As promised last time, what follows is the second part of a two-parter. The first focused on an oppressive new prosecution in the Netherlands. Today’s theme looks ahead. Can we expect to see freedom of expression and sexual radicalism come under greater pressure everywhere on the planet in the light of current trends? Are there any factors that could bring a change of direction? Meanwhile, I can report that yesterday I had news from Norbert de Jonge, one of the four under indictment. He has confirmed an earlier indication to me that he will not mount a defence against the allegations and has just released a statement to explain why. See more in a note at the end of this article.
PART 2: WHERE ARE WE HEADING?
As with Propria Cures in the Netherlands (see Part 1), a rally back towards support for freedom of speech is not too much to hope for, I believe. Signs of a substantial backlash against the censorious onslaught of language policing and “cancel culture” are being seen daily in the countries whose affairs I follow most closely, the UK and the US. Whether this will extend to enabling paedophiles to find and maintain a voice in public discourse is more debatable: as with PC, it is hard to see enthusiasm for “promoting paedophilia” to gain traction anytime soon.
All we see is what looks like a conspiracy of silence against our positive messages – the mainstream media have ignored PC – and continuous crackdowns on the few places where we have managed to generate our own community discourse. This is what happened to Martijn Association and to my blog Heretic TOC, which lost its place on the WordPress.com blogging platform after coming under attack in the UK’s Daily Mail last year. In my case I might add that thanks to brilliant community support the blog was soon up and running again, independently hosted at heretictoc.com. I see the prosecution in Marthijn’s case have cited against him his involvement in freespeechtube.org. I am pleased to see this site is still very much in business. This is where I found a useful English translation of all the articles originally in Dutch in the PC special issue (For Liberation, 2021). Two other websites mentioned by the prosecutors in the indictment, www.marthijn.nl and www.brongersma.info, are also still going strong.
Sources of resistance and alternative discourse such as these, and Alice Lovers Magazine itself, are presumably felt to be of some importance otherwise why would any of us bother with them? They are only tiny islands, though, set in a vast stormy ocean. Will they disappear altogether under a steadily rising sea-level of hostility? Will our sense of community and solidarity – always a fragile notion, bearing in mind that GLs and BLs do not always see eye to eye – be washed away entirely?
It was put to me, when this article was proposed, that conservative MAPs, such as the Virtuous Pedophiles in the US, are lining up against more radical spirits. The Right, it was suggested, works in a coordinated way around the world. How are we to deal with this?
As a veteran activist who has been trying to figure out the best way forward for nearly half a century with absolutely zero conspicuous success, I am probably the wrong person to ask! I can point out dozens of tactics that have been tried, only for things to get worse, not better. That said, curiosity alone impels some of us to keep rummaging around in history to figure out what has gone wrong, and to peer “through a glass darkly” into possible futures.
A number of Heretic TOC essays have explored key themes: one was a close exploration of the gay movement’s most successful political ideas, and how MAPs might usefully adopt them (O’Carroll, 2015). Notable among these was careful attention to language: we should stop identifying as “paedophiles” (hopelessly toxic) and call ourselves something less threatening. I favoured “kindly”, or “kind” people, analogous with “gay” as an improvement on “homosexual”. This had some merit, I believe, but proved somewhat confusing. The term MAP itself is relatively new and is making stronger headway. Another essay (O’Carroll, 2020) scrutinized what appeared to be a really interesting recent initiative by Judith Levine, author many years ago of the legendarily sex-positive Harmful To Minors: The Perils Of Protecting Children From Sex (Levine, 2002). In a book out last year, Levine and fellow feminist Erica Meiners proposed an intersectional progressive alliance on the Left against “the carceral state” (Levine & Meiners, 2020) – an alliance that would not demonise MAPs who had fallen foul of the law but would join forces with them against coercive and violent sexuality in ways that would support youth sexual expression. So far, though, I have to say it has been all promise and no delivery. When I wrote to these authors my involvement was not received with enthusiasm. Finally, a blog piece (O’Carroll, 2016) probed the mysteries and political potential inherent in MAPs adopting “queer” or “questioning”, etc., sexual identities. There is, of course, little present danger or hope of the letter P being added to the ever-growing alphabet soup.
My interlocutor, as I say, mentioned the unity of the Right against us, provoking thoughts of apparently hopeless division and disarray on the Left. But these terms are largely meaningless now. The “woke” so-called Left of the Millennials and Generation Z is all about competitive victimhood. They long ago lost sight of the ideals espoused by great socialist thinkers of the past, which aspired to freedom (including freedom of expression: no language police, no Orwellian thought police) and equality for all. Although it grieves me to say it, much of the intelligent thinking on social issues comes from the notional Right now, such as the always interesting gay writer Douglas Murray.
For me, the high point of the Left was its association in the 1960s and 70s with the Sexual Revolution, and its rightly celebrated call to “Make love not war”. The rot set in with socialism’s loss of confidence after the collapse of the corrupt, oppressive, Soviet Union and the triumph of buccaneering capitalism in the Regan-Thatcher era – a triumph extending more recently even into notionally Communist China. The biggest cultural impact coming out of this, as the developed countries shifted away from heavy industries that required muscular “manpower” towards the more gender neutral labour requirements of the growing “knowledge economies”, was the increasing independence and political clout of women.
Radical feminism grew fast and furious in the riotously fertile soil of this fundamental economic change. Advancing rapidly past their initial and entirely justified demands for equality in the workplace, they soon began to fill the ideological vacuum left by socialism when the old, largely male, industrial working class ceased to exist. Taking up socialism’s egalitarian agenda, giving it a gender-based twist, the zealots saw sexual victimhood everywhere, and nowhere more so than in the intrinsically asymmetric, or “unequal” power relationship between adults and children, such that male paedophiles were bound to be cast as the villains of their ideology. Gay men, by contrast, were seen as more feminine and less threatening than macho heterosexual males, so it is no accident that they – and more recently trans people – have been massive winners in the gender revolution. This was an advance that not even HIV/AIDS could halt for long, even though this pandemic of the 1980s was once dubbed “the gay plague” by the hostile Right of those times.
Looking forwards in the medium term, from now towards the middle of the century, I see little prospect of turning around the profound shift that has come about as a result of the deep underlying forces I have just outlined. Society will not suddenly begin to appreciate the merits of age-discrepant male bonding, such as made pederasty respectable in ancient Sparta and Athens. Nor will very young girls be seen as legitimately beddable, as they were when the Prophet Muhammed is said to have consummated his marriage to nine-year-old Aisha.
No, in the years immediately ahead the key aim should be the more modest but viable project of saving ourselves from being demonised, dehumanised, and Othered. Total surrender to the ideology of our oppressors, in the manner of the Virtuous Pedophiles, is obviously undesirable to all but conservative true believers. And it need not be our only possible fate.
The most promising practical alternative I have seen so far is B4U-ACT, an organisation with a mental health mission. Gradually, but in a very sound and sober way, B4U-ACT has built up its influence and credibility since its foundation in the US in 2003. I suspect the term MAP (for minor-attracted person) originated with B4U-ACT; certainly, they have given it wide currency. Whereas other organisations in the field have generally been crude brain-washing outfits, focusing either on variations of conversion therapy or oppressive, authoritarian, anti-abuse propaganda, B4U-ACT has always emphasised MAPs’ dignity and humanity.
This has paid visible dividends in recent years. B4U-ACT holds prestigious conferences with high-level mental health experts in attendance and has engaged with them in promoting research. This has notably seen the development of a whole field in which the focus has been on the negative impact on MAPs of social stigma: deprived of dignity and social support, we are more likely to succumb to anti-social behaviour: treated well, we behave better. Part of this approach has been to ensure that research designs are based on prior consultation with MAPs and input from them. As the mantra has it, “Nothing about us without us”.
This is modest, but it does not mean we must abandon radical thinking. There will always be scope for more outspoken pockets of resistance, for non-violent guerrilla warfare, as it were, against the dominant ideology. This could involve any of us, joining in when we can, backing off when it makes tactical sense. Think of temporary, local initiatives such as we saw with the Occupy movement against the worst ravages of global capitalism, or the transient but spectacular demos staged by Extinction Rebellion and Greta Thunberg’s school strikes. We cannot be as personally visible as that, but there is endless scope for nimble, flexible, creative, online guerilla provocations. Yes, these will probably be small scale and temporary, but not insignificant. It is worth noting that the theory behind Occupy, especially, was hugely influenced by radical MAP advocate “Hakim Bey”, author of The Temporary Autonomous Zone (Bey, 1991). Check him out!
But nothing ambitious can be securely achieved until we MAPs are seen as real human beings with a normal desire to bring something positive to the world, not harm. This will be a necessary but not sufficient basis to build on when times become more propitious for children’s sexual expression and for child-love.
That “when” should perhaps be an “if”, but let’s not be too pessimistic. Things can change very quickly and unexpectedly, as we have seen in these Covid times, which have prompted an astonishing and unprecedented world response in fighting the pandemic, with governments, corporates, NGOs, health staffs and volunteers around the globe working together cooperatively to generate marvellous vaccines and then deliver them worldwide.
The intensifying climate crisis and resource pressure (e.g. water scarcity) will inevitably thrust another big challenge onto humanity. We may find that stabilising or even reducing population across much of the globe becomes a priority forced on us by nature and, as with the vaccine scenario, tackled quickly with nimble thinking and fast-changing attitudes. Non-reproductive forms of sexual expression including between children and adults could quite quickly flip from taboo to fashionable, just as gayness has flipped dramatically within a generation or so.
If you find this intriguing you might like to explore my crystal ball gazing further in the section “An Alternative Ideal” in my paper “Childhood ‘Innocence’ is Not Ideal: Virtue Ethics and Child–Adult Sex” (O’Carroll, 2018). This appeared in the academic journal Sexuality and Culture and is free to read at its Springer page.
Hope you will find this of interest, and let us all wish good luck to Marthijn and co! The trial has been scheduled for 2, 3 and 4 February 2022.
NOTE: STATEMENT BY NORBERT DE JONGE
Norbert has just published a statement titled “No Defense At 2022 Show Trial”. Intended primarily for the media once the trial starts next year, it explains why he will be saying nothing in his own defence and will not have a lawyer. This is because, as the title suggests, he believes the trial will be a sham, a show trial. The outcome has already been determined, he believes, because the Dutch courts are under heavy political influence and hence not independent.
It makes grim reading, as does further news from Norbert sent just this morning, telling me that one politician of the House of Representatives, Gidi Markuszower, had expressed the hope that one of the others facing trial, Nelson Maatman, would get life imprisonment and be chemically castrated. Life! Castration! For nothing more than writing about paedophilia without denouncing it! Ironically, this Markuszower represents a right wing populist outfit called the Party for Freedom.
Freedom! Was there ever a more Orwellian distortion of the word? War is peace. Freedom is slavery (or imprisonment!). Ignorance is strength…
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/136
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