Debate Guide: Newgon's History
At the time of writing, criticisms of Newgon come up at least once every couple of days on social media. So this article puts together some of these common criticisms and useful answers to them.
From the general public
Your source, Newgon.net is an activist organization that has among its aims, reducing the age of consent to 12 in some cases. As a result, I am inclined to overlook what they have cited in their "research" collections.
Or simply stated:
No. You are using NewgonWiki as a source...
The articles cited on Newgon.net are nearly always from independent academic journals, and peer-reviewed. Our selection process biases the literature towards what we consider to be representative sampling, although much of it remains unrepresentative - usually in a way that favors the official narrative. But this is besides the point. Our excerpts are deemed to be a starting place for readers who wish to gain a broader and deeper understanding of the subjects at hand, and the present state of scholarship in these areas. Are you able and willing to put that time and energy into understanding our subject, or just seeking to denigrate us?
From other MAPs - Fact Check
Newgon is active on Social Media - and has come in for criticism from Twitter MAPs, some of whom have objected to the tactics and (varying) stated positions of Newgon activists. Many of the critics are young, philosophically engaged with IdPol/Social Justice discourse and have not properly entertained the idea of public-facing activism themselves. They tend to be anti-contact, paraphilia advocates, and some may consider themselves to be Anarchists and/or Youth Liberationists, despite opposing even broad-sweeping Age of License rights reforms such as our own proposal. They appear to ignore the central role that such incremental reforms have played in all of the major civil rights struggles of the 19th and 20th Centuries.
The view among some MAP "Youth Liberationists" is that children and youth must be liberated from oppressive capitalist structures before being burdened with any "unfair" or inappropriate rights and responsibilities. This approach is problematic in that it appears to forbid youth any intermediate role in freeing themselves from an oppressive economic environment by attaining and exercising incremental freedoms. It thus perpetuates a kind of cyclical paternalism. It should also be added that this scepticism towards pragmatic youth rights initiatives among MAP "Youth Liberationists" and "Anarchists" seems to be applied selectively to the topic of the very physical and sexual relationships that occupy their fantasies. Said individuals are usually willing to grant other rights to youth almost immediately when you ask them, suggesting that their opinions owe more to internalizing society's sex-negative and anti-youth values, or at least a fear of holding an "unfashionable" opinion. We are reminded of "ironic lolicons" who protest that they actually hate the one thing they masturbate to drawings of. We go into some more detail concerning the topic of Youth Lib and Youth Rights later on in the article.
Newgon spreading "misinformation"
Fact check: FALSE.
These claims (see the screencap to the right) are usually based on rhetorical manipulations, omissions and outright false statements. Map-Wiki (who initiated these claims) appears to be run by a small group of editors affiliated with the NNIA Mastodon instance, and a clique who emerged on Tumblr in the period leading up to 2018. At the time of writing, the editors of Map-Wiki vary somewhat in their level of skill. Some are able to produce useful and concise content while other less frequent editors are prone to imprecise screeds, conjecture and giving equal weight to content of marginal importance. In their article on Newgon, Map-Wiki uses the sanitized term "anti-contact people" to refer to hypothetical antipedophiles we have memed. Then, our use of the "SJW" tag on the memes page is criticized - again as a slight against "anti-contact people" in general. From even the most basic viewing of the memes page, it becomes clear that "SJW" and other pejoratives are in fact used by us in reference to people who aggressively denigrate pedophiles. In other words, we criticize the invalidation of people such as the editors of Map-Wiki. To criticize this as an attack on "anti-contact people" is either dishonest or shows a significant lack of awareness as to where other people's sympathies lie.
It is then claimed, rather confusingly that Newgon pursues the idea "LGBT should be allied with, if not, a part of minor-adult relationships". We have repeatedly criticized the mainstream LGBT Movement, published an article documenting their former alliances with MAPs, and have made clear that rejoining them would be impossible, and unpalatable to most of us. We are clearly not doing a very good job of this courtship ritual, if our activists are on record stating that our only hope with assimilated or part-assimilated minorities is to take advantage of the LGBT paradigm's fragmentation.
Tone-based criticism and skepticism between factions in a movement is totally healthy, assuming it doesn't reach the level of the dishonesty pointed out above. Competing subgroups need a reason to carve out their own identity/niche, and besides, a broader appeal will help any movement prosper as a whole. But the anti-c MAP movement (at the time of writing) is not doing any public facing work. They are letting others (mainly counter-stigma academics) speak for them. We should be able to use resources like Map-Wiki as a reliable source. This is because they have a history of their own that needs to be documented first-hand, and professionally. Unfortunately, the following, which is seemingly disinformation, makes it hard to assume good faith:
- Map-Wiki have used our own research to create an article on the origin of the MAP phenomenon, without crediting us. What this article excludes are the early examples of MAP discourse from 2007 on the ANU Blog, operated by our founders. Follow their article's link at the bottom of this article, and then compare it to this prior article of ours. To see how they went about doctoring our quote, you can also check their own screencap of our Twitter account on their article and compare it to their quote. Of course reality is a lot more complex than the (butchered) quote on the Map-Wiki article screencapped. This will always be the case with language and discourse development, and as the primary publisher of the only original research articles on that very process, we have never claimed otherwise.
- The fact that we originated a "flag" concept in 2009 is already part of the historical record. The linkage to the 2018 NOMAP Flag is contested by Map-Wiki, however the rationale given for our 2009 design is eerily similar to the 2018 NOMAP Flag. To say that the probability of the concept being copied/adapted is around 80% would probably be an understatement, but ultimately, we will never know if the flag was copied. Our version of this gradient design was only a submission to a competition, as that is how Newgon(.com) functioned (and often still does) - as a clearinghouse for ideas.
- It is claimed that "Other Newgon initiatives include trying to rename "pro contact" to "pro choice"". "Pro choice" (which some of us do use) was an initiative of Allyn Walker, and possibly even the MAPs they were referring to in their book. This book came out months before we even reopened! "Pro-choice" is categorically not our initiative.
- Perhaps the most telling piece of mental gymnastics in this Map-Wiki article follows:
Newgon also claimed to be "anti-offending", which possibly means anti-forceful contact, however, "anti-offending" is typically used in contact discourse synonymously with "anti contact".
Perhaps the idea of opposing all lawbreaking on principled grounds, regardless of whether or not one is pro-c is simply beyond these people? The concept of an anti-offending pro-c has existed long before anti-contact MAPs even set foot upon Tumblr.
Another claim was made in a video by a person who presents herself as a youth-rights activist exclusively for sex between adults and teenagers, on the basis that teenagers are biological adults. She appears to be a lone operator and does not come from the same Identity Politics/Pro-paraphilia clique we mentioned earlier, often using the word "pedo" as a slur. Her argument is in the video screencapture to the right of the screen. It appears that an activist affiliated with us had claimed on Twitter.com that around 90% of MAPs are either hebephiles or attracted to older minors. From the number of hebephiles (all of them are MAPs) and "ephebophiles" (a portion thereof will be MAPs) that appear in phallometric studies, this would appear to be a fair estimate. This is because true pedophilia is rarely projected at over 2-3% of men, yet phallometric studies often produce double digit counts for all preferential attraction to minors - sometimes going as high as 30%. The producer of the video falsely presented the idea that a Newgon activist had used the number of teleiophiles (non-minor-attracted people) in a sample to bolster their claims. This would clearly be unnecessary, both in the case of the table graphic cited in the video, and from a brief analysis of other data presented on our website.
The same youth rights activist who made this video, has in the past presented the idea that Newgon attempted to promote the concept of Ephebophilia, when in fact we merely have an article on the subject. That article questions the conceptual validity of Ephebophilia, suggesting that it should be considered Teleiophilic instead. Since well before these arguments were made, Newgon has been removing references to Ephebophilia from other articles, or replacing them with Hebephilia, a concept that was often conflated with Ephebophilia during the time many of our articles were written. At no point since reopening in 2021 has a Newgon activist used social media to promote the concept of Ephebophilia, and some have argued against it.
Fact check: FALSE.
Newgon is an informational resource - a clearinghouse for information and ideas. When we do formulate "official positions" or express an editorial slant, we often take into account the pragmatic and strategic constraints of a given situation - particularly with respect to the former. This may require that initial demands are moderated in such a way that they address people's concerns - making a policy more feasible.
With respect to our non-binding position on Ages of License, our voluntary/elective emancipation proposal has been described as ableist. This is because a basic assessment of competence would not automatically emancipate minors above the age of 12 and below the age of majority, should they be deemed significantly below the mental age of their peers due to intellectual impairment. In essence, we are maintaining a law that discriminates on age, and creating a temporary "safeguard" for more profound mental impairments or developmental problems. This is to address people's concerns about such impairments, and to moderate our own demands. Newgon does not pursue an ableist philosophy in any regard.
We have also agitated against the previously sterile discourse on Pedophilia OCD by meming the concept (see in article) and promoting said meme on Twitter. Seeking to abolish the diagnosis and/or partially replace it with more appropriate label/s might be interpreted as "ableist" by some of our more fervent IdPol opponents. This would be as nonsensical for instance, as stating that a scientist who questions the conceptual validity of discrete racial categories is advocating for the "erasure" of people who define themselves by their ethnicity.
Fact check: FALSE.
These criticisms are often made by those who are engaged in values-based assimilationism themselves.
Our philosophical positions, to the extent that we even agree on them are not assimilationist and tend towards the radical and integrationist. We believe that over 1/4 of men might be hebephilic, not that hebephilia is superior as a result. We were co-founded by a pedophile and have a binding position on declassification of pedophilia - something no other organization we are aware of has even entertained in the past. Of course this demand, and the one non-binding position on the Age of Consent/License are "assimilationist" in that their rationales take account of public concerns. Any demand standing a chance of success in a peace-time situation must take account of public concerns, and is therefore inherently assimilationist to some degree. This should be pretty obvious to most of us who are not so self-absorbed as to completely ignore reality. The fact that MAPs are not collectively thinking beyond this stage, shows that many of us are still trapped in the theoretical mental prison, owing to our refusal to confront and consider the reality before us.
We have also been an initiator in attempts to avert dangerous examples of assimilationism, such as hebephile assimilationism - something that could distance a considerable proportion of MAPs. For example, an article of ours contains a prediction that the idea of Youthlove might be abused towards such ends. Nothing was forcing us to take pre-emptive early precautions against the abuse of language that enables assimilationism. We advocate that the less dogmatic Anti-c pedophiles question AC/NOMAP Ideology and adopt a moderate pro-c position, in order to avoid being distanced by hebephiles who endorse pragmatic age reforms such as ours while expressing contempt for "lesser" minorities. These events are inevitable in any broad civil rights movement, and we must be prepared for them.
Newgon is right on the edge of what is considered acceptable discourse outside of academia, and sometimes even inside. The underlying concept is to provoke critical thought by pushing the boundaries as far as reasonably possible, allowing others to make arguments that are perhaps more, and perhaps less adventurous than our own.
Selective and "self-interested" adoption of Youth Liberation Philosophy
Fact check: FALSE.
It is also alleged that Newgon selectively deploys Youth Liberation Philosophy, but this is clearly false, as we haven't explicitly adopted or endorsed Youth Lib ideas in the first place. Instead we proposed a very basic, non-binding Youth Rights platform. As we clearly state in our ethos, we are willing to co-operate across the board with respect to different ages of license, treating them all as equally important. Even if we were to describe our rights-based system as a Youth Lib position, it would therefore not be selective. Our topical focus, as such, remains selective because we exist to represent the needs of our MAP members, MAP allies and any youth (including some MAPs) who are effected by these topics. To us, declassification and destigmatization of attraction to minors, and the promotion of bodily autonomy can not be compromised in any co-operative effort. This is the very reason we moderate our demands in relation to these topics.
One important issue here, is that in any event, the MAP co-operation with Youth and Youth Advocates described above is not yet forthcoming, and might not be for decades. We are therefore discussing a wholly hypothetical situation. So while our position is a basic Youth-Rights proposal that lacks immediate viability, any MAPs who claim to be pursuing liberation of all minors and children will most certainly be sidelined - typecast as "self-interested" for the forseeable future. They will be forced into the shadows, living a lie and advancing the politics of anti-MAPs. You can be a MAP and you can be a Youth Liberationist, but not both at the same time in the present environment. Indeed, the half-hearted approach of supposed MAP "Youth Liberationists" described further up the article appears to be based on an anxiety concerning these bad optics. The same goes for their transparent attempts at painting others as "self interested". The assumptions here, are that they, themselves are not self-interested, and that there is something inherently "wrong" with being self-interested.
What we must ask these supposed Youth Liberationists is how this youth/child liberation comes about without the attainment and deployment of incremental youth rights. And how the presence of MAPs might help and not hinder that process. Ultimately, the philosophy of Youth Liberation, while admirable in its intentions, is an adult construct, prepared for minors and children. This is why virtually every "youth liberationist" online is a young adult. It is inevitable that the experiences of young people themselves will be the driving force behind any incremental scheme of youth rights, but unfortunately, much like Youth Lib philosophy, these experiences will be interpreted through an adult lens. Youth, while central to their own struggle, will be relying on adult lawmakers to make those initial gains before they can start to slowly increase their bargaining power. After all, the needs and experiences of young people necessitating these changes, are inseparable from adult-dominated society, economy and media. Further, it should be warned that in pure demographic terms, minors are relatively insignificant and have been given little natural motive to seek "liberation" thusfar. The system conspires against minors in more ways than their supposed "liberators" might imagine.
Fact check: FALSE.
Newgon has been variously accused of pushing a Right-Wing or "alt-lite" philosophy - usually by the politically over-engaged/theoretically hyperliterate people described in the lede of this section. What is perhaps most revealing about these statements is the implicit assumption that those with an opposing viewpoint can not be worked with in any way. Newgon considers intellectual diversity to be fundamental to the progress of young movements in particular.
This accusation of bias can probably be put down to a combination of the above mentioned character traits and various articles on this wiki and editorials/forum posts by activists such as Strategist/JohnHolt. Our founder, Dan Lievre has also suggested that identity politics as we broadly understand it is a luxury bestowed upon already assimilated minorities, and is thus unsuitable for a fully fledged liberationist/civil-rights movement. JohnHolt describes these people as "otherkin", it appears forgoing use of the term for genuinely invalidated and non-assimilated minorities. He has also suggested, for example, that official narratives of radicalism within civil rights movements are designed to play into the hands of present day elites by portraying a misleading hagiography of radical activism. He presents this alongside a cynical analysis of power structures, but calls for a socially progressive movement to work within the confines of his model, to include radicals. JohnHolt has also stated that BLs are not persecuted as a group, are rarely persecuted as individuals, and that distinguishing persecution from oppression is an important step for oppressed minorities. These positions are sometimes "controversial" with online groups of people who are unaccustomed to heterodox thinking.
Taken together, and with Newgon's stated openness to competing worldviews such as Men's Rights, Inceldom, Feminism, Socialism, Anarchism, etc, it can be said that the group pursues an integrative strategy with respect to its members. The rules and regulations of online chats hosted by Newgon, stipulate that participants should only discuss their broader political perspectives as they relate to the direction of the MAP Movement, in special off-topic rooms. This stems from a consensus that the early movement must be open to a variety of perspectives and approaches. While our members are split on the topic of whether or not anti-c ideologies serve a useful purpose, anti-c lobbying is strictly banned from our group to keep the peace. We are not aware of any participants who deny that our topic is a socially progressive cause, although some of our participants would rather present themselves as liberationists pursuing socially libertarian ends. We are aware of maybe 1 or 2 members who would like the MAP Movement to take substantive cues from Men's Rights Activism, and others have made similar statements re. Anarchism and Youth Liberation. We have frequently ejected 4Chan members and Incels from our online chats when they have shown an unwillingness to put aside their pet cause, and have "holocausted" antisemites and a whole variety of race-obsessed people, including some left-wing racists immediately. Our membership as it stands consists of around 50% politically engaged individuals (progressives, anarchists, new right, mens rights) and 50% who would endorse the idea that most politics and ideology as it stands is a mode of control and something akin to a mental prison.
Fact check: FALSE.
This criticism has been levelled, although it is so absurd that it is unlikely to be supported by most of our opponents. It is true that Newgon is home to a Memes project. This project lists a few graphics (among hundreds) that make reference to religions, ethnicities and nationalities - often pointing to hypocrisy among predominantly white westerners. This is plainly at the level of memetic discourse, as anybody with an ounce of online street-awareness would know. At no point does our website extol ethnonationalist beliefs. Why would it?
- MAP Wiki - Version of article on Newgon with false statements.