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Don’t Pooh-Pooh the Left’s Push to Normalize Pedophilia

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RUSH: We are loaded today, folks. You can’t afford to miss a single syllable today. For example:

There is an effort underway to normalize pedophilia. Yep. And it has two aspects to it. One is that sex with children doesn’t hurt them. Kids like it, and so do adults, and there’s nothing wrong with it. It is something… I want to take you back. I want you to remember the first time, wherever you were, that you heard about gay marriage, and I want you to try to recall your reaction — your first gut reaction — when you heard that some activists or somebody was trying to promote the notion of gay marriage. What was your initial reaction?

“Aw, come on. It’ll never happen. That’s silly. What are you talking about?”

There is a movement on to normalize pedophilia, and I guarantee you your reaction to that is probably much the same as your reaction when you first heard about gay marriage. What has happened to gay marriage? It’s become normal — and in fact, with certain people in certain demographics it’s the most important issue in terms of who they vote for. So don’t pooh-pooh. There’s a movement to normalize pedophilia. Don’t pooh-pooh it. The people behind it are serious, and you know the left as well as I do. They glom onto something and they don’t let go.

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RUSH: It’s right there. It’s in the UK Guardian. “Pedophilia: Bringing Dark Desires to Light — The Jimmy Savile scandal…” He’s a presenter on the BBC. “The Jimmy Savile scandal,” it says here, “caused public revulsion, but experts disagree about what causes pedophilia — and even how much harm it causes.” So “experts disagree about what causes pedophilia,” and then they do interviews to make the case for pedophilia.

(interruption)

No, it’s not a crime; it’s love!

(interruption)

Yeah, there are statutes on the book.

The statutes are wrong. The statutes are from a bygone era where everybody’s morality was wrong. Look, I’m just telling you what it says. They make the case that kids enjoy it, adults enjoy it; what’s wrong with a little love? The same things that were said about gay marriage. Look at the Elmo story, the puppeteer at PBS. Three or four young people, kids, were hit on by that puppeteer. Look how little attention that story got. In fact, that story was laughed off. It wasn’t a big deal at all.

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RUSH: I’m not engaging in shock value.  I’m not trying to shock you.  I’m just telling you what’s out there on this pedophilia business.  I’ll tell you where I first saw it.  Wesley Smith, who is married to Debra Saunders. She’s a San Francisco Chronicle columnist.  He had a little blog post at the National Review website:  “Is Pedophilia Just Another ‘Sexual Orientation’?” I said, “What?”  So I read it.

It was this piece that alerted me to the column, the piece about this in The Guardian, and that piece suggests that pedophilia may be just another sexual orientation.  It’s not perverted, it’s not wrong, it’s just another sexual orientation.  And, in fact, it’s quite loving and as natural as any other sexual orientation.  This is what those of us with our heads and minds in the Dark Ages have got to modernize and realize.

The argument being made in the piece is that the desire for sex with children is a natural part of the human condition.  And, in fact, if we acknowledge it, and encourage it, we can actually somehow better protect children.  That’s in the story, too.  It’s the same thinking, if you remember back in the nineties, when we were told that kids are going to have sex, you can’t stop them.  And that’s why we needed to give away condoms in the schools.

Remember we had stories from Long Island about parents who said that they willingly let their daughters’ boyfriends spend the night because it was better if their daughter was gonna have sex in a clean bedroom rather than the backseat of a car.  Well, same thing here.  We can better protect children if we know that they’re having sex with adults rather than it being done on the sly.

If it’s supervised, and if it’s engaged in by loving people, then what’s wrong with it? This is in the article.  I just want to remind you, now, when you first heard about gay marriage — and I don’t mean to pick on gays. It’s not what I’m saying. It’s just something that was such a tremendous departure from accepted norms of the day. When you first heard about gay marriage, you pooh-poohed it.

When you first heard me say that the Sierra Club was gonna try to come after you and ban your SUV, what was your reaction?  “Aw, come on, Rush! There you go again: Overreacting, exaggerating.”  Well, you know that the SUV has become a target. You know all about that.  You know how much progress the notion of gay marriage has made.  So I’m just keeping you here on the cutting edge.

In fact, the article in the Guardian actually quotes some academics. (For those of you in Rio Linda, that’s college professor types.  These are the people you see that have leather arm patches on their sport coats.)  Academics are quoted in the Guardian piece saying that sex with adults does not hurt children.  Normalization.  So Jon Henley decided he’d write a whole piece on this, normalizing pedophilia, where he quotes extensively and looks into it and finds out what this is all about.

“Pedophilia: Bringing Dark Desires to Light,” and it says, among other things (this article is loaded), “Pedophiles may be wired differently.”  There’s nothing wrong with them.  They’re just “wired differently. … But there is a growing conviction, notably in Canada, that pedophilia should probably be classified as a distinct sexual orientation, like heterosexuality or homosexuality. Two eminent researchers testified to that effect to a Canadian parliamentary commission last year, and the Harvard Mental Health Letter of July 2010 stated baldly that pedophilia ‘is a sexual orientation’ and therefore ‘unlikely to change.'”

Can you imagine if Jerry Sandusky had had this information at his trial?  What do you think the reaction would be to Jerry Sandusky’s defense saying, “Hey, look, it’s normal. The kids love it, he loved it, nobody was hurt. And in fact, it’s just a different sexual orientation”?  Now, what do you think’s behind this? What kind of people do you think are behind this, this effort to normalize pedophilia? Which is what?  The abuse of kids, is it not?  Who’s behind that?

What is their objective? They want us to all think that pedophilia is just another sexual orientation.  You know who’s gonna fall right in line is college kids, just like they have on gay marriage, just like they do on all other revolutionary social issues.  Their own definition of the cutting edge, civil rights, freedom, understanding, tolerance. So I’m just warning you here. You think it can’t happen. “Impossible!  Don’t be nutso and wacko on us, Rush.”

I’m just asking you to remember all of the things that occur normally in our culture now that when you first heard about them you thought, “No way! That’ll never happen; that’ll never be mainstream,” and now they are.  Here is another one to add to the list. (interruption) You want more excerpts from this piece?  “In 1976 the National Council for Civil Liberties, the respectable (and responsible) pressure group now known as Liberty, made a submission to parliament’s criminal law revision committee.

“It caused barely a ripple. ‘Childhood sexual experiences, willingly engaged in with an adult,’ it read, ‘result in no identifiable damage … The real need is a change in the attitude which assumes that all cases of pedophilia result in lasting damage.'” So you see it’s you who have to reorient your thinking. It’s you who have to get rid of your bigotry. It’s you that have to open up and become more tolerant.  It is you judgmental people who think this is child abuse when it isn’t.

You are the ones who are going to have to change.  The pedophiles and the children involved, they’re normal, just like you or anybody else.  It is your old-fashioned conventions that create the problem.  So another excerpt.  “It is difficult today, after the public firestorm unleashed by revelations about Jimmy Savile [the presenter at BBC] and the host of child abuse allegations they have triggered, to imagine any mainstream group making anything like such a claim.

“But if it is shocking to realize how dramatically attitudes to pedophilia have changed in just three decades, it is even more surprising to discover how little agreement there is even now among those who are considered experts on the subject.” Here is the money quote: “For Goode, though, broader, societal change is needed. ‘Adult sexual attraction to children is part of the continuum of human sexuality; it’s not something we can eliminate,’ she says.

“‘If we can talk about this rationally — acknowledge that, yes, men do get sexually attracted to children, but no, they don’t have to act on it — we can maybe avoid the hysteria. We won’t label pedophiles monsters; it won’t be taboo to see and name what is happening in front of us.'” See? The only people who have to change are you who have these old-fashioned, Victorian-type attitudes.  You’re gonna have to open yourselves up to love and realize that wherever it happens, it’s wonderful.  No matter what. 

Now, there were people — I just want to remind you — back during the early days of the effort to redefine what a family is, and in the early days of the gay marriage activists. There were people who said, “Well, if this becomes mainstream, then someday marrying your dog is gonna be okay, and then having two husbands and two wives in one family is gonna be okay, ’cause who can say it isn’t?”  There were others who predicted that pedophilia would be mainstream, and there was an outcry of opposition to this.

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RUSH:  By the way, the expert that I was quoting extensively from in the pedophilia story in the UK Guardian is Sarah Goode.  She is a senior lecturer at the University of Winchester and is the author of two, count them, two major sociological studies on pedophilia in society in 2009, 2011.  Hey, folks, look, I know it’s uncomfortable.  I’m just warning you, there’s now an effort on to normalize it.  It’s safe for children.  Controlled supervised, engaged in two loving people, it’s actually safer for children this way.

I mean, it’s the same rationale back in the nineties for giving away condoms. We can’t stop it. Kids are going to have sex, so we want to make it as safe as we can.  It’s the same technique being used here.

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RUSH: Now to the phones and Walter in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida.  I’m glad you waited, sir.  Welcome to the EIB Network.  Hello.

CALLER:  Hi, Rush.  I was really incensed earlier when you were talking about the business of pedophilia being entertained in England and possibly among the leftists in this society as giving it some kind of credibility.  And every single civilization that I’ve ever studied about and every religion in this country teaches us over and over again about the destruction of civilization because of it. I mean, Greek history is one of the most egregious people who adapted as part of their culture the culture of the warrior and pedophilia.  And it just absolutely amazed me that we live in this age where people have forgotten what happened with Sodom and Gomorrah, what Christ taught in his most profound thing, in anger, was about the hurting of little children. That he would put a millstone around them and cast them into the sea.  And it’s amazing that people have forgotten these warnings over 4,000 years and are willing to entertain this over and over again.  I remember at BU, Boston University, where I studied, a [professor] told us that in the mid-sixties, that psychological association of the United States went from one person held off these aberrations and said that they were, you know, they were mental problems that needed to be directly dealt with from, you know, a clinical point of view, and when that person died, the American Psychological Association then began the slippery slope of allowing all these aberrations to —

RUSH:  Let me ask you a question.

CALLER:  Yes, sir.

RUSH:  You say you’ve been studying this.

CALLER:  Yes, sir.

RUSH:  Before I mentioned this today, were you aware of the UK Guardian story?  Were you aware of the effort that is quite a ways along now to normalize pedophilia?

CALLER:  I didn’t know that.  I thought that they had –

RUSH:  This is the point.  You didn’t know it, I didn’t know it ’til I ran across the story, you didn’t know it, and most other people don’t know it, either, and this is why it succeeds.  Most people don’t have time for stuff like this.  Most people aren’t reading the UK Guardian; they’re trying to get jobs.  Or, as in the case of some, I got a New York Post story here:  “Welfare Recipients Take Out Cash At Strip Clubs, Liquor Stores And X-Rated Shops.”  Welfare recipients are using the debit cards at these kinds of places, whatever, they’re not paying any attention to pedophilia.  So this stuff happens literally under the radar.

Now, if you’re just joining us, the UK Guardian has a story today that essentially quotes a bunch of college academics who’ve studied it and said there’s really nothing wrong with pedophilia.  It’s just another sexual orientation.  In fact, it may be safer for children when it’s engaged in knowingly and accepted.  Children love it, the adults love it, and if there’s love involved, what can be wrong?  I’m not making this up.  We’ll link to the story at RushLimbaugh.com.  You can read it yourself.  I was made aware of it by a contributor at National Review, Wesley J. Smith.

Like I mentioned, try to imagine where you were the very first time you heard somebody seriously make the case for gay marriage and ask yourself what was your reaction.  It was probably something like, “Right, that will never happen,” and now here we are.  Gay marriage and gay rights happen to be at the top of important issues for young voters ages 18 to 29.  It is the number one most important issue to them, civil rights, freedom, tolerance, liberty, all that cool stuff when you’re that young.  Well, here we go with the same technique.  It’s safer.  It’s safer for children under these circumstances than if it’s happening under the cover of darkness and behind the law.  If it’s happening under the shroud of illegality, then it has a stigma; but it really shouldn’t, it’s just another sexual orientation.  It’s a serious piece, a serious effort.  And it’s all about these people wishing to have their preferences and desires judged to be normal, not weird or perverted or what have you.

And even if you had heard about it, what are you gonna do?  What are you gonna do about it?  You might organize opposition to it. You might organize in California, a proposition, you put it on the ballot to oppose it and you win, and a federal judge will overturn it.  Yeah, pedophilia, it’s already against the law.  What do you do to stop it?  Who’s gonna stop it?  Do you think today’s Democrat Party’s gonna speak out against it?  No.  You won’t have ’em advocating it, not yet, but that day’s coming, if it follows the same progression as some of these other things you thought would never, ever happen and they are happening now in a mainstream way.

So that is what Walter here is reacting to, and he said that pedophilia, societies can’t survive when stuff like this becomes normal.  But you’ve got some official psychiatric groups that are endorsing it as normal.  And the only thing wrong with pedophilia is the bigoted attitude towards it, is the point of the story in the UK Guardian, which is left wing, but it’s not a fringe publication, it’s a mainstream publication in Great Britain. 

Step #1: From Unthinkable to Radical — The first step is the easiest—provided the issue can become a fetish or the topic of an academic symposium. Since both the professoriate and the perverts have a fascination with the faux-transgressive (the truly transgressive [i.e., Christianity] tends to terrify them) all you need to do is get the attention of one of these groups. It doesn’t matter which you start with since the politics of the bedroom and the classroom inevitably overlap.

An academic symposium in Baltimore comprised of just such a cluster of professoriate and perverts is meeting today to shift the acceptance of pedophilia from “unthinkable” to merely “radical”:

If a small group of psychiatrists and other mental health professionals have their way at a conference this week, pedophiles themselves could play a role in removing pedophilia from the American Psychiatric Association’s bible of mental illnesses — the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), set to undergo a significant revision by 2013.  Critics warn that their success could lead to the decriminalization of pedophilia.

The August 17 Baltimore conference is sponsored by B4U-ACT, a group of pro-pedophile mental health professionals and sympathetic activists.  According to the conference brochure, the event will examine “ways in which minor-attracted persons [pedophiles] can be involved in the DSM 5 revision process” and how the popular perceptions of pedophiles can be reframed to encourage tolerance.

Researchers from Harvard University, the Johns Hopkins University, the University of Louisville, and the University of Illinois will be among the panelists at the conference.

With the euphemism “minor-attracted persons” they are also including Step #2: “From Radical to Acceptable — This shift requires the creation and employment of euphemism.”

Naturally, the pro-pedophilia crowd believes they can achieve Steps #3 and #4 by adopting the same tactics gay rights advocates used:

Berlin has similarly compared society’s reaction to pedophilia to that of homosexuality prior to the landmark 2003 Lawrence v. Texas decision that decriminalized sodomy.

B4U-ACT’s own website puts Berlin’s views front and center. “Just as has been the case historically with homosexuality,” he writes, “society is currently addressing the matter of pedophilia with a balance that is far more heavily weighted on the side of criminal justice solutions than on the side of mental health solutions.”

Remember when conservatives were mocked and derided for claiming that Lawrence would lead to the normalization polygamy and pedophilia? Now some of those same people who sneered at us are using the decision to promote . . . polygamy and pedophilia.

What we consider a slippery slope to social disruption eventually becomes a useful ramp to normalizing degeneracy.

In 1976 the National Council for Civil Liberties, the respectable (and responsible) pressure group now known as Liberty, made a submission to parliament’s criminal law revision committee. It caused barely a ripple. “Childhood sexual experiences, willingly engaged in with an adult,” it read, “result in no identifiable damage … The real need is a change in the attitude which assumes that all cases of paedophilia result in lasting damage.”

It is difficult today, after the public firestorm unleashed by revelations about Jimmy Savile and the host of child abuse allegations they have triggered, to imagine any mainstream group making anything like such a claim. But if it is shocking to realise how dramatically attitudes to paedophilia have changed in just three decades, it is even more surprising to discover how little agreement there is even now among those who are considered experts on the subject.

A liberal professor of psychology who studied in the late 1970s will see things very differently from someone working in child protection, or with convicted sex offenders. There is, astonishingly, not even a full academic consensus on whether consensual paedophilic relations necessarily cause harm.

So what, then, do we know? A paedophile is someone who has a primary or exclusive sexual interest in prepubescent children. Savile appears to have been primarily an ephebophile, defined as someone who has a similar preferential attraction to adolescents, though there have been claims one of his victims was aged eight.

But not all paedophiles are child molesters, and vice versa: by no means every paedophile acts on his impulses, and many people who sexually abuse children are not exclusively or primarily sexually attracted to them. In fact, “true” paedophiles are estimated by some experts to account for only 20% of sexual abusers. Nor are paedophiles necessarily violent: no firm links have so far been established between paedophilia and aggressive or psychotic symptoms. Psychologist Glenn Wilson, co-author of The Child-Lovers: a Study of Paedophiles in Society, argues that “The majority of paedophiles, however socially inappropriate, seem to be gentle and rational.”

Legal definitions of paedophilia, needless to say, have no truck with such niceties, focusing on the offence, not the offender. The Sex Offenders Act 1997 defined paedophilia as a sexual relationship between an adult over 18 and a child below 16.

There is much more we don’t know, including how many paedophiles there are: 1-2% of men is a widely accepted figure, but Sarah Goode, honorary research fellow at the University of Winchester and author of two major 2009 and 2011 sociological studies on paedophilia in society, says the best current estimate – based on possibly flawed science – is that “one in five of all adult men are, to some degree, capable of being sexually aroused by children”. Even less is known about female paedophiles, thought to be responsible for maybe 5% of abuse against pre-pubescent children in the UK.

Debate still rages, too, about the clinical definition of paedophilia. Down the years, the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders – “the psychiatrist’s bible” – has variously classified it as a sexual deviation, a sociopathic condition and a non-psychotic medical disorder. And few agree about what causes it. Is paedophilia innate or acquired? Research at the sexual behaviours clinic of Canada’s Centre for Addiction and Mental Health suggests paedophiles’ IQs are, on average, 10% lower than those of sex offenders who had abused adults, and that paedophiles are significantly less likely to be right-handed than the rest of the population, suggesting a link to brain development. MRI scans reveal a possible issue with paedophiles’ “white matter”: the signals connecting different areas of the brain. Paedophiles may be wired differently.

This is radical stuff. But there is a growing conviction, notably in Canada, that paedophilia should probably be classified as a distinct sexual orientation, like heterosexuality or homosexuality. Two eminent researchers testified to that effect to a Canadian parliamentary commission last year, and the Harvard Mental Health Letter of July 2010 stated baldly that paedophilia “is a sexual orientation” and therefore “unlikely to change”.

Child protection agencies and many who work with sex offenders dislike this. “Broadly speaking, in the world of people who work with sex offenders here, [paedophilia] is learned behaviour,” says Donald Findlater, director of research and development at the Lucy Faithfull Foundation, a charity dedicated to preventing child sexual abuse, and, before it closed, manager of leading treatment centre the Wolvercote Clinic. “There may be some vulnerabilities that could be genetic, but normally there are some significant events in a person’s life, a sexually abusive event, a bullying environment … I believe it is learned, and can be unlearned.”

Chris Wilson of Circles UK, which helps released offenders, also rejects the idea that paedophilia is a sexual orientation: “The roots of that desire for sex with a child lie in dysfunctional psychological issues to do with power, control, anger, emotional loneliness, isolation.”

If the complexity and divergence of professional opinion may have helped create today’s panic around paedophilia, a media obsession with the subject has done more: a sustained hue and cry exemplified by the News of the World’s notorious “name and shame” campaign in 2000, which brought mobs on to the streets to demonstrate against the presence of shadowy monsters in their midst. As a result, paranoia about the danger from solitary, predatory deviants far outweighs the infinitely more real menace of abuse within the home or extended circle. “The vast majority of sexual violence is committed by people known to the victim,” stresses Kieran Mccartan, senior lecturer in criminology at the University of the West of England. Only very rarely is the danger from the “stranger in the white van”, Mccartan says.

The reclassification of paedophilia as a sexual orientation would, however, play into what Goode calls “the sexual liberation discourse”, which has existed since the 1970s. “There are a lot of people,” she says, “who say: we outlawed homosexuality, and we were wrong. Perhaps we’re wrong about paedophilia.”

Social perceptions do change. Child brides were once the norm; in the late 16th century the age of consent in England was 10. More recently, campaigning organisations of the 70s and 80s such as the Paedophile Information Exchange (PIE) and Paedophile Action for Liberation were active members of the NCCL when it made its parliamentary submission questioning the lasting damage caused by consensual paedophilic relations.

Even now there is no academic consensus on that fundamental question – as Goode found. Some academics do not dispute the view of Tom O’Carroll, a former chairman of PIE and tireless paedophilia advocate with a conviction for distributing indecent photographs of children following a sting operation, that society’s outrage at paedophilic relationships is essentially emotional, irrational, and not justified by science. “It is the quality of the relationship that matters,” O’Carroll insists. “If there’s no bullying, no coercion, no abuse of power, if the child enters into the relationship voluntarily … the evidence shows there need be no harm.”

This is not, obviously, a widely held view. Mccartan uses O’Carroll’s book Paedophilia: the Radical Case in his teaching as “it shows how sex offenders justify themselves”. Findlater says the notion that a seven-year-old can make an informed choice for consensual sex with an adult is “just preposterous. It is adults exploiting children.” Goode says simply: “Children are not developmentally ready for adult sexuality,” adding that it is “intrusive behaviour that violates the child’s emerging self-identity” and can be similar in long-term impact to adults experiencing domestic violence or torture.

But not all experts are sure. A Dutch study published in 1987 found that a sample of boys in paedophilic relationships felt positively about them. And a major if still controversial 1998-2000 meta-study suggests – as J Michael Bailey of Northwestern University, Chicago, says – that such relationships, entered into voluntarily, are “nearly uncorrelated with undesirable outcomes”.

Most people find that idea impossible. But writing last year in the peer-reviewed Archives of Sexual Behaviour, Bailey said that while he also found the notion “disturbing”, he was forced to recognise that “persuasive evidence for the harmfulness of paedophilic relationships does not yet exist”.

If that assertion does nothing else, it underlines the need for more research on paedophilia – something on which everyone in the field at least is agreed. There is, too, broad consensus around the idea that the approach to paedophilia must be about management and prevention: on stopping potential offenders making that contact (or downloading that image).

Initiatives such as Stop It Now!, which Findlater runs, exemplify this: a telephone helpline offering advice to people worried they may be having inappropriate sexual impulses. A similar German programme, Prevention Project Dunkelfeld, has as its slogan: “You are not guilty because of your sexual desire, but you are responsible for your sexual behaviour. There is help.”

For convicted abusers, Circles UK aims to prevent reoffending by forming volunteer “circles of support and accountability” around recently released offenders, reducing isolation and emotional loneliness and providing practical help. In Canada, where it originated, it has cut reoffending by 70%, and is yielding excellent results here too. The goal of all treatment, Findlater says, is “people achieving a daily motivation not to cause harm again. Our goal is self-management in the future.”

For Goode, though, broader, societal change is needed. “Adult sexual attraction to children is part of the continuum of human sexuality; it’s not something we can eliminate,” she says. “If we can talk about this rationally – acknowledge that yes, men do get sexually attracted to children, but no, they don’t have to act on it – we can maybe avoid the hysteria. We won’t label paedophiles monsters; it won’t be taboo to see and name what is happening in front of us.”

We can help keep children safe, Goode argues, “by allowing paedophiles to be ordinary members of society, with moral standards like everyone else”, and by “respecting and valuing those paedophiles who choose self-restraint”. Only then will men tempted to abuse children “be able to be honest about their feelings, and perhaps find people around them who could support them and challenge their behaviour before children get harmed”.

This article was amended on 3 January 2012. The original incorrectly suggested that the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of

Mental Disorders was published by the American Psychological Association, and misspelled Dunkelfeld as Dunkenfeld. This article was further amended on 21 January 2013 because the original referred to Sarah Goode as a senior lecturer at the University of Winchester. This has been corrected to say honorary research fellow.

 

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