The Guardian published a story about pedophilia last week. You would expect such a story to offer strong moral condemnation against such a practice, but you would be mistaken.
The story begins by emphasizing that experts on pedophilia are not even sure that “consensual paedophilic relations necessarily cause harm.” Really? A ten year old child is capable of making informed decisions about their sexuality and sexual relationships? And how consensual can a relationship be between an adult and a child? Children naturally submit to the desires of adults, even if deep-down they do not want to.
I found this article so appalling not only because of its sympathetic voice for pedophilia and pedophiles, but because it uses the same talking points used by the homosexual lobby to break down the moral and emotional barriers the public once held against homosexuality. For example, the story begins by talking about the number of people who experience sexual attraction to children. The author claims that as few as 1-2%, but possibly even up to 20% of men are capable of being sexually aroused by children. Why bring this up? The idea is that if so many people experience this, it can’t be so bad after all. This same tactic was used by the homosexual lobby. They once claimed that 10% of society was homosexual in an attempt to normalize homosexuality (we now know it’s closer to 2%).
The author also mentions that pedophilia is classified in the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders as a non-psychotic mental disorder. Why bring this up? The author never made any point from this fact. My guess is that it was mentioned because homosexuality was once classified as a disorder in the same manual. Could it be that the author is suggesting that we should remove pedophilia from the manual just as we did homosexuality?
Like homosexuality, the question of causation is raised. And just like homosexuality, it’s argued that the cause may be biological. Indeed, it is suggested that pedophilia should be classified as another sexual orientation, just like heterosexuality and homosexuality. Can you see where this is leading? One of the reasons homosexuality has come to be so accepted in our culture is because people are under the mistaken impression that same-sex attraction is biologically determined, and because it is classified as a fixed sexual orientation. It’s reasoned that since these people cannot change, we must normalize their sexual preferences and approve of their behaviors. If pedophilia comes to be viewed as just another sexual orientation with biological causes, society will move toward much greater acceptance of it as well.
The story ends with these words:
For Goode, though, broader, societal change is needed. “Adult sexual attraction to children is part of the continuum of human sexuality; it’s not something we can eliminate,” she says. “If we can talk about this rationally – acknowledge that yes, men do get sexually attracted to children, but no, they don’t have to act on it – we can maybe avoid the hysteria. We won’t label paedophiles monsters; it won’t be taboo to see and name what is happening in front of us.”
We can help keep children safe, Goode argues, “by allowing paedophiles to be ordinary members of society, with moral standards like everyone else”, and by “respecting and valuing those paedophiles who choose self-restraint”. Only then will men tempted to abuse children “be able to be honest about their feelings, and perhaps find people around them who could support them and challenge their behaviour before children get harmed”.
I know what you are thinking: “There’s no way that society will come to accept man-child sexual relationships as moral.” The same thing was once said about homosexual relationships. But casting them as victims of their biology, making consent + love the only prerequisite for healthy sexual relationships, making the issue out to be one of freedom, and castigating all who disapprove as intolerant bigots changed the way people viewed homosexuality. There’s no question that it would take a long time for the majority of society to approve of sexual relationships between adult men and prepubescent children, but if the talking points that appear in this story get repeated enough, people will eventually capitulate their moral common sense.
HT: Wesley J. Smith