Today’s guest blog is by Zen Thinker, who has a background in finance and enjoys many spectator sports. He is interested in thinking deeply about today’s world in all its social and philosophical dimensions, and especially the intersection of technology and historical tradition.
TECHNOLOGY, THE ACCEPTANCE OF MAPS
AND CHILDREN’S SELF-DETERMINATION
On the battlefield of life, what came to pass, Sanjaya?
We are locked in a constant intellectual battle over ideologies. There are periods of history where civilisation takes a massively regressive turn: to the (surmised) delight of modern conservatives everywhere, the decadent and libertine late Roman Empire collapsed, and monasteries were widely established in Europe, ushering in a thousand years of technologically basic, highly socially controlled feudalism. However, for the most part, and especially in the modern era, society and civilisation in the West have followed a progressive ascendency. This ascendency is set to continue, barring seismic calamity (perhaps the best thing conservatives can hope for to reset the clock is a nuclear holocaust). And this affluent progressivism has implications for MAPs.
Technology is already having a profound effect on the public portrayal of children, through both parent-directed and self-directed visual social media, and this is set to accelerate with the establishment of new technologies. In particular the Metaverse is set to highly challenge the boundaries of social relations, between people in general and perhaps the generations too. We often complain that life is now too “online”. Well, that tendency is set to be further exacerbated by the mass adoption of virtual reality technologies, to create collective social spaces that may prove a nightmare for state regulators trying to restrict children.
But first, a step back. We are used to hearing that only children over the age of thirteen are allowed to create social media accounts (this is due to arcane data protection law rather than from safety concerns). There are two fundamental problems with this. Firstly, children have created TikTok accounts as young as five years old, and secondly, parents are giving children Instagram representation effectively from birth in many cases. The end result is a flood of child representation on social media.
The character of this representation is noteworthy: children are appearing in a kind of extreme of glamour and expensive fashion, not universally, but certainly on prominent accounts. There are bikini shots, pretty dresses, summer fashion, and very precocious looking children at surprisingly young ages. Now this heavy representation is tilting more and more toward the child as an example of objectified beauty, and this is consequential for the identity of children and our perception of them, both as independent beings and as desirable. It will likely lead to a reassessment of the popular characterisation of children as asexual beings, and affect the public mind over time with a liberalising tendency towards a licit notion of the sexual child, at least as an existential possibility.
The Child & the Public Square
The child is fast becoming a public figure due to the artificial intimacy of social media representation. And with the advent of the Metaverse, who knows in what direction this will turn? We can at least make several educated guesses. The Metaverse is likely to redefine the public square, as Twitter has done in the present. But as the Metaverse is a radical amalgam of all social media forms, i.e. the visual influencer, the video blogger, the opinionated jerk and the forum for online friendships, it is likely to unify all these separate strands into an addictive virtual world. Children are likely to be a key part of this world, and children’s integration into the broader cultural community will be enhanced.
Remember when “Instagram for Kids” was shelved due to populist pressure? Well I was secretly relieved as it risked ghettoising children, creating a closed off exclusionary zone, but there is reason to believe this will not be the shape of the future. For one thing, Instagram is full of (parent-moderated) child influencers, but the parents themselves are young, liberal and extrovert just like their offspring. Now rest assured that the reprobate NSPCC and associated acts will kick up a firestorm about the dangers of the Metaverse and the need for impossibly restrictive legislation. However, again I don’t think this effort will succeed, going by the past behaviour and response of the big tech firms, and the (fortunate) reluctance of governments to lay out the red tape. Donald Trump tried to have TikTok shut down, ostensibly because it was a Chinese threat, but more likely underlying reasons include the addictive (and to conservatives, corrosive) influence it has on the young. Do you really expect children to leave the Metaverse alone? They will be unhealthily obsessed with it, by all current evidence of existing forms.
And as the Metaverse will function as the ultimate virtual public square, children will come to have an important and emergent public face like never before. There are currently online products for children such as Roblox, which is a kind of primitive Metaverse of linked worlds and environments. However I fully expect children to have a strong representative part in the main Metaverse, whether parent-led or otherwise, and Instagram is the main template for this, as it set the standard for permissible child representation (as opposed to the legions of children who sneak onto the TikTok platform illicitly – even the average child is deeply immersed in TikTok culture).
What does this mean for MAPs? It has an indirect but powerful effect, as with the emergence of the child as public figure, the function and ontology of children will be challenged and reassessed. By the “ontology” of the child I mean nothing less than the fundamental essence of childhood – key characteristics, being and identity. They will no longer be hidden in the private bubble of the nuclear family, but (rightly so) will be freed from those shackles to a large extent. The public may begin to view children as more mature, more responsible, more autonomous, and this will naturally feed into questions of children’s competency in different areas of life, including their sexuality.
Many MAPs would like a reassessment of age of consent laws, and this changing social reality of children will go a long way to softening the ground for such a reassessment, in my opinion. Additionally, as children increasingly promote themselves in glamorous, attractive and precocious ways, then consideration of the sexual nature of children (which has never in academic psychology been in dispute) may well undergo a reassessment in the public mind, which will undoubtedly soften the marginalisation and exclusion of MAPs. Already Twitter is allowing MAP accounts, where at the same time they also suspend the accounts of those who do not follow leftist trans orthodoxies. This is certainly significant, as it suggests a deep cultural shift is underway.
Tucker Carlson and the hatred of the MAP agenda
Tucker Carlson is a prime example of the extreme hatred demonstrated towards any who are soft or liberal on the idea of this shifting child representation. Of course, Carlson like every other conservative host was whipped up into a frenzy at the “Cuties” debacle on Netflix. He called out Ketanji Brown Jackson for being soft on indecent image offenders. He denounced Allyn Walker for their (rather gentle, as it turns out) book on MAPs.
But the truth is that however much conservatives man the barricades, they will be overridden by social progress, as an almost inevitable condition of technological advancement and the developing paradigm, or post-Enlightenment reality, of scientific and technical expertise in the West. And technology always liberalises the culture, whether through the end of the agrarian economy and the rise of the middle class, or the telescope and an end to the scientific dominance of the Church. We can certainly expect technology to transform our coddling and regressive attitudes towards children.
Trans: Children’s autonomy and self-determination
The medical technology of sex change is having a surprising effect on the debate around children’s existential self-determination. Women were once effectively chattel, and that ultimately ended with universal suffrage and robust divorce laws. We may be approaching an era where the perception of children as parents’ chattel is similarly coming to an end. What will bring about this change? Undoubtedly the power of the child’s decision over their future gender is a massive and consequential decision. Now not all of us agree on the wisdom or merit of radical gender ideology, but many believe fervently in the right of even a young child to make this kind of judgement and determination.
This obviously has implications around consent. If a child can make such an important determination about the life-changing consequences of their own gender, it seems quaint and seriously dated that children are mentally unable to consent to a sexual experience. And when we look deeper, we see that this taboo enshrined in law is in fact an irrational residual element from a prior age, that we have kept, either out of cultural convenience or else cultural inertia, but that technology will dislodge from its time-encrusted capsule.
Children are mentally developing in radically mature and precocious ways due to the effects of technology, and perceptions of them will continue to shift with this. Additionally, MAPs campaign on Twitter without suspension (albeit often on small, overlooked accounts), although in the face of public hatred; the latter may well soften over time as technology forces us to reassess the sexual nature of children, and hence the legitimacy of minor attraction as a valid category of thought. Conservatives will always oppose, but they in turn are being marginalised by the culture. Judge Jackson is being criticised on her woke attitude to issues, especially her softness on non-contact child sexual offences. It seems all the ingredients are in place for a fundamental reassessment of the sociological landscape, around children, sexuality, and self-determination, and the eventual acceptance of MAPs. I see all these issues playing out over the coming years: minor attraction will not always be the pariah cause it is now, due to complex sociological circumstances; change on this front seems inevitable.
GROOM FOR IMPROVEMENT IN SEX EDUCATION
Back from Zen Thinker to your HTOC host now, but staying with radical new thinking on childhood. Not so much “Vorsprung durch Technik” this time as “Vorsprung durch Grooming”.
Or, rather, that is a hostile notion bandied about by self-styled “reactionary feminist” Mary Harrington in her recent article “The rise of the liberal groomer”. Her topical point of focus is The Family Sex Show, a daring new venture coming shortly to British theatres – unless it falls victim to culture wars cancelling.
The show aims to present relationships and sex education in an entertaining way for children from age five and upwards – audiences are promised “an operatic song about the clitoris”, for instance. Inevitably, a petition to scrap the show has quickly gained thousands of signatures. As Harrington says, the furore is a homegrown British version of an increasingly ferocious front in the American culture war, driven on the liberal side by those mainly seeking more positive sex education for LGBTQ youth. Conservatives, she says, are pushing back, smearing the would-be emancipators as “groomers”.
We do not have to take her word for it. The headline for the Citizen Go petition is “A show grooming children”. The intro says:
A sexually explicit show funded by the Arts Council, which is in turn funded by taxpayers and National Lottery money, is currently touring various UK theatres. The show… features full-frontal nudity… There is no difference between taking children to the Family Sex Show and taking them to a seedy peep show or strip club! It raises precisely the same safeguarding concerns. Children who exhibit precocious sexual knowledge are at increased risk of sexual abuse and vulnerable to sexual predators.
But if the conservatives think this will be an easy event to get cancelled they could be in for a shock, because the cultural establishment appears to be solidly behind it – as hinted at via its Arts Council sponsorship. And the liberal Guardian newspaper has given supportive coverage in which the event’s producer Josie Dale-Jones recalls the “near to non-existent” sex education she had at school. There had been fearmongering about STIs, “But never a mention of why you might want to have sex, never anything about empathy or pleasure, or how any of it might impact other people.”
Dale-Jones and her theatre company are bracing themselves for a battle. As reporter Kate Wyver notes:
It’s no secret that talking to children about sex, relationships, and their bodies can draw negative attention. When Birmingham’s Parkfield community school attempted to integrate an inclusive programme teaching their students that families can come in all shapes and sizes, including with same-sex parents, protesters picketed the school gates. Incidents like this have been fairly frequent over recent years. “We know we will get people who don’t want it to happen,” Dale-Jones says. “There aren’t many of them, but they shout loudly. The main thing is looking after the company, the venues, their staff and the audiences.”
Oh dear! I do hope this doesn’t all end in tears, with liberal parents dragging their frightened little kids through screaming picket lines of hostile conservatives. How ironic that would be – especially for the conservatives, who claim to be so hot on child protection!
IT NEVER RAINS BUT IT POURS
The recent bad news from the Netherlands seems to have sent several lives into a terrible tailspin from which it may be hard to wrest back control.
In the most dramatic incident, one of those convicted for reviving an association that had been banned for “glorifying paedophilia”, has reported being robbed and left penniless in the country to which he had fled, and where he seeks political asylum.
This is Nelson Maatman, who has recorded his plight in a 10-minute video posted on FreeSpeechTube, where he reports hooking up with a twink at a club, going home with him and then being roofied so seriously he woke up next morning spitting blood, with his personal belongings gone and his bank account emptied via a (somehow) stolen PIN. The police turned out to be homophobically hostile, and now he is talking about taking the law into his own hands…
This incident was in Mexico, to which another of the convicted, Marthijn Uittenbogaard and his partner Lesley have also reportedly fled. Lesley had not been tried for “glorifying paedophilia”, but was raided in connection with the case. The latest news, reported here, is that he has just been convicted over a single “pornographic video” featuring a nine-year-old boy. His defence lawyer called it “a completely harmless film, made in the presence of the parents who have no problem with it”. The public prosecutor has called for a 12-months prison sentence. The court will decide on 27 April.
I am told that another of the group’s long-time associates, formerly a leading activist, has also been raided recently in connection with suspected child pornography offences. He, too, was not charged in the “glorification” case. This is an elderly man who is not in good health. Obviously, a prison sentence would be an especially heavy blow in his case.
fictional child counter-cultural communes:
Texas is going to restrict access to social media for minors:
a new text about online (encouraging of) child sex offences:
Anne-Maree Farrell, Nicole Shackleton, Elizabeth Agnew, Samantha Hopkins & Jennifer Power (2022): “Regulating tech-sex and managing image-based sexual abuse: an Australian perspective,” Information & Communications Technology Law, DOI: 10.1080/13600834.2022.2119208
possible candidates for rendering children “education about consent and sexual violence” to children are checked here:
ideas of online anti-CSA lessons are discussed here:
on the same topic:
My guest blog seems like a curious place to reference “anti-CSA”, “anti-sexual violence”.
I discuss a rather innocent use of legitimate Instagram and treat intellectually the ways in which technology has behavioural effects on children.
I can’t speak for all MAPs, but I recognise the pillars of the law as it currently stands and the definitions of abuse or violence as any physical contact or online chat.
Children can be educated about consent and that is all well and good, bearing in mind it is the adult who gets crucified by the State if they break the physical contact / online chat rules.
Surely the most depressing post and subsequent discussion I’ve yet seen in this forum. A smorgasbord of hopelessly naïve capitulation to inevitable technological “progress” from all sides. Endless grasping at straws.
“Do you really expect children to leave the Metaverse alone? They will be unhealthily obsessed with it, by all current evidence of existing forms.”
There can be no healthy obsession with the Metaverse by anybody. I certainly know people who will deny their children access to it, who now deny them access to social media in general; these children are far and away more mature than the general public.
“By the “ontology” of the child I mean nothing less than the fundamental essence of childhood – key characteristics, being and identity.”
What? “Being and “identity” are “key characteristics of childhood?” This means nothing.
“They will no longer be hidden in the private bubble of the nuclear family, but (rightly so) will be freed from those shackles to a large extent.”
Oh God, not this again. “Shackles of the nuclear family” my ass, if I may speak frankly. It’s the children lacking the experience of the nuclear family who are the most confined. The idea that social media / the metaverse is going to provide some greater dimension of freedom for children is mind-blowingly absurd.
“The public may begin to view children as more mature, more responsible, more autonomous, and this will naturally feed into questions of children’s competency in different areas of life, including their sexuality.”
And why “may” they? Because “trans choice” is now being so recklessly flailed about? The public “may begin” to view children as autonomous in this way for such reasons, but, to put it simply, that don’t make it right. And, as I mentioned above, the most mature and responsible children are (in my experience) those who have not been “freed by the internet” from “the shackles of the nuclear family” or from anything else.
“Children are mentally developing in radically mature and precocious ways due to the effects of technology, and perceptions of them will continue to shift with this.”
A completely unsubstantiated claim: “radically mature and precocious ways!” Purely wishful thinking – yet a tellingly wishful way of thinking in its abdication of agency, and hence of its own moral responsibility: “Technology is destiny – so what’s in it for us MAPs?”
What a pity this trenchant critique did not come a bit earlier. It might have prompted a sharper and better debate. Perhaps it is not too late for that but I suspect most site visitors will have moved on.
Thanks for this critique Franklin, though I would say it’s a bit unfair ultimately. “The most depressing post” – ouch! It was written in good faith and represents my most authentic and trenchant views on minor attraction. So perhaps you disagree fundamentally with my viewpoint? That is fine, but this “wishful thinking” is rooted in my own most genuinely held beliefs about the effects of technology on social liberalisation. Also I don’t think it is an abdication of moral responsibility but rather an objective assessment of the kind of societal trajectory we already see on contemporary social media, and which will surely accelerate. So I don’t really accept that I have fundamentally gone wrong in my assessment, or that my position lacks “moral responsibility”.
I didn’t catch this at the time, but it highlights some of the mechanisms involved in sociogenic harm and in that regard allows the young partner a voice (albeit retrospectively and through the filter of a journalist’s creative presentation). Just to be clear, though, I don’t condone breaking the law and I think he was rash (to put it mildly) to run away to France with her.
Gadzooks, what a horribly, horribly depressing story! And straight out of a culture *presumed* to celebrate romance as one of its highest values! And what could conceivably be more romantic than a love against the law? Reading such a grim to the brim tale made me want to curl into a little ball and die.. I mean, the headlong, heedless zeal of those ‘manhunting’ cops! It’s as if by now the very differentiation in the herdmind of the separate species ‘child’ and ‘adult’ has completely absorbed to itself the difference between ‘good’ and ‘evil’, perhaps even substituted for it altogether…
It’s the description of the policeman laughing as he threw her the newspaper that stood out for me. What does that laughter say about the attitude of those involved in ‘safeguarding’ her?
Lana Del Rey has a song about this, “Paris”
BBC News – Influencers and followers need more protection, say MPs
Knew this would happen – MPs going after child influencers. Surprised US Republicans didn’t make the first move. Apparently child influencers and even child followers are “at risk of exploitation and harm.”
More likely underlying reasons are keeping children out of the public square, and keeping them silent and stultified. It’s sad that legislators are always the worst people. Of course, “parents always know best” – that is, until parents are running their children’s social media accounts; then they’re “exploitative” all of a sudden.
It’s a joke. Luckily their efforts are likely to be in vain, as the overwhelming tide of technology floods their petty tinkering.
BBC promotes the leftist agenda
Authoritarian censorship motto.
How about proper sex education for all ?
How about critical race theory ? Is it not desinformation ?
Give them access to the Onlyfans to they can earn money themself #sarcasm Hollywood throws out all mentions of children sexuality but can’t resist and ready to make a film adaptation of Stephen King’s “It”.
It’s hard to take these concerns at face value, given that the MPs on this cross-party select committee have either facilitated, passively allowed or failed to mount effective opposition to the evolution of the gig economy.
Here at last is my take on Zen Thinker’s guest blog. Well done, ZT, for a thought-provoking and refreshingly optimistic piece. Some have judged this optimism to be little more than wishful thinking. I cannot disagree, but prefer not to be too dismissive. Time will tell.
Kit took the view that the history of modernity “is not so much a story of progressive liberalisation as of ever more efficient social control and exploitation… Change is inevitable, but progress is not”.
This is a useful corrective. A tad too negative, perhaps, but I agree that progress is far from inevitable. To the extent that the “arc of history” bends in a particular direction, it has been trending away from the liberalisation of childhood ever since the Enlightenment’s discovery – or invention – of childhood “innocence” over two centuries ago. Associated with reforms aimed at protecting children from exploitative forced labour, and the introduction of universal compulsory education, this has clearly been strongly beneficial up to a point. Even now, indeed, it could be said the trend still has some way to run: ever-increasing technological sophistication requires longer years of education and professional training, so that “children” often remain financially reliant on the bank of mum and dad well beyond adolescence and even into middle age, with concomitant control by these parental bank managers. The fact that less well cushioned adolescents may adopt a riskier, freer, “live fast die young strategy” may have a certain romantic attraction but will not commend itself to everyone.
Nor am I hugely convinced when ZT tells us, “Children are mentally developing in radically mature and precocious ways due to the effects of technology, and perceptions of them will continue to shift with this.” I agree that perceptions may change, and that as a consequence liberatory narratives may gain some traction, especially for adolescent youth. This is no trivial matter. We should never underestimate the potency of imagination, and the capacity of new stories to generate new realities.
I would just caution that technology is changing much faster than kids can. Movies featuring precocious child heroes have long been a Hollywood staple, but they do not alter by one whit that children will always be immature, and not just by definition. Quick reality check: think babies; think toddlers. Preadolescents are not much older or wiser, nor are teenagers. It is not possible to attain wisdom without experience. Lots of it. That is why kids need gradually increasing exposure to experience as they grow up, learning from relatively minor mishaps. My argument has never been that children are “mature”, or that they are capable of making important decisions that will be important for their future life prospects. They are not. Even young adults are not great at this: second marriages are often more successful than an unwise early one. This is exactly why childhoods need freedom for the realistic rehearsal of adult roles in all sorts of contexts – speaking confidently, handling money, shopping, navigating a neighbourhood, workplace experience, democratic citizenship, you name it. Oh, yes, and with social and sexual contacts in which no one expects youth to make potentially disastrous long-term commitments.
ZT rightly draws attention to “the power of the child’s decision over their future gender”. This alone marks an astonishing and staggeringly rapid shift in the ontology of childhood, although I would question the extent to which it is actually driven by children: conservative parents, notably, may prefer their girlish little boy to undertake gender transition rather than risk them growing up gay. There is also growing evidence that clinics have been pushing kids towards transitions that are later regretted. I looked into the trans scene in some depth for an article based on the contradiction noted here by Naughty Fox and Girllover. As GL put it, “It seems logically that if a child can choose to change their gender, they should have the ability to consent to other things as well.” The operative word here is “if”. The more I have looked into it, the dodgier it seems. The case for adolescents, especially, being capable of consent to “other things”, including sexual contacts and (non-binding) relationships, looks far stronger to me than the case for gender transition: gender identity transition is one thing, but physical transition is quite another.
Finally, I would note that ZT is not wholly uncritical of the “brave new world” he envisages, alluding, if only briefly, to the “addictive” nature of TikTok and his belief that children will be “unhealthily obsessed” by the Metaverse. But he doesn’t seem too worried about it. On the contrary, he could almost be mistaken for a drug dealer rubbing his hands in glee at the prospect of so much new business! In fairness, his piece is more about prediction than recommendation, but a fuller survey would have noted the downside not just of kids being glued to their screens for too long but also the shallow consumerist values implied in their embrace of “appearing in a kind of extreme of glamour and expensive fashion”. Call me old fashioned but I would prefer to see youth culture led in the future from higher-minded positions, by the likes of Greta Thunberg.
Thanks Tom for this fair critique. Three points I’d make in response:
So children remain in their manner and deportment (or, essentially, their ontology) infantile, but that doesn’t affect their changing ways of adapting to the contemporary world. Maybe I am being selfish because what I most want is to populate my inner world with beautiful children and pleasant fantasy, and child social media fulfils this aim in an unprecedented way, and will increasingly do so. And along the way I was shocked by shifting child representations, away from an “innocent” model to an “infantile adultified” model which is certainly interesting and holds many future possibilities.
Glad you feel my critique was fair, ZT. You wrote:
>children remain at their core much more innocent than adults
I prefer not to use the word innocent in most contexts (except to repudiate it) because it is so often interpreted as meaning asexual. But the concept can hardly be avoided when talking about the history of childhood since the Enlightenment.
>I lol’d at myself as the “tech drug dealer” happy for children to get addicted.
Glad you took it so well! This was naughty of me. You are right to point out that it is “the big tech companies who are selling their products to us like drugs, making them as addictive as possible”.
Yes we know from Freud, heck, we know as far back as St Augustine’s Confessions, and from our own childhood experience, that children are not asexual. People who argue for the absolute purity of children are stating an impossible and absurd ideal, based precisely on ultra-conservative ideologies.
Yet children have a simplicity of being and directness that has been long remarked upon by poets such as Wordsworth, and this affects their proto-sexual expression. “The innocence of the child” may well be deeply ingrained cultural mythology but a better formulation would be the simplicity or even spirituality of the child, which yet allows room for sexual thoughts, feelings and expressions, which are an inevitable part of growing up.
Of course, it is deeply ironic that conservative Christians ignore Augustine who famously says that even babies are not innocent: “who reminds me of the sin of my infancy? for ‘none is pure from sin before you, not even an infant of one day upon the earth.'” And “so the feebleness of infant limbs is innocent, not the infant’s mind.” And “is that childish innocence? It is not, Lord, is it?” So one of the foremost Christian authorities repudiates the innocence of the child. It is in fact the thoroughly irreligious Rousseau who did claim this, much later. The same “genius” who invented the “noble savage”, if ever there was an oxymoron.
And as for the culture and law of Ancient Rome, it was common practice for fifty year old senators to marry twelve year old girls. Nabokov’s Lolita except thoroughly legal and even deeply establishment! So yes, the Enlightenment vision of the innocent child is historically anomalous.
Well worth reminding us about St Augustine’s Confessions, ZT, and especially giving us those very telling quotes.
I am struggling with this sentence, though: “Nabokov’s Lolita except thoroughly legal and even deeply establishment!” A few words gone missing, perhaps?
To make it clearer: “the Roman situation is akin to Nabokov’s Lolita, except for being thoroughly legal and deeply establishment.”
Thanks. I think the reason I didn’t get it, apart from being a bit dozy this morning, is that the point you are making strikes me as rather odd. Not wrong, exactly, but one which seems to ignore the key feature of the scenario, or make too light of it. Yes, the Roman situation is “akin to” the one in Lolita in the straightforward sense of both involving a middle-aged man with a barely adolescent girl. But the difference in the two contexts, one utterly taboo the other quite normative, means they are about as similar (or “akin”) as chalk and cheese, doesn’t it?
Yes. My point was intended to be ironic, imagining the taboo angst in the mind of the socially fringe figure Humbert Humbert and his scurrilous escapades, and contrasting this with the heart of the establishment in Roman times. It certainly creates an interesting juxtaposition: can we imagine a situation now where MPs marry twelve year old girls? Lol! The social mores have shifted so monumentally, and Rome was one of the high points of world civilisation too. It’s food for thought.
Too monumentally. Stupid bigots forced Scottish cabinet secretary Derek Mackay to resign, for a harmless flirting with a 16-year-old guy on Instagram
Good lord – do you really think the beauty of our smallest beings is enhanced somehow by cosmetics and god knows what manner of designer crap? Can this reeeeally be what you mean by “looking as beautiful as possible”, ZT? Nothing maketh ny paedophilia evaporate faster than when a small one proceeds to ape the trappings of adulthood! Where then i must ask, is the reality of *paedophilia* when all we apparently want is some sort of mini-adults all gussied up like so many little clowns? So much is quite beyond my ability to comprehend!
Couldn’t agree more, Mr Turp!
Haha, if you mean the absurdly over-cosmetic beauty pageants, I quite agree. However, I disagree in general that designer fashion, painted nails, makeup, lipstick or mascara detract from a child’s beauty, if done gracefully and subtly. I think you make the reference to “clown-like” because this is makeup done wrong. A bit of subtle blusher is fine, and looks pretty – only when misapplied does a girl end up looking like an Oompa-Loompa.
I see Warbling, that you are not a connoisseur of Brazilian Instagram, where young children market makeup sets for companies, just about every girl is wearing sunglasses, and names such as Chanel are frequently worn. All to good effect I might add. They look beautiful – children don’t have to be unsophisticated. They maintain their immature simplicity of spirit, but some of them are presented like they are the ultimate MAP fantasy…
It’s not “aping the trappings of adulthood”, it’s forging their own unique childlike semi-sophisticated style. And when done right, it looks absolutely awesome.
“Preadolescents are not much older or wiser, nor are teenagers. It is not possible to attain wisdom without experience.”
That’s just my view, but I’d use words like “wise” and “experience” very carefully in such contexts. Far too often are those words used in justifications for ageism, their vagueness also making a discussion sometimes quite difficult. Compare e.g. the use of the similarly unprecise term “natural” by opponents of gay rights. Philosophers have pondered for centuries on what wisdom is, but are such abstract terms really that useful in constructive conversations about politics?
“That is why kids need gradually increasing exposure to experience as they grow up”
An defiant anti-ageist activist could of course respond that the same is true for people of any age, and that sudden exposure is sometimes even more beneficial (e.g. to learn a language).
“or that they are capable of making important decisions that will be important for their future life prospects. They are not. Even young adults are not great at this”
My apologies for repeating myself, but I believe any discussions about age would be much more productive if people would make specific arguments, ideally based on empirical evidence (if it exists), rather than general statements assumed to be “common sense”. As a concrete counter-example, there are elementary students learning about healthy nutrition and then convincing their fast-food obsessed 40-year-old parents that the family should change their diet. We may view this and similar instances as a rare exception not justifying a more careful use of broad statements about age groups. But are they really that much rarer than adults deciding to eat healthy (or any other important decision about the future)? Is there any research looking into this commonly held belief? Personally, I’m very much on the hesitant side here. I’d agree that the more time a person has to think about a specific issue the more likely they are to make a good decision, but as we can see from countless of adults eating unhealthy or making other decisions with detrimental consequences for their future, there are a lot (like, a lot) of factors other than time. Why not look at unhealthily eating or “immaturely” voting boomers and call them unwise and naive? Of course, whenever an adult is called “childish” or “immaturely”, this is seen as an aberration from the chronological order of things – rarely are instances of adults called this way used by people to examine wether their ideas of “maturity”, “childhood”, “adulthood”, “age”, and so on perhaps are too absolute, if not completely inaccurate. Nobody ever seems to say “Hmm, I guess in this area I thought adults are more competent than children, but apparently I was wrong.”. It seems to me sometimes the reasoning of many people is something like “Yes, all those people voting for the opposing political party have such ‘childish’ views, but I’ll nevertheless still see and treat them as equals and as much more reasonable than any 10-year-old who shares my views on climate change because I’m sure that child’s reasoning is still worse than that of those voters who think gay marriage causes tornadoes”. I wouldn’t be surprised if studies find that in many political areas (e.g. climate change) children are more competent than adults. I don’t even know if I wanna know when was the last time the average adult really read a scientific text about global warming, or any scientific text for that matter (I fear often the last time they did would turn out to be when they were still in school). But hey, The Sun, Fox News, and some documentaries about UFOs are enough to feel like a knowledgeable adult, I guess.
Imagine, for the sake of argument, a society with children in charge and adults being oppressed. Couldn’t one here also imagine people vaguely gesturing about wisdom and experience to justify the status quo? Adults already in their 20s being scarred by time with rotten brains, numb and incapable of really perceiving new experiences and thus of gaining wisdom, slowly losing the wisdom from their youth which is fading away. Yes, they are perhaps now better in very narrow areas, some might become scientists and in this narrow area of live their capabilities might exceed that of most children (though even in current ageist societies there’re a few children conducting science and getting university degrees). But overall the cognitive abilities of people in their 20s and older are long past their prime, with lots of brain studies conducted and interpreted accordingly to fit this narrative.
To be clear, I’m not suggesting that conversations about age as a political issue should always have in mind that perhaps one in ten quadrillion 1-year-olds is able to get a degree in quantum physics. But I believe statements such as “Preadolescents are not much older or wiser, nor are teenagers.” have a risk of perpetuating harmful perceptions, and not few young people reading/hearing such statements might feel hurt by them. If society constantly tells you that you’re incompetent and naive, then that can become a self-fulfilling prophecy after all. This is just a speculation, but as a young adult myself, I think comments like “Even young adults are not great at this” could contribute to oppression against pedos as well. When you’re afraid people might think of you as incompetent because of your age, a common way of coping with that seems to be to look down on the people younger than you. I mean, aren’t tropes like saying the brain isn’t fully developed until you’re 25 contributing to things like “Ha, now that I’m an adult I can finally retweet porn on my Twitter, and write ’18+ minors will be blocked'”, i.e. young adults seeking to forget their shameful past of alleged incompetence and distancing themselves from even slightly younger people, rather than being encouraged to remember that they e.g. might have had sexual feeling much earlier than adult wisdom claims is possible?
“This is exactly why childhoods need freedom for the realistic rehearsal of adult roles in all sorts of contexts”
Not that I’d disagree, but I again wonder if the same couldn’t be said for people of any age learning new things.
“but physical transition is quite another.”
You speak in general terms, but at least in the US the legal situation seems to actually recognize, of course only in theory, that one cannot deny a person medical treatment based on age, but has to look at each person individually wether they can make a decision.
“There is a way for some young people to have medical autonomy through what is known as the mature minor doctrine. This policy states that if someone under the age of majority is able to demonstrate a sufficient level of maturity and understanding of their condition, they will be granted the liberty to refuse or consent to treatment without permission from their parents.”
Of course, there’s the ageist assumption that adults are automatically capable of making medical decisions, but otherwise this individual approach seems reasonable to me (apart from the obvious crucial problem, as mentioned in the linked article, of doctors likely often determining capability based on ageist and otherwise problematic criteria). Many gay, trans, pedo, etc. adults go to conversion therapy in hopes to get “cured” of their queerness, so checking competency regardless of age would I assume also prevent many adults from getting harmed.
Yes, if you will permit me to be ageist against myself for a moment, CS, I was rather playing to the stereotype of the Pompous Old Fart in my critique of ZT’s blog, wasn’t I? Essentially, my role was that of devil’s advocate, probing assumptions that need to be questioned from time to time on a forum such as this, lest we too readily agree with each other’s radical ideas. Without such questioning, tribes of all kinds, online and off, are bound to fall prey to dubious groupthink.
While I feel no need to recant in the face of your excellent contribution, I do agree that my sweeping generalisations invite challenge. And yours are good challenges, in my view. You might be surprised, indeed, to learn not only that I agree with much of what you say but that I have long written in similar vein myself! You wrote:
>I wouldn’t be surprised if studies find that in many political areas (e.g. climate change) children are more competent than adults.
Yes. It is no accident that I referenced Greta Thunberg in my final line. She was a fantastic leader on this while still at school, and of course her campaign would not have been effective without so much youth support for her school strikes. Without wishing to detract too much from this, I would add, though, that one reason kids know so much about climate change is that in good schools they learn about it from their teachers.
I make the point because it leads me to a relevant related one. Over the winter months I had the pleasure and privilege (although it was hard work) of serving on a local citizens’ “climate jury”, set up to identify the most effective measures that could be taken in the locality to tackle climate change, and to press local government and other stakeholders (local business, community organisations, individual citizens) to undertake specific measures. One of my suggestions was about recycling (which is ultimately climate-linked via reducing greenhouse gas emissions). It suddenly dawned on me, when obliged to look into the details (jury members were given expert briefings on a range of topics) that I had been doing it badly, getting the plastics all wrong. My idea was to make sure, through the schools, that the kids are brought truly up to speed on this. Take them on trips to the recycling conveyor belts, where stuff gets sorted. Make them experts. They will then be well placed to educate their parents, and more than likely delighted to be given such a genuinely important “adult” job.
>as a young adult myself
Always glad to see younger generations here. Just so you know, back in the 1970s I was inspired by the children’s rights movement of that time. This was not confined to important but very basic welfare rights (right to education, health services etc., right to protection from harms such as exploitative labour). The focus in several pioneering books then was on child liberation, the freeing up of youngsters’ capacity to thrive in the moment, to be active, developing participants in life, not just passive recipients of teaching. I am thinking of books such as Richard Farson’s Birthrights, John Holt’s Escape from Childhood, and Paul Goodman’s Growing Up Absurd. I wrote about all these and more in “The philosophy of children’s rights”, which is chapter 7 of my 1980 book Paedophilia: The Radical Case. It is here if you are interested.
I might also note that one of the all-time highlights of Heretic TOC for me was a lengthy debate in the comments section in which a teenage genius called James (who would later become trans as “Jasmine”) took issue with me on the evidence that should be heard (or not) in rape cases. He introduced Bayesian logic into his argument, to great effect. I learned a lot. Well, a bit: mainly that he was a lot cleverer than me! 🙂
>the mature minor doctrine
This came up when I was writing the trans article I mentioned. I also drew attention to a similar concept in UK law, called Gillick competence. This has been referred to several times in HTOC blogs, most recently here.
I’m extremely glad that you prefaced this comment with tribute to the dedicated avoidance of lapse into groupthink on HTOC, Tom, for there is something i’ve been mad keen to ask you but always demurred due to fear of opening the proverbial can of wrigglers…
I’ve always wanted to ask you at what point exactly, and for what felt reasons, did you decide you must lend your intellectual support to that unholy mixture of Puritan preacher and media sensation we call Greta Thunberg?
It has always been most useful to pose the following question to the passionately convicted – ‘was one actually argued into the position one presently takes or did one somehow just arrive at it’ ? The corollary of course is that if one was not painstakingly argued into it, then it is very probable one will never be argued out of it.
When you’re giving every indication you believe GT somehow represents, even exemplfies the scientific, i for one am quite astonished. For did this person not arrive on a wave of wholly pre-formed sentiment, one whose primary conviction is that planet Earth is the victim of its human inhabitants, and that therefore shares quite copiously in the pervasive caricature of Christianity i refer to as wall-to-wall victimary logic? Aided and abetted by lavish helpings of the religion of impending disaster?
My thought was, to assist us in our attempt to navigate this sea of wrigglers, we might go right back to that point where a marginal academic endeavour OVERNIGHT became one of the most superfunded and publicized enterprises on Earth, the rest as we say, now being ‘history’
How many have actually ventured to read for themselves the hacked emails exchanged between that tiny handful of players charged with informing and granting scientific imprimatur to what was now the newborn IPCC agenda before the world?
With no further ado then here is the whole kit and skullduggering kaboodle, graced what’s more by a beautifully simple introduction from its annotator, reminding us of the humility required by any truly scientific mission..
Famously, Greta’s campaigning mantra has been “Follow the science”. That’s what I try to do. It is why I subscribe to the AAAS and keep up with its science news bulletins, including an article this week that admits to the messiness and muddle of climate research as well as its more respectable methodology. And it is why I commend Greta’s efforts.
The article, “Some climate models predict future warming that most experts think is implausible”, is behind a paywall so I have put a Word copy on Dropbox. I love this quote: “We must move away from the naïve idea of [climate] model democracy.” But see what you think.
>For did this person not arrive on a wave of wholly pre-formed sentiment…?
It would seem she learned about climate change at school, as many kids do, which seems OK to me unless we think schools should avoid teaching science or anything controversial about science. Bear in mind that even Darwin is still not accepted by many in the US. Do we really have to wait until the very last sceptic is onboard? In Greta’s case she learnt early, at age 8, but did not start her public campaign for another seven years. Is it seriously suggested she did not apply her own obviously sharp intellect and critical faculties to her earliest learning in all those years?
>How many have actually ventured to read for themselves the hacked emails
Thanks for sending them. The introduction to this classic disclosure in indeed good. This promises to be an interesting read. I cannot make it a top priority but I am genuinely curious. That said, the case in question has been extensively investigated. The complaint against Phil Jones appears to have a real foundation but his sin was attempting to ignore annoying quibbling, as he saw it, that threatened to waste his time; for that reason his work was not as open and transparent as it should have been. His so-called “averaging trick” is not judged to have distorted the science. Indeed, the evidence supporting the need to regard man-made global heating as an emergency has grown much stronger in the decade since this alleged scandal.
>the religion of impending disaster
Plenty of that around, for sure. Plenty of head in the sand complacency, too. I guess the trick (that word again!) is a matter of navigating between the two, via well informed good judgement.
You probably already know about this, Tom, but I just discovered that a 2nd issue of the Journal of Controversial Ideas has come out! https://journalofcontroversialideas.org/volumes_issues/2/1
Finally, we get an article about the dreaded P-word
The Pedophile as a Human Being: An Autoethnography for the Recognition of a Marginalized Sexual Orientation
By the general public and in the media, pedophilia as a sexual orientation is systematically confused with sexual abuse of minors. Neurological research supports the idea that pedophilia is an innate sexual orientation, and that is how pedophiles, in the sense of ‘minor-attracted persons,’ experience it themselves. The stigma attached to pedophilia as a sexual orientation ensures that pedophiles live in emotional isolation and that young people with pedophilic feelings have nowhere to turn with their doubts and fears. However, pedophiles are not destined to abuse children, and more openness about living with pedophilia can actually prevent child sexual abuse. In this article, based on an autoethnography, I want to provide more insight into what it means to grow up and live with a pedophilic orientation, and I want to make a case for turning the pedophile into a human being again.
I see it is Open Access, so this is one we should all read. Sounds a bit boringly “virtuous” though.
You’re right Tom. It does, unfortunately, use the term “sexual abuse” uncritically and I believe never defines it, at least from what I’ve read so far. I’ll have to read the full thing but I’m considering writing an anon response / comment based on what I’ve read so far. I wanted to produce a very controversial article for the journal anyway, so a commentary on issues with the article + things they leave out could be a good opportunity to do that and push the envelope a bit further.
I wonder if you’d consider submitting a commentary, perhaps a personal perspective: “The paedophile: not just human, but proud!”[?] Maybe “Human and Proud!”
I recall how, in your 2020 book review of that Cambridge handbook, you reprimanded the contributors (rightly so!) for their complete silence over “the plight of proto-paedophilic minors.” You could pen a personal commentary with the younger generation, particularly young and if the research is correct, suicidal MAPs, in mind. That they ought to take pride in their attractions; that, as you put it in your unaired interview turned “A Decent Life” movie, that your attractions drew you towards kids in a way that was loving. There’s a reasonable amount of scholarly sources about “love” apropos MAPs you could cite. Talking about tenderness and the ways that P-words often help young people in their everyday life, as teachers, social workers, etc., helping them with schoolwork, introducing them to new perspectives, ideas, intellectual and cultural worlds sometimes barred to minors via their stigmatized position and not being taken seriously as subjects or, in a word, people.
Just a thought! I do like to try and be encouraging! :p
“the plight of proto-paedophilic minors.”
Research often calls for more data somewhere in the conclusion, doesn’t it?
I think there’s a lot of missing empirical information that might possibly be feasible to collect with surveys in this area, that one could argue/demand should be carried out. For example, what do students & teachers in schools think about pedophiles? The dominant narrative seems to be nobody younger than 18 knows anything about pedos (or anything else that is “more queer” than a monogamous adult gay couple). All people under 18 know in this regard, so the narrative, is that they should not go into a stranger’s car. The allegedly super wise adults on the other hand, know that those people in cars are called pedos and have a disorder (are more centrist explanation) or are influenced by the patriarchy/capitalism/etc. (a more leftist explanation) or are simply in some way inherently evil (a more right-wing explanation). And of course most people probably have a mixture of those 3 rough categories of explanations. Yet, when we look on social media, it sometimes seems young people use “pedo” way more often as a slur than e.g. “gay” (which iirc is sometimes described as the most common slur used in schools).
How do e.g. middle-school students think about MAPs, and do they think differently in this regard than adults? If I’m not mistaken “minors” are on average more opposed to AoC laws than adults, but does this also mean that they are on average less prejudiced against pedos? Just like “gay” is (I assume) more often used as a slur by “minors” than by adults, I could imagine that “minors” (or youth or whatever arbitrary age category one would like to choose) are perhaps more frequently in favor of the death penalty for attractions and so on. Or in other words, there’s perhaps sort of more polarization about pedophilia than among adults?
Or more generally, what are the mechanisms of oppression against pedos among youth? What are the reasons for discrimination here and are they different than the reasons adults have? Do students e.g. use the slur “pedo” against other students rather as a way to “prove their maturity” (e.g. because of internalized ageism), i.e. a wish to be seen as a competent protector of younger, innocent students who knows about the dangers in the world. Or alternatively, to be seen as competent on social issues, i.e. identifying themselves as an ally of queer people and women, whose most evil enemy according to society is often the pedophile?
Last but not least, perhaps those surveys are even filled out by some brave students who trust thepromise of anonymity enough to identify themselves as MAPs in them. If that’s the case, those participants should of course have lots of space in those surveys to describe what they need, what aspects of discrimination is the most urgent to alleviate in schools, sport clubs, and so on.
Lots of stuff a not too risk-averse researcher might be able to investigate with surveys.
>I think there’s a lot of missing empirical information that might possibly be feasible to collect with surveys in this area,
Yes! Thanks, CS, for these questions/suggestions. They are addressed to Prue but I don’t think you will be surprised to find me listening with interest! 🙂
Because there are no more “former regular” slurs. Being gay is not a shame now and the crowd is looking for something to fill the void. The last scapegoat, the last taboo.
>You’re right Tom. It does, unfortunately, use the term “sexual abuse” uncritically and I believe never defines it, at least from what I’ve read so far.
True. I have now finished reading the article and there is no definition and no challenge to the term. Even worse is where he write this:
To me, this is like disparaging gay men for being convicted in the courts up until the late 1960s in the UK for sex between consenting adult males when it was still illegal. Shouldn’t the focus be on the oppressive nature of the law, not the so-called “offences” committed by the men?
The writer has a point to the extent that the media certainly treated PIE and other “older pedophile associations” as being discredited when anyone was found to be breaking the law, but that is the sort of unthinking judgement that radical activism should be challenging. Instead, he appears to be slavishly agreeing with it. I might point out that it was different in the Netherlands back in the day.
Brongersma, who is mentioned in this “Autoethnography” paper, was convicted in the 1950s of an offence involving a 15-year-old boy. Was he discredited by this? No, not after he and other spirited activists had begun to make inroads with their pro-paedophile campaigning. Brongersma was later elected to the Dutch Senate and honoured by the queen! If that is being discredited, I am all for it!
The “Autoethnography” aspect of the paper is OK, I think. Everyone’s honestly reported personal experience is of some value, especially as regards the experiences of marginalised or openly denigrated and despised minorities.
>I’m considering writing an anon response / comment based on what I’ve read so far. I wanted to produce a very controversial article for the journal anyway, so a commentary on issues with the article + things they leave out could be a good opportunity to do that and push the envelope a bit further.
>I wonder if you’d consider submitting a commentary, perhaps a personal perspective: “The paedophile: not just human, but proud!”[?] Maybe “Human and Proud!”
Yes, I might well do, although I doubt the journal would run two articles on the same theme in the same issue.
>I recall how, in your 2020 book review of that Cambridge handbook, you reprimanded the contributors (rightly so!) for their complete silence over “the plight of proto-paedophilic minors.” You could pen a personal commentary with the younger generation, particularly young and if the research is correct, suicidal MAPs, in mind.
Thanks for your encouraging suggestions, Prue. I am definitely tempted!
And to cap it all he uses the word ‘problematize’. Unforgiveable.
I found this sympathetic interview with a North American MAP who was jailed and put on the sex offender registry for a CP offence to be very powerful testimony:
the hypocrisy of bigots
Journalists publish photos and videos with killing people. Are all who watched and downloaded it considered as criminals ? No
Are those who download the video with twins 9/11 a criminal ? No
Are those who look at Playboy and watch Pornhub registered as a sex offender ? No
It is hypocritical and CP offences are thought crimes as the viewer of a past record is made a direct participant through convoluted magical thinking. BUT the de facto law as a representation of current political power cannot be contravened as one will be smashed on the wheel of the state.
Also consider how child social media representation, which has only properly taken off in the last five years, is beautiful and aesthetical, and be content with something that is 100% legitimate and safe and, in addition, never sordid.
The point of severe punishment of CP offences is to police sexual norms in society, and prevent minor attraction from gaining traction. But child social media may end up doing this anyway, which would be a delicious irony.
Law professor Amy Adler long ago explored – exhaustively in some eighty seven pages of research here – how the mad expansion of CP laws created the very paedophilic desire they were supposed to suppress
because it’s the same like a fighting against masturbation and marijuana. It’s unavoidably becomes acceptable.
I’ve just discovered that Gert Hekma, the embodiment of a sexual liberation radical and a highly educated, prolific anthropologist who pioneered gay studies way before it was cool, has died. I found out through a Dutch post by Nelson. https://www.freespeechtube.org/v/17t0
As many here will know, Gert was well-aware that the history of homosexuality was largely the history of pederasty, and dared to say so overtly in his co-authored article (with the late Donald Mader) “Same Sex, Different Ages: On Pederasty in Gay History” (2013) <https://archive.org/details/censoringsexresearch>
I hope we can all take some time to appreciate the courage and compassion of Hekma and Mader. As far as I’m aware, there’s no archive dedicated to Mader’s work, but a website archiving Gert’s publications can be found here https://www.gerthekma.nl/archive.html
You can hear Tom Hubbard reading a brilliant paper by Hekma here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4zF6xwIlEoI
This is a huge loss. Gert was a great guy. Some decades ago, of course, the death of gay men at a relatively early age was tragically common. Gert was hardly young, at 70, but when I met him not that long ago he seemed in fine fettle, so I would not have been surprised to see him reach 90 or more. Thus his sudden departure comes as a shock.
Thanks for posting the news, Prue, and for the links, to which I will be paying close attention, as, no doubt, will a good many others.
I think it’s a fair argument that the widespread visual representation of the sophisticated and glamorous child marks an escalation in children’s “sexual culture” from a pretty low bar to a more significant one. Public education only reacts to the surrounding culture so ever earlier sex ed is a function of this. The change in legalistic, cultural and social values will be child-driven not MAP-driven – the latter being currently “lower than the whale shit at the bottom of the ocean”, in the public’s eyes. So change will be driven from the child’s side. And we may only be in the early stages of this. But the evidence of accelerating change is everywhere apparent in the culture.
Meta may be at the forefront of this, so their child policies will be very important. And I predict Instagram Reels will overtake TikTok – although a new generation of technologies will ultimately be unveiled.
“The change in legalistic, cultural and social values will be child-driven not MAP-driven – the latter being currently “lower than the whale shit at the bottom of the ocean”, in the public’s eyes.”
Yes, that’s a very realistic take.
Sad, but not surprising:
The Family Sex Show cancelled amid threats and abuse at staff
19 April 2022
I said the cultural establishment appeared to be “solidly behind” the show, but there was a very severe limit to how solid they could be in practice. They could hardly risk little kids being taken into a battle zone.
Why “sad”? Since the promoters of the show think that all queerness is ok except pedophilia, the revocation only means less favoritism and prejudice!
There is something in what you say, Sugarboy, but I thinking less just of this particular show than of the disturbing ease with which huge swathes of public discourse are now being shut down.
As for this particular bit of the discourse, while the show was not designed to favour paedophilia, it was aimed at a more positive view of child sexuality. This would have been worthwhile for its own sake, and I do feel it is a matter of regret that this should be so easily snuffed out.
“… it is a matter of regret that this should be so easily snuffed out.”
Indeed a tragic and absurd effort to quell and inhibit that which has been ‘created’ within our beings (if one addresses humanity as a created species and not some faith premise in the ‘religious furor’ of evolutionary jargon that we are but apes with talented fingers & minds). Sex is a part of our species and again, with a created premise, it is All Good to behold, wonder about, and embrace no matter what age or gender.
I think this could be prevented by security and safety precaution.
It’s easy because they don’t want to justify freedom.
Angry wokists crowd should not decide what to watch others if it’s their free choice.
The children sees naked themself daily. They see naked people in the pool locker room. It does NOT traumatize psyche and does NOT corrupt
Hey wokists, how about forbidding wash children LOL ?
Maybe parents corrupts they while soaping their genitals :))
If it is ok now for kids to see nudity, why then did the Naked Rambler get arrested walking past a School, even though the School just happened to be on his route. I hear he only stopped rambling because of his sick mother. Maybe when she passes, he’ll start again. That was an entertaining documentary just watching the reaction of people who he came across.
I agree with Zen below
“technology will liberate us”
I’m not so sure as far as the World Economic Forum is concerned.
To quote Kissenger, There are too many useless eaters. Many still hold those views.
Technological advancement is inevitable but not necessarily good for us ‘serfs’ if the power is top down. Build back Better anyone, or is that just a conspiracy?
As for twitter being tolerant to MAPS, well I still have maybe three (can’t remember the number) suspended accounts there in the cloud of hotel California. Rumble and Odyssey are free speech platforms as an alternative to Youtube. As for TIK TOK, think how many more kids would be on youtube if it wasn’t for that damn platform.
Society can realize the simple thing right now.
Early pregnancy/abortion does not occur because of there was early sex, but occur because of during sex, no one followed the rules of contraception, which, according to obscurantists liers, corrupts and molests minors.
Puritanical western society deprived teenagers of bodily autonomy and proper sex education, and now there is a contradiction: a minor can declare his orientation/identity, and even consent to a conversion, but (s)he cannot register on date services until 18, cannot have friendly and romantic relationship with someone over 18. They are forbidden to watch porn, although everyone knows perfectly well, that they physiologically want it and watch it.
The MAP movement should advocate for the return of AoC 12 as a common basis, as it has been throughout entire mankind history.
We’re geographically scattered and cannot arrange the “Stonewall” by our feet, but the internet is our street and audience for our arguments. We need accumulate our presence on the web. Whether, on the Twitter or the Metaverse, we need to be there, be friendly and convincing to discuss and argue.
I would certainly have to take issue with ZT’s characterisation of the medieval millennium as representing “a thousand years of technologically basic, highly socially controlled feudalism.” Not only was medieval society capable of far less oversight and control of its members than the modern, bureaucratic capitalist state, but I really doubt that medieval society was any more controlling than its Roman predecessor. But it is the suggestion that medieval society was “technologically basic” that particularly annoys me. I don’t think this is true at all – the medieval period was one of remarkable technological innovation, and quite a number of popular history books in recent years have tried to dispel the idea of the Middle Ages as a scientific backwater. (See, for instance, Seb Falk’s The Light Ages.)
But the main problem I have with ZT’s historical outline here is the way he seems to be connecting technological or material progress (which I have no problem with) with something quite a lot vaguer: some notion of ideological or intellectual or political or maybe even ethical ‘progress.’ I have grave doubts about what this second sense of ‘progress’ means, and ZT doesn’t really say what he thinks it is, except that ‘conservatives’ are presumed to be opposed to it.
But even assuming that moral or political ‘progress’ is a coherent idea, why should we suppose that it goes hand-in-hand with technological advancement? Is it not quite possible that technological progress could be accompanied by political and social ‘regression’ (as seems to be happening, in fact, in much of the world today?). ZT’s claim that “technology always liberalises the culture” seems to me like wishful thinking. I might perhaps be willing to concede a liberalising role for the telescope, but I am not at all sure that I think a nuclear missile has the same power. Moreover, this sounds to me like technological determinism: as though history is made by machines and not by human beings. Perhaps it would be truer to say that technology serves a liberalising function where societies are already determined to follow the path of liberal politics and economics. But at this particular moment in our history, where liberal politics seems to be on the back foot everywhere in the world (and especially outside of the ‘West’), is it really prudent to trust technology to turn the tide for us?
And this takes me back to the medievals. It is true that new technologies helped to end the medieval era, above all through economic transformation, and that nineteenth-century historians decided that this constituted progress. (I am not at all sure that I agree.) But the new technologies and the political configurations they supported gave rise to radical new powers of surveillance and control. The history of modernity, as I see it, is not so much a story of progressive liberalisation as of ever more efficient social control and exploitation. This is perhaps not simply a bad thing (we do need some social control, after all), but I think it should serve to chasten our hopes that technological change will inevitably soften attitudes towards MAPs and the autonomy of children. Change is inevitable, but progress is not.
Thank you for this highly intelligent comment. My characterisation of the Middle Ages was somewhat performative, a polemic for the piece: I love the Middle Ages and find this period of history and culture fascinating.
Yes, if you are referring to China, technological ascendancy has had a sadly repressive effect there. And even in the West, it is sometimes used for greater coercive control. My optimism was grounded in my empirical observation of the changing function of social media, which is becoming central to our society, and the flood of child representation in the last five years (or less), which I think portends more of an active and visible role of children in the public square. Due to the nature of that representation, in imitation of adult models and influencers, I saw a liberalising effect in our collective perceptions of the child, which will play out over time.
Now one scenario is that technology such as the Metaverse is used for coercive control, but even in that case I envisage something of a Brave New World style future where, within the rigours of a highly conditioned society, children are yet precocious and sexual in nature (I also have opinions on the future viability of the artificial womb – acceptance of minor attraction will have a direct impact on birth rates). But hopefully the West can avoid a coercive future; in any case, I see few scenarios where childhood returns to a Victorian standard or otherwise stagnates.
I see MAPs as being eventually legitimated within LGBT+ but that may be in the distant future; first the ontology of the child must change to make such a legitimation possible. And that is underway now.
Oh god no, do you really mean that, ZT? That the unspeakably beautiful thing that makes us pleadophiles for god’s slakes has for its future prospects no more than legitimization via the Rainbow brigades?
Correction: Twitter does NOT allow MAP accounts. This is a right wing myth; another one of their fake grievances.Twitter will ban a MAP account if it gets too much attention. The MAP accounts that exist currently just haven’t been reported and flagged enough to be taken down.
You have to be careful not to let right-wing outraged and furore give you a false sense of “winning.” Most right-wing grievances are not real, at best they are highly exaggerated. I mean if you believe them about pedophiles controlling the democratic party then I could see why you would feel optimistic. Unfortunately, it would be very misguided and delusional to believe that.
Considering the internet has largely been negative for MAPs, I’m not really following how I should expect the Metaverse to be any different. Most likely it will be just another honeypot for police who want to get their arrest numbers up and look good for the public, and vigilantes who want youtube views by humiliating “perverts.”
Maybe you are right and everything will start changing, I don’t know. The current culture battle between trans kids and conservatives could be a positive, but don’t underestimate the liberal ability to doublethink. It seems logically that if a child can choose to change their gender, they should have the ability to consent to other things as well. But our society is hardly ever logical. They can believe two things at the same time that contradict each other and hold it for years and years and years.
Not trying to be a debbie downer but experience has taught me to be pessimistic.
The law will be one of the last things to change.
Don’t ignore the progress that is being made: 3-4 years ago TikTok and Instagram Reels didn’t even exist, and these are now heavily driving child participation.
Having said that, twice I got comments left from “minors” who were painfully obviously feds, on a mainstream platform. They’re trying to snag just about everyone. It’s intrusive and insulting but I’m thinking of a harsh reply if it happens again.
Yes Twitter was hostile to me last time I was there, But for arguing with people against child-adult sex (as Rind put it) I also gave that woman who wanted to ‘Stop Brexit some grief , so not sure what offended some moderator sitting in a hut in Vietnam. As for what I can see in the west, other issues like freedom to protest, Online safety Trojan horse are not democratic. Vaccine mandates were hideous and trashed the Nurenburg code, but I digress.
I think there is some disagreement or at least conflicting interpretation at work here. My own intel, such as it is, affirms that the Twitter Terms of Service do not preclude anyone from identifying as a MAP. The only thing Twitter will do is eventually ban whichever accounts of whatever stripe are repeatedly ‘reported”. In truth, there are few accounts that advertise themselves upfront as “MAP” and, as one correspondent says, she tends to be somewhat suspicious of those that do..
I think the VIRPED ones get an easier ride, from my experience.
“It seems all the ingredients are in place for a fundamental reassessment of the sociological landscape, around children, sexuality, and self-determination, and the eventual acceptance of MAPs. I see all these issues playing out over the coming years: minor attraction will not always be the pariah cause it is now, due to complex sociological circumstances; change on this front seems inevitable.”
Truly a soon coming Reality for Loving the child person in our society as a legitimate expression. Well…….we Hope it will eventually be so.
Full credit to you, Zen, for writing a piece which is both well argued and genuinely optimistic – not an easy feat. I guess what you’re saying is that faced with the evidence of children’s erotic interests revealed by these new developments, society will have to change. I hope you are right, but I am not so sure. It could bury its head in the sand for quite a long time. Also, the Internet can be controlled by a sufficiently authoritarian government, as the example of China shows. And cracking down on child sex might be considered a good pretext. I very much hope we are not heading in that direction, but the far right is looking increasingly powerful in many western states. Current economic conditions and the lacklustre approach of more traditional politicians do not bode well.
Thanks Stephen. I am aware my essay is optimistic and Tom considered whether to ask for some countervailing arguments to temper the optimism, but felt in the end that it worked well as a provocative piece.
Here is the basis of my optimism: the corporate world and the Democrats in America have taken on board the woke left, as a substitute for the economic leftism of traditional Marxists. The right-of-centre won the economic argument, and the left has co-opted the cultural agenda. With this in mind, there is currently a heavy cultural push towards ever greater cultural liberalisation, and it is just starting to reach the question of children. Cue conservative annoyance with “Disney groomers” etc.
And this liberalisation regarding children preserves and even enhances their rights – as I said in my essay the era of being parents’ “chattel” may be coming to an end. If you read the likes of the New York Times today there is broad support for the leftist cultural agenda and increased self-determination and individualism for children. This is a win-win as children’s rights are strengthened and they play a more forthright role in the culture, including a development of their sexual nature, something no psychologist denies – however delicately society wishes to approach this. Apparently not very delicately given the intense controversy going on in American schools right now!
You cite concerns about authoritarianism and the far right. These are part of a secondary current in our Western civilisation, a snap-back and reaction against the dominant direction of society. But being a secondary current, it is weaker and bound to be eventually overwhelmed by social progress. Also you say society could “bury its head in the sand for a long time”, but in fact mainstream media are even now reacting and shaping themselves around the new emerging social reality of children, to the extent that it can virtually no longer be ignored.
Well the Democrats were far to authoritarian with their ridiculous Mandates that they are still pushing. Why so many people fled to Florida that has been open since September 2020 (I think). I disagree with conservatives on the MAP issue but the Dems have exposed how authoritarian they are. All they will do is push people back towards Trump, and given this last year, that is only a good thing. Make 1984 Fiction Again!
Also this one, in which the author actually concludes with this mind-bogglingly stupid phrase: “The egregious problems are just the visible surface of an iceberg of trauma that extends deep into society”
An iceberg of trauma! Have we heard it all now or have we heard it all?
Curiously enough, author Marotta is best-known for his Netflix doco American Circumcision, which marks the advent of a “debate concerning non-religious circumcision in the USA”. It appears that BM believes such procedure to be part & parcel of his ‘systemic pedophilia’
From the piece you linked to:
“Yet the structure of compulsory Government schooling is inherently pedophile. It is predicated on the assumption that the state owns children’s bodies and can force them to do things the state wants.”
So that’s what he thinks ‘pedophile’ means? What can you say in response to this kind of logic?
This particular attenpt to curtail what i hope ZT is right to characterize as an unstoppable emergent joy would be laughable, were it not for the almost sinisterly calculating way it tries to expropriate certain popular terminology in hopes of having it catch on ..
I like his opposition to forced circumcision on children. And I believe there are other ways too in which institutions such as the schools often work against children’s interests. But what he doesn’t appear to have noticed is that while schools do have a great deal of power over children, parents have even more.
Where very young children are concerned, a high level of control by adults is inevitable. What matters is ensuring that this control is exercised as benevolently as it can be. With older children and adolescents, adults need to loosen the reins – the more mature the child, the looser they can be. Of course, if this principle were comprehensively followed, the complete demonization of pedophilia advocated by this writer might begin to seem a little out of place.