Monday, October 27, 2014

Apparent self-interest

Most pedophiles become known when they commit crimes. Another way they come to the public's attention is when they ask for changes in public policy. The group with highest name recognition on the matter is NAMBLA. They argue that boys should be able to consent to sex with anyone at any age -- to prevent them is to impinge on their freedom. Society can't help but notice that a major beneficiary of such youth freedom to have sex with anyone they want is the opportunity it would give pedophiles to be the chosen partners of these liberated youth. Hardly anyone else thinks kids should be able to consent to sex in this way. But (until Virtuous Pedophiles came along?) hardly any pedophile publicly said they shouldn't. This makes pedophiles seem grossly out of touch with the reality of who children are, and for self-interested reasons. The fact that they don't seem to understand or care how stunningly politically ineffective that position is further marks them as strange people. Of course, ultimately their argument like any other argument deserves a fair hearing on its merits.

I want to take a look at the self-interest angle of my various positions.

When I say that society's hysteria deters all men from relating to children, I am concerned about the children, but my self-interest lies with the men (mostly NOT pedophiles) who are deprived of meaningful contact with children.

I have argued that pedophiles are pretty much like everyone else in their humanity and the range of their personalities, activities, and moral compass. I have said that not all pedophiles abuse children, that pedophiles deserve full civil rights, and that we deserve access to compassionate mental health care. Those are self-interested but in the typical sense which applies when any group asks for their own rights -- they don't impinge on anyone else.

I say it is OK for pedophiles to fantasize about children and that virtual child pornography should be legal. I argue that simple possession of child pornography should not be a criminal offense. I say that mandated reporter laws for therapists regarding child sex abuse should be eliminated. I only make these arguments after arguing that on balance these positions do not harm children, but it is not proven that they actively help children by reducing abuse. One reason to be in favor is support of civil liberties. But why do I write about them? The reason I write about child pornography possession as opposed to the freedom to propose radical political ideas, for instance, is that I am in touch with many pedophiles who have unjustly served prison terms for child porn possession. I believe on all of these issues that pedophiles have done negligible if any harm.

I have expressed sympathy with pedophiles who get married and do not tell their spouses they are pedophiles, and I have cautiously endorsed pedophiles becoming parents. Those positions would seem to be self-interested.

I also argue against civil commitment for sex offenders, for abolition of the sex offender registry, and an end to restrictions on residency after an offender is released. In this case I am arguing for the rights of criminals who have done wrong. My goal is to match criminal penalties to the severity of the offense when compared to other crimes, rather than viewing the pedophile as a monster who deserves extra punishment for his thoughts. But the reason I write about that rather than drastically reducing penalties for nonviolent drug offenses (which I am also passionately in favor of) is self-interest from identification with a broader group. Although sex offenders against children are criminals, the ones who are pedophiles do have one thing in common with me -- the attraction.

Self-interest is typically at play in what all people do and what positions they hold. An argument is considered more favorably if there is no self-interest involved. If the argument goes against self-interest, it is especially notable. The Virtuous Pedophiles position against making adult-child sex legal and accepted is one such position, given the common view that all pedophiles want to fulfill their carnal desires with children. But this is a bigoted view of pedophiles. Many pedophiles would sooner die than harm a child, so given those (correct) views, adult-child sex is not in their interest.

In sum, I must acknowledge that my arguments have an element of self-interest and would be better received if made by those who are not pedophiles.

One value I can add to most of these issues is some familiarity with who celibate pedophiles really are. This is vital with a group that is so elusive and secretive. This familiarity is based largely on research and extensive contacts with them online, though actually being a pedophile also plays a small role.

I have also made some arguments that would not fit into a "public relations plan" for pedophiles. I have suggested a higher-than-expected concentration among pedophiles of Asperger's or autism-spectrum conditions. I suggested that societal restrictions on men working with children leads to a higher-than-expected proportion of less-than-ideal men volunteering for those positions. And even raising the issue of self-interest is arguably not in our self-interest as seen through the lens of public relations.


3 comments:

  1. Very well said.

    Bloom.

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  2. I agree with Bloom, solid post man.

    I can't deny that there is a lot of self interest in being as involved with Virped as I am. I do it because it's one very effective way for me to sublimate these desires. Hopefully I help others in the process, as that's truly what I'm aiming for.

    I think as long as we maintain other goals higher than those of self interest (while still acknowledging that it's there), that we can feel ethically sound in doing what we can to help. I think constant self re-evaluation is helpful though.

    Sammy Jenkis

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  3. Well done Ethan. Another beautifully crafted post. I'd like to add that as someone who recently found your Virtuous Pedophiles support website, I have known deep down all my adult life that I was a pedophile but could never totally accept it for what it was and part of that was the overwhelming stigma of the concept. But also the really confusing part was that deep down I knew I couldn't possibly interact sexually with a child because I knew the harm it would cause emotionally in their life but my dilemma was that you never hear of anyone else with those same views. Any accounts that you hear about pedophiles are either they are monsters who abuse kids or they are trying to get the age of consent laws lowered so they can legally interact with kids. I never fit into either of these categories and if that is all there were - then was I alone?

    Thankfully I finally found Virtuous Pedophiles and now your wonderful blog and I feel vindicated that there are indeed many other otherwise normal people out there who are attracted to kids but would never harm them. There is a lot of comfort knowing I am not alone and it truly helps me to know that.

    Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!
    Scott

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