Hmm

A judge has said that a 13-year-old girl at the centre of a major paedophile probe “could fill a prison on her own” after she befriended around 200 men on the internet.

The judge’s comments came as he jailed a 25-year-old man for four years as it emerged that he was one of around 200 men that the girl had befriended and been ‘sexting’.

 

It’s a little difficult to insist that he was corrupting her, isn’t it? Perhaps they should all serve 200 th of the normal sentence each?

51 thoughts on “Hmm”

  1. Well, there is a big legal elephant in the room here, which seems to be becoming increasingly relevant. It is illegal to produce child pornography, which is judged to be any indecent image of a person under 18. The problem is that many of the producers are girls under 18. But they are never prosecuted or considered responsible, even though they are above the age of legal responsibility. An interesting example was when a bunch of nude pictures were captured from SnapChat. People were warned that some of them were such pictures, and anyone downloading them was thus criminally liable for having (and thus in our bizarre legalese) “producing” child porn.

    But nobody seemed to think that either SnapChat should be prosecuted for hosting them, or the girls who produced them prosecuted for both producing and distributing said images. This makes no legal sense. It makes feminist sense, but that of course means it makes no real sense, because feminists make no sense.

    Legally thus, under the law- and explicitly stated by witchfiner general Alison Saunders under the new “revenge porn” jihad- if a teenage girl takes a saucy photo and sends it to her teenage boyfriend, he will be liable as a child pornographer, and she will not; thus bringing us into line with the American practise of ruining 17 year old boys via the courts. It is easy to imagine a scenario in which a young couple break up with all the histrionics, the girl sobbing to her mother says, “and I sent him some photos”, the mother calls the police, and the boy gets the 5am knock and subsequent ruin.

    If we really do want this stuff criminalised, there should for consistency be a criminal liability on the girls who take the selfies. But under feminism of course, there will never be. Because the patriarchy, and women and girls have no agency, yada yada.

  2. No, England and Wales as well. There is no actual law saying explicitly that posession is illegal, it’s based on the idea that computers naturally copy, and thus produce.

  3. The other interesting thing is I wonder how many people she contacted in total?

    Assuming they were reasonably randomly selected other than for age and attractiveness, are they saying that she contacted 200 men and they are all being prosecuted, in which case 100% of men should be on the SOR, or did she contact 2000 men and these are the ones who responded and 10% of the male population should be on the SOR.

    And what about the men she contacted who weren’t interested, why didn’t they call the police? Is it because of the hysteria which puts them off contacting the police in case they should get in to trouble for little more than being a man on the internet? Not a very good situation we have arrived at if people are too scared of what could happen to them if they try and help children.

  4. Ian,

    “there is no law explicitly saying possession is illegal” – you didn’t mean this, did you? s1(1)(c) PoCA78 is quite explicit.

    You are quite right that there is nothing saying that having an image on a computer is, de jure, a s1(1)(a) offence of “making”. This is, as usual, badly written* law. As I understand it, the overt intention was to have the offences of “taking a photograph” and “making a pseudo-photograph”. But the way it is written, you also have offences of “taking a pseudo-photograph” (not aware of this one having been used” and the “making a photograph”, which is where the copying comes in.

    And, as the statutory punishment for a (1)(a) and a (1)(c) offence are the same – as are the statutory defences (i.e. you didn’t know it was there), there isn’t any need to bundle these up – it can all be addressed in sentencing guidelines.

    * Hanlon’s razor. Which may not be entirely appropriate.

  5. Anyway, the issue of the wording of the law is a secondary matter. The issue is that we have laws which are deliberately not enforced as written. Let us take another example; according to the law (SOA2003) it is illegal for underage persons to have sex. At the time this law was passed, the government explicitly stated however that the law would not be enforced if the persons are both underage, even though they are above the age of criminal responsibility. It was widely discussed at the time that this is not good lawmaking- they said “we have this criminal offence in law, but the police and courts will not as a matter of policy enforce it, and private prosecutions on its basis will not be allowed to proceed”.

    So back with the law under discussion as enforced, the CP law would, if honestly written, state “It is a very serious criminal offence to produce child pornography, unless the producer is under 18, in which case it is legal”. But they don’t want to write that down, because it is obviously total ass.

  6. magnusw

    And what about the men she contacted who weren’t interested, why didn’t they call the police?

    They almost certainly assumed she was the police.

    A troubled child. Locking her up isn’t going to help. No pa, we assume?

  7. What makes you consider her “troubled”? What does this word even mean? What if we consider the argument that after puberty, human beings desire to engage in sexual behaviours, including display? Is the girl who shortens her school skirt in order to display to male observers “troubled”, or merely articulating a normal biological imperative?

  8. > And what about the men she contacted who weren’t interested, why didn’t they call the police?

    Well, this rather depends on whether she was just selecting men at random or was using her judgement to contact men who were interested in naked thirteen-year-olds. If the latter, the ones who weren’t interested were merely not interested in her, not in child porn in general.

  9. Whilst I know it won’t make a jot of difference in law, it would be interesting to know what age the girl said she was when she was conversing with these men.

  10. So Much for Subtlety

    It’s a little difficult to insist that he was corrupting her, isn’t it?

    The issue is not what she thought. It is what he thought. Rape exists in the mind of the rapist, not the victim. And yes, this is someone I would like locked up. So would, I am guessing, a lot of fathers.

  11. So Much for Subtlety

    Ian B – “What makes you consider her “troubled”? What does this word even mean? What if we consider the argument that after puberty, human beings desire to engage in sexual behaviours, including display? Is the girl who shortens her school skirt in order to display to male observers “troubled”, or merely articulating a normal biological imperative?”

    Sexting is not wearing a short skirt. And sexting 200 adult males is not the same as sexting one 13 year old boy.

    Seriously Ian? You genuinely question this?

  12. SMFS-

    I’m questioning assumptions (as usual) since they seem to me to be arbitrary value judgements which most people take for granted rather than even seeing a need to justify, let alone actually doing so. Let’s do some commonsensey psychology; let’s say she found the attention gratifying. Is this remarkable, or is it simply that we find it so because it transgresses a current taboo of our society?

    Let me put it this way; consider the sentence, “some women enjoy the sexual admiration of males”. Is that an incorrect statement?

  13. Rape exists in the mind of the rapist, not the victim.

    Not according to Catharine Mackinnon, who to all intents and purposes is the author of the new rape regime. According to her, it exists (exclusively) in the minds of the victim, not the rapist, hence the argument (now being implemented, as with Ched Evans) that whether or not the accused rapist thought he had consent is irrelevant; what matters is the woman’s (subsequent) opinion.

    I recommend her “Feminism, Marxism, Method and the State” for a primer.

  14. Sexting is not wearing a short skirt. And sexting 200 adult males is not the same as sexting one 13 year old boy.

    They are part of the same continuum and can be examined similarly. It is just matters of degree. Online, 200 friends are as easy to acquire as one, hence Facebook.

  15. So Much for Subtlety

    Ian B – “I’m questioning assumptions (as usual) since they seem to me to be arbitrary value judgements which most people take for granted rather than even seeing a need to justify, let alone actually doing so.”

    We need to draw the line somewhere and it is bound to be arbitrary. But I would think that everyone can agree a 13 year old girl who is sexting 200 men has issues. The men who are sexting back do too but of a different order.

    “Let’s do some commonsensey psychology; let’s say she found the attention gratifying. Is this remarkable, or is it simply that we find it so because it transgresses a current taboo of our society?”

    Let’s say she did. Then she has clear boundary issues. Common-sensey psychology says this is not healthy and common sense is almost certainly right here.

    “Let me put it this way; consider the sentence, “some women enjoy the sexual admiration of males”. Is that an incorrect statement?”

    Let us agree it is true. Let us also agree that healthy behaviour involves seeking long term stable relationships. Which is not compatible with sexting 200 adult males.

    Ian B – “Not according to Catharine Mackinnon, who to all intents and purposes is the author of the new rape regime.”

    F**k Catherine Mackinnon.

    Ian B – “They are part of the same continuum and can be examined similarly. It is just matters of degree. Online, 200 friends are as easy to acquire as one, hence Facebook.”

    Texting your ex once is stupid but reasonable. Texting her 200 times is probably a criminal offense. We may well have a continuum. But we need to make distinctions along that continuum at some point. Where does creepy become stalking? When does a threat become a threat? The fact that it is a continuum does not mean we can’t use our common sense to recognise what is a cry for help.

  16. If the age of consent and the child porn laws mean anything, they mean that, if a young girl decides to come on to old men, the old men are supposed to say no.

    Talk of arbitrary boundaries is silly. If everyone was behaving a certain way with no laws in place and then we imposed the laws over the top of that framework of existing behaviour, those boundaries would be arbitrary. In the real world, we have a feedback loop between people’s behaviour and the law. Deadlines influence behaviour. If the age of consent were fourteen, fourteen-year-olds would behave differently for knowing that.

    I agree that there should be some legal sanction against the girl involved — either you’re producing child porn or you’re not. I wouldn’t think locking her up would be very productive, though, and it’s not as if she’s earning money to pay a fine. Who knows? Maybe the authorities are dealing with her in some appropriate way. We wouldn’t be told, in order to preserve her anonymity.

  17. SquanderTwo: ‘…they mean that, if a young girl decides to come on to old men, the old men are supposed to say no.’

    Hence why Clarissa’s question really ought to have been answered.

  18. F**k Catherine Mackinnon.

    Not much use saying that. You live under a set of laws authored by her. You need to take her justifications for them into account in order to understand them.

    Let’s say she did. Then she has clear boundary issues. Common-sensey psychology says this is not healthy and common sense is almost certainly right here.

    and

    Let us agree it is true. Let us also agree that healthy behaviour involves seeking long term stable relationships. Which is not compatible with sexting 200 adult males.

    We’re in the realm of the is and the ought. What I’m proposing here is that human beings have a certain nature. We cannot decide what ought to be, until we ascertain the nature of that nature. For instance, the idea that “healthy behaviour involves seeking long term stable relationships” is an astonishing presumption; not only does it make an assumption about what is “healthy” it seems to fly in the face of overwhelming observations of human nature, which is that vast numbers of people have casual sex and always have. And in this case, we’re not even discussing sex. Just sexual display behaviour; titillation.

    So the “is” issue is whether or not this is normal behaviour, and the “ought” is whether it should be allowed by society. So let’s forget her age for a moment and consider a 20 year old who is titillating herself and others by sexting on the internets. Is she in some way damaged and in need of dispatch to a re-education camp where moustachioed lesbians will administer stern correction, or this quite normal? And if it’s normal, should it be suppressed anyway due to perceived harmful effects on society as a whole? These are different things. Does the 20 year old have “boundary issues” (whatever on Earth they are) or is she just having a bit of fun?

  19. What makes you consider her “troubled”? What does this word even mean?

    Emotionally disturbed. Not normal behavior for a 13yo. A girl that age would not seek out much older men or send them possibly pornographic pictures of herself.

    However, I am of course assuming a typical 13yo because we don’t have any data to the contrary. In fact we have very little data.

    How old did she say she was?
    How old did she appear?
    How old did the the defendant claim to be?
    He said “If you love me you will do this”. For this to work she would have to have believed she had a relationship with him. In which case she wasn’t sending pix to 200 other guys.

    Yeah, about these ‘200’ guys. Why did the the prosecution even mention them? They are irrelevant to the case in hand. Surely most of them would be ordinary social media flirtatious chit chat. Sounds to me like ‘there are paedos everywhere’ scaremongering.

  20. Emotionally disturbed. Not normal behavior for a 13yo. A girl that age would not seek out much older men or send them possibly pornographic pictures of herself.

    This is the part I’m having trouble with. There seems to just be an expectation of behaviour based on how we think people (in this case, teenage girls) ought to be, so then we find the “is” doesn’t match, and declare a psychological dysfunction.

    We’re back with the current dogma of age matching; the idea that people should emotionally prefer mates of their own age. There doesn’t seem to be any justification from nature for this. Rather, there are peak attractiveness ages for both genders, and most people regardless of their own age see those as sexual ideals. THere are exceptions of course; human sexuality can adopt fetishisations of the unusual. Some people like granny porn. But most don’t, which is back with arguments we’ve had here numerous times about men looking at glamour and porn featuring females between their teens (legal minimum) and mid 20s. Whatever the male’s own age.

    The ideal male age is more plastic, due to the tendency for women to be attracted to status as well as physical looks. Nonetheless, males in their 20s may be reasonably be considered in the peak demographic. The idea that a teenage girl ought to prefer callow spotty youths of her own age seems to me to be pure dogma which certainly doesn’t fit what I remember when I was at school, which was that the girls with sufficient pulchritude were deliberately going out with older lads- and in general idealising TV and pop stars in their 20s and even 30s. Or in my sister’s case, Tele Savalas, a middle aged man with no hair. Who loves ya, baby?

  21. > Yeah, about these ‘200’ guys. Why did the the prosecution even mention them?

    I think we may need to chronologically rearrange some of The Telegraph’s report.

    Mitigating, Clare Dowse said: “The girl was in contact with a large number of men. He was not linked to any of those men in any way. He is not part of any group.”

    Then:

    Prosecutor Kate Davey told Chelmsford Crown Court of the police investigation into the activities between the girl and a string of men, saying: “Two hundred cases arise from it.”

    So it was probably the defence who brought it up initially, which would make sense. I’m guessing the judge responded to that claim from the defence by asking the prosecution if it were true, and they then confirmed the number of cases.

  22. Ian

    I would say it was observation, not expectation. That is how the vast majority of 13yo girls behave. A girl of that age knows instinctively that she would be at a disadvantage in a relationship with a grown man as she would probably not be able to effectively manipulate him.

    Let me retell the story without the sensationalism. The girl is an outlier. She is 13 but looks and acts 16. She has no father at home and that is known to accelerate sexual development. She is isolated, the other girls in her class at school seem like children to her and the older girls won’t hang out with her because she’s only a kid. She turns to the internet probably looking at guys 18-20 which would be appropriate for her developmental age. She exchanges casual flirtation with many guys and then gets involved with the defendant (who lied about his age.) He persuades her to send him ‘child porn’, which given the loose definition may have been fairy tame, an unbuttoned blouse would probably qualify. Her mum finds out calls the plod, sonny is hauled before the beak and a whole bunch guys who may have done nothing more than comment approvingly of her selfies are ‘internet paedos’.

    I would be very surprised if she told anyone she was 13. In these cases, the girl looks like a young woman, sees herself as a young woman and interacts with men as a young woman. There is no reason at all for her to draw attention to the fact that she is chronologically only a child.

    Squander Two
    Yes, I think you’re right. I still smell scaremongering though. 200 cases? Really? When may we expect to see them?

  23. Roue-

    That may well be a reasonable scenario. The issue I was trying to get at is why the presumption that there is something wrong with her, rather than that just being how she is. Why “emotionally disturbed”? Thinking back to when I was 13, I can think of any number of women considerably older than myself I’d have been cockahoop to have had sexual attention from. Cheryl Ladd and Victoria Principal being sufficient to still cause a little hormone surge just typing their names. At one point I couldn’t bear to watch the opening credits of Dallas when Vicky’s boobs bounced towards the camera with her following behind.

    So okay, I’m male. We’re all sex monsters. But isn’t it just possible that it’s normal for at least some girls to feel the same, rather than the assumption that they just lie back and thing of England in return for sufficient remuneration?

  24. You reckon the CPS have taken to exaggerating the defence’s mitigation pleas?

    The CPS will say anything if it quivers the dial on the sex hysteria meter. Keir Starmer. Alison Saunders. Etc.

  25. There was also my geography teacher Miss Andrew, and the sports teacher with the big boobies Mrs Khan, come to think of it.

  26. So Much for Subtlety

    Ian B – “Not much use saying that. You live under a set of laws authored by her. You need to take her justifications for them into account in order to understand them.”

    I disagree. We need to “de-normalise” her views. Not give them the credit of taking them seriously but point out she is, in fact, a mentally damaged hysteric who should not have been allowed near the legal process.

    “We’re in the realm of the is and the ought.”

    What else is law but a statement of the ought?

    “What I’m proposing here is that human beings have a certain nature. We cannot decide what ought to be, until we ascertain the nature of that nature.”

    I am not sure that is true. Our nature certainly encourages rape and murder. The law is there to prevent us from fully exploring our natures. The idea that we need to bring the laws in line with our desires precisely misses the point. The law is intended to do the opposite.

    “For instance, the idea that “healthy behaviour involves seeking long term stable relationships” is an astonishing presumption; not only does it make an assumption about what is “healthy” it seems to fly in the face of overwhelming observations of human nature, which is that vast numbers of people have casual sex and always have.”

    Does it make any assumption? Surely observations tell us this is so. We can look out and see. What is more the evidence is overwhelming that there is a positive social good in stable long term relationships. Children of said relationships are less likely to be criminals, mentally ill, long term unemployed and so on through every pathology you can name. Sure, some people have casual sex. More and more over the years. That has given us Baby P. Not a social good.

    “So the “is” issue is whether or not this is normal behaviour, and the “ought” is whether it should be allowed by society.”

    I am pretty sure we can agree it is not common for 13 year olds to be sexting 200 adult men.

    “Is she in some way damaged and in need of dispatch to a re-education camp where moustachioed lesbians will administer stern correction, or this quite normal?”

    Is it normal? Perhaps. But a 20 year old has, we must presume, the emotional maturity to go with the physical maturity that means she enjoys it. The whole point about children is that they are physically mature before they are mentally mature. I would not encourage any 20 year old to sexting 200 adults. But it is the parents’ job, with society’s help, to make sure 13 year olds do not.

    “Does the 20 year old have “boundary issues” (whatever on Earth they are) or is she just having a bit of fun?”

    She probably does. And no doubt one day Britain will punish it by stoning. But we are not there yet.

    Ian B – “We’re back with the current dogma of age matching; the idea that people should emotionally prefer mates of their own age.”

    I reject the pro-paedophilic view that sex is fine as long as they are both too immature to deal with it. So that is neither here nor there.

    “Nonetheless, males in their 20s may be reasonably be considered in the peak demographic.”

    I doubt that is true unless they play for Arsenal. But no matter.

  27. I am not sure that is true. Our nature certainly encourages rape and murder. The law is there to prevent us from fully exploring our natures. The idea that we need to bring the laws in line with our desires precisely misses the point. The law is intended to do the opposite.

    An error. For every rapist, there is a victim who desires not to be raped. For every murderer, a victim who desires not to be murdered. It is human nature to seek to avoid harm and violation. The law is in line with those desires. The desire to live without harm is a stronger and more persistent nature than the desire to cause harm, which is why every law system prosecutes those who do the harm; it is natural to recognise these acts as transgressions against the person.

    The other idea- that it is the law’s job to contain our own passions- is consistently, by contrast, controversial; hence the attempts (by puritans and the like, natch) to justify such laws by attempting to show third party harms of a general “social disruptive” nature.

  28. Squander Two

    Fair point, but who benefits when the plod seize drugs with a ‘street value’ of bazillions?

    It enhances the reputation of law enforcement if they have collared 200 internet paedos. They have obviously made us all a little bit safer.

  29. Ian,

    Why emotionally disturbed?

    Fair point, so allow me to backtrack a little. If she ‘presents’ (as the quacks say), as a young woman then there is nothing wrong with her, she’s just advanced for her age. If she presents as a child then I would expect a history of abuse.

  30. The Law’s job is protect the innocent and the vulnerable. Applying some “commonsensy” psychology to it, that is the common sense that the common man and woman applies, we can see that 13 year old girls are children. We can see it with our eyes, we can hear it in our conversations with our 13 – year old daughters. We recognise that these children need protection from predatory adults. This is common sense and we don’t need to worry too much with further analysis. We then read a thread like this and wonder what “commonsensy” thought process leads anyone to suggest that it is otherwise. We wonder WHY an apparently disinterested adult regurgitates the nonsense put out by PIE 30 years ago; why he is so passionate on a subject about which he claims to be disinterested.

    As the title of this blog goes: Hmmm

  31. That’s because I’m not disinterested Ironman, what a strange assertion (as strange as all the other assertions in your comment). As a matter for discussion, I’m clearly very interested in it. You don’t seem to have any grasp of reality at all.

    Okay, I appreciate you’re trolling, thanks for that, but consider this: just about every culture with a rite of passage to adulthood put it around age 13 (think, Bar Mitzvah). Now okay, that’s boys. Can you think of a reason why? Might it be because that might be the age when, on average, some sort of recognisable state change has occured in the human being? Can you guess what that might be?

  32. Are you disinterested or just uninterested? I believe neither.

    I train with a triathlon club in a local pool, a junior swimming club uses it before us. As there are communal showers the parents of the, mostly, girls stand nearby as a child protection measure. It appears to be sort of commonsensy to them – the parents of the girls – that their daughters are children who require protecting for predatory adults. It seems sort of commonsensy to them that this change you describe doesn’t happen overnight and their 13 year old daughters aren’t now adults capable of forming adults relationships with older men. Just a glance at their kids passing me by confirms for me that they are correct in this. However, they – and society in general – must obviously be wrong and you are right.
    Disinterested; then why so interested?

  33. Ironman

    We can see 13 year old girls are children

    Unfortunately you can’t. You can only see most of them are children. Thin end of the bell curve and all that. There was a well publicised case in Oz in 2002 of a 13yo Maori girl working for an escort agency. Nobody suspected she was under 18 until her mother complained.

    I teach second year in a high school. (14 year olds.) The smallest girl could probably pass for 11. The biggest I could show you a photo of with the caption ‘mother of two Mrs. Smith’ and you wouldn’t raise an eyebrow. That’s just out of about 250 girls.

  34. Ironman, I appreciate that you’re not really capable of rationality on this; taboo systems work that way. They short circuit reasoning. But please try.

    The issue is not what girls ought to do. As I said above, it’s about the is. Let us consider driving; we say a 15 year old is not competent enough to drive a car. But we would not think it a psychological abnormality for a 15 year old to desire to drive a car. We have many competence based restraints in our society, normally to protect others from the perceived incompetence. (E.g. 15 year olds tearing around the roads in a ton of metal). Whether they are competent is however a separate issue from whether the desire is an abnormality.

    Before moving on from competence, it is worth noting that we are (as Roue says) in bell curve territory. Some 18 year olds aren’t fit to drive a car. Some 13 year olds may be capable of being responsible road users. We just set a bar at a point where we think most might be reasonably competent. It doesn’t tell us anything about the individual.

    The issue I was addressing here was whether it is abnormal for any 13 year old- having a suite of adult emotions furnished by puberty- to want to flirt with men on the internet. I don’t think it is abnormal. That doesn’t mean we have to consider any or all 13 year old girls generally competent to do so.

    But if you believe false things about human beings, you can’t understand them. If you think that the emotions of a post-pubescent are of the same nature (childrens emotions) as of a pre-pubescent, you can’t understand why they act the way they do, and you will assume an abnormality where none exists.

    But, you’ve demonstrated in numerous comments that you’re not capable of a rational discussion on this issue, so I don’t expect much to be honest. Please feel free to keep playing the man, rather than the ball.

  35. Well, when the man can’t explain why he is so very exercised on this subject then the man and the ball are one and the same.

    I can well appreciate that the odd child (and I.do mean a very small minority) believes she is a woman and might genuinely wish to flirt with an older man. What I cannot accept is that an adult would EVER wish to engage with a 13 year old. That is a problem, that adult represents a danger to children. We can agree know that can’t we. Can we?!

  36. My problem is you see, however we may wish to dress this is, it still comes down to you arguing for a change in the rules concerning the age of consent.

  37. I am “exercised” on the subject for two reasons. The first is political; this issue is an enormous driving force of the hegemonic discourse in our society at the moment. It is also being used to radically alter our legal system, such that innocence until proven guilty is being inverted. This should be a major concern to any liberal or libertarian.

    Secondly, because I’ve been following the general development since Satanic Ritual Abuse arose, as an interest, watching it all flower into the modern paedohysteria. As such it has long been a particular interest of mine. There is no better way in the modern world to watch a society slowly going mad. The last couple of days have seen front page claims of murderous orgies by Conservative MPs in the supposedly respectable press. Anyone should find this kind of social development interesting, at least.

    Thirdly, I have always been interested in human taboo and social systems, even before I realised that was what I was interested in. As a child I would ask awkward questions like why men wear trousers and women wear skirts or why I was supposed to stand up if the National Anthem is played, even when the Queen isn’t there. The functioning of the human taboo system increasingly fascinates me, because it is how much of our social policy is implemented. Once you’ve ignited disgust reactions in people, all reasoned debate stops. Which is why, for instance, people beating up gays fifty years ago considered themselves to be doing something worthy and moral. And as a general principle, it long ago became apparent to me, and a matter of interest to me, that the most indignant and certain denunciations seem to be reserved for those areas which are in fact highly questionable in the light of reason. People get very angry when their certainties are questioned, and rapidly devolve into angry finger pointing to avoid examining whether their beliefs have a solid basis. This can be especially true when the certainty in the taboo is undermined by its relative novelty.

    Up until well within living memory, nobody believed in the current paedophilia taboo in its current form (at least as regards the age group under discussion here). People chaperoned young women- “lock up your daughters”- not because of a belief in a cohort of roving abnormal perverts but due to the recognition that once they have started acquiring secondary sexual characteristics, they will become of increasing general interest to ordinary men. So here we have the weirdness; by shuffling everyone under 16 (or increasingly, 18) into the category of “child”, we end up denying reality. We end up saying that a fully physically and emotionally mature young person is in the same category as a six year old. Whether or not they are sufficiently competent to indulge their nature is a different matter. Locking up your daughters indeed asserted that they are not. But people did not lock up their daughters because they were “children”, but because they were not children any more.

    Or to put it more succinctly, if you continue to use childhood and legal minority as synonyms, you’re not going to get to grips with the nature of the situation. And you can’t even start considering what moral rules are appropriate until you have.

  38. My problem is you see, however we may wish to dress this is, it still comes down to you arguing for a change in the rules concerning the age of consent.

    1/3 of the population lose their virginity illegally. The government has just put out guidelines declaring this normal (to the usual huffing and puffing response). Legal ages of consent have been all over the place in different countries and times. The current high- 18- idea is particularly American. Our own law recognises 13-16 year olds to be in a different category sexually to under 13s, in some circumstances. This is clealry a subject worthy of debate.

  39. “Clearly a subject worthy of debate”. That’s what Richard Murphy says when he wants to wriggle away from a direct question!

    I think 16 is exactly right. I can see no good reason why an adult should ever think he or she can have sexual contact with a child below that age. Really simple.

    So, after 46 comments, is “worthy of debate ” all you are prepared to offer?

  40. Sigh. I offered an enormous amount in this and other threads. That was just answering your finger-pointy how dare you rhetoric, Ironman.

    I’m glad you think 16 is exactly right. You haven’t ever given an argument in favour of this particular number, but so long as you are certain, then all is right with the world, apparently. It does have the benefit of being simple, it has to be said. Most bad policies have that virtue. Why not 17? or 21?

    Anyway, I think it’s not just a taboo problem here. You don’t seem terribly bright either. Feel free to carry on being simple.

  41. BTW, if you’re considering the construction “I approve of policy X because in my considered judgement policy X is the best policy” bear in mind that it’s just circular.

  42. OK. So you choose not to address his directly but instead will hide behind ad hominem. Other than to note the parallels with Richard Murphy – hurl personal abuse at someone and in the next breath accuse him of playing the man or ad hominem attack, refuse to say what you think directly when it gets awkward – l think I will just decide to leave this thread now and leave you wriggling. I’m not wasting time with you anymore; you’ve shown us you are full of it.

  43. “Not address this[sic?] directly”? Lol. I have written the longest posts in this thread, you have addressed none of the issues raised other than to (a) launch your usual ad hominem and (b) declare your own certainty. And you have the gall to make that criticism? You’ve got big round ones made of steel, I’ll give you that “Ironman”.

    I will just add that the argument, “The Nazis built motorways, therefore anyone who builds motorways is a Nazi” is one of the more juvenile fallacies.

  44. So Much for Subtlety

    Ian B – “An error. For every rapist, there is a victim who desires not to be raped. For every murderer, a victim who desires not to be murdered. It is human nature to seek to avoid harm and violation. The law is in line with those desires.”

    It is not an error. It is you changing the subject. Yes, rape and murder impact someone else who would prefer not to be raped or murdered. But our desires still lead us to want to rape and murder. The law is there to make sure we do not.

    “The desire to live without harm is a stronger and more persistent nature than the desire to cause harm, which is why every law system prosecutes those who do the harm; it is natural to recognise these acts as transgressions against the person.”

    I am not sure you can quantify those desires and that is not what the legal system does. It often does not qualify some rapes as rapes or some murders as murders. These are both socially defined. Regardless of what the victim would like.

    The issue with a 13 year old is whether she is likely to regret anything she does now when she does not have the mental maturity to fully comprehend what she has done or is doing. I tend to think she will. Or she should.

    “The other idea- that it is the law’s job to contain our own passions- is consistently, by contrast, controversial; hence the attempts (by puritans and the like, natch) to justify such laws by attempting to show third party harms of a general “social disruptive” nature.”

    No it isn’t! It is a long standing legal view that goes back to the Romans at least if not further. Everyone has traditionally viewed the law as necessary to restrain our anti-social impulses. As it is.

  45. Roue,

    > Fair point, but who benefits when the plod seize drugs with a ‘street value’ of bazillions? It enhances the reputation of law enforcement if they have collared 200 internet paedos. They have obviously made us all a little bit safer.

    Yes, and if the CPS had put out a press release about these 200 cases, I would be suspicious for exactly that reason. But, in this case, it looks like they weren’t even planning to mention it till the judge asked them a direct question.

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