Liberation and Exploitation

Hymowitz, a contributing editor at City Journal, also writes:

In 1977, Michel Foucault, Jean-Paul Sartre, Jacques Derrida, Simone de Beauvoir and dozens of other French intellectuals lobbied the French government to abolish age of consent laws and to decriminalise ‘consensual sex’ between adults and minors under the age of fifteen. In response to a trial of three Frenchman accused of having sex with 13 and 14 year old boys, 69 French intellectuals signed a petition arguing for their release. …
Similar questions apply to Desmond Napoles, a pre-teen “drag kid” who has performed in gay bars and has been the subject of an admiring profile on “Good Morning America” as well as a celebratory blog post by a convicted pedophile. When is a child fully capable of autonomy?

I think that consensual relations between sexually active teens and older men can sometimes be confused with, and condemned as, child sexual abuse. But I agree that when you start removing traditional barriers around sex, and gender, you should be mindful that while some constrictions were oppressive and easing them freeing, going too far in uprooting tradition in pursuit of liberation opens the door to appalling evils. It’s a lesson we learn from revolutions, sexual and otherwise, again and again.

12 Comments for “Liberation and Exploitation”

  1. posted by Jorge on

    I think that consensual relations between sexually active teens and older men can sometimes be confused with, and condemned as, child sexual abuse. But I agree that when you start removing traditional barriers around sex, and gender, you should be mindful that while some constrictions were oppressive and easing them freeing, going too far in uprooting tradition in pursuit of liberation opens the door to appalling evils. It’s a lesson we learn from revolutions, sexual and otherwise, again and again.



    No, I’ve never thought of the connection between “kids choose their gender identity” and “kids choose whether they’re capable of adult consent.”

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  2. posted by Mike King & David "TJ" Bauler on

    Now Stephen is actually suggesting that if you don’t toss transgender folk under the bus, you must be a dangerous sexual predator.

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    • posted by CraigR on

      Pointless though it may be, I have to ask if you ever bother to read the articles. All you are capable of, it seems, is leaving snide comments that distort the posts. As I’ve said before, sarcasm isn’t an argument, but it’s all you seem able to offer.
      Let’s try this: what point did Stephen make, or the author of the article, that you would like to argue against? Do you think it’s false that the sexual liberation that began in the 60s has had both positive and negative consequences? Do you think it’s wrong to say that any movement taken too far, including removing traditional mores around sex and gender, can lead to bad results, as described in the article? These are questions that can be argued, but I think you don’t even have a sense of what that means.

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  3. posted by JohnInCA on

    I’ve heard these meme a few times now, that “sexual liberation” is leading to (or going to lead to) the moral acceptance of child-adult sex.

    It’s preposterous. Age of consent has been going up, not down, opposition to child-brides has been going up, not down, and so-on.

    And who is it opposing raising consent laws and minimum marriage age? Fundamentalist Christians.

    There is a group of folks in this country that want to keep legal avenues to having sex with children. And they don’t support liberal causes.

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  4. posted by Tom Scharbach on

    The simple facts are these: Adults have a responsibility to protect minors. Adults engaging in sex with minors is an abrogation of that responsibility, even when the minors are past puberty and the minor encourages the behavior. In short, adults have a responsibility to act like adults.

    Age of consent laws should remain in effect. Prosecutorial discretion can handle the cases where hard cases make bad law, as in the case of an 18-year-old having consensual sex with a 17-year-old.

    I recognize that libertarian-leaning conservatives often argue that age of consent laws should be removed from the books. I disagree.

    Adults engaging in sex with minors, consensual or not, is not a victimless situation. Anyone who has spent the time that I have, working to try to help gay kids pick up their lives after having been kicked into the streets by their “good Christian” parents and ending up part of the Boystown meat market, knows that.

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    • posted by CraigR on

      I recognize that libertarian-leaning conservatives often argue that age of consent laws should be removed from the books. I disagree.

      I don’t know of any “libertarian-leaning conservatives” that take this view. There have certainly been, as the article describes, leftist arguing against age of consent laws as part of sexual liberation and “free love,” especially during the 60s and 70s, when transgressors like Epstein were entering maturity.

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    • posted by JohnInCA on

      You don’t even need “prosecutorial discretion”. Just “Romeo and Juliet” laws, which aren’t controversial at all.

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    • posted by Jorge on

      The simple facts are these: Adults have a responsibility to protect minors. Adults engaging in sex with minors is an abrogation of that responsibility, even when the minors are past puberty and the minor encourages the behavior. In short, adults have a responsibility to act like adults.

      Adults engaging in sex with minors, consensual or not, is not a victimless situation. Anyone who has spent the time that I have, working to try to help gay kids pick up their lives after having been kicked into the streets by their “good Christian” parents and ending up part of the Boystown meat market, knows that.

      The very idea of someone outside a family or an authoritative relationship having “responsibility” for a minor is rather unintuitive to me. What is it in your example, I wonder, that makes it so?

      The adult in a sexual relationship fills in a void the child is missing. The void should have been filled by a parent’s care. Where a parent is not, and a child looks to us, that is when we must act as the parent the child needs then and there.

      Well, that’s what the child needs. But does that mean it’s reasonable to expect the adult to know that? On second thought, I feel like I just defended Paris Hilton.

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    • posted by Tom Scharbach on

      The very idea of someone outside a family or an authoritative relationship having “responsibility” for a minor is rather unintuitive to me.

      Given our differences in age, region, political philosophy and religion, I am not surprised that you don’t believe that adults, as individuals, have any responsibility to protect children, including from our own acts, unless the children are part of our family and/or children over whom we have authority, and that I have a different opinion. Enough said.

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      • posted by Jorge on

        Given our differences in age, region, political philosophy and religion, I am not surprised that you don’t believe that adults, as individuals, have any responsibility to protect children

        My, my, that was quite dramatic. Whoever said anything about “including from our own acts”?

        In fact, I found your framing quite persuasive–on a professional level.

        But you say philosophy and so I shall answer philosophy. The only person who should exercise authority over a child is a parent, or someone operating as a custodian. An adult who tries to police a child’s style of dress, or temperament, or even their deviant behavior is no less a threat to parental authority and healthy child development than a sex offender who targets post-pubescent teens.

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  5. posted by mike king & David Bauler on

    Also, the 1960s was probably the second or third ‘sexual revolution’.

    Reply

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