Stigma stings destigmatiser of MAPs

Allyn Walker and cover image of their controversial book, which has seen a sharp division between 1-star and 5-star customer reviews at Amazon. Photo: University of California Press.

 

With a single bound he was free. So was she. What about they?

HE is Thomas Hubbard, professor of classics at the University of Texas, Austin, who resigned after campus protests and a mob attack on his home provoked by a disgruntled student who used his scholarship on pederasty in ancient Greece and his discussion of boy love in modern times to brand him a paedophile and call for his sacking. He left the city to live somewhere more congenial, sued for defamation, won a handsome financial settlement, and now heads the prestigious William A Percy Foundation for Social and Historical Studies.

SHE is Kathleen Stock, a philosophy professor at the University of Sussex, who resigned after coming under comparable hostility, this time from radical trans activists. While empathising with trans people, her sin was to challenge the view that it is possible to change sex, as opposed to gender. Biologists in general agree with her: physical intersex conditions and sex-change operations make no difference to the fact that sex in fundamentally binary. She too, has fallen on her feet. She has just accepted an offer to join the recently announced new University of Austin, which proclaims that it will be dedicated to academic freedom. Ironically, this new institution is in Austin, Texas, the very place Tom Hubbard had been hounded out of.

THEY is (are? Sorry, can’t get the hang of these newfangled pronouns) Allyn Walker, a transgender assistant professor of sociology and criminal justice at Old Dominion University (ODU), Norfolk, Virginia, who was placed on “administrative leave” last week after a social media storm and rightwing news coverage (a graphic on Tucker Carlson Tonight read “THE LEFT’S DEPRAVED NEW LOW”), followed by campus protests calling for their sacking. This furore had been triggered following an interview Walker gave with Prostasia, in which they expressed the view that the stigma to which MAPs are subjected, not least through hostile use of the word “paedophile”, is unhelpful for the protection of children. What is going to become of Walker now that life on campus has become unsafe for them, a point no one disputes? The university president has been despicably unsupportive and would clearly love to see Walker walk. Maybe they should indeed vote with their feet and apply for a post at the University of Austin – or even the William A Percy Foundation! The world could be their oyster!

That said, this is a fast moving story. It is conceivable Walker could be terminated. Just one day after the Daily Mail ran a lengthy story headed “Trans university professor sparks fury after claiming sexual attraction to children isn’t always immoral”, they dropped another blockbuster titled “Fury as Old Dominion university REFUSES to fire trans professor who said pedophiles can’t help their urges and should be given child sex dolls”. Walker actually said more or less the opposite: most paedophiles can control their “urges” and their behaviour but, like everyone else, they have no choice as to their sexual orientation. But, hey, that’s the mendacious Mail for you!

The sex dolls bit was lifted from Walker’s PhD, a juicy attack line the sluggardly American media have been slow to catch up with. Their focus has so far been on the Prostasia interview and a book by Walker that gave rise to it: A Long, Dark Shadow: Minor-Attracted People and Their Pursuit of Dignity – brought out, incidentally, by the University of California Press, a point little mentioned in all the smear stories. Makes sense. Naming this prestigious publisher would confer respectability on the author, and they would not want that.

While media pressure alone, especially an ocean away from Virginia, would be unlikely to precipitate Walker’s culling, the old guard at Old Dominion appear to have no more than the shakiest of grasps on the importance of freedom within the intellectual community – vital for study, discussion, and research undertaken without fear of jobs being in peril for saying “the wrong thing”. Or, more likely, most of the old guard do understand the principle but the top priority of the people in charge these days, now there are so many universities competing for undergraduates, is to keep these student “customers” happy by doing what they say and giving them what they want – which may not always be the same thing as providing a worthwhile education that challenges their preconceptions.

The shakiest grasp of all in this case might well be that of the ODU’s president, Brian Hemphill. Following the university’s official statement, which had itself failed to give robust support to Walker, he sent his own personal email to faculty, students and staff, saying:

Many individuals have shared with me the view that the phrase “minor-attracted people” is inappropriate and should not be utilized as a euphemism for behavior that is illegal, morally unacceptable, and profoundly damaging. It is important to call pedophilia what it is. As a father, I am troubled by this narrative and its potential consequences for my children and that of future generations.

In other words, he goes out of his way to distance himself from Walker and their ideas – grossly misrepresenting them in the process – rather than offering any backing.

Even worse, arguably, a statement made by the “As(t*)erisk Trans* Student Advisory Board,” failed to express any solidarity with their beleaguered trans colleague. Instead, they released a statement denouncing the “misappropriation of exclusively queer experiences” in Walker’s book, saying that the controversy generated by the author’s research “innately included and simultaneously maligned [the trans community] without our consent.”

Tom Hubbard’s response on Sexnet totally nails it:

Apparently the inclusive asterisk doesn’t include Allyn Walker. As usual, the people who most ostentatiously advertise their allegiance to diversity and inclusion are the first to engage in ideological purges of anyone they choose to label as deviant….

What are “exclusively queer experiences”? I thought the point of the term “queer” was to be inclusive of any sexual orientation that differs from the social norm. Doesn’t the acronym LGBTQIA+ suggest the opposite of “exclusive”?….

I also don’t understand the phrase “innately included and simultaneously maligned [the trans community] without our consent”… Who is authorized to give consent on behalf of the whole trans community? It is a highly diverse set of individuals ranging from self-identified autogynephiles to people who deny that there is such a thing. “Innately included”? I thought the trans activists were against the idea that sex is innate. These people are scarcely even literate, let alone logical.

As I said, though, it’s a fast moving story, and elsewhere on the battlefield the news is not as bleak. We are beginning to see a welcome rallying around to Walker’s cause. The most visible signs, so far, have been in the American higher education media, where there have been strong statements of support from academic figures.

Adam B. Steinbaugh, a program director at the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, said FIRE is “concerned by the deteriorating situation at ODU.” Noting that there had been credible threats of violence against Walker – who was given an armed guard before being sent on leave – he said the appropriate response to “unpopular, controversial or dissenting speech” is to “punish those who are attempting to silence a speaker through threats, not silence the speaker on the threateners’ behalf.”

Those silenced by the bullies tend to include not just the controversial speakers themselves, of course, but also well-wishers who may have much to lose by offering public support. So it has been encouraging to learn that Jezebel, an online culture/lifestyle magazine with a feminist slant, ran a good article on the controversy at the weekend, putting the record straight on Walker’s work, with input directly from an interview with the central figure. Walker took the opportunity to reveal to Jezebel that they had received an “outpouring” of support in the wake of the storm.

The latest development, as I write, is that support has also been rallying behind the scenes among academics who are set to go public. A letter backing Walker, their work, and freedom of expression in higher education, has been drafted, circulated, and signed by sympathetic researchers. A copy of this letter was circulated on Sexnet, so I saw it at the weekend. A well-crafted piece of work, it is scheduled to plonk down with considerable heft into President Hemphill’s in-tray this morning (of which there is about two hours left, US Eastern Standard Time, as I write). So there’s some bang up-to-the-minute news for y’all heretics here that I knew before he did!

Now, I said the letter is well crafted but I will not be adding my name to it. For one thing, although I have well over 100 academic citations for my books and academic papers, I would be only dubiously qualified as a “researcher” within the intended terms. Also, as an even more controversial figure than Walker, I would not wish to embarrass or compromise anyone by appearing among the signatories.

More fundamentally, though, I do not support one important aspect of the impression the letter gives. I hope it has long been clear to regular readers of Heretic TOC that I am passionately opposed to any form of child abuse, including coerced and manipulative sexual contacts. However, the letter emphatically and repeatedly repudiates “child sexual abuse” (CSA) without ever defining the term, leaving the strong impression it is thought there could never be any positively experienced child-adult sexual contact – a stance that echoes the line taken by Walker themself in his Prostasia interview. Although I could sign the letter with no overt dishonesty, by contenting myself with the thought that my definition of CSA would exclude consensual contacts, I would not be comfortable to leave readers with the impression that I was some sort of “virtuous” anti-contact MAP.

Painting the Dominion Rock has become a traditional vehicle for student expression, to promote causes and events. But “derogatory” or “profane” words are not officially permitted. Photo by Brandon Coomer for Mace & Crown, ODU Student News Magazine.

So I am very pleased to see action being taken in defence of academic freedom, along with what I hope will be morale-boosting support for Allyn Walker as an embattled individual, but I have major reservations about their work. Based on descriptions of this work in the Prostasia interview, I will not be rushing to read the book. I have heard it is well written, with some interesting content, so I don’t want to be too harsh; but there is plenty of reason to believe it is hardly as ground-breaking or daring as all the fuss suggests.

Bear in mind that even Virtuous Pedophiles has been widely trashed in the social media as a front organisation for active “abusers”, “child rapists”, etc.; it is not necessary to be genuinely radical or “outrageous” to be painted that way. Bigotry far outweighs facts in this regard, sadly. Even after the Trump presidency, the sheer blatancy of this “Who cares about evidence?”, “Who cares about facts?”, approach to public discourse never ceases to amaze me.

Walker’s line comes across to me as so timid, bland, and boring that even now I struggle to see why it should be controversial. At its heart, they are just saying that if people stay within the law they should not be pilloried as though they were brutal criminals, and that people are responsible for their behaviour but not for what they find attractive. These mild suggestions are so tepid they should be sending folks to sleep, not riling them up.

The difference between my understanding and that of the angry dudes is best explained, I guess, by cynicism. I had not appreciated how deep it runs until encountering a very revealing anecdote from the Prostasia interview:

So I remember a professor of mine asking about my research. And when I said I was studying people who are attracted to children who don’t commit offenses, he said, “Oh, okay, so sex offenders.” And I clarify, no, they have attractions to minors, but they haven’t committed an act of sexual abuse. And he said, “Right sex offenders.” He just could not comprehend the population that I was talking about.

Could not comprehend? Or cynically refused to believe? This is a professor we are talking about, not a village idiot, so I am guessing the latter. The big problem for the virtuous brigade is that self-proclaimed virtue is not the most credible kind. So why set out your stall on that basis?

Much more encouraging than anything I have so far heard from or about Walker, in my view, is a short but genuinely radical point made in favour of academic freedom in the wake of their removal from the ODU campus. It was made by Eugene Volokh, a distinguished law professor whose law review articles have been cited by opinions in eight US Supreme Court cases and thousands of scholarly articles. In his influential blog The Volokh Conspiracy (love the title!), he wrote, “I should note that even advocacy of legalizing such [child-adult] sex is likewise protected by academic freedom principles.”

That’s the spirit, prof!

 

STILL FAST MOVING…

This fast moving story has just moved fast again.

Word reached me via Sexnet this evening (24 Nov.) that Allyn Walker has today announced their resignation. Very soon after, a news report was put out by Associated Press.

Here is the start of the joint statement issued by Old Dominion University and Dr. Walker:

Today, Old Dominion University and Dr. Allyn Walker are announcing that Dr. Walker has decided to step down from their position as assistant professor of sociology and criminal justice at the expiration of their current contract in May 2022. Dr. Walker will remain on leave until that time.

Walker is quoted directly:

“My scholarship aims to prevent child sexual abuse,” Dr. Walker said. “That research was mischaracterized by some in the media and online, partly on the basis of my trans identity. As a result, multiple threats were made against me and the campus community generally. I want to thank Old Dominion University for giving me the opportunity to teach and to conduct my research, and the ODU Department of Public Safety for monitoring the threats against me and the community.”

“I am particularly grateful for the outpouring of support from many among the ODU community, as well as others in my research fields who have publicly affirmed the value of my work in advancing child safety. My Department Chair, Mona Danner, my colleagues, and my students all have been especially supportive. And, finally, I am thankful for the assistance of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) during this time.”

So, what to make of this?

Walker’s apparent lack of anger suggests they may have been offered a generous severance payment. I hope so, because another job could be hard to come by in the circumstances. The new University of Austin is probably the best chance, but it is no means a given that this would be a practical option, especially at this early stage of the university’s planning.

So, can we really say, “With a single bound they were free”?

Not really. Only time will tell.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Steve Diamond

It no longer amazes me, how the fanatics viciously attack the exact people who are materially doing work that serves said fanatics agendas.

This outrage is happening all over the place, these days. It reminds me of the twitter injustice many of us MAPs have suffered, wherein “the queer mafia” decided that concepts like “pride” and “positivity” exist only for their own, selected groups…therefor, MAPs using these concepts must be expunged from the platform. In practice, it’s against the current vague twitter rules to be a MAP standing up for your own basic human rights…no demand for controversial social change being necessary, for action to be taken against you.

The history of the LGBT movement has largely been spent on latching onto anything that can positively move them forward in the moment, while disowning and attacking anything that could hold them back in the moment. It’s why the movement is such a dishonest mess. They’ve not chosen to stand up for fundamental principles and reality, across the board or long term…They just jump wherever they see advantage in the moment [or era], exploit their position and beat down at anything they don’t like…Many of them are abusive, flaming bigots.

I’ll take a look at the sample of Allyn’s book…Not sure if I want to pay 20 to 30 dollars for it, though. I consider these kinds of books important [for the masses], but after more than two decades submerged in this MAP movement and culture…I’m part of the choir that doesn’t need to be preached to…and I share your sentiment, anywhere it comes to “weak sauce” commentary…It’s not cutting edge…It’s all so, so “decades ago”.

This may be a bit of a diverge, but since you brought up the William A. Percy Foundation [which I also consider a good resource], I’m curious of your thoughts on his 2008 critique on “The failure of propedophile advocacy”. You may have already addressed this somewhere, I don’t know.

My default position on this, is that every freedom ultimately relies on the current temperament and open mindedness of a culture. Actual consent, no matter how you define it, is irrelevant to whether any freedom is protected or denied. It’s all about what the majority [or sometimes minority] in power believe, about any one given thing.

There are protected freedoms I vehemently disagree with, where consent of the child or youth is entirely ignored, and where psychological trauma can be established. One such example is forced upbringing in a strict religion, where there is no choice or escape. In the culture I live, this sort of thing has historically been hailed as “a virtue”…actual victims of it all be damned.

There’s plenty of history of “civilized” cultures accepting, promoting and celebrating honestly awful things. The question is, why are they seen the way they are seen.

As to the William A. Percy Foundation, I think it’s good to have unbiased, yet honest, sources who will simply acknowledge the facts as they stand…even when they ultimately don’t agree with us.

Stephen James

I had never read the Dynes blogpost and having read it now, I’m not very impressed. He says at the end:

“… it is unrealistic to argue that adolescents can give full consent to sexual acts in the same way that adults do. Such at any rate is the conventional wisdom on this matter, one of several high hurdles that the propedophile writers do not seem equipped to surmount. Indeed, they shown an almost insouciant disregard for these basic issues and objections.”

What does he mean ‘not … equipped to surmount’? Not intellectually equipped? No, apparently it’s their ‘insouciant disregard’ for the objections. But that seems to run counter to the claim (I paraphrase, of course) that good arguments are all very well, but society isn’t convinced. On the contrary, it seems we should stop being so insouciant and sharpen up our arguments a bit more!

sugarboy

Many individuals have shared with me the view that the phrase “minor-attracted people” is inappropriate and should not be utilized as a euphemism for behavior that is illegal, morally unacceptable, and profoundly damaging. It is important to call pedophilia what it is.

The funny thing is that the word “pedophile” is even more sympathetic than “MAP”, as it is based upon “philos”, i.e. love.

Warbling J Turpitude

Heh….just try telling *that* to how many million rabid punters out there! Funny thing is though, i’ve lately devised a wee stratagem with the hoped-for goal of achieving a degree of subversion. Whenever someone refers quite without a thought (as they always do) to such and such a violent rape (eg apropos the KR trial) as the deed of a “paedophile rapist” i commence to ask if they’d call a violator of ears an audiophile? A Kraut who dropped bombs on England an Anglophile? A person who tore up film a cinephile? Etcetera..

Stephen James

A good game – and useful! Another one: Is a book-burner a bibliophile?

Huckleberry

the funny fact is that Most of the adult people are androphiles and gynephiles themself, but no one of them isn’t hurry to call absolutely all gynephiles like rapists because of cases of gross violence against women. People suspect that in reality, not all people are inclined to commit violence because of their innate attraction.

Last edited 6 days ago by Huckleberry
sugarboy

He left the city to live somewhere more congenial, sued for defamation, won a handsome financial settlement, and now heads the prestigious William A Percy Foundation for Social and Historical Studies.

Tom, can you tell more about this lawsuit? I could not find anything about it on Internet.

Stephen James

There’s a lot of interesting detail here:

http://wapercyfoundation.org/?p=796

Prue

W.T.F!? This story is INSANE! The only silver lining is that it would make for a good drinking game; you read it out and every time someone gasps or looks shocked, you drink. The paedophile panic drinking game! XD

Warbling J Turpitude

Heh heh… For sure Prue and i found myself making this tweet in response to the news:
Hopefully the aspect of this that’s revealing a purely *contagious* fever will contribute to a sort of ‘comic relief’, perhaps even ultimately leavening the use of what is otherwise the most weaponized word in the world?

Elsewhere however the highly respected Ayaan Hirsi Ali has weighed in with a very unthoughtful anti piece for Unherd, of which Tom as subscriber is probably already aware?
https://unherd.com/2021/11/paedophilia-is-not-progressive/?tl_inbound=1&tl_groups%5B0%5D=18743&tl_period_type=3&mc_cid=4fd82bf7da
I’ve found it very dsiturbing trying to comment at Unherd. Without fail every comment i make is dropped, within minutes, to the very bottom of the always burgeoning comment stack, and for no obvious reason at all..i mean, no less upvotes than many others (1 or 2:) . This pretty much ensures, with the intense comment traffic, that it will be read hy few if by any.

I can only express the hope that heretics will get in there and do their very best thing as the website obviously attracts a large contingent of what one might call the ..more upper echelon intelligentsia..?

That is superb, Tom. No other word for it. Thankyou for ‘reprinting’ here. You have mastered the sustained control of an even tone, and keeping everything pertinent to the nth degree. I myself find it very difficult in such contexts to avoid a certain anger infusing my prose, which manifests I guess as a kind of.. bluster? Nonetheless it’s never less than surprising what one finds oneself composing under the felt pressure of great waves of socially-programmed auto-repulsion! Hrsi Ali’s scare-quotes around “suffering” are indeed the most despicable, lowest of moves, (and did you know she has also been collaborating with the doyen of grossly indulgent victimary exploitations the NYT’s Nicholas Kristof?)

I am gonna try and get these finest words of yours out there, somehow, anyhow. Yes, even broken up into serial tweets and instas..

Psssst! You misspelt Manichaean

Just letting you know i already serialized your words into tweets (without one single error!) and delivered them straight to Hirsi Ali herself’s social media door.

Prue

Oooooh do report back to H-TOC if you get a response! I’ve only just realized that the woman who authored the UnHeard article you linked (Ayaan Hirsi Ali) is on the board of advisors for the new University of Austin project Tom mentioned in the blog. See https://www.uaustin.org/board-of-advisors

The university has generated controversy supposedly for championing free speech and committing to “freedom of inquiry” and “unfettered pursuit of truth! What a joke! Already, at least one of their advisors is clearly not ready or willing to engage in an “unfettered” pursuit of truth!

“I am a firm defender of academic freedom. And I believe the problem of paedophilia needs to be studied. But that does not mean that we can ignore the danger destigmatising paedophilia poses to children. We should not be normalising the idea that it is tolerable to fantasise about sex with children. A university and a university press should not be pushing this kind of harmful material.”

Whaat!? She thinks it’s intolerable to fantasize about “sex w/ children” (whatever that means)? Maybe it’s intolerable for her, keeps her up at night with all those intrusive thoughts, but what’s she gonna do about it? Far from a slippery slope to the “normalization of pedophilia” (again, whatever that means), I think her article represents a slippery slope in the push to normalize “thought crime.” This woman is dangerously unhinged and needs to log off and touch grass for their own mental health! That’s it, I’m done memeing for one post! #TaketheMAPpill :p https://www.freespeechtube.org/v/16bP

Stephen James

Yes, it’s an impressive record. I guess everyone has their blind spots.

Christian

Many people claiming to defend freedom and human rights have a one-sided approach, focusing on the wrongs of “the guys on the other side” and downplaying or ignoring those of “our guys.” I previously read that Ayaan Hirsi Ali is Islamophobic, and given the stress in some of her articles on “Western values,” one can wonder if she is really independent or just a supporter of “Western” (US + UK + EU) imperialism. So I ask several questions: did she defend Julian Assange, the Palestinian people, the Rohingyas? What is her opinion on the US blockade of Cuba, the wars in Afghanistan and in Iraq, the war on drugs and mass incarceration in the US?

Dissident

She makes a strong case that anti-zionism includes a strong strain of anti-semitism

I obviously cannot speak for every anti-Zionist out there. What I can say with certainty, however, is that being opposed to Zionism does not automatically make someone anti-Semitic… not by a long shot. Being opposed to Israel as a concept–i.e., the idea that any nation based on any form of ethnocentrism is an innately bad idea–also in no way denotes hatred against Jewish people.

One can display disgust with both Jewish and Palestinian acts of terrorism in the name of defending one’s tribe without taking the side of one ethnic group against the other. Tribalism is itself the problem, and Zionism is a clear manifestation of that tendency. Personally, I take the side that both Jewish and Palistinian citizens have equal right to that land, and should have equal rights in all things, including the right to live in peace and under a system that encourages cooperative co-existence rather than competitive opposition. In what way is that “anti-Semitic”, or in any way taking sides in a tribalistic manner?

warbling j turpitude

>>the idea that any nation based on any form of ethnocentrisn is a bad idea

I would ask Dissident if there exists any nation on earth that does NOT
evaluate other cultures according to preconceptions originating in the standards and customs of its own culture? (Yea even if the standards and customs of that country have been sufficiently warped from without by now to believe they were “really” multicultural all along?)

Could there have ever even been the advent of anthropology, that is, an actual science of the human (it was to begin with at least!), if every culture on earth had remained somehow perfectly compact and intact in its standards, customs and values? (Which would of course, have required an ‘ethnocentricity’ that was total?)

What’s more is not Israel, along with its parliamentary body the Knesset the most ethnically diverse and diversely-represented of populations in the entire Middle. East? I believe there is no getting around this fact.

Understanding the rôle of firstness in human affairs is what we must also reckon with, equipped with just as much passion and intensity as we normally devote to that of tbe egalitarian

Last edited 1 day ago by warbling j turpitude
Dissident

Without taking away any of Ali’s truly commendable acts of courage, what distresses me most about her dogmatic attitude on “pedophilia” is how far a serious emotional disconnect with any given issue can cause such an admirable figure to willfully and thoughtlessly compromise her overall dedication to some very important principles. And how they have no problem with doing so whatsoever if said issue is popular.

If Ali is strong enough to oppose the fundamentalist aspects of Islam in her native land like she has, then there is no reason to believe she could not exercise the same level of thoughtfulness and emotional control when it comes to this topic. Does she really believe what she says about it, or is she just virtue signalling? Because of the emotionally charged nature of the MAP issue there is never any way to know for certain.

One other thing I want to note, just because I think it’s slightly relevant: I sympathize with the issues many have with organized religion. However, becoming an atheist in response is not the only legit response, IMO–just as repudiating the SJW-tainted Left doesn’t mean that embracing the Right is the only alternative. There are non-organized systems of spirituality, which completely lack the political-military-authoritarian-moralizing aspects Ali identified and lamented, that can serve as a good alternative to some, as it has for me.

Dissident

It’s an honor to be back here talking to you guys, Tom 🙂

warbling j turpitude

>>Non-organized systems of spirituality

I have real difficulty in understanding any meaning for this. How can any system operate without organization of some kind? Tempted to even ask if it is a “system” because it is “spiritual” or “spiritual” because it is a “system”? The whole world needs to know, Dissy!

The sign “spiritual”,. To what does it refer, by itself? I mean to say, what is NOT spiritual in human experience and affairs? Mimesis is spiritual, envy is spiritual, jealousy is spiritual, hatred is spiritual – love is spiritual but so is its equally morally productive ‘shadow’ resentment!

Capitalism – or what i think of more simply as the market model of society – generates the most ‘spiritual’ of cultures because all of the above and more are most relentlessly and unquenchably active in it..

Explorer

One should remember that the prejudice against intergenerational sexuality is THE most powerful and deeply entrenched one of our era, so it requires an exceptionally critical and open mind to assess it without being overwhelmed with an emotional overdose. So it is very common for a person capable of a (relatively) objective analysis of most other controversial topics to fail intellectually when encountering this one. Ayaan Hirsi Ali is not the first here; unfortunately, she won’t be the last for sure.

And it is also worth remembering that a very few people are capable of objectivity when assessing this ultimately-controversial topic may be devoid of it when dealing with other ones – say, Covid-19(84) and the highly questionable (to put it mildly), yet brutally violent power actors’ measures supposedly directed against it.

In general, as my long experience of dealing with various controversies taught me, objectivity is actually the very last quality one could expect from such a fundamentally subjective creature as a human being. The same goes for the institutions created by human beings: contrary to some expectations, collectivity brings no objectivity whatsoever; it only accumulates and intensifies the subjectivities of the human beings participating in them, and adds some specifically collective twists to the mix.

Zen Thinker

Yes, and as Vaclav Havel writes in his famous work “The Power of the Powerless” (1978), ideology creates a stifling power structure where citizens are expected to live a lie. Havel’s ideas in this essay can be readily applied to MAPs. One is forced to engage in society’s empty rituals, emphasising one’s conformity to the status quo. Through fear one earns a relatively peaceful life through living a lie and demonstrating one’s loyalty to power. Dissidents are controlled by this collective “slavery” to the rituals of the State, i.e. emphasising convention and norms to earn society’s protection.

Re: Christian’s point, psychedelics should obviously be legal and mass incarceration is one of the most glaring acts of State-sponsored malfeasance of our Age.

Zen Thinker

Powerful. I know all about existential battles of good and evil, I’m a Christian who believes in fighting the prevailing materialistic and soulless aspects of our society. Let me tell you that defending a minority sexual orientation (pseudonymously) isn’t a natural position for me, but nevertheless I feel compelled to intellectually reject the hatred and bigotry encountered in general society. And I dream of a society where one can be more open about one’s sexuality.

Kit

I’m not sure that “highly-respected” is quite the epithet I would apply to Ayaan Hirsi Ali: I tend to concur with Christian’s suggestion below that she is one of the ideological warriors of liberal imperialism. Certainly she seems to be more highly respected among neoconservatives and Islamphobes than among the people whose interests she claims to represent – namely Muslim women.

But I think it’s unfair to be disappointed in her: even self-professed ‘free speech fundamentalists’ do not really believe in unrestricted free speech. And if the whole point of free speech is (as the liberal position would generally have it) to arrive at some objective truth, then positions that are self-evidently untruthful may be drummed out of court. Thus free-speech warriors can refuse to entertain positions that do not meet the minimum standard to be taken seriously. Ayaan Hirsi Ali has decided that paedophilia and polygamy fail the test. No doubt most of her readers would agree with her.

This is one of the main problems with appeals to free speech: because nobody believes in unlimited free-speech, the self-professed high-priests of free speech get to decide what its limits are. Moreover, appeals to free speech are not innocent: they are implicated in other ideological battles (in Hirsi Ali’s case, they serve the ends of secularism, Westernisation, and modernity – all things of questionable benefit to MAPs in my opinion).

Self-professed free-speech fundamentalists are usually really free-speech instrumentalists with very clear ideas about what ‘good’ and ‘bad’ free speech is. For Hirsi Ali, free speech means the freedom to call the Prophet of Islam a paedophile (as she has done, on numerous occasions). It does not entail the freedom to entertain the idea that paedophilia might not always and everywhere be entirely and unreservedly a bad thing.

Dissident

Well said. Put even simpler: most free speech advocates continue to personally define free speech as either anything they strongly agree with, or things they disagree with but not too strongly. Any topic they strongly disagree with should not be protected by free speech.

Stephen James

I seem to have reached my free article limit with the Telegraph, so would you or Mr Turps mind giving a brief summary?

Stephen James

Thanks!

Stephen James

Thank you

Prue

Fucking awful. Their research is framed around prevention efforts. Clearly many people care more about their disgust and moral indignation than they do about “protecting the children.” Danny Whittaker, bless his heart, at least had the balls to admit it…

Nada

>At its heart, they are just saying that if people stay within the law they should not be pilloried as though they were brutal criminals

If so, there would have no need to moralize over the differences (according to Walker) between queers and MAPs with regard to relationships and stigmatization, as done.

As the Daily Mail seems to have been more than fair to Walker, and had a fairly good coverage of the Stock affair, mendacious is a rather curious word choice. Should a newspaper be held to standard of rigor far greater than an academic, whose claims rests on denying relevant science (such as Rind et al) and the existence of other societies, past and present, where the relative rights or stigmatization of MAPs and queers vary?

Christian

Again, we see here how official “LGBT” organisations become ever more reactionary. I will repeat, from my comment on your June 21 article about Peter Thatchell, the quote I gave of Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë:
The tyrant grinds down his slaves and they don’t turn against him; they crush those beneath them.
This is similar to Zionists, who use the Nazi Holocaust as pretext for refusing to abide with any other rules than their own, flouting international law, oppressing and robbing the Palestinian people in the name of Jewish rights, then calling “anti-Semite” anyone who dares to oppose their behaviour.

The Jezebel article says that Walker located the start of the campaign against ‘they’ in an article by the “feminist” site 4W. Looking at its home page, it appears as just an anti-trans and anti-paedophile hate site under a “feminist” disguise, full of articles at the same level as the worst tabloids. The Prostasia Foundation is one of their regular targets, in particular for its opposition to the censorship of adult porn or erotic art, including art and fiction portraying sex with minors. I noticed 4W’s anger at an article by a Prostasia person explaining how the police is the biggest threat to underage sex workers:
https://newrepublic.com/article/128028/child-sex-workers-biggest-threat-police
I already knew that several adult sex workers had accused the police to be the main source of violence against them. But now we see “feminists” who joined conservatives in the Meese Commission to claim that porn is violence against women, then who support the police and call for more cops. They have forgotten how the respectable suffragettes of the late 19th century intentionally clashed with the male police in order to publicise their struggle!

The Prostasia Foundation has defended artists and legal child nude images, in particular it opposed the censorship of the website Pigtails in Paint.

Prue

The website pigtails in paint is fascinating btw; thanks Christian for mentioning it.

Also yes Prostasia has written many important and interesting articles apropos lolicon and shotacon and have secured a research team led by Dr. Gilian Tenbergen to conduct research on the topic. Can’t find the exact post but it was on Gilian’s facebook page not too long ago. There’s a post here discussing the project https://prostasia.org/event/atsa-2021/

Nada

Regarding anti-pedophilia, what’s the significant difference between 4W and the feminist site Jezebel, which saw fit to publish Walkers claims without supporting evidence?

The call for stricter laws and cops is nothing new: Feminists attacked the rights of girls already in the 19th century (marriage and age of consent reforms).

Stephen James

The New Republic article makes a good point about the appalling treatment of sex-workers by the police, including underage sex-workers. It’s a good example of how moralistic laws can end up causing a brutalization which is the opposite of their declared intent.

Stephen James

There is some evidence that Walker’s views may be more radical than they appear. This is from a comment on the Washington Post website:

‘…in justifying that MAPs are similar to LGBs, Walker writes: “This argument [that healthy LGB relationships between adults are possible but not between MAPs and children] additionally makes a blanket assumption that no minors are capable of consenting to sex which we will explore later on.” Sorry, hard pass.’

The commenter, Arturo23, provides the below link to the article, though so far, I’ve been unable to get past its paywall. Maybe some other heretics could manage it!

https://scholar.google.com/citations?view_op=view_citation&hl=en&user=ZFM3Ks8AAAAJ&citation_for_view=ZFM3Ks8AAAAJ:Tyk-4Ss8FVUC

Art
Stephen James

Thanks, Art! I went to sci-hub but never thought to use the DOI!

Christian

Minor Attraction: A Queer Criminological Issue, Critical Criminology volume 25, pages 37–53 (2017). Indeed, he writes p. 42:

Specifically, this line of reasoning states that healthy LGB relationships exist between individuals of similar (or at least legally consenting) ages, whereas MAPs are unable to engage in consensual relationships due to the age of their potential romantic and/or sexual partners and thus engage exclusively in violent and immoral sexual activity.

Then pp. 42-43:

This argument additionally makes a blanket assumption that no minors are capable of consenting to sex, which we will explore later on.

p. 46, he excludes consent for pre-pubertal children, but hints that it could be different for teenagers:

We do not mean to suggest in any way that young children could reasonably consent to sex with adults; they absolutely cannot. However, we do call attention to the variable construct of childhood, where, in Western nations, within only a few generations we have seen a major reorientation to what it means to be a child. Until the 1930s, it was legal and commonplace for minors in the United States to work dangerous and demanding jobs at young ages (e.g., Trattner 1970), and to marry and bear children in the late teenage years (Furstenberg 2007).

Dissident

To be both fair and firm with Dr. Walker: I believe they are clearly struggling with the issue. They know how conceptions of childhood have changed through the course of the previous century, and acknowledges this. But at the same time, they realize the danger of going any further against the powerful public sentiment that insists pre-pubescents, at least, should be held to the expectation of innocence and necessarily low cognitive ability to make decisions (and without taking into account the enforced ignorance imposed upon them). Walker appears to know that they are already treading on dangerous ground, so why trek any further into the minefield? Why beg the obvious questions even further than they are already doing?

We cannot say that Walker is wrong to be cautious, because look at what they are now going through for even taking these modest steps into the violation of sacred ground. However, by ignoring research that refutes their absolutist statement about pre-pubescents, it would have been more honest of Walker to simply remain ambiguous on the issue.

Nevertheless, I do think Walker is commendable for taking even these limited steps forward and being willing to pay the price, even if such steps are nothing like the ones that will likely (and hopefully) be taken by researchers 40 years from now. Can we, and should we, hold Walker and other researchers of this era up to the standards expected of those that will follow them in the coming generations? I think that may be the important question to ask and consider.

Last edited 3 days ago by Dissident
Nada

>There is some evidence that Walker’s views may be more radical than they appear.

The excerpt suggests otherwise.

https://boychat.org/messages/1582058.htm

Zen Thinker

Great article. “Folks are idiots” as someone once said. Those who drink shallowly of the Pierian Spring, which is the majority of men, are apt to formulate the most ludicrous hatreds and biases. Even Virped is trashed, as you say. But the attitude of the common man is ultimately inconsequential. Change will filter down from the top. And this anti-humanistic hatred of people based on an intrinsic and fixed identity trait will gradually be seen as nothing more than the virulent prejudice it is.

For a left wing student body mad about inclusivity and fighting all prejudice, especially on gender, sexuality and race, they are of course Pharisaical, hollow hypocrites. It seems some visceral irrational hatreds are still acceptable, and so how can we not laugh in their faces when they denounce statues of historic figures? They are truly pathetic, and are as two faced as Janus. They deserve zero respect, the left are the ultimate Pharisees, and when I look at the right I at least see a measure of authenticity, whether we happen to agree or not.

Stephen James

Some of the left, Zen, are Pharisees. There are more thoughtful, heterodox representatives of that tendency, though even amongst these, I’ll admit, sympathy for MAPs is rare.

Kit

I sort of agree that there is a kind of authenticity to the right, though of an unenviable kind. The ‘right’, it seems to me, has on the whole very bad principles that it applies thoroughly and indiscriminately (the Daily Mail is just such an epitome of universal wrong-headedness), whereas the ‘left’ has generally good and worthy principles that it applies quite arbitrarily and with no consistency whatsoever. It is not hard to see how this could be interpreted as bad faith on the part of the left, though I don’t think it is exactly that.

The problem with the reactions to Allyn Walker is not that they represent an “anti-humanistic hatred of people based on an intrinsic identity trait” – it might feel like that from the receiving end, but I don’t really think that is what is going on. The problem is that Walker’s critics don’t really think that there is a class of persons here at all. The paedophile (or the MAP, or what you will) just doesn’t exist as a thinkable subject position, any more than the trans-man existed as a thinkable subject-position in the 1950s.

There is no person here – there is merely an assemblage of pernicious, victimising and offensive acts. One simply cannot imagine being a paedophile – or even that the paedophile exists beyond the category of the sex-offender. I generally have no time at all for Walker and don’t particularly care what happens to them, but they does (ugh!) provide an intriguing anthropology of paedo-denial among otherwise intelligent people. These folks are not exactly idiots, whatever else they might be.

In short, I’d suggest that the problem is not hypocrisy or irrational hatred but a much more mundane and deadly sin – a failure of imagination. Walker does at least attempt to make a gesture in the direction of imaginative sympathy, albeit timidly and constrained by the monstrous assemblage of evils that towers over the insignificant figure of the human subject, like the long dark shadow on the stupid cover of their lousy book.

If ‘the left’ were true to its own principles (and I think they are not at all bad ones), kiddy-perverts would be acknowledged as authorities on their own experience, in much the same way that less-unpopular sexual minorities are. But such subjects are just not imaginable – and, of course, the fact that paedophiles are (mostly) invisible and silent in the public sphere means that the paedophile subject remains unimagined.

Zen Thinker

I prefer the right, that’s just my personality and character. It also accords more with my spiritual beliefs. I like elements of the left, notably its greater humanitarianism and compassion for the marginalised. In fact I find that my beliefs are most closely aligned with Catholic Social Teaching, which is a mish-mash of left and right.

The “failure of imagination” to give MAPs an adequate and legitimate conceptualisation is an interesting idea. I think there is some degree of truth to this. Indeed being forced into a self-preserving silence is the fate of almost all MAPs, and so (as you say) there is a notable lack of authentic public discourse. Whenever someone attempts to introduce authentic discourse they are mobbed and shouted down. So it is self-defeating. But I am glad for the opportunity to discuss these things on Heretic TOC.

Fata Morgana

Zen, if you don’t mind, I’ll put a question your way, as I haven’t managed to get an answer to it elsewhere. And I mean this as a genuine question rather than a thinly veiled criticism: what’s it got to do with the political left and right? My impression is that the culture war is more about social conservatives versus social liberals. An additional impression of mine is that the culture war is at least partly manufactured by the media for commercial gain, viewing figures, etc., that media outlets have political and social biases, and that they are happy to conflate the political left with social liberalism (for example) because this allows them to tar lefties and social liberals with the same brush when pandering to their target audience. I’ve seen figures like Jordan Peterson make a spurious case for the justifiability of such conflation and bandy around terms like ‘postmodernism’ ad hominem-style, but ultimately such claims don’t stand up to scrutiny. The conflation of the political left and right with socially liberal views and socially conservative views respectively seems to be particularly entrenched in the USA (compared to the UK, for instance).

Whilst on the topic, I’d like to offer an alternative view. A lot of the more radical social liberals are, in my view, not social liberals at all but social conservatives. It’s just that their dogma differs from that of previous generations of social conservatives.

Zen Thinker

Of course, glad to discuss this. The “culture war” between social left and right is quite spurious and manufactured at times, but then it does represent real moral issues. Abortion, euthanasia, drug legalisation, punitive justice vs rehabilitative justice, etc are all real and tangible issues, although it is far too simplistic to say everyone is uniformly left and right on all these issues. For example, most US conservatives are both “pro-life” and “anti-migrant” whereas the socially conservative Catholic Church is “pro-life” and “pro-migrant”. US liberals tend to be “pro-choice” and “pro-migrant”. Again, US conservatives are strongly “pro-gun” but this is a foreign concept to most European conservatives. However, at times the Church outflanks the American right, for example in their prohibition on masturbation. At the same time the Church is economically liberal. And just about everyone, from the most entrenched Marxist to a Ron Paul libertarian, is anti-MAP, although this could conceivably change.

There is rarely universal agreement in these matters. Just about every combination of the economic and the social axes of political thought are possible. For example, just because I support the recognition of a MAP sexuality, does not mean I have to be extremely liberal on all social issues – that is far from the case – and even less so on economic issues.

So to answer your question, the culture war is complex, multifaceted and indeed to some extent manufactured, but currently (and I can only deal with the present situation) the libertarian right, the religious right, the Marxist left, and the soft liberal left are all united in opposing any formal recognition of MAP issues, apart from small groups and scattered individuals on the margins of social thought. The key question is, will this change in the future? I think it will, and indeed “the right” is already paranoid that “the left” are beginning to allow MAP recognition. The reality on the ground however seems to be far from the case at present.

Fata Morgana

A far more detailed and enlightening response than I was hoping for, so thank you for that, Zen. Indeed, the use of ‘left’, ‘right’, ‘liberal’ and ‘conservative’ does seem habitually simplistic and often sloppy. So when a tabloid newspaper runs a story about Walker’s book and characterises it as a new low for the left, would you say the newspaper is using the term ‘left’ more as a trigger word to get its readership frothing at the mouth than in any accurate sense?

Zen Thinker

Yes, I would say generally that conservatives use “the left” as a pejorative. They want their viewers to believe that the MAP agenda is a genuine left-wing threat, probably to stir them up. However in truth even the most radical leftists seem to be avoiding this agenda, there are only a few lone voices in support.

Explorer

Tom, you really undermine and underappreciate yourself by refusing to call yourself a “proper” researcher: being a researcher is an activity, a practice; it requires no formal social status or standing whatsoever.

One can easily conduct a proper – informative, reliable and useful – research without any formal degree-providing education whatsoever; conversely, one could be a culturally indoctrinated pulpiteer, an economically intrested shill or a politically motivated pundit while being a high-standing fully-tenured Oxbridge / Ivy League PhD. The former category of unofficial-yet-productive researchers is the one that includes you, Tom; and your rank there, determined by your actual works and by formal degrees and affilations, is reasonably high. This genuine rank makes you higher than many who use their vacuous academic status – “presitgeous” university degrees and faculty positions – to impress the gullible and peddle sciency-sounding garbage.

Said this, I understand your reasons for not putting your signature under that letter – and agree with you on this.

Stephen James

>[The Daily Mail] dropped another blockbuster titled “Fury as Old Dominion university REFUSES to fire trans professor who said pedophiles can’t help their urges and should be given child sex dolls”. Walker actually said more or less the opposite: most paedophiles can control their “urges” and their behaviour but, like everyone else, they have no choice as to their sexual orientation. But, hey, that’s the mendacious Mail for you!

Mendacity indeed, largely achieved by some cunning verbal manipulation. On a standard reading, ‘can’t help their urges’ surely means that they cannot decide what urges they have. This is both obviously true and apparently the view of Allyn Walker. But the careless reader is likely to confuse this with ‘can’t control their urges’ (in other words, can’t stop themselves doing what their urges are pushing them to do), which, as you say, is not what Walker wants to to say about pedophiles, though I guess the Mail really would like to leave us the impression that it is.

sugarboy

Take it easy, Stephen: If you take The Daily Mail seriously, you are more stupid than the average Brit…

[MODERATOR: My advice: Take it slowly, sugarboy, and draft more diplomatically. I feel sure you do not think Stephen is actually stupid at all. But it does rather come across that way.]

Stephen James

I was only taking the Mail seriously in a ‘meta’ way, by thinking about how it manipulates its readers.

Marco Antonio

I am confident that, despite these news, universities will be the pivotal point where society will realise that we should look at any topic with a sense of constructive criticism and analysis, rather than irrational gut feelings. Eventually. I hope.
I recommend taking a look at the Chicago Principles on the freedom of expression and the site https://freeexpression.uchicago.edu. Many universities have supported it.

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