M.A.D. policy on children is truly disturbing

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The myth that children are asexual and “innocent” is crucial for those would crush us (and the kids). But the reality is now proving harder for them to escape thanks to the social media.

Appallingly for the haters, but thrillingly for heretics, primary school kids are now encouraging each other to watch online porn; they are making sexy selfies and also involving their friends in sexually explicit films. British children’s charity Barnado’s has told parliament that “self-generated child sex abuse images” (kids “abusing” themselves!) have shot up fourfold, with children as young as five involved. In evidence given to the House of Commons science and technology committee, the organisation said three-quarters of referrals for “child sex abuse” are now internet-related.

The Daily Mail’s report unsurprisingly tried to spin this by dragging in talk of “grooming” by adults. But Emily Cherry, of Barnardo’s, said young children are “increasingly becoming perpetrators as well as victims”.

In the good old days, of course, kids did not need to go online. They could roam freely and find hot action with each other in all sorts of locations, from behind the bike sheds to in the long grass – or even within Dr Barnado’s Homes. Barnardo’s was set up in 1866 to provide residential care for orphans and other needy children. In order to facilitate their better welfare, founder Dr Thomas Barnado was not above kidnapping the young housemates! Nor has the organisation been entirely free from sexual scandal.

If these reflections on the history of Barnado’s offer a hint of the hypocrisy that often goes hand in hand with moralising about child protection, a couple of other recent news stories reveal it in spades.

A prime example came up in the case this week of former pop impresario Jonathan King, after a judge blasted Surrey Police for multiple failings in an historic sexual abuse case they brought against him. King’s trial was aborted in June. It was the fourth he had faced, including the only one in which he was convicted, back in 2001, a conviction he is now seeking to have reversed.

The reasons for the fiasco in June were not reported until this week, when Judge Deborah Taylor finally set out in detail what had gone wrong.

Also held back until now was the verdict in another trial of a big name from yesteryear, radio DJ Chris Denning, who at one time worked for King’s company UK Records. While King’s latest trial was still in progress, Denning was cleared of an historic sexual abuse case against a 14-year-old boy. The verdict could not be reported at the time because it was feared the result might improperly influence the outcome of King’s trial. I was delighted for Chris because he is a great guy, as I knew from being a fellow inmate with him in HMP Wandsworth over a decade ago. Sadly, though, he is still in prison, serving two 13-year sentences handed down some time ago in relation to other cases dragged up from events decades ago, so he will not be released until about 2020.

I knew Jonathan King as well through a mutual friend I had also met inside, but let’s not get too diverted by that.

I feel pleased for Jonathan, too, but he is not the main character in my story today. Instead the focus should be on Mark Williams-Thomas, former detective turned “investigative journalist”. Remember him? It was his dodgy documentary for ITV on Jimmy Savile that finally set ablaze the dry tinder of rumour about the late entertainer, who never seemed to have an adult partner but flirted with young girls quite openly on his TV shows.

Williams-Thomas relied for his revelations on the word of a woman who has since been credibly dismissed as a serial fantasist. The BBC, presented with similar gossip, quite rightly turned down the opportunity to screen a similar documentary made by one of its own producers.

Whereas the BBC soon found itself vilified for cowardice over its refusal to trash the late star’s reputation on a slender basis, unscrupulous chancer Williams-Thomas was the hero of the hour.

Now, though, he has been put in the dock himself, metaphorically at least. This follows his role as a police detective in an investigation of the King case that followed perceived failures in how Surrey Police had handled things at an earlier stage.

It has been revealed that in 2014 Surrey Police learnt that Williams-Thomas was said to be offering to sell information on King’s alleged victims, and even introductions to them. This put a massive question mark, to say the least, over the ex-detective’s integrity. Judge Taylor said it meant King should never have been charged on evidence taken by him.

So much for Williams-Thomas. As for Surrey Police, they have been forced into an apology for a litany not just of blunders but of acts that would seem deliberately designed to rig the case, if the Daily Mail report is correct. That account shows the judge making numerous swingeing points of criticism, including the claim that officers misled the court and hid evidence that would have undermined alleged victims’ stories.

After the jury was discharged back in June, we are told, Detective Chief Inspector Joanne Hayes, the senior investigating officer, went off sick due to “mental illness”. Prosecutors have now announced that they will not be seeking a re-trial.

Judge Taylor said the case had not even been driven by concern over getting justice for any victims. Instead, it was all about Surrey Police trying to repair the reputational damage they had incurred through their previous failings, in their investigations both of Jonathan King and Jimmy Savile.

You want more evidence of police hypocrisy? You want further proof that even the higher realms of government plainly don’t give a toss about kids’ welfare despite constantly banging on about it?

How about the recent disclosure that British police and intelligence agencies have been deliberately exposing children to the danger of extremely violent physical reprisals by using them as spies in covert operations against terrorists, gangs and drug dealers? A committee of the House of Lords revealed the practice while raising the alarm over government plans – yes, this is Her Majesty’s Government we are talking about – to give law enforcement bodies more freedom over “their use of children”.

The committee expressed alarm over proposals to extend from one month to four the period of time between each occasion that child spies go through a re-registration process. In other words, the plan is to allow the authorities to embed kids within criminal networks for a lengthy period. How bizarre is that? As Richard Littlejohn would say, you couldn’t make it up.

Neil Woods, a former undercover police officer who investigated drugs gangs around the country, told The Guardian, “It’s going to rack up the violence because as soon as gangsters think that there are more spies in their ranks then the classic arms race reaction is to increase the amount of terror, to make sure that those people are more scared of the gangsters than they are of the ramifications of the police.”

I found it particularly shocking to learn that this use of child spies is overseen by the investigatory powers commissioner, Lord Justice Fulford. A Home Office statement said, “Throughout any deployment and beyond, the welfare of the young person is the paramount consideration.”

Really? Really? I find this official complacency quite stunning. Many years ago Adrian Fulford and I were fellow members of the NCCL gay rights sub-committee. He struck me as a pleasant and decent person, a man of integrity. It just shows, perhaps, how compromised establishment figures can become, tainted as they inevitably will be by being forced to ponder, in many awkward contexts, whether the end justifies the means.

Or perhaps, though it seems unlikely, he takes the robust view that kids are more capable than we think and that their lives will be massively enhanced by being entrusted with such an excitingly grown-up role. Many of us heretics, indeed, might see some romance in the thought of a junior James Bond getting the better of a sinister, cat-stroking, international criminal mastermind, or foiling a dastardly jihadi plot for a new 9/11.

Well, sure, but there are limits. As with child soldiers or chimney sweeps, this undercover kids scheme goes way beyond them in terms of acceptable difficulty and danger.

Still on the theme of hypocrisy over serious child abuse – and of undercover work – I wonder if anyone saw an amazing edition of Dispatches on Channel 4 last month called “Inside Facebook: Secrets of the Social Network”?

For an investigation of Facebook’s methods, a reporter worked undercover after getting a job as a moderator with the social media behemoth’s UK operation based in Ireland.

About ten minutes in, there is footage of a woman saying she reported seeing on Facebook a video of a man repeatedly kicking and punching a little boy, aged about three. She was told it would not be deleted as it did not violate Facebook’s terms and conditions. The undercover guy is heard asking his supervisor about such material, for which they have a policy aptly called M.A.D.. This is their shorthand for stuff the moderators are supposed to “Mark As Disturbing” rather than remove.

The supervisor explains this by saying that if there is too much censorship “people lose interest in the platform… It’s all about making money at the end of the day”. In the first two days after it was posted, we are told, the video with the little boy was shared more than 44,000 times.

We also see a sign on the wall of the moderators’ office giving an instruction to mark certain categories of material as disturbing (but not to delete), including videos showing an adult “inflicting burn or cut wounds” on a child”, or “tossing, rotating or shaking of an infant too young to stand by their wrists, ankles, legs or neck”.

Shockingly, we are told via the programme’s voiceover that unless they are streamed live, “in our experience videos of child abuse are not usually reported to the police”.

In the case of the little boy mentioned above, though, it was discovered that the video originated in Malaysia. The child had gone to hospital. The culprit was his step-father, who had been arrested and jailed for a year. The video went on Facebook in 2012 and was still there six years later when the Dispatches programme was being made. It is used by Facebook as an illustrative example to train new moderators on what is acceptable as M.A.D. content.

Mad indeed.

Not that there is never a case to be made for showing violence, including violence against children. I have in mind a classic newspaper photo from the Vietnam war showing a little girl running naked on a road after being severely burned on her back in a napalm attack. She was later identified as Phan Thi Kim Phuc. The photo shocked the world. Its publication did not end the war but certainly helped build up public sentiment against it.

The justification for perpetually showing images of extreme violence against children on Facebook is much more tenuous though. Arguably it might be possible to identify a perpetrator by doing so, but if Facebook had a track record of success in this regard I suspect they would be telling us about it.

As for child nakedness, that would of course be far too horrific to show – unless the child was being horribly burnt at the same time!

 

A THREAT WE SHOULD RESPOND TO

My attention has been drawn to a recent Boychat post by Queer Furry headed “IMPORTANT: a threat we should respond to”. He writes:

The DSM Steering Committee considers changing the DSM entry about pedophilia by omitting the sentence “Pedophilia per se appears to be a lifelong condition”.

This would likely encourage even more doctors to “cure” MAPs by making them submit to electro shocks or other inhumane treatments. And yes, such treatments are still in use and have been used on MAPs who are minors as well. Parents can literally force their children to this kind of torture.

We need to respond to this. And fortunately, we can. There is a 45-day public comment period which ends on August 29. Here you can submit your own comments. Here you find more information about the proposed change.

I completely agree with Queer Furry over this. DSM is the bible of American psychiatry and its influence extends far beyond the United States. Those who are seeking this change are clearly reluctant to accept what scientific research has confirmed in recent years, namely that paedophilia is a sexual orientation. As such, it is not amenable to change through therapy. Attempts to bring about such change are bound to fail, as with now discredited “gay reparative therapy”, and typically result in nothing but misery, disappointment and psychological trauma.

Queer Furry cites an important paper on this by Allyson Walker and Vanessa Panfil, titled “Minor Attraction: A Queer Criminological Issue”, published last year in Critical Criminology. The official link to this paper is here. A very relevant quote from it can be seen in QF’s BoyChat post.

In a recent comment here, I wrote: “As with party politics, there will be some occasions when it makes sense for kind radicals to work with those who are usually opponents. I will be talking about one such occasion in a blog coming up shortly.”

What I had in mind was the Virtuous Pedophiles, who posted their own draft response to the proposed DSM change on SexNet. I am happy to say they did an excellent job. While there is no need to work jointly with them on this in a direct way, it is worth saying that we see eye to eye on this issue, so we can support the same cause at the same time.

Mutual support aimed at self-acceptance

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Support for those who are sexually attracted to minors and who feel lonely, depressed and desperate on account of their orientation is not conspicuously available in most countries. All that is offered is brain-washing aimed at bullying so-called “offenders” and presumptive “ticking time bombs” into cowed submission to the law.

At least in the Netherlands, though, there is an alternative. It has been pioneered by an old friend of mine, Dr Frans Gieles, who is well known in the kind community as the long-time leading light of the  organisation Ipce, which has run a discussion forum and annual conferences for many years and is now of global significance thanks to its superb online library of scientific and other scholarly resources. In today’s guest blog Frans put us in the picture regarding the humane – law-abiding but non-judgmental – mutual help groups he has organised and developed over several decades, with individual therapy offered as an alternative or supplement.

Frans, a true “wise old man” of our movement, was born in 1941. A grandfather now, many years ago he used to be a house-father and a staff member in children’s homes and a foster father at home. A qualified therapist and expert in education, his PhD thesis was on conflict management and meta-methodology.  Frans has his own website.

 

HELPING PEOPLE IN THE NETHERLANDS WITH PAEDOPHILIC FEELINGS

Looking back …

… to the 1980s: we then had 18 self-help groups in the Netherlands, mostly under the umbrella of the NVSH, the Dutch Association for Sexual Reform. This organization is unique, with nothing quite like it anywhere else in the world. Early in its history it played a pioneering role in the encouragement of family planning. Supporting openness about sexuality and the acceptance of sexual diversity, the NVSH offers counselling and support for minorities. This has long included paedophiles as well as gays.

Now, all that is left is a single self-help workgroup that organizes two “encounter groups”, one for the eastern part of the country and the other for the west. These offer individual counselling and therapy. The term “encounter groups” comes from the work of psychologist Carl Rogers, who developed the idea of non-directive therapy. Participants in the groups are encouraged to share thoughts and emotional reactions that arise in response to their fellow participants’ actions and statements. The emphasis is on sharing emotions, rather than on judging people.

What happened?

Internal conflicts, conflicts with the local NVSH board, misbehaviour of members or simply lack of members or leadership. Within society, the climate changed from around the mid-1980s onwards.  Relative tolerance towards paedophilia turned into rejection and hostility, so people became afraid to join groups associated with it.

A major development in 2014 cranked up this environment of hostility, when pro-paedophile organisation Vereniging Martijn (the Association Martijn, usually called just “Martijn”) was banned by the Supreme Court of the Netherlands. Martijn had advocated for the societal acceptance of paedophilia and the legalization of sexual relationships between adults and children. The court reinstated (following a successful appeal) an earlier ruling in a lower court that the association’s actions and statements were in conflict with the accepted norms and values of Dutch society and that the ban was needed in order to protect children. In 2015, an appeal by the association to the European Court for Human Rights (ECHR) was rejected.

Who survived?

The NVSH Workgroup, called “JORis”, a name which stands for “Youth-Adult Relationship, intimacy, sexuality”. This workshop survived under the umbrella of the national NVSH Board, now with two encounter groups: JON (= JORis East Netherlands) and West.

Especially after the end of the Association Martijn in 2014, more people became members of the JON group, who started a second encounter group in the West in 2015. New members kept coming in and continue to do so, so that there are now about 50 members. Regularly, both groups have to split themselves into two subgroups.

JORis and society: bridges to build

In the Netherlands, we have several institutions for “ambulant” forensic-psychiatric care. “Ambulant” means you get there under your own steam. You go along for an appointment at an office in town rather than being treated residentially in a clinic or other institution. Most of the clients are referred on a mandatory basis, sent by the court; but the care centres are also open for people going there voluntarily, most of them referred by health care institutions. But those who go voluntarily often complain that they are treated simply and solely as potential offenders, especially if they are obliged to join group sessions. So they leave.

These forensic-psychiatric institutions and the JORis groups used to exist in two almost entirely separate worlds. JORis, for their part, accepted the work of those institutions and their methodology, but the respect was not mutual. The institutions did not accept the existence and methodology of the JORis groups. Frequently, the institutions often forbade their clients from having contact with anyone else who admitted to paedophilic feelings: this made it impossible for them to join the self-help oriented JORis.

This has changed in the last couple of years.

At least, a bridgehead has been built. The forensic and mental health institutions have begun to refer clients to coordinators and therapists working with the JORis. With these professionally qualified figures seen as responsible intermediaries, clients are now being allowed to join the groups. Bridges not yet built are those over the gap between probation/rehabilitation officers and the JORis groups, and also between JORis and the closed forensic-psychiatric institutions.

The methodology: encounter groups

What kind of social setting works best for these help-seekers?

The encounter groups are primarily self-help groups. There is no “therapist” with “clients”: people help each other if they need help. Often, they are helped simply by the opportunity to speak openly.

The main methodology is narrative. Members are asked to tell their own, authentic personal story. They are asked to listen carefully, without expressing any kind of judgment or giving unwanted advice, and also without interruptions such as “Oh, in my case …” or “In my opinion …” They are stimulated to ask questions, to try to understand each other, and to acknowledge others’ contributions in their replies. Sometimes, a metaphor may be helpful: “Your story tells me you have been like a tortoise hiding fearfully under your shell; but now you are venturing out of it.”

Themes for the conversation are seldom set beforehand; rather, they should emanate from the group discussion. Sometimes, a theme will emerge in response to a topic that is clearly one of lively concern among the members.

We see this methodology working if members are asked to tell their narrative again, e.g. if a new member enters the group. We then hear that the narrative has changed, has developed itself, and thus that the person is developing himself. For instance, the first narrative is often something like, “I blame society for …” and “They” are held responsible. Later on the word “I” appears in the narrative instead of “they”.  Also, the first story is often “I am afraid of …, so I avoid …” or a story of fear, isolation or obsession. Later on, a kind of courage may appear, a kind of knowing how to live and to act – or how not to live and not to act.

The theme of “self-acceptance” is especially important and basic. Only with at least the beginnings of self-acceptance will people be able to search for ways of living that are legal, social, and maybe even happy. The members are mostly men, ranging from 18 to 81, so to say. Most questions come from our members in their twenties. The older ones may be a model for the younger ones, but also the younger ones for each other.

Also, downloading pictures is regularly a theme – not with the question “How can I do it?”, but “How can I stop it?”

The ethics of the group imply avoiding sexual contact with children, at least  in future. Most members do not even want such contacts; they want contact with children, not sex with children. Some say “I might want this if it were ever to become legal, but in reality I actually avoid sexual contacts”.

The group conversation is quite strictly led along these lines. This is to prevent the conversation from running in all directions, in which case members might complain “my head is getting overloaded”. This is an especially important consideration for members who are on the autistic spectrum but it applies to others too. They will say, “This group and what I am hearing here confronts me with myself. This is heavy. My head is quickly full.”

In the individual contacts, self-help and the narrative method is the first form. In some of the contacts, if these are more or less therapy, other methods may be used as well. The first is the non-directive way, but sometimes a more directive or cognition-led way may be better.

Our methodology is described in more detail here.

How does the group work in practice?

In 2015, the structure of both groups was changed. Both groups have a small team of coordinators, together with one central coordinator who is also the conversation leader of both groups: that person is me. Both groups have professional therapists connected to the group. We are able to give therapy to those who ask for it. I am a qualified therapist with a PhD.

The possibilities offered are:

  • Participating in one of the two encounter groups;
  • or in a smaller subgroup;
  • individual contact with one (or two) coordinators and/or active members;
  • individual contact with a professional counsellor or therapist, within JORis or without JORis;
  • partner interviews with (a pair of) professional counsellors.

All combinations are possible.

The individual contacts, offered in connection with group attendance or instead of it, were started because some members felt the group sessions were often “too heavy”. The individual sessions or subgroups allow the full groups to be lighter in tone.

Both groups meet each month on a Sunday from 3pm to 9pm, including a long pause and a dinner; these breaks provide opportunities for mutual contacts and for speaking about whatever one wishes.

Membership is free. Members are asked to make a donation towards the costs of running the group and for the dinner; their travel costs may be subsidised or fully covered. From last year onwards the NVSH has been providing a subsidy and a modest degree of financial recompense for the otherwise entirely unpaid voluntary work of the coordinator/therapist.

Whoever comes along to the groups makes their own personal introduction to the central coordinator. This introduction must be truly personal in the sense that their full identity must be given: that is, with their real name, address and photo ID, such as a passport. The coordinator listens carefully to the new person, without any judgment. The types of help on offer are described and there is a discussion as to what would be the best option for the newcomer. Using a nickname to participate in the groups is allowed, as long as the coordinators know the real data.

There is often anxiety over going into a group. In those cases, individual contact with the central coordinator, or a small subgroup, is offered. Such contacts can be lengthy, even lasting several years, before the person dares to enter a group – if ever.

Themes

Some important themes are:

  • Fear
  • Parents
  • Self-acceptance
  • “There is a monster within me”
  • Diagnoses
  • Isolation

These themes are mentioned with an explanation in our Report 2016 A.

  • “A group is scary and heavy”
  • Again: Self-acceptance
  • Therapists
  • “Downloading”

These themes are mentioned with an explanation in our Report 2016 B.

Secondary Problems

A number of people arrive with a history of problems, including “helpers” who failed to help. So they often have plural diagnoses and are on medication. There are also secondary problems: depression, suicidal thoughts, (severe) autism, neuroses, attachment problems, borderline personality disorder, psychosis, addiction – and more.

These problems are not inherently connected with paedophilic feelings, but, in our current society, they may occur in combination with it and so are said to be co-morbid. We do not know what causes what. It is hard to distinguish cause from effect. Causality could even run in both directions, or the association between different types of problem could be random.

Young people

Recent research confirms quite exactly our experience with young people.

The mean age for becoming conscious of one’s paedophilic feelings is 15. The mean age of “coming out” for the first time is … 22. To whom? Usually to one’s mother or a friend.

Note that between the mean of 15 and the mean of 22, lies a mean of seven years: seven years of lonely worrying and puzzling.

How many people in their teens or twenties are left facing all this anxiety on their own? We must reach out a hand to them.

Sooner or later they may reach the point of self-acceptance, and gradually find a manageable, and perhaps even happy, way of living sociably and within the law. Members in their thirties or forties, maybe in their mid-life crisis, as well as older people have also found that way.

They are not “offenders” and they surely do not want ever to become a perpetrator. They do not recognize themselves as in a “treatment” programme that approaches them only as a potential offender. They need to be approached as “non-offenders” – thus they need a methodology and an underlying theory quite different to that of current offender treatment.

Their narrative, and that of the JORis groups, is given above and in our annual reports.

Reports

Here below: (a) the recent research report just mentioned, (b) again our methodology described, (c) our three most recent (half-)annual reports, followed by (d) my website about “Helping People with Paedophilic Feelings”, in which I combat the current offender treatment methodology and offer alternatives for it.

  • (a) Cash, Brian Martin; Self-identifications, sexual development and well-being in minor-attracted people: an exploratory study – A Thesis – August 2016 – Faculty of the Graduate School of Cornell University.
  • (b) The narrative that may be told … in the self-help groups JON and JORis West.
  • (c) JON report 2016 a.
  • (c) JON report 2016 b.
  • (c) JON report 2017; and:
  • (d) Helping people.

 

 

Proudly sticking out my double CHIN!

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When Dave Riegel kindly offered to host a link to my CHIN paper recently published in Sexuality & Culture, he was more alert than me to the need for an explanatory summary to go with it – a double CHIN, as it were – or an edited highlights version. As he wrote along with the link:

This paper comprises some 15,000 words and 33 pages. While composed with the academic or professional reader in mind, it can be read profitably by the layperson who puts his mind to the task, and who follows the logic carefully. For those who feel the sheer size is overwhelming, it is suggested that they begin at the “An Alternative Ideal” section.

Good advice! And at Dave’s request I am now taking a couple of steps to provide a reader-friendly introduction to the article. One of the steps, for visitors to Dave’s SafeHaven site, will comprise a short piece to go with the link there. The other step, for heretics here, appears below. It aims to encapsulate the paper’s main themes.

Before starting, I will just note that as I write, less than two months after CHIN’s publication, the paper has been downloaded 2,200 times from the official Springer site, a figure that I feel more than justifies splashing out, as I did, to pay for Open Access, making the paper freely available to all. Heretics here have donated generously in response to my appeal aimed at raising funds to cover the fee but I am still considerably out of pocket. So please consider making a donation if you have not already done so: see Donate button near the end text of the right-hand column or email me (tomocarr66@yahoo.co.uk) to ask for my international bank account number.

So, here we go.

It may help to begin with how CHIN came about. This has roots going back seven or eight years to a meeting in a London pub with psychiatrist Richard Green, whose record of pioneering support for gay and trans rights will be familiar to many here and who has recently published a memoir of his involvement in these issues. At Richard’s instigation we were joined for lunch by Agustin Malón, a Spanish specialist in sex education, whose views seemed agreeably liberal. We got on well, and in the years that followed I read a number of his academic papers with growing enthusiasm.

He was never a committed heretic, but his writing always showed understanding and goodwill. Many years ago, he wrote in the preface to his doctoral thesis:

Those who love children – and who very rarely attack them – undoubtedly lead a complicated existence; especially those who are attracted to prepubertal children, since society is not likely to allow them to live out these experiences in relative liberty and tranquillity. We have a lot to learn – as do they – about how to permit them to live out and express those desires through channels that are more acceptable, and that cause fewer problems for both minors and society.

This clearly indicates empathy but it is hardly a radical position. There is nothing to suggest he ever thought child-adult sex could ever be allowed. So I was agreeably surprised when a paper of his appeared in 2015 in a leading academic journal. The introductory Abstract noted that such relationships might indeed be morally permissible under some circumstances, based on his understanding of general ethical principles. What he was saying, in effect, was that the usual “anti” arguments, such as the idea that children cannot give valid consent, are weak: they do not stand up to close scrutiny.

Excitingly, it looked as though Malón was finally getting on board with true radicalism. But that turned out to be wildly over-optimistic. Seeing only a glass half full, I was overlooking the half empty perspective. His article was planned as the first of two. The first would throw out the weak case against child-adult sex; but the second would bring in some new, much stronger, “anti” ideas to replace them! So we would be left not with a radically libertarian analysis but a beefed up conservative one!

This could have been very deflating, but when the second article appeared, in 2017, I soon began to see it as an opportunity. Malón’s new paper was grounded in virtue ethics. And just as he had seen the weakness of the usual “anti” arguments, it seemed to me his “virtue” approach was also full of holes. All I had to do was point them out. Also, without placing any great store on the virtue concept as a basis for deciding whether any sort of behaviours should or should not be permitted, answering Malón’s case appeared to offer a marvellous platform for talking about active child-adult sex as potentially something that could be seen positively, as part of a virtuous adult’s life.

Malón’s appeal to virtue ethics is part of a revival in recent times of a very old sort of moral philosophy, going back to ancient Greece. The person of good character, in this way of thinking, is one who lives life well in the sense that their behaviour tends to promote their own well being and that of their society, and may even be considered good for human flourishing in general. Virtue ethics these days is often referred to as “neo-Aristotelian” moral philosophy, as Aristotle was one of the key figures in the field among the ancients, following Socrates and Plato, and a good deal of his writing has survived.

It makes sense to ask, as these great philosophers did, what sort of life a good life is, and what makes for good character. One problem with this, though, is that you tend to get very different answers depending on when and where the question is posed. Different cultures have widely divergent views. Life could be harsh in ancient times and that was reflected in what was seen as morally acceptable. Aristotle, for instance, defended slavery.

Perhaps that is why Malón doesn’t mention him! His approach may be neo-Aristotelian but the figure he draws on for inspiration is a leading public intellectual of our own times, Sir Roger Scruton, knighted two years ago for “services to philosophy, teaching and public education”. The official citation emphasises his promotion of “freedom and Western values” in Soviet-era Communist Europe, but in Britain he is better known for his love of fox hunting, his distaste for homosexuality and his ferocious hostility towards anything he considers to be perverted or obscene – including, of course, paedophilia. He once argued that gays have no children and consequently no interest in creating a socially stable future, so it was justified to “instil in our children feelings of revulsion” towards homosexuality.

His ideas on sexual morality find their fullest expression in his 1986 book Sexual Desire: A Philosophical Investigation, which is undoubtedly a hugely sophisticated and erudite work, running to over 400 pages. Unfortunately, Malón appears to have been over-impressed by it and uncritically blown away. In my article, as a result, I found that really I had to regard Scruton as my primary opponent. The first part of CHIN is in effect an attempt to demolish Scruton’s thinking, and I hope readers will feel I have succeeded.

After that I found myself gloriously free on the open philosophical road, able to put my foot on the gas, driving the article hard towards my own vision of “An Alternative Ideal”. Dave Riegel is quite right to propose this section as a possible starting point: it avoids the unfortunately necessary negativity of the early sections, allowing the reader to get straight to what I hope will be considered more inspirational material. In fact, with this in mind, you could perfectly well begin and end with this single section.

Those who want to take that advice are free to do so. What I think may be useful in the remainder of this blog is to give a guide to the overall structure and main contents of CHIN.

Abstract and Introduction

The Abstract and the Introduction were written with the academic reader in mind and will perhaps feel rather perplexing and unhelpful to a wider audience. As Dave says, though, a careful, attentive reading should reap rewards.

The Illusion of Sexual Exceptionalism

This section is one to skip unless you are keen on philosophy. It tackles the idea that human sex of any sort is unlike other aspects of morality and needs a different kind of ethics. This view is at the heart of Scruton’s book, which takes a “phenomenological” approach focusing on human “intentionality”, a tricky concept which takes him 15 pages to “explain” in an appendix that leaves the head spinning. Basically, it’s a lot of smoke and mirrors that enables him to claim, unpersuasively, that where sex is concerned the birds and the bees may do it but human sexual desire is on an altogether more elevated plane, such that ethical discussion essentially has to be inward looking:  we must contemplate our feelings for other people without reference to the wider world of nature, or indeed without delving into what science can tell us about our own sexual natures and how best they might be enabled to flourish.

Virtue Ethics and Child-Adult Sexual Relations

Malón’s particular contribution with regard to child-adult sexual relations sets out by identifying three potential lines of argument against paedophilic behaviour made available by the virtue approach. They are considered under these headings: (a) perversion and obscenity; (b) the sexual bond; (c) erotic neutralization and “extended” incest. CHIN responds to each of these three approaches.

Perversion and obscenity

Malón invokes childhood “innocence”, but he does not defend the concept against the charge that it represents a state of ignorance in which children are deliberately kept by adults in order to control them. Instead he seeks to justify the tradition in which a high value has been placed on virginity, a valuation challenged by feminists as being at the heart of patriarchal control of female sexuality.

It has also been put under scrutiny from an evolutionary perspective, and here I draw on the work of psychologist Darcia Narvaez. She suggests that we have been wrongly “projecting onto the past a scenario like today’s of sexual restriction and competition, assuming sexual competitiveness for virginity, and emphasizing the timing of first sexual behaviour”. Evolutionary psychology, she says, has wrongly assumed “mate competition and male desire to control female reproduction to ensure genetic dominance”.  Among the small-band gatherer-hunters of the past, in contrast, “sexual relations are widespread with experimentation at all ages”. Also, “As with our bonobo cousins, individuals do not wait for the right fertile mate. Sexual relations are more about pleasure than control.”

With this in mind, I raise the possibility that it might be beneficial to practise intimate relationships well before the time when there could be reproductive consequences. I note that childhood and adolescent sexual experiences with adults have been reported in very positive terms in the research literature as relationships characterised by warmth, pleasure, affection and humour.

The sexual bond

Malón argued that the child’s capacity for intimacy and to be emotionally connected to another person would be damaged by a sexual relationship with an adult. He did not even claim there was any evidence for this in the case of consensual encounters. I decided to stick with a single really good counter-example, that of the psychoanalyst and theorist Heinz Kohut: he claimed his sexual relationship at age 10 with an admired tutor was life-saving for him when his parents’ marriage was deteriorating.

Erotic neutralization and “extended” incest

It is difficult to argue in favour of sex with children in a nuclear family setting simply because behind closed doors it is hard to be sure kids have real choices: no one wants to see them become sex slaves of their parents. This has nothing to do with the danger of producing deformed or otherwise genetically damaged offspring in an incestuous union, as young children are physically incapable of becoming fathers or mothers. And, despite his use of the word incest, “blood” relations have nothing to do with what Malón is saying. He talks about so-called extended incest, by which he means any adult-child contacts that show some of the same psychodynamics as family relationships, especially via the quasi-parental authority invested in teachers, sports coaches, scout leaders, etc.

His argument is not against such authority, quite the reverse. Rather, he thinks that having a sexual relationship is likely to undermine legitimate authority. Good parents, after all, teach their children good values and try to set an example through their own good behaviour. An implicit assumption is that unless they are firmly in control, they will not be able to keep their children on the right path. By revealing their own sexual needs, by “surrendering” to passion, they become vulnerable to the child’s power; and in a consensual relationship the child can withhold willingness to meet those needs.

The argument is a strong one, but I argue that it puts excessive emphasis on the value of hierarchy. I give examples of role reversals that can be valuable for children and adults alike, where the younger party is in command.

An Alternative Ideal

Please simply read this section: it is easier going and arguably more important than some of the other parts.

Some Further Misconceptions

Intellectually, this section is a minor mopping up operation after zapping all three of Malón’s main arguments but it contains some interesting evidence you are unlikely to have seen elsewhere: use the search terms “Bemba” and “Nyakyusa” for some fascinating material on pre-pubertal consummation of marriage in African tribes – as researched by intrepid female anthropologists in the mid-20th century.

A prudential argument

This short section deals with the argument that child-adult sex may be harmless or even beneficial at the time but damaging in the long term on account of the social stigma attached to such encounters. Some give this as a reason not to permit them. I cite philosopher Stephen Kershnar’s powerful counter-argument.

Conclusion

The paper concludes with a plea to look at the evidence rather than just assuming that child-adult sex is harmful; it is also pointed out that relevant research has been systematically blocked and censored in recent times.    

A crisis that could be an opportunity

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A daring young new breed of heretical activists has been making its mark lately, reaching a wide audience through YouTube, and catching the attention of vloggers through high-profile interviews. Amos Yee has been a trailblazer. Inspired by Yee’s work in Singapore and the U.S., and now making his own distinctive contribution under the “Youth Liberation” banner is a British born and educated BL. His style – direct, frank, unapologetic – owes something to Yee while his content focuses on good, solid well researched information, drawing on earlier generations of pioneers, notably the Dutch trio Edward Brongersma, Frits Bernard and Theo Sandfort. In a guest blog today “Leon” introduces himself at a time of personal crisis. Motivational speakers are fond of saying that in Chinese the word for “crisis” also means “opportunity”. I don’t know about that but I sure hope this blog will provide an opportunity both for our guest writer and at least one other heretic here to take their lives forward in a positive way. You will see what I mean.

 

THE PRICE OF BEING THE CHANGE YOU WISH TO SEE

Dear readers, allow me to introduce myself and to tell you why I am working for youth liberation. I want to thank Tom for giving me this platform. We’ve all come here on different paths, in many cases with personal struggles along the way, for sure. And yet, whatever route we have taken, we have all been driven by an idea we have in common – a prevailing sense that something is wrong with the societies in which we live.

It’s difficult to explain to you who I am, when I’m not quite sure of that myself. In some respects I am an empowered individual; I show qualities of a radical who stands up for the oppressed and advocates freedom for people. And yet, truth be told, I am frightened and still look out to the world from behind the eyes of a lost little boy. Confused, at why things are the way they are; hoping to do good but so often failing.

Have you ever had the feeling that your life’s path is far more out of your own control than would be expected? At this point, at age 25, I can’t shake the feeling that everything has come together perfectly to bring me to this position here and now. No matter how imperfect things might seem. Two major things which keep me going: I believe we all have a purpose, and that deep down, regardless of the pain we cause others or the suffering we endure… everyone just wants to be loved. Sometimes I want to give up; at other times I know I must take responsibility for creating a loving world; to be the change I wish to see.

At this point I think it’s wise to introduce you to what I’m doing now, in regards to activism. I run a YouTube channel entitled “Youth Liberation” – please do take a break from reading this and see the video links below; also take a look at the channel later. As you will see, I began hosting video clips in support of intergenerational relationships between adults and youth. At first with the comfort of anonymity. I contacted the Dutch Society for Sexual Reform (NVSH) to translate from Dutch to English clips of the late Dr. Edward Brongersma speaking on paedophilia. I created videos that explain about cultures around the world with more permissive sexual attitudes than ours, or feature famous men who were boy-lovers.

This was a way to express myself, and to help others learn what I knew. I have now put my face to them, speaking straight to camera. A coming out video, as someone attracted to the young. And other videos which criticise the age-of-consent for sex and what I see as the general oppression of youth as well as discrimination against adults who are youth lovers. In my most recent video I explain this: studies which conclude that sex between youth and adults is always harmful use samples of the population that are unrepresentative of the whole; this includes rape victims, criminal cases and psychiatric patients. Other studies which find correlation with harm use both consensual and non-consensual relationships. Wording such as “victim” and “perpetrator” is used to influence the outcome of these studies. In unbiased studies (see the work of Theo Sandfort and Dr. Frits Bernard) which examine gentle and consensual sexual relationships between children and adults, no significant harm is found but positive results are (as a result of both the sex and the wider aspects of the relationship such as learning and emotional support).

To the logical person, this should make some sense. But the general public react in an emotional, unthinking fashion. Yet I must accept that it’s not their fault. My own life is very strange. If I didn’t have a personal stake in the issue, would I ever have sought truth? It’s not going to be possible in this blog to give you a full overview of my life. I was born in the UK, I went to school where I felt different from my peers; I still managed to maintain some friends. For a while I found fighting and aggressiveness to be an outlet for my underlying frustrations. One day, as a teenager, in short, I witnessed a younger boy imitate my actions. And it broke my heart when I realised I was one of the people who had influenced this boy’s behaviour, particularly when he was later sent to jail for stealing and other crimes. And I felt a deep love for him.

Like many people reading this blog, I’m sure, coming to accept my true nature was a long process indeed. In my later teenage years I isolated myself somewhat (thank God for the internet) – it was on Twitter I first confessed my love for a boy and received an “I love you too” in return. His name was Garrett; we had a shared interest in cannabis, animals and the American counter-culture. And Harry Potter now I think about it. I was around 18 and him 14; he used to send me his poems. I think he longed for someone to confide in. We spoke regularly over a few months; we were even going to visit Scotland together at one point, once he was able to travel there on his own. After those few months we parted ways. He had decided to leave the Twitter community we were a part of. But not before introducing me to Allen Ginsberg and Walt Whitman. I hadn’t realised that Allen featured in the NAMBLA documentary I showed him soon after. Garrett agreed with what I was beginning to figure out: “It’s just another form of love”

Anyway, I must move on. I have known and cared for many boys since then, although now I’m not fortunate enough to be able to associate with any. I have a firm conviction that the men who love boys can have a significant and important role in their lives, and without such boys, these men aren’t able to be half as valuable to the world as they can be. So this is partly what influences my activism. To see such a thing compared to the greatest evil? No. I won’t stand for it. Wiser people than myself have told me what I’m doing is reckless. Perhaps even detrimental to the cause. It will take decades to change they say; let the sexologists, psychologists and policy makers take the lead. Wait until the former loved young people speak out. No one cares to hear the plight of the paedophile.

Others have claimed I am a hero. This I am most certainly not. What I am, is fed up. You see, were the people in the Western world kind to paedophiles and supportive of them but with genuine reason to stop them engaging in sexual activities with the young (let’s say these caused genuine harm). Then I’d be the first to say we must conform to their wishes, meaning never attempt to change age-of-consent laws. In truth, though, the masses are ignorant, and choose to remain this way. And seem to take pleasure in being in the dominant power group. I have confirmed this with the discrimination expert Mrs. Jane Elliott, creator of the blue-eyes brown-eyes exercise. She isn’t for breaking the law, but she is aware that the pendulum of societal change is ever swinging.

Furthermore, were it just me who had to miss out on emotional bonds, or who had to hide his true nature, that would be bearable. But my past is filled with other stories and pain; I have an exceptional ability to see the cause of problems. The anger I felt, when I saw a large 18-year-old boy, who our society labels as a drug-dealing thug… when I saw him break down in tears after all of those years suppressing his homosexual attractions; unable to communicate this to any of the so-called upstanding citizens. Fearful of being treated differently. Using combinations of alcohol and illegal drugs in high amounts with the hope of it killing him because he didn’t have the (in his own words) courage to do it himself. What am I to do when I know that it’s the fear of sex itself, and of all sexual minorities, that causes this type of thing to continue? No matter how many rainbow posters we put up in schools.

What do I do, after I (understandably) denied my own sexual orientation after being asked about it in front of a group of young people, but then later one of the brightest boys, the best artist I’ve ever seen, at age 16 took his own life? In part because of being ashamed of his homosexuality. I don’t presume to know this was the main reason. I believe it was in part because his father died some years before. But his friends reported that he was struggling to accept his sexuality. Critics would claim I attempt to take advantage of these tragedies to advance my own cause. But I’ve read enough to know that all forms of discrimination are connected; as society loses some scapegoats, we just mistreat other people more. And regardless, no-one can deny that there are teenagers who have an attraction to children who feel like they’re living in hell right now. No-one can convince me that homosexuals will be welcomed entirely while paedophiles aren’t.

I can’t live a normal life. I can’t do it. I can’t go to work and pretend to agree with what other people say. I can’t sit back while communities attack innocent people. I have this overwhelming passion to heal the world, and make it a place where everyone can be accepted for who they are. In my attempts, I admit I make mistakes. Sometimes I forget that in the past I was as ignorant as other people. At times I want everything to happen too fast. But one thing that can’t be said is that I do nothing. So I speak to you not knowing what outcome I want or expect. Just hoping that these words can do something to make even the smallest change in this horrible situation.

Because of my choice to be open on this issue, I’ve put people who have raised me at great risk. I’ve ruined any chance of blending in and doing behind-the-scenes work. And I’m unable to support young people, which I could have if hiding my true being. So maybe I am a fool. But then again, is it really so bad to stand up and demand change when I know I’m right? When you strip everything back to basics and acknowledge that consensual sexual relationships between any two people are a human right? I don’t know. I really don’t. But I can’t change what’s happened. I’m sure a lot of you are familiar with Amos Yee. Once I saw this brave and logical young man speaking out, he somewhat inspired me. We are now good friends and in regular communication. I know he is proud of me and that makes me feel good.

Now you know a little bit about me; you’ve seen my work and this text, I conclude with the reason Tom has allowed me to use this platform. I presently have no permanent place to live in the UK. As an emergency measure I will be going abroad for a while to live in cheap hostel accommodation.   My outspoken political opinions are the direct cause of this. I send this out in the hope that someone might consider a house or flat share with me in maybe two or three months from now. All I need is somewhere basic to sleep, shower and prepare food (which I’m able to provide for myself). This would be a huge weight off my shoulders and I hope there is someone reading this who would actually prefer to share with someone like-minded rather than living a solitary life. I would also be continuing to record, edit and upload videos online.

It’s clear that this is a major stage in my life. On the one hand, I might be on the path to great things. Maybe I will be the spark that brings light to this situation which, in truth, is no good for anyone. Too much fear and suppression. Far too much. I think the lack of communication is the main problem. No human capable of empathy is a monster. If we could discuss the situation as a community we could make some progress. Giving the young a voice especially. Unfortunately because of being so vocal I’ve been left in a position where the masses will see me as a threat instead of someone to sit down and talk with. Anyway, I’m pleased to communicate with readers of this blog regardless of what happens.

Please contact me through YouTube if you can help, and support the channel if you want to. If you have a place I can stay, or can put me in contact with relevant people, and if you’d prefer to use e-mail…Tom will be able to provide you with my e-mail address.

Youth Liberator.

 

Children’s Positive Sexual Contacts with Adults

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9_So5Y42oLw

5 Stages of Power Loss (End of Persecution)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_CBgOSkMdkc

On Adults Who Love Youth

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WWMDn0zCUnY

 

CHAMBERS’ DICTIONARY FOR HERETICS

Well, not a dictionary, exactly, but Ed Chambers has given us a splendid new glossary of terms encountered at Heretic TOC, most of them acronyms, many of which may be unfamiliar to newbies and some of them a mystery to all but the more technically minded among us.

For the newest of newbies, I should introduce Ed by reference to his guest blog at the start of this year: A wild ride towards self-acceptance.

The real Chambers Dictionary may not be all that familiar to heretics of the millennial generation, who probably use (as I do these days) whatever comes up online when you Google a word plus “meaning” or “definition”.  Chambers, widely used for crossword puzzles and Scrabble is also noted for its humorous definitions, and our Ed’s contribution continues the tradition, as you will see. Or he might have been inspired by the first great dictionary of the English language, that of Dr Samuel Johnson, which has a number of definitions with a distinctly piss-taking nature, mainly with the Scots as the butt of his humour, such as his definition of “oats”:  “a grain, which in England is generally given to horses, but in Scotland supports the people.”

Further definitions are invited, for other terms used on these pages that might have been overlooked.

GLOSSARY

 

.onion designating an anonymous hidden service reachable via the Tor network
AOC Age Of Consent
ATSA Association for Treatment of Sexual Abusers
BL Boy lover
CP Child pornography / cheese pizza
CSA Child Sexual Abuse
CSE(OP) Childhood Sexual Experience (with an Older Person)
DDOS Distributed Denial Of Service
DOS Denial of service
DSM Diagnostic & Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders
FUD Fear, Uncertainty, Doubt
GL Girl Lover
HTOC Heretic Tom O’Carroll
Kind Collective noun for child lovers; also works as adjective, like “gay”
LEA Law Enforcement Agency / Agent
MAP Minor Attracted Person
MOWE My Own Worst Enemy – https://www.myownworstenemy.org/
NAMBLA North American Man Boy Love Association
NOMAP Non Offending Minor Attracted Person
NONCE Not On Normal Courtyard / Communal Exercise
PC Politically Correct
PIE Paedophile Information Exchange
PPD Prevention Projekt Dunkelfeld
PSC Pedo Support Community (TOR website)
SJW Social Justice Warrior
SOR Sex Offender Register
StopItNow Similar to STOPSO
StopSO Specialist Treatment Organisation for Prevention of Sexual Offending
TAILS The Amnesic Incognito Live System https://tails.boum.org/
Topic Links The MAP community hub on TOR
TOR The Onion Router https://www.torproject.org/
Virped Relating to the unenlightened
VOA Visions Of Alice (website)
VPN Virtual Private Networks

 

THANKS FOR SPRINGERING INTO ACTION

Gratifyingly, the appeal launched last time, aimed primarily at recouping the cost of Springer Nature’s fee for publishing my recent paper in Sexuality & Culture on an Open Access basis, has made good progress, with over half of the outlay already recovered. Accordingly, my heartfelt thanks go to those who have donated and to several who have pledged to do so in the near future.

It may be remembered that the fee including VAT came to £2,311. As of this morning, heretics here had contributed £1,357. So at the moment I am out of pocket by “only” £953. As the quote marks are meant to emphasise, this is still a large sum, which strikes me as a good reason to urge those who have not yet responded to please now do their bit.

As before, all you need to do is use the Donate button on the right-hand side-bar (nearly the last item down, between the Follow button and the Search). This will enable you to contribute via PayPal using any major currency.

Some donors, however, have told me they prefer to pay directly, by making a transfer straight from their bank to mine. If you prefer this method please email me ( tomocarr66@yahoo.co.uk ) to ask for my international bank account number (IBAN).

A number of you generously responded to my request for a three-figure sum if you could afford it. For the most part, however, this message unfortunately seems to have been interpreted as meaning smaller sums are not needed.

Nothing could be further from the truth. It is far healthier, in my view, to have many small or medium contributions, rather than just a few chunky ones. I would like to see every regular here pitching in with some sum, however modest: it is in the best interests of our heretical community that everyone should feel they have a stake it, including the very nearly 300 who are signed up as Followers. If everyone could find just £10 each it would see off the remainder of the Springer fee with enough left over for me to carry on working for Heretic TOC for at least another year or so. Without any such surplus I will ultimately need to switch to fee-paying commercial work instead.

Mercifully, though, that decision is not an urgent matter, so let me turn to more positive news about the paper itself, titled “Childhood ‘Innocence’ is Not Ideal: Virtue Ethics and Child–Adult Sex”, or CHIN as another veteran campaigner, Dave Riegel, has dubbed it for short. Dave, who has a number of peer-reviewed papers to his credit, has magnanimously agreed to host CHIN here on his SafeHaven Foundation site. Also, as some will have noticed in a recent comment at HTOC, Thomas Leske has undertaken to produce and publish a translation of CHIN into German for his Thomas Leske Editions publishing venture.

The decision to go Open Access, making CHIN freely available online and with free PDF download is also definitely paying off. There have now been over 1,200 downloads of CHIN from Springer’s site, plus over 100 others at ResearchGate. Furthermore, many influential figures have been made aware of CHIN through a posting I did on Sexnet. The philosophers Peter Singer and David Benatar answered the emails I sent them about CHIN, the latter kindly saying he looked forward to reading the article. Obviously, I hope Prof. Singer, one of the most famous living philosophers in the world, will also read CHIN and at some point find himself able to cite it with approval.

Welcome to the joys of Springer!

266 Comments

The publication of yet another dry, difficult, boring article in an obscure academic journal may seem no big deal, but I hope heretics will be persuaded that one specific recent addition to “the literature” really is major news for us.

Some readers will have noticed straws in the wind – a hint or two from me in the comments section, even the actual news being leaked at a couple of Kind chat forums – and now the time has finally arrived when I am ready to spill the beans with an official announcement.

Official, that is, because the article is my very own. I like to think the really special thing about it is the content – what it actually says in its 15,000-words – but the most immediate aspect to crow about is that this is the first piece of mine accepted as a work of serious scholarship after going through the process known as peer review i.e. after being read and critiqued in detail by other scholars, who tend typically to be professors and other senior academics.

This in itself would be of no great interest to anyone but me, but when the article in question claims that consensual child-adult sexual relationships could be ethical, or even represent the embodiment of an ideal in human relationships, it does become a bit special. And when that article is written by an activist without so much as a doctorate to his name, much less a chair in moral philosophy, it becomes unique. Even more securely unique, indeed, given that my formal introduction to ethics was acquired while studying an Open University course in philosophy from a cell in Her Majesty’s Prison, Wandsworth.

“Unique”, as it happens, was an epithet used by one of the three anonymous (so they can criticise without inhibition) peer reviewers, who wrote: “The article is unique, interesting, important, and nicely argued. It will be an important contribution to the literature.” Another reviewer called it “stimulating and polemical” while the third said it was “…a great article. Very well researched… Well written and well argued throughout.”

Enough with the fanfare! The title of the paper is “Childhood ‘Innocence’ is Not Ideal: Virtue Ethics and Child–Adult Sex”. It was published online by the journal Sexuality & Culture on 20 April. The print edition will probably come out later this year, from which point it will grace the shelves of university libraries.

Wannabe readers will not need to hunt it down in the groves of academe, though, nor will they need to pay through the nose for it or seek a pirated download (somewhat harder to find now, following a lawsuit last year). No, all they need in order to read the full text free of charge online, or to get a free PDF download, is this link to the article’s page on the Sexuality & Culture website provided by Springer Nature, a gigantic academic publishing corporation.

And thereby hangs an important tale. Springer didn’t get big and profitable by being generous. It may look as though you are being offered a free lunch but it won’t be the publisher picking up the tab. Most of their articles are paid for in the traditional way: the reader has to buy them, just like going into a bookstore and buying a book. That tends to be very expensive for the reader, at £35 or more (around $50 U.S.) for an article of typically only 15-20 pages, unless they are able to borrow a copy from a library. This has been getting increasingly difficult in recent years because the libraries themselves in the UK and elsewhere have been finding it harder to come up with the money for their subscriptions to the journals. This means there is an increasing danger that only a small elite have much chance of discovering the latest scholarship and research.

Determined to reach the widest possible readership for my own pro-Kind paper, I decided this was not good enough. I could have done the same as most authors, which is to transfer the copyright to the publishers, so they can charge for the “intellectual property” (the article) and keep all the money that comes in. Doing it that way means there is no cost to the author. But I decided to put my money where my mouth is by forking out far more than I can sensibly afford in order to retain the copyright and exercise my choice to make the paper free to all readers under a scheme known as Open Access.

I paid Springer’s standard charge. Including VAT this came to a whopping £2,311, or over 3,000 American dollars. The first sign that this was money well spent is shown by the figures: in the first three weeks there have been over 300 downloads from the publisher’s link and more via ResearchGate, which is a networking site for scientists and researchers. This might seem small potatoes compared to the million a minute or whatever it is for cute cat clips going viral on YouTube but it is extremely good for a scholarly site – and unlike the cat clips a good article can have a long-lasting influence on people who are themselves seriously influential – such as public intellectuals (those high-profile profs who tend to be on the telly a lot), or leading bloggers and journalists.

With the help of a single generous sponsor I also made an earlier Springer publication of mine Open Access. This was a book review (which did not itself need to be peer reviewed) titled “Arthur P. Wolf: Incest Avoidance and the Incest Taboos, Two Aspects of Human Nature”. Without me making any significant effort towards publicising this review, it has gained 2,100 downloads since going online in November 2015. I confidently expect my present paper to get much bigger figures, not least because I intend to trumpet it far and wide.

The fact that I put my own money upfront this time around was an expression of my passionate belief in “Childhood ‘Innocence’ is Not Ideal”. It was also an act of faith in heretics here that you will wish to play your part by supporting my endeavours. I trust you will be willing to make whatever donation you can, not just to ensure that I can pay my next electricity bill now that I have taken a big hit to the wallet, but that I can also keep Heretic TOC and other projects going on a flourishing basis. My only income these days is a state pension. Thanks to serial career-busting activism over the years I have never been able to generate more than a sliver of a pittance from company pensions or anything of that sort.

That was my choice of life-style. I do not complain. But looking forward to the next few years I will be unable to keep on giving my time so freely unless I can cover my costs . I might be forced to give up Heretic TOC entirely, along with any further scholarship, in order to supplement my meagre income by devoting my time to commercial work instead – editorial consultancy and research such as I used to do after being recruited by Gordon Wills in the 1980s, in the field of marketing, and in more recent years Bill Percy, assisting with his history writing and research projects. The earnings in both cases were good, and the work was interesting, so it is tempting to go in that direction again.

I would far rather stick with what I am doing now, though, as I feel it is more important. But for that I need your help, your contribution. That is why, as you will see, I have added a Donate button to Heretic TOC. You will see it on the right hand side of the page. It is the last item, after the Follow button. The system uses PayPal, which is a very easy way of paying from accounts in any major currency, either using a credit card or your own PayPal account.

Nominally, your contributions will go to Dangerous Books Ltd, which is the name of the company I set up principally as the vehicle for promoting and selling my book Michael Jackson’s Dangerous Liaisons (authored under the penname “Carl Toms”) some years ago. My PayPal account just happens to be in this name but it is not actually a company account. So your contributions will go to me personally and be entirely at my disposal.

I see no reason why the donation system should not work smoothly, but if there are any teething problems with it do let me know.

In making this appeal I am acutely aware that many heretics have faced career disasters and consequent financial limitations comparable to my own, so may not have much to give; others will have been so traumatised by unkindness to the Kind that they have found it tough just to hold off depressive inertia and keep themselves going sufficiently to make a modest living. To these I say, give what you can and you will be doing yourself a favour as well as me: you will feel good for having contributed. It’ll cheer you up a bit!

There are also those who have been resilient; they include skilful, talented people who have done well in life, being wisely alert to pitfalls and how to avoid them. Among them are those who generously came to my aid a couple of years ago when my need was far more desperate than it is now. When it looked as though I would need an expensive legal team to keep me out of prison, this gallant band of stalwarts rose to the challenge stupendously, some pledging four-figure sums. Fortunately, in the end I needed only a tenth of what had been offered and accepted that amount with relief and gratitude.

To these heroes, and to others who are at least modestly prospering, I would now say I have no need for a four-figure sum from any single individual (but of course it would be nice if any millionaire heretics happen to be feeling bountiful!) I would urge you, though, to think seriously about a three-figure one: without a number of donations at this level I could be struggling.

Enough with the funding!

A word may be needed about the paper itself. It is not an easy read, especially the first sections. One of my main targets in this early part is the stance taken by the eminent British conservative philosopher Sir Roger Scruton. Heretics who are into philosophy might enjoy what I hope is a successful demolition job on his enthusiasm for denouncing “perversion” and “obscenity”.

It is in the later part, though, that I feel I really get motoring. This is where, having ditched the negative approach to sexual “virtue” espoused by Scruton and his supporter Agustin Malón, I develop my own, positive, approach.

I might add that I have met Malón a couple of times and downed a few beers with him. He is a very nice guy; so our differences are ideological rather than personal. A Spanish scholar, he is a professor of education, and has written a number of papers pertinent to our concerns that are far more humane and sympathetic than anything I have seen from Scruton.

 

THE BITER BIT: WHAT A HYPOCRITE!

Would you Adam and Eve it! John Woodcock MP, the man who had me kicked out of the Labour Party could be shown the door himself, after being suspended at the end of last month over – wait for it – alleged sexual harassment! It is claimed “he sent inappropriate messages to a former female member of staff”.

In an even more delicious irony, the first thing Woodcock did to undermine my position in the party two years ago, after the police alerted him to my background as a Kind activist, was to go blabbing to the press. And guess what he is complaining about now?

Yes, you’ve guessed it: he is upset that his detractors have gone blabbing to the press! The BBC quoted him as denying the truth of the allegations, and as saying:

“The decision… to place details of my case in the press and then suspend me places a serious question mark over the integrity of the process….”

Oddly enough, he didn’t seem so concerned about “the integrity of the process” in my case, which I blogged about in An Open Letter to the Labour Party.

Can’t say I feel a lot of sympathy for him. As he appears to have made it his life’s mission to undermine Labour’s leader, Jeremy Corbyn, at every opportunity, the party would do well to see the back of him.

 

HOT CONTRABAND IN PRISON

Email received this morning from a correspondent in the U.S.:

“I talked with a fellow tonight who was recently released from prison. He told me that someone smuggled a copy of your book on Michael Jackson in by having it mailed to an inmate who was not there on a sex crime, so his mail is less scrutinized and it got through. Then, to allow the sex-crime inmates to read it, someone took the cover from a book by Isaac Asimov that was about the same size, and replaced your cover with that so the guys could read it without the guards knowing what they were reading.”

So, never mind drugs, mobile phones and the rest, it seems the cool item to smuggle into prison now is Michael Jackson’s Dangerous Liaisons. Way to go, dudes!

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.

 

 

 

 

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