|Core: noun, the most important part of a thing, the essence; from the Latin cor, meaning heart.|
|Volume 1.14||This Views Guest Column||May 13, 2002|
When You Have No Absolutes
When you have no absolutes, nothing is absolutely wrong. In that type of setting, all it takes is continual exposure to an idea, apparently reasonable people espousing it, and a lack of moral standards based on absolutes for an idea to gain increasing purchase. The moral equivalence pervasive in our society continues to open the door to more and more behaviors once deemed inexcusable such as pedophilia. Thats the social mood the NY Times tries to take advantage of, in this time of scandal over abusive Catholic priests, in this article offering implicit support for the views of a professor who supports sex between adults and children (it isnt defined what age child covers):
Mirkin claims his article is about opening dialogue about social taboos, and disconnecting moral panic from the cost/benefit analysis society makes of sex between teenagers/children and adults. He even tries to establish that innocence is neither a useful designation or a necessary one for children.
So has slavery, abuse of women and murderous totalitarianism, but I dont see many defending those constructs. The NY Times and others are conflating the good freedom of speech, openness about sexuality and its impact on people and society with the bad sex between adults and children. And I dont think Mirkins fantasy about making it as a 12 year old with a woman on his paper route is compelling evidence that sexual activity between adults and children could be a good thing.
The article is mainly about how the Missouri state legislature is punishing Mirkins university for his ideas by cutting its budget $100,000. Its a gesture and everyone knows it. The legislature is making it clear they despise his stance on pedophilia; Mirkin and his supporters are making it a free speech issue complicated by people with closed minds. The NY Times is on Mirkins side.
The ability to explore the moral, social, physical and intellectual impact of ideas and behavior is a cornerstone of a free society. That doesnt mean that disagreeing with a particular idea, and trying to show its moral bankruptcy, is the result of a closed mind. This article pulls out most of the stops used to engineer societal agreement in modern times in an effort to equate our moral disgust with closeminded puritanism which our society has already identified as anathema. The cues are numerous (my interpretation follows each quotation):
You nitwits are showing that hes right.
This behavior is just the latest taboo to come out of the closet; it has the same legitimacy as these other, now accepted, behaviors.
The problem is really the church, not Mirkin; hes a misunderstood innocent bystander.
Were sophisticated, we understand the truth here. Its those brain-dead moral absolutists who are the problem we know they dont think.
Or at least, should be. The article is strangely devoid of any true celebration other than other academics.
Were attaching this construct to a known value, free speech, without passing judgment on its content. Of course, we would neither offer support or withhold judgment if the construct was, say, that feminism hurts society or that racial preferences harm minorities.
Were on the leading edge, here; too bad youre in a moral panic. Well be seen as pioneers and morally brave when pedophilia is a normal part of society, sometime in the future.
See? Hes a good guy, hes managed to be around young children without molesting them, and he agrees with you pat pat that the priests are awful.
The claims of harm from the intergenerational sex are just exploitation of the system for money; if we looked closer wed see that in most cases the sexual activity was a healthy part of growing up.
Lets trot out the fears that everyone has, that expressing genuine and non-sexual affection for children will be mistaken for inappropriate advances with abusive intent. Lets soften the edges of pedophilia by making it something any of us could be accused of, just for loving, physical contact.
Would that be pedophilia, maam?
Ahhh no, the distaste is reserved for those who would stifle debate, not those who would bugger or fondle children.
Thats right, well compare pedophilia with something we know everyone does, as a moral equivalent that is unrecognized as such just because were in a moral panic and unable to see clearly.
Because, obviously, if you check out and test pedophilia, youll find that it is in fact a good thing for society, for the 12 year old paper boy and who knows who else.
I dont advocate shutting Mirkin down. But I do advocate mocking him at every turn, showing his efforts at taking child sex into the mainstream for what they are, and exposing his intellectualization and moral condescension as tools for accomplishing his goal. And I advocate castigating the New York Times for being willingly involved either as a credulous sycophant at the altar of science, or a knowing conspirator with no moral compass.
© Susanna Cornett 2002. Used with permission.Webpage © ELC 2002
|Volume 1.14||This Views Guest Column||May 13, 2002|
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