Are There Enough Morally Sound Liberals Left to Keep Pedophilia Illegal?
By all accounts, Jeffrey Epstein was an unrepentant sex criminal who maintained (until his suicide by security camera malfunction) that he did nothing wrong. During an interview with the New York Times last year, Epstein described the criminalization of sex with teenage girls as a "cultural aberration." He justified this by noting that such behavior has been acceptable at different times in history and by pointing out that homosexuality is still considered a crime punishable by death in some countries. His claim was that societal sexual mores are completely subjective, differing from one cultural value system to the next, and constantly modifying within each value system.
In other words: Who are you uppity bourgeois prudes to impose your suffocating morality on me? And why are you so opposed to consensual people loving each other? What are you, some kind of bigot?
This reasoning isn't new, nor has it been legally unsuccessful. It has been used to justify every slackening of sexual morality in recent memory. From cheap and widely available contraception to prostitution to abortion on demand to premarital sex to civil unions to redefining marriage and to human-animal marriage (you read that right: it's no longer just for Sudanese progressives), the assertion is that the government should "stay out of the bedroom." I am not arguing for or against any of these institutions (I must confess my hamster spouse Ta-Nehisi is quite the pleaser), but only observing that conservatives' counterargument that our society should retain a standard of sexual decency other than "anything goes" has a dismal track record both in the courts and in public opinion.
The next logical target, currently being implemented, is the sexualization of children.
There was a time when one could feel confident that America's parents, especially those suburban values voters, would serve as an electoral bulwark against such intrusion. Nowadays, I'm not so sure. The sexualization of our grade- and middle-school children in public schools is deliberately underreported and, if it is exposed (here, here, here, here, here, here, here, and here), receives far less resistance from far too few concerned parents than is necessary to check the encroaching weeds. These incidents are national scandals, equivalent to state-sanctioned child abuse, and deserve vigorous and unrelenting pushback until they get the hint that our children are not their sex experiments. That there has been such scattered, paltry resistance is a scandal unto its own.
Have you been to your local Starbucks lately? Take a seat and observe for an hour or so, especially on a weekend or after school hours. Count how many junior high girls saunter in wearing cutoff jean shorts so skimpy that they could be mistaken for denim bikini bottoms. You see these girls standing in line, and you wonder how their parents would react if they knew that their daughters were dressed like Miley Cyrus comatose in a red light district back alley. Then, to your chagrin, you realize that their parents are standing in line with them. You want to approach these "adults" and say, Hey, Mommy, Daddy, it's none of my business if you're cool with becoming grandparents in the next three years. But we are in public, not a proctologist's office, and there are anatomical regions of your tweenaged princess that I'd rather not see. Is this the parental vanguard we're banking on to man the cultural barricades against the hyper-sexualization of our children?
If we are going to beat these public school–running animals back under the rocks from whence they came, we need to recognize the depressing fact that, in today's world, the Epstein Defense will eventually win out. It posits the assertion that if an 80-year-old man can legally have sex with an 18-year-old girl, then a 40-year-old man should be allowed to have sex with a 17-year-old girl. It attacks the arbitrary age limit on sex, which presently determines that once a person has experienced 6,575 rotations of the Earth since his birth, he has met the ethical qualification to engage in sexual intercourse, but those who have experienced only 6,574 rotations or less must wait. It proclaims that age, like sex, is but a social construct and should not be wielded by the "far right" to oppress consensual couples from "loving" each other.
On our side, we have the shredded, tattered, charred, humiliated, abandoned, and surrendered idea that sexual behavior shouldn't be a hedonistic free-for-all and that cultural and legal limits on certain behaviors would benefit both the individual and society.
When the national debate over the normalization of pedophilia arrives (and, mark my words, it will arrive), it will be categorized under the genre of the "culture war." But this term erroneously suggests a power equilibrium. There is no "culture war" any more than there was a war between Nazi Germany and the Principality of Monaco. This is a rout. Every morning, we wake up to realize that the enemy has advanced another 100 miles past us, and we find ourselves even more isolated and surrounded. We are getting categorically annihilated on every single front and have been for our entire lifetimes.
We have already surrendered every other piece of real estate in this war's theater of operations. Across the West, our kids can get abortions without parental consent (Planned Parenthood is thoughtful enough to provide online guidance to assist in its organ-harvesting operations…er, I mean, defense of women's health). Kids can choose their own sex, and their parents are forced under pain of imprisonment from referring to them by their biological sex. Kids can already have sex with each other and are given the know-how and the free contraception at their schools to do so. Does anyone think our resistance to letting these same kids consensually "love" people in different age brackets is going to hold sway much longer?
Those defending pedophilia will begin to succeed, slowly at first...one school district here, one court ruling there...which will increase the brazenness of their demands. This chain reaction (all too familiar in the rearview mirror of conservatives' penchant for static trench warfare) will result in the normalization and legalization of their despicable filth. There will be sporadic kicking and fussing, with the occasional parental dissent against the local library's hosting of Slumber Parties with Pedophiles and other such "inclusivity"-themed events. The few medical professionals who dare openly discuss the psychological damage that pedophilia causes children will be shunned as outliers and "pedophobes." We will soon be surrounded, isolated, and dismissed, as we always are. And we will accept it, as we always do.
If we want to prevent this, we need a better game plan. And unless we resort to Antifa-like tactics (which, as educated, employed, and decent people, we won't), there isn't much choice but to reach across the aisle to work with liberals to prevent what should be (and, for now, still is) widely reviled as a despicable act of lecherous barbarity.
Liberals dominate the school systems, the media (both traditional and social), the bureaucracy, and much of the Judiciary. Like it or not, they possess a cultural leverage that we don't. We need stronger laws on the books, better protection for children, and greater public education of the psychological destruction that pedophiles leave in their wake. We need congressional testimony from victims. We need to incessantly raise the issue in debates, in interviews, and across the airwaves, and dare liberals to oppose us. I would even argue that a constitutional amendment protecting children from sex predators is necessary so that the next president who flew on Epstein's plane 26 times can't executive-order away any federal protections.
We can't wait ten years to do so, because by then it will be too late. We need a united front with liberals to aggressively deal with this problem, right now, while we can still find common ground. I would assume that a sizeable majority of liberals currently share our disgust with pedophilia. A decade from now, who knows?
Anyone taking comfort from the widespread Hollywood backlash against Harvey Weinstein should take pause. The celebrities who spoke out against Weinstein's behavior are the same people who continue to defend pedophiles like Roman Polanski and Woody Allen (Allen was never convicted of molesting his 7-year-old stepdaughter, and his 2009 flop Whatever Works was a blatant defense of pedophilia against straw-man Christian fundamentalism). Maybe they're indifferent to pedophilia. Maybe they feel that their decrepit "art" is worth the price of a few anonymous raped children.
Or maybe they don't oppose it at all. Maybe pedophilia is as open a secret in Hollywood as were Weinstein's antics. Maybe by defending Polanski and his ilk, these celebrities are nudging it toward normalization across the wider culture. Regardless, either by indifference or design, they will slowly but steadily turn the tide of public opinion.
Pedophiles are next in line to openly plumb the depths of our cultural hedonism. We need to cement long-term cooperation across the ideological spectrum to stem their efforts. Because once these degenerates figure out how to market their filth as oppressed expressions of compassion, with all the foreseeable "alliances" and virtue-signaling, we've lost our children and sold our souls.