Or not. Feel free to curse, revile, and heap obloquy upon me. I'm not feeling particularly accomodating at the moment.
One of the especially frustrating things about living in a polity whose fundamental tenets are completely subject to the intelligent participation of its citizens in the political, social, and legal life of the Republic is the moment when you are confronted with the reality that a hell of a lot of your fellow citizens are volatile, credulous, irrational, prejudiced, and even foolish and willfully ignorant yahoos.
The past election was one of those moments. This is another.
Now most of you know that I am completely uninterested in who puts what in whom and why. You want three husbands, sweetie? Knock yourself out. What to marry your cousins? Whatever. Live in a big well-oiled heap of transgendered bliss? It's your life.
I have two rules; don't do it if it injures someone, and everyone has to agree to it.
That knocks "pedophilia" in the head right there. Because a child, any child, regardless of how sophisticated, depraved, or carnally inclined, cannot "consent" in any sort of informed way, to physical congress. As a sexual act I lump it in with fooling around with animals - it's not so much "wrong" as just unconscionable. One of the supposed participants isn't a participant but an object, worse, a living object that can be hurt and more than hurt.
You want to poke something that doesn't know how to protest? Here's a melon baller and a cantaloupe.Go wild, Romeo.
As morally out-of-bounds the act of molesting a child is, the THOUGHT is not legally actionable. More than that; in a land where the free expression of ideas is legally sanctioned, it MUST be legally and politically out-of-bounds to run the nasty old perv out of the public square for stating his nasty, pervy ideas in public.
So while I think that the publisher of "The Pedophile's Guide To Love And Pleasure" could have plausibly red-lighted the pervy piece of shit, and the owners of Amazon.com might have been well advised not to carry it, and the outrage of the citizenry that caused the bookseller to eighty-six the damn thing was a fairly natural reaction to the entire notion of publishing and selling a user's manual to kinderfucking, I am fairly disgusted at the entire notion that this bizarre incident means that we need some sort of official censorship and the abandonment of the rules of civil law that make the U.S. part of the endowment of intellectual liberty begun in the Enlightenment.
Here's one example of what I mean, a post by a ferociously intelligent and usually skeptical adoption mom who states that she left her profession because she had to provide legal representation to scummy pedophile sex predators.I have no doubt that representing scummy pedophile sex predators was revolting. But our entire justice system depends, indeed, demands, that these scum get the best legal counsel that they can.
Because have we gone so far down the memory hole that we've forgotten the scummy pedophile Satanist predators that ran the McMartin preschool? That were pilloried based on an accusation by a schizophrenic drunk woman and perpetuated by hysteria and public outrage into the most expensive trial in U.S. history? That ruined the lives of dozens of people and turned out to total bullshit?
I can only repeat what I replied to the post:
"Those damn pedophiles! Let's string 'em up!The outrages of sick kiddie-raping bastards will be with us always; there is no sexual act so vile that some humans will not attempt or perform it.
Those damn pornographers! Let's string 'em up!
Those damn Satanists! Let's...
Remember when everybody and their dog in the daycare trade were evil Satanists and were molesting kiddies? Except they weren't. Remember when the evil Obama Negroes attacked the poor McCain woman? Except they didn't. Remember when we interned all those Japanese who were spying for the Emperor?
Except they weren't, didn't, and we effed their lives up based on lies, fear, and racism.
So you were well within your right to refuse to represent people who you despised, Lorrie.
But what happens to the law if everyone who breaks the law doesn't get a lawyer?
No question that the publisher should have redlighted this book and the seller should have chosen not to sell it. But that's a world of difference away from the adversarial justice system and the need for attorneys to represent, yes, even the most vile of human beings. Because without that it becomes not justice, but vengeance."
But the intellectual liberties we share as citizens of this country, and as denizens of the West, are exceptionally unusual; for most of history a combination of religion, fear, ignorance, political repression, and public mobocracy have made the free expression of ideas - even, perhaps especially, vile ideas - anywhere from difficult to impossible.We live in a nation where intelligent discourse, always a premium and often absent, has again become rare, where foolish and vile display has become the prime fodder of the public infotainment industry, where more people know who was Dancing With The Stars than who was torturing prisoners and stealing public wealth, where the powerful and wealthy can lie, cheat, and swindle with impudent ease because the public is ever more indolent, badly informed, easily swayed, and foolish.
Mind you, it has been ever thus. But we are now the sole remaining superpower. Our public acts are the 21st Century equivalent of a vermilion degree, "swaying the wide world". Add to this the power, the incredible power, of the electronic media, and you have a hell-brew that can sicken vast swathes of the Earth.
We owe it to ourselves, we owe it to those whose lives we bend to our whim, we owe it to the world itself, to be smarter, more judicious, more thoughtful than we could be. Especially when dealing with this very sort of matter, more explosive because of the visceral disgust most of us feel towards the subject.We should be as careful in dealing with this issue as if we were juggling nitroglycerine because, in a sense, we are. If we drop the vial of free expression - even expression of this vile notion - then the resulting explosion could very well destroy the very stage we stand on.
I seem to keep posting this video clip and, yes, I know the real More was a Catholic fanatic who burned heretics. The point here is not the historical More but Bolt's More, More as the Voice of the Enlightenment, as spoken by the wonderful Paul Scofield; a voice that is increasingly hard to hear amid the din and babble of foolish popular hysteria.