Posted on | January 11, 2013 | 44 Comments
Rush Limbaugh sparked criticism this week by pointing to an article in the British Guardian newspaper as evidence of “a movement to normalize pedophilia.” Limbaugh’s liberal critics are ridiculing his contention, but the movement he described is very real.
In 2002, Judith Levine published Harmful to Minors, a book which stirred a massive controversy because of its claims that the dangers of pedophilia were exaggerated. I covered the controversy in a long article for The Washington Times:
[Levine] said, “The research shows us that in some minority of cases, young — even quite young — people can have a positive sexual experience with an adult. That’s what the research shows.”
Featuring a foreword by Clinton administration Surgeon General Dr. Joycelyn Elders, Ms. Levine’s book endorses a Dutch law, passed in 1990, that effectively lowered the age of consent to 12. Ms. Levine cites research about “happy consensual sex among kids under 12,” and writes: “America’s drive to protect kids from sex is protecting them from nothing. Instead, often it is harming them.” . . .
A 1998 “meta-analytic” study in an American Psychological Association (APA) journal argued, among other things, that “value-neutral” language such as “adult-child sex” should be used to describe child molestation if it was a “willing encounter.” . . .
Ms. Levine’s book favorably cites the Rind study and, in a telephone interview, she defended the study as “methodologically meticulous.” But Baltimore psychologist Joy Silberg, whose clinical practice involves treating child-abuse victims, says the study is “horribly flawed.”
“I can’t call it science,” she said.
One co-author of the 1998 study was Robert Bauserman, now employed by the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. As early as 1989, Mr. Bauserman had written about “man-boy sexual relationships” in Paidika. He also co-authored a 1993 article with Mr. Rind about “adult-nonadult sex.”
You can read the whole thing. The point is that, more than a decade ago, there was a clearly identifiable movement within academia that was attempting to normalize “adult-child sex.”
Rind and Bauserman were part of it, and Bauserman’s history of association with the Dutch pedophile journal Paidika should raise red flags. Indeed, the Guardian article that caught Limbaugh’s attention actually cites a Paidika contributor:
A Dutch study published in 1987 found that a sample of boys in paedophilic relationships felt positively about them.
That study was by Theo Sandfort, a Dutch academic and member of Paidika‘s editorial board. Sandfort contributed an article entitled “Constructive Questions Regarding Paedophilia” to the third issue of the journal in 1988, contributed another article (“The World is Bursting with Adults, so I’m always Glad to See a Little Girl”) to the eighth issue in 1992, and published a two-part article (“The Sexual Experiences of Children”) in consecutive issues of Paidika in 1993 and ’94.
For several years, Professor Sandfort wrote about almost nothing else. He is author of the 2001 book Childhood Sexuality and co-edited the 1990 book Male Intergenerational Intimacy with fellow Paidika contributor Edward Brongersma, who was convicted for having sex with a 16-year-old boy. Readers will perhaps not be surprised to learn that Sandfort is now on the faculty of Columbia University.
Judith Levine’s 2002 book cited Sandfort and Brongersma among her sources, and she also cited another Paidika contributor, a lawyer named Lawrence A. Stanley, as an expert on the supposed non-danger of child pornography. Under the aliases “N.S. Aristoff” and “L.A. Stanaman,” Stanley was quite directly involved in the business, and was arrested a few months after Levine’s book was published:
An American lawyer who specialized in defending those accused of child pornography is under arrest in Brazil, charged with violating that country’s laws against child exploitation.
Lawrence Allen Stanley, 47, was arrested June 8 after police in Salvador say they found more than 1,000 photographs and more than 100 videos of young girls in swimsuits and underwear.
The arrest came days after the Brazilian magazine Epocha reported that Stanley, a fugitive who has lived in Brazil since 1998, had built an international business photographing Brazilian girls and selling their photos through the Internet. . . .
Under the alias L.A. Stanaman, Stanley operated the “MiniModels” Web site, featuring photos of girls ages 8 to 14 in what police Officer Rui Gomes described to the Associated Press as “sensual poses.” . . .
Stanley has been identified as the owner of Alessandra’s Smile, a New York company that sells erotic material about girls. He is also the publisher of Ophelia Editions, which produces books with pedophile themes, and Uncommon Desires, a newsletter that has called itself “the voice of a politically conscious girl-love underground.”
Stanley has a criminal record. He was charged with “sexual aggression” against a girl in Quebec in 1990, but Canadian officials never sought extradition. In 1998, a Dutch court convicted Stanley in absentia for sexual abuse of three children ages 7 to 10, Epocha reported. He faces a three-year prison sentence if he returns to the Netherlands. . . .
In 1989, federal authorities accused Stanley of conspiring with a client, photographer Don Marcus, to import child pornography. Marcus — who fled to France to escape prosecution and is still a fugitive — asked Stanley to pick up a suitcase that was found to contain child pornography. His attorney argued that Stanley did not know what was in the suitcase, and a jury acquitted him in 1993. . . .
Read the whole thing. The point is that the “research” cited in favor of the normalization of pedophilia is generally produced by “experts” of a very dubious nature, whose interest in the subject matter does not seem to be merely academic. And yet, as evidenced by Columbia University’s hiring of Professor Sandfort, there are evidently those in the academic community who do not see this movement as dangerous.
When Rush Limbaugh called attention to this Monday — after National Review‘s Wesley J. Smith wrote about the Guardian article — Limbaugh was mocked by CNN’s Soledad O’Brien:
Rush Limbaugh speaking out against what he is calling a liberal attempt to, quote, “normalize pedophilia.” The conservative radio show host says it could be the next step for those who support gay marriage. . . .
Limbaugh citing a column in the “Guardian” newspaper that quotes researchers that claim pedophilia is a distinct sexual orientation. He said, Exhibit A, is that the media went easy on Elmo puppeteer Kevin Clash who lost his job on Sesame Street after several men came forward saying they had a sexual relationship with Clash back when they were teenagers.
Ed Driscoll refers to O’Brien’s reaction as evidence of “epistemic closure” on the Left, and it goes to show the reflexive political reaction of liberals to everything nowadays: If conservatives are on one side of an issue, liberals feel obliged to weigh in on the other side.
Therefore, if Rush Limbaugh warns against the dangers of an effort to normalize pedophilia — a very real movement, and one which the administration of Columbia University evidently approves — liberals must declare that the movement is not dangerous.