Today’s guest blogger, Andrew, is a UK-based clinical psychologist and therapist with a professional interest in the topics of paedophilia and sexual offending. Although not a paedophile himself, Andrew believes that paedophilia and minor-attraction more broadly are poorly understood outside of scientific circles and that a rational approach to the topic is the one most conducive to children’s well-being. He is keen to stress that his contribution here is not intended to represent the views of any organisation(s) or individual(s) with which/whom he may be affiliated. Nor should any conclusions be drawn about his wider views. Andrew likes cooking, socialising and helping people to lead more fulfilling lives.
THE POLITICS OF JUSTICE
As some readers in the UK will be aware, the Law Commission recently (6 December 2021) completed its review of hate crime legislation and submitted its recommendations to Parliament. I was one of many parties to submit a response to the Consultation Paper (published 23 September 2020). In my response, I characterised the Law Commission’s stance on paedophilia in the Consultation Paper as ‘misinformed or misguided’.
Key focus areas of the Law Commission’s review included the characteristics afforded protection under hate crime legislation (‘protected characteristics’) and parity of treatment thereof. A distinction is made between a ‘fixed category’ approach and a ‘residual’ approach, with the former being based on fixed categories of protected characteristics (e.g. sexual orientation) and the latter being open-ended, which is to say that lists of protected characteristics are not exhaustive. A fixed category approach has the advantage of being more practical and more readily interpretable but is open to criticism on the grounds of limited inclusivity and limited even-handedness, affording protection to some categories of people but not others. A residual approach has the advantage of affording protection to a greater variety of people but is open to criticism on the grounds of limited guidance to courts, ‘other than by analogy’ (Consultation Paper, 17.98). Common to both approaches is a reliance on the categorisation of people into groups with shared characteristics, as one of the core rationales for hate crime legislation is that ‘the harm caused by the crime is not limited to the affected individual, but impacts more broadly on people who share the characteristic to which the offender’s hostility was directed, and the wider community to which the victims belong’ (10.9). Hence a society’s approach to hate crime legislation is inherently and invariably a political process, evolving as circumstances dictate and transforming the social landscape (cf. Rob White, ‘Hate Crime Politics’, Theoretical Criminology, Vol. 6, Issue 4 [November 2002], pp. 499-502).
The Consultation Paper goes on to highlight a legitimate concern about residual approaches to hate crime legislation (their ‘potential to dilute the symbolic power of hate crime laws’, 10.11) before raising a point that might otherwise seem to be in reductio ad absurdum territory were it not precedented, namely that an (in the Law Commission’s eyes) unfortunate corollary of a residual approach is that it can afford—indeed, has twice afforded—protection to ‘paedophiles’. To justify its instinctive aversion, the Law Commission cites Gail Mason (‘Victim Attributes in Hate Crime Law: Difference and the Politics of Justice’, The British Journal of Criminology, Vol. 54, No. 2 [March 2014], pp. 161-179), who suggests that ‘we need to tether difference, as a criterion for victim protection, to a politics of justice that limits protected attributes to forms of difference that have a justifiable claim to affirmation, equality and respect for the attribute that makes them different’ (10.42).
This strikes me as eminently sensible, but here I take issue with the Law Commission’s failure to distinguish (as Mason does, p. 168) between paedophiles and child molesters. Despite widespread conflation of these terms in common parlance and even in news media, the term ‘paedophile’ is properly defined as an adult who is preferentially or exclusively attracted to prepubescent children. Paedophilia is not an action, let alone a criminal action. One reason why it is important to caution against conflating the two terms is that studies such as Kenneth Lanning’s (‘Child Molesters: A Behavioral Analysis’) suggest that a majority of child molesters are not paedophiles but instead what are termed ‘situational offenders’ in the literature.
A clear and informed distinction therefore needs to be made between attraction and action, between who one is and what one has done. Mason’s stance is obviously geared towards excluding from enhanced protection those individuals whose actions are reprehensible, but in the Law Commission’s own words (on the hate crime project status page) hate crimes are ‘acts of violence or hostility directed at people because of who they are’, not because of what they have done. Whether or not an individual has offended against a child lies firmly in the realm of action. Hence the Law Commission need not worry that the remit of hate crime legislation could be extended under a residual approach to provide protection to child molesters, because actions (criminal or otherwise) are not the true purview of considerations of protected characteristics.
The conflation of terms means that non-offending paedophiles are shoehorned into the same category as child molesters, effectively denying them protection on the grounds of who they are (an attraction they have not chosen). This leaves the social landscape uneven, as an attack on an individual motivated solely by the type of person that the individual is thought to find most attractive may or may not be regardable as a hate crime, with the categorisation being contingent not on the conduct or the content of the character of the victim but on how palatable society finds that victim’s attraction in and of itself.
Reading the Consultation Paper in full, it is hard not to reach the conclusion that the Law Commission was never open to the possibility of the merits of a residual approach (or even of a hybrid/flexible approach) weighing up favourably against the prospect of protection being granted to people with ‘characteristics that are morally repugnant’ (10.18), by which it is clear from the Paper as a whole that the Law Commission means – in the main if not exclusively – people who are attracted to children. On the assumption that the Law Commission would ultimately recommend maintaining a fixed category approach, my response encouraged either: i) broadening the definition of ‘sexual orientation’ to encompass any romantic or sexual attraction (as distinct from action); or ii) if this would prove problematic (e.g. due to the blanket conferral of sexual orientation status on various paraphilias and non-standard sexual interests), abandoning the term ‘sexual orientation’ and adopting alternative wording that allows protection to be granted on the basis of any type of romantic or sexual attraction (as distinct from action). In its final report, the Law Commission restricted itself to recommending that the definition of sexual orientation be broadened beyond the one enshrined in the Public Order Act 1986 and the Equality Act 2010 to encompass asexuality (Hate Crime Laws: Final Report, 4.152).
In the current climate of hysteria (already described and decried by James Kincaid nigh on a quarter of a century ago), there was little hope that the Law Commission would take seriously the idea of extending protection to groups of people whose ‘characteristics’ it deems ‘morally repugnant’. The Law Commission’s use of the word ‘characteristics’ (rather than ‘behaviours’) is revealing. In my response, I pointedly made the claim that making a clear distinction – as the science does – between attraction and action, between who one is and what one has done, is characteristic of a civilised society and that failure to distinguish between non-offending paedophiles and child molesters leaves a society in the realm of prejudice. At the start of his 1969 television documentary series, Civilisation, art historian Kenneth Clark refrains from attempting to define civilisation in abstract terms, instead offering his viewers a cliché: ‘I can recognise it when I see it’. If a cliché will suffice for a scholar as erudite and eloquent as Clark, then I feel a little more at ease suggesting that I can recognise the most conspicuous instances of civilisation’s absence; in the final analysis, the Law Commission has seen fit to tread the well-trodden path of the uncivilised by stooping to prejudice, which is precisely what hate crime legislation is designed to combat.
Prior to offering that cliché in lieu of a definition, Clark avers that civilisation is to be found where ‘man [shows] himself to be an intelligent, creative, orderly and compassionate animal’. Much as the Law Commission’s resistance to logic and repugnance at paedophiles’ ‘characteristics’ leave it failing to satisfy at least two of these criteria, modern sensibilities will be more naturally attuned to the gender bias that inheres in Clark’s formulation. It is instructive to consider that all cultures tend to fall into the trap of thinking that their mores, views and values and the selective focus of their compassion are beyond reproach. Clark cites the abolition of slavery as an example of ‘awakened conscience’ and yet remains blind to the misogyny of his own time and milieu. Similarly, by refusing to distinguish between who one is and what one has done, the Law Commission has dispensed with both logic and compassion in the name of preserving the integrity of a culturally sanctioned narrative. The message to MAPs and to those whose sexualities cannot neatly be shoehorned into the categories of heterosexual, bisexual, homosexual and (now) asexual, is, I am afraid, a rather invidious one: your ‘characteristics’ are repugnant and you do not deserve protection.
So, can the Law Commission be forgiven on the grounds of cultural relativism? In my view, no. You see, the Law Commission’s transgression is more deplorable than a blinkered but ultimately unintended slight to the dignity of individual human beings, of people sharing the characteristic to which an offender’s hostility is directed and of the wider community to which a victim belongs. The Law Commission has shown itself willing to wittingly turn a blind eye to the distinction between attraction and action. If its conflation of paedophiles and child molesters were born of ignorance, it would perhaps be understandable (if intellectually remiss), but my submission was designed to remove the excuse of ignorance. Without that excuse, the Law Commission’s aversion to paedophiles’ ‘characteristics’ rather than child molesters’ criminal actions closely resembles the kind of bigoted hostility that underlies hate crime. It is right to highlight this hypocrisy and challenge what Mason terms ‘the arbitrary and politicized hierarchy of victimhood’ (p. 175).
My message to decent human beings who, through no choice or fault of their own, happen to find minors attractive, is this: your ‘characteristics’ are not in and of themselves morally repugnant, you have a justifiable claim to affirmation, equality and respect, your plight has not gone unnoticed and a time of awakened conscience will come.
WHY DIDN’T THEY SHOOT THIS PHILISTINE?
The toppling of Bristol slave-trader Edward Colston’s statue made for an exhilaratingly dramatic breakthrough with the most shameful aspect of Britain’s past.
Similar sentiments do not apply, for Heretic TOC, at least, to the attack a few days ago on Eric Gill’s Prospero and Ariel, the best known of this great artist’s sculptured group of figures completed in 1932 for the BBC’s Broadcasting House in London. This act of vandalism was carried out by a hammer-wielding philistine who also etched a hate-speech message: “Noose all paedos”.
By his own account, in his diaries, Gill was indeed a MAP who had sexual relations with his own daughters – one of whom your blog host attempted to meet after a chance encounter in the early 1990s brought me into contact with a relative of Gill’s who told me this daughter, by this time an old lady, still had fond memories of her distinguished father. As you may imagine, I was keen to find out more, directly from her. But the move was blocked. She might be upset, I was told, to have the past raked over after all these years. So she had to be “protected” from me. Hence silenced. And censored.
Appallingly, the police seemed in no hurry to protect Gill’s art when it came under attack. The rampant iconoclast was allowed to pursue his destructive project for over four hours before finally he was escorted off when a fire service platform was hoisted.
Far too feeble. The bastard should have been shot. Literally. Police on arrival should have shouted one of their signature blood-curling oaths, warning him of dire consequences if he failed to come down immediately, which he could have done using the ordinary ladder, still in place, which he had apparently used to get up to the location in question. The sculpture is set just one storey above the doors of the grand façade.
Lest anyone feel my reaction is a bit extreme, the shot need not have been lethal. A pellet or two from an airgun would have made life sufficiently uncomfortable for him to retreat or fall – the latter might have seen him break a leg, but his obviously thick skull would have been beyond any possibility of damage.
Less emotively, it should not go without remark that this was an attack on a work by Gill, not a statue of him. Whatever one might feel about the man and his morals is arguably completely irrelevant to the quality and status of his art. If all the creative output of morally questionable artists, writers, musicians, etc., were to be destroyed, we would be left with absolutely nothing. Because nobody is perfect.
Just to take the case of Gill himself a little further, he was a typographer as well as a sculptor, famed for his Gill Sans typeface, used by signage for British Railways, and in the classic design system of Penguin Books. Should we give up rail travel and reading Penguins on this account, until all vestiges of this heritage are expunged and excoriated? *** A more balanced and insightful view of the man and his art is concisely expressed in an article by his biographer Fiona MacCarthy. As for her book, it is superb.
*** [ADDED MONDAY 17 JAN] The question was rhetorical. I had no idea my attempt here at reductio ad absurdum would be promptly rendered null and void. Amazingly, appallingly, my modestly satirical remark had been overtaken by life even before the metaphorical ink was dry on this electronic blog. I now see that in Saturday’s copy of The Times, before the blog appeared on the Sunday, there was a story headed “Save the Children chiefs stop using font designed by paedophile artist”. The report begins:
Save the Children is dropping from its branding a font originally designed by Eric Gill, the paedophile artist who abused his young daughters.
The child welfare charity said it would end its use of the Gill Sans typeface, created by Gill in 1928 and which features in the Save the Children logo.
The organisation said the decision was made last year, meaning it preceded events this week when one of Gill’s most important works, a statue at Broadcasting House, was damaged by a hammer-wielding protester.
BBC HAS YET TO CANCEL JIMMY SAVILE
Attacking Gill’s sculpture at the BBC HQ wouldn’t do any good, according to one social media wit, because “They will only replace it with a statue of Jimmy Savile having just produced a BBC drama starring Steve Coogan, glorifying his putrid life!!
The reference was to The Reckoning, a four-part TV drama series written by Neil McKay, due to air this year. But I hardly think the BBC will be “glorifying” Savile, whose long involvement with the corporation via programmes including Top of the Pops and Jim’ll Fix It led ultimately to a catastrophic scandal for them. McKay made it very plain in an interview with the Radio Times that there would be a significant input from “many people whose lives were impacted by Savile to ensure their stories are told with sensitivity and respect”.
My worry is not glorification but yet another round of essentially baseless vilification.
Let me be quite clear. There are grounds for believing Savile was an oddball and a philanderer. At times he seemed almost to condemn himself out of this own mouth with cynical remarks about life in general and his own freewheeling behaviour.
But that does not make him a criminal, and although hundreds of allegations of sexual assault were made against him, he was never convicted of any such crime. Even as the scandal broke after his death, there were some who had reason to believe that a mountain was being made out of a molehill, in which Savile’s publicly flirtatious style with girls, in his shows and elsewhere, had become an easy target for exaggeration into something more sinister.
Among the doubters was retired lawyer Susanne Cameron-Blackie, who used to blog as Anna Raccoon. Her well argued scepticism, based on being an insider to information from Duncroft School, a girls’ residential approved school that had been the source of the early allegations that sparked off the scandal, was taken up in several Heretic TOC articles, including this one. Others, too, were impressed by her revelations, leading to research funded by the Economic and Social Research Council on the origins of the scandal. The work, based primarily on interviews with former pupils and staff members from Duncroft, resulted in findings published in the International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy in 2018. In the understated words of the report’s Abstract, by academics from Edinburgh and Oxford universities, “The research provides a very different picture of Duncroft and the contemporary policy context to that presented in media accounts.” In the body of the report, they say:
Accounts of the girls’ sexual experience and behaviour indicate a degree of agency in sexual activity, which challenges the current orthodoxy of them as victims of predatory adults. The former residents we spoke to did not regard themselves as victims and any sexual activity they might have entered into was considered to have been consensual and in some cases initiated by the girls (although none claimed to have any knowledge of Savile being involved sexually with girls at Duncroft).
a new survey “revealed that perceptions of child sex offenders maintained by the Australian public are negative and stereotype-driven, and levels of knowledge regarding child sex offenders and paedophilia are distinctly inaccurate. However, it was also found that respondents with higher levels of education and those who reported having a close relationship with someone who has perpetrated a sexual offence against a child maintained less punitive perceptions.”
Im living in such enlightened times where i get called
n*ncefor finding someone even of 19 attractive. yet say anything like, for example, what jk rowling said, and get lambasted..
The Free Speech Tube is down… Does anyone have an idea whether it will reappear, and if yes, under what name?
It is OK at this moment as I write, at this link: https://www.freespeechtube.org/
I see that latest personal news (17 Feb) has been posted in a short vid from Mexico by Nelson Maatman (currently facing trial in the Netherlands).
Thanks, Tom, now it works for me, too… Must have been a temporary technical glitch on my side.
Yes, bearing in mind how often, and how eagerly, even the most meticulously terms-of-service-and-law-abiding Paedosphere websides taken down by hosts if becoming a topic of hostile public attention, one can understand my certain anxiety, can’t one?
>one can understand my certain anxiety
It is down again.. i am a bit concerned..
I do need to say this much, apropos the now terminated by tom topic: that the current spreading awareness, among more and more disillusioned people all the time, that an official story – yea even one propagated worldwide by one major governmental body after another – can be wrong, wrong, wrong, should surely give us heretics some distinct measure of hope?
Will the likes of Justin Trudeau call for the enactment of Emergency Measures when the first voice of a supremely sensual child is clearly heard through the maddened din of fear, desire and denial?
‘The ultimate, hidden truth of the world is that it is something that we make, and could just as easily make differently.’ – David Graeber
I’d argue that it isn’t easy to make the truth differently, it certainly is possible, and largely depends on consuming less MSM and creating more of one’s own. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and most media platforms are over regulated and allowed only to offer media and ‘news’ within set parameters.
Having for some time been a connoisseur of beautiful little girls on Instagram, it strikes me that the Metaverse will open up a whole new world, with virtual reality child models a near certainty.
At this point I have to ask, with the Zen master Rinzai: “what is lacking at this moment?” Meaning the historical continuum we find ourselves in.
Expect serious opposition to this from the usual mainstream sources, however. As I’ve noted before, there are numerous efforts by people of every political stripe actively attempting to sniff out and prevent adults from watching legal videos of kid models or kids frolicking on the beach in swimsuits etc. Simply watching such videos for reasons possibly pertaining to “sexual gratification” or even aesthetic gratification are considered heinous and disgusting acts that have to be stopped, even at the expense of what amounts to policies of thought control and witch hunting.
It has also become a popular form of virtue signaling for anyone owning a video channel to create an entire video decrying “perverts” who watch these legal videos. Our feelings are considered a severe violation of the sacred Western concept of childhood innocence.
Yes, you’re probably right that there is a lot of (misguided) opposition, but for me a granny watching a child on social media for reasons pertaining to the joy of youth and childhood, and a MAP watching the same for aesthetic pleasure, are morally equal. We might argue that the overall intention is different, but really it isn’t, and moral judgements cannot arbitrarily be made about our subjective response to perfectly neutral stimuli.
Also, there is the fact that children’s presence on social media is in large part parent-driven; mostly it’s parents posting the pictures and videos for public consumption. So presumably these same haters think the parents are perverts too.
Finally, “childhood innocence” is a fairly recent invention in the history of the West. Although the Gospel mentions “little children” as especially blessed, in reality childhood in its modern understanding was not properly established until the eighteenth century.
You know how modern feminism had popularized the term “the male gaze” in the past few years? It’s a concept that hasn’t really caught on despite repeated attempts to decry men as a group for engaging in this behaviour.
It’s long since become clear that the draconian laws surrounding depiction of childhood sexuality have evolved from the innitial excuse of protecting children from feeling exploited, a relatable reason, into explicit anti pedophilia laws aiming to deny people attracted to minors sexual relief, or gratification.
This is why in some countries, completely legal and nonsexual pictures can be legally defined as a count of possessing child porn during a trial, if it can be assumed with good reason that the defendant used or wanted to use the media for sexual purposes.
I think that there is a good chance we could at some point see legislation criminalizing the use of legal, nonsexual material featuring minors in magazines such as Visions of Alice, with the reasoning being that any talk about minor attraction from a non-criminal PoV is deemed to have innate sexual connotations, and that the depictions used alongside such texts would inherit these implicit sexual notions, thereby sexualizing them.
My experience of the Police is that they don’t mind, or at least don’t legally enforce, pictures of children in swimwear or otherwise legally depicted.
Not currently, no. But I still would not want to encounter a police officer who got pissed off at me on a personal level if he/she found me looking at such legal pics or vids and felt I was doing so for “gratification.” They may not arrest you on the spot, but they have resources to make your life very miserable if so inclined. They might even try to set you up for entrapment.
I remember a time when it was the norm for heterosexual men to admit (at least within the confines of their social circles) to finding schoolgirls as young as 12 and 13 attractive and for builders on scaffolding to wolf-whistle at girls that age. Bear in mind that the average age of menarche was a little higher back then than it is now, so this attraction/attention wasn’t just focused on underage girls who were already firmly in puberty but included older prepubescent girls. Much as I’m glad that feminist influence has made male behaviour towards women and girls more civilised (reducing wolf-whistling and other forms of harassment), I can’t help noticing that men are now extremely reluctant to admit to attraction to adolescent girls, despite this probably being more ‘normal’ attraction than attraction to women in their late 20s and beyond. So no, I think the male gaze is very much something that is being policed to an extent that prevents men from admitting to biologically valid attraction.
It is, of course, a natural human instinct to police other people’s sexual expression and conquests, so it would naive to assume that the feminist project would end with the pendulum between patriarchy and matriarchy settled perfectly in the middle. Just as men slut-shamed women (and women internalised this and used it against each other), women are paedo-shaming men (and men have internalised this and using it against each other).
I can basically agree with what you said in the first paragraph, but try getting even the average teleiophile to agree with it or listen to any reasoning along these lines.
As for your second, the parents are not considered “perverts” if they allege (true or otherwise) a lack of awareness that this viewing was going on and proclaim a determination to find ways to stop unauthorized adults from watching such videos on their channels. In fact, many parents have loudly decreed that they have removed all such videos from their channels or set them to “private,” and will no longer upload videos with their kids displaying summer fashion or appearing in swimsuits for public viewing.
As for your third, what you say is very true. But would you expect the average teleiophile to either acknowledge that or care? Most people simply take the ahistoric view that conceptions of childhood and the way values and family life are structured today to have been like this since the dawn of humanity and that it always will be, as if written into the framework of the universe like the law of gravity.
My experience is that parents are generally happy to showcase their children, with public settings? There are plenty with this attitude. And one can only imagine that a virtual reality equivalent of an “Instagram Reel” will be absolutely awesome.
Many parents are changing their tune if they find out that the likes of us are viewing certain videos of theirs. It’s a popular form of virtue signaling to distance their kids from the “gaze” of MAPs, even from a vast distance via video monitor.
I think you haven’t been around long enough to remember the international incident involving Linden Labs’ Second Life, a more primitive precursor to Metaverse from almost 2 decades ago, and an underage player having their avatar virtually raped by a hacker.
This happened in the early 00s, not long after the game’s launch. The parents of the minor(located in Germany, so outside of the US) in cooperation with child protection agencies sued the company and actually won their case, prompting LindenLabs to ban any and all sexual depictions and interactions of avatars that looked like minors in the game.
Over the years, this rule has been more and more strictly enforced, to the point where today, the company has employed a large number of moderators and admins that look through private lots(game spaces that aren’t able to be entered without invite) for any signs of ‘ageplay’ going on. They actively try to entrap people playing child avatars and suspicious adults, which hang out in areas popular with child characters. Text chats including sexualized description involving minors, even if the conversation is between players both using adult avatars, is also a bannable offense. Lindenlabs has even hired people to comb through forums that host virtual cp/lolicon for screenshots of second life players to analyze.
There is still an ‘ageplay’ community in the game, but its members are extremely secretive about their actions, posting screenshots and videos of their sessions only after making absolutely sure no identifying details are visible in the media.
This hacking incident also sparked a media campaign all across the US and europe about how Second Life has become the newest pedophile refuge and needs to be dealt with.
That was in 2006. Imagine such a scandal in today’s society with high definition child model avatars being engaged in sexual activities, or even just being nude, really.
Ok but “sexual” or “nude” children are criminally sanctioned; not so children in Summer fashion or swimwear. This is what I meant by the future of VR child modelling.
I think what Densetsu might have meant was: How long before it gets to that point? As I have noted more than once, there are already legions of parents and YouTube channel owners of every stripe and topic vowing to unite to locate adults on social media who are simply viewing videos of underagers in summer fashion and swimwear etc. for the purpose of admiring them “in that way” and stop their ability to do so. Even simply doing this is considered a heinous act of “abuse”.
Yes, that is precisely what I meant. I recently read through the issues of VoA, and what struck me as potentially risky is the use of creative commons photos of children being used in the context of a MAP focused publication. Risky in the sense that while not illegal now, it wouldn’t take much for governments to criminalize a practice like that.
All it takes is a “champion case”, let’s say a mother of a girl who has been used in that magazine, and who lets herself get dragged through the media to garner attention for trying to stop evil people from using the likeness of their little angel to propagandize for their sick and twisted plans!
It wouldn’t matter what the opinion of anyone involved in the creation of the picture is, or whether it is licensed under CC. Hell, even if the mother wasn’t part of the case and would go on record stating she doesn’t think any one people should be banned from using the picture of her daughter, the media would just ignore her.
Omit dissenting voices while putting those you agree with on a pedestal. I’ve mentioned in another post that certain European countries have already passed laws putting the mere mention of neutral or pro intergen relationship arguments into a legal grey area. I don’t believe a Metaverse version of an innocent, nonsexual child modeling event, where the players behind the minor avatars are adults, wouldn’t already be cause for concern when it comes to potential future restrictions of freedom of speech.
Ok. I don’t necessarily have in mind “live child avatars” in the metaverse, but rather some form of prescripted virtual reality performance, the way Instagram Reels works today. The girls are so beautiful that I can only imagine the virtual reality version will be breathtaking. And I don’t see any fundamental limits on this freedom of expression – again, it is parent-driven, and unlike Dissident I don’t see parents scrambling for the “private” option but rather happy to showcase their children for general public consumption. I think there has been quite a liberal change of attitudes in some quarters.
All you need do to see this is be a regular viewer of YouTube videos of just about any vaguely political topic. You will come across videos of parents claiming to be very concerned about MAPs viewing certain videos of theirs and videos of other individuals proclaiming this to be a horrific state of affairs that needs to be stopped.
Parents do like showcasing their kids. But currently, they are under immense social pressure and personal indoctrination to draw the line with us.
Ok, I wasn’t properly aware of this. Thanks for pointing it out.
I think you may be overstating the case somewhat. Adults who watch child models on Instagram are completely invisible to the user account unless they follow or like. I don’t think it’s insidious either but rather a completely innocent appreciation of the beauty of the child (why do you think bikini shots of children get double or triple the amount of likes?) Parents want to promote their children and it’s a completely innocent “social transaction”.
The idea that it’s considered “abuse” to view children on social media is a bit daft in my opinion, Dissident. I don’t think most parents would hold this view, or else they wouldn’t promote their children to start with. You must be referring to some fringe mentality who view any attraction or aesthetic appreciation of children as a “gross violation”, which is indeed an extreme and uncommon viewpoint. The fringe figures may shout the loudest, but if parents didn’t want their children to be seen and admired they have an easy option: delete their accounts.
It’s the ultimate hypocrisy for these fringe groups to claim a violation when the whole exercise for the parent is to boost the child’s confidence and have them seen as beautiful and desirable. There’s nothing wrong with this, in fact it’s completely innocent and even rather sweet.
The thing is, a lot of MAPs are following or “liking” Instagram accounts featuring models they admire, so their feed regularly receives updates. On YouTube it has indeed been discovered that videos featuring girls in swimwear or summer clothing hauls have double to triple the usual amount of viewing, and this is precisely what has caused the uproar I mentioned. It has been discovered that you can use viewer algorithms to track certain accounts to find out who is viewing such vids and to surmise why. I don’t think I’m overstating anything when I say that there is a backlash against us watching such legal vids. Parents are most definitely not indifferent to it.
I agree with you that considering this a form of “abuse” is daft, but try telling that to people in the current moral panic. Some on Instagram that do promote a modeling career for their kids often warn against any signs of “inappropriate” viewing. They do want them to be seen and admired, but not “in that way.” Is this hypocritical when it comes to girl models depicted in such attire? Yes, but contradictions are rife in this type of emotionalistic thinking.
As for your final paragraph, I guess that depends on how you define “innocent” and “sweet.” I do not think it’s inherently immoral to admire the beauty of young girls, especially when they are geared towards looking beautiful on purpose, on any level, including fantasizing as you wish while keeping it to yourself and not making posts about it in their comments section to identify yourself as doing so. However, that is not the way parents are conditioned to see it, and there are people with the “savior complex” all over social media.
Yes, it is certainly emotionalistic thinking, and also they’re fighting a straw man, because MAPs don’t mean any harm in respectfully appreciating the beauty of children.
Of course it’s not immoral to admire beauty, lol, it would be a very strange world if this was so. Maybe some people are leaving grossly sexualising comments? Some MAPs are uncouth and inconsiderate, but still, I suspect they don’t mean any harm.
There are indeed a few MAPs here and there who are uncouth and inconsiderate, and foolishly leave remarks like, “You are hot!” or “You look really sexy in those tight shorts!” and occasionally worse. I too do not think they mean any harm, but again, we both know that it’s incredibly foolish to expect parents and casual teleiophile viewers to find such comments harmless or inoffensive in the current moral climate. Finding these young models attractive as is clearly intended by the photoshoots (no matter what the parents say) is one thing; but publicly acknowledging it, especially in crude fashion, is another thing entirely. Parents will also be pressured into coming down on this sort of thing, especially if they do not want the youth modeling industry, such as it currently exists, to come under fire before it can make a proper comeback.
To make matters worse, you will run across genuine MAPs in our community who actually defend this type of behavior, using rationales like, “Well, MAPs are attracted to kids, right? So what is wrong with expressing it? So what if they use language like that? You can’t expect every MAP to be as articulate as you are!” Yes, seriously. These types of MAPs typically detest the activists in our community, believing it’s futile in trying to improve our condition in society, and see us as accomplishing nothing but spoiling the right of MAPs to “be themselves” and to have at least some measure of fun in a world so hostile to us. And if I point out how much such crude public behavior is hurting us, I am often told something like, “Well, so what? They’re gonna come for us eventually anyway!”
Also, let us not forget that such crude and graphically sexual comments are more often made by Internet trolls who are just trying to get a rise out of the account’s administrators. They are mostly not actually MAPs, but the public is not interested in making the distinction, since they do not care about correcting the damage done to the collective rep of real MAPs by trolls. In one sense, the trolls are doing them a favor by giving them an excuse to come down harder on genuine MAPs as well as the youth modeling industry in general. So, antis and moral crusaders actually consider it to their advantage not to acknowledge the troll factor.
Yes, well explained, thanks. See my earlier comment “Beauty is of course one of the…” below.
Some “moral crusaders” may comment: “well there is a difference between finding beauty and crudely sexualising a child”.
I suspect it is more a matter of degree of sophistication in the individual. Of course we may find a child sexually desirable, but this is something that society doesn’t accept and understand, and society always has to interject “abuse” into this narrative. But there are many layers to this, and we can also appreciate the sheer beauty of the individual, in the way Marilyn Monroe is venerated (no doubt she is also crudely sexualised too).
In an ideal world MAPs who are less articulate or “high-feeling” may wish to verbalise a basic sexual attraction, as opposed to trying to see the beauty and excellence in the child. We all as MAPs feel a sexual attraction but it is about what we choose to focus on, and civilised values. Instagram I think is specially geared towards seeing aesthetic beauty in the human form, and “trolls” may spoil this with unwanted comments or even comments which seem shocking to the sense of public decency. The truth is it’s quite an innocent and obvious thing to think a child is “hot” but on Instagram we’re best keeping it to ourselves. Some people don’t have that mental filter though.
But something almost everyone feels is that children are beautiful, so this is common ground. And when I say beautiful, I mean the response to my heart and mind is one of veneration, deep respect, and wonder at their astonishing graces. I feel their beauty deeply. And this often overwhelms my sense of sexual desire. But I don’t even want to comment “you are beautiful” in case a comment by an adult male may seem contextually wrong. Now is not the time. Whether deliberate trolling or clumsy expression of attraction, I think leaving comments can be problematic to the wider goal of MAPs gaining acceptance. However I also don’t see a danger in child-focused accounts disappearing as that particular cat has been let out of the bag now in a permanent fashion, and also there are so many of them, that for every one that switches to private, five will spring up to take its place.
Now this is the Dissident at work i surely admire.. A problem quite perfectly dissected and outlined..
Even playing perfectly, MAPs would be easily defeated by the adversary – censorship would still continue and they’d still come for us, as noted by your strawman opponents. This shows the appeasement strategy cannot work, not that activism is necessarily futile.
Beauty is of course one of the transcendental goods, along with Truth and Goodness, and one should NEVER feel ashamed about what one finds beauty in, because it is an unalloyed good, deeply humanistic and humane, and demonstrates a good heart and soul.
If Saints can find beauty in a child, so can you. The haters are completely Pharisaical. Know that we have the moral high ground in this one.
Hehe…so if one’s aim is for the “high ground” then surely morality as such cannot possibly obtain? For after all, can we give any more plain and vital a meaning to ‘morality’ than reciprocity? But you may have just been ebullient there..
However, the ‘sexy’ can so easily trump tbe “beautiful” and in doing so allow the less-than-beautiful to emerge as wondrous in their own right. Your “good heart and soul” may well realise that sexy is precisely *their* key to wholeness and not ‘beauty”…
Sexuality is a powerful force but beauty, as the ultimate idealisation of that sexuality, is always more powerful. It’s a richer, deeper concept.
I do not like that kinda talk at all, ZT, for is it not all quite hopelessly haphazard? Shoving all these important distinctions – “powerful”, “richer”, “deeeper” etc – into the blender all at once in hopes of securing your hold on Planet Meaning?
Let us take “powerful” just for a start – do you really mean for us to remain forevermore in the thrall of power relations and still call ourselves paedo?
I suspect that what you might actually be, ZT, is but another childolater? One who hopes and prays that a “beauty” successfully casting his own features into the shadowed murk of ignominy will demonstrate that all is somehow right and properly adjusted with the world?
I do not see how any “map” worth his salt can proceed with the anticipation that any relationship could ever, ever flourish this way. Do we really believe that, given some day when any number of emancipated nymphs will rise like so many angels from their shackles, we will manage to serve them with anything less than a halfway-commensurate serving of our OWN beauty?
Not sure what you’re getting at here, but “child idolatry” isn’t a bad thing, lol. See Carl Jung on the Child Goddess for the mythopoetic origins of this.
I’m thinking of the cultural significance of children, not the nitty gritty of human relationships.
And I don’t ascribe to labels for my sexuality, if anything I’m just “heterosexual”, and happen to find female children beautiful and attractive.
Finally, beauty is obviously richer, deeper and more powerful than sexuality because it is uniquely a function of our human intelligence and appreciation, and not merely animal.
>Finally, beauty is obviously richer, deeper and more powerful than sexuality because it is uniquely a function of our human intelligence and appreciation, and not merely animal.
What makes you think animals have no sense of beauty?
I’d be very interested to know what it is that tends to make you believe they do, Tom? When i read what you said i thought of two things all at once – one, the seeming obliviousness of oh so many ‘good, obedient doggos’ to the appearance and habits etc of their masters, and two, an image of some noble hound sitting atop a rock in the wilderness seemingly taking in the splendour of the scene’ (emphasis on *scene*)
But you may well have other creatures in mind!
I would like to see what ZT has to say before offering any thoughts.
>I’d be very interested to know what it is that tends to make you believe they do, Tom?
Your question is addressed in the latter part of my reply to ZT, which I am just about to post on the new blog as a fresh item which should appear at the top of the page.
This is perhaps a contentious topic, as I once had a conversation at a wedding with a man who claimed “animal culture” is just as important as “human culture”, and who are we to say otherwise? I found this patently absurd as all the artistic and technological achievements of humans surely made their culture superior to animals’ – but he was adamant.
As for beauty, I think aesthetic or even artistic appreciation of beauty requires an advanced and rational mind, as animals are deeply wired to satisfying their natural desires, to eating and following sexual instincts, and they simply don’t have the mental capacity or ability for the concepts of the beautiful and sublime. Any “beauty” animals see will be closely tied to their reproductive instincts – I realise this is a blurry line, but humans have the ability to go that one step further and abstract from their survival instincts, and using the gift of a rational mind they can spiritualise or sublimate from their natural instincts and create what we might call the ideal of beauty – both as a concept and vehicle of the creative imagination.
Of course I believe in the Classical Greek designation of man as the “rational animal” that sets him apart – I am aware of postmodern attempts to blur the lines of human exceptionalism and see people as merely another animal. But I profoundly disagree.
And my point was that when I see a pretty little girl – yes I feel sexual desire whether rightly or wrongly according to the norms of our current society – but I am also at times overwhelmed by her charm and beauty, which produces in me a kind of awed silence. And I link this feeling to the spiritual faculty of man, as the Romantic poets might have imagined it (even Wordsworth wrote poems on the beauty of a little girl – see his Lucy Poems). And I think that an animal simply cannot aspire to this level of appreciation, subtlety and intelligence – and that although all mammals possess a prefrontal cortex, it is especially and perhaps uniquely developed in the human being.
Maybe slight exceptions can be made for parrots, simians or dolphins for example, but this would have to be investigated further, and it doesn’t lessen my belief as to human exceptionalism.
Thanks, ZT. Very interesting. I could easily dash off a quick reply that would give the essence of my response. However, these are deep waters and I feel I might be more persuasive (to others it not to you!) if I take my time. Unfortunately, I need to focus right now on my next blog, just in planning. Sorry to keep you waiting!
Hi ZT. I at last found some time this morning to draft a response to your points here. I will post in the comment space for the new blog as it will be more visible there now that we have moved on.
Well ZT, not only have you swiftly bypassed the very meat of my comment, which if you missed it is my ever pressing concern of making oneself lovely enough for intimacy with ‘the beautiful’ (something that, here in Japan thank God i have the opportunity from time to time to practise) but you’ve gone straight for the execrable artifice of. C G Jung, no less. Eeeek!
Beauty, it should never be forgotten, is far from being just some “function of our intelligence and appreciation”. The constantly innovating effort to attain beauty in one’s person is a widely distributed feature of modern behaviour, and subject to a wide variety of mimetic effects, denials as well as mimicries, proliferating differences in flight from menaced homogeneities, from putative hegemonies..
Beauty has a value established in, traded on, the market.
Dating experts know that a man doesn’t have to be handsome to get laid – it matters much less than beauty matters for women (hence the female obsession with makeup and cosmetics).
For men, factors such as confidence, wealth, success, intelligence, or even niceness matter more.
In other words, the female brain is not wired to singularly pursue handsomeness in the way the male brain singularly pursues beauty.
I don’t know how this works in homosexual attraction.
To be frank ZT, this is a string of thought-terminating clichés whose overriding purpose is to simply deny our fundamentally mimetic natures, to deny the dominant, never-ending role that *mediation* plays in any human community, and so on. The fond belief that milllions and millions of “individually hard-wired” brains by some sort of miracle, no less, JUST HAPPEN TO converge/coincide on the shared significance of something, this belief that blissfully fails to ask itself how the medium by which any meaning may be universally *shared* could ever be found *located* somewhere in the folds of an jndividual brain….
Truly the *mensonge romantique* will never die,
Curious methinks that you cannot avoid recourse to this word ‘innocent’ here, even when you apparently do not wish to burden any child with the responsibility to deliver ‘purity’. The inescapable corollary, for is it not, that any sexual actvity is therefore somehow “guilty”? Or perhaps, ZT, in all your hosannas to the ‘aesthetic’ sweetness and light of small beings you are closer to worshipping the ideal of the Romantic child than your heretical alignments would otherwise suggest?
Actually I love the idea of the Romantic child – I love to idealise the child.
But that doesn’t mean I deny I have a sexual attraction – it is just about what I choose to emphasise in my outward attitude.
I believe in courtesy and propriety and good manners. I think it’s important for men to act like gentlemen. If I fancy a child (or a woman) I’m careful in how I deal with this.
“Sexual activity” isn’t even a legal possibility, so it remains entirely in the abstract. Maybe one day we will be able to readdress that question.
Comment from Financial Times that would seem to bear out ZT’s assessment of an irresistible rising force…?
***A VERY IMPORTANT MESSAGE: NORBERT DE JONGE AND THE FREE SPEECH TUBE NEED HELP***
Probably everyone here is familiar with the Free Speech Tube,
an informative website and community providing a lot of valuable materials on research and activism in the area of intergenerational sexuality (as well as many other controversial topics), created and maintained by Norbert de Jonge.
The problem is, the hosting company of the website is no willing to provide its services to Norbert. Therefore, he needs to find a new one, preferably a non-European-Union one (because of persecution from the Dutch authorities to which Norbert is subjected; you can find more info in his account’s materials on the Free Speech Tube itself):
So, I ask:
1) Tom, your blog is hosted by a British company, I suppose? Or not? If yes, the Great Britain no longer being an EU member now, you may propose this company to Norbert.
2) Is anyone aware which hosting companies are providing their services to Visions of Alice, GirlChat, BoyChat, NAMbLA, IPCE etc.? If they are outside of the EU (say, in the USA…), you may propose them to Norbert as well.
Anyway, I hope someone will come forward with something to help Norbert and the Free Speech Tube.
P.S. To contact Norbert, look here:
Thanks for taking the trouble to go into this problem in some detail, Explorer.
Norbert has been in contact with me and relevant other parties. Probably not a good idea to go publicly here into details of discussions on hosting but I might carry an appeal for tech and other help (if necessary) along with my next blog. I’ll be guided by any further input from Norbert.
Thanks for your efforts, Tom! I’m glad that the Free Speech Tube has a future – losing it would have been truly sad…
Norbert’s own future is to be concerned about, too, however: as far as I know, he may be sentenced to a year in prison, for his 100% peaceful and 100% legal activism.
So much for the Western supposed “rule of law”…
UK seems the worst choice for a host provider. The UK does not have the constitutional protection of free speech of the USA, and with Brexit it will rather free itself from any European rules concerning human rights. Its rules and regulations concerning “obscenity” are the worst in the Western world, what is legal in other countries can be prosecuted in the UK.
In practical terms, consider the case of Julian Assange, the jailing of Craig Murray, and more specifically, the fate of the UK provider of Pigtails in Paint and TOC’s imprisonment for “conspiracy to corrupt public morality,” and you will understand that “free speech” is not always welcome in the UK.
Yes, that was 40 years ago and since then things have not improved – quite the opposite!
Someone below was asking about anthropological sources to do with intergen issues / young people’s sexuality. Here’s something I just stumbled across.
George Devereux, “insitutionalized homosexuality of the mohave indians,” in human biology, 9, 1937. Open access pdf can be found by searching the title or clicking here:
Doesn’t sound perfect but does sound a lot freer and playful…
I know Tom an anthropologist previously unknown to me in his 2018 “Childhood Innocence is not Ideal” paper: “The Muria people of Bastar, in central India, provide just such an example. Anthropologist Verrier Elwin described the elaborate sexual apprenticeship children have, which takes place principally in a special house for the young, known as the ghotul.” I wonder if these are helpful?
In 1937 the anthropologist Walter Cline wrote the first detailed ethnography of the Siwans in which he noted: “All normal Siwan men and boys practice sodomy…among themselves the natives are not ashamed of this; they talk about it as openly as they talk about love of women, and many if not most of their fights arise from homosexual competition….Prominent men lend their sons to each other. All Siwans know the matings which have taken place among their sheiks and their sheiks’ sons….Most of the boys used in sodomy are between twelve and eighteen years of age.”[49 – Cline, Walter (1936). Notes on the People of Siwa. Menasha, Wisconsin: George Banta Publishing Co. p. 43.]
After an expedition to Siwa, the archaeologist Count Byron de Prorok reported in 1937 “an enthusiasm [that] could not have been approached even in Sodom… Homosexuality was not merely rampant, it was raging…Every dancer had his boyfriend…[and] chiefs had harems of boys”.[50 – De Porok, Count Byron (1936). In Quest of Lost Worlds. New York: Dutton. p. 64.]
From boychatters quoting wiki https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Siwa_Oasis
Sadly, it seems Kershnar’s interview by Brain in a Vat has been removed a second time. They report it was removed the second time for the same reasons as the first: it “violates community guidelines.” We all know what that means. I wish I had gotten to see the video before it went down. This censorship is designed to create the false impression that there is only one legitimate view of this topic. Of course, every video accusing Kershnar of promoting the “views of Satan” are all still up.
Pretty maddening behaviour on the part of YouTube.
But you can still listen to the podcast here:
(Scroll down to ‘Previous episodes’.)
Par for the course with Youtube. Try FST :
Yes, listen to the podcast. The audio is actually all you need (the visual doesn’t add anything significant).
Not to distract from the ongoing Stephen Kershnar controversy, but I’ve just stumbled on something of interest.
The Man They Called a Monster: Forty Years On
Archives of sexual behavior, 1-12, 2021
Abstract: “In 1981, Cassell Australia published Paul Wilson’s monograph, The Man They Called a Monster: Sexual Experiences Between Men and Boys. In his book, Wilson examines the case of Clarence Osborne, an older man who had “sexual relations” with around 2500 boys and adolescents over a twenty-year period. He uses Osborne’s life to reflect on broader questions of pedophilia in Australian society. In this commentary, I revisit the book to consider its contemporary legacy 40 years on. According to Google Scholar, at the time of this writing, the book has only 50 citations, yet it is a book that continues to live on in our cultural imaginary for a variety of reasons, and in no small part due to its author, Paul Wilson, and his remarkably similar interaction with the criminal justice system in the decades since its publication. This commentary explores the historical context in which the book was written, pays particular attention to the changing social attitudes towards pedophilia, the recent controversy pertaining to its author, and discourses surrounding the sexual autonomy of minors.”
Haven’t read the article yet. I hope it’ll provide a nice historical retrospective and some perhaps some new info about the book’s context.
And of course I’m glad to hear in the comments below that Stephen Kershnar is getting some support.
I’ve no had a chance to look over the “40 years on” article about Wilson and generally I lament the vague use of legal terms “sexual assault” and “child sexual abuse”. I agree with the author’s suggestion that he [Thorneycroft] is “unfair” to Wilson. Though, in my view, he’s unfair because he chides Wilson without going into detail about his alleged illegal erotic encounters. Thorneycroft could simply be repeating the media’s vague language, resulting in no one knowing what specific activity was alleged, even while we’re told Wilson “maintains his innocence”. As always we’re forced to did deeper and read more if we want to get to the details…
There’s a silver-lining, however. Thorneycroft is interested in issues of sex and disability, penning some recent articles in Porn Studies. Of interest to some of us may be his article “Crippling Incest Discourse(s)”, published in Sexuality and Culture in 2021. See link here https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s12119-021-09856-3
Abstract: “In this article, I chart the ableist presuppositions associated with the incest taboo. Specifically, I interrogate two ways in which incest is deployed as a particular form of knowledge (and consequently prohibited because of such knowledges): first, the knowledge that incest creates inbreeding and attendant ‘abnormalities’; and second, that incest is a threat to the sanctity of the family. I challenge both these assertions on the basis that they are grounded in ableist (and heteronormative) ways of thinking. While I dwell on the theoretical aspects of this analysis, in the second half of the article I move to explore the ethico-political dimensions that arise from such theorisations. Drawing on the intersections of crip/queer theory, I wonder whether we should ‘fuck the future’, or whether we should imagine a queer/crip future that is not yet here. Such choices, I hope, will help us inform our understandings and approaches towards incestuous practices.”
I’ve just last night discovered Stephen Kershnar as being the next subject of scandal. See New York Post, 1 day ago: https://nypost.com/2022/02/02/suny-fredonia-professor-under-review-for-video-of-him-supporting-pedophilia/
It’s Allyn Walker all over again! The same right wing twitter channel “libs of tiktok” is the one that started the Walker controversy; now they’re at it again with Kershnar. This time though, Kershnar doesn’t have the support of the MAP-stigma research community. To my knowledge, he’s kept himself isolated away from sex researchers and research communities that address MAP/Q people, intergenerational issues. Unwise. We need to build community support and stand together, defend each other. He might well get some support from free speech /academic freedom defenders. I would think the best bet would be Michael Bailey’s SexNet. Has anyone shared about it there?
> I would think the best bet would be Michael Bailey’s SexNet. Has anyone shared about it there?
Yes, Mike Bailey himself! After that, I posted on the thread Mike had started, speaking of the logical rigour of Kershar’s work. Just Mike and me so far.
Just need to say i reject the idea that any of this can possibly be about “logic”. That is to say, an unbroken command-structure in which all there can ever be is an endless string of questions falling in the direction of either “right” or “wrong “yes” or “no”. .
That is the digital utopia.
If you have a better notion of what you mean by “logical rigour” then please i do need to hear it now.
Logic does not dictate morality. It is simply a tool for clear, internally coherent thinking. But that alone makes it extremely useful and important in my view.
It would be great to see what Bailey and you had to say about that matter, Tom! Is it possible to provide some excerpts, or is that against the forum rules?
Hi, Dissy. Mike Bailey has always been remarkably open and has no forum rules requiring secrecy.
Bailey’s post on Kershnar is by no means a sensational revelation though. He just posted a newspaper item along with some thoughts backing free speech on a whole range of topics, including interrogational torture.
I’ll just give the relevant first part, then my reply:
No one else contributed to this thread, perhaps inhibited by Mike’s first sentence.
Thanks, Tom! I would have grabbed the book on Amazon right away, but even the Kindle version is over 40 bucks American, and the print version is like twice that amount! Nevertheless, I encourage anyone here who can easily afford that book to buy a version of it ASAP, as who knows if Amazon will be compelled to drop it now that a lot of attention is being focused on Kershnar.
Save your money. I doubt you’d want to buy anything MAP related on Amazon, much less support their DRM, if you fear later censorship.
You still have your Protonmail, right?
Use the included free Proton VPN, chose a non-US server, then search for library genesis on duckduckgo.
Caitlin, I’m really weak on emojis! What does that one mean?
OK, it does look like a wink, but I thought there might be more to it.
As shown in his writings and in his interview with Thaddeus Russell, Kershnar’s views are much more radical than Walker’s, which will make the leadership of his university even more reluctant to give him the necessary support.
Good news! See letter linked below to the president of Kershnar’s university from The Academic Freedom Alliance.
The university’s obligation in the face of this controversy is to provide a forum in which ideas, however extreme or misguided they may be or seem to be, can be articulated, criticized, and fairly debated. A member of your faculty under such public scrutiny is likely to be targeted for abuse and threats, and the university’s responsibility is to shelter the faculty member from that harassment and not add to it….
There is no doubt that questions of sexuality and sexual morality are important ones. Academia should be a place where such questions can be boldly and honestly investigated. If a scholar’s analysis is mistaken, then it should be rebutted or ignored. But the scholar should not be driven from campus for challenging widely held beliefs or for reaching the wrong or unpopular conclusions.
Yes, that is good news. In the first of your quotes, I was especially gratified with their use of the phrase ‘or seem to be’ in the second line. If they had not included that, it would have sounded as if they had pre-judged that Kershnar’s ideas were extreme or misguided.
As a result of an appeal by the podcasters, the offending video has now been restored by YouTube, having previously been removed. I just watched it this morning. It is very good. In fact, Professor Kershnar defends adult-child sex so thoroughly, it is hard to know how he would justify, in his own terms, the statement some are attributing to him that it should remain illegal (a claim he does not make in the podcast).
>Professor Kershnar defends adult-child sex so thoroughly
Wow! I’ve read his book but clearly I’ll have to see this! Great free speech news from YouTube too.
I believe this is the video Stephen is referring to: https://youtu.be/QFrCHJJqETo
It seems edited in an odd way so I wanted to check if there’s something else you were referring to, Stephen?
I love that he criticizes David Benatar; brings up the practice of mother’s playing with the genitals of male babies in non-western cultures; and criticizes the “risk” paradigm. All very based. He’s clearly continued to refine his thinking; I would bet read more on the topic since his 2015 book. Nice to see. He wrote an article called “The Paradox of Consent” (2019) https://www.pdcnet.org/ijap/content/ijap_2019_0033_0002_0305_0318 which sounds pretty interesting.
>I believe this is the video Stephen is referring to: https://youtu.be/QFrCHJJqETo
It seems edited in an odd way so I wanted to check if there’s something else you were referring to, Stephen?
Yes, that’s the one. I didn’t notice any oddness in the editing. Was I missing something?
I was referring to the editing where the pauses where taken out. Looked a bit odd to me, though I always watch youtube on 1.25 speed anyways.
Nothing too crazy!
Some readers may be interested in the podcast linked below, in which two distinguished philosophers, one of them Jeff McMahan, Professor of Moral Philosophy at Oxford, discuss issues raised by the controversy. Unfortunately, McMahan hadn’t watched the Brain in a Vat podcast and his knowledge of paedophilia seems very sketchy to say the least. Nevertheless, we do get an interesting discussion of philosophers’ right to ‘think the unthinkable’.
So I’ve just watched the hour long philosophical discussion. I thought it was an interesting and rigorous philosophical debate, and many of the viewer comments on the video suggested people didn’t understand it or had basic emotive negative reactions. There was a little ad hominem too, “sick”, “professor pedo” etc, but a surprising number of users engaged with the debate philosophically and rationally. I think this is important and it is of course even more important that YouTube reinstated the video.
Although I did think the discussion (in the video itself) was generally very good, there was one notable omission. There was no mention of the enormous costs of criminalizing child-adult sex, both to adults and to children. There are benefits too, of course, such as the prevention of some harmful and unwanted contacts, but it is far from clear that they outweigh the costs. At any rate, that issue should have been considered.
The position on illegality was mentioned in a short apology by the hosts:
I strongly agree with this. The universities of the world are specifically for investigation into the human condition, in all it’s forms. Academics should indeed be sheltered from the perversity of mainstream dogma and the lunatics and fanatics who act like rabid dogs when presented with facts they have been educated to disagree with.
> Unwise. We need to build community support and stand together, defend each other.
I disagree. Or at least as far as who we stand together with. The very last people we should be aiming for in the respect of unity are mental health professionals. They are instruments of the state, and it’s structures of control and should be avoided.
Here is an article that I think will be of particular interest to several heretics here, both for what is said about scapegoating and also the postulated “mimetic” origins of desire.
I would be interested in any reactions:
“René Girard’s apocalypse is now”, Blake Smith, UnHerd, 1 Feb 2022
The link does not work.
Sorry. This should do it:
Yeah I have a take on this. It seems to me that “mimetic desire” intuitively makes a lot of sense, that we should choose to imitate others on a fundamental level – perhaps what Heidegger called the “they self”, meaning in essence the bad faith of conforming to a group.
Mimetic desire explains a lot of the social functioning of society, even though ultimately it is only an abstract theory and not a perfect fit for real world applications. But competitive cycles, both virtuous and violent, also explain the culture of shame and rejection I think, and this is closely tied to scapegoating. There are of course fundamental and deep psychological reasons why we need to “expiate the demons” of our own subconscious minds, and for many ordinary folk I believe the “menace of the paedophile” lies in part in a dangerous recognition of a possibility and potential in their own minds. Also it finds a useful “sacrificial victim” for expiating violence and promoting group cohesion – the strategy of every dictator and every populist society alike.
The problem is of course that the “paedophile” is so hopelessly convoluted as a concept – we might consider a related semantic field of “degenerate, beast, subhuman, animal”, while also dealing with the uncomfortable fact that the “minor attracted community”, as much as it can be said to exist, are perhaps in character “gentle, genteel, intelligent, nuanced, reasonable, rational, enlightened”, and these two realities simply do not square. The popular imagination cannot deal with the living reality of the minor attracted individual as anything but a demonic caricature. And this is at the heart of the scapegoating, for they have been marked out for sacrificial victimhood,
Similarly, mimetic attitude and value copy themselves like “memes” throughout society, and lead to a crushing conformity of thought and opinion. Mimesis only further pushes away marginalised groups – unless that is the favour of “wokeness” is bestowed upon them, and then there are spirals of mimetic violence between the right and the left. But the “decent, ordinary, minor attracted person” must be utterly erased as a possibility, because it does not fit any of the main competing societal narratives. And therefore it requires some successful “meme” of the “ordinary decent MAP” to gain exposure among the population, and the workings of mimesis should gain this idea an exponential validity. In principle. If someone would light the spark.
Hope this makes sense.
This is probably the best comment I’ve ever read on this subject, and could be the starting of a philosophical essay! I’ve got Girard’s book and will now look at it in a new light!
Thanks Caitlin, it’s kind of you to say so.
“Only an abstract theory and not a perfect fit for real world applications’? HA!
As if theory could ever come to us any way BUT by means of what did NOT automatically fit, be immersed in, the life-world!
All Girard seems to have done is taken some familiar facts, given them a fancy name (‘mimetic’) and linked them up with an ancient superstition (Christianity).
🙂 I’ll withhold further comment for the moment.
Stephen! That will not do! That is nothing less than your own superstition trying to ward off scary new tools for thought! You clearly have not even begun to tbink about all this yet – so help schme God!
So, if I’m ‘trying to ward off scary new tools for thought’, maybe you could calm my nerves by giving me a clear explanation of precisely what Girard’s original contribution consists in.
Sorry for the delayed reply! You cannot imagine how loaded the whole ‘issue’ of Girard is for a student of his student, Eric Gans! The terrific problem of the Girardans who do not wish to ‘soften’ the apocalyptic implications of his insight at all because that…that
might not lead directly to sacrifice anymore!
Thinking very hard for three days about how best to reply to you, Stephen, I am sure that in my excitement syntactic entanglements will ensue and my efforts will be gobbled up in vain – and that we just cannot have!
So my decision is to sample direct from Gans’ text itself, which slice i can only hope will allow you to start to understand why i believe it is not the ‘apocalyptic’ aspect of Girardian thought that is most important, but rather how his work allowed us to begin the great task of overcoming metaphysics….
“The fact that Girard has never considered himself a philosopher makes all the more significant his qualification of mimetic desire in his early (1961) work Mensonge romantique et vérité romanesque as “metaphysical.” Aristotle’s term, taken near-literally, designates the sign in a human system of representation, which stands “beside” (meta) physical reality. Thus the metaphysical world is ultimately the world of human language, but alienated from its human origin and set in the heaven of the Ideas. Metaphysics grants reality to the symbolic world of ideas, concepts–ultimately, words–independently of the world they represent; it is a secondary matter whether this reality be explored in itself (idealism) or as a model of the represented world (rationalism). We remain within the domain of metaphysics so long as we ignore the filiation of the word/concept/idea/signified with the ostensive event from which it derives, just as, when we understand desire as a binary relation between subject and object, we ignore the ostensive event by which this object was designated to us. Ignorance of the ostensive origin of the “context-free” concepts of metaphysics is the cognitive analog of the romantic lie (mensonge romantique) of unmediated desire.”
Yes, this is starting to make sense. Can you now explain how it is meant to relate to mimesis?
Amazing. I was trying to introduce mimesis and the insight of Girard to heretics like..about two, even three years ago now? And none of you appeared to want to have a har of it!
>I was trying to introduce mimesis and the insight of Girard to heretics like..about two, even three years ago now
LOL! I had not forgotten. When I said I would welcome reactions, it was mainly your reaction I was waiting for! 🙂
Pedophiles being excluded from legal protection isn’t something new or even relegated to a handful of politically insignificant countries, but while come countries conveniently overlook this minority to avoid public outrage, other government actively take steps to suppress mere exchanges of ideas by law. Particularly the Netherlands and Germany, two nations who in their past contributed significantly to the unbiased(relatively speaking) discourse around minor attraction and child sexuality, seem to have developed into the most tyrannical Western states for pedophiles, with the Netherlands famously persecuting high profile individuals for trying to make themselves heard, and Germany even going so far as to implicitly criminalize the expression of the idea that sexual contact between minors and adults isn’t categorically harmful.
If you would have asked me how far pedophile oppression will go before their situation improves a few years ago, I would have not considered it a possibility that we might end up living in a world were minor attracted people would be legally forced to register with the government to endure mandated therapy sessions. We’re not at that point yet, but if very recent history has told us anything, it’s that sudden tyrannical leaps can sweep the entire world in the blink of an eye. All it takes is popularizing an event with a large enough reach to make the masses feel vulnerable and helpless.
I am not only interested in books about sexuality, paedophilia and homosexuality in primitive tribes, but in all quality books about paedophilia in general written from an open, rational and truthful point of view. So I am open to other suggestions. I would like to find a good bibliography.
Anyone, is there a good Newgon page, or whatever?
Nothing thorough with respect to books written on the topic.
Thanks, Strat, both for this helpful reply to me and your other one to Lambers.
Sugarboy, here he comes…
The societies in this table:
actually concern (homosexual) hebephilia, but in many cases the lower age limits are low enough to be definitely considered pedophilia.
Fantastic! Great chart, SB!
Shame I had forgotten about it. I certainly should have remembered because 10 years ago I actually wrote the following passage about the vital need for researchers to be aware of the cross-cultural perspective, including as represented in this particular paper, both of whose authors are well known to me:
This too might be interesting:
Hi, Tom! Some time ago I asked you for the best books on sexuality in primitive tribes, as I am interested to know how paedophilia is seen and experienced in other cultures and whether it is or has been accepted in some of them. You gave me a list of titles and told me about a particular book that you said was the best book on the subject. Although I took note of the books and downloaded some of them, including the one you said was the best, the information has disappeared from my computer due to some formatting. I don’t know what year and month I asked the question (it was under a different nickname), so it is very difficult for me to find the list again. Maybe it would be easier for you to find the post or at least you could tell me again what is the best book on sexuality, homosexuality and paedophilia in indigenous tribes, as I want to read it. Thank you very much!
Even now, after over 70 years, the best introduction might well still be Ford & Beach, which is probably the book I mentioned before:
Ford, C. S., & Beach, F. A. (1951). Patterns of sexual behavior. Harper and Paul B. Hoeber.
If anyone feels this has been improved upon, or superseded, please tell us.
Thank you very much, Tom and Strat!
No, Tom, I think the book you described as the best was not that by Beach and Ford. You cited another one as the best, but I can’t remember the title. I read Beach and Ford, it was interesting, but I don’t remember it talking much about paedophilia.
I have a book in Spanish that says some interesting things about pedophilia, “Vida amorosa en los pueblos naturales”. The author is Adolf Tüllmann and the book is originally written in German. The original edition is from 1960. Among other things, he quotes the works of Beach and Ford. As it is old, I do not know how reliable it is. I have searched for information about Adolf Tüllmann and have not found any. There are also Italian editions.
> I read Beach and Ford, it was interesting, but I don’t remember it talking much about paedophilia.
You are quite right. I am pretty sure the word paedophilia would not have been mentioned at all. That is because the term paedophilia originated as a western medical concept used to describe an attraction considered to be abnormal and pathological. By contrast, Ford & Beach were exploring sexual behaviours around the world that appeared to be considered normal and acceptable in cultures very different to our own, and a number of these cultures did include sexual contact between adults and children.
Ford and Beach describe such cultures at some length. If you would like to refresh your memory on this, you will see that I gave several pages of examples in my book Paedophilia: The Radical Case. Just go to chapter 2 online at Ipce and search for Ford (or Beach), here: https://www.ipce.info/host/radicase/chap02.htm
Yes, I need to refresh my memory. And also a re-reading of Ford and Beach and “Paedophilia: The Radical Case”.
It’s a pity you don’t remember the other book. I could have sworn you mentioned it as the best of all. You might remember the title if I tell you that it starts talking about very puritanical western cultures, where even married couples are ashamed to see each other naked, and then talks about cultures where, on the contrary, there is a lot of sexual freedom. Elsewhere in the book it explains that certain tribes use instruments to enlarge girls’ vaginas. Not great clues, but it’s what I remember best from the book.
I would also like to read “Coming of age in Samoa” by Margaret Mead, but I have read that her research is not very reliable, as the teenagers interviewed made up their experiences. I don’t know if that is true. I also don’t know if “The Sexual Life of Savages” by Bronislaw Malinowsli is very reliable as far as paedophilia is concerned.
Sorry, too busy to dig into or comment further right now Lambers.
From the description you gave, “Sex Without Shame” by Alayne Yates comes to mind. The book’s primary focus is not an anthropological examination of pedophilia in other cultures, so it likely isn’t the work you are looking for. However, chapter six (titled “Other Countries, Other Styles”) does briefly foray into this territory by contrasting two cultures on the basis of their sexual permissiveness: the Inis Beag of Ireland and the Mangaia tribe of Polynesia. Regarding the former, the author describes their strong aversion to nudity and sexuality, even amongst married couples (which matches your first hint):
It appears that Yates does not refer to “instruments for enlarging girls’ vaginas” at any point, though, so this text does not match with your second hint. Regardless, maybe you can glean some more information from the references given in the chapter. The book is available on IPCE (see the following link). I hope this helps you, Lambers, or at least provides further clues to help track down what you are seeking.
Thank you, Suggestion. The excerpt you posted is very similar to what I read in the book I mentioned, but I don’t think it’s the same book. I’m not familiar with the title and I think those descriptions were in the first chapter. I’ll have to go through all the posts from 5 or 6 years ago until now.
I must say that I don’t speak English well and I don’t know if my phrase “instruments for enlarging girls’ vaginas” is grammatically correct.
>I must say that I don’t speak English well and I don’t know if my phrase “instruments for enlarging girls’ vaginas” is grammatically correct.
Your grammar in the quoted phrase is perfect, Lambers! Indeed, it is better than that of many native English speakers, who would have put the apostrophe in the wrong place, or failed to include one at all. As for your meaning, the function of the instruments is stated with perfect clarity. The one thing we do not necessarily know is the precise nature of the instruments you read about.
In English the word “dildo” is described in Wikipedia as “a sex toy, often explicitly phallic in appearance, intended for sexual penetration or other sexual activity during masturbation or with sex partners”. The lengthy article also says it has been speculated that dildos were once used in “defloration rituals”. Deliberate enlargement, though, does not appear to be mentioned in this article.
However, it is known that among the Marquesas Islanders, the young female’s labia minor were stretched to make them longer. This often was done orally by the caretaking adult females. Source: p42 in Cultural Anthropology: Marquesan Sexual Behavior. By Robert C. Suggs. Harcourt, Brace, and World, New York, 1966.
More later if I can find time. The late Prof. Milton Diamond had a detailed page online including this info. His website is no longer available, it seems, but I still have the page in question in my files.
I have found the book! “Human sexuality around the world” by Dennis Werner. It was hidden somewhere lost on my computer. This is, if my memory serves me correctly, the book that you said is the best book about human sexuality and paedophilia.
I posted a link further up, which will include Growing Up Sexually – by Diederik F. Janssen.
I am also carrying out a summation of Janssen, which is likely to take many years unless I am helped by others (it has already helped us retrieve information about hippie communes):
From its first “horrifying secret” to its end this radically stupid and pointless piece from Unherd proves the platform is, when it comes to the p-word, no less of an inflammatory tabloid than the Daily Mail. So very, very sad
Andrew Gold, the author of this piece, approached me for a TV documentary a couple of years ago. His project seemed promising at first but, as is often the case, it did not stand up to scrutiny.
I have been putting myself about a bit in the comments. Search, if interested, for “Conversion therapy”.
Of course i am interested, Tom! In fact, i would rate seeing you get in there to mix it up with the current intelligentsia (such as they are) as among THE most important events in all of my social (media) calendar!
Meanwhile Mary Harrington, who otherwisely writes rather insightful things about men & women, has just enthusiastically concurred with one of her followers that the populist centre ground would best be realized by “funding the NHS with a lottery show on which selected pedos are hanged” and added that “a belting sing-along of the National Anthem at show’s beginning and end” would perfect it.
So there we have it. Some of the most intelligent people in Britain are openly recommending a nationally broadcast
lynching, with the entire nation serving as lynch-mob.
I think we have long moved far beyond some top-down ‘regulating of morality’ (whatever that is) by those in govt power, as suggested by ZenThinker recently, coupled with “foaming at the mouth hatred”, the special fruit of the “masses/working classes”.
I think there has to be something of a profoundly sacrificial logic (no less) at work here, a scapegoat mechanism that continually demands some sort of atonement for the unmooring of human sexuality from its reproductive teleology bestowed upon us by modernity and its many technics. The fact that nobody ever consciously thinks of “pedo” as serving the religious function of scapegoat testifies more than anything else to its powerful reality. Anyone who has closely looked into such matters knows that collective méconnaissance (misrecognition) of what is being done is of the utmost importance to its socially structuring success..
Well, what Mary Harrington actually said, on Twitter, was “Everyone knows the actual populist centre ground in Britain is ‘hang the pedos, fund the NHS'”.
This strikes me as a rather accurate view of widespread popular feeling. Does Harrington agree with the “hang the pedos” part? Possibly, but I’m not sure she says so on this thread, except in a jocular fashion we are not expected to take too seriously – I hope!
“…a scapegoat mechanism that continually demands some sort of atonement for the unmooring of human sexuality from its reproductive teleology”.
Yes, great comments, Tom – especially the second one defending the reforms to age of consent legislation in the Netherlands (though I think you’d probably agree with me they were far from perfect). Game, set and match, I think!
Cheers, Stephen! 🙂
Visiting the page again this morning to check for updates, I can see no sign that my final serve has been struck back into court; so, as you say, the match may be over.
New to me, though, were two splendidly feisty posts by Don Lightband. He, too, appears to have triumphed with a decisive ace!
Andrew Gold. Yet another conceited journalist. Saying one thing, doing another. Not to be trusted.
I thought it was quite a sympathetic piece.
What I didn’t like was the evil assumption that minor attraction is inextricably linked to abuse. I’m minor attracted, and I have no interest in ever abusing human, animal, vegetable or mineral. Yes, the rape of the mineral kingdom: seized and extracted in a pillaging and opportunistic way from the virgin earth…along with Edgar I say: “the worst is not so long as we can say, this is the worst.”
In other words, I am a kind and decent person and have no desire to harm. Just as I am woman-attracted and have no desire to accost or rape. And I would never beat a dog, or rip the head off a flower, nor smash minerals with a rock hammer. I think it’s important to learn from Hippocrates: “first, do no harm”, and respect all of Aristotle’s chain of being.
Man, woman or child’s right to happiness and freedom from harm is paramount. I am therefore professionally offended by people who say minor attraction is inextricable from abuse. Because by that logic all heterosexual men must be potential woman-abusers and wife beaters too.
There can’t be one rule for the politically favourable, and another rule for the politically unfavourable. That is the definition of corruption. And of course, the dominant thought paradigm on minor attraction is a deeply corrupt element in our society.
I do not think the piece “sympathetic” in the slightest. It starts off by invoking some anonymous entity’s “horrifying secret” and proceeds thenceforth to render for the duration of the article the be-all and end-all of “paedophilia” as so many variously contained/uncontained “URGES”.
My question to you, ZT (and really, to everyone else here), is simply this: why on earth have you yourself not contributed a comment?
With Unherd the biggest ‘danger’ you risk is being ignored. Vile spewings-forth are generally not the currency of that platform. Abundantly displayed ignorance and thought-terminating cliché are everywhere, but that is precisely why we all need to make our presence !felt* in such fora..
How, i have to ask, is this not the most obvious inperative of all?
My own (initial) comment has received 23 DOWNVOTES thus far, whilst Tom has been shamefully ignored. Completely.
I checked it out, with the full intention of writing something, but you have to pay £50 a year for the privilege of leaving a comment.
Ok Warbling, just for you I paid my £4.99 for a month’s subscription and left a comment. Look for Social Thinker / Daniel Hamilton
When you say that MAPs are normal people who are not guilty for their attraction and who deserve dignity, antis will say that you “normalise” paedophilia. To them, such a desire is shameful and repugnant, and entertaining intergenerational sex fantasies is criminal; the only admissible MAP is the one who is ashamed of himself and who begs to be cured. The legal conformism of the VPs, saying that they will abide the law and let the antis decide alone what is lawful, is to them way below the acceptable.
Concerning destruction of art: in the past, it was almost exclusively done by bigots and reactionaries like McCarthyists. Nowadays, the so-called “left” has become so reactionary that it significantly participates in it. Two years ago, mural paintings in the George Washington High School of Francisco came under attack by representitives of minorities and “woke” allies. Painted by the communist artist Victor Arnautoff, they described the life and acts of Washington in their complexity, including showing him having slaves and encouraging the conquest of the West at the expense of the lives of Native Americans. They were deemed “racist” and “offensive” to Blacks and Native Americans, and a campaign was organised for their “removal” (in fact, for a mural painting, this means destruction).
I don’t believe that I used normalising language in my piece. That said, the obvious question is what does one mean by ‘normal’? What kind of normative framework is being invoked? Given the presumed prevalence of paedophilic attraction and/or arousal, it would be hard to make a case for such attraction and/or arousal being statistically abnormal. I would be interested to hear a case for such attraction and/or arousal being biologically abnormal/unnatural.
I believe that people should be judged on the content of their character and their actions and should not be denied dignity solely on the grounds of a sexuality they haven’t chosen, particularly by a body tasked with making recommendations on laws designed to combat prejudice.
Can’t remember where I read this but it must have resonated deeply as it has remained in my consciousness ever since,,,,, “You can’t condemn a sexuality but you can condemn an action”
As one poster alluded to, there’s an area of conflict between free speech and hate crime, and it would be a hell of job for Britain’s colossally blunt tool law (putting it generously) regarding ‘sex crime’ to dissect it. EG if someone comes up to me when I’m relaxing in a cafe and says ‘you should be ashamed of yourself’ (of my past offences, IIoC), if they’ve caught me in a calm mood I can accept that’s their opinion and they have a right to express it, even to my face. Anything more than that, though, and it is an intrusion – put colloquially, none of their f** business, anymore than passing judgement on my marriage breakup. I offered that very phrase (ill-advisedly perhaps) to a little vigilante numbskull 2 years ago, when he came across me in ASDA and said “for your sake, you better not go back on to our estate.” Herein is a context I can offer to the topic:
I had achieved a new relationship for myself after divorce (a small miracle, for an images offender) and for an entire year had come and gone peacefully to my girlfriend’s flat, often staying and beginning to get friendly with her neighbours – until the day they somehow came upon my old ‘news’ online (I’d long since changed my name), and within the hour the flat was besieged with thumpings on the door and screaming for me to get out. My GF had to lock me in, whilst appealing to their sense of reason about me never being a molestor in the first place and rehabilititated in any case. All this achieved was them trying to force her to ditch me, and when it was clear that 1) she wouldn’t, and 2) she already knew of my conviction, she was fair game for their fury too. Obviously I couldn’t be there, ever again, the police who came (impressively quickly, to give them their due) in their wisdom said exactly that. We were extracted, as it were, into the back of a police van and spent that night at a friend’s house.
Subsequently, my GF attempted living back at home on her own, whilst for 4 months experiencing such delights as having the keyhole glued, paint and eggs thrown at the door, cat excement smeared on the door handle, a neighbourhood child throwing water in her face, getting slapped in the face by a woman neighbour, and not least herself being called ‘paedophile.’ every time she was sighted. All THAT (obviously) is hate crime. Her housing association even said so (although they were not necessarily referring to my fate, but only hers), and we had the full sympathy of my PPU. They ‘spoke’ to the woman we knew to be the worst stirrer (she has a record of armed robbery of a Post Office I have since heard, another has a son in prison for attempted murder, and still another has a relative who IS a child molestor), but the upshot was that no charges could be pressed because of lack of evidence as to who the perpetrators were, nor could they even be evicted despite the housing association sweetly telling my GF “don’t leave, you’re not the one to blame!” Well, she did leave, and for the last 18 months we’ve been happy in a new flat in a better neighbourhood, with far less danger of nastiness even if I do get ‘outed’ again.
I think the upshot is ‘hate crime’ is recognized towards ‘paedophiles’, certainly when it spills into vigilante action, yet in our case at least sod all was or could be done it seems, so what good is that?! We were the ones who had to flee, and the thugs called all the shots, to all intents and purposes automonously governing their estate (of which they are tenants and supposedly bound by a contract of behaviour!). This is not the Bronx I’m talking about either, but a run of the mill estate, generally dead and uneventful though containing an above-average share of addicts and petty criminal types, in an average British city. So, in principle we were within our rights to live there, yet in practise could not.
The only way this situation can be cured, short of a 24-hour police garrison in these situations, is a wholesale re-education as to what Hate Crime is, which needs to come from the media even more so than the authorities; namely for it to be nurtured into the public consciousness that a paeodphile – even one deemed ‘offender’ – is not some child-eater with fangs and horns from Neptune, but usually a perfectly safe human being worthy of at least as much tolerance and inclusion as, say, a shoplifter. I can almost hear the ‘minimalization’ howls from the abuse charities as I say that, but there we are, so many of us here know that it’s fact.
[MODERATOR: This is a very important comment. It could not possibly be more on topic. Thanks for sending, Phil. However, I have deleted the final section for now because information is disclosed which I believe could lead to further hate actions. This is because some potentially identifying details are given. Phil, if you would like to discuss this with me, please email me: email@example.com Say nothing substantial. Just ask me, “Tom, what is the nature of your concerns?”]
I’ll defer to your good judgement on the above, Tom, and I’m glad you ripped it out. I was somewhat excited about the progress in my situation, and liable to blow everything if I’m not careful.I will just add, by way of reassuring others, that since my conviction I’ve been surprised and relieved by how little trouble I’ve had, save for the event I narrated above. Sure, there’ve been mutterings and the odd epithet, and I was ostracised from most of the people in my previous life (which could be enough to be classed as hate crime, it sure as hell has an impact), even if half of them are acting that way just to preserve their own image and safety – ‘a crime to even know him’ type of thing. No violence, no vandalism, no threats, aside from that one-off but highly unpleasant episode. Much depends on your locality, line of work you choose, and the new social circles you forge for yourself. A relatively normal, new life can be built.
However, as I try to untangle my thoughts now on what justice and fairness I’ve been treated by all (the authorites, family, friends, public) – should I be grateful? Am I ‘lucky’? Is this a civilized, compassionate society? etc – one thing stands out above all: this tendency of so many people, while not being inclined to vindictiveness themselves (and I suspect even willing to question the prosecution dogmas if they dared) to distance themsleves out of fear – which to me is the proof that it is, very much, a witch hunt. If people who have not done anything wrong by any definition, official or otherwise, and no logical reason to fear shaming themselves let alone prosecution, yet are simply too damned scared to be seen to befriend an offender then something is conspicuously wrong. There may be practical reasons, such as forfeiting their job ‘by association’ on safeguarding grounds (an outright violation of human rights imo, with all the proportionality of medieval Inquisition, something Unlock has campaigned against with what success I’m not sure), but more often than not it is, I feel, simply and purely stigma. It is this that needs to be educated out of society. It took a long time for homesexuals, but seems it will take incomparably longer for MAPs.. . . . . .
I’m very sorry to hear about your experiences Phil. I’ve had similar, but much less obvious and far more insidious. Systematic vandalism of property, gangstalking and gaslighting. People have tried all sorts to surreptitiously cancel me and make my life difficult.
Keep fighting, never give up.
If there is truth in the objective sense, if it does exist, it will continue to bubble away underneath all the lies of contemporary society.
Totally feel you, Phil, and hope you are ok now. I experienced something similar a few years ago, your recounting of the events brought it all back. Sending hugs!
My most sincere congratulations to all British people! From now on, you seem to be free once again – well, as free as you had been in the January 2020, before the totalitarian, liberticidal debacle known as “fighting the Covid-19” begun.
Yesterday I learned about a true heroic deed – and I call it so without any humour and exaggeration – of the current British Prime Minister Boris Johnson. He, all of a sudden, did what I lost any hope of ever witnessing being done – immediately cancelled nearly all restrictive and repressive governmental measures enacted under the pretence of “fighting the virus”: violently enforced mass vaccination, mass masking and mass isolation. No longer these supposedly “anti-virus” liberticidal measures – that were in fact totally useless at best, usually even counterproductive and harmful – will burden and torment the people of the United Kingdom.
And yes – I understand that, in all likelihood, Johnson did what he did out of sheer self-interest of keeping himself in a position of power by appealing to, and siding with, the oppressed populace rather than the oppressive elite – understandably so, since his elite fellows openly turned against him. Yet a heroic deed of stopping the mass liberticide, at least making an attempt to do so, still remains such no matter how utterly self-interested the motivation of a person performing it might be.
Once again – the people of most other countries can only envy Britons now, and hope that this is just the first defeat of the nightmarish digital-biomedical totalitarian regime that was forming, before our very eyes, across the globe during the last two years. Maybe this year, the aspiring global totalitarian reign will crumble under its own weight, before it grows big and strong enough to bring horrors comparable to its infamous 20th century predecessors.
P.S. To prove that the so-called “anti-Covid measures” like enforcement of masks and vaccinations, were not just unacceptably liberticidal, but also horrendously counterproductive – they lead to no good results whatsoever, rather only adding heavy loads of further damage and harm to what virus itself did – I can provide a lot of links to the relevant materials.
But, since you, Tom, are apparently unwelcome of Covid skepticism on your blog, I will bring them only if you approve of a further debate of this topic in the comment section of your blog.
This is your blog, Tom, so it is you who decide. Yet, I hope that, at least, you will not moderate away this little open-hearted congratulation of mine, even if you would probably strongly disagree that there is anything worthy of congratulation here…
Boris needs all the support he can get at the moment! 🙂
I’ve not had the vaccine and will not. I need comprehensive reassurances as to it’s safety and effectiveness before I ever do, and the option of come back if anything goes wrong. The same media machine which has stirred the pedo fear of the last 30+ years has done a remarkable job with Covid too. What we can be sure of is the vaccine can kill, does not stop transmission, and reduces mortality rates from those who still contract the virus after having had the jab. Yet, so many decided to have it under the media onslaught.
I know people have strong feelings about this, especially among those of us who have been given good reason in our lives to distrust MSM. That said, it’s quite a way off topic here.
That’s your prerogative, of course, but I’ve taken the opposite approach, which is to say that I’ve opted for vaccination until assured as to the safety of the virus.
Explorer’s post shows the absurdity to which leads the movement against Covid restrictions in the name of abstract “freedom,” and its claim that these restrictions are the first steps towards a totalitarian sanitary dictatorship: you hail Boris Johnson as “liberator.” Then you can also hail as “freedom fighters” the far-right forces in Europe that fight against these restrictions: Les Patriotes in France, the FPÖ in Austria, and in Italy the fascist who ransacked the premises of the CGIL trade union.
These last years, governments throughout Europe have passed laws and regulations to increase the rights of police in front of demonstrations and social protests, to restrict access by migrants and asylum seekers, to repress more harshly sex with underages or the viewing of underage erotica, etc. These laws and regulations target the underdogs: proletarians (in particular, the most oppressed ones, the migrants) and “perverts” who violate bourgeois morality and threaten the holy bourgeois family. They do not harm the ruling class, the rich and powerful, who are happy to keep them.
On the other hand, health regulations due to the Covid, such as compulsory mask and vaccinial pass apply to all, rich and poor (except Boris Johnson, who systematically violates them). Hence, when the rich and powerful will feel that these restrictions are no more useful to protect their health, they will tell it to the government, who will lend an ear. And indeed, we now see many European governments lifting restrictions.
I will not debate with anti-vaxers, I have seen enough explanations by real scientists and real statistics to know that they are no better than creationists and climate change deniers. Complete vaccination with 3 doses reduces: slightly infection and transmission (even with delta and omicron), significantly the duration of infection and the volume of virus replication, and very highly the risk of severe disease or death. So the “freedom” not to be vaccinated is that of overwhelming hospitals (at the expense of patients with other pathologies), increasing the spread of contaminations, and of harbouring mutations of the virus.
This post is off topic, as I indicated earlier. I will allow it, though, as a good and much needed rebuttal to the lengthy rant posted earlier by Explorer.
All parties should consider the debate now closed. Further posts will not pass moderation except in the unlikely event that anyone can persuade me the circumstances are exceptional.
I enjoyed reading Andrew’s piece. And I imagine that most Heretics would agree with his wish to extend hate speech legislation to include all verbal attacks against MAPs which are motivated purely by hatred of them as people. However, I disagree with it.
In my view, this sort of legislation (that is, to be clear, all hate speech legislation) is incompatible with fundamental principles of free speech. Meaningful free speech must allow people to say things which might offend people. It will be argued that a distinction should be made between, for example, attacking religious claims and attacking the followers of religions themselves such that that the former should be legal, the latter not. Similarly, one could argue that while it should certainly be legal to say that adult-child sex is wrong (I see no danger of society bending on that one!), the law can justifiably take a stand on vicious verbal attacks against people who happen to have the desire to engage in adult-child sex. Now while I believe it is morally incumbent on all of us to try to ensure that our criticisms of other people’s views do not morph into vicious attacks on the people themselves, I think there are problems trying to regulate this within the law. It is necessary in a free society to allow robust debate. In the course of such activity, it is inevitable that participants will sometimes get carried away and occasionally treat others with contempt. As long as this contempt does not translate itself into physical attacks (which no legal system can ignore), then I believe the law should take no action on it. The alternative is to risk sliding into a situation in which the state micro-manages public discussion, a highly undesirable situation, especially in countries frequently governed by very unprincipled people, who are not above using the law to enhance their own power.
Hate speech legislation has traditionally been designed as a way of protecting groups who are particularly vulnerable to prejudice and hostility, such as members of certain ethnic minorities. Although in principle misguided, I would not be in a great hurry to try and remove such laws at the present time, as such a move would be extremely unpopular except amongst right-wingers who are unconcerned about racism, and so one’s only allies for the most part would be people whose aims one would not wish to advance. However, I oppose extending such laws to cover hate speech directed at MAPs. It would be both wrong in principle, for the reasons I have explained, and very unpopular. What we need is not laws to stop people from expressing their hatred of MAPs, but less hatred of MAPs. That is, of course, much harder to achieve, but I nevertheless think it is where our efforts should be directed.
I also disagree with Andrew’s use of the distinction between hatred of people for what they are and hatred of them for what they do. Giving legal protection against the former but not the latter would often result in unfairness, as people who are hated because, for example, they have violated age-of-consent laws when arguably they have done no real harm, may be amongst those most in need of protection. In fact, even people who accept the popular view that such acts are always wrong should arguably heed the injunction to ‘hate the sin, but love the sinner’.
Well Stephen, there are many stages and levels of what it means to identify (at least in part) as a MAP, and not all MAPs want “adult-child sex”. I would find sexual intimacy with anyone difficult, and all the heavy inherited shame of our culture working subconsciously would make any erotic intimacy with a child, under the wild assumption it would be permissible any time soon, extremely difficult and an uncomfortable experience. MAPs want a whole variety of things – every individual is unique. For example, for my part I would want recognition of minor attraction as a legitimate sexuality, greater participation of children in the culture, and a radical detoxifying of all the accumulated cultural/psychological shame and opprobrium associated with finding children attractive. To leap in at the deep end and define all MAPs as “people desiring adult-child sex” is to make a rather sweeping assumption.
It’s true, MAPs are not simply people ‘desiring adult-child sex’. I mis-stated the analogy I was trying to make. The analogue of a religious belief for the purpose of the analogy was thinking adult-child sex OK (which is believed by some MAPs) while the analogue of attacking the adherents of a religious belief is attacking people who believe adult-child sex is OK.
What did you think of the rest of my argument?
It’s an interesting idea that hate speech should not be legally curtailed, but I think there is such a lack of common decency among large swathes of the population that such legal enforcements are unfortunately necessary. We cannot rely on politeness or civil behaviour in a world where black MPs get frequent death threats, and indeed the most vile things are said about MAPs on social media. I think brazen use of violent and demeaning language feeds the mob and makes everyone’s situation worse. I therefore support hate speech legislation in general and agree with Andrew that protections should be extended to MAPs.
I also disagree philosophically that actions are commensurate with identity. I believe that actions can and must be regulated and enforced against where harmful, but that identity is a protected characteristic. Now breaking age of consent laws, whatever the ethical viewpoint underlying a shared and mutually desired eroticism, is de facto a serious breach of criminal law, so a MAP-inspired action is on a completely different level to a MAP-inspired identity. And it is the identity that must be protected, to maintain a fair, equitable and just consistency across the board of protected characteristics.
Therefore as much as I have respect for you Stephen for your often intelligent insights on this blog, I have to fundamentally disagree and say the best way to “nudge” the mob into ending their inveterate and irrational hatreds and prejudices is to lead the way forward with protective legislation.
> Now breaking age of consent laws, whatever the ethical viewpoint underlying a shared and mutually desired eroticism, is de facto a serious breach of criminal law, so a MAP-inspired action is on a completely different level to a MAP-inspired identity.
But you would presumably agree that it would be wrong to hate on the offender, as opposed to criticizing or condemning their offense?
I don’t think hatred is a justified response against any human being. In the case of serious wrongdoers like a serial killer or Adolf Hitler, I think their actions require severe condemnation for the collective moral good, but even then I would not feel any burning hatred in my heart, I think that is a deeply unspiritual response.
As for MAP offenders there are obviously gradations of severity, for example forcible violent rape of a young child, which is disgusting, but I would tend to see the offender as pathologically disturbed and not harbour hatred in my heart. As for a MAP who knowingly breaks AoC in order to establish some kind of gentle and unselfish sexual contact with a child, with the child’s permission even if lacking “statutory consent”, I would not really see that as “morally” problematic prima facie, it would depend upon context, but of course I would criticise the stupidity of the offender for risking severe legal punishment.
I think so many of Joe Public hate on any MAP, even low scale non-contact offenders or indeed those who have never committed a crime, because they are collectively conditioned by our culture and our times to do so. And that is completely wrong because hatred is an illness of the mind and people should learn to control the worst elements of their thoughts and behaviour. That applies to everyone.
Whilst recognising that the scope of hate speech legislation is expanding in many Western jurisdictions and that this may raise concerns about encroachment on freedom of speech, it strikes me that the free speech card is often played inconsistently, or else as part of a straw man and/or slippery slope argument protesting that any negative comment about the protected group is being or will ultimately be proscribed and prosecuted. This both misconstrues the definition of hate speech and ignores the fact that the police and Crown Prosecution Service consider not only whether there is sufficient evidence to give a realistic prospect of conviction but also whether pursuing a case is in the public interest.
Broadly speaking, hate speech legislation operates in line with Mill’s harm principle, in which, crucially, the harm must be significant, i.e. not snubs, slights and peccadilloes.
There are many areas in which freedom of speech is curtailed (under criminal or civil law) due to the potential (or perceived potential) for harm, e.g. defamation, malicious communication, blackmail, preaching violent extremism, false product safety claims, advertising cigarettes/alcohol/gambling to children, etc. Even non-libertarians tend to agree that speech should not be completely free.
I agree that legislation has symbolic value. The question is whether, how and to what extent proscribing hate speech can serve to reduce hatred. I instinctively side with the idea of ‘lead[ing] the way forward with protective legislation’.
On the distinction between one’s identity and one’s actions, there are laws in place to protect offenders from vigilante attacks (for example). Would-be vigilantes don’t have carte blanche to act as they please towards offenders, even if they sometimes act as if they do.
I will combine my (brief) responses to Zen and Andrew in the same comment.
Remember I said I would not roll back existing hate speech legislation, so Zen’s point about black MPs misses the mark.
The same applies to Andrew’s point about how we standardly accept many restrictions on free speech anyway. I would also draw attention to the fact that some of these come under other criminal headings, e.g. fraud and incitement. Also, we are only concerned with legal restrictions here. It is often permissible for particular institutions and groups to control the speech of their members (e.g. Tom can boot us off this platform if we get too rude).
Slippery slope effects, downplayed by Andrew, can be real, especially when the people in charge are, shall we say, less than fully principled.
Andrew also points out that there are laws in place to protect offenders from vigilantes. That is true, but there are no laws to protect them from vile verbal attacks and I think it would be unfair for them not to receive this protection if non-offending MAPs did.
I know it seems perverse on a pro-MAP board to reject what may seem like a very basic measure to help MAPs, and I much less confident in my view on this than I am on many other things. But still, I think if I were Prime Minister, this is the line I would take!
I largely agree with, and welcome, Zen’s remarks about hatred.
The offence of common assault includes verbal attacks.
Does it? I see no direct reference to verbal attacks in the CPS page on this offence: https://www.cps.gov.uk/legal-guidance/offences-against-person-incorporating-charging-standard
However, there is this: “An assault is any act (and not mere omission to act) by which a person intentionally or recklessly causes another to suffer or apprehend immediate unlawful violence.”
On this basis, shouting aggressively in someone’s face while waving your fists about might well put that person in fear of attack, even if no words are uttered, or the aggressor is speaking in an unfamiliar foreign language. If the aggressor were then to scream something like “You fucking nonce!” one would think it was an aggravating factor, but only in circumstances where the aggressor’s general bearing was, well, clearly aggressive, and threatening on that account.
However, if a little old lady walks demurely past a big bloke, and then somewhat quietly comes out with, “You’re that fucking nonce who was in the papers, aren’t you? You should be hanged!”, the speech could certainly be considered a vile personal attack. But would it amount to common assault based on the CPS description? I rather doubt it. The behaviour would surely have to be more overtly threatening than that.
Extremely horrible personal abuse online would not pass the test either, simply because no one could possibly fear “immediate” unlawful violence at a distance, or not reasonably so.
But there is also the Public Order Act 1986:
So it is true to say insulting words alone could suffice to constitute an offence, albeit not one of assault:
I note, though, that it is a defence if it can be proved that the conduct was “reasonable”. In the case of the little old lady in my earlier example, I suspect that the police and the courts, if it went that far, might well conclude that such abuse was justified.
True, I was too quick to reduce it to one offence type, for which perceived threat is indeed necessary. As your readership spans many jurisdictions, it’s worth adding that different jurisdictions will have different laws and thresholds of severity. However, the fundamental point I was trying to make is that verbal attacks will be prosecutable in many jurisdictions in some way or another.
Although I don’t approve of anyone directing nasty comments at anyone else, I instinctively feel that castigating a stranger for a past crime is not as bad as castigating a stranger for some aspect of his/her identity. Replace the word ‘nonce’ in the above formulation with ‘burglar’, ‘dognapper’ or ‘football hooligan’, for instance, and the utterance still seems more justifiable or reasonable (perhaps better to say: more understandable) than it would be were it to contain instead the word ‘faggot’, ‘nigger’ or ‘raghead’. The question, I suppose, is whether anger at past criminal behaviour (which is presumed to be a choice) is more justifiable or reasonable than anger at some aspect of one’s identity (which is not a choice).
Ultimately, I draw the distinction between who one is and what one has done because hate crimes ‘impact more broadly on people who share the characteristic to which the offender’s hostility is directed’ (see article). I suppose one could argue that sex offenders, burglars, dognappers and football hooligans share something in common with other perpetrators of the same offence, and that a verbal attack on one constitutes a verbal attack on that category of offenders as a whole, but I’m not sure whether that argument is as compelling.
At the possible risk of being found guilty of even more impertinence, i have to question this apparently B&W distinction you make Andrew between what one is said to “do” and what one is said to “be”.
Shouldn’t the question here before us be along the lines of asking whether it is possible to “be” anything without “doing” anything?
Is actively putting the idea ‘out there’ that one identifies as this rather than that not “doing” something? If one was even remotely content to just “be” something then who would even know or care? Would even oneself care?
Furthermore i cannot rest content with the idea that who i “am”, who i’m supposed “to be”, no less, my hefting the burden of my alleged ‘identity’ and so on, is “not a choice”.
At the very least, however ‘unconsciously’, all of us have chosen models as we gradually formed our selves. These were invariably those whom we believed to be closer to the desired center-of-things than others.
The idea that what we call ‘sexual orientation’ comes direct from heaven seems more unhelpful to me all the time now…
Stephen said, “What we need is not laws to stop people from expressing their hatred of MAPs, but less hatred of MAPs.”
I agree, but how do we bring that about? Andrew feels “instinctively” that laws can lead the way, but is there any evidence to support this view? Might it not be the case that they simply create resentment over being muzzled, and stoke ever more intense division?
What are we to make of the historical record in this regard? In the US, “positive discrimination” laws designed to ensure fairer treatment of black people, women, and LGBT+ (but the “+” does not include MAPs, unless as “queer”), including more “diversity” in employment, are to some extent analogous with hate speech protection and have demonstrably been accompanied by progress on all three fronts. Since such policies came into being there has been a black US president; women have shattered the “glass ceiling” in a big way; gays, who were once invisible, are now prominent in public life, and especially high-profile in film, TV and the creative arts.
It is a moot point, though, whether positive discrimination has helped or hindered this progress. Currently in the US there is a huge backlash against “woke” measures favouring minorities. This is said to be costing the Democrats a lot of support ahead of the midterm elections. In the UK, too, I sense a rising tide of resentment against woke impositions, focused for the moment on “traditional” feminist hostility towards radical trans claims, not so much over hate speech (there is now protected status for transgender identity) but over the perceived excessive privilege being accorded to trans identity (special pronouns, access to women’s toilets, “women” with big muscles and a penis allowed into women’s sport, etc.).
In this case, if the law is “leading the way”, might it ultimately be leading to disaster for trans people?
That said, there is far too much hate speech of all kinds these days, especially the anonymous variety made online. As I mentioned in my last blog, extremism is actively promoted by the commercial model that drives the social media platforms. If we need any new laws, that, in my view, is where attention should be focused.
I might mention in this regard Tom that, when recently (as noted earlier) over SEVEN THOUSAND persons hit their like-buttons for the tweet “death-penalty for pedophiles” i thought i’d try out Twitter’s reporting function purely as an experiment (not being the snitching kind myself!) It’s very limiting in scope and gives the sole option of “hate speech” as “reason for” reporting a tweet.
There was, so far as i could tell, no action taken against the tweeting woman whatsoever.
At this point i find myself very self-conscious of the fact that i’m one of a handful of commenters whose same handles are appearing again and again here, and wish to advise that i have no wish to inadvertently ‘dominate the rap, Jack’ ..but frankly if i don’t comment i’ll probably have to burst.
What i find myself quite incapable of comprehending is the likes of this latest assertion from Stephen James, to wit:
“What we need is not laws to stop people from expressing their hatred of MAPs, but less hatred of MAPs”
If hatred – or less hatred – of anything at all can be expressed in anything more, less or other than more and more (expressed) language, i need SJ to tell me just exactly what this something else might be.
Does he really mean to tell us that hatred is somehow formed independently of the very specific signs that re-register and signify its hated objects, again and again on a scene-of-representation so fully and long internalized (by all those who hate) by now it makes anything current look like so many subsequent scenic decorations?
Please, can we have something much better from SJ than this dreadfully vague allusion to an ‘alternative’ that might as well exist only in sleepbound dreams..
If I understand you correctly, you seem to be saying that since hatred must be expressed in language, it is through controlling language that we should seek to suppress hatred. But of course, hatred is not only expressed in language, it is also expressed in non-linguistic action, often with more serious consequences. However, more to the point, though we may suppress hatred by controlling language (which is basically the idea behind hate speech legislation), this is of only limited value. For the hatred often lingers. Denied release, it may fester and even subsequently be expressed in a more dangerous way. This is not to deny that suppressing its verbal expression may not have some positive effects. It can lead to the creation of a more pleasant atmosphere for members of the denigrated minority as they are able to move through society without being constantly reminded of the negative attitudes which some foster towards them. It may also lead to greater public awareness of the problem of prejudice, which might in turn result in a deeper questioning of the attitudes which create the problem in the first place. However, as I pointed out, there are also costs, such as the endangering of free speech. In the case of the proposed extension to hate speech laws to protect MAPs, there is the likelihood at the present time that they go too far beyond public opinion, as the majority would find it inconceivable that MAPs (a category most do not even recognize) is a group worthy of protection. While there is a case for state action progressing in advance of public opinion to some extent (an example might be the legalization of homosexual acts between consenting men in the UK in 1967 – it has been suggested that this would not have passed in a referendum), I don’t think it works if there is too great a discrepancy.
Ah but SJ that is assuredly NOT what i “seem to be saying”. I clearly do not recommend any “controlling” of language anywhere in what i wrote.
I simply expressed open astonishment at your apparent proposal of an “alternative” sort of solution that would not entail language, and it seems to me that in this your response, you are continuing to imagine some ideal world functioning without language!
When you invoke that which might be “expressed in non-linguistic action” do you really and truly imagine a violence that is carried out devoid of either a) the guiding ‘inspiration of’ or ‘propulsion by’ certain language to begin with; b) the inevitable acccompanying expression of blurted language as violence ensues; or c) “attitudes” that sonehow managed to bypass the unbroken input/output of human language altogether and miraculously create this thing called “prejudice” ?
It is a great marvel to me that one of your intelligence can appear to so happily believe that all these ideas (you include “atmosphere” “awareness” etc ) can somehow exist for one millisecond independently of the words/signs used to express them!
Addendum: Stephen, please disregard that reference to ‘awareness’ ‘atmosphere’ in parentheses, it does not belong to the overall thrust of my text. Which is, of course, a desperate plea for us all to concentrate on this very question – what language was it that managed to bring about and continue to bring about/generate to this day such an amassed, unanimous attitude “in (and from) the first place”?
>what language was it that managed to bring about and continue to bring about/generate to this day such an amassed, unanimous attitude
Emotive language can stir up emotions with immense, violent force. But words are only squiggles on paper, or meaningless mouth noises, until they have been associated with (pre-linguistic) feelings. Those who study chimps and other non-verbal primates know they can have very strong (sometimes literally murderous!) feelings about each other over sexual jealousies, failure to share food, etc.
I guess our words, by association with things that are fundamentally regarded as hateful, as per the above (or pleasant, for those words associated with pleasant behaviours), just elicit a conditioned response.
Does this mean paedophilia must be fundamentally hateful because the words associated with it prompt such a strong emotional reaction? Not, not at all. We can be sure of this because in many societies (especially but not only in hunter-gatherer cultures) there is no such association, and no such response.
There is something fundamental and pre-linguistic at work, I suggest, but with a culturally specific overlay. What the hate response taps into fundamentally is the Us-Them divide. “We” are good; “they”, the Other, are not. The question then turns on the cultural specifics of how MAPs became Othered, the forces driving it, from the inventions of monogamy and religion onwards (neither of these are inevitably hostile to MAPs but they have historically had significant roles in the alienation process).
What I am getting at, I suppose, it that the focus on language in all this may be a bit narrow. The words are important, but so is the history of concepts and their constructedness. Back to Foucault and the knowledge/power nexus, perhaps? In whose interests has it been, and whose power is expressed, via the bad-mouthing of MAPs?
Tom! Surely your last paragraph there is bordering on maximally confused? For what is a concept if not that whose meaning is widely shared, and how is its meaning ever shared, how does it ever achieve concepthood, if not by means of language?
“But words are only squiggles on paper, or meaningless mouth noises, until they have been associated with (pre-linguistic) feelings”
I would say this is really the ‘opposite’ of the truth. Feelings are only feelings until they have been interrupted by the imitation of an emitted gesture/sign that now POINTS TO what transcends both ‘self’ and ‘other’ – and what is pointed to can only be a sacred/significant center occupied by an object upon which emergent human desire now converges, designated as unapproachable by none other than that very shared sign..
Big O’d Others can only be those who are felt to inhabit a scene quite removed from the scene we understand ourselves to be present on and inhabit. In this Big O’s are felt to be largely insignificant (think present-day Mongolians or suchlike) .The real problems begin when Big O’d others become small o’d others – ie when we find *them* suddenly occupying the same scene as *us*..
Thus i think it is not fear of difference but fear of sameness that propels irrational hatred of “pedo”. That in their explict celebration of most youthful sexuality MAPs are revealing the terrifyingly erotic fear, desire and denial that has fuelled and sustained our worship of ‘childhood innocence’ for over two hundred years.. they want to de-Otherize children and make them just the same…as us!
If this makes sense to anyone here, please say so. To me it’s just gobblededook.
Hmmm…i see. Well let’s just zero in on your concluding paragtaph then, where you say that what you “are trying to get at, you suppose”, is that “the focus on language may be a bit narrow. Words are important, but so are concepts and their constructedness”
In my opening paragraph, i wondered aloud what on earth could ever manage to construct comcepts if not words and lots & lots of them?
Degobbledegooked enough for you now?
>In my opening paragraph, i wondered aloud what on earth could ever manage to construct comcepts if not words and lots & lots of them?
I wonder if the paragraph you find confusing would make more sense to you if you read it in conjunction with the one immediately before? Of course I am not saying concepts are not linguistic.
It serves the old guard, those in governmental power who want to closely regulate “sexual morality” like they did with punishing homosexuals earlier. It’s a form of social control and a key prohibition used to cajole the masses into certain social attitudes which allow greater thought control and domination.
And of course the lower classes especially have a “foaming at the mouth” hatred of anything MAP-related; movement has typically come from middle class intellectuals, such as the French philosophers in the 70s when they signed that infamous letter.
And then there are the tech oligarchs who have a different vision to the old guard in traditional political power: TikTok has been frequently denounced as a “paedophile’s paradise” although I can attest that is generally wide of the mark. But the tech oligarchs are undermining the traditional rationale for keeping children separate from adult society, with under 13s radically infiltrating TikTok and making it their own, and increasingly risque shots on Instagram from little fashionistas, at least imitating “adult sexual allure”.
With the near onset of mass take-up of a VR online space, branded the “Metaverse”, one can only imagine where this will lead society – almost schizophrenic between denouncing MAPs and yet having a countless number of today’s children “imitating sexual allure” and hence creating a disconnect which will set up an almighty culture clash.
In conclusion, the language and attitudes used to denounce MAPs may become increasingly societally hypocritical. Would it be crazy to think the liberal tech oligarchs are more on MAPs’ side than traditional government? For whatever reason.
Rejecting monogamy as a mating strategy leaves rape and polygamy. The latter leaves plenty of room for alienation, as fewer are able to mate.
What about a society in which there is no ‘sexual ownership’? This allows for the greatest humanly possible amount of mating!
Ah, yes, the Boris Johnson problem! 🙂 Unless strict monogamy is enforced, wealthy, prestigious males can shag around, casually siring any number of sprogs without even knowing how many there are (not much “parental investment” required) while elbowing aside other less favoured would-be prong pushers.
Your presentation of the alternatives to monogamy looks rather limited, though, Nada, perhaps because you have framed the problem narrowly in terms of “mating strategies”. This is a term from sociobiological theory that focuses strictly on reproduction.
Most human sexual contacts these days, though, are primarily about companionship and (nonreproductive) sex, aren’t they? So is it really the case that reproductive concerns need limit our options in the austere way you suggest?
The limited alternatives are due to relevant biology. Perhaps a society without “sexual ownership” (protection of mate or offspring) would maximize mating, but likely at a high cost. I still find it curious the invention of monogamy is a force for alienating MAPs, as if we were mostly Big Men severely constrained by it, not denied even it.
In part of your first book, you looked into ‘alternative’ communities in the 60s and 70s in which there had been attempts to implement an approach allowing complete interchangeability of partners as long as each coupling (or grouping) involved mutual consent. You noted how there was a tendency for certain individuals to ‘game the system’ by having affairs with other people while preventing their own partners from doing the same. What this suggests is that the underlying problem is one of power. Somehow, we need to evolve into a society in which people do not exercise unjustified control over others. Easier said than done of course!
In your original reply to me you quoted my statement: ‘What we need is not laws to stop people from expressing their hatred of MAPs, but less hatred of MAPs.’ I did not say how I thought we should go about achieving this. But it is very strange for you to assume that just because it would not involve making it illegal for people to say certain things or to say things in a certain tone, that I thought it would not involve language in any way at all.
>Although in principle misguided, I would not be in a great hurry to try and remove such laws at the present time, as such a move would be extremely unpopular except amongst right-wingers who are unconcerned about racism
The unprincipled right, the sort supporting Bergdorf, will hardly stop gaming the system to support MAPs, should MAPs even support the system. Hardly the sort of aims, I’d think, MAPs would seek to advance over principles.
Love the references to Kenneth Clark’s Civilisation. The fact attraction to children is described as “repugnant” is ethically puzzling and so obviously prejudiced. The Law Commission are clearly a hostage to the populist buzz of the times in a very narrow and even obtuse way.
It pleases me at least that efforts are being made in some quarters to correct this egregious error of officialdom.
<i>A pellet or two from an airgun would have made life sufficiently uncomfortable for him to retreat or fall – the latter might have seen him break a leg, but his obviously thick skull would have been beyond any possibility of damage.</i>
What about removing the ladder instead?
Yes, less brutal and yet at the same time somehow more satisfying!
That’s all very well but haven’t you guys forgotten something? The hammer! The longer the idiot was allowed to stay up there the more he was free to wreak havoc on Gill’s beautiful work.
Will restoration be possible? No one seems to have mentioned that yet.
I would imagine they’re scared to.
he may not have been an exclusive MAP, since he created two daughters …
I’ve been saying this for years, hatred for MAPs should come under hate crime, it is so clearly hate crime, in fact it is the only form of hate crime which is considered acceptable!!