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Is it wrong to view child pornography?

 
 
agrote
 
Reply Tue 24 Jun, 2008 03:50 am
This is quite long, but if you don't want to read it all you can skip to the last paragraph to see a summary of the claims I am making.

(Please don't move this thread to the 'Legal' forum, as I would like to keep the debate focused on the ethical issues, not the legislative issues.)

This recent article describes a potential change in UK law which will criminalise people who create or possess non-photographic images of imaginary scenes of child sexual abuse:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/7422595.stm

The proposal is obviously absurd. The problem with photographic child pornography is that it can't be made without the abuse of an actual child. The problem is the actual abuse that takes place. This new proposal seems to be based on quite a common assumption that the reason child pornography is bad is that paedophiles are turned on by it. The argument seems to be as follows: drawings and computer-generated images of imaginary child-abuse turn paedophiles on just as much as real child pornography; therefore, they should be banned. The article even quotes a charity spokesperson as saying, "Â…drawings or computer-generated images of child abuse are as unacceptable as a photograph." Surely not! Surely the filmed or photographed abuse of real children is a hell of a lot worse than the drawn or photo-shopped abuse of fictional children.

This mindset is reflected in the current laws against viewing real child pornography. It is not only illegal to abuse a child, or to pay for images of children being abused, but it is also illegal merely to look at these images; certainly to store them on a computer. But simply looking at the images does not cause harm to children. Paying for the images creates a demand which may encourage future images to be produced (and further abuse to take place). But paedophiles often share these images for free, and it is highly implausible that a sex offender will be encouraged to risk imprisonment by photographing the abuse of further children, simply because other people are enjoying the images. He might be motivated by money, or by his own sexual or sadistic desires, but with something as taboo as this I find it very difficult to believe that he will be motivated to commit abuse just to supply the images to other paedophiles at no profit.

So it seems that viewing even real child pornography is a victimless crime. It doesn't appear to have any consequences for children at all, and it clearly has good consequences for paedophiles: they can satisfy their sexual appetite, and they can do this without abusing children.

I can anticipate one objection. Images of child abuse are evidence of that abuse, and police use them to track down child abusers and prosecute them. When a paedophile views an image of child pornography and doesn't report it to the police, he misses an opportunity to help the police prevent child abuse. So in a way, his actions (or lack thereof) do have harmful consequences for children. But the solution to this problem is not for paedophiles to stop viewing child pornography; the solution is for them to start reporting the images to the police. As long as it is illegal to view child pornography, paedophiles are not going to do this. By reporting the images of abuse to the police, they will be turning themselves in for their own crimes, and facing prosecution themselves. So here we have a good reason to legalise the viewing of child pornography so that paedophiles are not afraid to help the police track down child abusers.

But perhaps you think that this benefit to the police would be minimal. And perhaps you think that, somehow, viewing child porn for free does create a demand for it, and does therefore encourage real abuse. Nevertheless, perhaps you will at least agree that drawings of child abuse, based on nothing but fantasy, are about as victimless as it gets. While the viewing of real child pornography has no obvious consequences for children, it is admittedly worrying that some paedophiles are happy to arouse themselves by looking at pictures of real children effectively being tortured. But there should be no such worry when it comes to viewing drawings and computer animations of abuse. When a paedophile arouses himself by looking at such drawings, that is all he does. He is turned on by a fantasy, not by a sinister reality.

What if we do criminalize paedophilic fantasy? What if the law is passed, the internet is purged of all sexually suggestive drawings of children, and paedophiles have no outlet for their sexual desires ( which they cannot help having)? It seems that this really would have bad consequences for children. If all the options of sexual gratification available to the paedophile are made illegal, then what reason does he have to prefer the less harmful options? Why go to prison for looking at pictures of children? Why not do the real thing: abuse a child, what have you got to lose?

I'm aware of how controversial my views on this subject are, so I am interested to hear what people have to say about the ethical claims I am making. I am saying that paedophilic actions are only wrong insofar as they cause harm to others (specifically children). I am saying that it should be permissible to seek sexual gratification by looking at free images of child pornography, since this does not harm children. I am saying that the new laws proposed against viewing drawings of child abuse are based on the absurd idea that child porn is wrong because people enjoy it, not because people are harmed in the making of it. I am defending the right of paedophiles to satisfy their sexual needs in the privacy of their own homes, just as other people are able to. Since paedophiles cannot help their sexuality, we cannot condemn them for it. We can only condemn them for harming children because of those desires; and they are less likely to do this if we give them a safer outlet such as erotic drawings and even real child pornography which has already been made (I am not advocating the production of new child pornography.)
 
Wilso
 
  2  
Reply Tue 24 Jun, 2008 06:10 am
In answer to the thread title. YES.

Suggesting that viewing doesn't injure the children is drawing a very long bow. How can you make these claims you pathetic demented freak. Someone ban this putrid excuse for a human being.
0 Replies
 
shewolfnm
 
  1  
Reply Tue 24 Jun, 2008 06:12 am
stay away from my daughter.
0 Replies
 
Wilso
 
  1  
Reply Tue 24 Jun, 2008 06:31 am
shewolfnm wrote:
stay away from my daughter.


Ditto!
0 Replies
 
gustavratzenhofer
 
  1  
Reply Tue 24 Jun, 2008 06:33 am
Stay away from my planet.
0 Replies
 
Francis
 
  1  
Reply Tue 24 Jun, 2008 06:33 am
Agrote use to elaborate long texts to justify his insane sexual propensity towards children.

Yes, 13 years olds are children...
0 Replies
 
agrote
 
  2  
Reply Tue 24 Jun, 2008 06:54 am
Wilso wrote:
Suggesting that viewing doesn't injure the children is drawing a very long bow.


Can you please explain how simply looking at a photograph of child abuse harms children? Child abuse harms children, and paying for photographs of child abuse encourages others to harm children. But how does it harm children to look at a freely distributed photograph of sexual abuse?

And what about drawings? If I draw a big stick figure having sex with a small stick figure, will I harm children by looking at it?
0 Replies
 
Bella Dea
 
  1  
Reply Tue 24 Jun, 2008 06:57 am
Gross.
0 Replies
 
shewolfnm
 
  1  
Reply Tue 24 Jun, 2008 07:03 am
Looking at the picture does not hurt the child.

What hurts the child was making that picture, how ever it was done.

Just like most of you perverts can look across the grocery store and see a child that you can later think about, your "looking" doesnt effect them.
No one knows what is in your mind and just looking out of the corner of your eye harms no one.
The parents will never know you just took an inventory of their child for your later pleasure. Though sometimes.. we do.. because you pervs are obvious.
But for the most part no one knows.

And you know this. You have your answer
You are just looking for someone to publicly agree with your twisted sexual ideas to kids.

looking harms no one. Your thoughts are private and not dangerous to anyone. It is your actions that hurt.
Purchasing that photo you have has further created income for someone other then you I hope, and given them reason to produce more.

I dont think I have seen very many topics from you that dont involve sex and kids..

as I said before. Stay away from my children.
0 Replies
 
edgarblythe
 
  1  
Reply Tue 24 Jun, 2008 07:03 am
Jesus Christ, agrote; have the decency to keep it to yourself. If you lock the notion away in some deep recess and never bring it to light again, you will be doing us all a favor - paticularly yourself.
shewolfnm
 
  1  
Reply Tue 24 Jun, 2008 07:04 am
anonymous internet serves some creeps a wonderful outlet sadly.
0 Replies
 
agrote
 
  2  
Reply Tue 24 Jun, 2008 07:12 am
Wilso wrote:
shewolfnm wrote:
stay away from my daughter.


Ditto!


Which of my claims makes you think I pose a danger to anybody's daughter?

My claim that real child abuse is worse than fantasy?
My claim that downloading free pictures does not create a demand for more pictures to be produced?
My claim that images of child abuse should be reported to the police?
My claim that the protection of children is more important than the prevention of sexual pleasure?

Francis wrote:
Agrote use to elaborate long texts to justify his insane sexual propensity towards children.


If you read my long text, you'll see that I am not trying to justify anyone's sexual propensities towards anyone, be they insane or otherwise.

To clarify, by 'paedophile' I mean somebody who fantasises about sex with children. Paedophiles don't necessarily act out these fantasies.

Paedophiles cannot help their desires. Nobody in their right mind would want to be a paedophile. Since their sexuality is not a choice, how could you possible blame them for it? Do you blame gays for being gay? Do you blame schizophrenics for being schizophrenic?

Given that we can't blame them for being themselves, what we can and should do is find a way for them to lead fulfilling lives without causing harm to other people. The majority opinion seems to be that we she make them live like monks. I really don't think that's fair, or necessary. They can gain the sexual gratification, that every well-functioning human being needs, by looking at drawings of their sexual fantasies, or even by looking at photographic evidence of sex crimes. The former seems obviously harmless; the latter is less obviously harmless.

I don't see how you can dismiss everything I've said as an attempt to justify paedophilia. Paedophilia exists, and we have to deal with it somehow. I am making claims about how best to deal with it. If you can think of an ethical way of getting rid of paedophilia altogether, I'd love to hear it. But I doubt that you can.
agrote
 
  1  
Reply Tue 24 Jun, 2008 07:31 am
shewolfnm wrote:
Looking at the picture does not hurt the child.

What hurts the child was making that picture...


I completely agree. So would you follow the logic of your position and agree that it is unecessary to criminalise the viewing of child pornography?

There's no need to call me a pervert. Would you call a gay man a pervert? Would you call a schizophrenic person a 'psycho'?

Quote:
You are just looking for someone to publicly agree with your twiste sexual ideas to kids.


I'm lookign to see whether peopel agree with the content of my post. You are the first person to comment on the content, and you seem to agree with one of my main points.

Quote:
looking harms no one. Your thoughts are private and not dangerous to anyone. It is your actions that hurt.


I'm glad you agree.

Quote:
Purchasing that photo you have has further created income for someone other then you I hope, and given them reason to produce more.


What photo? Do you think I want to go to prison?

Quote:
I dont think I have seen very many topics from you that dont involve sex and kids..


I don't think you have seen very many topics from me.

Quote:
Stay away from my children.


What is the purpose of saying this? I obviously don't know who or where your children are, so there's no danger there. The only explanation I can think of is that it makes you feel morally superior to use this sort of rhetoric.
0 Replies
 
agrote
 
  1  
Reply Tue 24 Jun, 2008 07:32 am
Bella Dea wrote:
Gross.


Good argument.
0 Replies
 
agrote
 
  1  
Reply Tue 24 Jun, 2008 07:34 am
edgarblythe wrote:
Jesus Christ, agrote; have the decency to keep it to yourself. If you lock the notion away in some deep recess and never bring it to light again, you will be doing us all a favor - paticularly yourself.


I am having the decency to keep 'it' to myself. Perhaps you haven't noticed, but this is a thread about the ethics of child pornography. It's not about the ethics of being a paedophile, and it's certainly not about myself. I am keeping myself to myself; it is others who are failing to do this.
0 Replies
 
Francis
 
  1  
Reply Tue 24 Jun, 2008 07:35 am
agrote wrote:
Paedophiles cannot help their desires. Since their sexuality is not a choice, how could you possible blame them for it?


Who said that? You?

Can't one be blamed for being racist? They claim they cannot help..
0 Replies
 
agrote
 
  1  
Reply Tue 24 Jun, 2008 07:49 am
Francis wrote:
agrote wrote:
Paedophiles cannot help their desires. Since their sexuality is not a choice, how could you possible blame them for it?


Who said that? You?

Can't one be blamed for being racist? They claim they cannot help..


Sorry to answer your questions with questions, but...

Can you give an example of a racist who has claimed that he/she can't help being a racist?

Can you think of any reason to believe that paedophiles choose to be attracted to children? Is that even a coherent notion? We've known for a long time that it isn't true of ordinary homosexuals or heterosexuals. It isn't fun to be a paedophile. There are no perks. I can't see any reason why they would choose to be that way, even if they could.
0 Replies
 
dlowan
 
  1  
Reply Tue 24 Jun, 2008 07:59 am
agrote wrote:
Francis wrote:
agrote wrote:
Paedophiles cannot help their desires. Since their sexuality is not a choice, how could you possible blame them for it?


Who said that? You?

Can't one be blamed for being racist? They claim they cannot help..


Sorry to answer your questions with questions, but...

Can you give an example of a racist who has claimed that he/she can't help being a racist?

Can you think of any reason to believe that paedophiles choose to be attracted to children? Is that even a coherent notion? We've known for a long time that it isn't true of ordinary homosexuals or heterosexuals. It isn't fun to be a paedophile. There are no perks. I can't see any reason why they would choose to be that way, even if they could.



You can choose not to act on it...including feeding your fantasies by viewing child porn, which, for many, increases their dangerousness....as well as feeding the child abuse industry. Anybody viewing child porn is supporting the abuse of children, as well as significantly increasing their chances of harming children in a more direct manner.

You can also choose to obtain compoetent therapy, which reduces the risk of your harming a child both directly and indirectly.
0 Replies
 
agrote
 
  1  
Reply Tue 24 Jun, 2008 08:50 am
dlowan wrote:
You can choose not to act on it...


Yes.

Quote:
including feeding your fantasies by viewing child porn, which, for many, increases their dangerousness


Does it really, though? I've heard that there's evidence of a correlation between use of child pornography and abuse of children. But correlation studies cannot establish cause and effect. It could be that the use of child pornography increases the chances of enacting real abuse. Or it could be that both things are caused by the paedophilia itself, which would be there in full strength even if no child porn were available.

Paedophiles are no doubt inclined to some extent to try to have sex with children. They are also inclined to some extent to try to view child pornography. I'm not aware of any evidence that a paedophile who successfully views child pornography will be more inclined to abuse than a paedophile who does not successfully view child pornography.

It is worth noting that paedophiles probably inadvertently feed their fantasies every time they see a child that they are attracted to, in public or on TV. No ordinary person needs to deliberately feed his/her sexual fantasies in order to be motivated to try and get laid. That happens by itself. I think the same is true of paedophiles.

Another point is that the paedophile has less of a need to risk serious jail sentences by abusing children, when he can play it safer and look at pictures. The production of child porn requires the abuse of children, but the availability of it once it has been made may actually prevent other paedophiles from committing abuse. That's a speculation, though; I don't know whether that's how things play out.

Quote:
....as well as feeding the child abuse industry.


I accept that paying for child porn creates a market for it. But accessing it for free does not create a demand for it; no more than breaking into a cinema without a ticket to watch a film creates a demand for more films to be screened. It is the exchange of money that creates the demand, and that is not always present when child pornography is viewed.

Quote:
You can also choose to obtain compoetent therapy, which reduces the risk of your harming a child both directly and indirectly.


You're absolutely right, except that therapy cannot make you find adults more attractive than you find children. Therapy can stop paedophiles abusing children, but I don't think it can stop them being paedophiles. We could make paedophiles live like monks, never entertaining sexual thoughts. But that's hardly a fulfilling way to live, and I'm not sure that it is necessary. It seems plausible to me that paedophiles can more easily lead fulfilling and non-abusive lives if they are free to fantasise and pleasure themselves in privacy.
boomerang
 
  1  
Reply Tue 24 Jun, 2008 09:47 am
Do agrote's ideas remind anyone else of OmSigDavid's crazy notion that if only more people had guns there would be less people getting shot?
 

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