Harris Mirkin

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Harris George Mirkin (24 August 1936 – 30 May 2013)[1] was a political science professor at the University of Missouri-Kansas City. He served in the Peace Corps in Ethiopia from 1962 to 1964, and earned his Ph.D. from Princeton University in 1967.[2]

Mirkin wrote "The Pattern of Sexual Politics," published in 1999 in the Journal of Homosexuality.[3] The article pointed out how some other cultures, sex between children and adults was permissible or even encouraged, and that the current societal view of pedophiles is comparable to how women and gay men were viewed in the past. It further identified how the present taboo on pedophilia was a social construction, and that pedophiles might be close to achieving progress in their fight for acceptance.

This prompted the Missouri House of Representatives to reduce the university's budget by the amount of Mirkin's salary, as a gesture of non-support for Mirkin's work.[4] Writing in The New Yorker, Louis Menand criticized the legislature's action as harmful to academic freedom, stating that error is a necessary part of the process. Menand further criticized Mirkin's article, calling it silly, and compared cultures that accepted pedophilia to the many cultures that accepted slavery. He also stated that it is the prohibition of pedophilia that is part of civil and sexual freedom, including the freedom of children from adults who hold authority over them.

Selected Writings

See also