Daily Archives: March 17, 2014

Ethel Quayle’s new Spirit of Child Pornography: as a menace to free speech in areas unrelated to porn…


Date: March 17, 2014

Author: K. Xavier

Notice of Raw Links:

Ethel Quayle’s new Spirit of Child Pornography: as a menace to free speech in areas unrelated to porn.

Whenever you need to respond to something objectionable that’s come out of the universities, you are forced to wonder how to do it most effectively. This becomes an especially pointed question if the matter is something as controversial as pedophilia and freedom of thought. You’re taking on people who are heavily fortified in socially constructed legitimacy – all the right degrees, committees, job titles, connections, jargon, and academic back-scratching history, not to mention socially approved sexualities.

It won’t do much good, then, to respond in full university jargon and pretend to be writing a journal paper. Might as well stick to popular, everyday language as much as possible. Many people can read that sort of response, and even the relevant academics will be able to imagine what it might look like if it was written in their field-specific dialect. Some, of course, if confronted with ordinary English, will think ‘not legitimate,’ and turn their restricted and busy minds elsewhere. But most academics really are fully fledged human beings and don’t screen out reality quite so stringently.

In the writing below, I will use the journalistic style, surname-only, to refer to persons I am talking about after the first mention. No disrespect is intended.

What I am objecting to here is portions of a document called “Child pornography and the sexual exploitation of children online,” subtitled “A contribution of ECPAT International to the World Congress III against Sexual Exploitation of Children and Adolescents, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil 25-28 November 2008.” ECPAT International is an organization that states that its acronym stands for “End Child Prostitution, Child Pornography and Trafficking of Children for Sexual Purposes;” the document is online in English (http://www.ecpat.net/WorldCongressIII/PDF/Publications/ICT_Psychosocial/Thematic_Paper_ICTPsy_ENG.pdf) , French (http://www.ecpat.net/worldcongressIII/PDF/Publications/ICT_Psychosocial/Thematic_Paper_ICTPsy_FRE.pdf) and Spanish (http://www.ecpat.net/WorldCongressIII/PDF/Publications/ICT_Psychosocial/Thematic_Paper_ICTPsy_SPA.pdf). {links not checked in this pastebin paste – Kamil}

I am objecting to this document not out of a desire to defend child pornography, but rather out of a desire to ensure that campaigns against it don’t, as a byproduct, create a climate hostile to freedom of thought, freedom of speech and free assembly for law-abiding people who are sexually attracted to minors. As you read on, I think you will see that this is a realistic concern. There’s much more at stake here than porn.

The main author of this ECPAT document is one of academia’s most active campaigners against child pornography and child sexual exploitation, Ethyl Quayle (photo at http://www.unicef.org/infobycountry/images/ibc_ireland_onlineexploit1.jpg). Quayle, currently serving as a lecturer in the Clinical Psychology program of the University of Edinburgh, is one of the long term leaders of a European-Union-funded project called COPINE (Combating Paedophile Information Networks in Europe) and a co-developer of the famous COPINE scale (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Child_pornography#Typology) that classifies “child abuse images” into 10 categories based on erotic content and social objectionability. The wide-ranging nature of the COPINE scale, which starts by classifying items like photos showing “swimming costumes from…family albums” as level 1 exploitative, says a lot about the fundamental approach Quayle has taken. Indeed, the final sentence in the description of level 1 or photos “indicative” of abuse, tells all: “Pictures of children playing in normal settings, in which the context or organisation of pictures by the collector indicates inappropriateness.” Just as, traditionally, ‘beauty is in the eye of the beholder,’ for Quayle, abuse lies in the “inappropriate” thoughts of the beholder. If that seems to be a presumptuous statement, keep reading.

Just to give some background to Quayle’s document, there have been two long-standing objections to child pornography. One is the view that children should not be put in a sexual situation that is recorded for later viewing by other people. The other is that viewing such recordings might incite people to take sexual advantage of children. Quayle carefully points out that she and her colleagues have an objection that goes beyond either of these options. I’ll get to its exact nature below.

There is an obvious reason for going beyond the two traditional objections. Each of them has limitations if you plan to take up arms against child pornography in general.

Even people who strongly support the first objection – let’s call it ‘bad to make it, bad to support its manufacture (BTMBTSM)’ – know it has points of weakness. For example, it can be argued against historically along the lines of ‘what’s done is done.’ Suppose there are photographs showing kids having sex in 1901. Everyone is dead; no one can be identified. Where’s the harm? Just as we can have a fun day treading the temples of Teotihuacan in Mexico, knowing full well that they were dedicated with hearts ripped out of sacrificed young men, we can (it may be argued) view these historical artifacts without harming anyone, even if they were arguably unethically or even cruelly made at the time. Also, the first objection doesn’t apply to anything that wasn’t perceptibly sexual when it happened. For example, a collection of photos of naked boys swimming in the river in 1932 can hardly be objected to: the subjects might be delighted to see the old photos, and why shouldn’t everyone else be delighted too? I’ve already written elsewhere about the child and teen erotica materials that were legally produced in the 70’s and 80’s that have been reduced to illegality today (website gone -Kamil). When societies capriciously outlaw previously legal items that may be lying forgotten somewhere in your house or apartment (maybe left there by an old roommate), you know that something strange is going on.

The BTMBTSM objection also raises uncomfortable, controversial questions about whether children being sexual with each other is objectionable in itself, and whether recording these moments of sexual realism can be intrinsically wrong in all cases. Certainly in cases where children are forced or persuaded, to their later deep humiliation, to take part in pornography, wrong has been done. But are child actors harmed by doing a slightly faked sex scene for a coming-of-age movie? Now make the sex real and voluntary, and has a great deal changed? Ethicists and civil liberatarians can make all sorts of contradictory firm statements about such matters. Even the ultimate artistic question – “does art have a right to depict every truth in life?” emerges in cases such as paintings or writings about the artist’s own fantasies and past experiences. This is messy. BTMBTSM also leaves the door wide open for legal cartoon child pornography, personal reminiscences about childhood sex, and fiction about sex involving children.

The second objection, the ‘opening the floodgates’ (OTF) argument, appears at first to be much simpler to uphold. It proposes that viewing child pornography loosens up the viewer’s mind, making him imagine that the scenes he sees in the depictions are possible for him to view in the flesh or even to touch and get involved in. It also proposes that the circulation of such material infects additional people with the same loosening-up of inhibitions and prohibitions. This objection has the minor problem that it is clearly involved with thought control, directly trying to regulate what people have in their minds. In practice, however, western societies have never been afraid to erect some barriers against “thoughtcrime,” as author George Orwell called it in his novel ‘1984.’ Traditional penalties against crimes like adultery and sodomy were often exaggeratedly severe in order to frighten others away from the same orgasmically reinforced behaviours. Blanket prohibitions against publishing on sexual topics – all those bans on D.H. Lawrence’s explicit novel Lady Chatterley’s Lover – also exerted thought control against sexual no-no’s.

The main problem with OTF is that it refers to causality. It requires that you believe that images will mechanically cause people to change their thought patterns and to perform acts that they wouldn’t perform otherwise. Free will, the fundamental assumption of the justice system, must be seen to be compromised by sexual imagery. Or more simply, you have to think that many people will take a monkey-see, monkey-do approach to depictions. This may sound like common sense, since we all take in information that influences what we do, and the entire advertising industry is dedicated to motivating us with images. And yet, there are deep problems involved in assuming images will have predictable effects. We have a relationship with advertising that we don’t have with all other sorts of visuals and stories. We all know, for example, that most people can watch violent dramas on stage or on television and yet not be mechanically caused to go maim or kill people. Horror films don’t function as advertising. Indeed, watching second-hand, controlled violence – for example, in American or Australian football games – is thought to be one of our main ways of shouting aggressive urges out of our system. This is called ‘catharsis,’ when merely watching something works out the energy that might otherwise go into problematical actions. Images may cause the exact opposite of what they show.

The catharsis argument has long been applied to pornography of all kinds. Using porn has been proposed as a way of quenching urges for extramarital sex, problematic fetish behavior (think of the poor fellow a few years ago who was arrested while standing in the underside of a women’s campground outhouse, watching all the women do their thing up above – he must have had very poor internet skills) and sex with underage partners. Social-scientific studies attempting to find out whether pornography causes what it shows or defuses it are a notoriously mixed bag, some claiming an effect and some claiming no effect (link website now gone – Kamil). Such studies are also plagued by scientific problems – biased assumptions and skewed samples. Studies on pedophiles, for example, have mostly been done on people who have been arrested or otherwise caught. The groups studied probably had exaggerated proportions of people with low intelligence, and people whose risk-taking behavior stemmed from serious depression or other existing mental health problems. These highly arrestable subgroups are also the most likely groups to take a monkey-see-monkey-do approach to images: the very-low-intelligence person might see new ideas he truly had never thought of, and then have no idea why they shouldn’t be acted on; the sociopath might reason that if someone else was actually getting something that was only a fantasy for him, he was darn well going to get some live action too; and the depressed person might think, ‘what have I got to lose if I do that too?’ On the other hand, the numbers of people who use erotica to subdue their socially inconvenient sexual urges are likely to be far larger than the numbers in these risk-prone special groups.

Logically, in order to believe that child pornography causes sex with children or further child porn production, you have to also believe the parallel causality stories. You cannot escape the analogy that adult hetero pornography must cause the degradation of women and relationships, and that violent depictions must cause violence. ‘Sensual images propagate the morally loose things they show’ has to be a general conclusion – it can’t be specific to one arbitrary topic or another. In fact, the OTF campaign against child pornography on the internet is the outgrowth of a (so far) spectacularly unsuccessful campaign to eliminate adult heterosexual pornography on the grounds that it causes women to be conceived of and treated as objects. I strongly suspect that everyone who believes in OTF causality for child pornography also believes in ‘objectification’ causality in adult hetero porn. In working against child porn, these believers have simply chosen a field where the counter-arguments that trip them up are socially difficult to present. Their arguments can’t win on the adult battlefield, but the same propositions can win on the child front.

The front runner in the OTF camp in recent times has been the Supreme Court of Canada. In its key judgment R.vs. Sharpe (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/R._v._Sharpe ), it bought heavily into the idea that child pornography causes unrealistic deformations to occur in the minds of those who view it. This idea was introduced to it by expert witness Dr. Peter Collins (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peter_Collins_(psychiatrist) ) who was then working for the Ontario Provincial Police. The court, in its judgment, accepted the following (among other, similar propositions that I won’t discuss in detail):

Dr. Collins testified at trial to the first type of harm identified by the Crown, namely that the possession of child pornography contributes to the cognitive distortions of paedophiles. He testified that it is generally accepted amongst the vast majority of forensic psychiatrists that possession of child pornography reinforces some paedophiles’ cognitive distortions. He described these “offence-facilitating beliefs” as the rationalizations and justifications that paedophiles have for their deviant behaviour. Cognitive distortions contribute to the paedophile’s belief that sexual activity with children is acceptable, and that children enjoy sex with adults. Dr. Collins concluded that child pornography, cognitive distortions and the validation of the belief that sexual activity with children is acceptable are inextricably linked.
[end quote]

Firstly, Collins says, the moral fundamental that ‘sex with children is unacceptable’ is literally warped out of shape within the brain by ideas arising from exposure to child pornography. Secondly, porn introduces the unthinkably unrealistic idea that ‘children enjoy sex with adults’ as a new fun-house mirror deep in the pedophile’s mind.

Collin’s first proposition is basic Victorianism: seeing any depiction of forbidden sex unforbids it. Child porn makes sex with children seem do-able. Depicting adultery makes adultery happen. Writing about promiscuity produces orgies. Allowing sale of Lady Chatterley’s Lover weakens the family. Cognitive distortions consist of permissions to accept the unacceptable, and these permissions are caused by viewing a representation of the unacceptable. Freedom of speech thus must be limited so that it doesn’t allow any representation of forbidden sex. Thought must be limited to what is legally allowed in real life – but only in the case of sex. Sex has more corrupting juju than violence or any other topic that can be shown in books, photos and movies. There are no legally problematical cognitive distortions built up by watching a grisly revenge murder on TV, but such distortions are built up by seeing realistic or cartoon imagery showing sexuality in a child.

The second proposition – that children do not enjoy sex with adults – is what philosophers, technically, would call an ‘empirical’ question. It is a real-world item that could be tested by an experiment: you could allow 500 children to decide privately if they wanted to have sex with any of 500 attractive adults, count how many (if any) decided to do so, and then interview them at later time intervals about whether or not they enjoyed it. Human behavior is a part of biology, and answers to biological questions (except where physical or chemical limits are involved) are usually statistical. It would be statistically safe to predict that some proportion of the children would enjoy sex with adults – perhaps some of the 14 year old heterosexual boys who admired the 21 year old supermodels in the adult test group. Think of the classic Summer of 42 (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Summer_of_’42), one of the most successful movies in history. Its author, Herman Raucher, did indeed fall in love with and have sex with a 30-something woman when he was a child of 14. Evidently he enjoyed the experience very much; he spent years looking for his Dorothy and wrote a movie and a book about his profound experience of love with her.

Nonetheless, such a ‘how many kids like Raucher are there?’ experiment cannot ethically or legally be run. Its outcome can only be imagined. Collins therefore proposes the bizarre cognitive short-cut of stating that imagining one experimental outcome, non-enjoyment, is cognitively well formed, while imagining the other, enjoyment, is cognitively distorted. Indeed, extending Collin’s pseudo-logic, reading Raucher’s autobiographical story, which graphically shows a child enjoying sex with an adult, provides permanent brain corruption.

And Collins is supposed to be a scientist.

Collins is currently serving, according to National Post writer Matthew Fisher, as unofficial rabbi for the American allied forces in southern Afghanistan (http://www.nationalpost.com/m/story.html?id=1461861 ). One hopes his Talmudic judgment is sounder than his scientific judgment.

The fact that the Canadian Supreme Court ate up this preposterous set of ideas from Collins shows desperation. Some rationale has to be found to ban child pornography, and this weird set of Victorian presumptions thinly dressed in a scientific burqa will have to do, if nothing better comes to hand. Child pornography causes abuse by distortedly suggesting that Herman Raucher’s reality can be real in some cases and by making thinking so seem acceptable. It’s wonderful stuff if you’re a student of propaganda, but who can take it seriously as legitimate thought?

The U.S. courts have not been kind to the OTF argument, at least not in considering whether manga and similar cartoons showing child-like characters having sex should be included in child pornography prosecutions. Quayle herself notes what they said (p. 17-18):

In Ashcroft v. Free Speech Coalition (2002) a majority of the Supreme Court struck down portions of the Child Pornography 18/Child Pornography and Sexual Exploitation of Children Online Prevention Act of 1996, stating that [prosecution of] virtual child pornography created without real or identifiable minors was unconstitutionally overbroad (Quayle, 2008). The US Court stated that, “Virtual child pornography is not ‘intrinsically related’ to the sexual abuse of children.

While the Government asserts that the images can lead to actual instances of child abuse, the causal link is contingent and indirect. The harm does not necessarily follow from the speech, but depends upon some quantified potential for subsequent criminal acts”.
[end quote]

What this means is that the court rejected the direct causality of abuse by images that are products of imagination. It allowed that some people might experience such an effect, viewing images and deciding to imitate them, but stated that this was based partly on whatever else was going on with those people, not just on the fact that they viewed images.

Even where it is accepted, the OTF argument has the limitation that what it refers to must be so clearly erotic that traditional Victorian limitations against talk about sex can be deployed against it. The pornography that is banned must clearly be pornography. A child non-erotically modelling in a basketball uniform cannot be treated as a subject of pornography, even if multitudes of pedophiles collect the images. The floodgates are opened by the nature of the images themselves, not purely by the overactive imaginations of the image viewers.

Quayle’s mission, therefore, is to provide the world with something better than OTF that can really root out child pornography completely.

I am going to quote from Quayle’s writing here and try to explain it afterward. Her writing is normally lucid and easy to understand, but it tends to divide into a mixture of obscurantism and shibboleths – obscure explanations followed by mostly unexplained moral pronouncements – when she gets to the heart of her argument. My inserted explanations are in braces { }.

p. 20 Indeed, opponents of these measures {against porn cartoons and the like}, such as the American Civil Liberties Union, have argued that people’s thoughts are their private thoughts, and that prohibition of pseudo-child pornography is a violation of free speech rights (Taylor and Quayle, 2003). However, Oswell (2006) has presented an important argument against this stating that, “Although the evidential value of the virtual image is different from an actual image (and hence the forms of police investigation and legal prosecution are different), until an image can be said to correspond to an actual case of child sexual abuse, all Internet child pornography can be viewed as real.

In this sense, the primary concern is not one of the effects of the image on others {OTF is dismissed as a primary concern} or one of the relations of power encoded in the image, but one of the virtual evidentiality of the image (ie, on the image’s capacity to refer to an objective reality that is both internal and external to the image). The ethical intensity of the virtual image lies precisely in its capacity to refer to a scene beyond itself ” (Oswell p. 258). Oswell (2006) goes on to state that the crime of possession, making or distribution of child pornography (whether virtual or not) is a crime not only against a particular child, but against all children. “It is a crime against childhood as a universal” (p. 252).

We argue that the crime of possession, and making or distribution of child pornography, whether virtual or not, are (sic) crimes not only against a particular child, but against all children.
[end quote]

Quayle echoes the last sentence above when she says (p. 10):

In this paper the term ‘sexual exploitation’ refers to activities that may include sexual abuse of children but may also refer to activities where no such abuse has taken place but where the very nature of the activities violates the very essence of childhood.
[end quote]

Looking through the first quote step by step, we see a civil libertarian argument answered by a strange sounding counter-argument from London-based sociologist David Oswell (http://www.gold.ac.uk/sociology/staff/oswell/ ). If you go to that link, by the way, and read the quoted snippet where Oswell describes parliamentary democracy happening separately to different parts of the human body (it sort of makes sense when you get there), you’ll see that Oswell is not a ‘plain English’ champion. He’s a practitioner of what I call the ‘sociological playfulness dialect’ that was popularized by famous French sociologist Jacques Derrida. The prominent language philosopher Noam Chomsky called it “pretentious rhetoric” and “obscurantism” but it became a major trend, since it tended to remove academic sociology to a verbal perch far away from common newspaper speech about the same topics. We find Quayle reaching up into this academic bird cage to pull out one of Oswell’s productions. (For the full Oswell article, see http://xuk.obu-investigators.com/library/13a/oswell_images_matter.pdf )

“Although the evidential value of the virtual image is different from an actual image, until an image can be said to correspond to an actual case of child sexual abuse, all Internet child pornography can be viewed as real.” Or, translated and made slightly case-specific, “though a cartoon can’t be used as evidence of child abuse, during the time we don’t know whether or not the cartoon was modelled on a real case of someone engaging sexually with a child, all such cartoons can still be treated as child abuse.”
[end quote]

The sentence as a whole makes little sense as a logical construction, but each of its three component clauses can be understood. The important part is the last bit. Cartoon sexuality involving children is as real as living sexuality involving children. This roughly relates to an earlier argument about UK anti-child porn legislation in Oswell’s paper:

Both {real photos and unreal images showing child sexual engagement or a child presented as erotic} are deemed records of crimes, although in one case {the unreal} the crime is virtual, rather than actual. If the legal status of the indecent photograph rests on it being a record of a real crime, then the indecent pseudo-photograph equally constitutes the record of a real crime. It is not a question of possibility {that a crime involving a real victim might be involved in the past or future}. This is a crime that has occurred in a virtual space. Just as when a stick is placed half in water it appears to bend at the point between water and air, the pseudo-photograph is real. It has reference and extension {it refers to a real type of situation and it takes up space, or, if Oswell means semantic rather than physical extension, it denotes some range of corresponding realities}. The virtual image of the submerged part of the stick has all the observable features of the stick once removed fully from the water, but when you place your hand in the water the stick is not where it appears. You cannot touch it where you see it. For UK legislation there is no dispute about the original and the counterfeit; both are defined through the criterion of the virtual image, of the simulacra {i.e., things showing similarity to something real}. (pdf p. 6)
[end quote]

You might think that when the cartoon porn viewer commits the “virtual crime…that occurred in a virtual space” he can only do so if there is an imaginary child who is the victim. Indeed, such a child does exist in Oswell’s world, the “virtual child:” “each time an image is used the virtual child is victimised (pdf p. 9)” In writing this, though, Oswell makes it clear that his concepts lean heavily on a previous publication by none other than Ethel Quayle, in combination with her boyfriend or husband Max Taylor and another colleague (Taylor et al., 2001). Ethel is very much at the heart of this whole “virtual child” line of discourse. She comes very close to quoting herself when she quotes Oswell.

In case this notion of a phantom child swirling in the mysteries of new-technology-space seems unconvincing or even, well, childish, an appeal is made to greater abstractions. Oswell says:

{In UK law,}the ‘photograph’ becomes the measure of the real and its observation. In this sense, the implicit prioritisation in UK law of virtual child pornography means that the crime of possession, making or distribution of child pornography (whether virtual or not) is a crime not only against a particular child, but against all children. It is a crime against childhood as a universal.
[end quote]

This hymn to the abstract condition of being a child stands alone in legal history, as far as I know. It doesn’t withstand general comparison well. For example, if zoophile porn were illegal in the UK (I don’t know if it is or not), it would be hard to imagine Oswell stating that possession of cartoon images of sex with dogs in the UK was considered to be a crime against caninity (doggyness) as a universal. His phrasing here has a preachy quality that can only be used with regard to children. It could just be dismissed as overblown rhetoric – but stay tuned. There’s more to it than that.

Oswell also argues that to possess a cartoon showing underage erotica is to sexually assault all children at the same time. Quayle uses this quotation as a pivotal statement in her paper.

We argue that the crime of possession, and making or distribution of child pornography, whether virtual or not, are crimes not only against a particular child, but against all children.
[end quote]

Finally, going as far out on this limb as is possible, Quayle calls upon a particularly grandiose abstraction, the “essence of childhood”, and states that this abstraction can be criminally violated by sexual activities involving no abuse.

In this paper the term ‘sexual exploitation’ refers to activities that may include sexual abuse of children but may also refer to activities where no such abuse has taken place but where the very nature of the activities violates the very essence of childhood.
[end quote]

You might wonder how any of these far-fetched ideas about the rape of essences of childhood, and the mass sexual exploitation of global populations of electronic virtual children, could gain any toehold on academic or legal credibility. I believe this to be a convergence of two factors. One is that the ancient Greek philosophy that gave us concepts like the essence of childhood or childhood as a universal – the Idea of childhood, as students of Plato would put it – is still very much a part of our educational system. The other is that the decline of Judeo-Christianity in many societies has left the door open for the re-emergence of animistic beliefs in people who have drifted into “new age” ideas. In animistic or shamanistic religions, images can be very powerful, carrying spirits within them and allowing living people to be cursed or otherwise harmed via actions carried out in private with the images.

I am going to label Quayle’s approach to child pornography the Spirit Possession (SP) approach. The viewpoint she shares with Oswell – that a child or children can be abused through looking at an image even when there was never a real-world abuse event or when the viewer has no causal or supportive connection to such an event – is pure new age pseudo-shamanism. The virtual child in the image is an animistic spirit, no more and no less. That this concept appeals to people shows how rapidly popular spirituality has drifted back towards paganism since World War II gave Judeo-Christianity a beating (how could God allow such evil?). In the UK in particular, a secular, socialist government is enacting legislation that, at least as explained by Oswell, is based on what in Christian terms would be idolatry – attributing spirits requiring devotion to purely artificial objects of human manufacture. The images hold what the Japanese would call a ‘kami,’ the ancient Romans a ‘genius,’ the ancient Greeks a ‘daimon.’ There is a child in there, a virginal child, and it can be protected or abused. Ancient Romans would indeed make sacrifices to images of Juno Virginalis, the ‘genius’ of the virginal female child. Quayle would doubtless be surprised to know that she, in effect, has dedicated herself to the protection of a modernized version of this demigod. Much like Collins, the guru of Canadian OTF, she sees childhood as completely virginal in nature, and the Summer of 42 and similar child-adult sex stories as unthinkable by nature, completely foreign and unknown to the natural essence of childhood. The essence of childhood is romantically innocent, and actual experiences of un-innocent pleasure (if we can call them that), though they may be valued life-long as Herman Rauscher’s were, do not cast their dross upon it. A pure demi-goddess cannot be influenced by such mortal moments in the dirt of sexual enjoyment.

The abstract ideas cited by Quayle, Taylor and Oswell – childhood as a universal, the essence of childhood – may seem to be quite far from the idea of spirit possession. In fact, though, they are part and parcel of it. The ancient Greek philosophy in our education system gives us the word ‘essence’ as used by Aristotle and followers, who were for the most part modern thinkers. In this sense, the word refers purely to the general information that can be used to describe a class of objects – e.g., a dog has a tail, a snout, sharp teeth, an excellent sense of smell, etc. This is not what Quayle and company are getting at with “the essence of childhood.” We also have the word ‘essence,’ though, as an equivalent of Plato’s concept of Forms or Ideas. Quayle and company appear to use it in this sense. One thing historians of philosophy seem not to have noticed about Plato is that many of his most famous ideas (or Socrates’ ideas, if you take Plato literally in crediting Socrates) are scarcely distinguishable from worldwide shamanistic concepts (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shamanism). In Plato’s book, Republic, there is a famous section called the Allegory of the Cave (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Allegory_of_the_cave) where he compares day-to-day life to a play of shadows on the walls of a cave. The immortal realities that give rise to the shadows of daily life are the unchanging Ideas, or Forms, which are located in their own sphere of perfect reality, outside the human mind. “Childhood as a universal” and “the essence of childhood” are both Ideas of this type, existing not as changeable mental concepts but as higher realities beyond any and all individual children.

The basic beliefs of shamanism are identical to this, but are not easily seen to be so because they most typically focus on animals. Above and beyond all individual deer is a Deer spirit, an Idea of the Deer, which may become the protector of you or your clan. When you kill a deer, you make an apology to the Deer spirit. ‘Deer as a universal,’ ‘the essence of deer,’ lives in and beyond all individual deer. If you kill a deer badly, or waste parts of it, you abuse the Deer spirit. It is wounded, and it may retaliate. If someone on a vision quest has made a sacred pictograph of a deer on a rock and you deface it, the Deer spirit feels the blow. Let’s look at Oswell again in this context: “It is not a question of possibility. This is a crime that has occurred in a virtual space… there is no dispute about the original and the counterfeit; both are defined through the criterion of the virtual image, of the simulacra.” It’s a perfect fit. If we took Oswell as being correct on the matter, current British child pornography law and shamanic concepts about spirit pictures would be identical in nature.

The SP model of child pornography conforms to normal shamanism by endowing images with an individual spirit (the re-abusable real child or the ‘virtual child’ shown) and a broader Typological Spirit (the child as a universal, the essence of childhood, all children as a category). Thus, abuse can happen where there is no victim, and where there is no causation affecting a possible future victim (as the OTF model would need to imagine). The abuse occurs perfectly as an Idea of Exploitation committed against the Idea of the Child in a modern version of Plato’s cave. Believe it or not, in the UK, that ethereal notion is sufficient to condemn you to many years in prison. You have gravely offended the Child spirit(s).

The BTMBTSM model may incriminate those who make real child porn, plus those who provide the makers value (money, other porn, compliments), plus those who give value to the first rank of users who supported the original porn maker, and so on. Perhaps everyone on the internet who has ever traded something for a child porn photo or video could remotely be considered an accessory to the crime, though in practice many people download such things without providing money, other porn, or thanks. The OTF model could incriminate everyone who looks at any image of real or imaginary child pornography, but it is weak, based on a conjecture about what they might do. The SP model seems to be just about perfect for prosecution, since it condemns every child porn viewer without any need to establish difficult connections to real-world exploitation or to causality of exploitation. How far, in fact, does it go?

In the OTF model, the existence of pornographic images or stories is very important, since these items can be transferred from person to person. This propagates the mind-weakening ideas and helps to make the images themselves odious, even if they do not arise from actual abuse. In the SP model, though, the fact that images and stories can be passed around is threatening, but it doesn’t make the basic crime of offending the Child spirit any worse. Suppose a person were to find a discarded computer in a dumpster and, on opening it, find it to contain child pornography that he then wanted to use in personal viewing. He uses the porn and then destroys the computer. His crime in the SP system would be nearly as great as that of the long-time porn trader who originally put the images on the computer. He has still sexually exploited all the real children involved in the production of the images, as well as all the virtual children in the cartoon images he viewed, plus childhood as a universal, the essence of childhood, and ‘all children.’

If all the images on the computer were cartoons, his crime would be no less grave. What could be more serious than sexually violating the very essence of childhood?

But suppose there were no computer. Suppose only his own mind made up the imaginary pictures of sexuality involving children. The mind, like the computer, is an electronic medium. The fact that it involves the co-firing of neurons to produce images rather than the mobilization of electronic circuits is neither here nor there. The images that it produces, to quote Oswell, have “reference and extension,” even though our current neurological knowledge doesn’t yet allow us to map the exact physical extension of a mental image. Oswell’s analogy about the stick (“The virtual image of the submerged part of the stick has all the observable features of the stick once removed fully from the water, but when you place your hand in the water the stick is not where it appears”) still applies, even though at the current state of our technology, only the owner of the brain can see the submerged portion of the stick. Quayle, quoting Oswell, makes it clear that “the ethical intensity of the virtual image {the perceived ethical need to take strong action in response to the virtual image} lies precisely in its capacity to refer to a scene beyond itself. ” Thought-based imagery refers to “scenes beyond itself” just as much as electronic imagery does. All Quayle and Oswell’s arguments apply as much to thought as to images and writings.

The images in the brain can’t be directly exchanged from person to person, but exchange is not essential to SP incrimination. Virtual sexual exploitation alone is sufficient to constitute a crime. True, at this point in history, the mental images can’t be proven in court to exist, though progress in neuroscience today is so rapid that we may be only a decade or two away from this. The person may, however, communicate some small part of his thoughts to another person who has a similar imagination. He may say to his anonymous online contacts, “the little boy next door is so cute, I wish I could marry him.” That could be enough to trigger an orgy of virtual child exploitation in the minds of whoever reads the text. The readers might only form their own lustful mental ideas of what the little boy next door looks like, but that would be enough to make them sexual exploiters of the virtual child, the essence, the universal, and all children. If they received a blurry photograph of him going by on his bicycle and used that image to edit their fantasies, then they would be sexually exploiting the boy directly, injuring his spirit. None of this could be proven in court, but if one reader said, “yes, I see what you mean. I’d like to marry him too,” then it could be reasonably inferred.

Therefore, it follows far more strongly from the SP model of child pornography control than the OTF model that communication among pedophiles cannot be allowed to any degree. Even knowing that someone else has similar thoughts may cause the pedophile to increase his sexual assault on the essence of childhood. No pedophile thought is safe to be communicated; all of it may cause mental images that have “reference and extension” in relation to unacceptable scenes. Even knowing that it’s another pedophile complaining about the weather today may cause you to wonder what pedophilic thoughts he has had lately. Child-exploitative mental imagery is then almost inevitable, and may soon be followed by writing or cartooning referring to this imagery. The ‘essence of childhood’ must suffer enormously from this constant sexual thought. After all, in the Quayle viewpoint, the crime even when images are involved resides entirely in the pedophile’s child-violating thoughts. Possession of photos or cartoons merely constitutes evidence of these thoughts.

The COPINE project that Quayle is a ringleader of is a European-Union-funded ‘research’ project that produces writings supportive of legislative committee efforts to criminalize all ‘pedophile information fora.’ (see the “Postscript” at http://www.cjat.org/ipb/index.php?showtopic=33 – currently a dead link) Not child pornography, not places where real children may be exploited, but instead, information fora, or forums as we would say in North America. The BTMBTSM and OTF models are limited to erotica, and the former requires a real-world victim. The SP model has a license to make direct judgments about your brain and personality, insofar as any clues can be found about these things.

As Oswell says, discussing the work of Taylor, Holland and Quayle,

The distinction between pornography and erotica – used normally in the context of debates about adult pornography to distinguish between harmless and harmful material or, to put it crudely, between material with a sexual use and material with an aesthetic use – is now used to extend the range of concern predicated on the underlying personality of the individual user. But for Taylor et al, as for Lanning, the personality of the paedophile is disclosed, not through direct investigation of the mind itself, but through the manifestation of its motivated actions. It is the collection of images that provides the symptomatic evidence of motivation and hence of the underlying personality. Thus, for example, supposedly innocent pictures of children may be read as ‘erotic’ and interpreted in the context of the collection as a whole.
[end quote]

Oswell says ‘images’ in this particular passage, but other passages make it clear that writings are also considered part of the same problem. Any seemingly innocent material about children, if collected in a way that suggests a pedophile is the collector, indicates virtual sexual exploitation in the mind of the pedophile. This then taints the images or writings with something much like a shamanic taboo violation, and puts them on the COPINE scale, where politicians and jurists may decide to what extent their un-innocence will be criminalized or medicalized. Meanwhile, the problematic “underlying personality” of the pedophile that can turn innocent images into harbingers of crime may be communicating with other such “underlying personalities” on the internet. Clearly the free speech and free thought value of this communication is compromised by the innate tendency to mental crime. Thus, shutting down the free communication of completely law abiding members of a minority sexual orientation is easily justified, since the very sexual thoughts that define the orientation are crimes that are merely waiting to be evidenced.

The world has not seen a combination of animism (spirit belief) and totalitarian mind control like this since François (Papa Doc) Duvalier ruled Haiti (1957-1971) (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fran%C3%A7ois_Duvalier#Personality_cult_and_voodoo ). Only in the context of the current craze about pedophilia could such a despotic, non-Western set of ideas become lodged in secular academia and major governmental bodies. When did the UK ever before embed something that is essentially a piece of voodoo, the virtual child, in its legislation?

The secular perspective on the SP model of child pornography is that it is a gross invasion of new age spiritualism and extreme totalitarian thought-control mechanisms into areas of society that should be ruled by reason, intelligence and moderation. It is a grand folly and will grow to become a monster if it is left unchecked. Quayle is not by nature an academic and should be put out the door of academia to found her spirit cult elsewhere. Her attempts to warp the European Union to her fantastical beliefs should be firmly rejected.

(Since this essay first appeared in a church), what about the religious viewpoint?

People often think of Judaeo-Christianity as being inclined to mystify things and to censor thoughts. Indeed, our religions have not been innocent of these trends, and yet, they have succeeded as well as they have partly because of their built-in skepticism and liberality. An image is just an image in our religions. To imagine otherwise is not just wrong; it’s filthy. Christianity is now flourishing in Africa partly because it is replacing traditional beliefs where images and other ‘simulacra’ could be used in abuse. It offers precious freedom from these sorts of cultural ghosts.

[ quote]
10:5 “Like a scarecrow in a cucumber field are they {the images}, and they cannot speak. They must be carried, because they cannot walk! Do not fear them, for they can do no harm, nor can they do any good.”

Isaiah 44:9 All who make idols are nothing, and the things they treasure are worthless. Those who would speak up for them are blind; they are ignorant, to their own shame.
[end quote]

The new-technology representations, first paper photographs (still made of wood for the most part, though in fiber form) and later electronic photographs and videos, are just as dumb and empty by nature as the carved wooden idols of the Canaanites. The virtual child that Quayle, Oswell and their colleagues invoke in their academic works is an ‘abomination’ in Judeo-Christianity. The typological spirit that they invoke, the Essence or Universal, is an even grosser abomination. This is not because these image-spirit ideas offend God; in this case, the images are not directly worshipped by anyone. It is because they invent a non-existent spirit world that leads people astray and out of contact with reality. This hoodwinking of people with phoney spirits that must be propitiated and never offended or abused allows despotism to establish itself.

Judeo-Christianity, on the other hand, has nurtured parliamentary and republican democracy, and we who adhere to these religions will not easily be persuaded to surrender our complex network of rights and freedoms.

The interest of Judeo-Christianity is in protecting children, actual children, not pictorial ghosts, essences or universal spirits.

Mark 9:36 Taking a child, (Jesus) set him before them, and taking him in His arms, He said to them, 37 “Whoever receives one child like this in My name receives Me; and whoever receives Me does not receive Me, but Him who sent Me.”
[end quote]

Children are to be treated with utmost respect: each one must be treated as if he or she were as important as Jesus himself, or even as the One who sent Jesus.

As the US courts have already decided, the BTMBTSM model of child pornography control offers sufficient scope for drawing up legislation that protects actual children from being hurt by pornographers or by people who pay, trade with or otherwise support those pornographers.

In historical cases of legally produced erotica that later became redefined as child pornography, there is no reason to infer abuses that may never have happened and pains that may not have been caused. Retro-illegality is not justified in BTMBTSM. Moreover, the Japanese are not oblivious to reality when they consider cartoons to be mere cartoons. Cartoons ARE just cartoons. We don’t dynamite coyotes off mile-high mesas or go ballet dancing with hippopotamuses, and we don’t imitate the sex acts we see in cartoons either. The USA is often looked upon skeptically in many parts of the world, but at least it still defends freedom of thought against prohibitions arising from indiscriminate causal guesswork (OTF model) and pagan spirit phantasms (SP model). A relatively high level of active Christianity in the US may help to maintain its appreciation of free will (and hence the value of freedom) and the fundamentally material nature of products of human manufacture, including electronic images. The first of these appreciations negates OTF, and the second negates SP. One hopes this aspect of the American ethos will re-emerge into the world and deal with these new voodoo thought-control ideas before they can ruin the lives of too many harmless, innocent people. Who may be – believe it or not – pedophiles.


Horny Children Swinging on Twitter’s Vine?…

Date: March 17, 2014

…young perverts…

…young perverts…

“A Daily Dot investigation into Vine’s content revealed thousands of explicitly sexually videos posted by minors, who in some cases may be younger than 12.”

…Why Vine really banned NSFW content…

…Why Vine really banned NSFW content…

“And their hands-on approach is missing the most obvious and urgent cases: Self-identified minors posting their own porn.”

Oh dear!…Here we go again!

Yet still, another example erupting…of young, even prepubescent kids, doing what a lot of kids enjoy doing when they get in front of a camera…getting naked…flashing “their junk” [aka, sex organs]…stroking and rubbing…maybe, moaning and panting?…having a wonderful time with mono-sexuality…masturbating, and what not…Some, no doubt offering private performances…but a lot, giving away brief performances for free…All on their own, by their own initiative…

These are todays child pornographers, by the way…incase you were unaware…Children and teens have taken over the child pornography production market, as a simple byproduct of their own sexual expression [and discovery], in the age of technology saturation.

Who’d have thought?…Just as you’re getting a lot of the classic, stereotypical, “dirty old pervert”, child porn makers out of the business and in prison…we find the void is being enthusiastically filled…by children and teenagers, who love having sexual experiences in front of a camera and sharing it with the world…

I guess…all those forced, shamed, long faced and traumatized children of yesteryear, who performed under threat in dark basements, in front of clunky old video cameras…they must be shocked, to see their modern day counterparts…doing it all, without the “dirty old perverts” to threaten and force them…?…

…You do realize, I’m being sarcastic with that last paragraph…right?

It is curious to see…just what happens when this kind of technology is placed into the hands of children, themselves…

Of course…children are sexual beings…All you have to do, is know enough of them…and this point becomes clear…Now, we have this fascinating, unplanned “social experiment”, of sorts…where children are creating and releasing their own media…and their own sexuality is making it into this media, sometimes in extremely explicit ways…at the hands of these children and teens, themselves…As in, this was their own doing…by their own ideas…and they like doing it…

Now, we have this new surfacing body of content…children documenting their own sexuality…and sharing it with the world…

I have to pose the question, yet still again…Just how long will deniers hold out, in their claim that “children don’t do this”…and “children don’t like this”…and “children don’t want this”…?…

This is proof positive, that some percentage of kids…even amongst prepubescent children, will take it upon themselves to behave sexually, and perform sexually like an exhibitionist…wherever given the chance…

…And this has now happened on how many different services and networks?…This is no longer an anomalous rarity…This is an explicit trend…Children and teens have embraced making their own “child pornography”, and starring in it themselves…Though I’m sure there will be no end of people, who shove their head into the sand and go into full blown denial…ascribing every conceivable bad cause to it, other than the child/teen’s own desire…or the child/teen’s own nature…

It is not a question of “if”…just a question of “when” and “where”…and how many children/teens you need to have, before you get one that wants to do this.

This is the reality…Reality is, there have always been young children [and certainly teens], who have wanted to be sexually expressive, and who have wanted to embrace and share their sexuality…It’s fun…It’s exciting…These are natural emotions and sensations…And these children [and teens] know this, by nature.

Of course…the busybodies, who have no valid pursuit in their life to justify their life, will be busy trying to scrub this innocent, natural and honest expression from the internet [and mobile media]…Because we cannot have children’s sexuality seen, heard or referenced in any positive way…

…My goodness, no!…People’s minds might encounter that, and escape from the rigid thought control of their nanny state!…And where would we all be, then?!!

…Let’s just keep living with the lies, shall we?…It makes us all easier to control…

We don’t really want to live, be treated and seen, as full human beings anyway…now do we?…

Not at all!!!…Let the amputation of sex from the lives of the majority, continue on as a sacrificial lamb…Commence the shaming, the prosecutions, the witch hunts and the lists…

…It’s not like we’re attacking anyone or thing, that does not totally deserve it…

…just children, teens and others, who are following their own, harmless biological nature…and nature, itself…

…boy, nature is getting the shaft here, too…

…Nature is just so horrible…isn’t it?

…Leave it unchecked, and look what happens!!!

…Something that makes moral supremists go ballistic.

See…this is one of the reasons, why I am becoming more and more adamant about getting the “justice system” out of common human sexuality…There is a place for it, if anybody is being sexually brutalized…But this issue, is no place where it belongs

The so-called “justice system” is going to wickedly screw these kids over…many will likely end up on “sex offender” registries, for life…and for what?…getting naked in front of a camera?…posing “the wrong way”?…showing their vagina or penis?…rubbing themselves and orgasming?…wanting others to see?…

Things have changed in this world…and you no longer have the “sick old pervert” caricature, to point at and lay blame on…In reality…things are much more complicated, and the markets connected to “child pornography” [production, distribution and viewing] include many children and teens. Reality is…”child pornography” used to be much harder to make and obtain…Now that the possibilities are so open and easy…children and teens are not only finding out that they like it…they are embracing it…they are reviving it…

Hard reality for you fanatics out there…you want to continue this insane war on “child pornography”?…You are no longer attacking and destroying “sick old perverts”, like you prefer to tell yourselves…No, you are attacking and destroying children and teens…and there is no way you, or this insane war of yours, is going to be absolved of this point…

I find this abhorrent…and because of it, I have never been more vehemently opposed to anti-child pornography laws, then I am right now. People who support those laws, are just chasing after boogiemen…without honestly realizing, what they are really doing…or who all, they are really hurting…Good grief!…They virtually never even understand anything concrete, about the issue itself…they’re just stuck on this very wrong headed concept, of “cowering, traumatized children, forced to have sex against their will”…when that was merely a genuine problem within the “industry”, itself…but it was never the sum total of the “industry”, itself…

“Child pornography” should have been legalized and regulated, long before now…Because that is the only way, you can honestly combat abuses within it…And it is a disgrace, that we are still languishing as a culture, under this pigheaded war of annihilation…A war driven by ignorance, phobia…and some warped sense of revenge.

It is because of you fanatic war mongers out there, who wont even set down at the table like intelligent, civilized human beings…that this remains an untamed frontier…You are not helping anything, except to inflate your own egos…You’re just enflaming things and hurting people…You are a core element of the problem, itself…Do you even understand this?!…

…I guess…I mean, common sense seems to be telling me…what I have always intuitively known all along…

…Children and teens do not universally hate being in pornography, nor do they hate sharing personal porn…Time and time again…what is really, honestly happening out there, keeps backing up what I have been saying for years…

…And the beauty of it all…is that it is the children and teens out there, who are naturally backing all of this up…

Some of us understand childhood sexuality, far better than what we get credit for…

…Does this make me some weird form of prophet?…

…No…of course not…It just means, I am uncommonly honest…

…I wish more people would be.