Retrospectacle: A Neuroscience Blog

I can’t believe some of the stuff that Presidential hopefuls have to endure. Barack Obama is currently involved in a lawsuit with a self-professed pedophile over pictures of his kids.

It’s enough to make any father lash out in anger. A self-professed pedophile posts photos of your young daughters on his Web site, where he describes them as an “angelic duo.”

It happened to Senator Barack Obama whose presidential campaign threatened legal action against Lindsay Ashford, a self-professed pedophile who handicapped the 2008 campaign by judging the “cuteness” of several presidential candidates’ underage daughters and granddaughters. Attorneys who specialize in free speech say the campaign’s handling of the issues raises some questions about the candidate’s stance on civil rights.

Strangely enough, Obama might not have a case. Until a crime is committed, a person’s speech is protected, even a pedophiles’.

Lawrence G. Walters, a lawyer who has handled many cases involving pornography and the Internet said, “For better or worse, pedophiles retain their free speech rights. If he’s a professed pedophile and if he says, ‘Let’s try to find these kids,’ then it could be in furtherance of a criminal conspiracy, then he may be liable.”

Hat tip darkman.

Comments

  1. #1 brtkrbzhnv
    March 11, 2007

    It’s nice to see that there are some out-of-the-closet paedophiles, and I think it’s only good if some of them are a bit in-your-face. With paedophobia being so rampant in the West, that some paedos choose to be so open and even joke about it like this is a positive sign.

    That some people get so agitated and that Obama got all copyright nazi over what’s basically a tongue-in-cheek blog entry is kind of funny, but mostly sad.

  2. #2 Joseph j7uy5
    March 11, 2007

    It is a tricky issue for a candidate. If he does not react, it could be used to paint him as weak on crime. Fox “News” would suggest that Obama must think pedophilia is OK, if he does not lash out in this situation. But he also has to be clear about his stance on civil rights. Taking someone to court does not violate their civil rights. It can be a really, really obnoxious thing to do, but that generally stops short of being a violation of one’s rights.

  3. #3 jvarisco
    March 11, 2007

    Obscenity is not protected by free speech; surely pedophilia counts as being obscene?

  4. #4 Sam
    March 11, 2007

    I think we need to be careful here. What would be the benefit to society if we crush the First Amendment for a man who wrote a piece of satire? In essence, Ashford is parodying the incessant presidential professing and prophesies that Fox News, MSNBC, CNN et al. are blowing out at the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars per day.

    Will Hillary win because she is a woman, the wife of Bill Clinton?

    How can Newt Gingrich claim moral high ground when he himself had an extramarital affair while he was seeking to impeach the sitting president?

    Is Obama the next beautiful president, the new Camelot?

    And Lindsay Ashford is simply joining the melee.

    We all know that some children are homely and some are beautiful. It has been documented in literature (read Lolita), and is a staple of media business on a daily basis. For some reason culture worships the beautiful child, the exotic child, and chooses these as its avatar representatives for “childhood.” Pick up any teen magazine, watch any commercial, any Saturday morning programming, and you will see that the standards of beauty for minors are just as voluptuous as those same standards are for Adults. I.e, we can’t all be a Brad Pitt or Angelina Jolie. Nor can every child be a Dakota Fanning or a River Phoenix.

    Sen. Obama is a good example of how we worship beauty. Indeed, the photos of him frolicking shirtless on the beach have proven to be a boon to his reputation. Ironically, unlike similar photos of President Clinton with his shirt off and paunch hanging out.

    Ashford asks: Can the beauty of children likewise be a variable in a presidential election?
    And who better to ask than someone whose very sexuality is concerned with beauty of children?

    If you think about it, what Ashford is doing is rather quite ingenious, and critiques a number of contemporary social concerns. Not only is he a blogger (which should make any of us concerned about limits of free speech in this conversation), but he is also writing from the radical margins of society: he is a pedophile.

    Think back to instances of revolutionary pamphleteering such as the Jewish resistance in occupied Europe, and black revolutionaries before the civil rights’ victories. Aren’t the stakes just as high for Lindsay Ashford? As extremely harsh laws sweep across the country, as television networks profit from the active baiting, public humiliation, and violent arrests of pedophiles, this blogger is saying, “Wait a minute! I have a voice, too!”

    Isn’t this election about “voice”? Before us, in Clinton and Obama, we can very well be looking at the first woman or first black president of our Union. And suddenly when we think that at last all the voices that have been silent are getting heard, someone peeps up from the corner and asks, what about me?

    If you actually go and read Lindsay Ashford’s blog, you’ll find that this man’s ideals are extremely high; and you’ll also find a copy of the letter Barak Obama’s lawyer sent to Lindsay threatening a lawsuit for doing nothing put exercising America’s First Amendment, the right to speak, and the right to thought. A black man, in a former slave owning country, saying that one person does not have the right to speak on the basis of who he is. Very interesting, indeed. And if nothing else, the a sign of the times.

  5. #5 Cameron
    March 11, 2007

    Sam, Ashford is a nut job. You equate his pedophelia to religious and racial persecution, which isn’t valid. OK, they have some things in common. But he’s not asking for rights for himself, rather he’s asking to have them given to children.

    Rather than starting “The Society for Childhood Libations” or “Mothers for Adolescent Smoking”, he’s trying for “The United ‘Let Your Kids Touch Me, It’s Just How We Swing’ Front”. They’re all equatable, because they all require an erosion of the “child” legal state. Yes, they are enforced differently because generally children don’t want to be “touched” by the kind of old people that want to “love” them. But since his assertion refers to the children that do, those cases would fall under the same category: Adult things that kids think they want.

    I know you’ve got your own ideas, and I doubt you’ll be convinced by anything I have to say. But the fact of the matter is that thousands of pedophiles were asked to judge a 5 year old girl’s sexual attractiveness. And no father worthy of the title wouldn’t be outraged by that.

  6. #6 Azkyroth
    March 11, 2007

    Obscenity is not protected by free speech; surely pedophilia counts as being obscene?

    You’re confusing “obscene” with “icky,” an epidemic attitude on which alone the case against obscenity laws can stand.

    However, I would think there’s possibly a legitimate violation of protection-of-minors’-privacy statutes here, especially if the girls are explicitly identified.

    But he’s not asking for rights for himself, rather he’s asking to have them given to children. [...] Rather than starting “The Society for Childhood Libations” or “Mothers for Adolescent Smoking”, he’s trying for “The United ‘Let Your Kids Touch Me, It’s Just How We Swing’ Front”.

    Uh, do we actually know that he’s advocating elimination of Age of Consent laws, or are we just assuming so? (Identifying as a “pedophile” doesn’t necessarily imply this; I have corresponded online with, and in one instance developed quite a good friendship with, people whose sexual fantasies involved children but who recognized the legitimate purposes that some child-protection laws serve).

  7. #7 Cameron
    March 12, 2007

    Yes, this is exactly what he proposes. His “Ethos”, from his webpage (google if you want):

    “Right now, most countries have an age of consent, which is the legally-mandated age at which a young person can consent to sexual activity without risking prosecution for himself and/or his partner. However, the age of consent ignores the fact that the sexual and emotional development of children is not bound to a certain age. Rather than protecting children, it sets intolerable limits to their freedom. Young people are often believed to be unable to give consent, even when the meaning, purpose and responsibilities of intimate physical activity have been, either explicitly or implicitly, explained to them.

    In an environment where children are properly educated about their sexuality, rather than kept in an enforced darkness, they will be better equipped to decide for themselves whether and with whom to share the joys of intimacy. Rather than simply telling them that the feelings they experience are ‘bad’ or ‘wrong’, or that they are ‘too young’ to be experiencing them, they ought to be taught about the responsibilities and risks of expressing these feelings with another person. Empowering them to make choices for themselves gives them a positive feeling about their sexuality which they will carry with them into adulthood.”

    It sounds reasonable enough until you realize he’s talking about 8 year olds.

  8. #8 Sam
    March 12, 2007

    Cameron,

    In another time your words would have been, “It sounds reasonable enough until you realize he’s talking about a negro.”

    Ashley is asking us to quit scarring our children with negative impressions about their sexuality, the first being that sex is so awful they have to be “adults” to deal with it.

    It’s utter nonsense that a child can consent to have the end of his penis cut off at birth, consent to be indoctrinated into a Church’s hate ideology, and begin to be recruited into the military, but he cannot say yes to an orgasm!

    Ashford is representative of millions of people who are waking up to their rights and liberties, not as Americans, but as human beings. Open your eyes for crying out loud, there are MASSIVE online communities of these so called “nut jobs,” and hundreds if not thousands of pedophile blogs. And the chorus they’re singing is not just their liberation, but the emancipation of children.

    This Child and Pedophile Liberation Front IS going to be the next big wave in civil rights. I’m not saying pedophiles are out of the woods yet. Maybe Obama will be the president to legalize wholesale murder of pedophiles, sort of like Nazis rounding up Jews. This not an exaggeration, to what other event do we have to compare “Pedophile-free Zones” than ghettos. In one instance a man only got a year for murdering the man who he thought “touched” his daughter. It turns out nothing happened. A number of states now allow for the death penalty for pedophiles who are caught and convicted. In one town in florida, the sheriff harassed a mentally retarded pedophile until he committed suicide: his crime was simply exposing himself to a little girl. In Montana a man was beat almost to death because some other men confused him for a pedophile; and another man was severely beat for having a consensual affair with a 16-year-old boy……..

    I could go on and on and on. This is not a game for Lindsay. How many death threats did you get in your email in-box today? Now go ask Lindsay Ashford how many he received.

  9. #9 Azkyroth
    March 12, 2007

    Correction: sounds reasonable enough until you realize that he’s A) creating a false dichotomy between “enforced darkness,” ad nauseum and permitting adults to engage in sexual relationships with prepubescent children and B) conflating: teaching and informing children about sexuality (which no sensible person opposes as a general principle); taking a relaxed, permissive view of sexual interactions between children of comparable ages (which I’m inclined to support, except where the interactions are of a sort that would be considered “abusive” even between adults); and allowing adults to have sex with children. Unfortunately, these sorts of considerations rarely make it into debates on the subject, when they even occur. Without addressing anyone in particular, there’s really no need for the “LIEK ZOMG SI SICK0 OH NOES!!!!!!!!!!111111111!!!!!!!!1111″ approach…well, anywhere; and deploying it may be misconstrued as a tacit admission that no logical arguments can be found to buttress a position, to the detriment of those concerned.

  10. #10 Azkyroth
    March 12, 2007

    Argh…the right example occurred too late. What he’s doing is kind of like that thing the Wingnuts do when they ask if you support infanticide and then try to construe your negative answer as having some bearing on whether abortion should be permitted.

  11. #11 Justin Moretti
    March 12, 2007

    I think laws relating to freedom of speech and expression must play second fiddle here. Nobody would have any problem with “Gee, doesn’t Barak Obama have the cutest kids?” But when it’s said by somebody who openly professes a sexual attraction to children, there is a more sinister agenda, and that demands that Lindsay Ashford be publicly censured at least, and preferably muzzled.

    He is directing people to the images of young children to be used for sexual gratification, and that, if I am not mistaken, is child pornography (or a close facsimile thereof). The police should accordingly nail him immediately and the justice system (if there is any justice in the world) should put him away for a long time.

  12. #12 Roy
    March 12, 2007

    I think that there are two seperate issues that are getting talked about:

    1. Is this disturbing/gross/icky?
    2. Is this illegal?

    Those are not the same question. Posting a picture of a child and asking people to judge the relative hotness is gross/disturbing to a level I can’t even properly express. To say that I find it repugnant is an understatement.

    That doesn’t necessarily make it illegal, though. I fully support Obama looking into potential legal action. If this guy has violated privacy laws or has violate the rights to the owner of the pictures, nail him. But, just because he sounds like a sick fuck doesn’t mean that we can violate his first amendment rights.

    That’s frustrating, sure, but that’s also kind of the point of free speech- objectionable/sick/disturbing speech is sort of the test of free speech, isn’t it? It’s not hard to protect un-objectionable speech.

    Again, just to be clear- this guy sounds all kinds of effed up, and I think it’s all kinds of sick. That doesn’t, however, make it illegal, and I’m not sure that the best reaction to objectionable fucked-up-ness is muzzling it.

  13. #13 Sam
    March 12, 2007

    Shelley, how come you’re censoring my comments?

  14. #14 Boosterz
    March 12, 2007

    If the guy keeps it up, then anti-stalking laws would kick in. That would render all the first amendment rights arguments moot.

    Plus if Obama wins, that dude could wake up one day in Gitmo with “Mohamed sucks!” tattooed on his back. LOL

  15. #15 Shelley Batts
    March 12, 2007

    Sorry Sam, your comments just got held up in moderation.

  16. #16 gateman's nametag
    March 12, 2007

    Sam – I think it’s ridiculous for you to compare the plight of the pedophile to that of Jews and blacks. First of all, religion and race are not a choice, and persecuting people on those grounds is merely bigotry. However, persecuting a group of people for their actions can in fact be justified, especially when those actions infringe upon the freedom or safety of others (children in this case).

    I’m sorry, but your comparison holds no water. It will never be legal or acceptable in this country for an adult to have sex with a 10-year-old. We care too much about our children.

    -Mike

  17. #17 darrell
    March 12, 2007

    I think it’s ridiculous for you to compare the plight of the pedophile to that of Jews and blacks. First of all, religion and race are not a choice, and persecuting people on those grounds is merely bigotry.

    Nonsense. Pedophilia is not a choice, and religion is very much a choice. Despite what Jewish law says, Judaism is just a “faith” like any other. You can give it up, it’s not written in your DNA. Like any sexual orientation, with pedophilia you’re pretty much born that way and you don’t have much say in the matter. Pedophilia doesn’t mean “has sex with children”…it means “is attracted to children”…the point where it becomes a matter of choice is where pedophiles cross that line and break the laws of their country or society. I’m not saying it’s cool for people to have sex with 10-year-olds, but I am saying that your argument was skewed, biased and reactionary. Pedophiles, like homosexuals, heterosexuals, and any other brand of sexual orientation, deserve some rights…they shouldn’t all be treated like criminals because a few sickos choose to hurt children. I mean think about how many rapes there are of adults every year, and no one is looking to outlaw or persecute people who are attracted to other adults because that’s the way their brains work. Child molesters are criminals, pedophiles are not.

  18. #18 jvarisco
    March 12, 2007

    “You’re confusing “obscene” with “icky,” an epidemic attitude on which alone the case against obscenity laws can stand.”

    No, I don’t think I am. The SC Standard:

    1. that the average person, applying contemporary community standards, would find that the work, taken as a whole, appeals to prurient interest
    2. that the work depicts or describes, in a patently offensive way, sexual conduct specifically defined by the applicable law
    3. that the work, taken as a whole, lacks serious literary, artistic, political, and scientific value.

    All that is necessary is a reasonable person (e.g. five justices) to agree that the site violates those standards. I think 1) and 3) are pretty obvious, which just leaves 2). I haven’t actually seen the site (it seems to have been taken down), but if there is any description or allusion to sexual contact with the girls it could easily be excluded from the first amendment.

  19. #19 Tlazolteotl
    March 12, 2007

    Who has the rights to the photos? Maybe posting them is a copyright infringement? Then the “icky” issue is secondary.

  20. #20 cracky-chan
    March 12, 2007

    > Who has the rights to the photos? Maybe posting them is a copyright infringement? Then the “icky” issue is secondary.

    I think that’s pretty much how the lawyers managed to get the pictures off his website.

    Also, Dakota Fanning is ugly. That teeth is enough to make you go eww. Also, gollum.

  21. #21 brtkrbzhnv
    March 13, 2007

    All that is necessary is a reasonable person (e.g. five justices) to agree that the site violates those standards. I think 1) and 3) are pretty obvious, which just leaves 2). I haven’t actually seen the site (it seems to have been taken down), but if there is any description or allusion to sexual contact with the girls it could easily be excluded from the first amendment.

    1) is probably true neither for the site as a whole nor the blog entry taken in isolation, unless these justices have very dirty minds.
    2) is obviously false for the blog entry in question. Some might find what he writes on another part of the site about his sexual conduct as a child (both consensual same-age sex and abuse by an older girl) “patently offensive”, though.
    3) would certainly be false if the site as a whole were considered the “work as a whole”; but if only this one satirical blog entry were to be considered, I don’t know; it’s more humorous than serious, and the wording “serious [...] value” is rather vague.
    You can find the blog on lindsay.puellula.com. From the parts I’ve read, I don’t think any sensible person would want to see it censored.

    The lawyers did use copyright law to get the pictures off the site, but they also included some frivolous defamation claims to get any mention of their clients off it. You can read the letters sent to him on his blog.

  22. #22 darkman
    March 13, 2007

    i wasn’t sure how honored i was by the hat tip on this post shelley, but at least there was an interesting comment thread.

  23. #23 Sam
    March 13, 2007

    I’m still waiting for someone above, or yet to post, to tackle the central theme of my comments: that the pedophile IS the “new Jew,” or even the “new N-word” of society. And what does that mean for America, a country that both practiced bigotry as a state motto, and also saw the light and moved in the direction of justice and equality?

    Only a dim wit and philosophical Nazi would suggest that pedophiles are unnatural creations.

    This is an educated blog, isn’t it? The people reading this surely are familiar with gender studies, the concepts of “Othering,” and “Exiles”. It might be more palatable to understand how a country ruled over by “populism” could turn to the mass slaughter and ethnic cleansing of one class of people, but how, as university educated individuals, do we let such things pass with not even a shake of the head?

    What this thread was meant to do, judging by the initial blog post, was to view the pedophile has a “monster,” a scapegoat, AKA “redacted” or “redacted.” I am using racial slurs in their historical value so that our repulsion at the horrors of slavery and halaucaust can be related to to this title: “Twisted……pedophile rates Obama’s kids.”

    “Twisted” : in what way? Twisted like the dark heart of Shakepeare’s Shylock? Mediaeval theater would often depict the Jew as a “monster” that fed on the blood of children. Is that what the blogger meant by using the word “twisted”? And why would the blogger use such a word to describe a man’s blog that is NOTHING by a cry in the wilderness for acceptance?

    It is devastating to the ego when you have the sudden realization of the small part you play in the willful suffering of others.

    SB: Sam I redacted a couple words which I consider offensive on this blog. Please refrain from using them in the future or your comments will be deleted.

  24. #24 Shelley Batts
    March 13, 2007

    Ashford asks: Can the beauty of children likewise be a variable in a presidential election?

    It is a ridiculous and offensive question. And while he certainly may be within his protected rights, that does not mean that it is any less repulsive. Sam, you are contradictory. On the one hand you wag your finger at us for taking Ashford’s “post” as anything more than satire. Then you say the ‘stakes couldn’t be higher’ for him, and compare it to the civil rights movement or Jewish internment. Which is it? Ashford’s “voice” as you call it may be loud, but it doesn’t mean it deserves to be heard. He espouses a lifestyle that is illegal and viewed as detrimental to innocent persons. The age of legal consent can be debated and whined about and lamented by those who want to have sex with children, however the law is the law and it is illegal. Whether it is rightly illegal is not something most (uninterested) parties would contest. Therefore yes, espousing a fringe, illegal position whose consequences would result in injury to children is twisted. And using a public figure’s children as an object for those desires is doubly so. A cry for acceptance it may be, and the legal system has answered his cry nicely.

    That you equate a pedophile’s want for acceptance to the struggle of racial equality for blacks and Jews is absurd. You can easily try to bolster your argument, in the lack of real rationale, with emotional metaphor:

    “[Insert fringe group here] is the new Jews or Blacks! You oppressor!”

    Its easy to claim as much, isn’t it?

    How about “Murderers and rapists are the new Jews.”
    “The persecution of heroin dealers is akin to the holocaust!”
    “Democrats are like the Nazis!”

    They are as baseless and silly as your claims. And merely serve to grossly insult the African Americans and Jews who acutally struggled, lived, and died for something positive for society.

  25. #25 jvarisco
    March 13, 2007

    Sam) The difference is that prejudice based on skin color or religion is irrational. They are based either on nothing or on false empirical data. Pedophiles by definition feel an urge to harm children. Should we not ‘other’ such harmful people? Let’s pretend that Hitler was a nice guy, I’m sure his parents abused him. Besides, no one wants to slaughter pedophiles. We just want to confine them to hospitals until (if) they can be cured. Pedophilia is not a benign condition, it’s a disease with very real harmful consequences to innocents. You seem to be advocating a weird sort of moral relativism. Can we not condemn murderers and rapists now? Because that is exactly what pedophiles want to do to little kids.

  26. #26 Roy
    March 13, 2007

    Meh…

    I’m really torn here.

    Sam, what you’re doing is engaging in ridiculous hyperole. Quite frankly, it’s offensive to suggest that pedophiles are experiencing anything remotely like the holocost of WWII (not to mention, that’s poor interweb form). Pedophiles are perfectly within their legal rights to petition for laws to be changed. They have every right to lobby and protest and make websites, etc. Nobody is rounding them up for extremination, so let’s keep things in perspective, okay?

    On the other hand, jvarisco, you’re treating “pedophile” as though it’s identical to “child molester,” but they’re not really the same, as darrell pointed out above. In fact, the actual number of child abusers who meet the psychological definition of a pedophile is incredibly small- most child molesters are what is called situational or opportunistic offenders. Like most rapists, most child molesters are not interested in the sexual aspect of the abuse as they are in the power or control aspects. Pedophiles make up a surprisingly small percentage of child abuse cases.

    I think that this is an important distinction. I certainly think that age of consent laws are important, and I, in no way, support the goals of groups like NAMBLA, but treating pedophiles as though they’re automatically criminals for what they’re thinking or feeling is wrong, especially since the evidence suggests that most pedophiles do not commit child abuse. There are very good reasons for thinking it’s a bad idea for adults to have sexual access to children that go beyond “well, that’s gross.”

  27. #27 Sam
    March 13, 2007

    Shelly, you are working on your PhD in the sciences, no? Are you ever required to take a humanities course, perhaps a history course? Or has the fetish of laboratory rats negated the need for the human element? You write:

    ” ‘Ashford asks: Can the beauty of children likewise be a variable in a presidential election?’
    It is a ridiculous and offensive question. And while he certainly may be within his protected rights, that does not mean that it is any less repulsive”

    WHY is it a ridiculous question? WHY is it an offensive question? Have you never gone to an art museum and gazed upon the pedophilic nudes of the last 1000 years of human art? Have you never read one line of poetry by the pedophilic writers: Shakespeare, Owens, Plato, Horace, or the Uranians? Ever read Alice in Wonderland, Peter Pan, Death in Venice, Lolita, The Phaedrus? Have you? What is ridiculous and offensive is that after all this time, after all this history and art that celebrates the sexuality of the child, we, today, have the ignorant nerve to say “Eww,” and “gross”. The sickness is not pedophiles, the sickness is our culture of “ewws” and “grosses”.

    Shelley, you go on to chastise me for placing the suffering of one man, and a group of people, into the larger suffering of mankind, and then you turn to the law! What does the law say, what is legal here? The SAME argument that Nazis used, “Well the law says that a Jew has no rights.” The SAME argument that slave owners used, “Well the law says that the negro has no rights.”

    I ask you, Shelley, when was the last time an orgasm hurt you, really truly hurt you? The intimacy between and child and his or her pedophile is ONLY beneficial, is only good for both the child and the pedophile, and it is ONLY good for society. However, (and here’s where you come in), IF you assume, as you do, that the child has no rights to his or her body, then when you discover that the child has experienced love and pleasure, you proceed to rape the child of that right, and replace what was a wonderful sexual experience with abuse, and replace the child’s lover with the image of a monster. In essence, you warp reality, and THAT is what harms the child. The pedophile, like the child, is innocent, it is society, that acts as you speak, that is the TRUE child molester.

    You go on to get upset about the equation of pedophiles with racial and religious persecution. Again, only someone who cares noting for the suffering of others would make such a statement. You write:

    “[Insert fringe group here] is the new Jews or Blacks! You oppressor!”
    Its easy to claim as much, isn’t it?
    How about “Murderers and rapists are the new Jews.”
”The persecution of heroin dealers is akin to the holocaust!”
”Democrats are like the Nazis!”

    What you need, Shelley, is clarity of thought. Your rage to discredit my soundproof argument is what is actually “twisted”. First, you must accept the humanity of children; if you do not then you will continue to abuse children by denying them the right to consent to love. That is the first sickness of our modern culture, the sickness that denies any group, gays, blacks, Jews, pedophiles, children, etc., the right to love. IF you accept that we are all human and deserve to the right to choose love, you will see that the relationship between a pedophile and his or her child lover is sacred, just as any true love should be sacred. If you do not accept this then you can turn around tomorrow and YOU can kill a child, a Jew, or a pedophile, without a moment’s remorse.

    But let’s believe, if only for now, that you are not like the rest of the world. Let’s believe that you respect the human condition, which is the ONLY thing the great religions teach us, to love each other as we love our selves. Under this respect, you cannot deny a child the right to consent to sexual intimacy with an adult, for to do so would put you in the line of Nazis who raped children, tore apart husbands and wives, because they did not believe Jews were human enough to consent to love or sex; likewise, it would put you in the world of the slave owner who raped children, took any woman he wanted, bred her, and sold her children for profit. IF you deny human consent (and children ARE human), you accept these atrocities.

    But we are assuming that just for this scenario you have not fallen into that pit of sickness, and that you love humankind enough to allow humankind to love in return. This is what Jesus asked, this is what Gandhi asked. If you accept these precepts of love and consent, you will see how misguided you are in trying to place murderers and rapists in the same tradition as Jews, Homosexuals, women’s rights, Blacks, pedophiles, and children. For these noble “outcasts” understand that Love AND consent is the guiding principle.

    Rape and Murder have no room for love, they have no room for consent.

    You see, Shelley, I am not simply a rabble rouser, I am NOT using empty rhetoric. I do not insult persecuted groups by revealing the suffering of another group. But you DO insult Jews and Blacks by grouping into their suffering words such as “murderers” and “rapists”.

    And you commit the first sin by assuming pedophiles live for no “positive” purpose; just as the Nazis and slave owners committed the first sin by assuming Jews and slaves lived for no positive purpose.

  28. #28 Sam
    March 13, 2007

    Roy,

    Good work. You’re on the right track, but you need to keep working on your ethics. Read the post I wrote for Shelley when comes out of “moderation”.

  29. #29 Sam
    March 13, 2007

    That is if Shelley doesn’t change every word in my posts as she is wont to do. Not even a “science” blog can live up to the sort of ideal ethics that humanity is craving. Is not amazing how some people cannot deal with powerful words when they are sincerely respected?

  30. #30 Lisa
    March 13, 2007

    Uh, she does have a comment policy and she didn’t change the content of your posts.

  31. #31 Azkyroth
    March 13, 2007

    Sam:

    It is incontestible that many incidents of sexual contact between legal adults and teenage minors do not cause demonstrable harm to the latter, and it is reasonable, if not realistic in the present social climate, to expect teenagers to have acquired the level of judgement needed to make an intelligent decision about sex. For this reason I would support efforts to lower the age of consent somewhat (14-15 sounds about right; I know I’d figured out the issues, for the most part, at that point, and if by that point my daughter hasn’t developed the judgement to make an intelligent decision I will consider myself a failure as a parent). This, however, is beside the point, since “pedophile” properly refers to a person who is sexually attracted to prepubescent children, despite the obnoxious tendency in some circles to use it to refer to adults with a fondness for postpubescent but young partners.

    Furthermore, I will grant that it is plausible that not every act of sexual contact between an adult and a prepubescent child has caused demonstrable harm to the latter (Rand et al 1998[?] and anecdotal evidence supports this)–that is to say, the child cannot be shown to have been “harmed” in any conventional sense of the term. However, the potential of such contact to cause real and demonstrable harm, whether in the form of physical injury, psychological trauma, or the acquisition of attitudes and behaviors that will subject the child to extreme disapproval from others around them, is very well documented.

    Suppose, for the sake of argument, we grant your assumptions. Even in a culture that treats child molesters as subhuman (in many cases this attitude is not without merit) and encourage children to report any “inappropriate” contact it is often very difficult for children to reliably report abusive behavior by adults (particularly, behavior that would still be considered abusive if the participants were all of legal age, and many incidents go unreported and uninvestigated. Imagine a culture where some acts of sex between children and adults were accepted, but others considered abusive (on the grounds that they would be abusive even if conducted between adults) and were to be reported and dealt with by the authorities. Do you actually think that children have the judgement needed to differentiate conduct that would be “abusive” under these rules from what wouldn’t? And even a “willing” child might be injured or traumatized by the experience. The potential for harm definitely justifies a blanket prohibition on sexual contact between adults and preadolescents. (I have a few more points that I made in another thread on a vaguely similar topic, here, under the name Alex Weaver).

    I also don’t agree at all with your comparisons of pedophiles’ situation to that of blacks or jews. Pedophilia is a persistent abnormal mental state that may be benign if the impulses it generates are not acted on, but may also have a deleterious effect on the life of a person in that mental state and may inspire actions that cause great harm to others. In this, it is more comparable to conditions like paranoid schizophrenia or certain anxiety disorders, and, like them, should be treated if it causes distress to the individual experiencing it or makes them likely to act on their impulses.

    Beyond that…you’re wasting your breath. That there are good, solid, intellectually convincing reasons for prohibiting adult-child sex is beside the point in practice; as you may have noticed, very few people on this thread appear to be able to squelch their visceral and emotional reactions to the issue enough to consider it rationally–yourself included, it seems, though it looks like your biases run in the other direction. Productive dialogue on this issue will be impossible unless the participants accept the difference between “pedophile” and “child molester” and present a willingness to consider the actual evidence and arguments for and against various aspects of this topic.

  32. #32 Azkyroth
    March 13, 2007

    A bit of clarification, addressing an anticipated objection to my point about judgement: yes, I agree that young children would be able to figure out that being held down and forcibly violated was “abusive,” but the extreme susceptibility of young children to psychological manipulation and brainwashing is extremely well documented (just look at fundamentalist kids). Yet, is being manipulated into sex, when one lacks the faculties to recognize and resist the manipulation, any less coercive than physical violence? And how on earth would law enforcement, parents, or other authorities be able to reliably differentiate between manipulated or brainwashed children and these hypothetical kids who understand the concept and really do want it? Even if some cases aren’t harmful, many are, and separating the harmful and non-harmful cases would be impossible in practice–the law would be unenforceable, to the extreme detriment of a sizable number of children who would be, in fact, victimized in the conventional sense of the word. The only way around this is to outlaw all adult-child sex.

  33. #33 Roy
    March 13, 2007

    Sam: If you think for one second that Lolita is an endorsement or even tolerant of pedophilia, I strongly urge you to reread it. Humbert Humbert is the villain of the story.

    The argument that children aren’t harmed by sexual contact is patently false. There is rather a lot of evidence that sexual contact can, in fact, be quite tramatizing for children. Further, there is the power differential to consider: children lack many of the cognitive abilities that adults have, which makes them prime targets for exploitation and abuse. You can’t just dismiss these points by saying “children have rights too!”

    Your rage to discredit my soundproof argument is what is actually “twisted”.

    Please tell me I’m not the only one who giggled at this.

    Under this respect, you cannot deny a child the right to consent to sexual intimacy with an adult, for to do so would put you in the line of Nazis who raped children, tore apart husbands and wives, because they did not believe Jews were human enough to consent to love or sex; likewise, it would put you in the world of the slave owner who raped children, took any woman he wanted, bred her, and sold her children for profit. IF you deny human consent (and children ARE human), you accept these atrocities.do have a problem with adults who take advantage of children. There is an undeniable difference in the levels of power that an adult holds over a child that makes it almost impossible to avoid manipulation in cases like this. The overwhelming majority of children (all, perhaps?) simply do not have the ability to understand the complexities of a sexual relationship or the cognitive ability to understand manipulation and resist the advances of an adult. Particular if this adult has spent time building up trust and getting close to the child.

    I think that pedophiles have every right to try to push their agenda in the forum of public opinion. They can lobby, create websites (as long as they don’t violate existing laws), and use their first amendment right to free expression. That does not mean that I agree one bit with their agenda.

    That you’re forced to reduce this to the absurd level of comparing treatment of pedophiles to the Nazi treatment of Jews does not speak well of either your position or your ability to engage in honest, intelligent discourse in good faith.

  34. #34 Sam
    March 13, 2007

    Azkyroth,

    I don’t really need to address much of your comment as most of your points were anticipated in my previous posts; however, there are few statements you made that I’ll disagree with, and hope you and the reader have the intellectual integrity to grasp what is being said.

    First, the general sentiments of your position are still “inhuman,” meaning you do not believe that children, say under 12, have the right to sexuality. This position is part and parcel of what I call the “sickness of our culture,” had has nothing to do with the “mental health” of the child, but everything to do with sexual anxiety. Again, when was the last time you were hurt by an orgasm? Eliminate the culture of fear and you eliminate health risks. Again, we are living in a world that honestly believes it is better for a child to die than have sex. Proof of this is seen from religion, media, and even the military’s “early recruitment” programs of kids as young as 12. *laughs* Yet sex remains illegal for a child. What nonsense, what utter nonsense!

    Second, I’ve never heard of a pedophile avoiding prison due to his mental “illness.” This, along with the APA’s political stance of placing and removing homosexuality from the list of “mental illnesses,” makes any psychological argument very, very, very suspect. Indeed, arguing that pedophiles are simply sick is like arguing that blacks’ mental intelligence is related to the darkness of their skin color. Bigotry, you see, is subtle and infects you without your even knowing it–that is, until someone has to rather rudely point it out to you.

    Again, like many, you DO NOT respect children, you DO NOT view them as human, for if you did we would not be having this argument right now. But in stead, like the Nazi plan to rid Germany of all its problems bye killing ALL the Jews, your plan to solve a problem that does not exist is to dehumanize, ostracize, and exile.

    What’s next, hanging pedophiles in the street until their bodies stink?

  35. #35 Sam
    March 13, 2007

    Roy,

    Humbert is “villain” of the story. *laugh out loud* Did you let Nabokov in on this little secret? Humbert is ONLY the villain if you read the book through “eww” and “gross” glasses. Among other things, the novel is one of the greatest celebrations of pedophilic aesthetic.

    Again, like others you view children as less than human, as proto-adults who can only enjoy intimacy in adulthood. That is simply a false understanding of reality, and only strengthens my allusions to Nazi philosophy.

    How can I so powerfully use the instances of Nazism and Slavery to support my argument? Because those were ideologies of hate, and the persecution of pedophiles and children is an ideology of hate; ergo, the analogy holds, and while it holds it respects the atrocities of the past while trying to prevent the atrocities of the present.

  36. #36 kat
    March 13, 2007

    Not exactly:

    Nabokov’s Lolita is far from an endorsement of pedophilia, since it dramatizes the tragic consequences of Humbert’s obsession with the young heroine. Nabokov himself described Humbert as “a vain and cruel wretch” and “a hateful person” (quoted in Levine, 1967).

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lolita

  37. #37 Sam
    March 13, 2007

    Kat, you’ve described president Bush perfectly with those quotes. But it was Humbert who single handedly, thank God, eroticised the preteen girl: everybody wanted to be Lolita, everyone wanted a Lolita.

    Pedophilia needs no endorsement, it is a beautiful and natural part of the world’s culture.

  38. #38 Mike Dunford
    March 13, 2007

    My response to the initial post and the comments can be found here.

  39. #39 Brian X
    March 14, 2007

    Sam:

    Look. You may have your belief, but the key here is “informed consent”. The vast majority of prepubescents of both sexes do not fully understand what sexual desires they have, and are generally not well educated enough to be able to give informed consent. If pedophilia is a paraphilia like any other, there isn’t much that can be done about the feelings it creates, but the simple fact is that a pedophile is in a position akin to a frat boy considering having sex with a girl who’s passed out drunk or close to it. All the flowery prose and high-minded evocations of Godwin’s Law don’t change the fact that prepubescent children cannot yet process the concept of sex and are therefore incapable of giving informed consent. Any attempt to convince non-pedophiles otherwise is at best self-deception, at worst an outright lie.

  40. #40 Azkyroth
    March 14, 2007

    Sam:

    A less emotional approach to this argument would serve you well. Actually reading my post would also serve you well. At what point did I say children have no rights, are not human, etc? How do you get to any of those conclusions from “adults should not be permitted to have sex with children because even assuming not all cases are harmful, the *potential* for harm is too great and impossible to remove”?

    In response to your characteristically idiotic strawman, I am reasonably certain no young child has ever been harmed by an orgasm, except perhaps through psychological distress and guilt. You, however, also seem to believe that no young child has ever been harmed by, for instance, vaginal tearing–to say nothing of guilt, shame, and fear. This is absurd on its face.

    In short: I understand that it is hypothetically possible for a young child to enjoy sex. Do you understand anything else?

  41. #41 Sam
    March 14, 2007

    BrianX, Did you just compare children to a passed out sorority chick?! I’m not even going to honor that remark with a response!

    Azkyroth, Did you just say it’s “hypothetically possible for a young child to enjoy sex.”? You’re on the right path, but you might have also said, “It’s hypothetically possible for a young child to be a human.” You’re comment’s not worthy of much of a response either.

  42. #42 Brian X
    March 14, 2007

    Yes. Yes, I did. Although there is a huge difference between an 8-year-old girl and a drunken 19-year-old woman, the same basic issue of consent applies — neither is capable of giving it.

  43. #43 Roy
    March 14, 2007

    But it was Humbert who single handedly, thank God, eroticised the preteen girl: everybody wanted to be Lolita, everyone wanted a Lolita.

    Again, I call bullshit. You’ve clearly never even read the damned book. Nobody wanted to be Lolita, and if you think people did, you’re out of your flipping mind. Lolita’s mother is killed in a horrible accident, she’s abused, molested, drugged, kidnapped, and dies, all before her twentieth birthday.

    You’re not engaging in fair discourse here, Sam. You’re pulling things out of air like they’re strong points for your argument, but they’re not. First you respond to my point about Humbert as though I’m completely out of line by suggesting that Nabokov wrote Humbert as the hero. When it’s pointed out that Nabokov himself thought that Humbert was “a vain and cruel wretch” and “a hateful person” you ignore that, and post the bolded section.

    Your statements have become self contradictory. Have preteens been eroticized throughout history as you claim when you talk about, what, a 1000 years of eroticizing children, or did Humbert single-handedly do it in a book published about 60 years ago?

    You’re also resorting to ridiculous and excessive hyperbole, and claiming that it’s honest discourse: Maybe Obama will be the president to legalize wholesale murder of pedophiles, sort of like Nazis rounding up Jews. This not an exaggeration, to what other event do we have to compare “Pedophile-free Zones” than ghettos.

    That is exaggeration. Unless you can show even one instance where Obama has suggested that he’d like to legalize the wholesale murder of pedophiles, you’ve totally pulled that out of your ass. Your constant harping on the pedophile as Jew comparison is really insulting, as well.

    Pedophilia needs no endorsement, it is a beautiful and natural part of the world’s culture.

    And yet, you’ve felt the need to endorse it with every post. While it must be to your great dismay that the vast majority of people do not find adults having sexual relations with children to be “beautiful and natural,” it is to my relief that most people do not subscribe to your view. The “world’s culture”, by the way?
    What the hell does that even mean?

    The vast majority of the world’s nations have laws and restrictions against adults having sexual relations with children.
    Thank gods, for that.

  44. #44 Brian Ribbon
    March 14, 2007

    Shelly,

    Until a crime is committed, a person’s speech is protected, even a pedophiles’.

    And you think that a paedophile doesn’t deserve the right to free speech that everyone else enjoys?

    Roy,

    Pedophiles are perfectly within their legal rights to petition for laws to be changed. They have every right to lobby and protest and make websites, etc.

    Yeah, if they want frequent death threats. I’ve personally had several legal websites censored and received a lot of threats.

  45. #45 Sam
    March 14, 2007

    Roy, you’ve obviously read the book, Lolita, (or googled it), but you’ve also obviously misread it, and you are unaware of the cultural impact it had on America at the time. I’m not really in the mood to give you a lesson on cultural theory, so unless you do some research your self, you will probably remain ignorant on this one.

    1000 years, I would say more than that. Of course the Nazi haloucaust had no qualms about wiping out more than 1000 years of Jewish culture. You see, Roy, in real life you can have your cake and eat it, too. :)

    Again, my comparison of the children’s and pedophiles’ plight in our day and age with that of Jewish and racial persecution is the ONLY comparison that works at this cultural moment. Are pedophiles discriminated against? Yes. Are pedophiles being rounded up? Yes. Are pedophiles being beaten in the streets? Yes. Are pedophiles being branded? Yes? Are pedophiles being murdered? Yes. Name me another sexual orientation that can be legally executed? Is it wholesale mass slaughter yet? No. But that’s what this argument is TRYING to prevent.

    My argument is based on justice and love, yours is based on injustice and hate, and as long as it is I will be able to peg you EVERY time.

  46. #46 Sam
    March 14, 2007

    Brian, fantastic blog you have there!

  47. #47 Shaun
    March 14, 2007

    Perhaps straying from the current debate, but:
    In all the surreal debate about childrens’ rights and pedophile persecution there seems to be one major point that is being overlooked in the debate about Obama’s actions: he’s a politician. What I mean by that is that no action that he takes from now until November ’08 is taken without getting a feel for his electability first. People have complained about the first amendment implications of Obama’s actions in getting the material taken down, yet they never seem to look at it through the prism of politics. I’m reasonably sure that if “average americans” were polled about their reaction to the scenario of a pedophile posting images of someone’s children and rating their “cuteness,” they would not see any first ammendment issues. They are probably more likely to see it as a father protecting his kids. This can only help him politically, especially on the not so democrat friendly “family-values” front. Most people would probably not recognize the potential slippery slope to censorship that his actions may demonstrate. After all, more people recognize Simpson’s characters than 1st amendment rights. http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/11611015

  48. #48 Roy
    March 14, 2007

    Yeah, if they want frequent death threats. I’ve personally had several legal websites censored and received a lot of threats.

    Threats are against the law. If someone threatens you, you have legal recourse. I can’t speak to the censorship of your website, because I don’t know the details. Was it shut down by the government, despite not having violated any laws? If so, then you have legal recourse. If it wasn’t shut down by the government, then it’s not a first amendment violation.

    Sam, you’re boring me.

    There’s no point in trying to carry on a discussion about Lolita with you, given that you’ve rather obviously not read the book, and don’t seem to care about having actual discussion.

    I support the first amendment rights in spite of idiots like you, certainly not because of. You do yourself and your “cause” no favors by acting like you do. Your arguments- and I hesistate to call them such- are irrational and offensive. You engage in blatant exageration, create “facts” out of thin air with no citation or justification, and ignore criticisms by shouting “but it’s like the way the Jews were persecuted!”

    Further, you conflate “child molester” with “pedophile” and think that’s okay.

    If you’re really a supporter or NAMBLA or some other similar organization, the best thing you could do to support your cause, at this point, would be to shut up, because I’d wager just about anything that all you’re doing is making it harder for people like me to continue supporting your right to free speech, and pushing people further and further away from your cause.

    On the other hand, maybe that’s not such a bad thing.

  49. #49 jen
    March 14, 2007

    can anyone explain to me how it is not physically harmful for an adult male to have sex with a prepubescent child? isn’t that the point of puberty, to prepare the body for sex and reproduction – in the female’s case, a widening of the hips and growth of the pelvic bone in order to accommodate the penis?

  50. #50 Brian Ribbon
    March 14, 2007

    Roy,

    My main site was censored by Google (Blogger) because it received complaints from abuse survivors who did not like the fact that I think it’s okay for a minor-attracted person to spend time with children. “Spend time” does not mean anything sexual, btw.

    Threats are against the law. If someone threatens you, you have legal recourse.

    Do you really believe that people will prosecute attacks against minor-attracted people?

    SB: Sorry Brian. You may have freedom of speech, but I won’t allow links to pedophile-agologist websites on my site.

  51. #51 BrianRibbon
    March 14, 2007

    I would genuinely like to hear the ways in which my website offends you. It doesn’t promote any kind of illegal activity or call for any changes in the law (I don’t even agree with adult-child sex). You have a problem with my thoughts, which is, I’m sorry to say, disgustingly fascist –

    Mussolini defined fascism as being a right-wing collectivistic ideology in opposition to socialism, liberalism, democracy and individualism.

  52. #52 Shelley
    March 14, 2007

    Brian, I respect your right to have your site and say what you will. Like it or not, you must respect MY right to have my site as I would like it, and that is free of links to sites that espouse views I vehemently disagree with.

    As for fascism, I suppose every blogger must be guilty. Woop-de-doo. You’re almost as good as trotting out the tired hyperbole as Sam.

    I think I’ve been pretty tolerant already by letting you guys pose your arguments here. I could easily ban you or delete your comments. I’m not doing that because I do value discussion, and other sides, even ones I disagree with. I do, however, draw the line at have my blog play host websites that offend, irk, annoy, or displease me in ANY way. Yep, thats what bloggers do. Live with it.

  53. #53 Sam
    March 14, 2007

    Shelley,
    When people are being murdered for their sexuality, what else can I do than draw attention to it? EVERYTHING I’ve said has merit.

    And frankly I’m saddened about the the mindset I’m reading here. Frankly it scares me.

    However, I do thank you for hosting this debate. You have been kind.

    Best,

    Sam

  54. #54 Shelley
    March 14, 2007

    Sam, I understand your fervor if not your beliefs. But, there are lots of beliefs that I don’t agree with, like any other person, we all have our own ideas about life and ethics. In the end, I am glad to hear other sides.

    Thanks for being respectful, I do appreciate it.

  55. #55 Azkyroth
    March 14, 2007

    Azkyroth, Did you just say it’s “hypothetically possible for a young child to enjoy sex.”? You’re on the right path, but you might have also said, “It’s hypothetically possible for a young child to be a human.” You’re comment’s not worthy of much of a response either.

    Where in my posts have I denied that a child is human? Of what possible relevance is this red herring to the question of whether or not adult should be allowed to have sex with prepubescents? Answer the fucking question.

  56. #56 Azkyroth
    March 14, 2007

    …unless, of course, you’re under the impression that placing additional restrictions on the behavior of a specific subgroup of citizenry is necessarily a denial of their humanity. That’s it, isn’t it?

    So, do you support allowing prepubescents to buy handguns? What about cigarettes and alcohol? Or how about letting grade-schoolers drive? After all, your entire argument seems to be founded on the assumption that there’s no relevant difference between children and adults in terms of judgement, scientific evidence be damned (perhaps we should be “teaching the controversy?”), so these shouldn’t be an issue, right?

    If you say no, you’re a hypocrite; if you say yes, you’re insane. I suppose that leaves obfuscation…

    (Incidentally, do you actually deny that, even if your assumptions that some encounters are consensual and positive is granted, many, many, many documented encounters resulted in tangible harm of a psychological or physical nature?)

  57. #57 Sam
    March 14, 2007

    Azkyroth,
    I mean, where do I begin with your reasonings? I stated way up above that to deny a child the right to consent (which you do) is dehumanizing. One of the first acts of those who wish to dehumanize is to deny a human the right to his or her sexuality, regardless of age. As I said above, slave owners did it, the Nazis did it, America did it against women and homosexuals, and we continue to do it against children and pedophiles.

    To deny the child his/her right to have sex with an adult, or vice versa, IS to dehumanize. The so called “red herring” IS the point I’m trying to make, but you refuse to listen BECAUSE you are currently dehumanizing both children and pedophiles.

    I’ve NEVER heard of a child being harmed by consensual sex with another child or adult, NEVER.

    Then where does the harm come from? You ask. It comes from YOU. Where “you” is the culture that dehumanizes children and pedophiles. The harm comes from the total LIE that intergenerational sexuality is harmful. The harm comes from the “child sex abuse industry” that makes millions and millions of dollars off of distributing lies about pedophiles and children. The harm comes from the social workers, lawyers, judges, police, and others who warp the child’s mind: love becomes rape, lover becomes molester, beloved becomes victim. THAT *IS* the true sickness here.

    What you are rejecting is my cracking of the myth in which you live, and I know it hurts, it always hurts when reality slaps you in the face and you didn’t see it coming. It hurts even more when it slaps you in the face and you do see it coming.

    If I were to go back in time and into Nazi Germany, and defend the Jews with the same fervor I defend children and pedophiles, do you doubt that I would last very long? Thank God our culture has not yet reached that point of hysteria, but it’s getting close. It’s getting very damn close. Pedophilia, if you take off your hate tinted glasses, has a LONG and NOBLE history, yet it is the one thing you can be murdered for in our culture that barely raises and eyebrow.

    That’s as plain as day, my friend. Like it or not, that is the world we live in, and just like the underground resistance for the Jews, just like the underground railroad for the slaves, so to must we work towards the liberation of pedophiles and children.

  58. #58 sam
    March 14, 2007

    Azkyroth,

    Now you ARE throwing out real red herrings! Our entire Western culture was founded by pedophilic thinkers: The Phaedrus, the Symposium was a worship of the puer and ephebe, the boy and and the youth. In ancient Sparta if a boy made it to 12 without finding an adult male lover he was shamed; and if an adult male did not take a young boy as a lover he was fined. In that culture it was against the law NOT to practice pedophilia! I’m not arguing for a return to that world, but I am arguing that our moralizing, our hate-mongering against pedophiles is not universal. I am arguing that it is not civilized, and that America would be a better country if we allowed adult-child sexuality.

    Your choosing to relate dangerous drugs to sexuality tells me a lot about how you view sex in general. A clear thinker who is not blinded by hate would never fall into such distorted logic as you just posted. What the F does driving, drugs, and booze have to do with sex? huh?

    But if you open your mind, and cast off the shadow of hate that impedes your thinking, you would see that a child’s pedophile, if accepted by society, would only help that child grow and become! Get your mind out of the gutter, it’s not all about sex, you know! Sex IS beautiful and wonderful, as long as it is consensual, but there is so much more! The pedophile does not replace parents, does not disavow parents; the pedophile only augments to the resources of the child’s world.

    Imagine a world where a child grows up unafraid of his or her body! Imagine a world where a child grows up with an intimate link to an older generation! Why, the very scarred and grotesque face of our culture would dramatically change. But what stands in the way? Only ignorance, fear, and hate.

  59. #59 Brian X
    March 14, 2007

    Sparta was also a highly regimented and rather change-resistant culture that would be decidedly alien to modern Westerners. The best thing you could probably say about it is that it was likely an extreme form of hazing — to cease the Spartan practice of pederasty would have somewhat the same result, only on a much larger scale, as we’ve seen in fraternities, militaries, and other organizations that try to eliminate hazing.

    Granted that it’s hard to map modern mores onto ancient culture, but can’t a reasonable case be made that Spartan pederasty was at least as much the institutionalization of a cycle of abuse as it was some high-minded worship of young flesh? When I read about ancient pederasty in general, I don’t see some platonic ideal of boy-love (or girl-love as the case may be) — I see tremendous abuse of power that went uncorrected. I really don’t see it as any different from the current (admittedly overhyped) problem of teacher-student relationships in that regard.

    (Ephebophilia — lust for young but postpubescent adolescents — is a rather different and much more complicated situation. But really, we’re not talking about that, are we?)

  60. #60 Sam
    March 15, 2007

    BrianX, I’m by no means idealizing Sparta, but come one, man! “The best thing you could probably say about it is that it was likely an extreme form of hazing…” that statement is simply idiotic. I DARE you to take that position to someone who actually studies the culture.

  61. #61 Azkyroth
    March 15, 2007

    Do you, or do you not, believe that there is no meaningful difference between the ability of a child to process complex emotional concepts, anticipate and fully understand the potential consequences of decisions, and recognize and resist psychological or emotional manipulation, and that of an adult?

  62. #62 Another One
    March 15, 2007

    Wow, this is a fascinating discussion and I am a bit dissapointed to be jumping in so late, but it has given me an interesting starting point. After it cleared the first few “OMFG THINK OF THE CHILDREN!” posts, it settled into a few rational points and a lot of pseudo-informed dogmatic rants.

    Let me disclaim: I am a pedo. I participate in a number of (private) discussions amongst what might regarded as an private group of pedophile intellectuals. Actually, I would occassionally regard Lindsay as at least an occassional contributor. He is a smart cookie, though he tends to wax idealistic, which for a pedophile, is a real stretch to most people.

    First, as a one-off comment, let me address the discussion relating to ancient Mediterranian cultures. Both the Athenians and Spartans had well known practices of pederasty. In Sparta, it was approached as a concept of “mentorship” for future warriors, much akin go the Knight and his paige in mideval Europe (which was also notably sexual in some cases), and a samurai and his young apprentice, which also was frequently sexual in the sort of military indoctrination way. Athenians, on the other hand, were quite different. They invented the concept of democracy, much of modern philosophy, much of modern art, culture, engineering, literature and language. Aristotle and Plato wrote at length about sexual relationships, including pederastic sexual relationships and the guidelines for them. There was very much a sense of intellectual mentoring and in many cases, romantic love, that were expressed in Athenian writings. Plato spoke at length of his belief in sexual relationships bringing people closer together spiritually, which then allows them to share greater bonds of learning, teaching and sharing. You do, of course, know that Aristotle, Plato and Socrates were three generations of “loved boys”, each being taken and mentored by the previous in his boyhood. But alas, that concept of institutionalized pederasty does not exist and it may have been for good reason, since, while the thinkers aspired to noble relationships, it seems to have been equally as common for the relationships to be more akin to master-slave than mentor-pupil… This may have been more of a cultural issue with male dominance being prized, but that’s really impossible for us to tell at this point, 2400 years later.

    Moving on….

    Sam, if I must say, you are too idealistic. You don’t seem to consider human nature. When I point to Sex Offender Registries, I frequently point out the human inevitability that dictates that any system will ultimately be abused to the extent that it is possible. Registries will, if allowed to remain, at some point become a ‘terror list’ for vigilantes, or a ‘no warrant list’ for unscrupulous police. In fact, the UK passed a law a few weeks ago permitting searches of sex offenders property without cause.

    Unfortunately, it cuts both ways and allowing adults unfettered permission to engage children in sex would usher in a new era of paranoia, class division, prejudice and fear across the population. Unless the perception of child-sex is changed drastically, simply eliminating the laws will cause nothing but fear and intolerance.

    I am sad to report that the brighest men and women I have spoken with (yes, I know women-pervs too) have come to the realization that it is highly unlikely social more will exhibit a drastic change during our lifetime. However, I have been absolutely frightened at the rapid decay of ‘tolerant’ socities in terms of child-sex, I do not have such high expectations for a rapid re-emergence of this tolerance, short of a massive and global destabilizing event.

    Simply put, people are too comfortable today to tolerate this perceved intrusion onto their offspring. Even in cases where there is no demonstratable harm (as Azkyroth points out do exist), parents who discover this relationship often feel violated themselves, even when their children are not. In an era of single-digit child mortality, and historically amazing stability, parents are not accustomed to things being ‘out of the ordinary’ in relation to their children. In the past, a greater degree of tolerance was understood, as the type of coddling that goes on today would have driven a parent to the brink of madness when it was commonplace for half of her children to die before the age of 13.

    Mentioning Azkyroth, I want to commend you for your even-handed approach. You admitted some truths that many of the world’s most respected (*cough*) researchers absolutely and dogmatically refuse to even consider as possibility (nevermind that there is documented evidence of it).

    I will grant that it is plausible that not every act of sexual contact between an adult and a prepubescent child has caused demonstrable harm to the latter (Rand et al 1998[?] and anecdotal evidence supports this)–that is to say, the child cannot be shown to have been “harmed” in any conventional sense of the term.

    This is wisdom. While the actual prevalence of harm and benefit from these sexual contacts is difficult to pin down, it is scientifically ignorant to state that they do not exist, however; advisors to our legal system, as well as some of the more “respected” individuals amongst child-sex researchers are absolutely religious in their demand that “no such thing exists, ever, anywhere. Period.” (direct quote from Dr David Finkelhor, probably exhibit #1 for dogmatic researcher)

    As a pedophile, I also must point out something.

    In my experience (not first hand, for a variety of reasons, including legal ones), there is a very clear set of circumstances that *almost never* leads to harm and in fact is usually regarded as positive. On the other hand, there is a very clear set of circumstances that almost always leads to harm, while very seldom seeing any benefit.

    I think that it is in society’s (and children’s) best interest to determine these situations and specifically modify legal and moral codes to account for that. Please note that I am not speaking of repealing AOC laws, but merely including exceptions for circumstances that warrant them.

    Dutch law was somewhat unique for most of the last few decads, as it recognized the age of 12-16 as “grey area”, in which child sex assault charges could be brought if there was a complaint, but that the state could not force those charges on unwilling children and families. This was done in the most honorable spirit of ‘protecting children’, rather than ‘punishing pervs’.

    The law was repealed a few years ago when the Dutch government was taken over by the Dutch Conservative Party. The move was cheered by child advocacy organizations and the US Government. However, on examination, there were only 4 cases during the entire 30-some year history of the law, where there were serious objections to the handling of a case by materially involved people. In contrast, in the few years since the law was changed, there have been more than 20 cases of charges being filed against the objections of families, social workers, psychologists and interested parties… in the name of “lock up the disgusting pervs”…. instead of “protect the children involved” (as was the focus before).

    The crux of the issue is this: if a person has a clear and genuine concern for the well being of a child, the pair have a genuine fondness for eachother and through the course of such a friendship, a sexual component does develop into a somewhat long-term sexual relationship with components of mentor, friend and sometimes trusted confidant, does this person deserve Death by lethal injection? (Texas lawmakers recently said yes, actually)

    While I understand the case for punishment of a person who violently penetrates a screaming toddler, it is telling that the former relationship would be punished much more harshly (“pattern of abuse”) than the latter (“single instance of abuse”) in our legal system. In our media and public circles, the former would be discuessed with just as much bile and hatred as the latter as well. However, in reality, the former has a reasonable likelyhood of actually being a beneficial relationship to both parties, where the latter invariably results in lasting psychological (and physical) trauma for the child and indicates a severe lack of empathy from the adult involved.

    The dichotomy of these two very different kids of relationships is patently ignored in every area of our social and legal culture and that is a gross injustice.

    In some way, I am addressing your other very valid point:

    the potential of such contact to cause real and demonstrable harm, whether in the form of physical injury, psychological trauma, or the acquisition of attitudes and behaviors that will subject the child to extreme disapproval from others around them, is very well documented.

    This should absolutely be the primary concern for a person who is what I might term an “ethical pedophile”. It is demonstratably possible to have a sexual relationship with a child, not only without harm, but with great benefit… however the variables involved in this outcome are numerous and hard to pin down. As a general rule, my friends and I would advise against such relationships on the grounds mentioned above, but with the caveat that the primary danger is from the social stigma associated with sex, rather than anything inherent in the sex itself. In cultures where sex is not such an issue, such as some areas of Souteast Asia, or Eastern Europe, this may not be the case.

    Obviously, when I speak of SE Asia or Eastern Europe, the image comes to mind of the throngs of child prostitutes and reports of any number of things from child slavery to child pornography and you must understand that what I refer to is diametrically opposed to those things, likely just as strongly as any of your readers are.

    However, slavery is illegal. If it’s a child and it’s done for sex, it’s very sad. If it’s an adult and it’s done for farm labour, it’s very sad (but in a different way). Still, it’s grossly illegal and it should be. Prositution is a more sticky issue because by its nature, it asks the question of consent.

    It is clear that the cognitive abilities of a young child (say, under 12) are not as abstract as those of older kids and adults, so it is understood that there are progressive protections in place to prevent their childhood follies from resulting in lifetime emotional scars. As such, special considerations should be in place for children in regards to prostitution. I believe prostitution is a choice made by and adult and should be legal in every society. I am not in favor, however, of the legalization of child prostution in any form, despite my views above regarding exceptions to AOC laws.

    The difficulty that most people have with my theory of the AOC and the discussion surrounding a relationship in which the adult strives to maintain beneficial aspects of the relationship and eliminate harmful outcomes is twofold.

    First, it relies on the assumption that one can predict future harm, which, granted, is quite difficult. Even in the best of situations, a religious influence, or a cultural influence can sway someone’s opinion of an act. I know of at least one situation where a boy engaged in a relationship with an adult man, even wrote a paper in college about it stating that it was the single greatest event of his life. When he was married to a born-again Christian and later converted, he changed his mind and in his late 30s, he notified police of the events of his childhood. While he couldn’t identify any demonstrable harm, he was firmly committed to the idea that he was “encouraged to defile the will of God” by engaging in sex when he was younger. Of course, he would have felt the same if the sex happened at the age of 18, but he would not have legal recourse without fabricating details of the story to imply non consent. Still, this is an issue worth considering.

    Second, this rule of exceptions requires a post-hoc evaluation of the relationship by a neutral party, which seems a bit silly on premise. However, in the context of our current approach to these relationships, such a value-neutral evaluation is desperately needed and would greatly decrease the overall anguish caused by sex abuse cases around the country.

    Lets face it, it is fashionable to expose sex abusers today. The rash of priest-abuse and teacher-abuse cases in the last 5 years is an example of that, but I have to point out that we should consider ourselves fortunate, since only 500 or so of these cases have come up and many stretch back 40 or 50 years, indicating a truely low precidence of this abuse. Teacher sex, on the same hand, has been going on and will always go on. Teachers, as a population, are statistically biased toward being pedophiles. This is not to say that most, or many are, but that a higher-than-average percentage of them are, because of the nature of the job. That combined with respect and contact with kids results in relationships being consummated.

    In the past, these were events to be proud of. I can think of many accounts, including a recent one from actor, Kirk Douglas, who recounted a sexual relationship with a teacher when he was a prepubescent boy, which he stated he “regards as one of the most beneficial relationships of my life”.

    In order to completely eliminate adult-child sex, a culture would have to be constructed which completely eliminates all adult-child interaction beyond a mechanical level. We have already almost completely excluded physical contact from the education process, which has thus far been a disaster. Lab studies shows that lower levels of physical contact which children increases antisocial and sociopathic behavior drastically. The total lack of physical contact causes near schizophrenic insanity in juvinile monkeys. This is the society we envision in the name of “protecting kids”.

    Gah.

    I apologize, I got into a bit of a social rant there for the last few paragraphs. What’s done is done and I think I’ll post it as-is without editing as I have to get to work.

    Azkyroth, I would like to continue this discussion, if not here, then perhaps via email. From what I read, you have a level-head and i would value your words.

    Thanks all.
    Another One (pedo, that is)

  63. #63 DougT
    March 15, 2007

    I find some of the talk about concern for the rights of children to sexuality to be pretty disingenuous. Where are the parties without a vested interest clamoring for chlidren’s access to these rights? If children really are being wronged here on the level of Nazi persecution of the Jews, surely there must be somebody out there who has no interest in sex with children but who sees this terrible injustice and wants to do something about it. Where are these people? For that matter, where are the children? If what some of the commenters here have been positing is right, that children really want to have sex with adults and have the emotional and intellectual capacity to enter into such relationships, why are they not coming forward and demanding these rights?

  64. #64 Sam
    March 15, 2007

    Azkyroth,

    Why do you “complicate” sex and love? Let me try to put it into simple terms for your extremely simple mind, take a boy for example: Erection, sex, orgasm! Beautiful and Amazing. Now he goes out and plays. No harm done, that is until YOU attack him.

    Love. Boy: “I love you.” Pedophile: “I love you, too.” Boy goes out and plays. No harm done, that is until YOU attack him.

    Again, you are systematically dehumanizing children by forbidding them to understand the basic concepts of love and their own, private bodies. Under your thinking school and church would be too complex for a child. But yet our culture consistently asks children to go to church and learn extremely complex theological concepts such as the tripartite godhead in one entity, the wages of sin are death, and all the fascist political stuff that gets shoved into religion. But, yet, you STILL insist the MOST SIMPLE of ALL human communication, SEX, is too complex for a child. Too emotional! What complete rubbish! Come back when you have an argument.

  65. #65 Jake
    March 15, 2007

    The biggest threat to children now a days is not a pedophile or child molester. It is parents!!!

    “What?” you ask, “this is not right.” Let me explain. More often then not, a child will come home from school to an empty house, make dinner for herself and her younger brother. Will have to do some housework. Along about 5 or 6 the parents come home from work, are to tired to help with any homework, dad goes to the fridge, gets some beer and watches TV while mom sits at the computer and chats with her online friends.

    Kids fend for themselves in their room or just goes out to play. Mom calls in her kids realizing it is 9pm and time for bed. Dad is now drunk and yells at them for staying out so late. He might even hit them a few times. After kids are in bed, dad beats up on mom with words of hate as well as his fists while the kids are huddled in their rooms listening to it all.

    Kids are abused alot more by people they are supposed to love. If not physicaly, then emotionaly. How many children do you know, that have to listen to their parents fight every day? How many children have to get slapped and beat for leaving a dirty dish after washing the dishes? How many single moms leave their kids at home while they go get their drug fix?

    Pedophiles are no where near the biggest threat to children. It is the childs parents, or family members, who gave birth to the child, but see their children as thorns in their backs. Children who get no love from people they try to love.

    I have been to many homes due to my job and I have seen all walks of life, from the rich to the poor. I have seen houses that should be bulldozed to the ground, a two room shack, being lived in by 10 people or more. Kids were half dressed and dirty, parents screaming at their kids for being, well, kids!!!.

    What I am saying here is, our fight should not be about how to go about legalizing the AOC laws, it should not be about how to rid this world of pedophiles, or weather or not a pedophile should or should not place photos of a child on his site and ask someone to rate their cuitness. We should be focusing our efforts on stopping the abuse of children.

    Not all pedophiles will abuse children, in fact, most do not, they love children and know that if a child says no, they will back off wanting only what is best for THAT child. A parent with a drug or drinking problem cares not of what the child wants and slaps him or her around or yells at them for the most insane reasons.

    Children need to be loved, and if a parent can not give that love, then the child will look elsewhere, and if he or she can not find it, most likely then not, the child will act out with violence. Does Colombine come to anyones mind here?

  66. #66 Sam
    March 15, 2007

    Jake,

    Thank you, that was well thought out, well worded contribution to this discussion. It’s amazing how simple it is when the reality is seen through the ideology of hate. Best, Sam.

  67. #67 Shelley Batts
    March 15, 2007

    This thread is getting pretty long, so if you want to continue it, please do it here in this new post:
    http://scienceblogs.com/retrospectacle/2007/03/science_laws_emotions_and_chil.php

  68. #68 fkgltkxs
    May 9, 2011

    Muslim obama doesnt want the competition, he abuses his kids enough as it is in the name of allah!

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