Difference between revisions of "Essay:Why The Legality Of Child Pornography Is Relevant To The Youth Liberation Movement"
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First of all, what does the heavy proliferation of the sexting phenomenon amongst underagers who own cell phones say about this? Please note the following online news reports--[http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2009/01/15/national/main4723161.shtml here], [http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/34422197/ns/technology_and_science-tech_and_gadgets here], and [http://abcnews.go.com/Technology/WorldNews/sexting-teens/story?id=6456834 here].
First of all, what does the heavy proliferation of the sextingphenomenon amongst underagers who own cell phones say about this? Please note the following online news reports--[http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2009/01/15/national/main4723161.shtml here], [http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/34422197/ns/technology_and_science-tech_and_gadgets here], and [http://abcnews.go.com/Technology/WorldNews/sexting-teens/story?id=6456834 here].
Revision as of 14:24, 22 March 2011
Whenever any government, or any church, or anyone else for that matter, undertakes to say to its subjects: "This book you may not read, this film you may not watch, this image you may not see, this knowledge you may not have," then the end result is tyranny and oppression, no matter how holy the motives.
- Robert A. Heinlein, "If This Goes On..."
I extend many thanks to the crew of GirlChat [GC] for their invaluable editorial assist on the earliest draft of this essay, and I have incorporated several suggestions and anecdotes from them. Particular thanks goes to my fellow GC posters Baldur, qtns2di4, Summerdays, CatcherintheRye, Sancho Panza, Little Girl Lover, and FreeThinkerGL.
Recently I composed an essay designed to answer a question I often hear from individuals as to why the age of consent [AoC] laws are of any importance to the youth liberation movement, and if perhaps the pro-choice faction of the MAA [Minor Attracted Adult] community is simply being "selfish" for arguing that it is. Today, I move on to what may be considered the second part of that essay, which brings the same question to the fore regarding the many types of imagery and writing that may be classified as CP [child pornography] by the government of any given country. In other words, in this essay I will give a response to the many variations of the following question and an accompanying comment that I often hear in concert with it: "What does CP have to do with youth liberation? I don't think any youth under the age of 18 would ever have the slightest interest in appearing in erotic photography or videos, so I think it's foolish, selfish, and counter-productive for the pro-choice faction of the MAA community to support its legalization even in a future youth liberated society." That is quite a bold question and follow-up statement, but does it actually hold up to close scrutiny and logical analysis?
To begin with, one who has the above contention would have to answer the question as to why so many young people over the age of 18 so obviously have a desire to appear in films and photoshoots of an erotic nature, yet be simultaneously certain that absolutely no young person under the age of 18--even just a few years younger--would have a similar desire to do so. Does it make logical sense for youth liberationists to argue that those we today designate 'underagers'--particularly those in adolescence--have many of the same capabilities or desires as older people with the sole exception of the desire to publicly express their sexuality?
The above linked articles provide just a few examples that one can find with a simple Google search. Although one can and will argue that sexted pics are designed entirely for the eyes of significant others and not for public consumption, one has to consider a few things: 1) it's illegal for underagers to post nude or overly provocative pics of themselves on public venues, and 2) many do so anyway on their socnet pages on MySpace and Facebook, and not all who do this keep those pages--and therefore access to their photo sections--private.
One then has to consider the proliferation over the past two decades of the online youth modeling sites, many of which remain legal despite strong attempts by the American government to criminalize the entire industry. These modeling sites often feature girls (and sometimes boys) in highly revealing clothing and sometimes even arguably provocative poses. When one of the biggest and most well known companies producing material for youth models, Webe Web, was eradicated from existence after its three owners were brought up on CP charges (some say spuriously), the hope of the government that the entire industry based in the U.S. would be destroyed along with Webe Web was ultimately quashed. This is because several of the young models previously hosted by Webe Web subsequently went off on their own following Webe's demise and continued working in the industry, many of them under new websites run by their parents. When the legal European youth modeling company known as the Gegg Agency fell for similar reasons, several of the girl models who were hosted by that site have likewise reappeared on other sites, also often under the auspices of their parents, who have interestingly refused to cooperate with LEAs [law enforcement agencies] in many cases; very few of these parents actually made a fuzz in the media about alleged "abuse" going on at the Gegg Agency, thus suggesting that the closing of the agency was more the result of pressure coming from the U.S. and Britain than anything more substantial. Pressure from the U.S. with likely help from Britain was known to have a large effect on the closure and indictment of youth modeling agencies situated in the Ukraine, who produced images--sometimes including nudity--that were not legal in the U.S. and certain other jurisdictions, but as my fellow activist qtns2di4 said, "it's not clear that they broke local laws." As he also noted, "As with Webe and C&G, girls and parents reappeared [on other youth modeling sites] and did not collaborate with police." Clearly, the government and parents are often at odds when it comes to the subject of youth modeling, and what does or does not constitute "appropriate" images, including the matter of simple nudity.
There are some in the MAA community who totally enjoy these still legal modeling sites but seem to be totally against young models and actresses appearing in more obviously erotic films regardless of what the youths themselves may feel about appearing in such videos. These dissenting voices strongly deny that any of the youths who appear in today's legal but controversial modeling sites would ever have the slightest desire to appear in actual erotica even in a youth liberated society. Because of this belief, they argue, the CP question is entirely irrelevant to the general youth liberation platform, and pro-choice MAAs--along with youth liberationists in general, of course--need to leave this topic alone for the "good" of the movement. Apparently, some people seem to believe that adolescent youth activists themselves do not want people in their age group to have certain choices that they have no problem with people over the age of 18 to possess. And the reason for this appears to be that they personally consider some of these possible choices to be so "icky" that the right to choose should be forfeit in these cases. In other words, if certain choices would offend society's sensibilities enough, and if it's strongly believed that very few, if any, people in a certain group would even want to make these choices in the first place, then it's okay to legally deny freedom of choice for such people in these particular cases.
As my fellow activist Summerdays noted, "Freedom [includes] the freedom to let others do things we don't like (as long as it doesn't hurt us or anyone else non-consensually, and in a real way)." He further notes, "If youths are to be free, they must be allowed the freedom to pursue avenues that are morally offensive to some, if they so choose.
"It's the same argument made against adult performers in the field of erotic entertainment - but again, with adults, we allow them the freedom to pursue their own vision of happiness, even if that vision disgusts and offends us. Minors, however, are not given such freedom. They may only pursue their vision of happiness if it falls within accepted boundaries as defined by certain adults."
The problem is that the above examples of sexting, uploading nude and provocative pics of themselves to socnet sites, and the proliferation of the youth modeling industry would seem to indicate, quite logically, that in a youth liberated society there may be some youths--perhaps a sizable amount—who would not only be happily willing to make films where they do nude scenes and even appear in outright erotic scenarios, but some may even be willing to appear in films or photoshoots that specialize in erotic content. Why is one to assume that exhibitionist tendencies would be entirely unique to people 18 years of age and older? Does the empirical evidence really suggest this to be the case?
While some assert that arguing for the legalization of much of what we today call "CP" in a youth liberated society--or even in today's society--is counter-productive and is not in the best interests of the young people we are fighting on behalf of, there are actually much better reasons to argue that the exact opposite may be the case.
For one thing, what type of message does the condemnation of all forms of youth erotica give to society when uttered by youth libbers? Such a message would appear to be that youths engaged in erotic activity on film, or in any way publicly expressing their sexual desires, is somehow inherently "disgusting" and "improper" despite the fact that youths are well known to have such desires. Yet, at the same time, it's believed by most of these same people that such activities are perfectly okay and proper for someone who is of the arbitrary age of 18 or over to do to any degree that they please, as if young people under this arbitrary age doing the same thing has some type of innate "ickiness" factor attached to it.
What, exactly, is inherently ugly about the nude body of youths under a certain arbitrary age? Or, perhaps more specifically, what is particularly ugly for young girls under 18 displaying their breasts and genital region on camera that is not similarly inherently ugly, demeaning, or exploitive for young women 18 and over who choose to do the same thing? What is it about youths willingly engaging in the mutual exchange of a pleasurable display like sexual activity on camera somehow disgusting or "wrong" in an inherent sense? Conversely, why is it perfectly okay and non-exploitive for young people of the arbitrary age of 18 and over to do the exact same thing? Why is the right to sexual expression liberating for people over one specific arbitrary age demarcation, yet somehow demeaning and exploitive for any person with the same desires who may fall anywhere beneath that same arbitrary chronological demarcation? What is it about sexual expression in particular that is so inherently anti-youth that no one under a certain arbitrary age would ever want to do it? What is so inherently anti-youth about sexual expression that even some purported youth libbers appear to insist that we must continue to legally prohibit anyone under the age of 18 from having the opportunity to make this choice? What is so inherently pivotal about the specific chronological age of 18 that suddenly allows everything of this nature to become “ok” in the eyes of our culture? Why does this specific age carry so much divine weight in our society’s collective mind, as if its great legal importance was somehow akin to a law of cosmic significance? And again, perhaps most importantly, what type of message does this send to the public when it comes from a political platform that is supposed to be based upon liberation rather than some type of moralizing form of protectionism? In what way would the continued criminalization of such erotica benefit the general principle of liberation amongst any group of people? When, exactly, has censorship of any sort and the concept of liberation ever walked hand-in-hand with each other and comfortably shared a proverbial bed?
Some of these individuals will argue that the legalization of CP would hurt young people under 18 even in a youth liberated society, and is therefore against their best interests. Let us take a look at this claim by using a few excerpts from one of the above linked online articles (specifically, the third) about what the current CP and "obscenity" laws have done to some underagers who were caught sexting [excerpt in bold face]:
- News reports are increasingly documenting legal repercussions after indecent photos appear online. And attorneys say there are many unanswered questions about whether young people who send their own photos could face prosecution for obscenity or child pornography.
- This year in Wisconsin, a 17-year-old was charged with possessing child pornography after he posted naked pictures of his 16-year-old ex-girlfriend online.
- In Alabama, authorities arrested four middle-school students for exchanging nude photos of themselves. In Rochester, N.Y., a 16-year-old boy is now facing up to seven years in prison for forwarding a nude photo of a 15-year-old girlfriend to his friends.
- "I don't think that's what was contemplated when the laws were written," says the Rochester teen's attorney, Tom Splain, who has worked on several similar cases this year. "I think it was more for the older pedophile [sic] collecting pictures of young children; we're now running into high school students getting swept up in these charges."
So it would appear that these pundits of protectionism now claim that laws originally intended to prevent "older pedophiles" (actually, hebephiles) from obtaining pics of underage teens that they may end up (god forbid!) fantasizing about in the privacy of their own mind had unforeseen negative consequences on another segment of the greater population: the very segment of the population that such laws were intended to "protect" in the first place. Many activists, however, believe that it's entirely hypocritical for these pundits to act as if they are shocked that underagers themselves ended up being prosecuted under these laws instead of just the older "perverts" that these laws were allegedly created to "protect" them from. These pundits are clearly playing dumb here, since it's well known amongst any politician with an I.Q. over 40 that any type of draconian law will inevitably have such "unforeseen" consequences on every segment of society, including those whom these laws were supposedly intended to "protect" from the horrible crime of having an older person fantasize to their image in the privacy of his or her own thoughts.
One now feels obliged to ask some very important questions whose answers may be disturbing to contemplate. What will happen in the future once these laws continue to expand so that underage teen girls get into legal trouble for sending pics of themselves in their strapless or otherwise “sexy” homecoming or prom dresses to a friend? Moreover, what will happen to parents in the future if they should send such a pic to one of their adult friends simply to show off how beautiful their daughter looked on that special evening? What would happen, for example, if the law suspected that one of the adults these parents sent the pic to may be likely to get aroused by viewing it? If you think I am being comically facetious here, then please consider how nebulous and broad all of the various things that fit under the general umbrella of CP are becoming. Consider, for instance, the many occurrences since the beginning of the sex abuse hysteria at the close of the 1970s and its resulting draconian laws of parents being arrested for taking nude pics of their babies and young children while the latter were in the bathtub or happily frolicking on the beach. This has been a common thing done by families since the invention of the camera that was intended to be entirely innocent, yet the very laws that most parents initially applauded have--predictably--come back to bite even them on the proverbial ass in many cases. No segment of society--not even the very architects of these laws themselves in some instances (*waves to former Senator Mark Foley*)--are spared the consequences of these draconian legislative measures.
If you look back to my previous essay where I dealt with the AoC laws and their relevance to youth liberation in general, you will remember that I noted how even the passage and toleration of a single draconian law in a purportedly democratic society will almost certainly have a cumulative effect on future legislation in this area. The result will invariably be further and further rationalizations for greater and increasingly insidious and far-reaching draconian laws. Predictably, as the years roll on large segments of the population are being convicted for things that they never would have realized were covered under the aegis of these laws when they were first instituted under totally noble pretenses. The ultimate result is an inexorable dive towards a borderline police and surveillance state where privacy is an alien concept, and anxiety over inadvertently breaking some pernicious law is a common fact of life. How is this supposed to benefit or protect younger people from harm? What about the serious implications upon the general adult population and the civil rights that they, unlike people under 18, currently enjoy? And how could it be argued that most teen activists who support youth liberation would actually agree with continued restrictions on their choices in just this one particular area? (The only other area in the realm of youth liberation that even approaches sexual rights in terms of the level of emotional contention is respect for youths' Second Amendment rights, but that is a whole other topic.)
Of course, one will then argue that the act of sexting can have many unforeseen consequences of its own [see endnote 1 for example]. Such concerns are certainly valid, but is the outright criminalization of something that people over the age of majority are allowed to do despite the same attendant risk factors constitute the correct solution to this problem?
The above question needs to be asked, because freedom of choice is extremely important to any platform dedicated to liberation, and this prominently includes the right to take risks. There are any number of ways in which girls (and boys) can be cautioned about indiscriminately sending nude pics of themselves to significant others or friends over their cell phones that belie the need for protectionist prohibitions on freedom of choice [see endnote 2 for some examples of these fully democratic alternatives].
The question of how many youths under a certain arbitrary age would or would not want to appear in erotic films or photoshoots is totally irrelevant to the importance of freedom of choice [see endnote 3]. Freedom of choice is perhaps the most important aspect to any program or platform that purports to be based upon liberation, and this includes choices that the activists involved may not be totally comfortable with, or which they personally deem "inappropriate" for someone to make for whatever reason [see endnote 4].
Another question the naysayers have to consider is how the full range of these CP laws as we know them today hurt the very foundation of a democratic society in a general sense. This includes the well-being of everyone in society, regardless of what their personal tastes in erotica--or the lack of same--may happen to be. How could such a thing be the case, you may ask? The answer is very simple and very logical, and would be much more clear to everyone if they simply compelled themselves to put logic and reason before emotion when confronting any given subject.
As I have said numerous times before, any society that purports to be based on democratic principles suffers immensely with the introduction of even a single draconian law into the penal framework, no matter how genuinely noble or good the intentions of those who pass or support such a law may be. History has shown, over and over again, that draconian laws passed within the context of a democratic society are clearly cumulative in nature and ultimately destructive to such a society's most cherished principles. In other words, the passage and toleration of even one such law within a democratic system tends to gradually lead to further and further justifications of more draconian laws of increasing severity and scope as time marches on. This is because the rationalization of the "need" for one such law can easily lead to further rationalizations for other such laws as time progresses, especially when a certain type of hysteria rears its hideous metaphorical head.
This is why placing laws pertaining to the possession and viewing of CP in a "special" class of image (and sometimes text) that is immune to First Amendment protections has gradually escalated into further and increasingly irrational prohibitions that have begun encroaching upon imagery where no actual minors are involved and erotic material that consists entirely of actors who are legal adults [see endnote 5 for specific examples]. This makes it clear that such legislation inevitably ends up targeting ideas rather than imagery of material beings or objects, a very dangerous prospect for a democratic system to engage in.
The above factors make it abundantly clear why it's so highly detrimental for a purportedly democratic society to allow any type of draconian law, or any type of censorship regarding what type of imagery or text that people can or cannot view or possess--or any type of idea that they may advocate, either in a subtle or overt fashion, or access information about (be it written or visual). This is regardless of whatever good intentions one may offer to justify banning such imagery or text--and the "dangerous" ideas one feels to be implicit in each--and regardless of how much you may be offended or upset by the imagery or text in question. And this, of course, goes equally for the politically motivated rationales for censoring footage or reports of war atrocities, but that is a whole other topic despite its equal level of importance to the realm of censorship law and its implications on a supposedly free society [again, see endnote 5 for more examples of imagery and footage that are banned by various Western governments under similar justifications].
Now, just so I am clear on this and no misinterpretation can be made, I do not, of course, support the production of CP that features children or teens literally being forced into sexual activity against their will and/or actually tortured in brutal ways on camera, or allowing these heinous producers to sell such imagery on the open market for profit, any more than I would support the existence of adult "snuff" porn if a burgeoning international market for such a product was actually true as per the claims once made by our esteemed bastions of the truth, i.e., the law enforcement agencies [LEAs] and their frequent enablers in deception, the corporate-controlled media. Unfortunately, when one thinks of the term "CP," such imagery is precisely the first thing to come to mind thanks to the constant popular image promulgated endlessly by the mass media, much as (with equal relevance to youth liberation) people automatically thinking of horrid sweatshop conditions whenever the term "child labor" is mentioned, as if it was totally impossible for younger people to desire employment, or to find such employment under perfectly humane and reasonable conditions in an advanced society like our own (though again, this is a whole other subject for another essay).
The fact of the matter remains, the various LEAs have never bothered to provide the public with proof of the frequent and often totally outrageous claims of what the CP they have in their vaulted collection consists of. Further, their utter refusal to allow even a few objective and well-respected journalists to view such material for the purpose of confirming the veracity of these often incredible claims is very telling [see endnote 6 for more examples of such chicanery perpetrated by the LEAs with a lot of help from the media in the not too distant past]. Hence, it's utterly absurd for even those who hate the very thought of CP to claim that it's in no way fishy or suspicious that the LEAs in question will not allow the viewing of these pics and vids even to a few well-respected journalists so they can confirm the veracity of the former statements about what the imagery in those pics and vids largely consist of. This is especially pertinent given the long record of dishonesty amongst the world of law enforcement and the frequently bizarre nature of the claims being made by them about different things they target. It's been said that extraordinary claims demand extraordinary proof (or at least some evidence), but people seem all too willing to make exceptions in the case of anything that they want to believe for purely emotional reasons, no matter how much these comforting beliefs may defy common sense (note the popular but highly incorrect belief in the "stranger danger" epidemic, but more on that below).
But what reason would the LEAs have for so massively deceiving the public about this subject, as they have with other subjects in the past? [Again, see endnote 6 for three major examples] This is actually a silly question for anyone with even a modicum of knowledge about law enforcement and politics--and how each of them works--to ask, but I will explicate the three major reasons for such deception here anyway:
1. The hefty paychecks enjoyed by the officers who comprise the various task forces of the LEAs that are dedicated to combating what the system refers to as crimes of "vice" depend upon the continuation of public hysteria and exaggerated moral "concern" about certain activities going on in our society. Hence, the LEAs have to convince the public and the media that the "problem" they are paid so handsomely to combat is one of such extremely high magnitude to the safety of our children and society in general that the common rules of democracy must be dispensed with to deal with them effectively. In other words, the highly lucrative career opportunities for LEOs [law enforcement officers] that can potentially arise via the generous flow of government funds are seen as extremely important by LEAs to maintain. These heavily valued career opportunities include the creation of future task forces and promotions within them, and they require a steady stream of arrests to build the reputations of the officers involved, and to justify the steep government (read: taxpayer) expenditures required to keep the cash flowing from Congress. This is why the officers who comprise these particular LEAs try to assure a constant supply of arrests by going after the easiest targets, such as those who download, possess, or simply view the banned imagery online rather than conducting the more sensible and less draconian action of tracking down and arresting the alleged plethora of people producing this new CP, and rescuing the supposed legion of kidnapped and horribly abused kids whom these officers claim are forced into making this product by the producers for profit.
2. In order for the public and the media to continue supporting the vast amount of government funding--read: taxpayer support--of such expensive and ultimately futile programs for combating the appearance and expression of every instance of youth sexuality on camera they can find necessitates the claims of the various LEAs that the perceived problem is one of extreme magnitude. Therefore, the LEAs frequently claim that as many as several million children worldwide are being victimized by this allegedly underground but powerful industry, and that the purveyors of these atrocities are so powerful, well-connected, and crafty--and that the demand for such product is so incredibly high across the globe--that they always remain one step ahead of the best and most well-funded of these LEAs' efforts. This enables the LEAs to demand a continuously larger amount of taxpayer-acquired funds every several months to a year, along with further encroachments on our democratic liberties every year, in order to combat this "menace." Of course, any demand for proof of the validity of these claims that are used to justify the perceived need for the Orwellian legislation and the excessive pilfering of taxpayer monies to fund the task forces to carry out its directives are never provided. Instead, we are expected to simply trust our government-funded "protectors" and take absolutely everything they say at face value, despite the fact that their record for honesty when it comes to matters of this nature is alarmingly poor [once again, see endnote 6 for a little sojourn down memory lane in regards to the honesty of law enforcement officers]. Worse, those of us who are disgusted with the very idea of CP on an emotional level truly want to believe the claims of these LEAs. This results in such citizens forming strong attempts to rationalize away the LEAs' refusal to grant freedom of the press to journalists who want to confirm the validity of their claims despite the fact that such people may be well aware of their duplicity in other aspects of the ongoing sex abuse hysteria over the past three decades [ibid]. Note the similar lamentations given to the notorious War On Drugs, though again that is a whole other if equally important topic.
3. Not only does the ongoing panic and disgust with any possible depiction of youth sexuality on camera throughout our culture enable the aforementioned lucrative careers for those officers who work in this particular area of law enforcement, they also serve to increase the rationale of these organizations to continuously demand increased police powers over society in a general sense [see endnote 7]. This is another reason why the successful passage of even one draconian law within a democratic framework can result in the latter framework being gradually eradicated as more and more draconian legislation is rationalized as different aspects of the hysteria or differing simultaneous hysterias (more than one often occur at once) combine to constantly create new aspects of the panic from which the government and its enablers in the media claim we need to be "protected" from.
In other words, those who work within law enforcement and other areas of government have a lot to gain from these hysterias, even as we, the common citizens, and anyone who may--now or in the future--dissent in any way from the imposition of any established norm, will end up paying a huge penalty in the long run. But terrified and intolerant people all too often do not think with their reasoning faculties, and instead let their emotions take over during such manufactured crises.
This is why I believe that it's entirely justified to accuse the various LEAs of yet another horrendous act of duplicity due to their adamant refusal to allow their highly outrageous claims to be validated by a few objective and well-respected journalists in the name of freedom of the press and freedom of information. There is no reason whatsoever to believe that the bulk of CP consists of children or teens being forced into sexual acts against their will and brutally tortured on camera, let alone the existence of a multi-billion dollar international industry that deals in the widespread production and sale of such horrific material. Such pics of genuine abuse do exist, of course, but there is no evidence to suggest that they make up a sizable proportion of the overall rubric of what is broadly defined as CP. Further, there are no known outlets for such product to be distributed profitably just as there was never a large-scale profitable business for adult "snuff" films as the LEAs once claimed. There are many truly depraved human beings in the world, granted, but there is no evidence that there are organized bastions of depravity of such a huge scale who possess such a vast amount of capital and exceptional technical skill amongst their number that an international demand of such a degree for this type of product is being successfully produced and sold for such a huge amount of profit. Arguing otherwise is to argue that MAAs with "extreme" tastes are so disproportionately vile and nasty compared to teleiophiles [people who have a preference for members of the same general age group] with similar "extreme" tastes that simulations of such activity featuring actors who aren't being tortured in actuality will not suffice in place of the real thing for these particular MAAs or child and teen fetishists.
Yet there is no evidence that an adult with a preferential attraction to minors, or even one who has a mere sexual fetish for minors, is in any way more likely than a teleiophile to be of such an aberrant or violent nature that they will absolutely demand the real thing over acted simulations on a large scale. To say otherwise is, whether intentionally or not, admitting that you buy into the worst form of stereotype towards MAAs imaginable sans a single shred of evidence that this stereotype is in any way a part of reality. We need to let common sense and simple logic prevail before we adopt such extremist beliefs about any single group of people. Let's not forget what happened to the Jews and other ethnic and sexual minorities living in Germany during the Holocaust when similar hysterical claims became widespread beliefs amongst the general populace of a particular nation, with government policies reacting accordingly.
As fellow activist Summerdays noted: "...I think this idea is fueled by the (erroneous) belief that the sexual attraction to minors is itself a vile and nasty perversion of normal adult attraction. Thus, anyone who could be so twisted as to be attracted to children [or adolescents] must undoubtedly harbor such disturbing tastes that would lead them to desire things - and to pursue those things - that not even the most perverted teleiophile would consider. But this is quite ridiculous. It's a bogeyman. It's not reality."
Also, such naysayers appear to buy into the common belief that the bulk of what is legally considered CP involves pre-pubescents as young as five years of age. The few individuals who have reported seeing such material--both within and outside of the law enforcement vocation--have stated that the majority of such images consists of adolescents, not pre-pubescents; that the vast majority of these images are old and were produced prior to the criminalization of CP beginning in the early 1980s; and those that feature explicit sexual acts are far fewer than those that feature 'simple' nudity which may or may not highlight the breasts (of teen girls) or genitalia. The type of pics that seem to be actual depictions of real acts of violence and torture appear to encompass by far the smallest amounts of this material in existence. Further, it's very difficult to tell which of the small amount of pics depicting torture and bondage themes are simulated and which are actual footage of real non-consensual abuse.
One must also consider the following logical questions: if such a vast amount of underagers across the globe were literally being kidnapped and forced into sexual activity against their will before a camera, and this material is being distributed to a huge corrupt clientele with deep pockets, then why has there been virtually no instance of such girls appearing in public after they had reached adulthood to make a plea before the world media to end such a horrific global industry? Where are the supposed multitude of adults who one would expect to have a body full of cigarette burns, savage wounds made by blades, or lacerations made by a whip appearing before the media to show these horrific wounds to the public in attempts to get this alleged powerful and heavily profitable industry eradicated once and for all? Moreover, where are the parents of all of these allegedly millions of kidnapped kids who one would expect to appear in the media daily making similar pleas on behalf of their missing children, especially since such parental public pleas and media noise is well known to be very common whenever one of the very small cases of stranger abduction occurs every year? Are we to believe that almost every single one of these multitudes of children supposedly being kidnapped and enslaved for the CP industry are killed and effectively disposed of after the films are made? And even if such was actually the case, what about the multitude of parents and other family members that we should expect to hear the impassioned pleas from on the public airwaves?
In other words, how do the LEAs--along with those who believe these claims--rationalize what may be called The Great Silence regarding an issue such as this? The only voices we ever usually hear are those of the LEAs and a certain number of CAs ["child advocates," who should never be confused with youth liberationists] and a smidgeon of miscellaneous Web surfers (including a few within the MAA community, it must be noted) who claim to have come across whole websites that are allegedly full of pics depicting such horrendous material. No proof or even any good evidence is ever offered that such a thing is occurring on anywhere near the scale that the LEAs and CAs often claim, yet the belief continues to proliferate via the sheer force of emotion that such propaganda stirs up amongst the masses. Hitler and Stalin would truly be proud of the contemporary American media if they were still alive to see the current sex abuse hysteria and its attendant "pedophile panic," along with the widespread irrational beliefs and draconian laws spawned by them.
Of course, I have no doubt that such abusive films have been made, and continue to be made, from time to time, but in such cases, it often turns out that the perpetrators of these non-consensual films and even on camera torture are usually not some stranger who abducted the kids in question for the purpose of selling videos of the abuse and torture on some nefarious underground market, but rather the parents or stepparents of these abused kids. This is very likely to be true because it would certainly explain why the great parental silence on this subject is so ubiquitous across the media, and why the media would be highly reluctant to report these facts due to what they may say about what happens to the supposedly sacrosanct institution of parenthood due to the reality of the present hierarchal nature of the much-beloved nuclear family unit in our modern non-youth-liberated society that the current status quo loves to promote so devotedly--and attempt to preserve at all costs--as inherently good. The latter statement is not intended by this author to disparage the institution of parenthood and the close bond shared between members of the family; rather, it's to make clear that the very concerns this essay was written to address most often occurs--when it actually does occur--as the result of the same laws that legally and civilly disempower younger people, and leave them as little more than the property of their parents. This situation leaves children and teens all the more vulnerable to the very thing that the platform of youth liberation in general is hoping to rectify. Hence, the eventual success of this movement will decrease the likelihood of the more unscrupulous parents out there from successfully forcing their kids into sexual servitude, or genuine abuse of any sort for that matter.
As Summerdays noted on this topic:
"I could imagine a completely alternate reality where pedophiles [and hebephiles] worked in tandem with peace officers to prevent the abuse (actual abuse) of children. By allowing the [MAAs] their trade - most of whom, as human beings, would be concerned about the treatment of the children in the pictures - they could bring to the attention of peace officers any pictures that looked suspect, which could then be followed by an investigation. If abuse is proved, then score one for the good guys. Otherwise, if the material has not been produced through abuse (and of course, the child's opinion will be paramount in this determination), then let it flow."
As such, I--and the entire pro-choice segment of the MAA community that I am aware of who supports the general legality of youth erotica--only support the production of such erotica that was made with the willing consent of the young people in question. This is particularly true concerning such material that is created by young people themselves; the idea that it's mostly or entirely adults who produce youth erotica is yet another falsehood that the twin phenomena of sexting and uploading of nude pics to socnet sites clearly debunk in no uncertain terms.
Moreover, I do not support any type of "hardcore" production of erotica for pre-pubescents, or anything that would be developmentally injurious to their age group (such as full onscreen sexual penetration of either their vaginas or anuses), so my support of the legalization of youth erotica is entirely geared towards mutually consensually produced products that are within reason, and I do not by any means take an "absolutely anything goes" type of attitude towards youth erotica, especially not when applied to pre-pubescents. Of course, I would never have a problem with any depiction of simple nudity, especially not within the context of a mainstream film that is designed to explore the intimate lives of youths in every detail to a realistic extent [see endnote 8].
One thing we should all keep in mind is that since what is often considered CP has such a great and ever-increasing broadness to it, one must first define what they consider to be CP rather than attacking "CP" in a general sense, since anything that is today legal can be declared CP by a single legislative decision tomorrow. Thus, many personally believe that the legal youth modeling sites of today should be considered CP, and are actively petitioning the Western governments to officially declare them illegal on those grounds. Hence, what does or does not constitute CP can be a personal as well as a legal definition, and the two are often incorrectly and irresponsibly conflated with each other by anyone discussing the subject.
Now, onto the final very important question as to why any type of imagery should be legal to possess or at least to view, even if not to produce or distribute for financial gain.
The idea that even the most deplorable images of CP should be criminalized to view or download because they depict a crime scene and will cause great emotional distress to the victims and family of such crimes must consider the following questions to prove that imagery specifically depicting the sexual exploitation of younger people must be considered part of a very special category of 'crime scene.' For starters, why isn't it illegal to download or view images or vids of actual war carnage, including that involving children getting or having had their limbs blown off as a result of accidentally getting caught in the crossfire of two opposing military forces (i.e., what our government and media loves to call "collateral damage")?
Why aren't pics and vids of actual murders and the horrible torture and execution of reporters and other non-military personnel by terrorists and foreign armies illegal to possess or view? What about the many actual pics of the horrifying carnage wreaked by real serial killers upon their victims that are fully legal to print in any number of serious books about the nature of serial killers? Perhaps very importantly, why isn't it illegal for anyone to possess or view pics of the extreme and very non-consensual sexual humiliation inflicted upon many Middle Eastern male prisoners by American security guards (some of them women) that occurred at the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq a few years ago, which resulted in one of several major scandals to erupt from this duplicitous war? The latter case is especially true when you consider the deep level of humiliation that a man raised under a conservative Islamic culture will experience as a result of being forced to engage in simulated homoerotic contact with several other males while being photographed in the act for the amusement of their captors. And please note that many of these men were never even accused, let alone convicted, of a crime--in case some of you attempt to say that these men deserved this atrocious humiliation for allegedly being terrorists, or for being nationalist insurgents who dared to oppose the invasion and lengthy occupation of their nation by a foreign military that too many Americans wrongly identify with their own interests simply due to their citizenship. I am sure it can be cogently argued that these men and their families will be heavily emotionally distressed to realize that people across the world have possession of, and unencumbered access to, these pics.
Further, I am sure that there are many homosexual male and probably even some female bondage fetishists out there--that are otherwise very good and decent people in their dealings with anyone they know in real life--who are actually sexually aroused by viewing such pics and fantasizing about either being in the place of those guards, or of the men who were sexually victimized by them (since many people harbor fantasies of actually being raped). The Islamic male victims in question would certainly be highly emotionally distressed to receive confirmation of those pics being used for such a purpose. Yet I have seen all of the aforedescribed type of pics legally distributed all over the Web and in print, and all ostensibly for informative and/or political purposes. Why isn't anyone arrested for the possession or even simple viewing of such pics, especially when we do not have the slightest idea what happens to be going through the minds of anyone who may be viewing them? Can we possibly take the chance that some of these viewers may have such filthy and depraved thoughts while viewing these pics of what to many constitutes actual footage of a war crime? Is this, perhaps, because we do not favor any type of thought control, no matter how deplorable or vile we may consider such thoughts to be? Should any type of fantasy be criminalized, no matter how awful it may be to our collective sensibilities, as long as it stays entirely within the realm of fantasy? Is there any proof that anyone who has truly awful fantasies are likely to eventually "act out" these fantasies on a real victim? Have we seen even a single Abu Ghraib "copycat" crime perpetrated in the few years these pics have been legally available all over the Web?
As my fellow MAA activist who posts under the nick Little Girl Lover noted in regards to the Abu Ghraib debacle:
"The thing you hear the anti-CP crowd holler is that children cannot consent, so this is another reason why CP should be illegal. But what of the men who had their pictures taken in Abu Ghraib? These men did not consent to these videos and pictures. They were humiliated. It's even legal to possess these pictures and upload them, but it's illegal to have LS model type pictures even though the girls were paid for posing. They are about the same as Playboy or Penthouse."
Little Girl Lover further laments:
"And what of the victims of the Holocaust? You can buy books in many bookstores with pictures of women and children stripped naked [and] heading off to be slaughtered. This was humiliating and terrifying for all these people involved. They did not consent, yet these pictures are [publicly accessible and legal to view and possess]. I'm sure that the survivors feel traumatized by such an experience, yet this crime is viewed by millions of people over time.
"All these pictures, including CP and child erotica, should be legal to possess and view. There's a lot of pictures and videos I do not care to look at or own but I will fight for the right to be able to look, read, view, own, and distribute any source of media available."
Let us also keep in mind the famous pic of a Vietnam War atrocity where an 11-year-old girl was photographed running through her village streets in extraordinary agony after napalm was dropped on her by American military forces (it should perhaps be noted that the girl is entirely nude in the pic, and her secondary sexual characteristics are clearly visible). The girl is known to have survived this horrific incident despite incurring a great amount of permanent scars, both physical and emotional, as a result. Yet this pic is widely and legally available to view and possess in many print and online resources that cover war atrocities. Can it not be argued that the now adult woman and her surviving family may be extremely emotionally distressed as a result of coming across this pic in so many sources? Do we know beyond a shadow of a doubt what purpose absolutely everyone who takes possession of this pic may use it for, or what thoughts everyone who views this pic may possibly have while viewing it? Do we ever make such assumptions in regards to this pic? Or is the simple fact that it doesn't have a sexual context to it automatically cause us to accept the fact that it has the possibility of being viewed or possessed for non-puerile or non-insidious reasons?
What exactly justifies the legality of this pic to view or possess, but not anything considered CP by the various governments? Does anyone accuse people who possess the above-mentioned pic for whatever conceivable reason, and for supporting the continued legality of possessing it, to be supportive of war atrocities? What if some bigot or American with a twisted sense of patriotism (and there are many of those, unfortunately) uploaded that pic to a website with a horrible statement saying something like, "Burn the Gooks!"? Isn't there a possibility of that happening if this pic remains legal to view, possess, download, and upload wherever and for whatever purposes one pleases? If someone insists that this matter is "different" than CP, and that these questions should not apply to pics of atrocities inflicted upon a minor that does not have an obvious sexual context to it no matter how much emotional distress the public distribution of such pics may have on the victim and her family, then can they explain exactly why the presence or absence of an overt or suggested sexual context should make or break the legality of any type of imagery? What is it about sexuality that Western society is so hysterical about? Why does that subject elicit such a disproportionate degree of irrationality in our culture?
In regards to the oft-made assertion that the simple distribution of such pics or vids without the expectation of monetary gain will automatically create a huge swelling of demand that will result in a huge surfeit of such material being produced in the future is totally without proof, especially if the demand in question is of material that is illegal. Without the hope of a vast amount of financial remuneration being present to make the production of such dangerously illegal material on a large scale worth the effort for any number of insidious individuals who would comprise such an industry--which would include the high degree of logistical difficulties in doing so [see endnote 9]--then why would they do it? This is why such incidents are extremely low, why there is no logical way possible that such material could constitute a sizable degree of what is considered CP by the law, and it explains exactly why The Great Silence described above exists [see endnote 10 for a logical but highly disturbing reason as to why both the LEAs and the media may be highly reluctant to explain the truth behind the tiny amount of genuinely abusive CP, though this matter was already strongly hinted at above].
These are all of the reasons why CP should be entirely legal to possess and view in a democratic society, why all forms of censorship and draconian laws should never be tolerated or resorted to in a democratic system (or one that purports to be) in order to combat any perceived problem or threat, and why the issue of CP most certainly does pertain to the platform of youth liberation.
1. One such example is the possibility of a girl who sends nude pics of herself to her boyfriend being double-crossed as he shares the pic with several of his friends without her permission, or which he may even post online.
A cogent statement made by my friend and fellow activist CatcherintheRye on this point is the following:
"One thing that frustrates me about cases of sexting is how people hardly ever confront the people that bully young girls who have sexted and tell them how wrong their behavior is. Instead, they seem to instill guilt in the girls themselves. Sure, it is risky to sext with the laws the way they are, so I guess there's nothing wrong with informing young people about that, but I just find that they are really placing a sense of guilt and shame onto the wrong people."
2. Democratic solutions to the risk factors involved with sexting includes such eminently common sense options as parents offering cautionary advice to their kids the first time the youths in question purchase a cell phone and start an account. In a youth liberated society, parents will accept the fact that their kids may utilize the technology for this purpose, and will not have to feel hesitant to offer this advice to them.
Further, sex education courses can offer similar advice during the teaching of the section that includes risks that young people should be aware of in regards to any type of sexual-oriented activity. This cautionary, value neutral advice doesn't have to be limited to discussions of the possible physical consequences of sexual intercourse amongst adolescents, such as STDs and unwanted pregnancies. The advice given in these courses can also include risk factors amongst the various social choices that young people may make in the course of a relationship, including those related to the use of technology such as cell phone cameras and that pertaining to the online world. Every problem a democratic society will ever face, either perceived or totally legitimate, can always be dealt with effectively via a democratic solution, and a draconian response that denies freedom of choice should never be the preferred solution in such a society, no matter how "serious" the problem is considered to be, or how good or noble the intentions behind it are believed to be (as noted above in the main text).
As my fellow activist Summerdays opined in regards to including objective and value neutral discussions about the risk factors associated with sexting in sex education courses:
"It's the same problem I see often with sex education in general. Assuming kids will practice abstinence (in this case, from taking sexy pictures and sharing them), and gearing the education toward that assumption, results in kids being kept from some very important safety information they should know. And the ones who don't abstain - and they will always exist - suffer because of it. Whether we want kids to sext or not, we ought to recognize that it's going to happen anyway, and we ought to have the responsibility to inform them about what the risks are, and the best ways to do it safely if that's what they end up choosing to do. No moral judgments, no behavioral prescriptions (or proscriptions) - just honest, accurate information."
3. Such possible sources of youth erotica that may exist in a future youth liberated society may include print and/or online publications similar to Playboy, but which are instead dedicated exclusively to displaying and celebrating the great beauty of youth.
4. Any alleged platform of liberation that denies or prohibits freedom of choice in its itinerary of goals, or which defines freedom in the context of "freedom from..." rather than "freedom to..." (as explicated in the classic book The Handmaiden's Tale), is in actuality a protectionist racket masquerading as "liberation." Do not be fooled by tyrants dressed in a liberator's clothing, or enticed by the proposition of safety in the arms of a "benevolent" dictator. Any platform of solutions to any perceived problems in society must offer much more than simply good intentions; their proposed solutions must be in harmony with the principles of a free society regardless of the genuine nature of their intentions.
5. Specifically, the aforementioned escalation that has arisen following the passing of the initial CP laws has exponentially increased from the simple viewing or possession of pics featuring minors engaged in explicitly sexual acts to...
1)...the criminalization of pics or vids featuring simple nudity of minors without any blatant signs of sexuality;
2)...to the criminalization of pics or vids featuring legal adults pretending to be minors engaged in sexual activity or appearing nude;
3)...to the criminalization of cartoon representations and drawings or CGI [computer generated imagery] of sexually active or nude minors;
4)...to the criminalization of any serious attempt at artwork which may depict nude or "provocative" imagery of minors;
5)...to the criminalization of minors wearing scanty clothing (since such imagery might arouse a "pedophile");
6)...to the criminalization of fully clothed minors who may be posing in a "provocative" manner or having an "enticing" expression on their faces, for the same reason as above;
7) ...to the utterly absurd and mind-blowing serious proposal amongst the Australian parliament to criminalize adult pornography featuring adult women of legal age with small breasts. In case anyone thinks I'm actually making this last one up, check out the following excerpt that can be found by scrolling down a bit on this blog.
A reader writes: "Australian Classification Board (ACB) is now banning depictions of small-breasted women in adult publications and films. They banned mainstream pornography from showing women with A-cup breasts, apparently on the grounds that they encourage paedophilia, and in spite of the fact this is a normal breast size for many adult women. Presumably small breasted women taking photographs of themselves will now be guilty of creating simulated child pornography, to say nothing of the message this sends to women with modestly sized chests or those who favour them. Australia has also banned pornographic depictions of female ejaculation, a normal orgasmic sexual response in many women, with censors branding it as 'abhorrent.'
"The Board has also started to ban depictions of small-breasted women in adult publications and films. This is in response to a campaign led by Kids Free 2 B Kids and promoted by Barnaby Joyce and Guy Barnett in Senate Estimates late last year. Mainstream companies such as Larry Flint's Hustler produce some of the publications that have been banned. These companies are regulated by the FBI to ensure that only adult performers are featured in their publications. "We are starting to see depictions of women in their late 20s being banned because they have an A cup size", she said. "It may be an unintended consequence of the Senator's actions but they are largely responsible for the sharp increase in breast size in Australian adult magazines of late.”
For further clarification of what the toleration of any type of draconian law or justification for censorship of any sort eventually leads--and so you do not think the above excerpt was posted on that blog by yours truly and thus has no actual validity--check out this link (as columnist Bella Counihan said of this topic: "You can't make this stuff up").
And be sure to check out the coverage of this topic on the following parody site -- parody often does a very good job of pointing out the sheer idiocy of very serious political matters, something seen regularly in the pages of MAD magazine, TV shows like Saturday Night Live, and the work of many excellent stand-up comedians such as Bill Maher and the late, great George Carlin.
Is it a coincidence that the move by Australian parliament to ban the appearance of small-breasted women in erotic films and mags occurred in the same legislation that is also trying to ban filmed or photographed depictions of female ejaculation? Is it so important that our society goes out of its way to such an extent to ban anything that may be remotely believed to "encourage 'pedophilia'" (or hebephilia, as the case may be) that certain rights of how legal adults may be depicted on camera should now be curtailed? Is it just a coincidence that encroachments on what legal adults can and cannot do on camera appear to be the result of legislators with a moralizing agenda starting out with censoring "easy" targets like CP before moving on to more "difficult" targets like adult porn? The answer to all three of these interrelated questions would appear to be a resounding no.
Since it's becoming increasingly evident, as noted in the main text of this essay, that these laws are intended to target a specific idea rather than to actually "protect" minors from appearing on camera while engaged in sexual activities, the common argument in defense of the continuation of this Orwellian legislation is that the proliferation of such imagery may encourage MAAs to "act out" on their urges with real minors. The problem comes when these individuals are asked to provide actual scientific evidence that this is actually the case, and not simply to make assumptions in the absence of such evidence. A far bigger problem arises, with far-reaching negative implications for the survival of what is left of our democracy, when those individuals who actually bother to respond to the above concern do so with a variation of, "We shouldn't have to ask for evidence! If there is even the slightest chance something like that may happen, and even one child per year may be 'abused' as a result, then that possibility makes these laws more than justified! And I don't care how draconian these laws may be when the 'safety' of children is at stake!"
My fellow MAA activist and youth liberationist, qtns2di4, made the following very important statement regarding the above argument being used to justify the criminalization of the viewing and possession of any type of image or text, by making a comparison to the only other two types of imagery or text that are routinely legally banned by governments in the Western world (both outside of America):
"Regarding bans on imagery that are rationalized as helping prevent copycats, there are two non-CP, non-blasphemy-laws, categories that have been made illegal or of controlled access in many countries. One is animal cruelty, and pics or vids featuring it have been banned in some countries. While the argument is [to prevent] an inspiration for others to do the same, a) as you argue, devoting resources to the banning of the images distracts them from prosecuting the culprits of the acts, and b) the [public accessibility of the] images themselves act as prevention and as awareness-building. The second category I am thinking of is Nazi and Nazi camp imagery. Apart from the above objections, which still apply, it is hard to see how [the public accessibility of] Nazi camp imagery helps create another Holocaust. That needs thousands, maybe millions, of collaborators, and they have to be in the broad daylight. A random Neo-Nazi, on the other hand, will not need a camp image to get inspired to commit any atrocity themselves, but will still be limited to what a single person can do. Though these cases are not identical, they are both cases of censorship allegedly as prevention of the commission of the action, akin to that of CP laws."
6. The concern with the validity of the often sensational claims made about the content of much of the CP collected by law enforcement task forces since the first laws were instituted is especially crucial in light of the fact that the LEAs and their hangers-on in the media once thoroughly promoted the reality of the "snuff" film market, the prevalence of rampant satanic ritual abuse of children occurring within day care centers across the entire breadth of North America, and their promotion and widespread acceptance of the "repressed memory" phenomenon that had (and still has, in some cases) a major effect on the mental health industry in the Western world--all of which has since been proven to be total bunk [the satanic ritual abuse and "repressed memory syndrome" phenomena were tackled in detail in my previous essay, The Importance of Truth, which includes a large amount of links and citations to relevant sources; info on the once widely circulated and non-existent "snuff" film industry can be obtained via a simple Google search.
7. All of the justified admonitions by civil rights advocates against the government's increasing rationalizations for increased police powers over society, which includes: 1) greater surveillance on the general public; 2) increased intrusions in our privacy, such as monitoring our phone calls and e-mail transmissions; 3) increasing the creation of the number of "special" categories of crimes and groups of people that are exempt from common constitutional protections (note what is occurring in the simultaneously ongoing "War On Terror"); 4) and the increased justifications for various forms of censorship that such hysterias and "moral panics" cause, are thrown by the wayside by a terrified public and cowardly politicians who are too afraid to argue against these continued Orwellian encroachments on our basic civil liberties due to the perceived magnitude of the "threat."
8. These include the many examples of cinema that were produced in foreign countries like France and Denmark for the "coming of age" genre that featured pre-pubescent nudity, any type of artistic production designed to celebrate the beauty of the youthful form of children or adolescents, or any type of film that is intended to be of an educational nature. This would include the re-legalization of once renowned and heavily lauded educational books such as Show Me, as well as all artistic photojournals produced by artists like Sally Mann, Tierney Gearon, Violeta Gómez, and Bill Henson, which feature the celebration of the nude youthful form that has been a major subject of art throughout human history.
9. The logistical nightmares would include the obtainment of a continued supply of victims and what to do with those victims once the films are made and sent to the hypothetical buyers without gaining the attention of the young person's family, friends, or the local police in the process, totally belies common sense and credulity. This is why it's far more likely that in the instances in which genuinely abusive CP is actually produced, it is most often done by parents or stepparents who have continual closeted access to the child victims in question, rather than an organized network of strangers who are motivated entirely by profit on a large scale. This is also why such highly rare products are most often not intended for public consumption but rather for the small number of utterly corrupt fetishists who may share such a horrid interest.
Note the following excerpt of a quote taken from German defense attorney Udo Vetter from this article that appeared on the Süddeutsche Zeitung news site (translated into English courtesy of GirlChat's webmaster NFiH, who is fluent in German, and which can be confirmed via a translation from Google's software):
You cannot physically abuse children on the Internet. But you can look at pictures or movies of child abuse and trade them. "Of course paedophiles use the Internet to trade child porn," says lawyer Udo Vetter, who has acted as a defense lawyer in hundreds of child porn cases. "But there is no such thing as a commercial market."
...There is no effective system of money transfer for the distribution of illegal pictures and movies. According to Vetter, "you simply can't receive millions of dollars online anonymously." Money flow is monitored by the authorities of many states, including the USA.
...According to Vetter, none of his clients ever paid for pictures or movies[;] 80 to 90 percent of the files found by the police are identical. "Some of these pictures are 30 to 40 years old." In contrast to the claims made to justify Net censorship[,] the amount of child porn available on the Internet is rising extremely slowly. None of these pictures and movies have been produced professionally (the only exceptions being movies with teenage victims which may have been legal when they were produced) [emphasis mine].
If you remove the value judgment terms "abuse" and "victim" from the above excerpt--which were likely made to appease the readers of this article by using the type of language that they are used to seeing in the media when it comes to this subject--the entire article pretty much says it all about the silliness of the widespread claims by LEAs and their status quo-defending allies in the press that CP production is a huge multi-billion dollar international business.
See also this article about the infamous Texas case involving Landslide Productions, where its webmaster Paul Reeve was arrested for what amounted to a witch hunt. This article also shows the length that LEAs will go to get someone indicted even when the evidence collected doesn't warrant it.
My thanks to NFiH and qtns2di4 for the above tidbits of info.
10. An examination of the two most prominent of the very, very few victims of what they described as truly non-consensual CP while in their childhood to come forward via the media would appear to reveal the reality behind the tiny amount of genuinely coercive examples of underagers participating in CP production. This reality clearly doesn't lead towards the common, conspiratorial conception of CP being largely the product of an organized, well-funded group of criminal strangers kidnapping kids across the globe and forcing them to participate in sexual activity with adults on camera for the purpose of selling the footage for a sizable profit.
Two of the very few girls to loudly come out in the media for such a reason after reaching adulthood are Masha Allen, who participated in a relatively lengthy series of sexually explicit videos in her childhood--she was given the nickname "Disney Girl" in the media due to the fact that some of the pics of her were taken next to Disney World--and Kylie Freeman, who participated in a similar series of videos during her childhood under the nickname of "Vicky." These two girls, now adults, are perhaps the only two prominent victims of what were said to be coerced participants in the production of new CP that occurred during the age of the Internet, and Masha in particular has become something of a poster girl for LEAs as they engage in their never-ending battle to combat the dissemination of CP. There is a good degree of info on Masha here on the Inquisition 21 website, and I thank my fellow activist Baldur for bringing this to my attention, and FreeThinkerGL for finding me the specific link.
However, as noted above, neither of these girls were the victims of an organized group of criminal strangers who kidnapped them and forced them to appear in such films for intended sale to a corrupt, international clientele of buyers who demanded such product. According to Masha, she was coerced into participation in such films by her adopted father, and Kylie was forced into doing the same thing by her biological father. Neither series of CP videos were produced with the intention of selling them for profit to some corrupt underground market, but were the result of fetishistic parents who made them for free distribution on P2P [peer to peer] video sharing networks that were available to a small circle of private acquaintances during the earlier days of public access to the Internet. There have been subsequent claims by those in the know that the very small amount of truly coercive CP produced for free consumption in the P2P online file sharing networks have all been the product of parents who have this sort of fetishistic "hobby," and not by organized criminal cartels controlled by strangers who kidnap kids for the purpose of producing CP for sale to a large international group of clients (see below for a highly important shared anecdote about the prevalence of CP distribution on P2P networks, now and in the past).
The above evidence and claims are actually entirely logical, because it's well known to both the FBI and youth liberationist orgs alike that the greatest amount of genuine abuse of all kinds perpetrated on minors by adults--including physical and emotional abuse in addition to that of a sexual nature, and even including murder--occurs at the hands of parents and stepparents, but not strangers. This unsettling fact is obviously very uncomfortable for the present day status quo to accept, and since the political overseers of modern society are dedicated to preserving the currently hierarchal version of the nuclear family unit at any cost, it's fully understandable as to why it's far preferable for the media to promote the concept of "stranger danger" and to portray the home as the safest place for children and young teens to be despite all the readily available evidence to the contrary.
Again, this reality is not mentioned here as an attempt to disparage the institution of parenthood or the sanctity of the family, but simply to make it clear that the current state of affairs with young people lacking most of their civil rights and the parents having such a near-total control over every aspect of their children's lives, as well as a near-monopoly on adult interaction with their kids--save for a few "authorized" non-familial adults, such as teachers and coaches, who are currently discouraged from actually befriending the kids under their charge for obvious reasons related to the ongoing sex abuse hysteria--is the very crux of the greatest and usually the most severe cases of genuine child abuse that occurs in society today. Love shared by family members is a very good thing, but the introduction of such a high degree of power into the equation predictably corrupts this love in too many cases and results in abuse, with some of the less scrupulous parents all too often taking this abuse into some truly horrific directions. The solution that youth libbers promote is not to break up the family unit or destroy the bond between parents and children, but simply to legally empower kids so that they can much more easily resist or escape being subject to any type of abuse or harm by others in their lives, whether it originates from the hands of strangers, teachers, co-workers, peers, or parents.
This is also why, despite the impassioned declarations of Masha and Kylie themselves, arresting people who simply download and view their pics--including the many who likely have no idea that they were supposedly taken under coerced circumstances, and also considering the only place these pics remain readily accessible to the public is on entrapment sites set up by the FBI in sting operations of highly questionable ethical and constitutional acceptability--is not conducive to democratic principles. The only solution that works within a democratic framework is to empower children and teens in a legal and civil manner so as to greatly increase their ability to willingly escape from truly abusive situations of any sort, and to prosecute the producers of any non-consensual material of this nature. Ironically, it should be noted that Masha Allen is now suing the state as a result of their 'post-rescue' operations, including the use of imagery she says were made under coerced circumstances for use in federal entrapment schemes, such as phony sting websites.
Doesn't the fact that upon 'rescuing' Masha from the reportedly abusive clutches of her adoptive father, she was placed under the foster care of a woman who claims to be a victim of sexual abuse who not only lost a case in court where she apparently frivolously accused her pastor of sexually abusing her, but also accused her parents of being part of a satanic cult who forced her to take part in human sacrifice (remember my discussions of the now thoroughly debunked satanic ritual abuse hysteria in my previous essay, “The Importance of Truth"?), mean that such foster care parents were bound to have a distorting effect on Masha's ideology, fueling her with feelings of revenge rather than healing, and into becoming an advocate of vengeful draconian rather than productive empowering solutions for other kids who may find their way into situations similar to hers as the result of abusive parents? Can this be the reason why Masha is so stringent upon penalizing people for looking at pics of her alleged abuse rather than focusing upon the notion of parental power that prevented her from leaving the abusive situation she found herself in? It should also be noted that the U.S. attorney who handled Masha's case following her 'rescue,' Mary Beth Buchanan, was fully aware of the past of Masha's foster mothers whose custody she was placed in. This forces us to wonder if Buchanan did so purposely, so as to increase the chance that victims like Masha would be subject to the type of irrational, vengeance-driven rhetoric from her foster parent so as to better ensure that the girl would develop a mindset conducive to furthering any political agenda that Buchanan and other LEOs like her may have. For the source of this info, go here.
Nevertheless, despite the very few lone voices in the wilderness like Masha and Kylie, the Great Silence continues, and these few voices of protest that do arise are from girls who were forced into abusive sexual situations on camera by parents, not by an organized, multi-national cabal of strangers, and their resulting pics and vids were produced for consumption by a small group of like-minded fetishists via a P2P online network with no money passing any hands, and not for profit to a huge underground international market of vile MAAs. The cases of these two girls should speak volumes about the reality of CP, a reality that bears no resemblance to the urban legends created by the LEAs and their allies in the mass media.
Also courtesy of my fellow activist FreeThinkerGL is this link to another essay on Inquisition21 that explains exactly how the American police often create crimes: Two Little Girls in a Doorway. As FreeThinkerGL mentioned to me about the latter article, "This was written before the Masha story above, but Masha's story gives it new significance." Many thanks and appreciation to FreeThinkerGL for the link to this article.
On the subject of P2P file sharing networks and their relation to CP distribution and all the myths that have sprung out of that, my fellow activist qtns2di4 makes the following important observations [in bold face]:
A few words about P2P.
P2P requires every user to identify themselves, therefore IP addresses are always visible to others, either by default or with little technical expertise needed to uncover them. This makes it an extremely vulnerable platform for sharing, and esp. for sharing illegal content. Any step taken to protect IP address information also makes the use of P2P less efficient to the user, so users will normally try to avoid doing it. That is not even to mention the dangers of malware transmitting through P2P, which are independent from the risks of giving IP address information publicly.
P2P reached its peak of use during the music sharing days. It was very adaptive to the technology of the time. It declined [in popular usage] as copyright lobbies and LEAs infiltrated it in order to combat music piracy. Obviously, while this use is also illegal, it doesn't have the emotional load, the harsh legal penalties, and the niche market characteristics that CP has, so it is not surprising that traffic involving music piracy, at any time, accounted for far more P2P traffic than CP ever could. I don't know if there is any analysis about the use of P2P that relates it directly to the sharing of CP. However, simple intuition would dictate that as P2P declined in use with the combat of music piracy and greater infiltration by LEAs, so did sharing of CP through it. Notice that, because of its structure, it is impossible to establish a payment system that works in assigning you rights of downloading in P2P sharing. That is why music pirates can use it but recording companies cannot. It also means that any CP that arrived into a P2P network became pirate, and therefore impossible to earn money from.
Traditional P2P networks today still exist, but, because of (otherwise legal) music and video piracy, they are completely full of LEOs [law enforcement officers], thereby making it ever less safe for sharing of any content, and CP will always be much less safe than any pirated music album. Their obvious successors are torrent networks, which work under some of the same basic assumptions of P2P, but which are more stable in themselves, less vulnerable (though not 100% safe) to malware, better adapted to larger file sizes, where it is possible to establish some form of payments system, and it is easier to hide IP addresses without obvious efficiency losses. However, the structure of sharing in torrents would also make it harder to share CP openly.
- P2P overall use coincided with the curve of (pirated) music sharing.
- There are no reasons to suspect CP was ever a large part of P2P traffic.
- P2P sharing has declined the more that LEOs and copyright lobbies have infiltrated it in their anti-piracy operations, but there is no reason to suppose that this doesn't spill over to CP, as it is also illegal content.
- Since the P2P structure doesn't allow for payments to be used, any CP diffused through this means was diffused for free (whether or not it was originally produced for profit)
- same as music [in the form of mp3 files] always was.
- Because of the changes undergone since then, it currently should be far more difficult to diffuse CP, new or not, via publicly accessible channels than it was during the golden age of P2P.
My thanks and appreciation to qtns2di4 for sharing this important info with me and thereby enhancing the informational basis of this essay.
A few important anecdotes have also been offered by my fellow Girl Lover in the MAA community who hails from the Netherlands and posts under the name Sancho Panza [in bold face]:
The view on what CP really is has changed dramatically over the years; I remember our Lolita magazine in the '70s of the last century. Freely available back then, but probably good for a couple of months on water and bread these days.
The Ukrainian child pornography raids are also interesting; the LS material I saw didn't look like CP by any standard to me, yet American influences managed to shut down the whole thing.
[P2P networks] like [LimeWire] will be history soon, not because of the availability of CP, but because of copyright infringements (as confirmed by the following excerpt from the LimeWire home page):
LimeWire is under a court order dated October 26, 2010 to stop distributing the LimeWire software. A copy of the injunction can be found here. LimeWire LLC, its directors and officers, are taking all steps to comply with the injunction. We have very recently become aware of unauthorized applications on the internet purporting to use the LimeWire name. We demand that all persons using the LimeWire software, name, or trademark in order to upload or download copyrighted works in any manner cease and desist from doing so. We further remind you that the unauthorized uploading and downloading of copyrighted works is illegal.
It's all about money; few people are really concerned with the well being of children, I'm afraid.
Sancho's latter statement is quite interesting when you think about it. Despite the fact that P2P networks have allegedly been a bastion of CP trading over the past decade, the biggest creators of such software were never shut down by any of the LEAs for that reason as long as they cooperated with the police. But now they are rapidly getting shut down by LEAs for entirely financial reasons related to the money allegedly being lost by the big record companies due to the well known proliferation of mp3 file sharing through these networks. The fact that money trumps proclaimed morality shouldn't come as a surprise to anyone in our capitalistic society, since that's pretty much business as usual. It also makes you wonder if the U.S. government and the many large corporations that control it wouldn't be covertly financing the production and sale of CP if their ridiculous claims that it was actually an international multi-billion dollar a year industry were actually true.
The following "bonus" essay was composed by my fellow activist Summerdays in response to my above article, where he discusses 'The Paradigm of Innocence,' which contains some good insights about our present society's seeming deification of the notion of "childhood innocence" [in bold face]:
Most people regard childhood "innocence" as an inherently positive thing. For many, this may be true. Indeed, not knowing the full nature of the tragedy that is life (understanding death, the fact that good things end, that there is not a benevolent all-protecting God watching over you (because if there is a God, it's empirically verifiable that he doesn't mind if bad things happen to you, regardless of whether or not it's for a good reason [at least in God's mind]) - it's pleasant not to have to deal with these heavy truths, and there seems to be a lightness about childhood, at least when we think back on it, that it seems to be so much better than adulthood (provided we didn't have a rough childhood where our innocence was taken away from us prematurely).
The truth may be that childhood wasn't so light as we imagine it during fits of nostalgia. But to go even further than that, I have personal experience that casts the concept of "innocence" in a negative light. Innocence terrified me. I am terrified of the things I don't know and don't understand. For me, a child who knew so little about the world, the world was a terrifying place. It's only now, as I am growing up and learning about the world, that its mysteries are being revealed to me and its shadows brought under the light. The more I know, the more I understand, the less I fear, and the stronger I become. As an innocent child, I was weak and vulnerable - and I knew it. Experience, for me, is the path towards levity. Sure, life is hard, but it's so much easier when I know exactly what to expect. And what not to expect - like knowing, as a result of decades of firsthand experience, that there can be no inhuman monsters hiding in my closet waiting to eat me. And having enough of an understanding to justify not constantly worrying about the human monsters that may be hiding there, because I know the likelihood is so slim that it's not worth getting bothered about.
Now, I don't want to say that everyone experiences innocence in this way - but that's exactly the point. Innocence is not the same thing to everyone, and it is not always a desirable state. To preserve a child's innocence because we presume that innocence is a good thing, could do damage to the child if the truth is different (as it was in my case). So in some cases, preserving a child's innocence could be more abusive than dispelling it, and we ought not to assume that it is something that should universally be protected.
And who knows, maybe a lot more people feel the way I do about innocence. After all, how often is it the child who asks to have her innocence preserved, and how often does she go out of her way to do the opposite, wanting to experience life? And when she asks us if there's a monster in the closet, do we tell her she's better off not knowing, or do we reassure her by going over and opening the closet to let her know exactly what is (and is not) in there?