I agree with Dawkins that “pedo-hysteria” is, like many puritanical causes, out of touch with reality. In a recent interview, he apparently said:
I am very conscious that you can’t condemn people of an earlier era by the standards of ours. Just as we don’t look back at the 18th and 19th centuries and condemn people for racism in the same way as we would condemn a modern person for racism, I look back a few decades to my childhood and see things like caning, like mild pedophilia, and can’t find it in me to condemn it by the same standards as I or anyone would today,
Dawkins’ easy acceptance of changing ‘standards’ is bizarre but at least it’s semi-honest as a real description of leftward movement. The problem with Dawkins is that his materialism runs so deep, he can’t find strength within himself to prefer one normative system over another or contemplate the possibility that one system might be more in touch with reality than another.
Huxley and Darwin thought blacks were sub-human? Well, that was okay back then. If you think that today, well, goodness me, what a racist you are! My old schoolmaster diddled my cock fifty years ago? Well, that was okay back then. Cock-diddling today, though, goodness me, that’s vile!
Certain reactionary thinkers have suggested that pedophiles will be the next ‘victim group’ protected by progressive society. I have, at various blogs, voiced my skepticism. Dawkins’ quote seems to contradict my skepticism, and perhaps it does; then again, Dawkins is not your typical progressive. In fact, many progressives hate the man. He’s a eugenicist, for Christ’s sake. I don’t think that he speaks ex Cathedra, as it were.
C.S. Lewis once wrote something to this effect: when society decides to abandon deep tradition and re-construct its own morality, it never makes up its own morality so much as pardons a hundred sins while heaping all its moralistic ire on one or two sins for no reason it can give. You can’t get rid of humanity’s moral impulse. It needs an outlet. The progressive pretense of moral relativism isn’t relativism at all: it’s simply picking and choosing what to be moralistic about. Progressivism denies most sins, but that’s precisely why it damns to hell with fury the few “sins” it does recognize: racism, sexism, et cetera. And I’ve always thought that pedophilia made it onto this short list of progressivism’s damnable sins. The popularity of To Catch a Predator at the the height of the anti-racist years makes the point. And we should remember that upping the age of consent was always a proto-feminist cause, along with prohibition and universal suffrage.
My last post was about careful definition of terms and about the left’s gleeful rejection of careful definition. I think we find the same leftist stamp of sophistic word-play when it comes to pedophilia.
In Mexico, it’s legal to bang a 13 year old. In Canada, it’s legal to bang a 16 year old, and until recently, it was legal to bang a 14 year old. I believe that the average age of consent in the European Union is 14. In the Roman Empire, the age at which females could be married and thus banged was 12. In the Confessions, St. Augustine mentions that his mother, St. Monica, had procured a lovely, newly ‘of-age’ Christian woman that Monica hoped Augustine would wed: most commentators assume that St. Monica had found a sexy 12 year old for Augustine. Was she or he a pedophile? What about God? The Virgin was probably about 13 or 14 when God knocked her up.
(I’m not providing link-proof about this stuff. It’s late. Look it up yourself.)
Now, what does “pedophilia” mean. Wikipedia:
As a medical diagnosis, pedophilia or paedophilia is a psychiatric disorder in persons 16 years of age or older typically characterized by a primary or exclusive sexual interest toward prepubescent children
Prepubescent children. Of course, puberty can hit within a range of ages, from 10 to 13, so we shouldn’t give prepubescence an age. Rather, we should give it a phenotype. A girl who has yet to have a period, start growing tennis-ball boobs or soft curves, she’s prepubescent. So, if you’re attracted to this, you’re a pedo.
Shows like To Catch a Predator, which, like American laws, criminalize and shame males attracted to post-pubescent teens, are puritanical and anti-biology. Pedo-hysteria is hysteria precisely because most of the men it ensnares aren’t even pedophiles. It’s the same process that Handle talks about here: take a natural thing, rename it, cast it in a negative light, and thus create a pre-text for its removal.
[Via Commenter SMERSH: Turns out that Dawkins was 11 when his cock got diddled. That age probably fits the definition of real pedophilia. This proves my point that Dawkins isn’t your average progressive: when he said pedophilia, he actually meant pedophilia. He wasn’t playing the progressive re-definition game, referencing an incident that occurred when he was 15 or whatever. What has the reaction been? I haven’t quite followed it. Has Dawkins come under fire for his remark from blatantly leftist sources?]