Thursday, November 11, 2010

Is Pedophilia Where We Draw the Line?

"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances." ~ Constitution of the United States

I'm going to take a stand this morning, though it would be much easier to let the topic slide.

Twitter blew up late yesterday with tweets about boycotting for allowing the sale of the book, "The Pedophiles Guide to Love and Pleasure: A Child-Lover's Code of Conduct." Serious outrage ensued, and as I'm writing this post, is no longer for sale on Amazon.

The book's topic is obviously a very sensitive one, and coming on the heels of Oprah's recent show about 200 men who were sexually abused, I'm having a hard time ignoring the subject. I'm a mom of two boys, and it's heartbreaking, gut-wrenching, and disturbing to know this occurs - every day. It terrifies me to think my boys may one day be exposed to a predator. It was late last night before I got a chance to check out the book sparking the outrage, and some of the text made me sick to my stomach. Physically ill. The subject is a horrific and illegal one.

But, the call to remove this book deals with censorship. It's a slippery slope. Objectionable material is subjective. I promise my books contain material that will offend people. My characters participate in sinful sex, and I use language not appropriate for all audiences. Freedom of Speech means being able to say what you want, though it may offend, disgust, or defend questionable acts. 

Our founding fathers thought it so important they put it first, before being able to defend our families.

Honoring the first amendment means allowing your neighbor to spout divergent opinions, and they yours. EVEN WHEN YOU DISAGREE. If we allow the censorship of this book, will the book burning begin next week? There are books on bomb building, taliban assembling, and the photo books? Wow, there's a can of worms. 

What about Sally Mann's books - art or pornography? Immediate Family

Family Nudes How about Ralf Mohr's?

What about mine? 

Freedom of Speech is one of the greatest benefits of living in this country. It is a God-given right, and one few countries allow. Was the pedophile book disgusting? Without question. Did it create an opportunity to talk to my boys about their bodies and who's allowed to touch them? Yes. Does it make me more diligent as a mom? Yes. Will I ask for the censorship of this book? I won't.

But you know what? You don't have to agree with me.


  1. As much as the content of this particular book give me the creeps, I have to agree with you 100%. There are probably 100 other items Amazon sells that would offend me (and others), but we don't call for the removal of those items. Good stance on this topic...

  2. i also agree with you! i wish my boys were a little older that i would be able to have the same conversation you did with your kids, but in the future i will

  3. Heres the rub - Amazon is a business - they arent government. As a business owner, I have (or should have) the right to sell what I want, to whom I want as well as employ who I want and fire for whatever I want to fire for. Amazon already self-censors against selling porn.

    As a person who gets to decide where I spend my money - I can use said monies to "vote". And it would be a disservice to the "free market" to vote and not tell Amazon why or why not I will spend my monies with them. Honesty.

    Amazon also had the right to tell all those people with money who wouldnt shop there anymore to take a hike - to stand and wrap themselves in Freedom of Speech.

    There is also nothing stopping this person/writer from throwing up a website, brick and mortar and selling this book all he wants.

    If this was the government telling business what it can sell or not, I would have to agree with you.

    On a "mom of boys" note, the more this kind of stuff is mainstreamed, the more in danger it places all boys. The only counter would be to swiftly carry out punishment for this behavior - executions would be fine with me...


  4. Here's my chime in (and though I'm an attorney, I'm not gonna argue the legalities. Much).

    Censorship is allowable when it comes to certain language. And that's okay. We censor the use of hate speech (ie, you can use it, but it'll ramp up the charges from assault to hate crime). We censor the use of language that will cause danger or panic (ie, you can't yell FIRE in a crowded theater).

    There are plenty of circumstances where censorship isn't about what offends, but about protecting people from harm. This, in my opinion, is just another example of such.

    However, allowing such books to be written and published makes the job of authority that much more simple. I mean really, you think if you order that book from an online retailer isn't gonna land you on a BOLO list?

    I'm very much against censorship when it truly infringes on our rights. But I don't believe we are really on a slippery slope when we demand that truly subversive and dangerous how-to manuals are removed from the marketplace.

    No one would argue that pedophilia is an issue of moral offense in the way that people argue erotica is. Pedophilia is a crime of sexually predatory behavior. Using the "C" word and talking about anal sex isn't. At least, not modernly. ;-)

  5. I HAVE to agree with "tractor" and "LJD" — demanding that Amazon remove the book from its lists is NOT the same as demanding that the government make Amazon remove the book.

    The first is a moral issue, that is none of the business of government.

    Amazon finally "wised up" and acted morally by pulling the book.

    Amazon's initial public defense, that they were standing against censorship & for freedom of speech, revealed a shocking lack of understanding of what those constitutionally guaranteed individual rights really mean.

    (Worse, they were probably acting on the advice of lawyers - sorry LJD, but I hope you can agree that the legal profession as whole, especially at the Supreme Court level no longer knows what Individual Rights really are.)

    It is a very common tactic of the far Right and the Left (even in academic circles) to misapply constitutional restrictions on government action and to use those same restrictions to prevent individuals from making their own choices. The false lessons, spread by an undiscerning MainStream Media, is so wide spread that ordinary people are increasingly confused about what Freedom of Speech (FofS) means.

    E.g. Hate speech laws ARE a violation of FofS, but it is no violation to publicly oppose and boycott, those who use Hate Speech. IN Canada, if someone sensibly expresses politically incorrect facts, anyone can have them dragged before a Human Rights Commission. The accuser faces no court fees, whilst the accused must pay his fees to *prove he is innocent*!

    That is the trend America is succumbing to, lead by those who do not understand the difference between moral condemnation and state enforcement of that condemnation. As Ben Franklin said, America is "a [Rights respecting] Republic, if you can keep it". The first step to losing it, is to not understand it.


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