The Paedophile Panic in England
I don’t have any interest in drawings of children being raped, but I know of no legitimate law where people could be imprisoned for drawing such a scene. However, this is apparently illegal in the UK today, and the first prosecution was brought recently under this law. See this article in the Daily Mail.
I have no objection to throwing the book at real paedophiles—people who sexually attack children—and would consider penalties much, much stiffer than any contemplated by our leading political parties—including the death penalty in many cases. Ironically, the police and the judicial establishment involved in the prosecution for drawings of sex with children are the very same criminal establishment who are opposed to the death penalty in the UK. In my book, the judges abet paedophilia by the judgments they hand down to serious paedophiles. A future conservative state could well retrospectively punish those judges involved.
Look at how strangely we are governed! We read a while back of how a young adult who raped a 6 year old was not given a detentionary sentence, because the “Christian” parents “forgave” him (but real forgiveness relates to forgiving something done to yourself: it was simply evil—Pharisaical sanctimony—for the parents to forgive him “vicariously” on behalf of their child), only for him to then rape a 7 year old. I would argue those parents, by their opposition to proper punishment for the rape of their child, are complicit in the rape of the 7 year old, and, if members of the Church of England, should be denied the sacrament until they have done penance for that. Nearly everything done in the name of Christianity today is contrary to the 2000 year old teachings of the church: those parents could indeed raise their child to try to forgive the perpetrator and leave punishment to the state and to God (as Romans 13 makes clear that the Christian church does see a God-given role in public punishment for crime), but to go out of their way to ensure such a paedophile remained on the streets is something else entirely. So it seems real cases of paedophilia don’t necessarily get condign punishment, whereas on the other hand, these drawings, which do not include any violent act on any child, are subject to punishment. Does anyone understand this?
The definition of paedophilia has become wider and wider. We have seen:
1. viewing pictures on the Internet equated with actual child rape (in a free society the police would have to have a good reason to believe you had actually engaged in sex with a minor before viewing anything on your computer anyway, and the possession of an easily copiable computer image should not be actionable at all, no matter how repugnant it makes the person downloading it);
2. the judicial insistence that all child nudity, including nudity where there is no sexual component, is pornographic, including pictures of children wearing no clothes at the seaside, whereas, no matter what the motivation of the adult taking the photographs (e.g., a paedophile could be using a camera on the beach), the image is simply not pornographic—it could only be held to be so where the judge himself were a paedophile… (actually…. I could believe that);
3. female teachers in their early twenties engaged in sexual relationships with pupils only five or six years younger than themselves are now held to be predatory paedophiles (they don’t exactly fit the profile for paedophiles jumping out of bushes to kidnap, rape and murder 5 year old children…); and
4. the drawing of imaginary pictures depicting paedophile scenes is now equated with physically raping a child.
It is worth asking (I don’t know from the Daily Mail article) the presumed age of the children in the drawings: there are “children” above the age of sexual maturity simply because the law says they are children (e.g., the age of consent varies from country to country), and then there is the real hardcore paedophilia of people who target those who are actually children.
I’m not suggesting, for example, that 15 year olds should be subject to predatory behaviour, but that there is a difference between the rape of a 7 year old (too young to know what is happening) and apparently consensual sex with someone a week before his/her 16th birthday, who is biologically mature, old enough to know what is happening, and only a “child” because we choose to keep young people in education until they are 16. Now, if I had a 15 year old child, I would be livid if some 45 year old were behaving lasciviously towards him or her—in social terms, 15 year oldd are not fully street-wise, and, owing to not having their own money yet, could be easily lured by a much older person. But physically, biologically, there is nothing strange about sexual attraction to a 15 year old. I defy ANYONE to show me that someone attracted to someone 16 years and 1 day old would not be attracted to someone 15 years and 364 days old. You could argue there must be a cut-off point (and the same argument would apply whatever the cut-off point), but 16 years of age is simply well above the age of sexual maturity.
In fact, I will go further: the policemen who, according to the very Act of Parliament we are discussing, are entitled to possess “pornographic images” for the purpose of cracking down on vice, are probably turned on by them. Tell me what heterosexual policeman working in the anti-paedo unit is not going to appreciate pictures of 15 year old girls he comes into contact with at work? And if there are any homosexual policemen in those units coming into contact with pictures of 15 year old boys, I think the number who will not enjoy the pictures (if the pictures are of attractive people) is going to be zero. So according to their own theory—the policemen themselves in those anti-paedo units are paedophiles themselves! In fact, I would say that every single policeman working in the anti-paedo unit is a paedophile, according to their own definition.
Now, I think taking advantage of a 15 year old should be some kind of offence, but it is not paedophilia as such. And it is not at all the same thing as the people who kidnap and force themselves on 7 year olds. My guess is that the number of people who are interested in actual children (pre-pubescent children) is extremely low—they are severely disturbed (lthough I would still argue for the death penalty for any of those who acted on their desire for pre-pubescent children), and there are probably no more than 100 of these (maybe much less) in the country as a whole, all very well known to the police and monitored in some way. Now, as for arrests for paedophilia—my guess is that in nearly all cases, we are dealing with people attracted to 15 year olds, or maybe 14 year olds (as, after all, these are also post-pubescent). Real paedophilia is very very rare indeed.
I could understand paedomania if we were not trying to sexualise children at a younger and younger age—but to go out of our way in the media, the education system and the wider culture to sexualise even pre-pubescent children (as well as sexualising post-pubescent 14 and 15 year olds, who would in the 1950s have still been pretty innocent even if biologically mature) and then suddenly claim that paedophilia is rife is a contradiction in terms. Let us not forget that the sexualisation of school pupils from the ages of 6 to 16 is the official policy of the Conservative, Liberal Democrat and Labour Parties in the UK. Where teachers teach sex education to 14 and 15 year olds, I cannot believe there is no sexual tension in the class. Any red-blooded male who taught sex education to a class of people many of whom he objectively must be attracted to is going to be getting off on the whole experience.
I looked up this 2009 law on “drawings” (the Coroners and Justice Act 2009), and funnily enough it did say that the drawing was illegal even if some features appeared not to be of a child, i.e., where “the predominant impression conveyed is that the person shown is a child despite the fact that some of the physical characteristics shown are not those of a child.” You could even see the humour in this—what they are talking about is a drawing of a child with an outsized penis! Even though the penis would be bigger than that expected of a child, if the overall image appeared to be of a child, it would be illegal. In fact,that law states that the relevant age for illegal drawings is not 16 but 18. Where do I start on this? It is legal to have sex with a 16 year old, but not to draw that same person nude? Young people aged 16 are serving in the army, but are children for the purposes of photographs and drawings? So it is not paedophilia if you just want to have sex with a 16 year old, but the moment you get your camera out, you are a paedophile? And the police claim to be able to distinguish a drawing of a 17 year old from a drawing of an 18 year old—what nonsense is this?
It is easy to go down the kneejerk route and say that people who are sexually interested in those under the age of 16 (or 18, in the case of images) should have no rights—but we should think of how close the state is moving into all our lives. When the state can monitor your drawings, there is really no private sphere left. You will notice that the case in that Daily Mail article is described as a “landmark” case—in other words, a case making new case law that will begin to be more widely applied. While it is true that the Coroners and Justice Act 2009 does say “references to an image of a child include references to an image of an imaginary child”—so this is not one of the many cases where new laws are being made by judges—statute laws that are an abuse of power are also of great concern to me. Moreover, while there is a statute law promoting the paedophile panic, we need to bear in mind that judicial interpretation still plays the key role. (It will largely be a matter of interpretation where a judge decides that a drawing is of a 17 year old and not of an 18 year old). We are a grossly overgoverned country, not least because we allow ourselves to be taken in by these moral panics.