Progressive sexual freedom arguments pivot on sex being between two consenting adults. Everyone seems to draw the line at adult/children relations. But if progressives are serious about expunging anything remotely traditional, then will pedophilia ever be legalised?
Yes. Yes. Yes. It has already started. This story about a US teacher popped up in my feed recently and I wondered why I'm hearing about it. After all, if you're seeing it, it's for you.
It astounds me how many people think the law and social mores will remain fixed on pedophilia when it hasn't been fixed for any other behaviour or personal rights issue. Homosexuality was classified as a mental illness in the official psychiatric diagnostic manual as recently as 1973. Now, thirty years later, after court fights over adoption rights, discrimination and health, our society has legalised gay marriage. Things change. Why not pedophilia?
Any consensual sex between adults is already completely legal, right? Gay men, gay women, straight couples, three-ways, tying a girl up and peeing on her, etc. It's all fair game. The only difference is the homosexual community gets a flag and legal deference, but that’s another story. Consensual hetero sex between teenagers is entirely accepted and tolerated and openly gay teen couples can be seen in most liberal cities and towns. By and large, the culture is accepting all permutations and continues to move in the direction of full acceptance.
The only prohibition and taboo remaining is between teens and adults, which is usually presented as creepy older guy/priest preying on a younger pre-teen boy. But in the eyes of most laws, this distinction is meaningless – 16 is the magic cut-off age for sexual consent. Over 16 and you are one thing, under 16 you are still a kid. Some say 18, others say 14, but you get the general idea.
Culture still seems to be revolted at the idea of old guys and young boys. I’m not sure how much of this is just residual homosexuality, but people who are so actively against something are often discovered doing the exact thing they are against. Because so often it’s religious people caught in deviant or illegal sex, it can't be simple hypocrisy because it’s way too pathological for that. You know what conclusion I've come to?
If you are an outspoken religious conservative, there is a very good chance that Freudian psychodynamic theory explains your personality and behaviour almost perfectly. It's almost scary how effective this theory is. Freud articulated many defence mechanisms people develop to reduce a personality or cognitive conflict and assuage anxiety. These people aren’t comfortable with their “secret” which is what creates anxiety. Their internal rule structure says it’s wrong, but their urges want it anyway:
1. Undoing – a person attempts to reverse the effects of a negative act by compensating with a good act, often diametrically opposite the negative act. "I touched kids or had sex with a male prostitute, which I think is bad. But I make up for it by campaigning endlessly against gays."
2. Reaction formation – a person acts opposite to their unconscious urges or desires. This is a weaker case because the urges are not unconscious to them. However, the true underlying urge may be the power dynamic in the sexual relationship (the desire to dominate or be dominated), and most people aren’t self-aware enough to realise this is happening.
3. Projection – a person denies an impulse and attributes the impulse to an external thing. This is the weakest case, but it's related to reaction formation and speaking out against gays and pedophiles usually takes the form of "they are corrupting our youth" when really, it’s the campaigners doing the corrupting.
Underlying all of this is Grand Canyon-sized cognitive dissonance, of course, and who knows what happened in their early lives to warp them in this way.
But, it’s this cognitive dissonance in stories of attractive women in their 20's (most teachers) having sex with young boys that will be the catalyst for pedophilia acceptance.
Look at the media coverage these women get – the soft lighting, ample time to tell their story, talking about feelings and how they fell in love. The law also treats women differently by giving them lighter sentences. There really isn't the same stigma, so culture seems to acknowledge some difference even if we can't or won't articulate it.
These crimes will emerge in the public consciousness with greater frequency, and then some enterprising lawyer defending a male offender will make the argument that it’s unfair for the punishment to differ so greatly when the genders of offender and victim are reversed. It’s not that female predator crimes will be more frequent, rather that we will hear about them more.
Then years later another lawyer will make the argument that it’s discriminatory to punish male homosexual offenders differently than male heterosexual offenders because gays get (or should get) equal treatment under the law. In other words, the "softest" (from the culture's perspective) form of pedophilia – a 21-year-old woman and a 15-year-old boy – and the "worst" – a 51-year-old male and a 13-year-old boy – are made indistinguishable in the eyes of the law. The softest case sets the standard because fair treatment means everyone wants the lightest sentence, not the harshest.
Eventually, courts will seek the testimony of the victim (introducing the consent of the minor without calling it such) to distinguish between cases in which a minor was freely willing to participate, and those involving molestation, rape, coercion, etc in which some adult forces a minor to act. Institutions will then turn a blind eye to consensual intergenerational sex the way they turn a blind eye to sex between teenagers, which is illegal based on how statutory rape laws are written. It's just rarely prosecuted.
(The idea that children don’t have the experience to give informed sexual consent is well-established in our society and quite defensible. Yet somehow, we allow teenagers to consent to each other for sex. Why? Without making any assumptions, what is the difference between two 14-year-olds having sex and a 22-year-old having sex with a 14-year-old? Again, no assumptions, because those can change based on the individuals. But why the taboo?)
Don’t get me wrong. The law won't legalise pedophilia, it will just be redefined as something that is already legal and protected. Gay sex is legal not because there is a law that says "gay sex is legal" but because hetero sex and sodomy were held by courts to be a matter of privacy and which also require equal protection under the law. Therefore, gay sex cannot be illegal. Basically, the way the laws are enforced will change even if the blackletter text doesn't.
This will all take a few decades, but it's going to happen because something bizarre in our culture is motivating more adults to want to have sex with kids, and that motivating force is not being addressed at all, so the law will have to adapt as a historically underground perversion becomes more of a non-trivial minority.
For the record, I think it is deplorable and disgusting for adults to seek out and take advantage of children, but I'm not naive enough to think the culture isn't trending to more permissiveness, openness, freakishness or whatever word you want to use. I'm just amazed people can't imagine how pedophilia could become a legal behaviour when just about everything else is.
Ironically, from a broader historical perspective, this will basically restore things to how it was in ancient Greece and Rome. Sexual consent has always been arbitrary. Two hundred years ago, 15-year-olds were viewed as more mature than most college students are today, based on the responsibilities they had. At some point, someone is going to challenge the constitutionality of those age-based restrictions. It's simply inevitable.