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When freedom goes too far

By GreenCrackBaby in News
Sat Jan 27, 2001 at 12:35:12 AM EST
Tags: Freedom (all tags)
Freedom

For most of you, this news story will probably be the first time you hear of this story from Canada. For those of you who practice link-avoidance, here's the meat: In a 6-3 decision, the [supreme] court [of Canada] upheld provisions preventing manufacturing and distribution of child pornography. But it ruled that people can't be prosecuted for creating photographic or written porn designed purely for their own use - provided real pictures or videos do not show illegal acts.


So it is now legal in Canada to create pictures of young children involved in sex act or create stories of sexual encounters with young children, so long as there are no "real" children involved.

The case in question was regarding a 67 year old man who was caught with "photos of naked boys, along with stories he'd written depicting graphic and violent sex with children." An interesting quote from a provincial supreme court justice: "There is no evidence that demonstrates a significant increase in the danger to children caused by pornography."

As far as I know, the only people that would want to have this type of child pornography are pedophiles. I can't help but ask why society feels the need to legalize something that clearly is only intended for a small criminal portion of the population.

Is this freedom gone too far?

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When freedom goes too far | 58 comments (52 topical, 6 editorial, 0 hidden)
Thought Police (4.33 / 15) (#1)
by Nafai on Fri Jan 26, 2001 at 01:28:28 PM EST

If I write a story about (say, myself) committing a murder, does that make me a murderer?

If I imagine running an individual down with my car cause they pissed me off, should I be hauled away for road rage?

It would be a very dangerous and slippery slope once we start wholesale banning of ideas, even if they are evil.

technically yes. (1.33 / 6) (#4)
by Defect on Fri Jan 26, 2001 at 01:32:44 PM EST

You could be convicted of attempted first degree murder for the first example and i believe 2nd degree in the second. The crime of attempted murder is committed at the very first time you think about it, because that is the first stepp in a plan. The story may be proved as fiction if possibly you're known to write plenty of fiction, and the second example could likely never be proved as attempt since you just thought it and never expressed it otherwise.

But technically, if i am not mistaken, crimes have been committed in both cases.
defect - jso - joseth || a link
[ Parent ]
I disagree (4.60 / 10) (#7)
by Phil the Canuck on Fri Jan 26, 2001 at 01:40:15 PM EST

First, a fictional story is a fictional story. I can see a charge of Uttering Death Threats if, for example, you mailed a copy to your "victim". Definitely not a murder charge.

The second example may very well be protected as freedom of thought, as mentioned in section 2(b) of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. It's, again, certainly not worthy of a murder charge.

------

I don't think being an idiot comes with a pension plan though. Unless you're management of course. - hulver
[ Parent ]

Re: technically yes. (3.50 / 2) (#34)
by tftp on Fri Jan 26, 2001 at 09:15:01 PM EST

because that is the first stepp in a plan.

The real first step of a murder plan is to be born. So all newborns have to be incarcerated, just in case.

It can be also argued that many murder plans are drawn by fiction writers who only change names of participants. So all fiction writers have to be incarcerated too.

Some murders occur without a plan. For example, one guy in a bar misidentifies his enemy and sticks a knife into him. This is a murder plan with no elements in it (an empty plan). Therefore anyone who has no murder plan has to be incarcerated too.

Good policy, isn't it? :-)

[ Parent ]

I wouldn't put it past some law enforcement types. (2.00 / 1) (#40)
by ZanThrax on Sat Jan 27, 2001 at 12:53:29 AM EST

After all, your first suggestion isn't a whole lot different from this.

Before flying off the handle over the suggestion that your a cocksucker, be sure that you do not, in fact, have a cock in your mouth.
[ Parent ]

well. as long as no harm comes (4.75 / 16) (#2)
by Defect on Fri Jan 26, 2001 at 01:29:09 PM EST

As far as I know, the only people that would want to have this type of child pornography are pedophiles. I can't help but ask why society feels the need to legalize something that clearly is only intended for a small criminal portion of the population.
Pedophilia, as it is defined, is the sexual attraction to young children. As far as i know, it's not a crime to merely be attracted to them (though having/taking lewd pictures is a crime.). So as long as no harm is ever inflicted on a child, no laws have been broken. If someone wants to model 3d kiddie porn on their home computer, why not? It's far better than them doing more severe things to curb their obsession.

And just because i play half-life or go out to see action movies doesn't mean i'm a murderer or planning to kill someone. Just like me walking around town with a bong in my hand doesn't mean i smoke pot, i may honestly use it just for "high quality tobacco." Just because you have materials relating to something that may be illegal doesn't mean you're using them illegaly or planning to.
defect - jso - joseth || a link
usual media mentality (none / 0) (#52)
by UrLord on Mon Jan 29, 2001 at 05:03:00 AM EST

And just because i play half-life or go out to see action movies doesn't mean i'm a murderer or planning to kill someone.

We see the media make connections from playing violent games to killing in real life. It seems that the same frame of thought is being used in this situation. Most people can understand a difference between fantasy (playing a FPS, having stories of pedophilia, watching violent television shows/movies, reading subversive material) and the reality (actually killing someone, rape, killing more people, overthrowing a government). Since this separation can be seen by most people they do not question that the entertainment of these games, movies, books, etc are harmless. Of course there have been people who took these things too far acting out what they read or saw on tv. And of course since this particular topic deals with the sexual exploitation of children everyone is going to jump in arms about how this evil thing should be banned. To hell with the bullshit being taught to the children in school or how they are worked in foreign countries...

We can't change society in a day, we have to change ourselves first from the inside out.
[ Parent ]

No, it isn't (4.65 / 20) (#3)
by DesiredUsername on Fri Jan 26, 2001 at 01:32:19 PM EST

"As far as I know, the only people that would want to have this type of child pornography are pedophiles."

Pedophile, from the Greek:
pedo - children
phile - love of

So, by definition, only pedophiles want to have this type of pornography.

"I can't help but ask why society feels the need to legalize something that clearly is only intended for a small criminal portion of the population."

Whoops, fallacy alert! pedophile != criminal What's illegal is abusing children. It is NOT and NEVER HAS BEEN illegal to think sexual thoughts about children (whether real or imagined).

Imagine this guy had downloaded some porn text file from the Internet. It was a "normal" porn text about a fictional man and a woman both of legal age. No problem with that, right? Now imagine that he made one edit to the file--near the beginning, where the woman happens to state her age, he changed "23" to "13". He then precedes to...errr...wank off. You want to make that illegal?

Play 囲碁
Possession (4.50 / 6) (#8)
by Ryan Koppenhaver on Fri Jan 26, 2001 at 01:45:45 PM EST

"As far as I know, the only people that would want to have this type of child pornography are pedophiles."
Pedophile, from the Greek: pedo - children phile - love of So, by definition, only pedophiles want to have this type of pornography.
Slight correction: By definition, those who would be aroused by child pornography are pedophiles. There are certainly other reasons to wish to posess it. Consider a psychologist seeking to study pedophilia, or a scholar writing a book on pornography, or a journalist seeking to raise awareness of child abuse. There are plenty of "legitimate" reasons to posess such material.

[ Parent ]
You're Wrong!! (4.50 / 6) (#10)
by Danse on Fri Jan 26, 2001 at 02:13:18 PM EST

There are plenty of "legitimate" reasons to posess such material.

We must all take a stand now! We must band together, wave our arms in the air and shriek, "Won't somebody PLEASE think of the children?!"

Seriously though, it seems to be all but impossible to have a rational conversation about this with the average person. The law was definitely way too vague. Prosecuting someone for having pictures that "appear" to be of a minor engaged in a sexual act is just screwy. Either it is or it isn't, and who decides whether the person "appears" to be a minor or not? If it's a 19 year old chick with pigtails, does that count? What about a 17 year-old from another country where he/she is of age to consent to posing for such pictures? I can appreciate that they want to stamp out child pornography. I would support that. But much like the drug war, this is the wrong way to go about it.




An honest debate between Bush and Kerry
[ Parent ]
hee hee (4.33 / 3) (#27)
by mikpos on Fri Jan 26, 2001 at 05:57:07 PM EST

Even more slight correction: those who have an unusual attraction to children are considered paedophiles. Probably most people have been attracted to a 16- or 17-year old at one time or another (maybe even unwittingly). It's only when this attraction becomes unusual (possibly extending to pre-pubescent children) that this becomes paedophilia.

[ Parent ]
Erection testing? (none / 0) (#53)
by Mantic on Tue Jan 30, 2001 at 10:07:22 AM EST

Supposed scholars and reporters have been hauled in for possession and trafficking of pedo-porn.

Personally, I'm surprised that there is a court anywhere that has gone against the international standard definitions of child pornography. Y'see, I ran into this subbject when I was a cartoonist a few years back doing sleazy comic books (during the hentai craze when half a dozen publishers were fighting for smut -- good rates). It turns out that the normal problems with censorship that a cartoonist has to deal with are componded by definitions of child pornography that include, technically, even cartoon drawings. Further, it need only be perceivable that the subject is a minor.

So, copping an anime style or even something akin to Frank Thorne's elves of the seventies is a risk of facing not only the lewd materials charges but particularly serious and incredibly damaging child pornography charges. The state I live in is in fact one that could have had me locked away on such charges back then, even though there was no distribution here.

I'm as unsure as anyone how I feel about the current availability of pornography to minors and the increasingly easy access to illegal material, but there's no way I can support laws that are so broad. It's good to see a little sense somewhere.

[ Parent ]

Erection testing? (none / 0) (#54)
by Mantic on Tue Jan 30, 2001 at 10:08:06 AM EST

Supposed scholars and reporters have been hauled in for possession and trafficking of pedo-porn.

Personally, I'm surprised that there is a court anywhere that has gone against the international standard definitions of child pornography. Y'see, I ran into this subbject when I was a cartoonist a few years back doing sleazy comic books (during the hentai craze when half a dozen publishers were fighting for smut -- good rates). It turns out that the normal problems with censorship that a cartoonist has to deal with are componded by definitions of child pornography that include, technically, even cartoon drawings. Further, it need only be perceivable that the subject is a minor.

So, copping an anime style or even something akin to Frank Thorne's elves of the seventies is a risk of facing not only the lewd materials charges but particularly serious and incredibly damaging child pornography charges. The state I live in is in fact one that could have had me locked away on such charges back then, even though there was no distribution here.

I'm as unsure as anyone how I feel about the current availability of pornography to minors and the increasingly easy access to illegal material, but there's no way I can support laws that are so broad. It's good to see a little sense somewhere.

[ Parent ]

The other side (4.28 / 14) (#5)
by Phil the Canuck on Fri Jan 26, 2001 at 01:34:34 PM EST

The law in question is generally accepted as being overly broad, and could be extended as far as parents taking "bathtub" pictures of their children. As much as I hate it when my wife starts snapping away with the camera, there's nothing insidious or evil about it. It is the dangerously broad aspects of this law that the courts have objected to.

The Supreme Court decision was predictable and correct, IMO. The best solution is for the government of Canada to draft a new law with more specific criteria, which is what appears to be happening. This isn't a kiddie porn free-for-all.


------

I don't think being an idiot comes with a pension plan though. Unless you're management of course. - hulver

Whenever you hear... (4.86 / 23) (#6)
by trhurler on Fri Jan 26, 2001 at 01:34:57 PM EST

the words "taking freedom too far" you know you're about to read something that needs careful attention.

Keep in mind, there are distinctions between what IS and what legally is. For instance, if you criminalize all pictures of nude children, baby pictures and family pictures at nudist camps will suddenly be illegal. You cannot reasonably justify limiting property rights based on intent - I am aware of no law which ever criminalizes intent unless some action was taken, and mere possession of pictures of naked children is not intent.

There are already about a dozen silly people ready to scream "pedophile!" at me. Guess what? I'm as revolted by pedophilia as the next guy. However, in addition to the rights issue, there is also a practical issue: some people today believe that child porn is used as an outlet, the same way ordinary people use ordinary porn - you go home, you watch it, you stroke the salami, and tension is released. This might actually reduce incidents of molestation. Now, this is not to say that making child pornography should be legal if it involves actual children - it certainly should not be legal. However, possession of something that was illegally made is not necessarily illegal, and it is not true that it necessarily should be illegal - we don't advocate automatic abortion in rape cases, and we don't take away peoples' cars if the manufacturer is found to have violated some law or other while making them.

There are those, of course, who claim that child porn is likely to make people molest children. I'll admit to having been unwittingly exposed to a bit of this disgusting material on two occasions. I was appalled. I cannot imagine anyone enjoying this material. However, I am convinced that anyone who DOES enjoy it was messed up before he saw it - a child molester is a child molester, porn be damned. Similarly, there is no great rash of ordinary men sitting around watching porn and then going out and forcing themselves on women, contrary to the myths propagated by groups like NOW. Yes, I suppose someone who is going to molest children might be incited to do so now rather than then by viewing pornography, but he was going to do it anyway.

Freedom of expression has to extend to freedom of expression of things that ordinary people find repugnant, because ordinary people make mistakes - and also because the moment we allow government to decide what is and isn't acceptable, we will find that it does so on its own terms, and not on ours - or rather, that it does so on the terms of whomever has influence, rather than on the terms of whomever "is right," which of course is not something we all agree on anyway.

--
'God dammit, your posts make me hard.' --LilDebbie

all i have to say... (3.40 / 15) (#9)
by rebelcool on Fri Jan 26, 2001 at 01:51:25 PM EST

its legal to describe murder in intricate details (murder mysteries, novels etc).

But it's illegal to describe sex.

Enough said.

COG. Build your own community. Free, easy, powerful. Demo site

Freedom Limited because of Demographics (4.55 / 18) (#12)
by iCEBaLM on Fri Jan 26, 2001 at 02:20:32 PM EST

"As far as I know, the only people that would want to have this type of child pornography are pedophiles. I can't help but ask why society feels the need to legalize something that clearly is only intended for a small criminal portion of the population."

As far as I know, the only people that would want to have DeCSS are hackers and pirates. I can't help but ask why society feels the need to legalize something that clearly is only intended for a small criminal portion of the population.

As far as I know, the only people that would want to have this type of violent content in movies are murderers. I can't help but ask why society feels the need to legalize something that clearly is only intended for a small criminal portition of the population.

Now, if the above examples aren't enough to show you just how misguided your view is, here are more points.

1. It wasn't illegal in the first place, it just was never ruled on. You can't "legalize" something which wasn't illegal.

2. Even the most sinister, sick, revolting people have the same Freedoms as those of "normal" people, which include "freedom of thought, belief, opinion and expression, including freedom of the press and other media of communication" as outlined in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

3. If you start only giving freedom to "moral" people who become the morality police by which all people are judged? This turns into a very slipery slope indeed.

-- iCEBaLM

Sexual Witchhunts (4.26 / 19) (#14)
by Blarney on Fri Jan 26, 2001 at 02:53:16 PM EST

I feel like I'm poking at a beehive with a stick here, but I'd like to say something. Flame away.

I'm afraid of any law that would punish people for having impure sexual thoughts. If there's no real children around, then it's just thoughts. Nothing else. That "13 year old girl with red hair and long fingernails" you chat with on #kidsexchat? It's either a cop, or some old wanker like the one mentioned in the court case in the story! Who cares if somebody has a sexual conversation with them? There's not a single child on that channel anyhow.The children are at the mall, at the sporting goods store, or playing online multiplayer games.

We've got sexual witchhunts in the state I live in. Our age of consent is 16. They're busting kids who are under 18 for statuatory now - they never did that when I was younger. There's a 16 year old boy in jail for getting a "monica" from a 15-year old girl. Admittedly, they were caught doing it at school, so probably they weren't too smart, but does the boy deserve jail time?

Jail time won't be enough for him - he's also getting his name on the List for 20 years. We have an Internet-accessible list of sex offenders. Girls who take their tops off at football games, guys who pee in alleys, all go on the list. So if one of these perverts on the List moves in next door to you, go burn down his house! Jesus would do it too!



Where do you live? (none / 0) (#55)
by erotus on Tue Jan 30, 2001 at 09:40:08 PM EST

What state are you in? I hope you don't mind sharing this info. I'll probably never visit your state now. I do agree that the penalty for this 16 year old was too harsh. What guy that age doesnt want a "monica" done to him. Sexual experimentation is part of growing up. Sure, there are more moral types who avoid this behavior until they are older, however, many do not. 16 or 15, it's all the same. They're both under 18 damnit! Even then, some states have laws that say person X has to be within three years of person Y for it to be legal. This is a bit more realistic.

[ Parent ]
The reason child porn is illegal... (4.33 / 9) (#16)
by daystar on Fri Jan 26, 2001 at 03:12:31 PM EST

Now, maybe I'm wrong, but I always thought that the REASON we outlaw kiddy porn is that you have to actually molest a child to make it. Some people seem to want it, and I don't really have a problem with that. They can't baby-sit my kids, but they can beat off in their basement all day with pictures as far as I'm concerned. But you have to put some innocent KID through the making of the porn, and I think we'd all agree that THAT'S no good. Now, technology is moving to the point where we can have it both ways. Pedophiles can have their dirty pics, and noone's kid has to get kidnapped. I think that's great.

If you disagree: if you think that we need to get the pedophiles out of our society, ask yourself why we don't have a death penalty for child pornography. That's what it would mean to outlaw pedophilia. Is that what you want? Seems kinda harsh. Death penalty for raping and murdering children, SURE, but for pictures?

--
There is no God, and I am his prophet.

IIRC.. (3.00 / 6) (#20)
by iGrrrl on Fri Jan 26, 2001 at 03:30:40 PM EST

I believe (but can't document) that there is data correlating a pedophile's posession of child pornography with an increase in the chance that the pedophile will actually do something. I wish it were true that having pictures and stories would increase their chances of leaving kids alone, but generally it has the opposite effect. "Out of sight, out of mind" seems to hold some value in these cases.

Now, maybe I'm wrong, but I always thought that the REASON we outlaw kiddy porn is that you have to actually molest a child to make it.

That's the biggest part of it, I think. I don't take the feminist "all porno is bad because it objectifies women" stance (which leaves out gay porn ;-)), but I do think some of it is worse than others, and child pornography worst of all.

--
You cannot have a reasonable conversation with someone who regards other people as toys to be played with. localroger
remove apostrophe for email.
[ Parent ]

I'm suspicious of that evidence... (4.50 / 8) (#22)
by daystar on Fri Jan 26, 2001 at 03:56:55 PM EST

I mean, I've seen lots of sketchy studies that show consumption of (adult) pornography turns men into rapists, but I'm LIVING PROOF that it isn't true....

I think most of the evidence on BOTH sides of any pornograpgy argument are biased beyond any hope of objectivity. We're going to have to use some common sense.

--
There is no God, and I am his prophet.
[ Parent ]

err (3.83 / 6) (#28)
by mikpos on Fri Jan 26, 2001 at 06:01:09 PM EST

Basing laws on sketchy (or perhaps even non-existent: yes, I don't believe you) correlations (which are nothing like causations) is pretty silly. It sounds akin to arresting homeless people for "possible future public drunkenness" or arrested men for "possible future rape". I haven't even seen anything that would suggest to me that paedophiles are more likely to molest children than non-paedophiles.

[ Parent ]
What the? (2.50 / 2) (#41)
by GreenCrackBaby on Sat Jan 27, 2001 at 01:28:04 AM EST

I haven't even seen anything that would suggest to me that paedophiles are more likely to molest children than non-paedophiles.

Ummm...by definition, if you molest a child you are a pedophile. Much like if you rape someone you then are labelled a rapist.

Note: this is not saying that the act of molestation makes you a pedophile. Pedophilia is a mental illness, and by molesting a child you are proving that you suffer from this mental illness.

[ Parent ]

Definition (3.00 / 1) (#42)
by plastik55 on Sat Jan 27, 2001 at 02:22:07 AM EST

by definition, if you molest a child you are a pedophile.... Note: this is not saying that the act of molestation makes you a pedophile.

All I can say is "Huh?"

Try a dictionary:

ped·o·phile n. An adult who is sexually attracted to a child or children. --www.dictionary.com

This says nothing about the act of molestation. In fact there is a big difference between "pedophile" and "child molester." Neither set is contained by the other.
w00t!
[ Parent ]

Did they do a controlled test? (3.00 / 1) (#44)
by Paul Crowley on Sat Jan 27, 2001 at 08:05:35 AM EST

Did they take two groups of paedophiles, give one lot child pornography, the others "placebo" pornography (ie pictures of Brian Molko :-) and measure the incidence of child sex abuse in each group?

no?

How, then, did they distinguish causation from correlation? For those who aren't hard scientists like iGrrrl, how do they tell whether the material caused the increased incidence of abuse, or whether both the abuse and the ownership of the material were caused by some third cause, like an increased inclination towards sexualising children?

I think censorship is wrong, and I wouldn't support censorship of the material described here even if a controlled test did show it increased likelihood of abuse, because it's not hard to see where "this material encourages that behaviour, ban it" is going to lead. But in the real world, controlled tests that really would demonstrate causation are simply impossible to conduct, so we're faced with a clear choice between handing carte blance to censorious moralists who want to choose what we're allowed to read anf free speech.
--
Paul Crowley aka ciphergoth. Crypto and sex politics. Diary.
[ Parent ]

Answering several (3.00 / 1) (#46)
by iGrrrl on Sat Jan 27, 2001 at 10:07:12 AM EST

Hey, I said I couldn't remember where I'd read that, and thus phrased it as an unsupported assertion ("if I recall correctly" and a note that I can't document it). But I do remember reading it.

IIRC, which I may not, it was not so much a controlled experiment, but rather a study which had to do with recidivism rates of people who had already been prosecuted for child molestation. These people had served sentences and supposedly recieved therapy. I recall that the data showed a corelation between re-arrest rates and posession of child pornography.

Of course, this was a sociological study, and people lie. The unarrested group (assumed no longer engaging in molestation) self-reported that they had no such pornographic material in their posession. The arrested group data is better if it resulted from a police search of the home.

Of course, again IIRC, the study did not compare those who molested within the family (low recidivism rates) with those who molested children outside the family. Also, IIRC, it did not discriminate between heterosexual molesters and homosexual molesters (higher recidivism rates).

In no way do I contend that all pornography causes violent sexual behavior in those who view it. That radical feminist stance is just so much bullshit in my book. It's like saying Doom and Quake cause Columbine. Such things may be partial contributing factors in people who are already inclined to kill or rape. Already inclined. But that is my opinion, and I think the data which exist are mixed.

--
You cannot have a reasonable conversation with someone who regards other people as toys to be played with. localroger
remove apostrophe for email.
[ Parent ]

clarification (2.00 / 1) (#30)
by mikpos on Fri Jan 26, 2001 at 07:06:17 PM EST

Now, maybe I'm wrong, but I always thought that the REASON we outlaw kiddy porn is that you have to actually molest a child to make it.

There seems to be a lot of vague and sweeping language used when talking about child pornography, and this is an example (not to try and single you out or anything). Just for a bit of clarification (modify as needed):

Let's talk strictly about possesion of child pornography, where child pornography is material depicting actual children engaged in sexual acts (we'll exclude imaginary pr0n as well as nudity, for simplicity). There are two schools of thought as to why possession of child pornography should be outlawed:

  1. it creates a demand for production of child pornography. An assumption is that production of child pornography, as we've defined it, harms children. This assumption seems obvious, but it does have some fallacies.

    First of all, children suffering harm from sexual contact is substantially a cultural thing: look at the Spartans as well as any number of other pre-medieval cultures where girls often had children at fifteen or earlier (and, it should be noted, were quite a bit less mature than the fifteen year-olds of today). Still, common sense dictates that children would be subject to considerable harm regardless. And I doubt anyone would suggest cultural changes just to suit the needs of those who want to have sex with children.

    Secondly, if a 17 year-old masturbates, it's not illegal; if he takes a picture of himself masturbating, even if he doesn't show it to anyone, it's illegal. Strange. This seems to imply that it's not the sexual act itself, but the photographic act, that causes the person harm.

    Were you to assume that sexual activity involving children is necessarily harmful (it's still a fairly valid assumption), trying to determine whether the child pornography market follows the standard supply-demand cycle is guesswork: some say err on the side of liberty; others say that since children are involved, caution should take priority. Definitely sticky.

  2. it causes the possessors (presumably viewers) of child pornography to molest children. There is neither evidence nor theory to support this, but, again, is it best to always side with caution when children are involved?

Anyway, I'd like to see some serious studies on the relationship between child molestation, possession of child pornography, and paedophilia. The three seem to be lumped together as one and the same, but I don't see any reason for there to be.

For example, child molestation == paedophilia? If I were a rapist, and I had my choice between a women, who's going to kick and scream and call the police, and a girl, the essence of vulnerability, it seems like a no-brainer. By (even by the police) brandishing me a "paedophile" when I may indeed not have any attraction to the girl, they seem to be missing a golden opportunity to stop future attacks. On the same hand, paedophilia fora such as GirlChat and BoyChat seem to give the impression that many paedophiles (or at least the ones who frequent paedophilia fora) are celibate. It's my opinion that in attempts to prevent child abuse, resources may be being wasted going after paedophiles alone. Surely something like this can be determined by going down to a prison and checking the child molestors there for paedophilic characteristics (perhaps via the infamous penis circumference measuring ring thing)?

[ Parent ]

Canada vs. U.S.A. (1.45 / 11) (#18)
by butchhoward on Fri Jan 26, 2001 at 03:14:16 PM EST

I am not up on the details of the Canadian form of gvernment, but it might be different than in the U.S.A. The American form of government works from the principle that all things are permitted unless explicitly forbidden. Most other governments in the world are backwards: All things are forbidden unless explicitly permitted.

Actually *sigh* (3.50 / 4) (#24)
by Robert Gormley on Fri Jan 26, 2001 at 04:35:19 PM EST

Though I can hear the chants of "U S A! U S A!", most "enlightened" governments of the world's stated policy or aim is that they impinge on the people as little as possible. Unless something is specifically illegal, it's legal.

The USA is most definitely not alone here.

[ Parent ]

Interesting... (4.14 / 7) (#19)
by Seumas on Fri Jan 26, 2001 at 03:16:22 PM EST

I seem to recall an investigative show (might even have been 20/20 or 60 Minutes) a couple years ago which discussed how in one of the Canadian provinces, it was legal to posess child pornography. Not just imitation child pornography, but the real thing. Granted, enough people were outraged in that province, but the man that the story centered around was being given quite a defense and it seemed the government was protecting him and his 'rights' by allowing him to keep the material free from prosecution.

I'm on the fence as far as this conversation goes in general, though. While any sane person would want to do all they can to prevent and prosecute pornography involving children (I'm talking the real thing, not some anime sketch or crappy short story), I also believe there is something even more important to prevent -- and that is any erosion of freedom with regard to expression or speach.

The one thing banning (real) child pornography has for it is that it is so wrong that it is almost the one legitimate exception to all concerns of free speech, in my mind. The reason I do tend to side toward the free-speach at all costs side, though, is that by prosecuting not only child pornographers but those who posess the material, they are not deterring anyone from manufacturing, distributing or posessing it -- in fact, they are encouraging a (profitable, I'm guessing) black market for it that makes it even more enticing to those involved. With that in mind, I don't see that the concerns of 'safety' clearly outweight the concerns of free expression. And, without absolute certainty, I would not condone any limitation of freedoms, regardless of the country involved.
--
I just read K5 for the articles.

20/20 show (3.00 / 1) (#29)
by mikpos on Fri Jan 26, 2001 at 06:39:20 PM EST

I don't watch 20/20 (or whatever show you watched), but you could have been hearing about this exact case. The Court of Appeal said that the law concerning child pornography was unconstitutional. When that happens, the entire section of the Criminal Code dealing with that cannot be enforced. Hence, until this ruling came out today (which was ruled on by the highest court in Canada), there were several dozen child pornography cases waiting in the wings, so to speak, waiting to see whether in fact it would still be a law or not.

But for a few months, it was legal to possess, distribute, manufacture, etc. child pornography. Police departments still did investigations, etc., but couldn't lay charges as it wasn't a valid law at that time. Mind you if you're involved with child pornography in any way, I imagine the legal system would be the least of your worries :)

[ Parent ]

pedophilia -- wrong? (4.68 / 22) (#21)
by klamath on Fri Jan 26, 2001 at 03:44:04 PM EST

As far as I know, the only people that would want to have this type of child pornography are pedophiles. I can't help but ask why society feels the need to legalize something that clearly is only intended for a small criminal portion of the population.
Excuse me -- why is being a pedophile a criminal activity? It's probably closer to a mental disease. But the point is that, yes, abusing children is a crime. But the condition of being a pedophile is really not much different from being a homosexual -- which is to say, it's perfectly legal.

I have no problems with this decision. When a pedophile abuses a child, he should obviously be prosecuted. But simply discussing or fantasizing about that activity is NOT illegal, and should not be. Those kinds of information are basically identical to any other kind of information -- be it a scientific journal, a political essay, or neo-nazi propaganda. It might be immoral, but morality and the legal system are completely independant.

Necrophilia (3.00 / 3) (#23)
by Robert Gormley on Fri Jan 26, 2001 at 04:33:01 PM EST

... is it just my recollection, or is it the same for necrophilia - not a "fetish" as such, but a mental disturbance? (in the clinical sense, that is.)

[ Parent ]
I agree.. (4.00 / 5) (#25)
by Drakantus on Fri Jan 26, 2001 at 05:07:32 PM EST

Not only should this be allowed, it's a good thing it's allowed. Would you rather have pedophiles only option be "real" kiddy porn? With this legal, as it should be, pedophiles have an alternative to the real thing.

[ Parent ]
A mental disease? That's Crazy! (3.66 / 3) (#37)
by AzTex on Fri Jan 26, 2001 at 09:40:24 PM EST

why is being a pedophile a criminal activity? It's probably closer to a mental disease. But the point is that, yes, abusing children is a crime. But the condition of being a pedophile is really not much different from being a homosexual -- which is to say, it's perfectly legal.

Yes, psychiatrists may think pedophilia or necrophilia or paraphilia are mental diseases.  But until the 70s (in the US, anyway) they classified homosexuality as a mental disease.  Then the APA changed its mind.

My point is that it's only really crazy if a society thinks that it's crazy.



solipsism: I'm always here. But you sometimes go away.
** AzTex **

[ Parent ]
good point (3.00 / 2) (#39)
by klamath on Fri Jan 26, 2001 at 10:39:55 PM EST

Yes, psychiatrists may think pedophilia or necrophilia or paraphilia are mental diseases....My point is that it's only really crazy if a society thinks that it's crazy.
Yes, in the same way that 'insanity' may not be 'craziness' at all: it's just a different way of seeing the world, just like homosexuality or necrophilia is a different sexual orientation. I guess we tend to define 'sane/insane' as 'normal/different'. And then of course, the whole profession of psychiatry is based on degree: at what point do you stop being just cautious and become paranoid? Is there a way to empirically define this?

As much as I'm disturbed to admit it, this might be an area where "truth is democratic" (to quote Orwell, 1984).

Note: IANAP (I am not a psychiatrist), so if I'm talking out of my butt, feel free to let me know ;-)

[ Parent ]

Do you have a specific problem with homosexuality? (2.50 / 2) (#45)
by itsbruce on Sat Jan 27, 2001 at 09:39:02 AM EST

Only, I notice that you have bracketed it once with paedophilia and once with necrophilia.


--

It is impolite to tell a man who is carrying you on his shoulders that his head smells.
[ Parent ]
no, I don't (3.00 / 1) (#47)
by klamath on Sat Jan 27, 2001 at 10:29:12 AM EST

I was simply referring to "disorders" that society at one time has thought of as mental diseases. Homosexuality was once in that category, which is why I referred to it. Necrophilia still is, which is why I referred to it.

I didn't mean to imply that all homosexuals have a mental illness.

[ Parent ]

Homosexuality and Pedophilia (none / 0) (#57)
by kaivalya on Wed Jan 31, 2001 at 12:24:31 AM EST

"I didn't mean to imply that all homosexuals have a mental illness." But you did and quite clearly.

I believe that it was a grave mistake that Homosexuality was ever defined as a mental illness! And the fact that it once was and Pedophilia currently is defined as a mental illness is totally irrelevant to your point. No logical correlation could come of it. Therefore "But the condition of being a pedophile is really not much different from being a homosexual -- which is to say, it's perfectly legal." when you say that you are quite wrong.

With the idea of mental illness to the side, there is the plain difference that a Pedophile could *never* have truly consensual relations, hence Necrophilia is in the same category. The fact that someone has the desire to partake in a completely non-consensual activity is a strong part of the illness.

I think you need to lay off listening to Dr. Laura for a while, whom, by the way would know little of mental illnesses because she has a Ph.D. in Physiology not Psychology.



[ Parent ]
sigh... (none / 0) (#58)
by klamath on Tue Feb 06, 2001 at 04:10:23 PM EST

"I didn't mean to imply that all homosexuals have a mental illness." But you did and quite clearly.
No, I didn't. I'll repeat myself: I have no problems with homosexual behavior, and IMHO, they do not have a mental illness, and I have no pro -- however, they were considered to have one in the past? What has changed? Psychological understanding of homosexuality? Less bias in the medical community? I would say no: there is a tendancy for the psychology community to define "sane" as "normal", and "insane" as "not normal". If necrophilia became common place would it cease to be a mental illness? Is there an empirical method for determing that X is, or is not a mental illness.
I believe that it was a grave mistake that Homosexuality was ever defined as a mental illness!
Why? I'm not saying you're wrong, but what grounds to you have to say that homosexuality is not a mental illness, while pedophilia or necrophilia is?
And the fact that it once was and Pedophilia currently is defined as a mental illness is totally irrelevant to your point. No logical correlation could come of it. Therefore "But the condition of being a pedophile is really not much different from being a homosexual -- which is to say, it's perfectly legal." when you say that you are quite wrong.
Your conclusion does not follow from your arguments. Would you care to explain why I'm wrong? I don't really understand what you're trying to say.
there is the plain difference that a Pedophile could *never* have truly consensual relations, hence Necrophilia is in the same category.
I strongly disagree. This would affect the legality of these actions -- but as I've said, legality and mental illness share very little in common. Sure, I agree: the fact that a pedophile/necrophile cannot have a consual partner is legimate reason for outlawing these activities. However, the consent of the partner has nothing to do with the illness: the illness may not even involve acting out these feelings.
The fact that someone has the desire to partake in a completely non-consensual activity is a strong part of the illness.
I doubt it, but I'm not a psychologist. Do you have any evidence of this? I don't think whether the potential partner consents has anything to do with the disease.

I think you need to lay off listening to Dr. Laura for a while, whom, by the way would know little of mental illnesses because she has a Ph.D. in Physiology not Psychology.
You are too funny -- and your analysis of my character is too insightful. I won't even bother commenting...

[ Parent ]
how did they break up the ruling? (2.00 / 2) (#26)
by mikpos on Fri Jan 26, 2001 at 05:50:49 PM EST

Being Canadian, I should be ashamed, but how does this ruling work? My understanding of the Canadian court system is that if a section of law is ruled unconstitutional, it is completely removed (usually after a grace period like 12 months) and the Members of Parliament are told to go back to the drawing board, so to speak.

From this ruling (admittedly this article is the only thing I've heard of the actual ruling), it sounds like the Supreme Court of Canada itself has changed the Criminal Code. How does this work?

The rundown (4.50 / 2) (#36)
by Phil the Canuck on Fri Jan 26, 2001 at 09:40:13 PM EST

The Supreme Court of Canada can choose several options in a case like this. These include letting the law stand as constitutional, quashing the law entirely if they deem it unconstitutional, or ruling that one or more sections of the law are unconstitutional. The third option is what has been used here. It is legal to own child pornography that does not photographically depict an illegal act. Pretty much anything else is still illegal.

------

I don't think being an idiot comes with a pension plan though. Unless you're management of course. - hulver
[ Parent ]

The FBI would love you (4.87 / 8) (#31)
by itsbruce on Fri Jan 26, 2001 at 07:22:21 PM EST

A few years ago, 60 Minutes had a story about the FBI entrapping people with paedophile pornography. Story is, this elderly guy in a midwestern town receives a catalog offering mail-order porn. He orders some. Then he's arrested by the FBI, who are the people who sent the catalog.

The FBI were happy to admit that there was not the slightest suggestion of him ever having done anything to a child ever in his life. They were also happy to arrest him for ordering child porn, despite the fact that he may never have bought any such thing without the offer they made (he claimed it was the first time he'd ever tried to buy such material).

This is the kind of thing that happens when people start saying that Freedom has gone too far.

Fortunately (and surprisingly) for him, he had the support of his local community.


--

It is impolite to tell a man who is carrying you on his shoulders that his head smells.
rights of minorities need to be protected (4.00 / 6) (#33)
by skim123 on Fri Jan 26, 2001 at 07:43:32 PM EST

As far as I know, the only people that would want to have this type of child pornography are pedophiles. I can't help but ask why society feels the need to legalize something that clearly is only intended for a small criminal portion of the population. Is this freedom gone too far?

Let's turn the question around. As far as I know, the only people that would want freedom of religion are those who belief in "crazy, unpopular religions" (i.e., non monotheistic religions). I can't help but ask why society feels the need to legalize something that clearly is only intended for a small cooky portion of the population. Is this freedom gone too far?

(Now, I am not trying to compare someone who believes in a fringe religion to a pedophile, but I think the analogy works here.)

Money is in some respects like fire; it is a very excellent servant but a terrible master.
PT Barnum


blah! (none / 0) (#49)
by sorynn on Sun Jan 28, 2001 at 11:07:15 AM EST

...why society feels the need to legalize something that clearly is only intended for a small cooky portion of the population. Is this freedom gone too far?

Uhm, first of all, I think the use of 'a small cooky portion' isn't the most diplomatic words of saying it.
Second of all, even minorities should get some sort of protection from discrimination.

Now then, my opinion on the matter, it all sort of depends on the situation. If a person wants to write stories about having sex with children... well, I say whatever floats your boat. I really couldn't care what dark fantasies a person like that has... but only as long as he doesn't actually touch a young child. I'll be the first to take a baseball bat to that person's private parts if I met him face-to-face.
But everyone has their dark, twisted fantasies and I, for one, prefer people to imagine them in the confines of their own minds instead of acting them out in the real world. The thought that you can send all these 'perverts' away to jail is wishful thinking, because you can't.
Next you'll be trying the same with people who have violent images on their computer (www.goregallery.com, if you really wanna know.) or, in a few years, jailing those who downloaded a few pictures from penthouse.com.

For a related story, a few years back a mother got arrested and charged with possessing child pornography. Turns out she had a few pictures of her young son playing at the beach. Her son was only 4 or 5, I think, and wasn't wearing any clothes.
Seriously, how far is this all going to go? What's next, neurotransmitters that'll zap up everytime we have a "bad thought?"

"Eagles may soar, free and proud, but weasels never get sucked into jet engines."
[ Parent ]
Uhm. (none / 0) (#51)
by skim123 on Sun Jan 28, 2001 at 03:52:04 PM EST

I agree exactly with what you said. My post was trying to illustrate to the original poster, by taking his own position, why his argument was a fallacy.

Money is in some respects like fire; it is a very excellent servant but a terrible master.
PT Barnum


[ Parent ]
essay on subject.. (3.66 / 6) (#38)
by lucid on Fri Jan 26, 2001 at 10:14:53 PM EST

There's an interesting essay on this subject here. Essentially, the author seems to feel that child pornography becomes the perfect thought crime. Thinking it is the same as doing it. Most people also consider victimizing a child as so reprehensible a crime that the stain of accusation follows someone around for a long time.

it's the lies who go too far (1.00 / 5) (#43)
by mami on Sat Jan 27, 2001 at 02:51:01 AM EST

There was just this subject on /. and I am tired of this. Twisting the meaning of pedophilia versus child-molestation and making intellectual acrobacy to defend the merits of child pornographie describing violence against kids (prepuberty) is one of the biggest lunatic lies I have heard of. I don't buy in any of that.

That's the sort of logic presented by President Clinton about testifying falsely is not lying. The argument that all this is legal, doesn't mean anything. Under Hitler it was very legal to murder jews and make sadistic medical experiments on children by people who at the same time were the nice uncles of their nieces and nephews under the Christmas tree.

Freedom going too far ? No, lying going berserc, logic and intelligence abused to prove a wrong thing to be right. Just forget it, including the coward judges and legal counselors who cave into the fashions of the time instead of upholding the law for the just thing and not for the bigottest latest fads.

Some things never change. Lawyers and clergymen were among the most coward and bigotted people to support Hitler. Seems to me one can find always someone, who defends the right things for the wrong people and the wrong thing for the right people.

A question of legality (5.00 / 1) (#48)
by dammitallgoodnamesgone on Sun Jan 28, 2001 at 06:53:40 AM EST

I seem to remember reading a comment from a senior police official where he said that there has been a noticable increase in the number of paedophiles over the past 5 years largely because (a) society has been sexualising younger and younger people (q.v. Brittney Spears, who , starting at 16, was never "jail bait" to most of the world outside the US) and (b) the freedom of information offered by the Internet has shown many "latent" (not sure if that's quite right but it's the best phrasing I can think of) paedophiles that they aren't quite so alone as they thought they were. Perhaps the best thing is to realise that Society and the Law are currently at odds (and in many countries the Law and the Law are currently at odds) over this and try to rectify that. Personally I think that the best solution is some form of decriminalisation, such as the UK police reccomends for cannabis, where paedophiles would not be charged if caught with enough paedophilic material "for personal use" but any producer of paedophilic material would be charged. IANAP but it seems unfair to encourage them by sexualising younger and younger people and then blame them for responding

Should Stephen King be indicted for child porn? (4.50 / 2) (#50)
by marimba on Sun Jan 28, 2001 at 12:24:21 PM EST

"provided real pictures or videos do not show illegal acts." (. . . )"So it is now legal in Canada to create pictures of young children involved in sex act or create stories of sexual encounters with young children, so long as there are no "real" children involved.

If there were no illegal acts depicted, and no real people were involved, that is, absolutely no one suffered any harm, why would you want to curtail this? If you do, then you also risk curtailing literature, such as 'Gerald's Game', by Stephen King, which depicts the molestation of a young girl by her father. Should he go to jail for this? Fiction is fiction. Grow up.



the notion of what a crime is (4.00 / 1) (#56)
by maskatron on Tue Jan 30, 2001 at 10:48:24 PM EST

i admit i'm a sucker for stories about freedom. in this case, there were no 'victims'. the man is sick, i do not dispute that. he may in fact commit a crime someday. but then again, so may many people. anyway, i'd rather have him sit in his apartment getting himself off to pictures and stories than have him trolling the neighbourhood looking for young boys to kidnap. maskatron

When freedom goes too far | 58 comments (52 topical, 6 editorial, 0 hidden)
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