s theory of evolution.

What about “glorification” as per item b? What does this even mean? The term was used in the initial judgement against Martijn Association by a judge in Assen in 2012. The decision was later overturned on appeal but supported again in the Supreme Court two years later (Supreme Court of the Netherlands, 2014). In none of these court settings was an attempt made to define the word “glorification” in a way that would limit the scope of what might be illegal. The first court simply noted that Martijn Association “glorifies” child-adult sexual contact “and presents it as something that is or should be normal and acceptable”. This was then held to be “a serious violation of the fundamental values within our society”.

Sitting in judgement: figures of distinguished jurists of old outside the Supreme Court of the Netherlands. The ruling in the case of the Martijn Association was less impressive than the statues.

We might feel one such fundamental value should be to live in accordance with truth, not falsehood. In which case, why would it be against fundamental values to draw attention, as Martijn Association surely did, to scientific work such as that of Rind et al.? Why would it be wrong, indeed, to “glorify” particular child-adult relationships by showing them functioning well, as Dr Theo Sandfort did in his pioneering research on man-boy relationships in the Netherlands (Sandfort, 1984)? Speaking of whom, does the Dutch state now have its eye on prosecuting Sandfort, who later rose to eminence as an internationally renowned AIDS expert and was honoured as President of the International Academy of Sex Research?

The courts and prosecutors are silent on these matters. They avoid any reference to research, or to scientific findings, preferring to rely on popular opinion and prejudice. Astonishingly, this is actually spelt out in the Supreme Court ruling as though it were a good thing. Apparently as a way of reinforcing the lower court’s hostility to Martijn Association, we read:

According to the social views prevailing in the Netherlands [my emphasis], sexual contact between adults and young children is an actual and serious violation of the physical and sexual integrity of the child, as a result of which the child can suffer major and permanent psychological damage.

According to the social views! Never mind that these views are incited by populist politicians and sensationalist media whose child “protection” racket has all the objectivity of Nazi anti-Jewish propaganda. Never mind that their grotesquely distorted narrative is resolutely blind to the rational distinction that should be made between forced acts, which can of course be seriously traumatic, and those between willing participants. Judicially, this is a scandal, an ugly blemish on the face of European civilisation.

OTT? Too agitated? Too extreme? It might be but for the fact that this is not just about abstract principles as to how the law should be administered. It is about the all-too-real injustice and suffering that is caused when the might of the state is used deliberately to crush its victims into silent submission.

Marthijn Uittenbogaard is one of those victims, who in recent years has devastatingly felt the full force not just of this latest prosecution – which could end in a significant prison sentence for nothing worse than expressing his opinions – but of a state that has actively incited violent mob rule against him. Some 10 years ago, a 200-strong mob gathered to intimidate him outside his home – with the permission of the local mayor. A biker gang hurled a rock through his window in the same year and poured paint over the front of the house.

Worse, this was not something that went away. The attacks have just gone on and on. His house is a fortress now, with smash-proof polycarbonate windows installed after finding the ordinary glass ones repeatedly broken by rocks and even by powerful fireworks. Extra locks and security likewise followed regular death threats and actual assault.

Last year an intruder armed with a knife broke into his house in the night. Fortunately, it proved possible to beat off the attacker with a baseball bat kept close by for protection. Ranting and hurling death threats as he retreated, he was soon arrested nearby. He appeared in court last month, where he was let off with a ridiculously light non-custodial sentence (community service) despite showing no signs of remorse or contrition. Marthijn could easily have been killed. So could his partner, Lesley, who was never active in Martijn Association but found himself caught up in the police raids and then thrown into prison for six months, based only on a suspicious interpretation of a few items in his possession. He has since been released, but from what I have heard of the case against him it seems to be purely one of guilt by association with a paedophile activist rather than anything of substance.

As may be imagined, living for a decade or more under constant siege has been an ordeal for Marthijn and Lesley. So when their home was raided by the police in January last year, bringing a further burst of hostile publicity, leading to the intruder’s knife attack in May, 2020, the pressure against them was cranked up to a near unendurable level of hardship and emotional turmoil.

The others targeted in the raids were: Ad van den Berg, a septuagenarian old warrior of my own generation, who had been president of Martijn Association; seasoned activist Norbert de Jonge; and young radical Nelson Maatman. Much of interest could be said about all of them, but it is with Marthijn that our story takes its next significant turn. I will pause only to mention, for the sake of avoiding possible confusion, that in addition to their involvement with Martijn Association, which was a club like NAMBLA or PIE, Marthijn had co-founded a political party in 2006 with Ad and Norbert, called The Party for Neighbourly Love, Freedom, and Diversity (PNVD).

Keen to maximise diversity and liberty, as the name suggests, they had proposed allowing youngsters from 12 upwards to vote, have sex, choose where they lived and much more. They also wanted to end marriage as a legal institution and institute a comprehensive animal rights platform. It was quickly dubbed “the paedo party” in the media. PNVD was dissolved in 2010 after falling short of the supporting signatures and finance needed to get onto the ballot paper and contest elections.

Last year, in a defiant response to the police raids, there was a move to revive PNVD. This initiative has foundered, for the moment at least, for similar practical reasons to the ones faced earlier. The party was never banned, unlike the association, but it was simply difficult to get off the ground, so there were no PNVD candidates standing in the recent elections.

So, there we leave the PNVD and return the focus to Marthijn Uittenbogaard, whose personal response to the outrageous police raids has been both courageous and more successful than the directly political idea of presenting a party programme to the public.

This year he has engaged in a remarkable collaboration with one of the world’s oldest student magazines, which has a long and distinguished history as a bastion of free expression. This is the Dutch journal Propria Cures (PC), founded in 1890 by Amsterdam students. The tone is said to be “often satirical and contrarian”. The name translates from the Latin as “Look after your own affairs”, which I guess is intended to convey the idea of being independent-minded. In 1975 the paper featured a cartoon depicting the prime minister in sexual intercourse with the queen – a gesture of stunning bad manners and taste, perhaps, but one that clearly demonstrated its irreverent independence of authority.

This independence was demonstrated again in May, when a special issue of PC appeared, edited by Marthijn himself. The invitation to be a guest editor came in a very significant way. Marthijn had already written an article for PC earlier in the year. Then, as an editorial in the special issue by the regular editors explained:

…we received the message that the Public Prosecution Service is prosecuting him in connection with the continuation of the pedophile club Martijn. Included in the criminal file: his piece for PC. It comes down to the fact that the prosecution, by framing him as an organisation, tries to destroy the private person, as if the rest of the foaming Dutch had not already taken up this task… A child’s hand is easily filled, but not so Marthijn’s. He came up with the counter-proposal to make one whole issue about free speech, specifically about paedophilia.

The 16 articles that comprise the special issue include several by Marthijn himself, explaining the background to the prosecution he faces, plus an interview with leading Dutch novelist and free speech defender Arnon Grunberg. Another featured writer, Anton Dautzenberg, daringly joined Martijn Association shortly before it was banned, to protest over the “witch hunt against pedophiles”. In his special issue contribution he lauded Marthijn as a freedom fighter:

He defends freedom of speech and freedom of association to the full, and we should cherish that, not despise it. Moreover, he abides by the law, although he questions it at the same time. That is his right…. I have come to know Marthijn as an honest, reliable man who is open to dialogue. I therefore wholeheartedly support his struggle. Dreams, fantasies and desires should never be punishable. And people have the right to bear witness to them and to talk or email about them with each other.

Other contributors include poet Delphine Lecompte, emeritus professors Gert Hekma and Meindert Fennema, Lesley Uittenbogaard (Marthijn’s partner) and Nelson Maatman.

Surveying the special issue as a whole, we see a clear defence of free speech. At a time when a whole generation of students, especially on the left, appears to have forgotten the importance of this principle in their laudable struggles against racism, sexism, transphobia, etc. – one even hears the concept mocked as “freeze peach”, i.e. meaningless mumbo jumbo – I find this reassertion of its value encouraging. It could also rattle the prosecution against Marthijn and the others by its demonstration that these persecuted individuals do not stand alone.

However, as Marthijn recently told me, he was not given an entirely free hand in the editing. For instance, he had wanted to include a shortened version of an article by Dr Frans Gieles that cites academic research (including that of Rind et al.) in direct contradiction of the state’s dogma that sexual contact between children and adults is necessarily harmful (Gieles, 2020). Perhaps the regular editors felt it would be too legally risky to include such an article. But Gieles is a good scholar; his work is academically strong. If even the editors of a “daring” magazine are afraid to publish it, what does that say about free speech in the Netherlands? Or perhaps, like many of their student readers, these editors are so much in the grip of the mainstream anti-paedophilia narrative they feel it would be wrong to give too much space and credibility to a factually well-grounded counter-narrative?

This is very much the impression I take from the final article in the special issue. Allowed to stand as “the last word”, it forms a sort of verdict on Marthijn’s position. The author is identified only by the initials “AS” but the context tells us this must be the Dutch novelist and literary critic Arie Storm. If the authorship is slightly opaque, the message is not. Titled “There is no one as mean as a paedophile”, the intention is clearly to be as woundingly hostile as possible. I will not dwell on the most offensive passage. We have all heard similar diatribes before. What is worth mentioning, though, is the basis on which the attack is made. Plainly, Storm occupies a mental universe steeped in fiction. He begins:

You can’t live your life thematically, but sometimes it seems that you have to deal with recurring elements all the time. I translated the novel Snow (just published in Dutch as Sneeuw) by John Banville, a dark novel in many ways, which revolves around child abuse in the Catholic Church, something that eventually culminates in murder. Banville, among all his other merits, is also considered a writer who is a kind of imitator of Vladimir Nabokov. Nabokov, of course, wrote the famous paedo novel Lolita. I decided to reread that book when I finished the Banville translation. And then I saw on social media a post by writer Jamal Ouariachi, drawing attention to the book Lolita in the Afterlife, edited by Jenny Minton Quigley. At about the same time, I heard that one of the editors of PC wanted to do a pedophile issue…

You can certainly “live your life thematically” if you keep your head stuck in novels in which paedophilic characters (fictional, made up, not real) are continuously, imitatively, presented as horrible people who end up as murderers, as in Nabokov’s “paedo” novel, or are deservedly murdered, as in that of Banville, the “imitator”. The problem with Storm and his literary ilk is that they make the mistake of confusing fiction with reality. They forget that imaginative writers often just make stuff up out of their own heads without ever bothering to check – especially by consulting real-world research like that of Bruce Rind and Theo Sandfort – whether what they are saying has any correspondence with reality. Blinded by their own creative cleverness, their talent is then triumphantly vindicated not by its proven truthfulness (compared with science, which has to be correct, otherwise things based on it simply would not work, such as everything from vaccines to vacuum cleaners) but by its strength in the marketplace: as long as the story they tell is one that readers want to hear it really does not matter if the story is true. It just has to seem true, or ring true, which only means it is in line with readers’ prior expectations – which in the case of child-adult sexual relations are very unlikely to be well informed.

So, what does all this tell us, if anything, about the wider situation of GLs, BLs, CLs, and where we might be heading? We started by noting how shocking it is that the Netherlands, a country long fabled for its tolerant, “live and let live” ways, should suddenly have gone sharply into reverse from its remarkably permissive history in the last decades before the new millennium. Can we expect just as bad, and worse to come, in countries elsewhere around the world that we might have thought of as developed and “progressive”?

[To be continued in Part 2. For REFERENCES, see below.]

 

SUDDENLY, CHILDREN CAN CONSENT

After insisting ever since Victorian times that children are incapable of giving consent, suddenly the UK has woken up to the startling revelation that, yes, they can!

When the government announced recently that children from age 12 upwards will be able to consent to be Covid vaccinated, even if their parents are against it, the response in politics and the media to this remarkably radical stance appears to have been one of confusion and awkward silence. Not that the government can be blamed this time for any confusion. Vaccines minister Nadhim Zahawi was entirely coherent and correct in law when explaining the policy on Radio 4’s Today programme yesterday. It has long been established, he said, that children with “Gillick competence” (i.e. if they have “sufficient understanding and intelligence to understand fully what is proposed”) are able to consent to their own medical treatment, without the need for parental permission or knowledge. This was based on a House of Lords decision in 1985 in a case brought against an area health authority by Victoria Gillick.

What Zahawi did not go into, though, was that the Gillick case was about allowing underage children in a sexual relationship to decide for themselves that they need access to contraception. This was what Roman Catholic “morality” campaigner Gillick had tried to put a stop to by going to court. She lost her case. Ironically, her defeat is memorialised in the legal ruling that bears her name. So children can in effect give legally valid consent to sex.

No wonder Zahawi did not mention it! No wonder parliament, in its latest Covid debate, focused on matters other than children’s consent to vaccination! No wonder the media have turned a blind eye to the implications, with some commentators, either in confusion or embarrassment, fudging the issue by wrongly claiming the policy applies only to children aged 14-15, as did Martin Bentham of the Evening Standard on the BBC’s The Papers (13 Sept., 11.30pm edition)! It’s a can of worms nobody wants to open!

 

REFERENCES (Parts 1 and 2 of main blog):

Bey, H. (1991). TAZ: The Temporary Autonomous Zone, Ontological Anarchy, Poetic Terrorism. New York, NY: Autonomedia.

Daly, N.R. (2021). Relationship, of child sexual abuse survivor self-perception of consent to current functioning. Florida: Nova Southeastern University. PhD dissertation. Retrieved from https://nsuworks.nova.edu/cps_stuetd/136For Liberation (2021).

Propria Cures Issue on Pedophilia and Free Speech. FreeSpeechTube. Retrieved from: https://www.freespeechtube.org/v/15dt

Gieles, F. (2020). Hasty urgency does research no good. Retrieved from https://www.human-being.nl/Bibliotheek/commentaar.html

Helweg‐Larsen and Larsen (2006). The prevalence of unwanted and unlawful sexual experiences reported by Danish adolescents. Acta Paediatrica 95(10): 1270-1276.

Levine, J. (2002). Harmful to minors: The perils of protecting children from sex. Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota Press.

Levine, J. and Meiners, E.R. (2020). The Feminist and the Sex Offender: Confronting Sexual Harm, Ending State Violence. New York, NY: Verso.

O’Carroll, T. (2015). After the Ball and After the Fall. Heretic TOC. https://heretictoc.com/2015/09/15/after-the-ball-and-after-the-fall/

O’Carroll, T. (2016). LGBTTQQFAGPBDSM – WTF? Heretic TOC. https://heretictoc.com/2016/10/05/lgbttqqfagpbdsm-wtf/

O’Carroll, T. (2018). Childhood ‘Innocence’ is Not Ideal: Virtue Ethics and Child–Adult Sex. Sexuality & Culture 22: 1230–1262. Open access: https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s12119-018-9519-1

O’Carroll, T. (2020). The feminist and the sex offender. Heretic TOC. https://heretictoc.com/2020/11/09/the-feminist-and-the-sex-offender/

Public Prosecution Service (2021). Concept indictment concerning M.H. Uittenbogaard. Netherlands: Openbaar Ministerie. Retrieved from https://marthijn.nl/pdf/Concept_Tenlastelegging_MU.pdf. [In Dutch. The word “concept” in the original (“Concept tenlastelegging inzake M.H. Uittenbogaard”) may be intended to mean “provisional”.]

Rind, B. (2020). First sexual intercourse in the Irish study of sexual health and relationships: current functioning in relation to age at time of experience and partner age. Archives of Sexual Behavior 50:289–310.

Rind, B., Bauserman, R., & Tromovitch, P. (1998). A meta-analytic examination of assumed properties of child sexual abuse using college samples. Psychological Bulletin, 124(1), 22–53.

Sandfort, T. (1984). Sex in pedophilic relationships: An empirical investigation among a non-representative group of boys. Journal of Sex Research, 20(2), 123–142.

Supreme Court of the Netherlands (2014). Case number: 13/02498. Retrieved from https://uitspraken.rechtspraak.nl/inziendocument?id=ECLI:NL:HR:2014:948

 

 

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Zen Thinker

Just a quick note to say it’s impossible to calculate the effects social media are having on the adultification of the young. Fashion, music, travel, ostensibly adult thematic interests, are being co-opted by quite young children. Not saying this is a wholly good thing, but it buries that tedious “let kids be kids” refrain. I mean, kids can barely walk before they’re becoming influential fashionistas – this is madness. Expect rapid societal upheaval and change as this filters down to the mainstream proper.

Fata Morgana

One could argue that social media are the mainstream proper.

Zen Thinker

Perhaps. It’s entirely pleasant, but perhaps slightly pushy, narcissistic and liberal parents, who want to give their offspring a promotional social media platform. This is entirely within “community guidelines” on Instagram especially. TikTok less so, as young kids set up their own accounts which are taken down.

But the young fashionable parents drive the social attitudes of the children.

Prue

Have some blasts from the past I wanted to share:

So I was looking over Newgon and reading https://www.newgon.net/wiki/Text_of_Incest:_The_Last_Taboo which mentions:

“Dr. James Ramey, a sociologist, states, “If two relatives make love in a caring situation, that’s one thing. If it’s rape, it’s another. You can’t put the incest tag on that.” ‘ Dr. James Ramey, a sociologist with a multi-disciplinary Ph.D. from Columbia, has censored his own positive incest manuscript for the past four years. Fearing for his reputation and massive misunderstanding, Ramey hesitated to lead with an apparently permission-giving book on man’s oldest taboo. He refuses to discuss specifics but volunteers that only one incest family from his 1,500-plus interviews and questionnaires ever ran afoul of the law.”

So I went looking to see if Ramey had managed to get this book out; unfortunately, it seems not. A real shame. If that 1,500+ figure isn’t a lie, imagine how incredible it would have been to have stories published based on a community sample that large. What I did find, however, is that Ramey published an SIECUS REPORT in 1979 entitled “Dealing with the Last Taboo.”

Unlike other SIECUS reports, this one is available as a pdf here https://siecus.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/7-5.pdf

I highly recommend this read; a passionate tract for research which doesn’t merely render all experiences “abuse”, as well as evidence that the potentially devastating consequences of prison and families being split up (iatrogenic harm) were once-upon-a-time taken seriously. There’s even some interesting research mentioned which I tried to find but is unfortunately either in very rare books or in german (if any germans feel like investing some time in tracking sources down and seeing if they’re worth translating, consider getting in touch with Newgon as an archival outlet. There’s a great archive of translations from German uploaded by Dave Riegel which may be of some inspiration: https://web.archive.org/web/20170830073124/http://www.shfri.net/trans/trans.cgi ).

Another thing of interest, sitting nicely alongside Rind’s analysis of bias in textbooks, is a 1982 essay by Alayne Yates “Childhood Sexuality in the Psychiatric Textbook” which, despite its neutral-sounding title, is actually an analysis of textbook bias on child sexuality, particularly early masturbation.

Abstract [Excerpt]:

“In spite of a marked liberalization in adult attitudes toward sexuality over the past thirty years, there has been little change in cultural attitudes toward childhood sexuality. An analysis of fifteen psychiatric textbooks in current use reflect this bias as these books continue to associate childhood sexuality with various pathologies.”

See link here: https://doi.org/10.1007/BF03399861

A fair few older sources are cited that might otherwise be ignored and lost to history, and Yates occasionally writes with a touch of amusing sarcasm. “Although this may sound impressive, the average number of pages devoted to childhood masturbation throughout the entire sample was less than four-fifths of a page” (p. 222).

Would have added these to my “incest starter pack” file had I know about them back then. Always more to discover!

Prue

Oh God I have another one for you! XD At least the abstract sounds interesting so it’s going in my “Sex Work” folder in case I ever feel compelled to argue about it:

Little girls and sex: A glimpse at the world of the “baby pro” (1984)

Abstract:

The literature on child prostitution is limited. There is some historical documentation, but data on contemporary empirical observations is generally unavailable. Moreover, most studies have focused on teenagers rather than on children. Drug abuse was the original concern of this investigation. During the course of the research, nine girls between the ages of 8 and 12 were encountered who admitted involvement in prostitution and/or pornography. They were not runaways. Rather, they had been introduced to their careers by relatives. Their initiation into sex seemed to be motivated by fear of rejection, their drug involvement did not appear to be associated with their sexual activities, and they did not seem to be traumatized by their early association with sex.

https://doi.org/10.1080/01639625.1984.9967632

There’s an essay by the guy who took Richard Yuill on as a PhD student, David T. Evans, here https://doi.org/10.1163/157181894X00015

Also, the work of Jo Woodwidiss might be of interest to ppl here. I remember seeing discussion here a long time ago about a blogger called “anna racoon” – and it turns out she claims to have inside knowledge about allegations leveled against Jimmy Saville and got in touch with Woodwidiss, who used her claims to write about girls’ agency in the context of the Saville and Rotheram scandals. See her article, available easily via google scholar, “Sexuality, innocence and agency in narratives of childhood sexual abuse: Implications for social work” (2016) if interested.

Oh, and finally, for you archivists out there, I struggled to find back issues for the SIECUS Reports, but got there in the end. Here’s the link for anyone interested https://siecus.org/resources/the-siecus-report/

Later on I’ll try to find William Simon and John Gagnon’s commentary on intergen sex b/c I’m about 80% sure they’ve written about it, prob w/ “adult” / “child” terminology. Will look through a few more and then stop distracting myself!

Stephen James

I looked at the paper by Mark Smith and Jo Widiwiss. (I was unable to access the other two.) It’s interesting in that it acknowledges that CSA is not necessarily harmful and the child is not always ‘innocent’. Bu the authors also insist that CSA (by which I think they mean all adult-child sex) is always wrong, a claim which they do not feel any need to justify. Even if they had had any doubts about this, they probably would have felt it unwise to admit them in a paper which already challenges orthodoxy so sharply. (This is reminiscent of Susan Clancy in The Trauma Myth.

Prue

“it acknowledges that CSA is not necessarily harmful and the child is not always ‘innocent’. Bu the authors also insist that CSA (by which I think they mean all adult-child sex) is always wrong, a claim which they do not feel any need to justify”

You might consider that the authors are giving themselves an “out” where, if they ever get pushback, they can say “I’ve explicitly stated my belief that CSA is wrong in X, Y, Z, so the Finkelhor megazord [“that’s not even his final form!”] is not justified in implying otherwise”. You get the idea!

This “saying it’s wrong but never explain why” is the tactic I think academics are really compelled to use at the moment, unless they’re happy to be done with their careers inside an institution. Alternatively, an author can simply state info as declarative; never saying whether it’s right or wrong. Though, I imagine this leaves an author more open to attack via speculation or outright fabrication. Also, I think that, when an author tries to state “facts” in as neutral way as possible, it often comes off as positive , simply b/c the dominant discoiurse is that all experiences must be both negative and condemned, and therefore not presenting / arguing contrary to negative findings, or not being overtly condemnatory, is read cynically as the author having ulterior motives.

Also, you’ll be able to download them using sci-hub. Sci-hub can be used with Tor as well btw (though not the taylor-francis cite but all you’d need are the DOI links posted here). 🙂

Stephen James

>Also, you’ll be able to download them using sci-hub. 

Ah, yes, thanks! I forgot about that option.

Fata Morgana

Clancy’s book is littered with self-contradiction.

Stephen James

I’m not sure that there are outright self-contradictions, but there is certainly something left unexplained, namely, why exactly is all adult-child sex supposed to be intrinsically wrong. She could point to the later guilt and anxiety, but, as this is mainly sociogenic or iatrogenic (and is also not present in every case), this doesn’t explain why it is intrinsically wrong.

Fata Morgana

That combination of repeated assertion that it is intrinsically wrong whilst elsewhere repeatedly acknowledging that any harm is often extrinsically generated is (to my interpretation, at least) outright self-contradiction. Certainly, it signifies a disappointing lack of rigour.

Warbling J Turpitude

Does anyone recall which blogpost has the WaybackMachine links to LSM’s archived essays ? If I use the search function it only finds the one post (‘Hengelo Hotspot’..) wherein LSM is discussed but that is not the one with said links..

Thanking y’all..

Prue

Completely off-topic to comments below but just had to share:

“Emotional and Sexual Correlates of Child Sexual Abuse as a Function of Self-Definition Status” (2016)

Abstract

Among individuals defined as having been sexually abused based on legal criteria, some will self-report having been abused and some will not. Yet, the empirical correlates of self-definition status are not well studied. Different definitions of abuse may lead to varying prevalence rates and contradictory findings regarding psychological outcomes. The present study examined whether, among legally defined sexual abuse survivors, identifying oneself as having experienced childhood sexual abuse (CSA) was associated with more severe abuse, negative emotional reactions toward the abuse, and current sexual reactions. A convenience sample of 1,021 French-speaking Canadians completed self-report questionnaires online. The prevalence of legally defined CSA was 21.3% in women and 19.6% in men, as compared to 7.1% in women and 3.8% in men for self-defined CSA. Among legally defined sexual abuse survivors, those who identified themselves as CSA survivors had been abused more frequently, were more likely to report a male aggressor, and more often described abuse by a parental figure than those who did not self-identify as abused. Further, self-defined CSA was associated with more negative postabuse reactions and sexual avoidance, whereas those not identifying as sexually abused were more likely to report sexual compulsion

https://doi.org/10.1177/1077559516656069

As with the recent Daly 2021 dissertation – consent matters – and here, labels matter! In short, how you perceive an experience matters. Shocking I know! Foucault was right, language produces reality!

Another study which bolsters this would be Steever, Victoria M. Follette, and Amy E. Naugle, ‘The Correlates of Male Adults’ Perceptions of Their Early Sexual Experiences’, in Journal of Traumatic Stress, 14:1 (2001), 189-204 <https://doi.org/10.1023/A:1007852002481&gt;

[which was cited on Newgon wiki https://www.newgon.net/wiki/Research:_Prevalence_of_Harm_and_Negative_Outcomes%5D

Prue

Beasts, victims or competent agents: The positioning of children in research literature on manipulation(2018 paper)

Abstract:

Drawing on positioning theory, Warming, Galløe, Carlsen and Rasmussen explore how discourses of manipulation in everyday life debates and research literature contribute to what Cook has termed ‘the moral project of childhood’. The analysis shows that children are positioned in these discourses either as incompetent, powerless victims or as powerful, egoistic or psychopathological agents, and moreover that these discourses unreflexively build upon and reinstall pre-sociological Dionysian and Apollonian views on Childhood, and a taken-for-granted generational order in which adults hold (and should hold) power over children.

https://doi.org/10.1177/0907568218803429

Might be of interest to those who like to reflect on “the figure” of the “child” and how it’s mobilized, be it the “queer” child ala Kathryn Bond Stockton, or some other variety.

Heretics might also find of interest: The Discourse of Development’: How 9- to 12-year-old Children Construct Childish' andFurther Developed’ Identities within their Peer Culture
This ethnographic account focuses on the theoretical object of development' in its reconstruction by 9- to 12-year-old children and its situated meaning in their peer culture. In concentrating the analysis on interview data, the children's discourse of development takes shape in identical rhetorical figures </span><em style="background-color: rgb(255, 255, 255); color: rgb(51, 51, 51);">across</em><span style="background-color: rgb(255, 255, 255); color: rgb(51, 51, 51);"> different interviews. The children distinguish more childish from more mature types of identity within their age group. The implicit linearity of the concept is responsible for its ambiguity:development’ is understood as a natural process and as an aim to be achieved at the same time. The children contest the age appropriateness of activities and the authenticity of self-presentation, thereby presenting development as social praxis. Furthermore, their notion of development is sexualized: the discourse continually reconceptualizes the relations between the sexes according to age. The discourse thus becomes a vehicle for distinction in peer cultures.

https://doi.org/10.1177/0907568201008001006

Stephen James

>” a taken-for-granted generational order in which adults hold (and should hold) power over children.”

It’s an ugly expression, but adults have to ‘hold power over children’ to some extent, don’t they? You can’t have toddlers, for example, doing whatever they want? I think this is worth mentioning because child liberationists sometimes seem to talk as if adults just need to step back and let children take over their own lives, but at least where young children are concerned, that can’t be right.

Prue

Have no idea why the text I pasted is formatted that way / looks so weird! XD Anyway, yes I think you’re right about that concerning infants and very young young people. I’ve expressed before (on freespeechtube) that I find the taxonomy currently in vogue particularly important when researchers separate what they’re terming “nepiophilia” (attraction to infants) from “pedophilia” which is generally held to relate to persons of 6 years plus. That’s significant to me b/c at 6, 7, 8 and 10, 11, young people are much more able to express themselves and a reciprocal relationship becomes more possible.

Though, even in the line you quote, it’s important to recognize they’re discussing “children”, not toddlers, and pointing out that there’s a “generational order” that’s “taken-for-granted” which I think is generally true outside of pro-kind spaces or scholars who research and write on children’s rights. But yes, generally speaking, when it concerns infants, the fact that older people hold power over them, simply to raise them and keep them alive if nothing else, is generally the case.

When ppl bring up the “power imbalance” stuff I have 2 quick responses.
1.) Yes, I agree, it’s about power – about how power is mobilized – power is relational, not static, and can be mobilized w/ positive and negative outcomes, depending on your values [what you see as positive-negative].

2.) Inspired by the G that is Gert Hekma, in his paper read by Tom Hubbard here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4zF6xwIlEoI , I undercut the discourse by asserting that inequality is the norm in sexual life, sexual encounters are, in general, unequal; asymmetrical in terms of age, race, gender, class. This has the advantage of undercutting the lunatics who follow the standard discourse and argue that disabled ppl can’t consent, that is, ppl feel it acceptable to invalidate their consent, effectively denying disabled ppl, ppl with learning difficulties for instance, a sex life.

Stephen James

Thanks for posting the link to the youtube video. It was good to see a ‘radical’ conference taking place not that long ago (2014). Most enjoyable for me was the talk by Florian Mildenberger, informative about changing attitudes to paedophilia in Germany, delivered with a waspish sense of humour.

Prue

Yes it’s a fascinating conference and has great re-watch value. Florian is a cool guy I wish he’d published / publish more in English. He wrote a book on the now largely forgotten (or at least rarely mentioned) German activist Peter Schult. Unfortunately, it’s in German! 🙁

I love his jab at Finkelhor in this talk!

Literally a day or so ago I discovered an essay by him, translated into english and archived by David Riegel, about a pederasty scandal in the early 1900’s. It’s actually a really sad read… Just goes to show that “cancel culture” goes way back!

See “The 1905 Proceedings Against the Naturalist Theodor Beer”, at: https://web.archive.org/web/20081008065011/http://www.shfri.net/trans/mildenberger/mildenberger.cgi?counted=yes

Zen Thinker

These various “meta-theories” remind me of the difficulties in reading Derrida, specifically his Writing and Difference. The writer of the introduction helpfully said one has to “glide over the surface meaning of the words” presumably because it was in substance incoherent or at least so frustratingly complex on a surface level that one wondered whether it in fact contained any depth to the author’s inherent worldview.

As I am “Zen Thinker” I focus on simple, profound thoughts, not complex, superficial matrices. Let me say here, “meta-theories” are inelegant and not firmly enough rooted in concrete thought, and I say this as a student of the Western tradition of philosophy. Therefore I will leave it to those more able to disentangle this Gordian Knot of obfuscated speech. I naturally suspect however, that the more superficially complex and opaque something is, the less it has anything profound to say.

Whether it shifts social policy is another matter entirely, but not I suspect acting as a healthy underlying cause. The true causes for changing social policy regarding children (or anything else) are of course the constantly developing civilisational conditions, including technology and ontological outlook – what it means “to be” a human being. The social sciences facilitate this process but are reactions to the underlying changes, not causes of that change itself. The causal principles of broad social change are inherent in the natural flow of civilisational progress, and therefore ineluctable.

Not to be overly deterministic but broad generational changes are truly underway and the increased autonomy of the child, among many other things, is a natural and inevitable outcome of the increased technological facilitation of everyday living processes and experiences. Creating a social science framework for this new emerging reality is very much “after the fact”, but may in a way catalyse the overall process of change.

Stephen James

I have a simple rule of thumb to decide whether it’s worth my while reading something. I look for certain markers. If I see words like ‘problematize’ or even ‘queer theory’, I know it’s probably not worth reading.

Tom is much more tolerant of this kind of stuff. Sometimes I feel he reads it so the rest of us don’t have to – a great service!

Fata Morgana

the increased autonomy of the child, among many other things, is a natural and inevitable outcome of the increased technological facilitation of everyday living processes and experiences

Perhaps as a long-term trend, but I wouldn’t underestimate the pushback (and effects thereof) that comes along with this. We could just as easily see a one-step-forward-two-steps-back scenario.

Zen Thinker

Haha, there is undoubtedly something attractive about Derrida’s thought, but he is either a linguistic obscurantist, or simply expresses himself poorly. I like to think ‘multiple meanings of texts’ is rooted in the Western tradition, and therefore nothing new. As far back as the second century AD Origen touted the threefold sense of Scripture (literal, moral, allegorical) and Biblical hermeneutics was at the forefront of this. Derrida’s deconstruction, from my layman’s perspective, is more about the destruction of objective meaning – a text becomes an endless relativistic hall of mirrors, which is a key departure from the traditional idea, that the dual books – the Book of Nature (natural world) and the Book of the Word (Bible) – could be mined for objective Truth. Derrida’s originality as I see it is in a radical relativism – but I am a Thomistic realist.

Prue

“In turn, Wikipedia tells us (or tells me, but you already knew this, Prue!)”
> Yeah, totally! XD Expert in “positioning theory” over here lads!
No, but seriously it’s just one paper among those I happened to be trawling through that I thought sounded interesting. Another one, since it’s useful to at least have some recognition that youth do de sexy time w/ other youth, is this paper “Romantic and Sexual Behavior in Young Adolescents: Repeated Surveys in a Population-Based Cohort”, by which they mean 11-12 YOs and 12-13 YOs. See https://doi.org/10.1177/0272431609338179 It’s from 2009 with a large (over 6,000 sample), written in a paradigm of risk, and yet I’m getting the sense that the situation has changed dramatically; was watching this Vaush video [https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RcRU8VrYUfM] where he talks about a sharp rise in [presumably U.S.] male virginity over the last 10 years, something I can certainly believe given how much “risk” culture has become standard in schools.  

I do however, have some background knowledge about critical realism, and I’m slightly surprised to see it mentioned here. I went to some talks about it back at university, but my experience leads me to the conclusion that critical realism sounds great and has a lot of enthusiastic advocates, but in practice, the work produced from it is terse and next to unintelligible. About 2 years ago now I sat down with physical copies of Roy Bhaskar’s books, and I kid you not I’m pretty sure I only copied out one quote and the rest went over my head. Got about 20 pages in and wondered why anyone would bother…

The one thing I did like from presentations I went to, was the insistence on distinguishing between open and closed systems. Pointing out that the majority of what we experience as “reality” resides in an open system, of which “closed system” lab experiments can only capture so much. When we speak of a preference for community over prison samples, part of why we like this is b/c community samples, at least we assume, are more reflective of the “open system” reality that most people live in (as, thankfully, most people don’t live in prison). Given that research like Goudreault 2017 has shown community samples of paedophiles to
Here’s a “what is critical realism” piece http://www.asatheory.org/current-newsletter-online/what-is-critical-realism

There’s an article discussing CSA through an ostensibly critical realist lens, by David Pilgrim, “The Perils of Strong Social Constructionism: The Case of Child Sexual Abuse” (2017) <https://doi.org/10.1080/14767430.2017.1303928&gt;

The critical realist criticism of positivism, their insistence on the search for mechanisms rather than correlations seems like a great line to take but I’m not aware of crit realist work bearing much fruit in that regard, so I’ll believe it when I see it (or read it).

To allude to Kit’s comments far down below, I must admit I’m sympathetic to their position, though I don’t really think the qual/quant distinction to be an either/or – we don’t have to be “pro” one and disregard the other. They’re complimentary and both are empirical. In the sense of falsifiability, the positivist concern, you can discern trends across qual research – the language or meaning behind language that’s used by participants; themes. In the case of paedophiles, one of the most evident trends are words which would indicate affection for young people, love, romance, nurturing. But, the same as w/ quant research, it depends what questions participants are being asked. In both cases, the language used – “abuse” versus “bodily intimacy”; “contact”; “erotic encounter / experience” – and so on, will make a huge difference to the respondents and responses you get; who recognizes the research as even relevant for them to participate in. [A lot of my friends, even my own mother, would not realize that, to your garden variety CSA researcher, they’ve been “abused” / “victims of abuse”]. In a sense, I’m not sure the quant-qual gap is that large. If there’s anything science can learn from Derrida, Lacan, Foucault, it’s that science is just as unable to escape the constraints of language as everyone else. Languages produces reality, and ultimately we’re going to need to change the terms of the debate to see progress. That’s why, as much as I prefer “youth lover (YLC)” to MAP, the MAP label has opened up a whole new avenue of research and discourse.   

Currently, “predator” and a whole host of negative terms make any organization, research, in a word, progress, difficult. And, no offence, but Bailey and Rind who complain (rightly) about attempts to shut down researchers don’t help themselves by perpetuating the same “Abuse” terminology that places their very careers on risky terrain if they dare to report findings which undermine what the mass, non-specialist public thinks “abuse” would mean – forced or coerced against one’s will, terribly and irrevocably damaged for the rest of one’s life.

So, do I think Qual research is “science” – absolutely I do! I think that, if you’re looking to ignite a movement and bring people to your cause, you need to do what Finkelhor, Diana Russel, De Young and others did – stories! Narratives! “Speak outs”! Stories that will draw sympathy. We’re already doing this with the MAP-stigma angle; people whose lives get ruined just by being associated with a label! Indeed, could we not say that Tom’s own narrative in his 1980’s Radical Case book has been one of the most moving and influential in the whole history of intergen rights? It certainly moved me!

I can already hear the cries of “we already did that!” NAMBLA after all, did publish “Boys Speak Out”. I know part of the reticence for this (old) “brave new world” is that competing narratives don’t give solid ground to stand on. Though I would point out there’s consistency in how paedophiles, if anybody bothers to ask how they feel, tend to express affection or, in a word, love for youth, but the point is true enough. I think Tom’s right to emphasise the importance of biology insofar as mechanisms – cholesterol clogging your veins leading to heart disease; with intergen in particular, something like Adrenarche – or “hard science” like Ponseti et al.’s brain scans – give us a hard leg to stand on. Even so, all researchers can’t escape language – “there is no outside language” as derrida argued. As much as they might be reporting on some very solid, highly reproducible findings, researchers are participating in the production of culture, of knowledge, and they have to use more or less neutral language to report on and frame their findings. I gather that there’s a suspicion that qual researchers, because they’re generally not using statistical techniques (though they may be “mixed method” researchers), are more biased; I would just counter that the use of stats can be equally misleading as Rind et al. love to point out, and that the very numbers you’re going off may be very biased depending on how you came to your sample. If you want to see how youth respond to intergen encounters and head down to a “rape crisis center”, you’re going to get a very biased result towards people w/ negative reactions and / or experiences. You might do statistical tests, and if you’re a shrewd victimologist and select samples that are similarly biased, as opposed to Rind et al. 1998 who used samples which varied a lot.

So, there’s changing culture going on behind the scenes of research; even puberty w/ “earlier onset puberty” is subject to change thanks to diet. My answer really is that I’m not convinced of the superiority of critical realism, though not convinced of positivism per say (maybe the best of a flawed bunch), but if it’s mobilizing people we’re after, mobilizing researchers too, we’ll need compelling, gut wrenching, moving, tear jerking narratives. In short, all research is important, just some are more important than others! [Depending on your values, motives]! END.OF.RANT. XD

Cyril
Last edited 17 days ago by Cyril
Warbling J Turpitude

following from my previous (ran out of edit-time)

Because of what MH says, and what is said by the author of piece and her comment on her own Twitter page, I find myself hugely agitated and positively aching to ‘get stuck in’ but feel that my ability to articulate calmly might be overtaken by feverish excitement in the process… But feel that someone *must* take on these people right here on Twitter where the propagation moves fastest and widest….

Am presently thinking of C & P’ ing Tom’s passages on Marthijn’s beseiged fortress above into replies and writing simply “this is what normalization looks like”

Last edited 19 days ago by Warbling J Turpitude
Warbling J Turpitude

My own experience at Unherd has proved far from fruitful. Uniformly either ignored, downvoted, or, most recently, comment barred – as far as i could tell for including the word “penis”, with asterisks, yet! On Twitter I haven”t had the slightest hint of getting banned. If it’s not too much of a pain to recount, Tom, I should really like to know something of just how that ban of yours went down!

When not long ago i sought eagerly to learn more from Heretics of their various involvements at the social media level, I received nothing by way of response. This is troubling, I cannot say otherwise. It is a social media-driven world we’re living in .I get the sense at least that many are in a sort of ‘retreat’ mode, having decided the frontier is too frightening and fraught..

How I should like to be proved wrong there!

Ed Chambers

Twitter changed the TOS, in effect no longer allowing MAPs to use their sexuality as a means to identify with. There were also probably a number of other reasons for this, not least because the admin staff were sick of policing all the reported tweets and ‘offending’ accounts. I think they got the fear, afraid of a push to ‘normalise’ what is already a part of human nature, accompanied by all the normies saying ‘What is the world coming to?’. There are still MAPs on Twitter but it’s v quiet, and people often keep their accounts locked.

Ed Chambers

When people keep their accounts locked, only people who follow them can see what they tweet. You can have what is effectively a closed group that way. I keep my account locked with no followers. I’m really only there to have a look around when I need to. V little happens on MAP twitter anymore as Twitter are running the show like a bunch of renegade Nazis on Pervitin.

Zen Thinker

I love Twitter, but I use it for my intellectual interests and wouldn’t dare mention minor attraction. The closest I came was ‘liking’ a Lewis Carroll quote about Alice.

Unless you’re an activist, MAP issues don’t have to define you; I have many interests and I don’t wish to ‘activate’ the mob.

Social media is powerful, but one has to contend with The People, who are often dumb, irascible and unreasonable.

Warbling J Turpitude

>Twitter changed the TOS, in effect no longer allowing MAPs to use their sexuality as a means to identfy with<

I'm sorry but i don't really get what this means, exactly. Does it mean that there were people 'flying a specific, identical "MAP" flag' on their profiles or something like that?

As i say I've been openly fighting on Twitter for well over two years now and have never even been threatened with a ban. Not once. My profile describes me in part as "vagabond nympholeptic', which is pretty accurate! I feature a clear selfie there as well.

All up then, I confess I'm a tad mystified by the reports from people here..

I

Ed Chambers

Tbf the purge happened a while back. A lot of people wouldn’t know wtf a ‘vagabond nympholeptic’ is, and you keep a low profile. After having looked over your account, I don’t see many other MAPs there, following or being followed. So, you’re still on Twitter, unlocked, and surreptitiously labelling yourself a GL. Good for you. Maybe there were just too many MAPs encouraging others to consume CP and fuck kids and you weren’t one of them. As for a clear selfie, that depends v much on the definition used 🙂

Warbling J Turpitude

Well that’s an odd sort of response, I must say! This seeking out mission you went on strikes me as just a wee bit zealous? A tiny bit creepazoid? Twitter accounts are invitations to novelty, and i injected my share of mine. You sound remarkably jaded somehow! And i honestly don’t really understand your concluding comments. I sat in front of the camera and clicked. What is your *own* preferred mode of participation, if any?

Last edited 18 days ago by Warbling J Turpitude
Ed Chambers

If you want to take my previous comment in a way that it wasn’t intended, it makes no difference to me. A lot of people were taken out one way or another, and you weren’t. Searching out your account was zealous, creepy? If you say so. I was simply interested to see what kind of ‘fight’ you were putting up.

Warbling J Turpitude

Okay, my apologies, that was overstated, certainly. I guess one just gets a bit jumpy from all the people on Twitter who seek out one’s profile to try and implicate/incriminate, or whatever. So very sorry for saying that, Ed! Please forgive me.

My fight takes place almost solely via vigorous replies to others’ postings, and believe me, on some days that is a full-time job in itself! It just hadn’t occurred to me that i was keeping a ‘low profile’. Have not ywt decided how i should go ahout my own tweets. That seems a very tricky one to me But i would still like to know if those ‘taken out’ profiles all featured similar ‘identity’ markers of some (obvious) type…?

Ed Chambers

That’s ok, thank you for the apology. Often people can take what I say in a way it wasn’t intended as I’m overly blunt most of the time, so if I’m overly blunt, I apologise.

One of the tricks of those hunting down MAP accounts, as I found out watching what they did to me and others, was to trigger people with mundane, non MAP related stuff. Breach of TOS in a ‘regular’ way, idk, for example telling someone to go and boil their own head was inciting self harm so the account was suspended.

I’m very happy to say I never reported another MAP account, although I reported other accounts for abuse etc. My accounts were reported a number of times, and I’m pretty sure it was done by the NOMAP clan because I was ‘pro C’, whatever that means.

Ed Chambers

I forgot to add, many accounts used hashtags like #pedopride etc which are probably the markers you’ve asked about. They went pretty quickly. I think your account looks pretty good tbh, but on a note of warning if I can search Twitter for ‘vagabond nympholeptic’ and find your account in less than 10 seconds, the malefactors browsing this site can too.

You also said I’m jaded perhaps, and on further thought I suppose I am. It’s a good point you’ve made. I need to think about this some more.

Christian

Rather than Twitter or FB or any other social network run in the USA, I use VK, there is much less censorship there. You can say what you want about sex & children, you will get in trouble only if you post, or join a group posting photographs of underages that are deemed too “sexy”. And they are not so efficient at censorship, it takes some time for them to notice the offending images. The main drawback for someone like me who does not speak Russian, is that it is full of Russian people who post in Russian and send you messages in Russian.

Warbling J Turpitude

To he honest Christian, at the risk no doubt of overt contentiousness, i’m dismayed that you seeeeem to he saying that hanging out on sites like VK (whatever their real pleasures) can compare with, even substitute for trying to (wait for it) win hearts & minds in Twitterstan or eluding the apparatchiks at Facebüro? Surely the whole point of this great thing before us is not “getting to say what you want about sex & children” (uncontested), but TAKING OUR FIGHT TO THE ENEMY? Have you simply given up on all that, or what? What, exactly, does one get to say on. Russian VK that enters, let alone impacts, the cognitive stuff of anyone? Of anyone at all?

Hope you’re not pissed at me now. But say as much I surely had to.

Christian

The membership of VK is not limited to Russian-speaking people, it includes users from the whole world, in particular those who appreciate uncensored nudity or porn. On it, I made friends and followers from many countries, including France and the USA. I did not meet enemies. Anyway, I do not want to convince hard-line “antis”, but rather influence open-minded people.

Fata Morgana

There’s a raft of fallacies (argumentum ad passiones, slippery slope, extended straw man [at least partly based on a skewed definition of ‘paraphilia’], back to slippery slope) in MH’s ‘riff’, as you call it below. The best way to tackle someone’s arguments is to consider the formal and informal flaws with the dispassion of a scientist and then address those flaws as rigorously as you can.

Strat

Twitter absolutely is ripe for activism. It’s very easy to get batches of burner accounts, and apparently Tor often works on there too (VPNs always). Just buy these accounts with bitcoin.

Then, we should descend on MAP related trends and act in groups – stirring up resentment/fear and going in with facts and figures sea lion style.

Warbling J Turpitude

Horse-girl Harrington loses no time in weighing in on the latest “fear of normalization” routine to appear, which ‘normalizaton’ will of course be news to all of us here! Harrington is somewhat of an anomaly in this as she’s educated and remarkably deft with her writing. If I recall Tom has mixed it up with her commentariat before at Unherd? Here she is just riffing at length in relation to something published somewhere. Last time i entered the fray in such a context her Twitterati turned moblike and horrid in very short order, rushing to pile up bromide after bromide at the altar of wilful ignorance.
https://twitter.com/moveincircles/status/1442392954518319106?s=19

Zen Thinker

Breaking news: Facebook is ‘pausing’ development on ‘Instagram for Kids’ after a barrage of negative feedback.

Doesn’t bother me but it was always going to be a minefield for predatory behaviour I suppose. For all the MAPs who may innocently look at it, there will be some going too far.

People hate the idea because a) social media harms on children’s developing minds have been widely documented; b) the obvious issue of adults soliciting children.

But having said all that, this is being characterised as a pause not a permanent suspension.

lostangel

Excellent post and excellent article for AliceLovers Magazine! Congratulations.

Nada

Peter Boghossian, one of the people behind the Sokal 2.0 Hoax, resigns:

https://bariweiss.substack.com/p/my-university-sacrificed-ideas-for

An example of “decoding”, in the spirit of ADL, targeting GLs:
https://youtu.be/1LcAM5IOcsw

Fata Morgana

That news report on YouTube is precisely the sort of thing Brass Eye parodied.

Franklin James

Could Tom or anyone provide the Dutch text corresponding to the “crimes” enumerated at the beginning of the blog? Thanks!

Fata Morgana

Native Dutch-speaker here. ‘Concept’ means draft.

Fata Morgana

There’s plenty of connotative overlap between draft and provisional, though I would take provisional to invoke a wider array of factors upon which the finalisation is contingent. But in short, yes, you’re right that it’s subject to revision.

Here’s a rough-and-ready translation of the draft charge sheet for anyone interested.

**********************************************************************************

Draft charge against M.H. Uittenbogaard 10/961607-19

Uittenbogaard:
In Hengelo and/or Arnhem and/or Lelystad and/or elsewhere in the Netherlands, on one or more occasion(s) in or around the period of 18 April 2014 to 1 March 2021,

together and in association with another individual or individuals, though at any rate alone,

did participate in continuing the work of an organisation prohibited by final court ruling, namely the Vereniging Marthijn, or at any rate deliberately engaged in activities conducive to continuing the work of this organisation, whilst he and/or his accomplice(s) knew, or at any rate ought reasonably to have suspected, that this conduct served to continue the work of the Vereniging Marthijn prohibited by final court ruling, these activities comprising (as a collective):

1. the posting of publication(s) on a/various website(s), and/or
2. the issuing of communications through the mailing list/by e-mail, and/or
3. the issuing of communications through (social) media,

Indeed, he and/or his accomplice(s)
– registered and/or (technically) maintained the website http://www.marthijn.nl and/or published articles on this website, and/or
– registered and/or (technically) maintained the website http://www.brongersma.info and/or processed and/or anonymised records vis-à-vis posting on the website and/or published articles on this website, and/or
– registered and/or financed and/or (technically) maintained the website http://www.freespeechtube.org and/or published film and/or audio clips on this website and/or did not delete these from the website, and/or
– promoted and/or set up the pro-pedosexuality mailing list and/or maintained the subscriber list for this and/or sent messages to the subscribers of this mailing list, and/or
– posted messages on the Twitter account @mhuittenbogaard

whilst communication(s) were being posted on the aforementioned website(s) and/or mailing list and/or Twitter account, or were not being denied or refuted, these communications seeking to:
a. deny and/or minimise the harm inherent to sexual contact between children and adults, and/or
b. glorify sexual contact between children and adults, and/or
c. portray children as objects of lust/sexual beings, and/or
d. break down barriers and endorse or encourage the belief that sexual contact between children and adults is something good, and/or
e. create a subculture/community within which sexual contact between children and adults is regarded as normal/acceptable/salubrious, and/or
f. make sexual contact with children possible for himself and/or for others.

***********************************************************************************

EDIT: Links to the aforementioned sites unintentional (done automatically by the posting software).

Last edited 22 days ago by Fata Morgana
sugarboy

It would not surprise me if the points a) to f) were a copy-and-past from the charges against the Vereniging Martijn in 2012. Prosecutors are not dazzling in poetical creativity.
Can someone confirm?

Franklin James

Very helpful. Thank you.

Prue

Something potentially thought-provoking:

The Negative Implications of Being Tolerated

Abstract

Intergroup toleration is a requirement for living with diversity and actively promoted by local, national, and international bodies. However, although psychological researchers have extensively considered the implications of
being discriminated, little is known about the psychological consequences of being tolerated. In this article, we argue that beyond the freedoms implied by tolerance, being “merely” tolerated also implies social identity threats
that compromise specific psychological needs (belongingness, esteem, control, certainty). We further consider the psychological consequences of being tolerated at the personal, interpersonal, and intergroup levels and consider
factors that may moderate the impact of being tolerated for minority outcomes. Taken together, this work provides the first theoretical argument and overview of what it means to be tolerated by considering the negative implications of toleration in diverse nations.

https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/pdf/10.1177/1745691619897974

Ed Chambers

It is no surprise this is happening, from several perspectives.

If Paedophilia / MAPs will not be accepted in the non offending Virped sense, why would we be accepted in anyway at all? Many VPs, if not all, have yet to see this, but the proof of this pudding is in the eating. As only a handful of MAPs in the world are ‘out’, these few individuals remain in the focus of harrassment, gangstalking and gaslighting by malefactors in much the same way as myself, and systematically deterred from living their best life. Organisation is what is needed, but as we have seen in the Netherlands, the authorities come down on this ruthlessly hard in order to maintain the status quo, relying on repetitive rhetoric as a means to make people believe what is not true. This is compounded by the VP refusal to cooperate with anyone who doesn’t follow the same viewpoint as them, so they employ their building squads to erect walls whereverand whenever possible.

As for child sexuality, much the same. It requires concessions from society at large that children are not as incapable as they are required to be for contemporary society. If they were educated with a greater emphasis on how to think and not what to think, combined by being encouraged to take greater autonomy from a younger age they would be in a far better position to decide for themselves how to lead their lives.

As for those MAPs out in the world, I salute all of them, even the likes of Todd Nickerson who has previously encouraged the grassing of other MAPs who are not in line with VP. It is a tricky life to navigate, and by default we truly are the new Jew. I have a lot of time for the Dutch MAPs but sometimes they have a strange way of working that occasionally doesn’t make sense and often backfires.

Imo, what is needed is an international organisation without any national base. Unfortunately this would require only ‘out’ MAPs to be allowed admission in order to prevent LEA / hunter infiltration.

As for free speech, this exists in the same way Henry Ford used to sell Model T’s – any colour you like as long as it’s black.

Ed Chambers

Thank you Tom. & also for being such a great host to ykw.

Zen Thinker

Love this post. Being out is of course impossible for almost everyone purely due to public harassment. This demonisation is indeed similar to being ‘the new Jew’, I like that comparison. Jews were of course shunned by society and isolated in ghettos, and similarly MAPs who appear in the newspaper are ‘shamed’ and ostracised, like the traditional humiliation of tar and feathers, or white feathers for non-conscripted men. Really it is an abuse of the human right to self-identity, but no-one in power cares about MAP recognition. I’ve seen the usual hatred on Twitter – e.g. no-one should face punishment for murder of a MAP (purely as an orientation). It’s sickening but of course no-one is suspended for such sentiments. It’s really turned me against government and society in a big way.

Ed Chambers

> Really it is an abuse of the human right to self-identity, but no-one in power cares about MAP recognition.

Very much so. Being able to identify as such is very important, something I remember being brought into my mind by Mike Melsheimer (spelling?) who was a North American member of B4uAct.

Prue

“Imo, what is needed is an international organisation without any national base. Unfortunately this would require only ‘out’ MAPs to be allowed admission in order to prevent LEA / hunter infiltration”

A bit like Antifa maybe? De-centralized, autonomous groups and individuals? I know it means you’ll likely get a lot of trolls and disingenuous ppl trying to make pro-kinders and their supporters look bad, but it seems a centralized org is easier to crack down on.

I kind of think we’re seeing the first signs of reverse discourse; or the building blocks for that. Prostasia and B4U-ACT [I like B4U-ACT the most], and VirPed (who i don’t support but they’re entitled to their views and give a good wedge for academics who want to appear “respectable” and “safe”). They all mobilize popular discourse written about most explicitly by ppl like Sara Jahnke – “stigma” increases the likelehood of CSA, suicide, and generally doesn’t help “protect” the youth as society sees it, just causes more harm.

They mobilize the liberal “non offending” / “help seeking” trope, which allows such groups to continue to exist, through which (like B4U-ACT and Protasia) they work to assist research which can effect paradigm change in the meantime. [ Ed you can see recent B4U-ACT studies here – https://www.b4uact.org/research/ongoing-studies/ – I recommend Martijn 2020 and Goudreault 2017. There’s an ongoing study I recommend which you could participate in if you find the time: https://www.b4uact.org/study-on-relationship-to-erotic-materials/ ]

Our own Tom O’Carroll touched on the modern stigma angle quite powerfully in his 1980 book: “Why couldn’t they see that by rejecting love, by making those who offered it feel alienated and despised, they were doing everything in their power to turn kind, useful people into embittered, dangerous ones?”
[I thought y’all might enjoy this quote. Though, I doubt it’ll ever appear in a Sara Jahnke essay XD ]

I get “Romantic Hero” vibes when I think about the figure of the “out” (typically male) MAP. See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Romantic_hero Individuals who are rejected by wider society and forced to introspect and negotiate apropos their sexuality as a function of the oppression regarding it. Similar to homosexuals in the 50’s.

Looking from a scholarly angle, something I’ve seen modern authors (e.g. Nicholas Syrett who I reviewed here https://heretictoc.com/2021/01/13/should-a-child-ever-get-married/) do – working within current discourse while expanding it at the same time – is to point out the existence of “positive” intergenerational encounters, but follow it up w/ the caveat that just b/c something can be experienced as positive doesn’t mean it’s acceptable. The key is to never explain why! Just use throwaway empty caveats which give you, the author, an “out”. Quietly build up scholarship and organizational support, and the footholds established will provide a platform for more radical MAP forces to make themselves felt. B4U-ACT is again an expample of this: by not taking a position on Age of Consent and other cancellable topics, they keep the org open for pro-kinder (or “pro-contact”) ppl to get involved. And w/ their annual conferences they’ve provided a meeting place where ppl can get together in real-life, however tentaively; and from what I’ve heard through the grapevine, MAP activists have met each other and teamed up that way.

Progress is possible; liberation is fragile!

Finally, thanks for your blog post Ed https://heretictoc.com/2018/01/01/a-wild-ride-towards-self-acceptance/ it was beautiful and fascinating! Stay safe out there!

Ed Chambers

I’ve read a lot of your comments Prue, here on Tom’s blog and on FST. I see a lot of sense in your angle and the type of discourse you try to promote.

After my experiences of the organisations you mention, I will stay away from them. I know one should always try to take the good from everything and leave the bad behind, but Protasia, B4uAct and particularly Virped are no longer organisations I’d have anything to do with. They may well promote discourse and platform, but they also encourage interactions between MAPs and mental health professionals, the latter having no interest in helping us, only policing us. There are also a number of pretty covertly toxic people, but on that matter I’ll say no more.

We need something new. I had discussed this with Nelson Maatman, bless him, but he was intent on a national based organisation ie PNVD. I couldn’t make him see it was a bad idea, but hey what do I know?

Fata Morgana

As a fellow ‘defector’ from VP with intimate knowledge of the opinions of the founders and senior members, I would contend that opinions are a lot more varied over there than it might seem to the outside world. There are quite a few people who religiously adhere to the unscientific notion that all minors (even pubescent minors) are incapable of giving informed consent to sexual activity. By contrast, there are some who take the view that minors gain increasing capacity to consent to sexual activity with age, and are capable of doing so by or even before the onset of puberty, but that it would be wrong to engage in sexual activity with them in a society that will subsequently inflict so-called ‘iatrogenic’ harm on them, a position that I’m sure many heretics will share. Of course, where VP differs is that it argues that we shouldn’t try to change society’s stance to prevent such iatrogenic harm, which I find immoral, because it puts acceptance of MAPs above prevention of harm and above a more nuanced, scientific understanding of minors’ agency.

There is some behind-the-scenes acknowledgement from VP’s founders (and, as I understand from discussions with one of them, from Tom) that an assimilationist approach is the most viable route to salubrious change (be this in terms of MAP acceptance, youth rights or prevention of harm). Certainly, they have won over many prominent, right-thinking scientists, which is hugely helpful as ultimately it will be the science that steers the public’s understanding of paedophilia.

Ideally, more MAPs would be out, for a litany of reasons beneficial to MAPs, children and society as a whole. But in the current climate, that’s not realistic. Most MAPs are non-exclusive. Many have families and would be at risk of having their children taken away from them purely for admitting to attraction to minors. Police could harass them, tell their neighbours, friends and employers. In the worst-case scenario, they could even be beaten to death by a mob. When the climate is that bad (worse, even, than when James Kincaid wrote about the folly of hysteria nearly quarter of a century ago), it’s hard to imagine anything other than an assimilationist approach making any significant gains.

art

I also was surprised that Virped is not as narrow as may be thought. Many there say fantasies are ok and share some pretty wild ones.

Some dude

It is a (((mystery))) as to why things changed in the Netherlands.

[MODERATOR ADDS: Following publication of this post I have been alerted to the fact that triple bracket insertions are being used elsewhere online as an antisemitic dog whistle. This is not acceptable here. Had I known earlier, the comment would not have passed moderation. However, retrospective deletion is a potential source of confusion and best avoided, I think.]

Prue

Just thought I would point out to Tom any anyone else here that the 3 brackets “(((mystery)))” used here, sometimes called “(((echo)))” is a well-known anti-semitic dogwhistle used online to allude to the “JQ” or “Jewish Question” see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Triple_parentheses

In other words this person (and they can correct me if I’m wrong), is trying to say without saying it, that the Jewish elites in power are the reason things changed in the Netherlands. Just thought I would point out this facet of online culture. Overt anti-semitism will get you banned on some platforms, so ppl have to find ways around it by using coded language like this.

I’d rather Tom not get accused of hosting anti-semites, so it’s prob important to have some awareness of online linguo

Explorer

Wow. The hardcore antisemitic types here, in the Paedosphere?!! Well, this is the last place on the Fringe Web (to call it so) where I expected to experience a displeasure of encountering them!

In general, these unsympathetic people are almost certain to appear everywhere where something outside-of-mainstream is being discussed, sooner or later; a person who is constantly dwelling in such “fringe” areas – such as myself – can spot them easily.

But, these types are usually authoritarian, reactionary, traditionalistic, as well as ethusisastic “paedo finders” and “paedo hunters”. For them, nearly everything what happened to society and culture for the last 500 years – this is, the epoch of (post-)modernity – is a) totally evil and b) to be blamed on “the Jews”. So, to meet an apparent antisemite who is seemingly blaming the increased punitive and restrictive moralism of society on “the Jews” is somewhat unusual. Normally, an antisemite would rather fervently denounce the modern society for not being punitively and restrictively moralistic enough!

Anyway, these types are definitely not welcome here…

…However, following your remark on free speech and commitment to it, I can’t but think: isn’t this reaction similar to what (pro-consent) MAPs and their allies – such as principled child liberationists like me – are constatly facing trying to defend their position outside the confines of the Paedosphere? After all, in the eyes of most people out there, MAPs and MAP allies are evil incarnate, worse than anyone else ever (antisemites included), and thus are not to be debated with but only to be silenced – or to be mercilessly destroyed.

Recalling how I, myself, was massively responded with vehement hatred and threatened with permanent ban on the fringe forum in that I actively paticipated for years for defending the possibility of consensual and harmless child-adult intimacy, and was spared only because of being on friendly terms with the forum administration, I can’t but ask myself: how is my own case is different?

Well, I might have said that, unlike antisemites, I actually could defend my position with sound empirical evidence and valid rational arguments, were I allowed to do so; but the aim of censorship is exactly that – not to allow one to defend something that is considered to be indefensible by definition. Thus, censorship is a perfect way to perpetuate mistaken views, protecting them indefinitely from any scrutiny, analysis and challenge.

So, does it mean that we should allow Some Dude to defend his own antisemitic position here as well? As an ardent free speech proponent, I should have said “yes”; but I won’t. What are the reasons (or maybe I should more honestly call them “excuses”)?

The main of them is that Some Dude won’t lose much by not being allowed here: while, as Prue noted, antisemites are censored on the mainstream platforms, they are almost always allowed to express their views freely on the wide variety of the fringe ones. Therefore, their ugly message is a quite common occurence on the Web, as long as one leaves its mainstream center and move to the fringes. The restrictions enacted on their speech are not even remotely comparable in their relentless and brutal severity to ones endured by MAPs and MAP allies.

It is also important that I, having to encounter these types in the Fringe Web quite often, whether I want it or not, acquainted myself with their positions – I never criticise something I didn’t research for myself, these principle of mine knows no exceptions. And I can say, based on my knowledge, that the views of the hardcore antisemites are as evidentially baseless as they are intellectually incoherent – and, most importantly, volitionally malicious as well. This overt malevolence, the ill will, of the hardcore antisemitism is as clear and visible as its empirical inadequacy and logical inconsistency. There is simply not much to debate with these people, even if they are allowed to engage. We won’t lose much by not allowing them here.

And yet, some painful ambivalence is still present in me…

Stephen James

Light relief – but still stimulating (in more ways than one):

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jp4LoG4J3lU

Stephen James

As this has occasioned no comment (and I’ll admit it wasn’t directly relevant to the main blog post), perhaps I should say something about why I thought it was worth linking to. Quite apart from the purely hedonistic appeal to BLs (not something to be devalued here, presumably!), there is also a more ‘serious’ aspect related to the significance of puberty. I haven’t watched the entire episode, but I read in the YouTube comments (small spoiler alert!) that the kid is behaving like this because he is going through puberty prematurely. So maybe we are seeing in this some recognition that a desire to pinch a woman’s bum might be expected in a pubescent boy, which, the way things are going these days, seems like a radical thought!

Stephen James

True. But of course in the current climate that thought is not just radical but ‘next level radical’!

Prue

I also had a look at this clip; quite amusing. Slightly dislike that erotic / sexual desire is framed in proximity to competition and violence (w/ the boy literally jumping at the guy and biting him!) Surely a marker of a monogamous and possessive sexual culture…

And yes I’m similar to Tom and prob countless others in that, looking back, I can recall overtly erotic / sexual desires by 7 or 8, certainly by 10. Either way, before puberty. I certainly fancied my older teachers and said many “naughty” things about them. Sometimes within earshot, to which they usually feigned ignorance or, when the fact they had heard was so obvious they couldn’t, I tended to get a silent look of disbelief. Similar situation with peers at the time, who weren’t as erotically inclined as i wanted at the time. At least I have my own experience to draw on and can mobilize the activist line, hollering “you don’t speak for me” if I ever have to confront a garden variety victimologist.

Does Tom (or anyone else) have anything to recommend about adrenarche? The piece that stands out to me (which i found in old blog comments here) is Gilbert Herdt and McClintock’s “The Magical Age of 10” (2000) https://doi.org/10.1023/A:1002006521067, though I’ve prob just biased people’s recall by saying that XD

Stephen James

>Slightly dislike that erotic / sexual desire is framed in proximity to competition and violence (w/ the boy literally jumping at the guy and biting him!) Surely a marker of a monogamous and possessive sexual culture…

Totally agree. I didn’t think much about it here because (1) these attitudes are so common in popular entertainment and (2) the kid was so appealing (though he would doubtless come across as brattish to some),and hence my critical guard was down!

Prue

Just wondered whether anyone had heard of this book:

Dennis Harmon, Boy-lovers. Four sociological case-histories of men who loved boys (New York : Jumeaux Publishing Co., 1969)
???

I was looking over the International Greek of Love and Kalos, and it’s mentioned there by the author who went by J.Z. Eglinton.

Does anyone know much about it? It’s very rare by the looks of it, but you can find the nearest library copy to you via worldcat.

Fata Morgana
Fata Morgana

Yes, very interesting. My money’s on this being designed to eclipse any residual hint of agency in the adjective ‘self-generated’. Self-generated child sexual abuse imagery is still the IWF’s preferred terminology. By contrast, the APPG On Social Media’s recommendation reduces the producer to a perspective.

Stephen James

Also, ‘first person produced imagery’ is linguistically crap – cumbersome and tortuous. Actually the best, most neutral, phrase (accurate as well as relatively compact) would be ‘self-produced images’.

Onyx

I’m glad this important issue is getting such attention on your blog. I’m unfamiliar with AliceLovers Magazine so I’m grateful we get a first-look here on Heretic.

The utter embarrassment of the UK hypocrisy would be hilarious if it didn’t hurt so much. The confused response from pundits confirms what we’ve known all along: the “consensus” that children cannot function like normal human beings is not an attempt to understand or protect them. It is simply a justification for controlling every aspect of their lives. And when young people grow up used to being controlled, what kind of adult should we expect to emerge?

I anticipate your laying out of trajectories in Part 2, and I suspect the picture will be rather bleak. I’ve thought for a while that we seem to be not just in a reactionary time but right in the trough of a wave, and I think I need to consider the possibility that we haven’t even seen the steepest descent yet. I do hope that this increasing repression will result in exploding pockets of resistance, as for instance it did in the US last year in response to police brutality, but these things are impossible to predict. The Stonewall Riots in ’69 that broke the Mattachine era and sparked a new wave of radical protest was just the latest of many dozen similar riots in similar places. What makes a certain event catch fire like that? I’m not sure.

What seems most important is for those of us awake to our real situation to organize ourselves in preparation for the waves to come, be they good or bad, so that we are best positioned to defend the most vulnerable among us, including figures like Marthijn who are in the public spotlight.

Zen Thinker

The Jeremy Irons narration of Nabokov’s Lolita is especially powerful and I universally recommend it. One cannot rely on fiction to create a schema of reality but perhaps living in fictitious worlds is after all superior to some of the ‘cold realities’ we all face in the present day.

As for the Netherlands, this is a classic case of swinging back the pendulum too far and in the process creating ridiculous ‘thought crimes’. But we have seen erosion of civil liberties in many Western democracies, Australia being a case in point for entirely different reasons. Sydney is under martial law as a draconian overreach on the pretext of Covid infections.

On ‘Gillick Competence’: I suspect such a bifurcation of the law between health and sexual grounds is due to the modern fixated neurosis with sexual matters in general, and what can only be described as a hallucinatory psychosis with anything sexual regarding children. We are still living the sensationalism of the Pall Mall Gazette one hundred and forty years later. Newspaper sensationalism, injections of hysteria and the madness of crowds are of course at the forefront of the longstanding legal backlash in the UK; I don’t know if this is similar in the Netherlands. But of course public opinion steers the legislature.

It is said the Catholic Church thinks in centuries; well perhaps we need to think in centuries too, and when we look back across the span of human history we see this last century and a half has been marked by increasingly draconian attitudes towards children’s sexuality, and an overwhelmingly determined establishment aimed at keeping this particular cat in the bag for as long as possible. However with mounting technological pressures, radical and rapid liberalising cultural transformations, and technologically determined social empowerment of youth, change will inevitably steamroll the naysayers, with time.

Franklin James

By the way, I’m curious about your putting Hakim Bey’s TAZ in your references. Where’s the connection to your essay, exactly? Thanks in advance!

Prue

Related to crackdowns on freedom of thought and expression. A new research project seeking participants has just come out, and it’s something I’m really excited about. Check out the details at the link here https://www.b4uact.org/study-on-relationship-to-erotic-materials/

It’s called “Minor-Attracted Persons’ Relationship to Erotic Material Featuring Lolicon and Shotacon: Addressing the Blind Spot in Porn and Hentai Studies”. As the researchers note, and to my knowledge they’re correct, it’ll be the first study of its kind. Note that you’re able to participate REGARDLESS of whether you’ve engaged with material featuring lolicon and shotacon (or “loli-shota” as the researchers phrase it).
Having read the study’s introduction, it seems like a very important project. The study’s co-author, Teguh Wijaya Mulya, has published some very provocative articles sympathetic to MAP / intergen issues; his most controversial title being “Contesting the Dominant Discourse of Child Sexual Abuse: Sexual Subjects, Agency, and Ethics” (2018); https://doi.org/10.1007/s12119-018-9506-6 .

I’ve also posted about this on Freespeechtube asking people to spread the word, https://www.freespeechtube.org/v/160x

I’m really glad there are people out there taking hentai seriously as a topic for scholarship. As quoted in the blog and by Zen Thinker below: “Dreams, fantasies and desires should never be punishable”. But what about erotic art? Drawings and animation? How do you relate to these artistic forms of expression? I’m sure the researchers would love your thoughtful commentary!

warbling j turpitude

THANKYOU for this Prue! May i just take the opportunity to pay massive tribute to any number of extraordinarily talented Hentai artists, the sheer variety of whose loli/shota/toddlercon work is never less than astounding, many many examples of which are intensely beautiful, packing far more of an ‘erotic punch’ as they do than a hundred and one photographs! The clearly*inexhaustible* fount of inspiration that is the form of Japanese girlhood (boyhood seems to be more ‘multinational’) is one singular phenomenon to reckon with in itself! I also have scores of personal anecdotes from my wondrous experiences in !ZIPANG! but am too busy experiencing more to maintain any kind of narrative coherence for long…or something like that!

Last edited 29 days ago by warbling j turpitude
Prue

Thank you warbling, I hope you can find the time to participate and share your knowledge w / the researchers. And yes completely agree: hentai artwork is on another level. Truly beautiful and extremely diverse in both styles and themes / tropes. Hentai has been a huge and wonderful part of my life. And I hope the research that comes from this, whether 1 paper or more (I expect more if they get lots of responses), can finally start to break the rather odd virtual academic silence on loli-shota before it gets globally outlawed and its producers and consumers hunted down for the “unspeakable” crime of lines on a page!
Best to you!

Nada

>The study’s co-author, Teguh Wijaya Mulya, has published some very provocative articles sympathetic to MAP / intergen issues; his most controversial title being “Contesting the Dominant Discourse of Child Sexual Abuse: Sexual Subjects, Agency, and Ethics” (2018)

In the sample, including said article, I found no sympathy for pedophiles and children. Instead, rejection of objective truth, in favor of “narratives”, conforming to the dogma of “Queer Theory”. When confronted by a “narrative” of a 5-year-old boy enjoying masturbation or oral sex with men, the authors spends several paragraphs on essentially condemning such sex (not queer enough?), while a “narrative”, where abuse by a man generalized to men, doesn’t give the author pause.

Franklin James

Another excellent and edifying post. Time seems to prove again and again that the issue of consent leads to thoroughly irrational discourse, with the sole exception of discourse that critiques the usefulness of the concept. Marthijn’s toughness is a great inspiration, and the news about Propria Cures shimmer of light in all this. Many thanks.

My only quibble, it will come as no surprise, is with your characterizations of Galileo’s persecution and “denials of Darwin’s theory” as examples of “heavy-handed use of power to suppress and ‘downplay’ scientifically established facts.”

Galileo’s proposals were anything but scientifically established facts: they were novel, highly theoretical, and counterintuitive, and they contradicted well-established scientific theory, common sense, and (seemingly) Holy Scripture. They were highly reliant on Galileo’s theory of tides, which was and still is completely wrong. Not only that but Galileo was obstinate and rude and managed to turn his greatest supporters in and out of the Church against him. The whole ugly affair was far more a battle of egos, not any sort of ideological or power-driven suppression of truth.There are many excellent books on the subject; I would recommend The Sleepwalkers by Arthur Koestler (an atheist, incidentally), which recounts the general history of astronomy in Europe from medieval times on.

The Church has no general history of suppressing scientific work; it has rather been fundamental to its progress in the West. As for Darwin, the same holds; most initial opposition to him came from fellow scientists before the theory was well-established. Yes, there are fundamentalist religious ideologies that don’t accept it, but this is a clash of world-views, not a “heavy-handed use of power” seeking to deny the facts. And frankly, if some religious community won’t accept the theory, fine, leave them to it; perhaps it will be shown false next week.

I harp on this because the Galileo affair takes the form one of the most pernicious myths in the so-called “science vs religion” debates, a fact which is increasingly understood among educated people, and great defenders of the truth such as yourself really ought not to be propagating it.

warbling j turpitude

I was thrilled to bits to read this, for I can testify that my own ‘quibblers’ became fully erect when i encountered Tom’s little ‘aside’ re Galileo & Darwin, and I’m not only thrilled that FJ’s line-of-thinking converges in such remarkable formation with my own education in these matters, but pleased as pie that he sees the “great defense of the truth” as being just as important there as it is right here, here in the even more ferociously contested world of the West’s most supremely disavowed creation, the impossibly, impassably, erotic *child*.

Last edited 27 days ago by warbling j turpitude
Franklin James

I’m similarly happy for your reply! Thanks.

The paragraph in question may not be a case where prejudice “legally” trumps truth, but prejudice trumps it nonetheless. There is much to critique and (I say this as Catholic) to condemn about the Church’s practical teaching on sexuality. But we have to take it seriously and honestly and not resort to such false tropes as “The Church Silenced Galileo!”

(Is the “impossible, impassibly, erotic *child*” really the center of contention here? Perhaps it is. I tend to think that the trans-movements are making it so, ever more so.)

Warbling J Turpitude

Thankyou for this response FJ.. I see that my use of “here” requires some disambiguation..

I did not, you see, mean by it within the exchanges of this Heretic ToC blog itself, but ‘here’ in the “world” constituted by what I as avowed ‘Kincaidian’ see as the world most fully embraced in its enormous cultural impact on all of us by that scholar alone.

The man who knows that, in “our LOUD (my caps) insistence on the innocence, purity and asexuality of the child, we have created a subversive echo: experience, corruption, eroticism. More than that, by attributing to the child the central features of desirability in our culture – purity, innocence, emptiness, otherness – we have made absolutely essential figures who would enact this desire”.

I draw daily from Kincaid’s work as from a deep wellspring, as it is the only real means I have to spiritually counter the sustained viciousness generated by the constitutive hypocrisy of a culture that will, it seems, never own up to its own signature creation.

Sometimes I even think that, in our creation of two distinct species “adult” and child” staring, as Kincaid says elsewhere, dumbfounded back at one another across a chasm, we have found the perfect vessels for our capitulation to neo-Manichaeanism!

There is nothing Catholic in me, but strangely enough the only way I ever learned to take on something as enormous as the historiography of science and especially the event-ual advent of viable, modern science, was via the ferocious polemics & breathtaking scholarship of Hungarian Stanley L Jaki, which, in a word, cut through the dire clichés & tropes we’re all taught in school like a knife…

The incomparable swiftness with which the trans movement has established itself as immovable force (and that i often think of as the ultimate triumph of *cogito ergo sum* 🙂 testifies, methinks, to the vanity of appeals to science in these psycho/socio/sexual domains. Emotive arguments have proved to carry the day, and it is these, it appears, with which we must almost exclusively now deal..

Cnservatives never learn because they continue to trust in facts, while progressives continue to piss all over them every time by standing their purely moral(ized) ground.

Last edited 25 days ago by Warbling J Turpitude
Franklin James

Thank you for your warblings, Warbling!

I love Kincaid’s work, though admittedly I have not read him in some time. I have developed a certain critique of it over the years and should probably consolidate my thoughts on it by returning to it more precisely.

Briefly, I think the opposition innocent asexual child / sexual corrupted adult, across which JK’s “mirroring/echo effect” of eroticization mysteriously obtains, is far too free-floating — it misses a transition that permits the image of the asexual child to emerge, namely, the erasure not of the child’s sexuality, but of the boy’s masculinity. The greater “movement” at work is specifically the feminization of the human. I would love to discuss these things with you, here or elsewhere!

I simply must read Jaki; his waves keep swelling shoreward but I’ve never dived in. Whenever I encounter him it is typically in synopsis-form saying something I already believed anyway!

I agree that the momentum of “trans” testifies to the massive power of sophistry over reason, of cogito ergo sum understood as a general formula: Cogito quod femina sum, ergo femina sum.

In the current climate, even the most radical defender of pederasty is necessarily a “conservative” in the sense I mean here. “Pedophilia” does not succumb to this logic; there is a tension there.

Will conservatives never learn? I’m not sure so they won’t; some have. The very fact of a failing strategy is something only a fact-finder can properly discover and correct for, while the sophist finds facts only in rhetorical opportunities.

The upper-hand the sophist has over the “conservative” (I rather like this distinction!) lies in the comparative advantage of destruction over creation: it’s simply easier to knock things down than to defend them (much less create them). But that well is not bottomless, no matter what endless “disruptions” capitalism and liberationism (and their high-tech double-agents) constantly celebrate.

As for moralization: there is no ground for anyone to stand on but a moral ground. Likewise, there are no morals that are not grounded.

Plato’s Phaedrus is for me what Kincaid is for you: Pederasty depends on love for the beautiful, the good, and the true, and is the enemy of all sophistry. Yes, I will so laud it! What conservatives need to learn and to develop is a renewed rhetoric of Truth, one which does not echo sophistry, but returns to Truth’s transcendental sisters: Beauty and Goodness.

I’ll stop here before I become intolerably theological!

Franklin James

I’d be happy to riff further! What strikes you as “sounding cool” in what I’ve written? What “sails over your head?” I should hope to make more sense to you than I have made.

Franklin James

Thanks Tom.

A few points: yes, it is certainly true that heliocentrism had been proposed before Galileo, most obviously by Copernicus, and long before that in various other cosmologies. It had long been taken seriously and rejected for a host of reasons.

I don’t know Gottlieb’s book, but I find it nigh impossible to believe that “by the 1630s most competent men of science agreed that the earth went round the sun…” If that were the case, Galileo’s heliocentrism would hardly have merited particular attention.

It is not “heliocentrism” per se that was novel to Galileo, but his arguments for it, including especially his arguments concerning relative motion and his theory of tides. And yes, the truth often defies common sense, but it also takes strong evidence to dislodge one from common-sense views, for example that the earth is “spinning.” Thus evidence Galileo did not provide; “scientifically established facts” were not on offer.

Still, Galileo’s ideas spread, despite the Church’s reprimand of the next half-century or so, more due to the popularity of Kepler’s theories than of Galileo’s own. The idea was increasingly accepted in Catholic scientific circles despite the Church’s prosecution of Galileo, and did gradually achieve scientific concensus.

It seems odd to accuse wikipedia of “chutzpah” whn it credits Copernicus as “pioneering” heliocentrism. I don’t know of any precursors of any renown in Europe that said anything like what Copernicus was saying, though perhaps I am missing something. His ideas were certainly considered pioneering by his contemporaries: again, not heliocentrism per se, but his re-appraisal of known astronomical data in the light of pre-Keplerian assumptions about the circularity of motion. Copernicus was the first to put forth a heliocentric cosmology entirely in terms of early-modern cosmological assumptions.

It is also wrong to say the Church vehemently opposed “Copernicans” at the time. Can you give examples of such opposition? I certainly know of no persecutions of “Copernicans” other than Bruno, a man who was persecuted for heresies entirely unrelated to heliocentrism. I also know of no evidence that it was his espousal of heliocentrism that “sealed his fate;” perhaps that had something to do with it, but who knows?

A quick dip into wikipedia regarding Descartes’ *The World*, reveals an unsubstantiated claim that Descartes “abandoned in light of Galileo’s treatment.” I am not familiar enough with Descartes’ theory so say, but another quick dive into the wikipedia page on the subject of Descartes’ work says absolutely nothing about any retraction or abandonment.

I admit that my phrase “The Church Silenced Galileo!” is imperfect as a slogan. But as a trope it is sadly effective in implying that the Church’s censure of one of the greatest scientists of all time implicates it in some anti-scientific power-trip. The Galileo affair was a singular bad episode, not “at the very least” but at the very most: it was as embarrassing for Galileo as it was for the Church, each embarrassingly failing to live up to their responsibilities as proponents of cool-headed reason.

Stephen James

>Galileo’s proposals … contradicted … common sense.

Is that even true?

I’m reminded of a remark attributed to Wittgenstein. If memory serves, a student suggested that people used to think the sun moved around the earth because ‘it looked as if it did’. Wittgenstein said ‘Really? And how would it look if it looked as if the earth moved around the sun?’ 

Franklin James

Yes, it is quite true that Galileo’s proposals contradicted common sense. His proposals required that the whole gigantic earth be spinning one full rotation every 24 hours, at a tremendous rate of speed between the poles, something absolutely contrary to lived experience, which indicated no motion at all: if we were truly spinning at thousands of miles an hour we should be flying about amid unleashed winds (even according to the best physics of the time).

LW’s remark (if it is not apocryphal) was plain silly, since the choice was never “does the earth revolve around the sun or vice versa” as if these were two ways of imagining the same phenomena.

Read Paul Feyerabend’s Against Reason for a serious look at what constituted common sense in Galileo’s world (as well as scientific consensus and skepticism).

Stephen James

If you are going to invoke ‘common sense’, then it does seem reasonable to invoke the way things look, or, in this case, how people think they look. There must have been people in Galileo’s time who said things like ‘Of course the sun moves – we can see it does!’, but that was not, strictly speaking, what they were seeing, or, rather, what they saw was merely the sun’s motion relative to the earth, which did not rule out the earth’s moving relative to the sun and to a lot of other things in the universe.

Also, if the story was true, LW wasn’t being silly – he was making a good response to a particular statement by a student which seem to be confused.

Nevertheless, you are of course quite right that there is much more to be said about this matter. Certainly the idea of the earth’s rotation at high speed was antithetical to the ‘common sense’ of Galileo’s time. It needed at least Newton’s theory of gravitation to make it seem plausible.

Franklin James

[MODERATOR: THIS POST HAS JUST BEEN DISCOVERED. UNACCOUNTABLY, IT HAS BEEN SITTING IN THE SPAM FOLDER FOR A WEEK. APOLOGIES, FRANKLIN, FOR THIS DELAY IN POSTING. UNFORTUNATELY, TWO OTHER POSTERS HAVE BEEN AFFECTED AS WELL. BE ASSURED, FRANKLIN, YOUR VIEWS ON GALILEO HAVE NOT BEEN DELIBERATELY SUPPRESSED. THERE IS NO “INDEX OF FORBIDDEN BOOKS” OR COMMENTS HERE AND I WILL NOT BE SENDING ANY OF MY “INQUISITION” HEAVIES TO SORT YOU OUT!]

“There must have been people in Galileo’s time who said things like ‘Of course the sun moves – we can see it does!’, but that was not, strictly speaking, what they were seeing,”

Well, yes, there were indeed such people, to wit pretty much much everybody, and that’s what everybody said, should the question ever arise (and why should it?), since that’s exactly what everybody saw. You stand there in one place all day and night, motionless, not moving a muscle, and the sun and stars move around you. This was self-evident. Yes, you can achieve the same effect by whirling around in circles, but then you get dizzy and everything becomes unstable; that is clearly not what’s going on. Give us your evidence that the earth is spinning, dear Galileo! He couldn’t do it.

Newton’s theory of gravitation has nothing to do with this, by the way.

LW’s statement is surely confused, if not silly, because the facts to be explained are not symmetrically accounted for by geocentrism on the one hand and heliocentrism on the other.

The point is this: we should not buy into prejudiced mythological shorthands like the classic Galileo Church-vs.-Science story. It’s beneath us.

Stephen James

>Newton’s theory of gravitation has nothing to do with this, by the way.

I said that Newton’s theory of gravitation was needed to render plausible the idea that the Earth is rotating at high speed. Surely gravitation is relevant to the motion of any large astronomical body, but maybe Newton’s other laws of motion are needed too. Any physicists around?

>LW’s statement is surely confused, if not silly, because the facts to be explained are not symmetrically accounted for by geocentrism on the one hand and heliocentrism on the other.
 
I thought it was about time I found the original source for the story. Wittgenstein’s interlocutor was actually the distinguished philosopher G.E.M Anscombe (and a Catholic, as it happens). Here it is:
 
The general method that Wittgenstein does suggest is that of ‘shewing that a man has supplied no meaning [or perhaps: “no reference”] for certain signs in his sentences’. I can illustrate the method from Wittgenstein’s later way of discussing problems. He once greeted me with the question: ‘Why do people say that it was natural to think that the sun went round the earth rather than that the earth turned on its axis?’ I replied: ‘I suppose, because it looked as if the sun went round the earth.’ ‘Well,’ he asked, ‘what would it have looked like if it had looked as if the earth turned on its axis?’
This question brought it out that I had hitherto given no relevant meaning to ‘it looks as if’ in ‘it looks as if the sun goes round the earth’. My reply was to hold out my hands with the palms upward, and raise them from my knees in a circular sweep, at the same time leaning backwards and assuming a dizzy expression. ‘Exactly!’ he said. In another case, I might have found that I could not supply any meaning other than that suggested by a naive conception, which could be destroyed by a question. The naive conception is really thoughtlessness, but it may take the power of a Copernicus effectively to call it in question.

You can see from this that Wittgenstein was not talking about geocentrism versus heliocentrism, but about the ‘naturalness’ of thinking that the Earth moves around the sun as opposed to thinking that the Earth rotates. He wanted to know why it seemed natural to suppose this and was rightly dissatisfied with Anscombe’s answer. Since the Galileo controversy was more about which of the two bodies was at the centre of the known universe, it was perhaps wrong of me to drag Wittgenstein into the argument.

>The point is this: we should not buy into prejudiced mythological shorthands like the classic Galileo Church-vs.-Science story. It’s beneath us.

Yes, it does seem that Galileo may not have been quite the hero that scientific sceptics have imagined. On the other hand, according to Wikipedia, ‘in 1758, the general prohibition against works advocating heliocentrism was removed from the Index of prohibited books, although the specific ban on uncensored versions of the Dialogue and Copernicus’s De Revolutionibus remained’ and ‘all traces of official opposition to heliocentrism by the church disappeared in 1835 when these works were finally dropped from the Index.’ So the Church was, to say the least, slow to catch up with the scientific consensus.

Stephen James

Erratum: For  ‘the ‘naturalness’ of thinking that the Earth moves around the sun’ please read ‘the naturalness of thinking the sun moves around the Earth’.

Franklin James

Thank you for looking up LW’s actual statement. I should have done so myself. Your paraphrase seemed so unlike LW!

(Actually, I do not understand Anscombe’s conclusion. He seems to have confused an observation LW made about a linguistic issue with a phenomenological issue that mattered in Galileo’s time: “If we spin we must be dizzy, but we are not dizzy…” But that’s neither here nor there.)

You’re right: the Church was very slow to change the “rules,” so to speak, concerning heliocentrism, and that might count as a sort of “embarrassment” for the Church. Well, okay; if this slowness is to count as the Church’s greatest transgression against “scientific progress,” it only proves that the Church has generally had no interest in challenging the results of science.

I furthermore suspect that the slowness of the Church in re-appraising Galileo was a consequence not of any intellectual inertia, but of no one in the Church enforcing “the rule,” or paying much attention to issue at all. Astronomers increasingly embraced heliocentrism in the decades following Galileo’s proposals, and I don’t know of any Church interference, much less censorship, of their work. It was only Galileo’s reputation for insouciance and intellectual bravado that the Church remembered.

I’d be curious to know what the circumstances were that led to the decisions of 1835. I’ll look into it.

My hypothesis: I suspect it was something like this: “Oh, shit, the Protestants are going after us for being ‘anti-science’ because of that danged Galileo affair; we’d better fix that!”

Franklin James

Ooof! – well that’s embarrassing for me… “Anscombe’s” conclusions seemed so at odds with LW as I (and I am not alone) have read him that I failed connect the name with the famous GEM Anscombe.

I admit I am only passingly acquainted with her thought, famous as she is. Her Catholicism has slapped hands with my own here and there, but only in passing; I have more to learn.

Might you point me to works of hers with particular bearing on subjects of mutual interest?

Stephen James

>Might you point me to works of hers with particular bearing on subjects of mutual interest?

Well, a good place to start might be her entry in the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy:

https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/anscombe/

Stephen James

>Actually, I do not understand Anscombe’s conclusion. [She] seems to have confused an observation LW made about a linguistic issue with a phenomenological issue that mattered in Galileo’s time: “If we spin we must be dizzy, but we are not dizzy…” But that’s neither here nor there.

Her answer was just confused. I think this is why LW responded with ‘Exactly!’. He didn’t mean ‘That’s exactly right” He meant: ‘You don’t know what you’re talking about, do you?’ Also, Anscombe clearly got the point when she wrote about it subsequently.

Zen Thinker

>Dreams, fantasies and desires should never be punishable.

Agreed, of course. The mind is its own place; if we do not have the freedom of our own mental space, that sets a terrible precedent for human liberty. Freedom of speech of course often crumbles away in the face of public hostility, but like John Milton in his seventeenth century Areopagitica (1644), I believe that freedom of speech and expression is a fundamental human right. As Milton stated nearly four centuries ago: “Give me the liberty to know, to utter, and to argue freely according to conscience, above all liberties.”

Kit

I have nothing but admiration for Marthijn, Martijn and all the other people in the Netherlands and elsewhere (including on this site) who are struggling to make their voices heard.

At the same time, I wonder if we need to accept that free-speech rhetoric is no longer a strategy that commands a lot of respect these days (at least outside of the United States). This is not just the work of intolerant millennials on university campuses, even if this is where the shift is seen most obviously. Over the last two decades the bottom has largely fallen out of the free market of ideas, and the idea that speech is or should be a special and protected domain of human behaviour where anything (in principle) goes is beginning to look less and less credible to many people.

I don’t really want to get into whether or not this is inherently a bad thing. Regardless of how undesirable it might be, I think we do need to acknowledge that there is a kind of epistemic shift going on (that is, a shift in what kinds of statements are regarded as true or even meaningful). Gone is the idea that good and true notions will always win out in the end by a sort of Darwinian (or Popperian, or Thatcherite) logic – we are now increasingly expected to exercise moral responsibility in the way we speak and in what we choose to say.

I think this is bad news for the idea that we can simply rely on scientific discourse to tell us what is true, or even that science is better at telling us the truth than literature is. Scientific enquiry, like political speech, is no longer defended by a cordon sanitaire. So simply pointing to Rind and Gieles and saying, “this is science!” won’t cut it anymore. Scientists are revealed to be as implicated in politics and society as literary critics are. Any perusal of the pages of the august Journal of Child Sex Abuse should be enough to illustrate the problem.

So given the shift in what is sayable, at least in many public forums, I wonder if we need to adapt our rhetoric accordingly. Rather than saying over and over again, ‘this is the objective scientific truth, and other people are wrong,’ I’d suggest we need to adopt a different strategy.

There are many things I dislike about VirPed and the broader NOMAP movement, but one thing I think they have got right is their shift towards openly subjective discourse: Ethan and Nathan don’t say ‘this is the truth about paedophilia.’ Instead they say, ‘this is my truth.’ And their truth may be a crappy truth, but it plays into an important feature of the new episteme: a privileging of subjective experience over claims to objectivity, a preference for narratives over facts.

Of course, most of us aren’t in positions where we can ‘tell our stories’ and stand by them. But I think we should see the current movement not so much as a shutting down of free speech (though it certainly devalues appeals to free speech), but rather a shift in the kind of speech that is possible. I note that in the special edition of Propria you allude to, many of the articles that were published were individual testimonies; the one that was declined was an appeal to ‘objective’ scientific evidence.

Rather than fighting against this development, I suggest we should try to ride it. But we should be clear about the limitations and the rules of the game: a person can only testify to their own experience, not to that of another person. That is why accounts of loved children like the amazing Delphine Lecompte are especially valuable. But we can’t appropriate or exploit their narratives to our ends either. If the stories are offered to us, they must be freely given.

Of course, not everyone will like this shift from truth to ethics as the objective of public discourse. And we may feel that MAPs are put at a disadvantage by it – but I don’t think this is necessarily the case. (And, incidentally, I don’t think that the free market of ideas has been too kind to us after all.) We too have stories to tell, truths of our own to express. If we dare.

Arroyo

The idea that subjective narratives are getting more political influence while facts lose that influence is interesting. I’m not sure if there’s a good way to “prove” this observation to be true or false, though. I assume not few pedophile activists might even argue to the contrary: even Virped’s name after all is just as much linked to that of James Cantor and his “brain scan facts” as it is with Todd Nickerson’s more subjective articles and interviews about being a pedophile. 

Still, most of us would likely agree that subjective experiences do indeed have a signficant political influence nowadays (and some might say always had). One doesn’t need to believe in a completely postmodern view of society where nothing rules but signs and symbols to see that science has a lot of limitations when it comes to achieving social change.

Now, you write a person can only testify to their own experience. In so far as we talk about real people I tend to agree. But I argue we should consider fiction here as well, something you perhaps also briefly hinted at when talking about science failing to be better at telling the truth than literature.

After all, has research such as Sandfort’s – with boys and pedophiles talking in detail about their relationships – had any more impact than, for example, Rind et al. has had? I certainly don’t mean to call their stories boring, to the contrary: I believe they are far from having reached their full potential. For them to have bigger impact I believe they’d need to be converted into a medium with wider appeal than that of an academic text, wether that be a movie, comic, or even a novel.
 
Simply changing the medium won’t be enough either, though. After all, how many people these days have read Death in Venice (written by a Nobel laureate) or Pedal, or watched For a Lost Soldier?

For a narrative to become powerful its creator(s) often first need to be masters at cutting-edge storytelling techniques, in addition to having an excellent understanding of the tools for conveying their story’s message. Fortunately, even a medium such as 3D-animation is avaiable for everyone with a computer these days, and one doesn’t need any kind of budget to reach millions of viewers on YouTube (though a big budget naturally doesn’t hurt). Still, besides the fact that learning any creative skills takes a lot of time that many simply do not possess, even the best writers at Marvel/Disney and co. not rarely fail in giving their stories a broad appeal. Knowing what will go viral and what won’t is just impossible to know for certain, and many pedophile activists may want to avoid such a costly gamble.

In those cases where a study or work of fiction hits a nerve, we might also have a chicken-egg-problem: the question if the success can be attributed to the excellence of the text, or if complex and chaotic social processes just happened to chose that work at random, regardless of wether it is a masterpiece or garbage, and wether it is a study, a tweet, a funny YouTube clip, or something as simple as the MAP flag with it’s not necessarily appealing color scheme created by an anonymous Tumblr account.

It was an (almost) zero budget movie that in 1971 “triggered the modern gay movement in Germany”. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/It_Is_Not_the_Homosexual_Who_Is_Perverse,_But_the_Society_in_Which_He_Lives Who knows, perhaps it’ll be something like a zero budget webcomic series that’s going to achieve the same for pedophiles in some place or another some time in the future.

Kit

On more careful reflection, I do think my (heavily qualified) praise of VirPed might have been overstated. You are right that they are very keen to hitch their wagons to the amazing Cantorian self-promotion machine. But Cantor’s recent bruising encounter with the trans community suggests to me that even the great JC himself has discovered the limits of trying to tell other people what the essential truth about them is.

This is a situation that psychology (always the backward country cousin of the human sciences) seems to be finding itself in more and more: trapped between its positivist and essentialist roots and an increasing demand for a more phenomenological approach (not least from its own students in the universities where it is taught). This is just one of many reasons why I would not encourage MAPs to place too much confidence in the power of (post-)positivist psychology to make big waves in society as a whole. For all its immense disciplinary and institutional power, it seems to me that psychology’s foundations are rapidly sinking.

Yes, fiction (or art more generally) is a more hopeful resource. I think literature helps to overcome one of the major drawbacks of the ‘confessional turn’ – that is, its individualism or sectarianism. But even here there are risks: you might remember the undignified blow-up between Lionel Shriver and Yassmin Abdel-Magied over ‘cultural appropriation’ in fiction. I’m inclined to side (very reluctantly) with Shriver, insofar as I think the mark of good fiction is its ability to transcend the limitations of the author’s own experience (science fiction, I guess, is the genre that achieves this superlatively). But I still think that people who do have the experiences the work describes may have a privileged role as critics: I love Flaubert, but when women tell me (a man) that they don’t find Emma Bovary a credible character, I’m interested to know why.

Nada

>But Cantor’s recent bruising encounter with the trans community suggests to me that even the great JC himself has discovered the limits of trying to tell other people what the essential truth about them is.

Isn’t the presumption of an essential truth, even known by just a non-random subset (“activists”), not trans people in general, scientists or the general public, “problematic” for those at least sympathetic to a a rejection of science, objectivity and truth? The idea of those denying truth following rules also strikes me as absurd. If the degeneration of universities is any guide, nothing prevents them from wanting to play thermonuclear war, not a peaceful game of chess, like the rest of us.

If Cantor et al treated pedophiles as they do trans people, our situation would be vastly improved.

Kit

Isn’t the presumption of an essential truth, even known by just a non-random subset (“activists”), not trans people in general, scientists or the general public, “problematic” for those at least sympathetic to a a rejection of science, objectivity and truth?

I’m not at all sure what you’re asking here. First, I’m not quite sure who is is that is supposed to want to reject either science or truth – that is certainly not what I am talking about. Rejecting claims to objectivity (which is really the issue at stake, I think) is not at all the same thing as saying that science has no value or that truth is unimportant. The issue is rather what truth means and where it comes from if it is neither ‘objective’ nor ‘essentialist’.

There are at least two possible answers to that question. One, perhaps more popular with phenomenologists and ‘identity’ activists, is that truth is something we find ‘inside’ us, not outside in the world. This is why people’s perceptions and self-experience are of such importance: all the scientific evidence about gender and sexuality is worthless compared to the ways in which people know themselves (as trans, as MAPs, or whatever).

I have some sympathy for that view, but I find it a bit simplistic and a bit solipsistic – and politically not very helpful. So I incline more towards a view favoured more by Foucauldians, deconstructionists and hermeneuticists, which argues that truth resides in discourse itself; in the ‘rules’ that structure our thought and speech and make it possible to communicate. And the latter view, I think, is capable of incorporating the former one: it is primarily in attesting to our experience and bearing witness to our own encounters with the world that we are able to begin communicating meaningfully with other people, albeit only within the rhetorical rules and speech-games available to us.

Both these viewpoints – and I don’t really think of them as being in conflict – are obviously hostile to the kind of ‘essentialising’ truth that Professor Cantor wants to locate: telling other people “I know the real truth about you!” is clearly impossible if we are to respect the integrity of their testimony. But we can tease apart their speech: we can lift the bonnet and tinker around in the engine of their speech. We can expose the hidden assumptions and strategies that underlie our language-games (for instance, what does it imply that I just implicitly compared discourse to an automobile engine?).

So there is certainly room for critical awareness and even scepticism. But I think there also has to be trust and good faith and humility. When it comes to the experience of being human, there are no experts or authorities.

Stephen James

It is certainly true that personal stories can pack a much bigger emotional punch than dry scientific papers, and we should make full use of them partly for that reason. On the other hand, as I’m sure you’d acknowledge, it’s very useful that the science is mostly on our side, since it allows us to respond effectively to the complaint that personal anecdotes prove nothing.

Kit

Thank you for your reply Tom. In the post above I was really trying to diagnose what I think might be going on (or at least what appears to me to be going on) and to suggest ways that MAPs might respond to it. I was not primarily trying to evaluate whether or not this change in the definition of what constitutes valid discourse is or is not a good thing. Of course, I’m ambivalent about it – and some of its manifestations are far from desirable, as you suggest.

But then, I think the old free-speech paradigm is looking pretty threadbare too, at least to my (admittedly millennial) eyes. And really what is the difference between (at worst) competing factions asserting victim status on the basis of their subjective experience, and (at worst) competing factions asserting rival truth claims on the basis of incompatible convictions about the nature of objective reality? The former may often be obnoxious, but I don’t think it is more dangerous than the latter.

And I don’t think that there is a necessary connection between subjectivity and ‘identity politics’, at least in the negative, grievance-laden sense of that term (of course, all politics is ‘identity’ politics). Indeed, at its best a respect for the testimony of others might introduce a degree of tolerance, humility and gentle irony into our public discourse. But it would certainly be quite different from the adversarial model of ‘tolerance’ that seems to predominate in free-speech discourse.

Moreover, if free speech rhetoric nurtures tolerance, freedom and openness, then it seems necessary to ask why societies claiming to represent this model of free speech has actually proved so repressive to so many kinds of speech. You might say that the failure of MAPs to achieve any significant impact on ‘mainstream’ culture is because of a failure to achieve truly free speech, but I rather wonder if it isn’t because ‘free speech’ is operating exactly as it always has: legitimising certain discourses, and robbing others of even the language they would need to make their experience comprehensible.

In this sense, I am very much more pessimistic than you are about the present situation: I think we face not just repressive governments or militant students, but an entire cultural system that has deprived us of any way of speaking meaningfully. In short, we are free to speak until we are blue in the face, but there is no way for the vast majority of people to hear or understand us. And what value does speech have if it cannot communicate?

On the whole, then, I agree with Deneen a lot more than with Baker: I do think that the promise of liberalism has largely failed (and certainly failed MAPs), and that the ‘woke totalitarianism’ that Baker complains about is an index of this wider failure. But even if you don’t agree with any of this, it is perhaps worth asking why so many young-ish people (my age and younger, I guess) no longer have much confidence in liberal principles, at least as they have been articulated in the past.

It is not that this critique is new: it goes back at least as far as Adorno and Horkheimer (who, like many Marxist critics, argued that liberal capitalism is the handmaid of totalitarianism, not its enemy). But if this anti-liberal and anti-capitalist argument seems uniquely persuasive now, just when we seem immersed in the most chaotic and incoherent bacchanalia of liberal free speech and liberal free markets, it might be worth asking why this is the case. The absence of a Communist spectre to frighten us into compliance does not strike me as a convincing explanation. (One thing we are seldom short of in the Enlightened Nations is ideological bogeymen to frighten us into compliance.) And I don’t think young people are by and large stupid – though they might well be cynical.

So, to return to my original point: I do not think that there needs to be a single ‘grand strategy’ for MAPs to adopt. As we disagree on virtually everything else, MAPs will disagree on the best path forward (assuming we are even anywhere near being able to discern anything like a path or indeed which way is forward).

If you sincerely believe in the value of free expression and the ability of science to uncover the nature of reality, then nothing I can say is likely to persuade you otherwise. Nor should it. But for my part, I have no attachment to positivism or liberalism (which is not to say that I think I am ‘illiberal’!), and the promises of liberal rhetoric seem to me to be empty for very many people – not least MAPs.

Stephen James

Were you perhaps expecting too much from free speech? I see it merely as a necessary condition for progress (not just for MAPs, but for others with opinions, which, though unpopular, may be in need of exposure for the sake of society’s betterment). Of course, it’s not enough on its own. One other crucial element is that there should be a widespread ability and willingness to evaluate new ideas in a fair and objective way. But that too is an ‘enlightenment’ value associated with a traditional liberal outlook.

Kit

I think ‘fairness’ is certainly always desirable, but the idea of ‘objectivity’ is much more problematic one in my opinion. Part of the change I think we are seeing is the rejection of the idea that people can be ‘objective’ precisely because we are subjects – in both senses of that word. That is, we experience the world as situated, particular, first-person subjects, but we are also subjected to all manner of discourses that situate us as subjects.

This too is part of the problem with free speech: our speech is free only to the extent that we can occupy subject positions that are legitimised by – or at least intelligible in terms of – dominant discourses. This, I think, is the reason why MAPs cannot speak meaningfully in the public sphere. It’s not because people lack the necessary detachment and disinterestedness to consider the merits of our case. Rather, there is simply no way to make ourselves heard in the context of dominant discourses that delegitimise our experience and our knowledge of ourselves.

Kit

Tom, I’m not entirely sure what it is that you think I am arguing in favour of – perhaps I have been better at articulating the problems (as I see them) of the dominant, ‘adversarial’ ideology of free speech than I have been at proposing alternatives. Still, I do not really think that I should have to say that I am not proposing authoritarianism, political assassinations, and shooting women in the vagina. If I have left you with the impression that I think the alternative to ‘adversarial’ free speech is the coercive suppression of dissent, then I have done an even worse job of expressing my reservations than I feared.

Nor am I entirely oblivious to the high stakes involved for others. In fact, I think the example of journalists is quite a good one, because the journalists you allude to seem to me to exemplify precisely the kind of costly ‘bearing witness’ that I suggest ethically-impelled speech acts should aspire to. This sort of vision of speech – not merely free speech but responsible speech – places a special duty of care on the speaker, who is entrusted to articulate other people’s experience. A journalism that prizes not just the right to speak but the duty to speak carefully and responsibly – to treat with all respect the trust that is placed in them – is a fine thing indeed. And not wholly unheard-of even in liberal democracies, I’m told.

Tom, you say that “in free societies you debate, you do not fight.” And if this were true, it would be a strong argument in support of liberalism. If it were indeed the case that in free societies violence is shifted entirely into the realm of discourse, that would be a knock-out punch (so to speak) to critics such as myself. But I do not think that “free societies” really work that way – and, more importantly, I do not think that there is an air-tight barrier between discourse and violence. Indeed, one of the most important critiques of ‘free speech’ ideology (as expressed even by dyed-in-the-wool liberals like Jeremy Waldron) interrogates the idea that ‘speech’ is inherently different from any other kind of social action. Words, like other actions, may sometimes be harmless, but they often have serious consequences. Moreover, policing the boundary between speech and action is impossible because no such boundary exists. And at the risk of confirming your impression that my objections to the dominant free speech paradigm amount to nothing more than whining about the evident lack of success of paedo-speech, I do think that paedophiles should know very well how speech legitimises and authorises real, unmediated, non-discursive violence.

I have already expressed my serious reservations about ‘identity politics’ so I do not really think that I need to cover that ground again. But if you think that I am endorsing claims of any kind “being asserted as sovereign, incontestable truth” then I have completely failed to convey what I mean by the shift towards subjectivity. Treating other people’s testimony with respect and care is quite different from transmuting it into some kind of ‘sovereign truth.’ Indeed, I would suggest that our attachment to the idea of sovereign, incontestable truth is the very thing we need to relinquish, even as an ideal. (And in this sense, I think that paradigms like ‘critical realism’ – which cling to the language of objectivity, even as they apologise for their shortcomings – are not nearly ‘critical’ enough.)

Indeed, Tom, I wonder if I am not more sceptical of ‘identity politics’ than you are. You say that MAPs need to be better salesmen: we need to “unite, organise and fight the political battle.” What is that if not the language of identity politics? Further, your appeals for unity and unanimity sound to me a little redolent of the language of authoritarianism. Why should we be agreed? Why must we be organised? Who are we supposed to be fighting? I don’t know much about Orwell, but I suspect he would have some questions.

I don’t deny that there is a struggle (I’m willing to succumb to the temptation of your militant language that far!), but for me it is primarily a struggle with words – how can we even begin to express our knowledge of the world when our language is so heavily loaded against us? – and secondly against the material and social realities that condition our speech. So two “political battles” then: one an individual or community-based struggle to forge the words to map onto our experience, and a universal struggle against the practices and institutions that impose oppressive limitations our thought and our speech. In tension with each other, I would admit, but perhaps not quite contradictory – and neither of them, I think, necessarily aligned with identity politics, cancel culture, bullying or coercion. Or, for all I know, ‘wokeness’ – whatever that might be.

One of the implications of what I am suggesting here – and I’m not sure whether I have spelled this out or not – is that we might need to rethink the idea that the primary purpose of argument is persuasion. My aim is not primarily to win you over to my point-of-view (though, of course, this may sometimes happen), but rather to convey something of my perception of the world at this moment in time. Judging by your responses above, I am very doubtful that I have achieved this (and perhaps you feel the same), but still I think it is worth emphasising as an ideal. To borrow the language of ancient rhetoric, my view of public discourse shifts away from logos towards ethos and pathos: the aim is not so much to make the listener imitate the speaker (by conforming to the speaker’s opinions), as it is to invite the listener imaginatively to identify with him. Dialogue is not a trial by combat out of which the stronger argument will somehow emerge unvanquished, but something more like a creative exercise in empathy.

And this perhaps implies that the value of what is said lies less in the opinions expressed – whether they are right or wrong, offensive or anodyne – but in the manner and context in which they are articulated. When a mischievous poster above left a message that was intended to be construed as antisemitic, some posters here were embarrassed (as I’m sure they were intended to be) over whether such a statement should be allowed to remain on the board. Should antisemitic opinions be tolerated, or should they always be censored? But this seems to me to miss the point: the offending post was – on my interpretation anyway – not a good-faith testament of personal experience, but a flippant provocation couched in the form of a banal internet meme. It is not the opinion expressed that made that post worthless, but rather the way it foreclosed any further engagement. (Although I have not been following the case at all closely, the same seems to be true of some of the statements from both sides in the Kathleen Stock imbroglio.)

Of course, Tom, this is your site and we are – well, at best guests, at worst trespassers I suppose. Although you may talk about unity in ways that I find slightly worrying, you are in fact very tolerant of dissenting voices here. As I said somewhere above, I do think that tolerance is in general a very good thing, even if I am suspicious of the liberal version of it. I hope you will, out of your liberal principles, continue to exercise tolerance even towards those who are sceptical of them.

Stephen James

It’s all very bizarre. In the 70s, the Netherlands was starting to become a really enlightened place as far as child sexuality and paedophilia were concerned, as described in the last chapter of Tom’s book “Paedophilia: The Radical Case”. (For example, paedophiles were being interviewed on TV alongside their young lovers.) Now the Dutch government is trying to make it a crime to promote these ideas. Are they engaging in some sort of misguided attempt to atone for their earlier attitudes and policies?

Kit

I think I would suggest that the problem is the ethical rootlessness of liberalism: if your objective is something as vague as ‘personal freedom’ or ‘liberation,’ then your policies will be dictated by whatever concept of freedom happens to predominate at any moment. (This is a problem in American history too.)

I don’t think we should necessarily see a radical disjuncture between the ideology of the 1970s and 1980s, which sought sexual liberation for adults, and the sexual culture of the present day, which seeks liberation from sexuality for children. The continuities, in my opinion, are more striking than the differences.

Franklin James

Succinctly and well put, thank you.

We see this rootlessness in the many conflicting applications of the concept of “consent” (as pointed out in this very blog post) for decades now they have been deeply inconsistent in their ethical application; the shifting sands have reconfigured the application of “consent” in all sorts of ways, yet always remain inconsistent. And we see it especially (at least I do) in the mess now being made around sex, gender, transsexuality – that whole domain.

Without an ethical rootedness transcendent of the will and desire of the individual, there will be no end to this.

truerealitylover

Thanks Tom for your Blog Post and reference to Alice Lovers Magazine.

TRL / Editor

JohnHolt

Hi, is it possible you could provide the excerpts for that post-Rind research you mentioned? I’ll have it uploaded to NewgonWiki as anthology.

JohnHolt

Yes, I am just a pseudonymous editor – it would be great to have citations and get that website up to date again before it’s rebranded. Unfortunately your computer is an analogy for a lot of the information out there right now – so much volume and density, but slow to access. With “MAP” trending multiple times on social media these days, we need something to encourage activists who are inclined to troll, but don’t want to be reading the whole paper. A concise resource is the answer to that.

Email in first reply if desired.

Hello Tom. Thanks very much for this article. It is very accurate about the Dutch situation. You wrote that I changed my name, but a religious baptism name usually is different than the name people use. My name was always Marthijn Uittenbogaard. Only my baptism name is Matheus Hendrick Uittenbogaard.

art

The government in Canada is considering giving children the right to choose medically-assisted death (euthanasia) if they are very sick. Adults already have this option.
So if children can consent to kill themselves…

Christian

This already exists in Belgium since several years. There is no minimum age.

Marco Antonio

That’s a very interesting point!
That, legally, someone can only make important decisions after 18 yo is a myth. Look at the countries that allow them to work before this age.

Pat

I thought you wouldn’t miss this elephant in the room on the subject of Gillick competence.You mentioned that in a 2013 article responding to Frank Furedi. I agree with kids capacity to make informed decisions, but don’t agree with them having the jab simply because they don’t need it. It is interesting how they can talk about kids consent without seeing an own goal on their part.

Christian

What you say about the vaccination of children is wrong. There are three reasons for getting vaccinated: (1) to greatly reduce the risk of the disease for yourself; (2) to greatly reduce the risk of transmitting the virus to others; (3) to greatly reduce the circulation of the virus, hence to delay the emergence of new variants. Reasons (2) and (3) are obvious for everyone. Reason (1) is more important for elderly people, but nevertheless children can, without going to hospital, suffer from long Covid or PIMS.

sugarboy

Dr Bruce Rind and his colleagues famously made themselves unpopular with their act of “downplaying” such alleged harm, and both houses of Congress voted to condemn the research in question (Rind et al., 1998). […] Subsequent scientific research has supported this hypothesis (e.g. Daly, 2021; Helweg‐Larsen & Larsen 2007; Rind, 2020).

Even more important, Rind’s entire meta-analysis was replicated in 2007 by Ulrich et al. using a more stringent methodology. These researchers essentially reached the same conclusions as those in Rind’s meta-analysis, which means that the unanimous condemnation expressed by the American Congress was unfounded. Did the Congress subsequently revoke the condemnation in the light of Ulrich’s research? Guess for yourself…

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