Posted on | June 8, 2013 | 59 Comments
“Pretty Baby has been banned outright in the Canadian provinces of Ontario and Saskatchewan. No less a moral arbiter than Rona Barrett solemnly advised her TV audience that the movie is ‘child pornography.’ Others have attacked its French director . . . as a combination of Humbert Humbert and Roman Polanski.”
— Kristin McMurran, People magazine, May 1978
“Some people view children as the next sexual frontier.”
— Stephanie Dallam, April 2002
“A Dutch study published [by Paidika editorial board member Theo Sandfort] in 1987 found that a sample of boys in paedophilic relationships felt positively about them.”
— Jon Henley, Guardian (U.K.), January 2013
“So it appears that younger youth are just as capable of making healthy sexual decisions as are older youth, and yet they are treated differently under the law.”
— Marina Adshade, Ph.D., Psychology Today, May 2013
If you had to fix a date in history when the Sexual Revolution of the 1960s reached its Jacobins-and-guillotines stage, when even those who had originally welcomed and applauded the revolution began to recoil from the perverse “liberation” they had wrought, the 1978 release of Pretty Baby may well have been the pivot-point. The AIDS scare of the 1980s would accelerate the counter-revolution — in fact, the disease was already beginning to spread in the late 1970s, although it was not until the ’80s that the pandemic was recognized — but it was Pretty Baby and headlines about child pornography that alarmed American mothers about the encroaching danger to their daughters.
Of course, the slow approach toward this red line had been going on for many years, but it had occurred on the bohemian fringes of society and had escaped widespread notice by the respectable bourgeoisie. During the 1960s, there was a lot of talk about “high-school dropouts” and “runaway teenagers,” and plenty of minors — 15 or 16 years old, some even younger — were among the hippies and flower children who drifted toward San Francisco in the 1967 “Summer of Love.”
Tune in. Turn on. Drop out.
Whether they were seeking enlightenment and world peace, or just “sex, drugs and rock-and-roll,” there were plenty of young teens who were drawn into the hippie orbit. The anti-Establishment mood of that radical youth culture was such that no hairy freak was going to alert police — “the pigs” — that his dopehead buddy was making it with a teenybopper not yet old enough to get a driver’s license.
“Hang-ups” about sex? That’s for squares, man.
During the classic rock heyday of the ’70s, one learns from memoirs and biographies, plenty of high-school girls were among the “groupies” who flung themselves at guitar gods and heavy metal icons. Legendary tales of hotel-room-wrecking rock-tour decadence occasionally include scenes of 13-year-olds quite eagerly donating themselves as love offerings to the platinum-album superstars of that era.
“Well . . . it was consensual.”
This attitude — expressed in many variations by the “Free Kate” fanatics who celebrate Kaitlyn Hunt as a heroic martyr for her jailbait romance with a 14-year-old — is really nothing new to those who have paid attention long enough. How strange is it, then, that more than three decades after that zenith (or rather, nadir) of the Sexual Revolution, somebody like Canadian economist Marina Adshade thinks we’re in need of a social-science lecture on this topic?
The basis of the age-of-consent laws, like the ones invoked in this case, is that young adolescents are less capable of making healthy sexual decisions than are older adolescents because do not fully comprehend the risks. . . .
So there must be pretty good evidence that younger teens are less capable of making healthily sexual decisions than are slightly older teens who are free to choose the nature of their own sexual relationships, right?
Not exactly and, in fact, comprehensive research using data collected from 26,000 high school students in British Columbia found that the sexual decision making of those who became sexually active when they were 14 to 15 years old was no worse than those who became sexually active when they were 16 to 17 years old.
Damn you, damn your “research” and damn Canada, while we’re at it.
As a general rule, the more you know about social science, the more skeptical you are about its findings, especially when confronted with studies that seem to contradict common sense. The media appetite for “counter-intuitive” research findings (as practiced by the fraudulent Jonah Lerner, for example) and the generally liberal leanings of academic researchers (we are not surprised to find the eminent professor of perversion Theo Sandfort on the Columbia University faculty) tend to generate a lot of studies (and publicity for those studies) that tell us sexual hedonism is essentially harmless, even for “younger teens.”
And if you dare so much as raise an eyebrow of skepticism toward this kind of “science,” you’re obviously a bigoted hater.
Beyond the shabby assumptions of the “comprehensive research” cited by Dr. Adshade — e.g., it’s OK for 14-year-olds to screw around, as long as they use condoms — we have to ask whether any common-sense law, belief or moral tradition can be empirically validated (or invalidated) by social science. Do we as a society wish to submit ourselves to the Scientific Consensus as the final arbiter of everything?
‘It’s Science! What Could Possibly Go Wrong?’
Advocates of surrendering democracy to an elite of experts have usually been embarrassed by the results of their experiments, insofar as people can be bothered to notice the unintended consequences of this kind of “enlightened” social engineering. It often takes a generation or two for effects of trendy social policies to be fully developed, by which time people have become slowly acclimated to the changes. In the meantime, propagandists for the New Regime usually have succeeded in convincing us that the Old Traditions were hopelessly obsolete — horse-and-buggy stuff — if not also benighted and oppressive.
Geezers may have some faint memory of the past as the “good old days,” but if they try to argue that Modern Progress is actually a bad thing — that this is not really progress at all, but in fact is a descent into decadence — the geezers will be demonized or ridiculed or otherwise marginalized as disreputable fringe kooks.
It takes a strong mind and a resolute determination, therefore, to speak out against the Cult of Scientific Progress when its High Priests hold every significant position of influence in society, especially in realms where their hegemony is quite nearly absolute. Academia has become the Church of the True Faith, where skepticism is heresy, and from this derives the tautology: “Only ignorant people disagree with this belief, because all the experts have endorsed the consensus” — when, in point of fact, advocates of the consensus belief have spent years if not decades orchestrating purges of their critics and blackballing their opponents.
What is true of the climate change consensus — perhaps you recognized the synopsis of their characteristic sophistry — is now a prevalent attitude in the humanities and social sciences. Even in the English departments, the political doctrines of deconstruction and multiculturalism now dominate, so that the teaching of literature and grammar has become subject to the diktats of commissars.
Our Pharisees speak of diversity while enforcing conformity.
Good luck trying to find a professor of sociology or psychology who will dare dispute the radical-egalitarian “liberation” perspective on sexuality, marriage, family and child development. Those hostile to the academic consensus are seldom found within academia.
All the more remarkable, then, that we can cite research showing that the traditionalists are right and the modernists are wrong. Contrary to the impression Marina Adshade, Ph.D., tries to convey, early sexual activity is correlated with bad socio-economic outcomes.
Whether the variable you measure is scholastic achievement, household income, marital stability, sexually transmitted disease — pick a metric, any metric — you will find that, generally, kids who start screwing around early tend to exhibit worse outcomes as adults than do kids who delay sexual activity. Let Dr. Adshade or anyone else seek out data on adults and find whether those who begin having sexual intercourse as early as 14 are really no worse off than those who wait until 17 or later.
As with any other general observation derived from social science, the overall trend doesn’t mean that every kid who gets past third base in ninth grade is doomed to a life of misery and failure and, of course, correlation is not causation: “Heather was an honor student with ambitions to become a nuclear physicist, until her freshman year at band camp she lost her cherry to a trombonist, and now she’s a crack whore giving $10 blowjobs down at the local truck stop . . .”
No, the cause-and-effect connection is not so clear-cut, but still I’d be willing to bet that a survey of truck stop hookers would find that most of them started having sex at relatively young ages, and that a rather large number of them were victims of outright child abuse.
But maybe it was that trombonist, after all.
‘Informed Consent’ and ‘Emerging Awareness’
Dr. Adshade certainly cannot be ignorant of the general data, so why is she touting this “no harm, no foul” research that would have us believe there is no especial harm in having sex with 14-year-olds? Are we surprised that she recoils from her own conclusions?
Would I feel comfortable with my fourteen-year-old being in a sexual relationship with an eighteen-year-old? No, I wouldn’t. But my discomfort, of that of any another parent, should not be the basis on which public policy is determined. It’s important that the age-of-consent is set based [on] empirical evidence clearly demonstrating that youth below that age are incapable of giving informed consent.
Oh! We must have “empirical evidence” in order to decide whether a 14-year-old is capable of “giving informed consent.” Otherwise, your ninth-grader is legally fair game, because it would be a barbaric travesty to punish the consensual partner of a 14-year-old, experts say.
“Help me find my puppy? . . . Get in the van.”
Parental “discomfort” cannot be the basis of law, Dr. Adshade tells us, because heaven forbid the interests of parents in supervising their own children should be considered politically legitimate.
What is going on here is that the social scientists are attempting to substitute their expertise for democratically enacted laws, to demote the ordinary American to second-class citizenship where, unless we can cite empirical evidence, we have no legal recourse to prevent our daughters from being ravished by sex-crazed trombonists. (Trust me about this problem — the plural of “anecdote” is “data,” you know.)
The “consent” that is truly at stake here is the consent of the governed, for which Americans once fought a revolution.
Are we a nation of laws? Do We the People have a right to be governed by laws enacted by our own representatives? Or does the self-declared superiority of social scientists entitle them to act as Platonic archons, without whose approval no law can be enacted or enforced? Shall the laws of the several states, variously establishing the legal age of sexual consent, be subject to veto by scientific consensus?
Shall the courts of Florida regard their law, which declares it a felony for an 18-year-old to have sex with a 14-year-old, as a dead letter because a Canadian Ph.D. disapproves of it?
Damn you, damn your Ph.D., and damn Canada, too!
Have we gotten so used to being bullied and lectured by these credentialed experts that we no longer have the courage to tell them to mind their own business, even when our own children are being endangered by such “scientific” nonsense emitted by academia?
But . . . Progress!
This idea that we must discard the traditions of the past and ignore the common-sense consensus of the citizens — because the past is obsolete and the citizens are bigoted rabble — has already taken us too far down a road proverbially paved with good intentions. That was what Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia was trying to say in his dissent in the 2003 Lawrence v. Texas case:
State laws against bigamy, same-sex marriage, adult incest, prostitution, masturbation, adultery, fornication, bestiality, and obscenity are likewise sustainable only in light of Bowers’ validation of laws based on moral choices. Every single one of these laws is called into question by to day’s decision; the Court makes no effort to cabin the scope of its decision to exclude them from its holding. . . . The impossibility of distinguishing homosexuality from other traditional “morals” offenses is precisely why Bowers rejected the rational-basis challenge. “The law,” it said, “is constantly based on notions of morality, and if all laws representing essentially moral choices are to be invalidated under the Due Process Clause, the courts will be very busy indeed.”
Ah, the “rational-basis challenge,” riding in tandem harness with that wily beast, the Due Process Clause! But along the way (noted by the “…”), Scalia called attention to the Court majority as Dr. Frankenstein, creating a new monster, the Emerging Awareness Doctrine:
In all events we think that our laws and traditions in the past half century are of most relevance here. These references show an emerging awareness that liberty gives substantial protection to adult persons in deciding how to conduct their private lives in matters pertaining to sex.
So, basically, any law enacted prior to 1953 — before “the past half century” that culminated in the Great Enlightenment of 2003 — is invalidated as not reflecting the “emerging awareness,” and who knows whither that awareness might further emerge?
At least they stipulated “adult persons,” but it was quite predictable that this new doctrine would cause some restless minds to start quibbling over definitions of such terms “in matters pertaining to sex.”
What is to prevent the Court, having declared its flexible notions about the time-stamped duration of “laws and traditions,” from then beginning to tinker around with the question of whether “adult persons” (age 18) might not also be entitled to “substantial protection” when conducting “their private lives” with not-quite-adult persons?
If Florida can’t draw the line at 16, where exactly can the line be drawn?
Given that a majority of the Supreme Court was able to locate within the Constitution a right to buttfucking — let’s not mince words, eh? — it’s hard to blame the supporters of Kaitlyn Hunt for hoping that the courts might somehow be able to find in there a “Get Out of Jail Free” card for high-school seniors whose “private lives” involve dildoing their 14-year-old basketball teammates.
Happy 14th Birthday! (Batteries not included.)
Why Do You Think They Call It ‘Jailbait’?
Look, if Kristin Ireland can get all teary-eyed and think of this stuff as a tragic “Lifetime movie,” why shouldn’t I imagine it as a sleazy 1956 exploitation flick? (Don’t judge me, haters.) Or perhaps we could go the “art movie” route with dramatic cinematography and existential dialogue: Deux Jeunes Filles dans l’Amour, we’ll call it — certain to be hailed as an artistic triumph when it debuts at Cannes.
Impossible, you say? Anything is possible, if in 1978 the French director Louis Malle could get away with casting 12-year-old Brooke Shields as a child prostitute whose virginity is auctioned off in a New Orleans bordello — and be defended for doing so by the 12-year-old’s mother:
When Violet (the role Brooke plays) chastely poses naked for the photographer Bellocq (Keith Carradine), Malle closed the set to everyone but himself and cinematographer Sven Nykvist. “I knew it would be tasteful,” says Teri [Shields]. “Anybody who calls it child pornography has not seen the damn thing. Rona Barrett is a fool. I don’t mind Brooke being called a sex symbol. But nymphet and Lolita rub me the wrong way.” Malle, who picked her over 300 auditioners, admiringly calls Brooke “a natural. She carried the entire picture on her shoulders.”
A 12-year-old in a nude scene. “Tasteful,” her mother said.
Well, this is art, you see, and if art won’t justify it, they’ll hit you with science, and if science doesn’t persuade you there’s nothing wrong with it, they’ll stop trying to persuade you, and instead start protesting about their “rights” in an effort to compel you.
They want what they want, and they won’t let anybody stand in their way of getting what they want, and if you have no legal right to stop them, neither do you have a right to criticize them.
Nine times in her May 17 Facebook post Kaitlyn Hunt’s mother named the parents of the 14-year-old girl who pressed charges. She denounced these parents as “bigoted, religious zealots . . . full of hate and bigotry . . . delusional” for daring to object to what she called a “mutual consenting relationship . . . healthy and normal.” Her rant could only be described as a vindictive effort to demonize the younger girl’s parents, and for this cruel act of vengeance, the Hunt family gets rewarded with an invitation to appear on the Today show?
Such are the warped values which the apostles of Progress expect us to embrace: The parents of Kaitlyn Hunt launch a public crusade to make their daughter America’s Most Famous Sex Offender, while parents who tried to protect their 14-year-old from the corrupting influence of this tattooed teenage she-hooligan are condemned by liberals for the thought-crime of homophobia? And on top of all this — adding intellectual insult to moral injury — we get the Canadian Ph.D. taking to the pages of Psychology Today in order to minimize the harm and imply that Florida law lacks sufficient “empirical evidence” to be valid?
This entire Carnival of Dangerous Nonsense has been inspired by one simple fact: Kaitlyn Hunt got caught.
Let’s not kid ourselves: There are lots of 14-year-olds in Florida who have sex, and certainly a few of them are having sex with partners old enough to go prison if they were to get caught. But most of them get away with it, because they are not as stupid and arrogant as Kaitlyn Hunt, who knew what she was doing was illegal, who was warned by the younger girl’s parents to stop it, but who evidently didn’t imagine that anyone had the authority to stop her from doing what she wanted to do with anyone she wanted to do. She is the Veruca Salt of teenage perverts.
Should we pity her? Should we consult social science or invoke comparisons to civil-rights heroes on her behalf? Please.
Whatever happened to common sense? Where does Kate Hunt think the word “jailbait” came from, and what makes her think she’s exempt from the consequences of its definition?
Believe it or not, common sense actually used to be common enough you could find it all over the place, even in rock-and-roll songs:
What crazy stuff.
She looked so tough,
I had to follow her all the way home.
Then things went bad.
I met her dad.
He said, “You’d better leave my daughter alone.”
That song was a hit for the Coasters in 1957, two years before I was born, but ancient wisdom gets shoved aside by fashionable nonsense, some of it masquerading as science, and some of it parading as “social justice.”
Well, those teenage perverts had better stay away from my daughter. I might call the cops. Or I might just shoot first and explain later.
Damned trombone-playing freaks . . .
UPDATE: I had mistaken Dr. Adshade for a psychologist — Psychology Today, right? — but it turns out she’s actually an economist:
Marina Adshade, Ph.D., has spent the last ten years teaching economics and engaging in original economic research. In 2008, she launched an undergraduate course titled Economics of Sex and Love, which invited her students to approach questions of sex and love through an economist’s lens. The class was an immediate hit with students and, by the time the first term started, had generated international media attention. She has a Ph.D. from Queen’s University and currently teaches at the Vancouver School of Economics at the University of British Columbia.
Good grief, they let this weirdo teach undergraduates?
Well, it’s Canada, eh? They’re not even a real country, anyway.
UPDATE II: That Mr. G. Guy wonders why we let “people from other countries . . . tell us how to make our laws and run our country?”
Because Americans have lost all sense of pride in themselves, that’s why. No one with a modicum of self-respect would take advice from a Canadian. They’re worse than France. At least there’s an ocean between us and the stench of the French, but there’s no natural barrier to protect us from the Canadian Menace.
- June 8: ‘Relationship’ as a Euphemism: What Does This Tell Us About the Culture?
- June 7: #FreeKate Update: Accused Teenager Attends Fundraising Party at Gay Bar
- June 4: ‘Low-Information Voter,’ IYKWIMAITYD
- June 4: But … It Was Consensual!
- June 3: Special Rights for Teen Lesbians?
- June 2: PHOTO: ‘Model Citizen’ Kaitlyn Hunt Helps Sister in 2-on-1 Beach Beatdown
- June 1: 2004: Kaitlyn Hunt’s Father ‘Pressured a Victim Not to File a Battery Charge’
- June 1: Don’t #FreeKate: The Hunt Family’s Hate
- May 31: Local PFLAG: ‘The Cry of Discrimination … Does Not Seem to Apply’ in Hunt Case
- May 31: The #FreeKate Meltdown Continues
- May 30: Hiroshima for #FreeKate? Younger Sister Praises Her Mother as ‘F–king Badass’
- May 30: Can You Count All the Rationalizations and Lies Offered by Kaitlyn Hunt’s Mom?
- May 29: Quite Possibly the Most Eloquent Sentence of My Entire Journalism Career
- May 29: VIDEO: Saint Kate of the Blessed Finger: ‘Beat Her F–king Ass! Get That Bitch!’
- May 28: Liberal Logic™ — #FreeKate Edition
- May 27: #FreeKate Lies Unravel; Roman Polanski Could Not Be Reached for Comment
- May 27: The Story Too Good to Be True
- May 26: In Search of Liberal ‘Principle,’ and Also: Does #FreeKate Have a Larger Agenda?
- May 25: Aggravating Circumstances: Against the #FreeKate Campaign for Sexual Anarchy
- May 25: #FreeKate Lies Rejected by Daily Kos Staffer, and Other New Developments
- May 24: Because She’s Cute, That’s Why
- May 24: BREAKING: Kaitlyn Hunt Refuses Plea Offer, Will Face Trial on June 20
- May 23: Damn You, #FreeKate Liars! UPDATE: Parents of 14-Year-Old Girl Speak Out
- May 22: Liberals Now Arguing for a Lesbian’s Right to Have Sex With a 14-Year-Old Girl