A respected opponent, not an enemy

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Am I my own worst enemy?

I don’t think so, if only because there are so many others!

All I can say with confidence is that Danny Whittaker, who runs a website called My Own Worst Enemy (MOWE), is definitely not the worst. For sure, he has shown himself to be sternly against child-adult sex, but after being interviewed by him as part of his regular podcast series on psychology and mental health, I would describe him as a respected opponent rather than an enemy of any kind.

That is because his interviewing style is fair and honest, which is more than can be said for most of the broadcasters and journalists who have had a go at me over the years. Nor did he selectively edit the recording so as to take things out of context as often happens, giving a distorted and unflattering impression. Instead, he has put our encounter out to the audience in completely unedited form. This is fine by me not least because I felt able to speak my mind without interruption and to present information it would otherwise have been very difficult or impossible to get across.

The result, I think, will be of interest to heretics here and to a much wider audience if it proves possible to attract their attention. So without further ado let me say I can highly recommend his Interview with a pedophile (British site but American spelling), which is available in audio-only at the website and on video at YouTube.

Be warned, though. Some people call us heretics monsters, but in this case the podcast itself is monstrous, a huge beast, a King Kong of a production! Danny’s introduction alone lasts nearly 40 minutes and the interview itself is about two and three quarter hours; so the entire show lasts almost a whopping three and a half hours! Early “critical acclaim” has been good, so this great length may not be as crazy as it seems.

I won’t say anymore about the interview. It’s best just to get stuck in. You may be thinking about skipping the long introduction, which would be OK, but I would also give this advice: if you like the interview you will love the introduction, or at least some its very unexpected highlights: one of them is on the Virtuous Pedophiles (see also second item below), a topic not discussed in the interview itself.

Actually, you might like to stick around on Danny’s site. One reason I agreed to do an interview with him is that I could see I would be in good company, as many of his other interviewees are people of some authority and distinction. Just to take a couple that caught my attention, there are John Cromby, a psychology professor at Leicester University, talking on power and responsibility, and Massimo Pigliucci, a professor of philosophy at the City University of New York, on Stoicism.

Danny’s “show notes”, as he calls them, are good too. This is where he introduces his guests and their subjects in written form. On the page about my interview, he presents a balanced view and gives links and references that I suggested. The direct links include Heretic TOC and two key sources of information on positively experienced child-adult sexual contacts, namely the compilations of personal testimonies produced by Marshall Burns in the Cases in the Research at his Consenting Juveniles website and Titus Rivas in his book Positive Memories.

Also on the page, via a button labelled “Tom’s recommended studies”, is a substantial list of mainly academic sources, which is both a resource for the reader and also backs up my claim that our heresies are well grounded in the research literature.

Finally, a word is in order about MOWE’s ingenious logo, the “o” of which takes the form of a snake eating its own tail. Looking this up, I discover it is a very old symbol, as I suspected. Called the ouroboros, this depiction of a “serpent” or “dragon” consuming itself apparently originated in ancient Egyptian iconography, entering the western tradition through Greek magical tradition and later associated with medieval alchemy. It is said to be often taken to symbolise introspection and personal re-creation, hence highly apt for Danny’s website.

It is also doubly relevant to my blog today, as will be seen from the tail-piece (yes, in both senses: it’s the final item and very much the tale of a tail!), which features some children and a snake in the most amazing wildlife (and that’s just the kids!) footage you will ever see, recently brought to my attention by a friend. I just had to share it.

VIRPED BACK IN BUSINESS

VirPed’s website is back up again.

I am not sure there is much point in saying this as few seem to have noticed it was down for at least a week earlier this month. Have I been missing something? Using Google Advanced Search for a domain-specific search of Boychat and Girlchat, I find no discussion of “Virped” or “Virtuous Pedophiles” in the last month, although I must admit this particular Google search tool seems to be a bit erratic.

Anyway, I was made aware on the 12th there had been a problem when someone mentioned it on Sexnet. Describing himself as “co-founder and co-owner of Virped”, Ethan Edwards replied to say there had been an announcement on the subject (possibly through email to members or on the “unaffected” peer-support forum). “Technical issues” had been cited. On Sexnet, Ethan said the account had been suspended because there had been DDoS attacks and these “were adversely affecting other customers on the same server”.

The DDoS problem seems to have been fixed by using Cloudflare, a company that specialises in DDoS mitigation. When you click on the virped.org link (not that anyone here would want to!) you have to wait a few seconds while Cloudflare somehow checks your browser and decides you are not part of a mass attack. Sounds like a company that might be worth remembering.

CHILDREN OF NATURE

Not a lot to say about this video (the top one of the two on the linked page). Just watch, and be amazed!

Meet Shakespeare’s hot young boys

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My old friend Mike Teare-Williams kindly gives us his second guest blog today, the first being his review last June of Stiff Upper Lip: Secrets, crimes and the schooling of a ruling class, by Alex Renton. Now he is not quite reviewing, exactly, but giving us a flavour of his own MA thesis on boy actors playing female roles in Shakespeare’s plays in the days when they were brand new – hot off the bard’s dripping quill, as it were – and some of the comedies were as torrid as my lurid imagery suggests, full of bawdy gags and seductive acting by barely teenage boys with still unbroken voices: got up in drag they would “come on” to the adult actors in the male parts. Mike’s thesis on these improbable (to the modern mind) provocations has recently been added to Edmund Marlowe’s splendid website Greek Love Through the Ages. So, over to Mike.

 

AS YOU LIKE IT: A BAWDY, NOT BORING, BARD

Shakespeare, sigh — how boring — so many people say?  Long-winded and obscure?  Of course, English has changed over four hundred years and much of what is said upon the stage now flies straight over our heads.  Yet there is one aspect of Shakespeare’s drama that should be forever young and of primary interest to the people of now — to those especially who love young people.  In the playwright’s day, no women were allowed upon the stage, so Shakespeare’s brilliant heroines were played by boys, since only men and boys could then legally perform.

Historical and textual evidence is overwhelming that these boys had unbroken voices and were very young, in order not only to look feminine, but to sound feminine as well.  A case in point of the gulf between modern performances and the original tradition was played out the other day in my seeing a play-bill for a local performance of Romeo and Juliet.  A rather beautiful colourful photograph of the eponymous lovers appeared as an early adult woman and a fully-grown man.  This was not a surprise.  But this is Shakespeare radically re-written.  One could almost say, it is a travesty of the original drama.  In its original form, Romeo was a stripling youth.  Juliet, according to the text itself, in Act 1 Scene iii, in the words of her mother: “She’s not fourteen” and her Nurse: “On Lammas Eve at night she shall be fourteen”. Which makes the idea of even a late teen girl as Juliet absurd.  Much more to the point, this girl was played by a boy and was the subject of the most pointed sexual references and outright bawdry through several of the scenes that follow.

When you also consider that a thirteen-year-old, in the nexus between the sixteenth and the seventeenth centuries, was probably not as physically mature as a thirteen-year-old of now, you may question how such a young and small person could carry such a dramatic role.  We are left with the unavoidable conclusion that the boy of then was actually a much tougher and more mature individual, mentally, than his modern counterpart.  He might have been small, but he must have been a very considerable actor to have been given this role and his relative maturity would not have been in doubt.  Death was everywhere in the streets of London, with dismembered body-parts displayed in prominent places…  Our gentle child would have fought tooth and nail for his place to watch one of the frequent executions.  The bloodier, the better.

Now, established culture has it that to drop the f-word in a child’s presence is to deeply harm that child.  The words ‘attack’, ‘assault’, ‘abuse‘, ‘molest’ and ‘victim’ are used to describe situations and the passive resultants of those situations where no violence is, or ever was, present.  Fathers now no longer go near bathrooms where their own children bathe.  Men are deserting the teaching profession in droves.  Children now are treated like mindless nothings.  Tabula rasa – without intelligence, discernment, curiosity or even the capacity for love.  In all of these things they are deeply denigrated; made less than they truly are?

Very much at odds with these modern views: in the year 2000, I completed an MA thesis at the University of Western Australia.  It was entitled “Representing the Female Character in Three Comedies of William Shakespeare: As You Like It, Twelfth Night and A Midsummer Night’s Dream”.  A horribly long title for a horribly long and complex thesis.  The basis of the whole work was that no female actors were allowed to take the female parts in the drama of those days.

But why was the thesis so long and complex?  The simple truth is that I was under attack from the police and the justice-system and I was fighting to maintain my place as a graduate-student at my university for the entire time that I was researching my work.  Therefore, I had not only to lay out my own strong ideas about the boy actors who took the parts of the women in these plays, but I had constantly to reference and to justify my own beliefs with the evidence of other established scholars.  Surprisingly, essential aid came to me in the really excellent scholarship of a number of radical feminist authors.  Tirelessly – some might say exhaustively – I gave reference to their research, knowing that no-one with half a brain would dare to argue with them!

Needless to say, the journey to the eventual granting of my Master of Arts degree was part adventure, part nightmare; but it was a point of pride with me that I spent six months of my four and a half years of striving, while resident in prison.  So, it should also be pointed out that I was bravely supported throughout my huge endeavour; firstly, by my thesis-supervisor and secondly by the Academic Council of the University of Western Australia.  Brave people indeed, given the subject matter.

Throughout the eighteen years since, I have been taxing my brain on ways to turn this monstrous prolixity into a readable book.  Without any success!  So, what I have done is to prune as many of the tiresome repetitions as I could find and clear up anomalies along the way.  Then, I coined a new and much more honest title.  This being Shakespeare’s Boy Actors and Forbidden Discourse.

The reference to boy actors rather than the girls they represented is deliberate in establishing that Shakespeare in particular, and many other authors of his time, simply made the best of the situation of having to use boys as comedic girls and even sometimes as tragic heroines.  In the case of the former, they based most of the double-meaning jokes on the fact that the girl seen by audiences on the stage was actually a boy and everyone knew it.  Often – as in As You Like It and Twelfth Night – a girl character is required to dress up as a boy for part of the action.  So, in reality, you have a boy playing a girl who then plays a boy, who then reverts to playing a girl, but who then finally morphs into real boy again as the lights go down!

This androgyny in double-reversal, allows for some very pointed crudity.  Yet, at times, a more ethereal androgyne was proposed, characterised by sexual uncertainty of a Neoplatonic sort (see Chapter 2 for what I mean).  Touches of this philosophical aspect exist in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, but it is mainly the schism between the reality of a boy in the first Elizabeth’s reign and a boy of the second Elizabeth’s reign that I meant to highlight. Back then, a boy grew up quickly or he did not grow up at all.  Children who survived infancy and could walk and talk were set to work or were sent to school.  They were protected neither from the knowledge of sex – many of them grew up in one room with their parents – nor from experiencing it.  The point must finally be made that even the most ignorant person in Shakespeare’s age knew that these brilliant young actors were boys.

Most of us now will need Eric Partridge’s Shakespeare’s Bawdy: A Literary & Psychological Essay and a Comprehensive Glossary (London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1986 [1947]) simply to have any hope of understanding the crudeness of the bawdry that the characters fire off at bewildering speed throughout the texts that I study, among many others.  What was transparent in the lexis to Elizabethan and Jacobean audiences of four centuries ago is almost completely obscure to us now?

Hence my thesis, which is a decoding of the obscurities and, more to the point, an explanation of the second part of my title. That is to say: Forbidden Discourse.  Why is this discourse now forbidden?  Because it seeks to say that the boy of four centuries ago may not realistically be compared with the boy of now. Then, no boy with an unbroken voice – be he born high or low – was thought to have been harmed or ruined or abused by his taking part in comedic bawdry of the kind that was required by Shakespeare’s very young actors of then.  Though it is historically true that some of the boys went on acting female parts into young manhood; the major part of the evidence is overwhelming that the boy actors of the golden age of Shakespeare were truly boys, in both voice and appearance. Yet an essential part of the forbiddenness of this discourse is that, if you were to try and stage a performance of, particularly, As You Like It or Twelfth Night now – using boys with unbroken voices – the theatre would be closed, and the director would be arrested on the first night.  Yet this is only true if the audience were to understand the jokes!  Me, I think that there would be enough blue-noses in those audiences to close the performance down, were it to be done really well.

Tom O’Carroll asked me to write a guest-blog on my thesis and while this sounds most uncomfortably like blowing my own horn: blow it I will.  Simply because I am committed to the idea that most people in the modern world have no idea about the original tradition of Shakespearian drama.

I must record that, paradoxically, it was the outraged protests of the growing Puritan movement in that age which provided some of the best evidence for the separation of the modern boy from his Renaissance counterpart.  Tracts by such writers as William Prynne, Stephen Gosson and Phillip Stubbes inveighed in extreme terms against not only the action upon the stage, but the perceived immorality that occurred after the performances.  Stage-door Johnnies are not a new invention it would seem and the boys were evidently very popular for themselves, as well as their abilities as actors.  Deuteronomy 22:5 was clarion for the Puritans:

The woman shall not wear that which pertaineth unto a man, neither shall a man put on a woman’s garment,  for all that do so are abomination unto the Lord thy God.

Cross-dressing in any form; indeed any pretension of a man, woman or child to appear to be something that he or she was not, was a grievous sin to the Puritans.  One such was Phillip Stubbes who fulminated dramatically in his The Anatomie of Abuses, F.J. Furnivall, ed. (London: New Shakespeare Society, 1877-1879 [London: Richard Jones, 1583]), pp. 144-145.

what smouching & slabbering one of another, what filthie groping and vncleane handling is not practised euery wher in these dauncings? … But, say they, it induceth looue—so I say also—but what looue?  Truely, lustful looue, a venerous looue, such as proceedeth from the stinking pump and lothsome sink of carnall affection and fleshly appetite, and not such as distilleth from the bowels of the hart ingenerat by the spirit of God.

Purple prose indeed, but the fact is that these performances were hugely popular, despite this invective.  Or perhaps even, because of it?  The texts themselves were written with the several different levels of understanding in the audiences in mind.  The cruder humour was for those who stood among the groundlings and there were many Classical allusions to flatter the educated in the sixpenny seats.  Who had the most fun though?  Probably those boy actors themselves!

But the 1640s were approaching and the total – though thankfully temporary – victory of the puritans who were to close all of the theatres.  Then, after years of sub-fusc misery, the Reformation saw the return of the monarchy. Charles II issued a royal patent in 1662 to one William d’Avenant, allowing him to use real women in women’s parts.

The age of the boy actor was then over. Indeed, the age of Shakespeare as he wrote it, was then over. What we see now is Shakespeare transposed. Re-written. Modified.

As I mentioned earlier, the boy of then was almost certainly smaller than the boy of now.  I believe Shakespeare used this to delight in reversing the usual power relationships.  Take the role of Portia, in The Merchant of Venice.  This boy-girl trounces the powerful male figures who must physically have towered over the small, but brilliant figure upon the stage – and it is he who appears triumphant in the end.  The author himself appears as a man fighting for a place for brilliant young women in a world where men would normally dominate?  Yet, in everyone’s full knowledge, Portia is actually a boy; as was the quicksilver Maria in Twelfth Night and the tragic Juliet in Romeo and Juliet.  While the role of Portia is deadly serious, Maria is a tiny grinning devil as she bounces about the stage, bullying the adult actors and causing huge amounts of laughter. A contrasting juxtaposition in terms of physical size and actual power was the name of the game.  I have a theory that this echoed the tiny, though very real person, the woman, who paradoxically held such awesome power upon the throne for most of Shakespeare’s life.  Praise for role-reversals would certainly not have been missed by that highly intelligent sovereign!

Barbed humour, sometimes couched in double, or even treble meanings, dominated the comedies, in particular.  And when you consider the possible gestures that would have been added to the words, it is possible to imagine the riotous belly-laughs among the groundlings in the original Globe Theatre.

When all is said and done, Shakespeare wrote immensely powerful roles for women, which is why the drama still works so very well now. Androgyny in the original double-shifted parts is now merely single-shifted, but Shakespeare still lives and is well-loved by many people and rightly so.

Finally, I had the great good fortune to make the acquaintance of Edmund Marlowe when I wrote to him to praise his wonderful book, Alexander’s Choice.  We exchanged occasional emails thereafter and then I discovered his equally wonderful website at www.greek-love.com and later he suggested that I should send him my thesis for publication on the site.

After scratching around for months, I sent it off and what I call The Monstrous Prolixity now sits on his magnificent site: Greek Love Through the Ages.  It is hard to describe the sheer range of both serious and even humorous knowledge of boy-love that is contained within Edmund’s shining demesne.  Richly illustrated, it is full of articles, titles, references, pointers to so many of the people of the past and present, many of whom I have never heard.  It is like a kindly light that shines on a very dark and depressing night.

Yet Edmund, in his last message to me, said that he is not yet satisfied with his site!  I’ll let you be the judge, but for me, I am honoured to have a place in what I see as his Golden Compendium of Boy Knowledge.

 

 

 

 

Give generously to Shag the Children

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“Did the earth move for you?” as the aid worker said to the quake victim after sex in the ruins.

Or maybe this particular aftershock was followed by, at best, a less romantic “Thank you, ma’am” plus a few dollars. Or “Thank you, young lady” if she happened to be a marginally underage 17-year-old in Haiti where the age of consent is 18.

Oxfam staff in that country after the 2010 quake, as the world has known since The Times broke the story early this month, had been involved with prostitutes, according to the organisation’s own leaked internal report, which was reportedly “unable to rule out that some of the sex workers were underage” – a sensibly cautious conclusion, but careful caveats were utterly ignored, of course, by opportunist moral panic mongers, who lost no time in deciding there had been rampant child prostitution and a plague of predatory paedophiles.

Personally, I have little doubt that those who risk life and limb in war zones, earthquakes, and other dangerous scenarios, to help desperate, traumatised people, will tend to end up physically exhausted and psychologically shocked themselves; so it seems mean to begrudge them a bit of R&R, at least at the end of their tour of duty. That was certainly what the American military thought during the Vietnam War, when soldiers were billeted in Thailand for a vacation on their way home, where they were expected to enjoy the services of sex workers, including underage ones, notably in the beach resort of Pattaya. Previously just a fishing village, Pattaya grew to accommodate one of the biggest red light districts in the world. R&R was a military term meaning “rest and recuperation” but the soldiers often called it “I&I”, for “intoxication and intercourse”.

As for the “underage” aspect, this may have been officially frowned upon by the US military, but nothing was done about it and a blind eye was turned to soldiers cavorting with even very young girls and boys in Pattaya, Bangkok, and other R&R destinations such as the Philippines.

There is no evidence whatever that Oxfam’s leadership ignored staff involvement with obviously underage sex workers, or younger children, and there has been no more than a hint that anything went on with underage persons at all. Yet the storm in the British media was immediate, sustained, and so relentlessly thunderous one might have supposed this was the most appalling, sickening scandal in the long history of scandals. It was as if “we murdered babies in their cots”, beleaguered Oxfam boss Mark Goldring lamented in a Guardian interview; but, if he thought his bemused bleating would help, he would soon have to think again. Only days later, after coming under heavy fire for daring to complain about being unreasonably attacked, he found himself forced into a grovelling apology for his remarks, in front of a parliamentary committee.

Why? This level of outrage is usually reserved for cases involving children. But there were no children; or at least there were only imagined, slightly underage, teens in the case of Oxfam.

The hue and cry is to some extent easily explained by the view that people in certain occupations, such as the clergy, and teachers, are expected to set an example to others. When they fall from grace, therefore, they disappoint high expectations. Some media commentators have explicitly made this point in relation to Oxfam, although it is by no means obvious to me why those doing this type of work should have to demonstrate saintly celibacy when the task in hand frequently calls upon them to prove their worth in other ways – for instance, like soldiers, they very often need to show courage and endurance. So are we saying, as we sit at home comfortably doing nothing, that these people – many of whom are volunteers, or very modestly paid local staff in poor countries – must be perfect in every way so as not to fall short of our pampered expectations?

The unreasonable requirement of saintliness has definitely contributed to the outrage against Oxfam and other aid organisations dragged into the scandal, notably Shag the Children (sorry, Save the Children), UNICEF, and latterly the Red Cross, but this is not the half of it. There are at least two further factors. The most obvious one for Heretic TOC’s usual concerns is that victim feminist outrage is no longer confined to concern for child victims, so the lack of evidence that Oxfam staff availed themselves of child prostitutes in Haiti does not kill the story. I will come to this factor later.

A much nastier aspect of all this, sadly, is that not only do we punish other people for falling short of standards we would be hard-pressed to match ourselves, we also rush to engage with a narrative that seems to justify our own hard-hearted, lack of compassion and generosity. Well, I say “we”, but really I mean readers of the Daily Mail and similarly minded elements of the mainstream media, which have leapt onto the Oxfam story, following it up with page after page of reports and commentary all designed to play up the idea that the charities are hopelessly corrupt, siphoning off donated money off into huge executive salaries and bloated expense accounts, while conducting wasteful and inefficient operations in the field. Another element in this narrative, in fact an ideologically even more important one, is that government aid also goes to waste, allegedly ending up in the pockets of “corrupt dictators” and the like rather than the people who need it.

Ian Birrell, in the Mail on Sunday, even managed, at least implicitly, to link these two themes – private charity and government aid – when he took the opportunity to hammer Oxfam over their “flawed” (but he did not say what was wrong with it) recent report on global inequality. On their website, Oxfam said in January: “Last year saw the biggest increase in billionaires in history, one more every two days. This huge increase could have ended global extreme poverty seven times over. 82% of all wealth created in the last year went to the top 1%, and nothing went to the bottom 50%.”

The Mail and other billionaire-owned media outlets hate any such “socialist” hints that the super-rich are not paying their way, with the implication that they should be taxed more in order to finance not just foreign aid but also health, education, etc., at home. Thus hacks like Birrell are hired to stir up public resentment against outfits like Oxfam for daring to think about important issues of politics and finance instead of (actually, as well as) building tent cities for quake victims, distributing emergency food aid and so forth.

A counterblast to this mean-minded, selfish attitude to the world was to be found, though, by those with the patience to look beyond the headlines and in the right places. The distinguished foreign correspondent Patrick Cockburn, for instance, writing in the Independent, said that if we care so much about Haitians we should be asking why Oxfam was there in the first place. It was not as though Oxfam staff were too busy having it off with prostitutes to organise food distribution and so forth in the immediate aftermath of the quake, which was in January 2010. Months passed after that during which UN soldiers, brought in from Nepal to help, inadvertently brought cholera with them, starting an epidemic that killed over 7,500 in two years.

Few recent commentators, said Cockburn, bothered to ask what Oxfam was doing in Haiti at the end of 2010, long after the quake itself, and the beginning of 2011. He wrote:

In fact, Oxfam was trying with some desperation to stem the cholera epidemic, the first outbreak of which was detected in central Haiti in October, from spreading further. By the following month, it had reached Port-au-Prince and Oxfam was trying to provide uncontaminated water to 315,000 people already rendered homeless by the earthquake. An Oxfam statement on 10 November describes how “Oxfam continues to strengthen water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) infrastructure and activities in the camps/communities where we are working. A cholera strategy is being developed to guide our activities for at least the next three months. At this time, we are reinforcing our water, sanitation and hygiene programmes in camps where we already work in Port-au-Prince, and in Artibonite. We are currently reaching over 400,000 people with water, sanitation and hygiene programmes, and another 100,000 individuals mostly through our emergency food security and vulnerable livelihoods (EFSVL) programmes.”

This work, in Cockburn’s view, “kept a lot of people alive who would otherwise have died”. But foreign journalists and politicians huffing and puffing about the alleged exploitation of Haitian sex-workers did not even appear to notice that there was cholera epidemic raging in Haiti while Oxfam was there, and neither noticed nor apparently cared about the vital work being done by Oxfam.

The clashing worldviews represented by Birrell and Cockburn do not appear to speak directly to our primary concerns here at Heretic TOC and I know that expressing my left-leaning view may serve only to piss off the right-leaning (or toppling over) heretics among us. Nevertheless, the Oxfam aspect of the “predatory paedophiles” narrative is inextricably embedded in a world of politics, economics and human values: to remain mutely agnostic on these big issues would surely be to deprive our discussion of context and depth.

I said I would return to the fact that the absence of child prostitutes in Haiti did not kill the story. Suddenly, this is part of an emerging theme. The entire #MeToo movement in the wake of Harvey Weinstein has been about allegedly exploited and vulnerable women rather than children. As for prostitution, the “social purity” campaigners in the 19th century would dearly have loved to ban it altogether, and this has been an aim of moralistic feminism ever since. The big stumbling block for a hundred years was men’s entrenched political strength; when this came under serious challenge with second-wave feminism in the 1960s and beyond, further headway was prevented by sex workers themselves, who organised and gained a media presence in the UK through the English Collective of Prostitutes and through COYOTE (Call Off Your Old Tired Ethics) in the US.

Now, it seems, their voices are being drowned out by the all-conquering victim lobby. A recent BBC report, for instance, did not mention any such organisations or quote anyone in support of sex work when covering a review of a police deployment, Operation Sanctuary, which saw 18 people jailed for the “sexual abuse” of young women “groomed” in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, in northern England. The review concluded that “vulnerable women” are probably being “extensively” abused across the UK and that the government should look at tightening up the law.

The most depressing aspect of this, for those of us who value sexual self-determination at all ages (and personal freedom generally) is the mounting pressure against even adults being allowed to make their own sexual choices. This was made clear in the review’s finding that the authorities did not have the powers to intervene with adults to stop them “making bad choices” or forming “inappropriate relationships” – with the implication that such powers ought to be established in law.

As for how far some feminists are prepared to go in stamping out sex work and “exploitation”, it was made almost comically clear in an interview on BBC Radio 4’s World At One, when host Martha Kearney interviewed a BBC colleague, Gemma Cairney, who had helped raise funds for Oxfam until the present crisis. Asked what could be done to prevent such scandals, Cairney replied, apparently in all seriousness, “We need to change human nature”. Even Kearney, a fellow female and no doubt a card-carrying feminist, remarked that this might be a bit ambitious; but I fear all too many women would be up for the challenge – provided that the target was only men’s human nature.

 

Nothing like Nordic noir to cheer us up!

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Stunning research in two studies, from Finland and Germany, has already been reported this year, both of which give a big boost to the heretical claim that kind people are much kinder – more caring in their feelings towards children and liked by them – than the present, all-pervasive, vilification suggests.

I’ll start with the one that looks at children’s own perceptions, not least because studies of this type are exceedingly rare, and provided they have been well conducted they are pure gold. This is a study based on the Finnish Child Victim Survey. That word “victim” doesn’t sound very promising, does it? But it was a survey with thousands of child participants, carried out in schools, that looked at children as victims of real crimes and mistreatment, such as theft and physical violence, as well as so-called “child sexual abuse” (CSA) by a much older person. Crucially, it was not assumed that the children would think they were victims. Instead, they were asked how they would characterise these contacts.

And guess what? Most 12-year-olds reported CSA as a positive experience. Go compare that with the dogma touted on sex offender courses that no child would ever want or enjoy it!  More about the Finnish findings in a minute.

As for the German research, it is one of those big, prestigious, neuroscience affairs that might be completely wrong – this is cutting edge stuff, after all, looking at the most complex structure in the known universe, the human brain – but which we would be foolish to ignore. It is a paper by Jorge Ponseti, an established figure in the field, along with a team of no fewer than 18 co-authors. The take-away point from it for now is the study’s tentative conclusion that male paedophiles, far from being aggressive and rapacious, appear to have a stronger caring, nurturing response towards the young than other adult males. It is good to see science at last catching up with what many of us have known all our adult lives just by being aware of our own more tender feelings towards kids. In fairness to science, though, nearly three decades ago (and as the paper notes) the Austrian ethologist Irenäus Eibl-Eibesfeldt expressed a similar view, suggesting that paedophilia might in some cases be based on an “eroticization of parental love”.

The implications are obvious and could in future hardly be more profound for how paedophiles are viewed in society if this pioneering study’s findings are confirmed through further research. This is so important that it needs a separate blog, which I plan to bring out in due course.

Turning back to Finland, what we have is a 2018 paper based on the large (n = 11,364) population-based sample of sixth and ninth grade schoolchildren conducted in that country in 2013 and published in 2014 (in Finnish) as the Finnish Child Victim Survey. The paper, by Lahtinen et al., focused solely on the CSA data in the survey. The sixth graders were mostly aged 12 and the ninth graders mostly aged 15 at the time of the survey, which was completed on a voluntary classroom-by-classroom basis in schools across Finland. Respondents’ gender distribution was equal. So-called “abuse” by adults (perceived by some respondents as abusive but not by others) was based on the question “Have you ever experienced sexual advances or intercourse with an adult or a person at least 5 years older than you?” Follow-up questions were asked about the age of the respondent and age of the other person at the time of the events. Over 70% of the reported incidents involved actual sexual contact rather than a non-contact proposition or exhibitionism.

The children, answering the survey on classroom computers, were able to give their responses anonymously, without pressure from therapists or law enforcement sources, and without time for their memories to be overwritten by distorting influences at a later stage, as adults. So this procedure avoided any colouring added by the culturally imposed notion that children are asexual and “innocent”, or by the preconception that any sexual involvement with an adult must amount to “abuse”.

Perhaps the most striking finding, as noted above, is that a majority (54%) of the 12-year-olds who reported sexual contacts with an adult described it as a positive experience.

This finding, being potentially embarrassing to the child abuse industry (which thrives on generating and elaborating victim narratives rather than discovering reasons to be cheerful) was not headlined in the report. Instead, it emerged in an emailed response to questions presented by an independent researcher to Monica Fagerlund, lead author of the Finnish Child Victim Survey itself. The email was sent back in 2016, long before the very recent appearance of the Lahtinen et al. paper. The independent researcher was none other than Filip Schuster, who will be known to many here for his extremely well-informed comments at Heretic TOC.

However, Lahtinen et al.’s published paper contains further data of an inconvenient nature for the victimological view, as will be clear to the savvy reader despite the authors’ attempts to talk the implications down, through caveat and spin.

The analyses focused on the subsample of 256 children and adolescents who reported having sexual experiences with adults or with someone at least five years older at the time of the incident. This subsample amounts to 2.4% of the total sample, a figure some might feel is very low, and indeed reassuringly so on a conventional view, given that a survey of children themselves would appear to be the most reliable method.

For the boys, the experience was often positive (71%), whereas for the girls it was less often so evaluated (26%). Almost half of the girls (46%) said the experience was negative, compared to 9% of the boys. These findings were much the same for the sixth and ninth graders.

The most popular reason for not disclosing the contact to an adult was considering the experience not serious enough (41%). Other options included: “I did not believe that anyone would be interested” (14%); “I did not believe that disclosing would help me” (14%); miscellaneous other reasons (8%) included “I did not want to”, “There was nothing to tell”, and “I enjoyed it”. More negative reasons accounted for barely a quarter of the total:  “I did not have the courage to tell” (14%); “I was too ashamed to disclose” (10%).

The authors commented in the paper:

The small number of answers to the question of whether a sexual incident with an adult was considered negative or positive does not enable testing statistical significance…. Most of the children reported these incidents as positive. This highlights the potentially contradictory views of an incident from the perspective of the respondent compared to that of society and the law.

I posted on Sexnet about the paper, asking specifically for members’ expert opinion on this statistical point. The size of the subsample (n = 256) is indeed small compared to the overall sample (n = 11,364) but to the layman the absolute number looks easily large enough to derive valid inferences in which considerable confidence can be placed.

Having mentioned the authors’ caveat on statistical significance, I should perhaps add a word about their spin. In fairness this is pretty much confined to two sentences in the “Conclusions and implications” section:

These results, taken together with the finding that many of the children did not label their experiences as sexual abuse, indicate that more age-appropriate safety education for children and adolescents is needed to encourage disclosures to adults early enough… Early disclosure is crucial, both for ending the abuse and for preventing perpetrators from moving on to new victims.

Again, I posted on Sexnet about this, writing:

So blinkered has research become that the policy point here (more safety education needed) will probably seem utterly uncontroversial to most people working in the field. That is because, for them, the victimological paradigm has become incontrovertible common sense. But this is zombie science. It lacks an alert appreciation of the data before the authors’ eyes, which clearly indicate that a very significant (in lay terms at least) proportion of the “victims” are only thus designated by convention, not by the evidence. This is not to argue against the goal of reducing real victimisation. It is just to suggest that a bigger and very important picture is being missed.

I am pleased to report that Mike Bailey, psychology professor at Northwestern University, and Sexnet moderator, supported my interpretation of the stats, posting to say “You are correct that size of the sub sample with ‘CSA’ is adequate for statistical tests.” He also said the study was “unusually informative”, thanking me for posting about it and kindly saying “Your take on this study is trenchant and brave”.

This was too good to last, sadly. Before you could say “knee-jerk reaction” my long-time adversary James Cantor had piped up, making a complete snowflake of himself (or of his colleagues) by asserting that my criticism of the CSA industry was offensive and would deter discussion of the paper – as though the 300-plus researchers and clinicians on Sexnet would be scared to challenge me. Yes, that’s me, little me, the sole surviving, vocal, non-virtuous paedo perv on the forum, faced with the massed ranks of the abuse industry’s intellectual elite, including leading lights within the Association for the Treatment of Sexual Abusers (ATSA)!

But at least Dr Cantor admitted that he agreed “with the basic conclusion of the posted article”, which is something. As is the fact that Dr Bailey was prompted to post again, saying my reference to the CSA industry “raises an issue I’ve been meaning to write about for a while”.

And write he did, at considerable length, in a remarkable post admitting that “in the culture at large, we are biased in a way that exaggerates the harmfulness of child-adult sex, often in a hysterical way”. He proceeded to write his own four-paragraph critique of the CSA industry, saying, for instance, government funding for research on CSA “is extraordinarily biased towards searching for harm” rather than positive experience. Nor were there grants to study why there might be positive experiences, including the possibility that iatrogenic harm is avoided when children and their adult partners manage to avoid law enforcement in their relationship, with its crushing impact on the younger partner as well as the older one.

Bailey’s contribution was wonderful but there were also a couple of tough queries arising from the detailed stats that put the validity of the findings in some doubt. Follow-up emails by Filip to Monica Fagerlund and Hanna-Mari Lahtinen elicited some further information but not enough to settle the key issues. Hanna even sent me a friendly email out of the blue, saying that in order to get good answers to the questions being raised she would need “qualitative data such as written answers to open questions. Unfortunately we did not have such questions concerning sexual abuse in this questionnaire…”

Yes, unfortunate but understandable. There is only so much that can be packed into a single survey.

Not to worry, though, for I soon discovered that the Finnish Findings are strongly supported by the Danish Data! Yes, in this rapidly unfolding Scandinavian thriller series (a Netflix box-set can’t be far off) another study has turned up in the nick of time!

Like the Lahtinen et al., paper, this Danish one was based on a rare survey – vanishingly rare in the US and UK at least – of school students rather than adults. The article, by Karin Helweg-Larsen and Helmer Bøving Larsen, came out in 2006 and appears to have been somewhat overlooked – certainly by me, perhaps on account of its miserablist title: “The prevalence of unwanted and unlawful sexual experiences reported by Danish adolescents: Results from a national youth survey in 2002”.

On close inspection, though, which required a few calculations of my own, it looks very hard to justify any claim that the survey was entirely or even mostly about unwanted sex. Rather, it was about illegal sex below the age of consent, set at 15 in Denmark. The participants in the survey were 9th grade students, nearly all of whom were themselves aged 15. Unlike the youngsters in Finland, they were not asked whether they felt the experience had been positive or negative but they were asked whether they felt it had been abusive or not. Thus the experience may or may not have been perceived as enjoyable and beneficial but it seems reasonable to infer that those who did not feel it was abusive probably thought they had consented to what happened, in fact if not in law.

So how many of these apparently consensual encounters were there? The authors wrote:

“A total of 7.5% of girls and 2% of boys reported CSA where the older person was at least five years older than the child, but less than half of the respondents perceived these experiences as sexual abuse.”

The relevant data were to be found in Table II, albeit without the percentages I was looking for. After working these out, is became clear that fully 60% of the respondents (boys 65% and girls – of whom there were far more – 59%) did not consider they had been abused.

What all this amounts to is extraordinarily good news. The Danish survey strongly supports the Finnish one in allowing us to conclude that when children are allowed to give their own perception of their sexual experiences with much older people, usually adults, a high proportion of them in effect say they consented to what happened and look back on it as something good in their life.

The CSA industry does its best to hide these encouraging facts even as it unwittingly discloses them via surveys aimed at discovering an endless parade of victims for society to be anxious and miserable about. Instead of joyful stories of companionable intimacy, everything has to be turned into bleak Nordic noir. We must not let them get away with it!

 

 

 

A wild ride towards self-acceptance

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Ed Chambers, today’s guest blogger, bravely strode into the public arena three years ago when he outed himself as a non-offending paedophile on British television, via the Channel 4 documentary The Paedophile Next Door. Not long afterwards he would be invited to Canada to take part in I, Pedophile, a film being made for CBS doc series Firsthand, broadcast in 2016. After the earlier programme, when he was named only as “Eddie”, I said his appearance had been the one bright spot in an otherwise disappointing production. So I am very pleased he has decided to tell us about his long battle to come to terms with his orientation, a struggle that has seen him engage in both cooperation and combat with therapy providers and the Virtuous Pedophiles (Virped).

I pre-announced this blog as “the Big One” last time because I knew it would be breaking entirely new ground. As far as I am aware, this is the first time a prominent former member of Virped has gone public with a stinging critique of the organisation and repudiated its philosophy – not counting, of course, his own devastating comments here following Peter Herman’s recent blog.

 

WE MUST BE STRONG IN THESE DARK TIMES

Now a middle-aged man, I have struggled all my adult life with a preferential attraction to prepubescent girls. Without being able to openly express this at the earliest opportunity, and correspond with those who could relate to me, it has been the cause of a great many emotional and psychological issues. With my academic and sporting pursuits suffering as a result, mainly through the use of drugs as an aid to denial, only recently have I been forced to face the realities of who I am. I wish I had done it sooner.

Several times I have reached out to mental health professionals in the NHS, and on numerous occasions I have asked for chemical castration and psychodynamic therapy. My journey for the purposes of this contribution began in 2001, in my late twenties. This was the first time I thought I was ill, when I wanted to know that I wasn’t paedophilic, or if I was that it could be changed. This first encounter was a disaster. At the end of a 45-minute session with a consultant psychiatrist, I was offered very little, other than a pen in order to sign the notes that had been made. Both the psychiatrist, and subsequent community psychiatric nurse to whom I was referred, viewed me with a look of horror, recoil and a complete lack of understanding. It broke me in such a way that I moved from my home town of twenty five years, to the adjacent city to start a new life, with a new identity.

Roughly seven years later, after leading a virtuous life, I returned to my habits of old. I had used cannabis as a crutch in my denial of being paedophilic since the age of 16, and my use of relevant pornography stretched back as far as 1998. I was fooling myself to believe that I could be any different, the draw was too strong. I carried on in a sort of limbo, with no one to talk to about the nature of my libido.

In 2011, in what would be a defining moment in my life, I had the opportunity to resurrect my first love, the Lolita with whom I had been so besotted in my teenage years. It was a crazy idea, as she had morphed into an overweight whale of a woman for whom I had little interest. I quickly moved on, this time hitting the drugs and pornography with a vengeance. It was a damning confirmation of the very thing I had tried to deny. As a matter of course, I proceeded to slide myself as clumsily as I could into a lot of trouble. As I crashed and burned, I desperately tried to find support.

I found Virped in 2013. To the probable dismay of many here, I owe them my thanks for the support I have received. However, it is not quite as simple as that. The persecution and harassment I have been subject to in my life would scarcely be believed, so will remain undisclosed, at least for now. Nevertheless, to say I needed a crutch is akin to stating that Kim Jong-un is fond of nuclear weapons. I found what I needed to survive, but with the accompanying incompetence of the NHS in the UK, I was still without therapy and the libido-reducing medication I was asking for.

Cue Dr Sarah Goode and her book Understanding and Addressing Adult Sexual Attraction to Children: A Study of Paedophiles in Contemporary Society, recommended to me by none other than fellow Virped, Gary Gibson. Halfway through the book I emailed Dr Goode, discussing with her my experiences with StopItNow and the NHS. By the time I had finished her book, something I view in retrospect as a shallow and narrow-minded assessment of the realities of being a Minor Attracted Person in contemporary society, I had already met with her and Steve Humphries, director and presenter of The Paedophile Next Door, in the latter’s office in Bristol. In May 2014, the filming of my contribution was finished, and I began the patient wait for the release in late November.

In these dark days, I travelled to Berlin for therapy at the Prevention Projekt Dunkelfeld (PPD), which has 11 centres across Germany. Anyone with the correct diagnosis will be assisted by the most understanding and considerate people, providing they have health insurance, or can pay privately. I found the German bureaucracy a nightmare, and it caused me a great deal of stress and problems in trying to settle there. However, a MAP can tell the staff everything and not be criminalised, not made to feel like the antagonist of an Alien movie, or told they are mentally ill. They will bend over backwards to help and it is a gift to us, from the only government in the world that gives a shit, and a credit to our community. With each visit to this institution, I was proud that I had finally been given something.

At this time, the release of The Paedophile Next Door was a huge disappointment to me. There was no talk about the PPD. Simply stated, there was the sacrificial paedophile, the “expert” doctor trying to garnish sympathy for the bogeyman, all the while pitted against the other participants who professed their universal hatred against our kind. Subsequently, my UK address was visited three times in two days by the police, much to the dismay of my friend who subsequently disowned me. I had found Ground Zero and flatlined.

Here in Berlin I found the beginnings of a revelation. I had come to terms with all of the descriptions mental health professionals use to describe people who are sexually attracted to children. I had even started to use them myself. I identified as a paedophile now. I had accepted it, whereas before I had wasted so many years of my life in denial. Although I was treated very well here, I had to move on once more, without therapy or drugs. Despite the PPD, the seeds of doubt were now firmly planted in my mind. Was I really ill or subject to a conspiracy that both undermined the existence and behaviours of MAPs as well as children who were sexually active? As for Virped, and their manifesto for the non-offending MAP, the writing was already on the wall. I had already seen they were complicit in the war on paedophiles, in the insidious guise of trying to help them.

It’s fair to say I was on the run. Before our communication ceased, my friend in the UK had informed me of the considerable interest the English police had shown in me. On top of that, I had seen some of the tweets that had suggested people were aiming to lynch me for the greater good. Suitably, I found work in Northern Cyprus, ironically a country only recognised by Turkey, and I figured I would be safe for a while. It was here I made contact via Virped with Matt Campea, a bright, young director with an open mind and a drive to represent MAPs as the protagonist. Whilst in Toronto, at considerable expense to Matt, I contributed to his documentary I, Pedophile. At the release in March 2016, it turned out to be the Yin to The Paedophile Next Door’s Yang, and was everything I and the Virped community had hoped for.

On my return to the UK, after 30 months of exile and now devoid of finances, the biggest surprise for me was to make it through the airport at all. I had imagined I would be taken aside by the police for questioning about various things, not least my participation in The Paedophile Next Door. Step by step, I rebuilt my life, and on the recommendation once again of Gary Gibson, sought the help of Juliet Grayson and therapy at StopSO. It turns out, as the full name would suggest (Specialist Treatment Organisation for the Prevention of Sexual Offending) that involvement with any therapist here concentrates on prevention of offending, and in this respect therapy does not cater for the well-being of participants. They are not subject to mandatory reporting laws, but are subject to ethical reporting by the therapist to their governing body, and accordingly the governing body would report to the police. Simply, one cannot discuss the very things that one needs help with. It is a madness that I pointed out to Grayson in numerous emails, and something she ignored. In fact, ignorance appeared to be her style, as it was a treacherous betrayal of my trust that caused me to pull out of another documentary project that we had started working on with VICE, promoting StopSO as a ground-breaking development for the treatment of MAPs. Inevitably, VICE would’ve presented this as a new way of processing sex offenders. I had become used to the way media organisations dealt with people like me, and the topic as a whole. Once bitten, twice shy.

I now realise, as a 43-year-old, it is society, not me, that is sick. I was 13 when I began to realise that my preference was for a body-type indicative of being paedophilic. As I have grown older, I have realised that my paedophilia is far more than a sexual attraction. It has been a wild ride, from denying my true self through the use of drugs, to crawling through the depths of suicidal thoughts and behaviours, to my exaltation above the ignorance of the multitudes to understand and appreciate the true sexual beauty of prepubescent girls.

There have been several times when girls in the age range 6-15 have expressed a sexual interest in me, and this includes a general curiosity in what it’s all about. Whilst I have never engaged them, this has been through a fear of harming them in some way rather than a fear of how society will view or judge me for having had said intimate relationship. This is indeed a fear that was born out of the tall tales of the child-rapist, reported all too often in the tabloid press. Rather than being born out of a desire to protect children, society’s bent towards banning intergenerational relationships is born out of a desire to subjugate the child and deny them essential rights to express themselves in any way they choose. It is out of this perversity that Virped was born. It is a support group for MAPs, but only as long as one conforms to the idea that it is our kind who are mentally ill, perverse in nature for our appreciation of the beauty of children. And yet, no one cares to cure us, aid us in our struggles, offer us what we need in order to lead that all-important law-abiding lifestyle. Therapy, PPD to one side, does not exist. All you will find in the eyes of those that return your look is horror and hatred.

Civilisation has reached the point where control is ever more paramount. Through the use of television and social media, surveillance is at an all-time high and becoming ever more pervasive. The dogma of Virped encapsulates the need of this intrusive society to control the thoughts and actions of everyone so that it conforms to a narcissism that is born out of pseudo-religious rhetoric. Quite simply, humanity in general refuses to acknowledge that adult sexual attraction to children should exist at all, and these spurious attempts to remove it from existence revolve around how it might appear to a race of aliens visiting in their space ships, or indeed Almighty God as He reclines on His cumulonimbus.

We need to reach out to young MAPs, and others of our kind who need help, and steer them away from the perils of Virped, and the dogma that will warp them into believing they are ill. I believed in Virped, as I did mental health professionals. Now I see them as an extension of a sick world that denies the rights of anyone under a set age, a world that has found the eternal shadow monster in a demographic that means no harm. We must be strong and survive these dark times whence we exist as the sexual heretic.

Self-abasement that invites contempt

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Be on notice, I boldly announced last time, that a “real event” may be on the way at Heretic TOC. Thus did I appear to be heralding a uniquely momentous forthcoming contribution. Today’s guest blog is not what I had in mind, which may seem a grossly discourteous way to introduce a guest piece, by talking it down, but I am simply stating a fact. Today’s article was contributed after my fanfare and was unexpected. By pure coincidence, though, its subject is in the same ballpark as the much anticipated Big One and makes a worthy warm-up act. It comes from veteran activist Peter Herman, formerly one of the editors of the NAMBLA Bulletin and also a past contributor to that organization’s website as well as twice being a previous guest blogger here.   

A CAUTIONARY TALE

A peculiar group calling itself Virtuous Pedophiles (American spelling), is currently presenting a different face of paedophilia. “VirPed”, to use their own abbreviation, believes that their members’ attraction to minors is an unfortunate and un-chosen affliction that they have determined to never act on so as to never hurt children. VirPed members appear sincere in believing that they suffer from an inborn defect, perhaps like alcoholism, that can be controlled but that has no apparent cure.

Being virtuous is undeniably admirable. So why is this group’s self-identity so disturbing?

The problems with this self-deprecating posture are manifold. Foremost of these is an abject sense of self. The VirPed belief system seems to grow out of a woeful lack of understanding of the human condition, of its amazing diversity and a too readily credulous faith in a pseudoscience that is not much different than that of the witchcraft manuals of old. They too easily accept the deceit that children are unable to give consent when it is obvious that they consent to many things of great import in daily life. More on this later.

But what is most striking is the pathetic lack of dignity VirPed’s cries for help projects. Their craving for approval as exhibited by the posting of a number of quotes on their site uniquely by self-appointed experts speaks volumes to their pitiful need for acceptance. Anyone who has ever observed certain classrooms of very young children assuming exaggerated postures of compliance to impress and get approval from their teachers will see a similarity (not to attribute this trait only to children who are after all at the mercy of their teachers: goose-stepping soldiers, faces turned in unison to their leaders, are no different). We all seek acceptance, but self-respect demands a different approach – one that takes into account and defends the true nature of the much maligned so-called paedophile.

It is evident that VirPed is clueless about human nature in that their pleas for understanding in the face of ignorance and blind hate are useless. One simply needs to look at responses to their tweets to get a sampling of the unrelenting hostile attitude. How tone deaf they are is exemplified by the very name they chose. Taunts such as “virulent VirPed”, “VirPed vermin” and “VirPed viper” too easily come to mind. But even without the easy hook they present to the haters, they still suffer the opprobrium of most of conventional society. The individuals who support them are overwhelmingly those whose professions and livelihoods feed on the victimization industry.

Above all, the sanctimony of this group is an insult to the vast unseen community also attracted to minors, who do not feel afflicted, but yet never engage in the arbitrarily prohibited acts of intimacy in current Western societies. VirPed eagerly defends these prohibitions evidently to highlight how sincere they are in their own self-denigration. VirPed besmirches as “pro-contact” those who are attracted to minors, as they themselves are, but do not accept VirPed’s orthodoxy. This aspersion ignores the fact that the vast majority of these “pro-contact” individuals nevertheless lead lives of abstention, not because prohibited yet consensual associations would prove harmful in themselves but because they know that negative societal consequences would be the actual causes of harm. There is much greater virtue in denying yourself in this way than in denying your very being by characterizing it as sick. Presenting oneself as damaged but contrite in VirPed’s situation is not only pitiful but downright repugnant.

The argument of VirPed-enabling charlatans such as James Cantor, who finds that “paedophiles” have brains that are incorrectly wired, is flawed in a way that will surprise. How unfortunate that Cantor’s ilk is unaware that a little knowledge is a very dangerous thing. Do Cantor and like quacks actually understand the utter complexity of the human brain? No doubt we are all “wired” in various ways as legitimate brain research seems to indicate. And Cantor’s acting as Dr. Frankenstein does not add anything to this fact but distorts it to his own ends.

The miraculous thing about this already known premise is how varied brains can be. Bach, Einstein, Gauss, Newton just to name a few had uncommon brains. So have those who are autistic or transgender. Not long ago the latter would have been relegated to the fringes of society out of total ignorance of their potentials for enriching the social fabric. But whereas being autistic and transgender also entail handicaps that can be compensated for, paedophiles, notwithstanding the general calumny about them, are fully functioning individuals, comfortable in their own skin, whose attraction to young people is the grand motivator for the unrecognized good they do.

Given their invisibility, the social benefit of the vast cohort of those who are attracted to minors can only be guessed at. John Money used the term “paedophilic genius” to characterize those men of genius who were attracted to children. Among these, to name just a few, are Lewis Carroll, Michael Jackson, James Barry, Oscar Wilde and Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky. We could also add the renowned American poet Allen Ginsberg whose boy-love poetry and support of NAMBLA were no secret. Daniel Carleton Gajdusek, Nobel laureate in medicine, may not be as well known, as are countless others who have made exceptional contributions to society. But looking for the exceptional among so-called paedophiles misses the point. We usually become aware of those who have made a positive contribution only when disrepute unjustly falls on them.

Examples abound. The Catholic priest Bruce Ritter who founded the acclaimed Covenant House, a New York City haven for throwaway teenagers, had his life end in undeserved disgrace. The Foxfire endeavour that engaged students in Appalachia to research and treasure their culture became a celebrated national project. It was founded by a young teacher whose love for boys inspired his devotion to open their vistas. Though the foundation has continued to exist and prosper since 1966, no mention of the paedophilic genius who started it is mentioned in its materials. That teacher’s life was ruined on discovery of consensual relations with boys. The idea that such individuals nevertheless caused immense harm is as ridiculous as the belief in some current Muslim societies that religious apostates or heretics harm their religion and should therefore be condemned to prison or worse. The ruin and oblivion imposed on the unjustly disgraced is disturbingly reminiscent of the former Soviet Union’s Orwellian effacing of those no longer in favour.

I asked a man I once knew and who had been sent to prison for molesting a boy, “if your actions as you suggest were welcomed by the boy, how could it have come to that?”His response, “The boy had been in a car with his parents and an acquaintance when the subject of child molestation came up. The boy eagerly spoke up citing his own positive experience to counter the arguments being made by the adults in the car.’ As with children in Soviet era browbeaten to betray heresies by their elders’, there was no other possible outcome.

The opprobrium facing anyone who is attracted to minors insures that the contributions of this great and truly virtuous cohort as yet cannot be fully known. What we can ascertain is that the few we do know about cannot but be indicative of a vast untapped potential of individuals whose attraction to young people inspires a need to help them. The loss of this great potential is the more tragic when we consider all of the actual harm done to children that brings no comparable consequences. Among the most egregious of these is the gun violence killing and maiming of thousands of children each year. But this is only a sliver of the vast hypocrisy by those who wring their hands at what they consider sexual abuse of children but do little to otherwise safeguard them and promote their wellbeing.

If the faulty “wiring” accepted by VirPed and promoted by its cheering gallery is so prevalent one would wonder why nature persists in this “mistake.” Human beings have evolved through evolutionary happenstances. Genetic “mistakes” often result in benefits not only to the organism but also to the group. In human groups for instance, paedophiles’ attraction to the young make the former well suited to be mentors. Ancient militaristic Sparta should not be our model but its society is indicative of how sexual attraction was once coupled with mentorship to the benefit of the fighting unit. Such mentorships surely exist all around but woe befall anyone, especially single men, who show too much affection, too much dedication or even offer a little help. Heard at a swimming pool:

“You won’t believe what this boy asked me to do.”

“What, something awful?”

“No, he needed me to untangle the knotted cord on his Speedo. You can imagine what I could be accused of!”

And at an educational conference:

We are no longer allowed to touch pupils, not even with a pat on the shoulder. If we wish to confer praise we should simply say something like “Well done, James.”

There are those who would argue that the mentorship of the young by the mature occurs in any case. But much of it is through bloodless paid services such as teaching. Surely examples of passion and selflessness exist in such professions, but those are rare enough to be the subject of the occasional TV human interest feature.

Part of the denial of identity by the self-serving virtuous crowd stems from the guilt trip they place on themselves. The idea of self-interest seems to them something to be ashamed of. Anyone who has ever given it any thought realizes that the one totally devoid of self-interest is a carpet to be trod on. We have all known of individuals, be it the selfless mother who demands nothing of her children or family or the employee who never stands up for himself, where the need for approval only brings disrespect.

Hillel the Elder, the great Jewish ethicist, said “If I am not for myself, who will be for me? But if I am only for myself, who am I? If not now, when?” This pithy observation on the human condition two millennia ago is as valid today as it was then. The one whose desires are not balanced with the recognition of the desires of others deserves at least as much contempt as the one who always denies himself to the benefit of others.

Now, NAMBLA has been the favorite bête noire among the uninformed of this world and for which VirPed enthusiastically parrots condemnation. NAMBLA in its founding principle has always insisted that consensuality be the key element to any relationship. This has been mindlessly countered with the dubious notion that children are unable to give consent. This includes, in many jurisdictions, individuals just short or eighteen years.

Some decades back, before instant recordings, when differentiating between “good touches” and bad touches first came in vogue, a PBS (Public Broadcasting Service)TV program attempted to present the concept to young children. When “bad touches” were described to the children participating in the program one boy piped up asking “What if I like it?” Out of the mouths of babes oft come words of wisdom!

It is quite obvious that children are very capable of giving or withholding consent all the time. Progressive environments where this is understood will give youngsters a wide range of options when it comes to such things as education, nutrition, clothing or most other things that affect the young person.

Sex is another story. Though the stages of sexual development vary for all people, the subject is extremely uncomfortable if not anathema when it comes to children. A colleague I once knew confessed to me that as a seven-year-old he had had the “hots” for his female elementary school teacher. Though not universal, it is highly unlikely that his story was that unusual. On the other end of the spectrum, some adults never experience sexual attractions of any kind or only mildly so. We are all different. But, in this society and especially in English speaking ones, any adult sexual interaction with an evidently willing youngster will risk punishments often more vengeful than that for vicious murderers. That ample scientific evidence supports the fact that harm is absent even when consent is murky matters not a bit.

There is an inverse to the prohibition just described. None of us have a choice in being born or the environment we begin life in. Some are born into toxic environments where families or societies can block out all outside influences that would allow their children options outside of negative constraints. Yet there is no legal recourse preventing adults in these situations from, for instance, teaching their children racism or religious indoctrination that harm them. Likewise, there are few legal recourses to sanction parents withholding certain medical procedures when based on religious belief. Other egregious examples abound.

We are all influenced by the opinions prevalent in our societies. Luckily, not everyone wears the limiting blinders making us aware of more rational options. Unfortunately, VirPed followers are not among the enlightened and have avidly drunk the Kool Aid.

As a final caution to you VirPedians, the doctor Frankensteins that you so avidly court, instead of bringing you sympathy, will surely provide you with an unenviable cure. If faulty wiring is the perceived problem, you can be sure that brains can readily be operated on. If the dubious frontal lobotomies promoted in the 1930s could be performed then and chemical castration today, the possibility of the state messing with your brains using increasingly sophisticated electronics is not a great reach. And to others with narrow minds and too ready to condemn those different from yourselves, do not be so sure that in our increasingly technology besotted society some perceived defect in your little brains will not send you to the operating table. Take counsel from Pastor Martin Niemöller, the anti-Nazi theologian and concentration camp survivor who wrote these prophetic words:

First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out—

Because I was not a Socialist.

Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out—

Because I was not a Trade Unionist.

Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—

Because I was not a Jew.

Then they came for me— and there was no one left to speak for me.

A revolution as deep as evolution

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The precipitous downfall of movie mogul Harvey Weinstein last month over allegations of “casting couch” sexual harassment and even rape, dramatic though his fall from grace was, can now be seen as just the beginning of a mighty cataclysm, a cultural October Revolution to rival in scale and significance its political predecessor in Russia exactly a century before.

Weinstein himself has been accused of impropriety by at least 77 women, mainly actresses and models, including 12 allegations of rape. While none of these has so far resulted in criminal charges (but it is still early days), the man’s own admissions of dubious behaviour hardly exonerate him.

Even if many of the accusations are no more than hot air, they have nevertheless been very hot. Hot enough to ignite a conflagration of further accusations not just in the entertainment business (where actor Kevin Spacey, comedian Louis C.K., and filmmaker Brett Ratner all had projects cancelled once the finger was pointed), but also in US media organisations and in other countries, especially within the British political scene. In the so-called “Pestminster” scandal, Westminster politicians from both of the main parties came in for a drubbing, the biggest scalp being that of Michael Fallon, the Secretary of State for Defence, who was forced to resign for the heinous crime of touching a woman on her knee 15 years ago. Even his accuser, journalist Julia Hartley-Brewer, admitted that she had not been “remotely upset or distressed”, and thought the pressure for his departure from office was an over-reaction. But he was made to go anyway, in a move that further destabilised an already weak government. Along with the farce there was also tragedy. Carl Sargeant, a minister in the Welsh devolved government, hanged himself following unspecified sexual allegations.

Not cut out for the job? Aled Jones, who won fame as a choirboy and is a presenter of the long-running TV programme Songs of Praise, which features Christian hymns, has been taken off the air by the BBC after being accused of sexual harassment. He is seen here with a cut-out of his younger self.

Russia’s Revolution was famously described as Ten Days That Shook the World. Is it ridiculous to compare that vast upheaval to women’s (mainly women’s) current uprising against men’s, well, risings up? I thought about characterising these events in a less dramatic way, as something almost routine. I could have spoken of the latest “moral panic”, following many others in recent decades, most of them focused on various aspects of “child abuse”, real or imagined (mainly the latter). But the term “panic” didn’t seem to cover what is now going on, which smacks more of a determined, long-brewing, revolt rather than a panicky reaction to a newly-perceived danger. I could also have dubbed it the latest “witch-hunt”, which seems to be the cliché of choice among those who really are panicking, including men who see unsolicited pussy-grabbing and tit-squeezing – or even outright rape – as their inalienable right. However, the term “witch-hunt” implies an unjust campaign against innocent people, but there is nothing unjust about calling to account those who really have engaged in sexual assault – and my impression is that a substantial proportion of the complaints are probably genuine. So the term “witch-hunt”, like “moral panic”, fails to capture what is going on.

A “revolt”, by contrast, conjures up visions of seething discontent, with pressure slowly building from below and then erupting violently, with uncontrollable consequences that may in some cases be just and in others grossly unjust. In such a scenario, even entirely well-behaved, respectful men (and women) are right to be alarmed, because revolts tend to be instigated and led by opportunists and extremists – attention-seekers and compo hunters, in this case, aided and abetted by sour-faced, fun-hating, feminist zealots. In this scenario it is not just the bad guys who need worry: innocuous flirting between adults is also being put off limits, with a consequential poisoning of the atmosphere that threatens legitimate courtship and sexual relations in general.

Nothing could be more profound or revolutionary in its implications. The mass nature of the movement, and hence the scale of the threat, is perhaps best symbolised in the emergence of the hashtag #MeToo, under which banner women have been rallying in droves to share their own experiences of alleged sexual assault, harassment, or rape on social media. It has been called the Weinstein Effect, which sounds rather bloodlessly scientific, like Boyle’s Law. For me, though, there are echoes of “I am Spartacus”, Hollywood’s entirely fictional but highly emotive rallying cry of solidarity among the oppressed in the great Roman slave revolt.

So, yes, the revolt against men’s sexual behaviour is a pretty big deal, and this is a view that receives interesting support when taking an ultra-broad perspective. By that I mean not just the most dramatic moments of history but also the very deep past, as studied by evolutionary biologist and anthropologist David Sloan Wilson. He feels society has reached one of those pivotal moments when a new norm is being created, and enforced much more strongly than before. Evolutionary theory, he reveals in a recent article, can tell us a lot about norms:

In any animal or human society, social status can be achieved in two ways: by physical intimidation or by cultivating a reputation as a cooperator. Status is taken in the first case and bestowed in the second case. In most animal societies, status is mostly of the taken variety. If overt bullying is rare, it is because the hierarchy was previously established and is no longer challenged. In most hunter-gatherer societies and many other small-scale human groups, status is mostly of the bestowed variety. Bullying doesn’t work because those being bullied have the collective power to resist.

The coming of agriculture and a rapidly growing population largely put paid to this benign power of collective resistance. Increasing competition over the land needed for cultivation led to territorial wars, and fighting them successfully meant people were obliged to give unquestioning allegiance to the warriors who became their chiefs and kings. These had to be incredibly ruthless, brutal characters in order to fight their way into the job. Thus they were definitely status takers. They did not go blathering on at  some job interview about how passionately they would work to alleviate the miseries of the poor in the hope of having status bestowed on themselves for being nice guys.

These tyrants, as they often were, could enslave whom they wished and make them compliant in all manner of ways, including sexually. The most legendary figures, such as Genghis Khan had no shame over cornering as many women as they could physically find the time and energy to screw; and they would slaughter hundreds of thousands of men, women and children in order to secure their domination. Rather than lowering their status, as rape and murder would today, these sociopaths used such crimes in order to cement their position at the very top of society.

They could do no wrong. Their word was law. A great sultan could have a huge harem with hundreds of concubines kept for his exclusive use. He would have hundreds of men castrated at his command to guard these women against more sexually potent rivals. Rulers could even defy with impunity the supreme taboo, against incest, with the royalty of ancient Egypt being just the most famous example among many. As for children being sexually off-limits, not a bit of it: the kings of Tonga took upon themselves the “duty” (poor things) of personally deflowering every virgin in the kingdom – and they did not wait until the child’s 16th birthday.

The change from the power of naked military might to the power of money that came with the growth of capitalism created a new class of status takers – a class that includes the Groper-in-Chief of the United States, Donald Trump. If the day comes when even this most truly Alpha of all males can no longer flout the rules with impunity, women will have good reason to celebrate. As Megan McArdle has written in a very reasonable article, men should not be vindictively punished for past deeds they may genuinely have thought at the time were acceptable; but only when the Trumps of the world get the message that they can no longer be status takers will we be sure progress has been made.

A David Sipress cartoon in The New Yorker is right on target.

Profound movement in this direction, fuelled from below, has been building gradually for several centuries now: rulers eventually needed the support of the people in order to raise finance for their wars, which they did through parliaments based on an ever-widening democratic franchise. This now includes women, who are increasingly becoming prime ministers and presidents. Business moguls, for their part, have begun to need a more educated, sophisticated workforce, with female as well as male participants, contributing organisational and creative talent rather than muscle. These are key features of modern society that are beginning to see powerful men somewhat cut down to size: once again, as in hunter-gatherer society, everyone is being made to play by the rules. And not just by paying lip service. Those who will be most successful in having status bestowed on them are the ones who truly take to heart the fact that they must win the hearts of sexual partners, not just drag them off by their hair like cartoon cavemen.

We kinds, at least those of us who have been successful with kids, have always understood this. Utterly powerless compared to parents, kind men (and some kind women) have always been obliged to win the friendship and high regard of children, rather than just taking sexually what we want. We have never, in modern times at least, been in any danger of feeling a misplaced sense of entitlement to kids’ bodies in the casual way that The Donald and so many other men evidently feel they have a right to grab any woman they fancy.

In itself, this is good. We should not feel entitled to others’ bodies, whether they belong to children or to adults. As we all know, though, it is possible to have too much of a good thing; or rather the good element, which in this case ensures that we are well-mannered seekers of bestowed status (and that we are truly kind in every sense), can all too easily be outweighed by less benign pressures. Instead of merely being constrained within entirely proper and necessary bounds of kindness, kind people are viciously oppressed. Our sexuality and reasonable aspiration towards loving relationships are crushed beyond all reason.

The way things are going, if extreme victim feminism becomes all-triumphant and men are in effect neutered, the consequences will be far more shattering for humanity than the mere hiccup that was the Russian Revolution. We kinds (including female ones) should thus feel a considerable degree of solidarity with men in general in these difficult times. While we should agree with the feminists that any sense of sexual entitlement is wrong and needs to be tackled, we should also join well-behaved men in facing down the anti-sexual zealots, for some of whom “feminazis” is not an unfair description.

 

AN ITEM IN THE PIPELINE

Today’s blog, the first for nearly four months, comes as a bit of a surprise to me as much to anyone out there who has noticed the return of life to Heretic TOC. The news over these months has been as amazing and appalling as ever, with enough going on to justify at least a blog every week, but unfortunately I remain very busy with other things and cannot report that service will now be returning to normal.

On this one occasion, though, I have had a particular reason to break my silence. Well, two reasons really. There is the obvious one that the Weinstein Effect was crying out for comment. The other is that I wanted to do what I could to revive interest in Heretic TOC because a potentially very significant guest blog has been commissioned, and I don’t want to run it at a time when the readership has entirely buggered off elsewhere in despair of seeing much going on here. Be on notice, then, that a real event may be on the way. No promises, as I have yet to see a draft of the piece, but I certainly hope to in the near future.

 

 

 

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