Although I am well-known for my self-effacing and humble nature (ahem) I feel it necessary to point...

posted 20 January 2003
Although I am well-known for my self-effacing and humble nature (ahem) I feel it necessary to point out this article and its accompanying story, published in this week's edition of the Economist. They're about Britain's stupid legal position on paedophilia, and the police's inability to deal with the situation created by that position, respectively. I first read them today, four days after my rant (see below) on exactly the same topic. Muwahahaha! I can predict the Economist's position on issues! They should have given me that freaking internship.

Seriously, this proves nothing more than it's currently a topic of interest. But I'm glad to see that it broadly agrees with my position. It makes several interesting points, including " 1994, the law was revised to include computer-generated images as well as real photographs" and "Some of the images ... are computer-generated, so that making them has harmed nobody". I discussed this with Kim and Dan on Sunday, and this is very important: criminalizing "fake" images (created by photoshopping adult porn to look like kids, for instance) criminalizes the thought of paedophilia, not the act. That's a dangerous precedent if ever there was one, and indeed a law in the US which had the same repurcussions has been ruled unconstitutional.

They also make the following even more interesting point:

in America, 36% of those who watch child pornography are also child molesters. Whether or not that widely-disputed figure is true, it does not prove that watching pornography causes abuse. What about the other 64%? Maybe, for them, looking is a substitute for doing.
Interestingly, at the same time as child pornography has become more widely available, so child abuse has declined. According to the Crimes Against Children Research Centre, a research group funded by America's Department of Justice, between 1992 and 2000 the number of substantiated cases of sexual abuse of children in the United States dropped by more than a third. In Britain, child abuse declined by 7% between 1991 and 2001.
So is coming down hard on child pornography stopping a problem before it starts, or is it aggravating the situation?

I think these statistics are meaningless -- the drop is due to public awareness (and hysteria), and a massive increase in police resources devoted to child abuse. But the question is still valid.

Finally, somebody (I forget who, mail me for the dubious credit) pointed out to me that "paedo-pride" is already here in the form of NAMBLA, The North American Man/Boy Love Association (complete with oddly creepy logo). They're already campaigning for the legalization of consensual sexual relationships between adult men and boys.

Still prefer to ignore this issue?

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