Category Archives: Childism

Talking ’bout pedophilia.

The issue of pedophilia lies at the crossroads of childism and “sex-positivity,” with misogyny added for good measure. Pedophilia advocates are using the “innate sexual orientation” argument that has worked so well for homosexuals, hoping to dupe liberals and other “tolerant” folks into pitying their sad fate.

I have already given some idea of my position about pedophilia in this entry on why DD/LG (Daddy Dom/Little Girl) is pedophilia. Since then, I have had first hand experience with the rationalizations that pedophilia advocates use to defend their position, which is why I wanted to get into this topic further.

As I said, their main argument is that pedophilia is innate, and not a choice. And if it’s innate, then we can’t blame the individual pedophiles for it. While there are pedophiles who assault children, there are also pedophiles who do not. While “bad” pedophiles should be punished for their crimes, these “good” pedophiles should be pitied and helped (but only if they want to be helped, we wouldn’t want to infringe on their freedom).

The first, and most basic, issue with the argument is that we have no more evidence that pedophilia is innate than we have evidence that homosexuality is innate. This is not to say that I am against homosexuality (quite the opposite, actually), but that I see no reason to believe its “innate” framework until it’s been demonstrated. Likewise, I see no reason to believe that pedophilia is innate until that’s demonstrated as well.

This does not mean that I blame pedophiles for being pedophiles. I am a determinist, so I don’t believe in blame. To me, that’s a non-concept. However, not blaming people does not mean I don’t believe in personal responsibility. People are responsible for who they are and what they do, whether they are to blame or not. I’ve used the analogy of a machine in a factory many times before: if a machine is malfunctioning and producing defective products, you would shut it down and repair it, regardless of whether it is to blame or not (granted, the analogy is not perfect).

We know that pornography has something to do with pedophilia (as well as its greater acceptance). Pornographers have always tried to appeal to their clientele’s “inner pedo” (which is now bolstered by pseudo-science) with underage-looking women, or actually underage women with falsified contracts. People who are attracted to that sort of thing naturally “graduate” to actual child pornography, and from there to child assault. So there is some percentage of pedophilia which is not innate but the result of pornographic conditioning. What that percentage is, I have no idea. Pedophilic images from pornography have also leaked into the wider world, contributing to the normalization of being attracted to underage individuals.

it is true that there are pedophiles who do not assault children, but this does not prove that they are “good pedophiles.” While sexually assaulting children definitely makes you scum, we don’t usually praise people’s morality for not sexually assaulting people, because that’s a basic thing that everyone should be doing anyway. The fact that they refrain from assaulting children does not nullify the fact that they are sexually attracted to children.

In my opinion, this whole separation of “good and bad pedophiles” is a form of grooming, because it legitimizes pedophilia as a valid orientation, and that party line is pushed on young girls who complain about older men creeping on them. I’ve witnessed this bullshit many times on social media. Even if the pedophilia proponents are outraged that you’d even suggest that they’re grooming young girls, or would even deny that they support pedophilia (as in the case of DD/lg), that’s what they’re doing. Likewise with the constant insistence that “real BDSM” is nothing like Fifty Shades of Grey, which reinforces the notion that there is such a thing as “good BDSM” based on consent. These are all lies told to young women to get them to accept BDSM and pedophilia as normal and acceptable.

These ideas also contribute to pedophile culture. For more information on what pedophile culture is about, read this article on Feminist Current. The word “culture” in this context refers to a set of attitudes and rules which are mutually reinforcing and are accepted or thrive within a society (e.g. rape culture). Pedophile culture is not only expressed in the standards we set for women and girls, or in the way we talk about children, but also in the way it makes pedophilia itself invisible (just as rape culture makes many rapes invisible). People are simply unable to recognize pedophilia when they see it. And talk about “good pedophiles” and “real BDSM” contributes to that invisibility.

The belief in “good pedophiles” is also childist, because it posits that it is good for people to be sexually fantasizing about children. Children do not deserve to be sexual fantasies, and to say anything else is not only gross but a lack of respect towards children. Likewise, the pornification of children’s media and children themselves contribute to making the Internet a hostile place for children, as well as being highly disrespectful.

Pedophilia advocates have a number of arguments supporting pedophilia, but they mostly reduce themselves to two: the innateness arguments and the cultural relativist arguments.

There are two main innateness arguments, one that pedophilia is an innate orientation, and one that men are naturally pedophilic, which, as I said, is supported by pseudo-science. While it is true that pedophiles are by and large male, there is no evidence that pedophilia is innate and plenty of reasons to believe that it is a result of male socialization and pornographic conditioning. I don’t think there is any definite proof on the subject, but the burden of proof is on the pedophilia advocates.

Cultural relativist arguments center around the role of culture: one holds that past cultures show that pedophilia can be validated, while another holds that pedophilia is illegal in our societies only because of our repressive culture. But this is really cultural supremacism, not cultural relativism, because they are saying that the judgment of pedophilic cultures (e.g. Ancient Greece) that pedophilia is good should have precedence over our (Western culture) judgment that pedophilia as a general concept (if not in all particulars) should not be allowed. But why should we assume that pedophilic cultures are superior to ours? You can only arrive to that conclusion if you start from the premise that pedophilia is superior to the alternative, therefore it’s circular reasoning.

Furthermore, these arguments go against the “good and bad pedophiles” distinction, since they advocate open attraction or outright sex with children, which is in the “bad” category. Promoting pedophilia as innate makes no sense if you’re not also advocating for the expression of that orientation: to take their analogy with homosexuality to its logical extent, people who promote homosexuality don’t do so under the premise that gays should stay in the closet, but rather advocate for open homosexuality. Likewise, cultural relativists argue from cultures which allow open pedophilic expression, and the illegality they decry is the illegality of pedophilic expression (since it is not illegal to be a pedophile, as long as you don’t express it).

So now the pedophilia advocate is caught in a dilemma. If they want to use these arguments to support pedophilia, then they have to accept that they are also supporting child rapists. If they want to use a True Scotsman fallacy and separate the “good pedophiles” from the “bad pedophiles,” then all their arguments for pedophilia are refuted. Either way, it’s not a very good case.

“Girls just wanna have fun” and other infantilizations.

It’s probably one of the first things that anyone who converts to feminism realizes, and so it may be somewhat trivial, but the word “girls” used to designate grown women is pretty infantilizing. Adult females are women, not girls or chicks (newly hatched birds), and they should be called women.

That much is obvious, but there’s a lot more behind these words. There is a whole ideology of infantilization, and this is only the most visible manifestation of it. It is also one of the least significant, especially since these words have changed in meaning over time, like all words do. The words are symbols emergent from a disease, not the disease.

The infantilization of women takes many forms, from BDSM and DD/lg to mansplaining, the association of women with frivolous pursuits like shopping and shoes while serious things are associated with men, the belief in women as emotional and pre-rational beings, and so on. I have commented about most of these issues on this blog, so I will not repeat myself here.

Infantilization doesn’t just mean equating women with children. As I’ve discussed on the issue of childism, children are associated with wildness, and the need to be tamed and pacified so they can fit within society. Likewise, women have been associated with wildness, although in their case wildness means sexual depravity. So we get things like “girls gone wild,” and the association of “savages” with being oversexed and animalistic.

Some women have reappropriated this and have associated wildness with courage, adventure, and independence in general. But liberal feminists still associate women with being oversexed, by calling all women sluts and whores through the use of the terms “slut-shaming” and “whore-shaming.” Men, of course, also love to link women to oversexed terms, even women who refuse to have sex with them.

But infantilization is not strictly a gender thing. Think of Catholic priests, “fathers,” calling everyone “my child.” God being the “father” of all mankind, and humans as “his” property to dispose of as “he” wills, with violence if “he” finds it necessary. Citizens being the sons and daughters of the motherland/fatherland. People seeing pets as their children. The infantilization of people of color, especially indigenous populations. The paternalistic State. “Childish” being used as an insult: to be like a child is to be “immature,” that is to say, to not conform to social norms, to be disobedient, to remain “wild,” to not be serious or responsible. And while, clearly, not all abusive personal or social relationships are infantilizing, most abusive relationships have some elements of infantilization (e.g. “I really know better than you, so just do what I say”).

You don’t really hear anyone talking about any of these things as childist phenomena, or even as specific phenomena worthy of note (except for the infantilization of people of color, which has been analyzed in The Culture of Conformism, by Patrick Hogan, and probably others places I don’t know about). Childism is the very first hierarchy we experience, albeit not completely consciously, and a case can be made that that experience is where we derive our hierarchical dynamics, with the metaphorical father as the strict dispenser of “discipline” and punishments.

I think childism fits well with other hierarchies because there is no doubt in everyone’s mind that children are actually biologically and mentally inferior. Therefore, treating women or POC like children reinforces the belief that women and POC are biologically or mentally inferior, even to people who may not hold this belief consciously. Likewise, being treated like a child by a superior, whether explicitly or implicitly, is likely to make you feel inferior, incompetent, or irresponsible. And there’s the added bonus that, because we are so unconcerned by childism, infantilization most often passes under the radar. Being treated paternalistically may make you feel frustrated or want to escape the situation, but you’re not likely to jump from there to the concept of infantilization or childism.

Child abuse is not just about violence. It’s also about fear.

Deep Dark Fears is a pretty self-descriptive tumblr, where people’s deepest fears are confessed and then put to drawing. Many of these fears are deeply imaginative or evocative. Some, however, open a window into child abuse. We do not recognize it as child abuse because we do not see it as physically or psychologically “violent.” For the same general reasons, our societies do not recognize brainwashing as a form of abuse. If brainwashing, the extreme end of such abuse, is not recognized as abusive, then what hope do we have to point out such abuse in “normal” parent-child relationships?

The fear of Hell is one form of abuse commonly used in Christian families. Also, consider the following two fears from Deep Dark Fears:

It’s easy to dismiss these horrifying fears as “the result of overimaginative children.” But the fact is, it’s adults that put these ideas in children’s heads. The imagination is not the source of the fear, the lies of adults are. The reaction of the children is a natural reaction to the trust they have in their family members. Also note the reason for these lies, including the lie of Hell: the reason is to threaten children into correcting their behavior for the parent’s benefit, into pleasing the parent. This has nothing to do with improving children’s lives. Even if it was, the child’s terror would negate any such improvement.

I don’t know if all adults have experienced these fears as a child. I know I have, although to a lesser extent. It’s a terrifying thing. The terrifying thing is not merely the belief in the horror itself, but the belief that the horror is with you always, every minute of the day. I can’t even begin to imagine what children who believe in Hell go through. That in itself is a form of Hell, a concerted attack against a child’s sense of well-being, empathy, and freedom. No one deserves that.

What could justify inflicting terror on a child? Parents love to defend their right to parent any way they wish. To make such an argument is to consider a child to be an object, a piece of property, to be treated as one wishes, not a human being with their own needs and values. There can be no such thing as the right to terrorize a child.

The parents who inflict these fears on their children probably believe that it’s no big deal. Such people can’t possibly have any sort of kindness or sympathy towards themselves as children, otherwise they would recognize themselves in their children. The disconnection between our adult selves and our child selves is necessary for childism because, unlike other prejudices, we were all once children. This disconnection usually takes place through one’s parents. If your parents rejected your humanity when you were a child, and you still identify with your parents, then you will reject the humanity of your past self as a child.

All children are under tremendous psychological pressure to identify with their parents, and for most adults refusing to continue to do so is extremely difficult. When you ask most adults what they think about their parents, they will tell you that their parents could do no wrong, except for children who were severely abused or who are particularly freethinking in their mental attitudes. Some may say that their parents did some wrong, but nothing really important (“I still came out okay,” as if being raised was supposed to be the equivalent of World War 2 and you’re lucky to get out with all your limbs). A few may say their parents were monsters (and no doubt some parents are).

Likewise, many adults say spanking is no big deal and that they “came out okay.” Well, if they believe that inflicting violence on children should be supported, then they clearly did not “come out okay.” They are severely damaged human beings. So are people who support terrorizing children for training purposes (or for any other purpose).

As far as I know, there is no adult equivalent. The closest case I can think of is extreme cult brainwashing, but even in these cases, the terror is pretty diffuse and alleviated by the presence of other people (other believers) to share the burden with. Partially the lack of equivalent is because adults are somewhat more sophisticated and don’t believe that worms could live in their nasal cavity or grow out of urine (although, to be fair, spontaneous generation used to be taken seriously). Adults tend to fall to delusions more easily when the delusion posits that they’re special or superior, and those terrors are not about making the person seem more special or superior. The main terror that adults still have is the belief in Hell, but that’s because it’s tied to a religious worldview that makes them feel special.

Terror as punishment is based on exploiting children’s imagination. There is also the opposite error, which is far, far less damaging to a child, but is still wrong: not letting children use their imagination at all, refusing to allow children the freedom to make-believe. So you get parents who refuse to let their children play make-believe about Santa Claus, for instance. Sure, one should never lie to children, but children are capable of understanding the difference between make-believe and lies, if you tell them.

Another example with graver consequences is the belief that a child which states that it’s of a certain gender must be of that gender. Again, there is no freedom given for the child to play make-believe. Instead, we indoctrinate it into its “real gender” without regard for the consequences. No word on whether children who play pretend at being a horse or a dragon should be transitioned as well.

The core of the issue, I think, is that people have a lot of trouble dealing with myths or make-believe of any kind, and they reckon that any instance of it that they don’t classify as “play” (within their narrow classification of “play”) must either be true or false. That’s a whole other subject, though.

The intersection of childism and sexual abuse.

The association between childism and sexual abuse is an old one. Many people have remarked about the absurdity of Freud’s theories about children having sexual drives which push adults to rape them. In that sense, the hatred and objectification of children has always come with acceptance of the sexual abuse of children. The concept that children were objects into which one could pour one’s anger or sexual frustration (as Lloyd de Mause calls it, the “child as poison container” mechanism) was historically a common belief, both in the Western world and in the ancient cultures we revere. In that sense, the idea that children have needs that should be fulfilled by their parents, and are not just objects to be used by the parents to fulfill their own needs, is a very new idea, historically speaking.

As I said, the modern formulation of childism came to us straight from the Freudian belief that young children who are abused are really seducing their parents, that children are the initiators of their own sexual assault, and that therefore the way to resolve issues with the adults who were sexually assaulted by their parents is for them to make their peace with their parents and to forgive them. This is a standard blaming the victim setup that we apply to all exploited people: how did they actually deserve it?

The answer is given to us by the layers of rationalizations. We frame childhood as a form of depravity, which is derived from its wildness (the same general principle applies to nativeness and other “inferior” ethnicities). It is socially necessary to keep children under control because otherwise they would run amok, de-civilize society, and, through their unending needs that constantly need fulfilling, rule over us. Or as a parent once told me, parents are slaves to their children because they are forced to serve them (although there’s no word on how that child somehow managed to force the parents to conceive it despite not existing, let alone being able to cause anything).

The idea of attributing malice to young children, despite a complete lack of evidence of such, is another widespread and bizarre phenomenon. I discussed a couple of examples in this entry. It seems that we automatically associate children with depravity, and that it takes at least some conscious effort not to do so. This is a powerful incentive for people to remain childist.

If we believe that children seduce adults into having sex with them, then the next logical step is pedophilia and its various sub-categories (DD/lg, ephebophilia, lolita, and so on). Children are eroticized because we eroticize infantile traits, such as hairless and blemish-free skin, big eyes, shaved vulva, and most importantly, “innocence” (a false concept that would probably take an entire entry to unpack). Men want to have sex with children because they possess those erotic traits, but they generally cannot do so, which gives rise to fake teen pornography, illegal child pornography, “loli” hentai, and so on.

Nowadays, pedophilia has been integrated within alternative sexualities because it’s “edgy” and “transgressive” (there’s even a push to call trafficked girls “sex workers”). Most heterosexual men are pedophiles, albeit of the mundane kind, and therefore not “edgy.” Mundane in the sense that they are attracted to girls, due to the eroticization of infantile traits, but they are also attracted to women. This is too mainstream, not “edgy,” and therefore unworthy of the attention of the new genderists. What interests them, however, are pedophiles of the extraordinary kind, those who are only attracted to children. That’s where the real transgression is.

The opposite error is to hold that children are “pure.” Children are human beings and have sexual needs, mostly a need to discover what bodies are all about. They are, after all, discovery machines, and preventing children from discovering is an aberration. Their sexual needs, however, do not exist to be exploited by adults.

A child does not become an adult, but is made an adult, by getting the wildness beaten out of them (metaphorically or, in sadder cases, literally). The cutoff age (whether 16, 18, or 21 years old) is just an estimate of when you’ll definitely have been beaten down, when you’ll be “responsible.” And adults are responsible for who they have sex with, children are not. To want to have sex with a child means, amongst other things, to reject their childhood and to demand that they should be seen as adults. But children are not adults, by definition. Children have this undefined, fantasy quality that we call “innocence.” Adults, almost by definition, cannot be “innocent,” as they have been filled by knowledge of, and experience of, the evils of the world.

Traditionally, the child is a container ready to receive the poison coming off of adults who are polluted by this evil. In this way they are themselves filled and are slowly becoming adults. The process of becoming “mature” is literally to be filled with poison, a pollution of the child’s mind and body. The child’s mind is naive, curious, filled with wonder, basically moral and egalitarian. A great deal of poisoning is needed to make it “normal.”1

Sexual abuse specifically introduces a dynamic that goes beyond childism and goes into misogyny as well, an intersection which which we could call something like pedomisogyny, the hatred and objectification of girls (non-adult females). An unwieldy word for sure, that will probably never catch on, but a word that designates a needed concept nevertheless. We know that the subjection of women starts with the imposition of gender on children. Boys and girls must learn their place in society, and girls in particular must be reconciled with their inferior status.

Pedomisogyny is what I had in mind recently when I saw an episode of America’s Supernanny where one of the first things the nanny did was to talk to the oldest girl and ask her how pretty she thought she was on a scale from 1 to 10. Ostensibly, she was trying to measure her self-esteem. Naturally, she made the immediate equation that a girl’s self-esteem was measured through how pretty she thinks she is. No one thought there was anything strange about that.

Sure, this is a pretty tame example of pedomisogyny. I think that most pedomisogyny takes place in the streets and in the schools, not in the home. But any time we equate the value of a girl with her appearance or attractiveness, that’s pedomisogyny. Every time we assume that a little girl will grow up to be a wife and mother, that’s pedomisogyny. Every time parents berate a girl for liking “boy things,” that’s pedomisogyny.

It is not random happenstance that girls are socialized to both be passive and to be physically attractive. Both are about reducing females to the status of sex objects, willing to spend their time to reproduce the labor force instead of pursuing a career or live alone. But pornography takes these two factors to a whole new level. It is little wonder that we are now talking about girls being groomed for sexual abuse, and that pedophiles are saying that “society does most of the grooming.” There’s no two ways about it, we live in a pedophile culture.

1 At least we have improved the process by filtering the violence out, but the end result is the same. If it wasn’t, you can be sure that violence against children would still be legal.

Bullying is emotional abuse.

Bullying is emotional abuse.

There is nothing that can ever make you deserve emotional abuse.

Telling people, directly or through your actions, that they’re at fault for being abused is, again, emotional abuse.

I hate the term “bullying” for this exactly reason.

“Stop bullying” programs don’t work because they treat “bullying” like its a unique, child-specific thing you grow out of once you reach the magic age of 18 and It Gets Better ™.

It’s not. It’s just a fancy word for abuse that people coined because they didn’t want to believe their precious little baby could abuse another child and everyone went along with it because NOBODY wants to believe a six year old can intentionally traumatize another six year old to the point where they want to take their own life. Its “just bullying.” It’s not abuse. Only adults can be abusers. Kids are bullies. And if a child DOES do something evil, they’re either mentally ill or an adult drove them to it. Children can’t be bad!

Except here in the land of reality, it doesn’t work that way. Being abused causes the same amount of trauma whether your abuser is 9 or 90. I don’t care if a child has the biggest, saddest sob story in the world, they don’t get to use that as an excuse to abuse other children. Adults don’t (or shouldn’t) get away with that, so neither should children.

If people really want to “fix” bullying, they need to ditch this useless term and start calling it what it is. Abuse. And then, start actually doing something about abuse besides gaslighting the victim and saying “well maybe the abuser had good reasons uwu”.

Male circumcision and childism.

So far, the form of abuse I’ve discussed the most has been spanking. I do so because the issue of spanking is much discussed and is very clear-cut. Another similar issue is that of male circumcision. While most Western people agree that female circumcision is repulsive, the opinions about male circumcision are mixed, and there is much hurling of scientific “facts” from both sides, as if science is the way to resolve this issue (unlike female genital mutilation, where the only credible pro argument is cultural relativism).

I have discussed this reduction of childist issues to scientific studies when I discussed spanking. Well-intentioned anti-spanking advocates use the results of studies to try to justify their position. Spanking advocates believe these studies simply don’t matter. In the case of male circumcision, both sides profess to follow where the science leads.

However, I think it’s important that, as in the case of spanking, anti-circumcision advocates do not fall into this trap. The issue of male circumcision in newborns is not a scientific issue, it is an ethical issue. And we would realize this very rapidly if we were discussing something not related to children. If we were talking about cutting off foreskins of male adults while they were asleep, we would be outraged. If we were talking about any form of assault against adults, people wouldn’t be arguing whether the assault continued to have negative consequences for the victim years after the fact. And yet, when we talk about assaulting little children, we just can’t see the obvious falsify of these arguments.

There is only one general principle that is relevant to the issue of male circumcision (and female genital mutilation as well):

Children are human beings. Human beings should not be assaulted by other human beings.

This is the only relevant fact. Supposed medical benefits are not relevant. “Choice” nonsense is not relevant. How good of a parent you are is not relevant. Whether the father is circumcised or not is not relevant. The only factor which determines whether assault, whether it’s circumcision or any other form of assault, is desirable or not is this: should human beings be assaulted, and in what conditions? Should human beings be assaulted when they are harming others? Sure, within limits. Should human beings be assaulted spontaneously when they are sleeping? No.

Let’s be clear about this medical rationale, because it confuses a lot of people. It is claimed that some marginal medical benefits justify assaulting newborns. This argument is complete and absolute nonsense: if it was true, then we’d also be justified in circumcising adults without their consent. But no circumcision advocate preaches this. Instead, they preach the nonsense of “choice,” that famous magic word. “Choice” for who? Not for the child. Then what use is it?

No, we have a good idea of what interventions are permissible to make on someone else without their consent, and the list of such interventions does not include circumcisions. For instance, the NHS (British health care system) states that the following are reasons to perform a medical intervention without consent:

It may not be necessary to obtain consent if a person:

* requires emergency treatment to save their life, but they’re incapacitated (for example, they’re unconscious) – the reasons why treatment was necessary should be fully explained once they’ve recovered

* immediately requires an additional emergency procedure during an operation – there has to be a clear medical reason why it would be unsafe to wait to obtain consent, and it can’t be simply for convenience

* with a severe mental health condition – such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder or dementia – lacks the capacity to consent to the treatment of their mental health (under the Mental Health Act 1983) – in these cases, treatment for unrelated physical conditions still requires consent, which the patient may be able to provide, despite their mental illness

* requires hospital treatment for a severe mental health condition, but self-harmed or attempted suicide while competent and is refusing treatment (under the Mental Health Act 1983) – the person’s nearest relative or an approved social worker must make an application for the person to be forcibly kept in hospital, and two doctors must assess the person’s condition

* is a risk to public health (due to rabies, cholera or tuberculosis (TB)

* is severely ill and living in unhygienic conditions (under the National Assistance Act 1948) – a person who is severely ill or infirm and is living in unsanitary conditions can be taken to a place of care without their consent

None of these conditions are fulfilled by circumcising male newborns. Male circumcisions do not save anyone’s life, they do not occur during an operation, they are not the result of severe mental health conditions (apart from the mental health conditions of pro-circumcision advocates), they are not connected to self-harm or suicide attempts, public health, or living in unhygienic conditions.

All whinging or hand-wringing about a higher rate of urinary tract infections or penile cancer falls on its face when confronted with the basic and obvious ethical question. This is uncomfortable for circumcision advocates, and they try to evade the issue as much as they can. For instance, here’s part of one pro-male-circumcision group’s FAQ response to one such argument (“intactivist” is their pet term for people who stand up for the rights of children):

The scientific reason is entirely objective (factual), whereas the moral objection is purely subjective (an opinion). The problem with the intactivists’ stance is that they seek to impose their opinion on others, in the process inflating the magnitude of their moral objections to a level akin to that seen in debates about abortion or euthanasia. Circumcision really isn’t that big an issue….

Circumcision should neither be made compulsory nor illegal. The decision whether or not to circumcise a baby boy is, quite properly, a decision to be taken by the family in the context of their individual circumstances…

Advice given by professionals involved in counselling parents should be wholly factual, free from value judgements…

Campaigners against circumcision should respect the right of others to hold an opinion that differs from their own and should refrain from vilifying those who carry out, research or publish the benefits of the procedure.

All said and done, the moral issue is purely a matter of opinion. It is something that does not lend itself to objective analysis.

You can read the rest of it on their page, but these are the salient points. Their response is basically: “I have objective facts on my side, and all you have is subjective opinion, so you should stop imposing your opinions on me while I should be free to impose my facts on you.” But as I’ve already said, the issue of whether we should assault people should not be based on “scientific facts” or the “choice” of co-conspirators, but rather on ethics. Unlike morality, ethics are not a “matter of opinion.” The points I’ve presented in this entry are not opinions but arguments: whatever you think about them, they are statements about reality (unlike opinions, which are statements about one’s beliefs or feelings) and they are independently verifiable (unlike opinions, which are personal).

Ethics lends itself to objective analysis. When we look at any proposed policy on ethical evaluations, such as “male circumcision is a decision to be taken by the family,” we need to ask ourselves some questions:

1. Is any expected coercion resulting from it rationally justified?
2. Is it based on valid ethical principles?
3. Does it respect human rights?
4. Is the tally of who is reasonably expected to benefit/be harmed fair and equitable?

In the case of male circumcision, the answer to all these question is a resounding no. So it is no surprise that circumcision advocates do not want to argue from a standpoint of ethics. They know they are in the wrong and therefore must ignore it at all costs. They want to portray themselves as “objective” (as opposed to their irrational opponents, the “intactivists,” who are “subjective”), as having “respect” (although clearly not respect for the children), and as being “free from value judgements.” Well, no one is free from value judgments, because to know necessarily requires one to value knowledge and the correct methods to acquire it and use it. Honesty is a value. Compassion is a value. Justice is a value. Anyone who refuses to acknowledge such values is not worth listening to.

Is male circumcision not a big issue? Then why are circumcision advocates even bothering to argue for it? Abortion and euthanasia are only big issues because of religious opposition. From an ethical standpoint, euthanasia is a relatively straightforward issues, abortion less so. In both cases, we argue ethics precisely because abortion and euthanasia are moral and ethical issues, not scientific issues. Male circumcision is an ethical issue, therefore it can only be discussed in ethical terms.

It would be just as silly to argue that abortion puts women at greater risk of cervical cancer, or that euthanizing a family member makes one more likely to be depressed. These issues are dwarfed by the central question of whether abortion and euthanasia are right or wrong. If abortion and euthanasia should be allowed, then the medical risk is part of the personal decision to do them or not. If they are wrong, then talking about medical benefits or risks is irrelevant.

Citing more medical benefits will not change the fact that male circumcisions in newborns do not fulfill any of the existing criteria for medical interventions without consent. If male circumcision advocates want to argue that the standards for medical interventions without consent are incomplete, then they need to argue on that basis (something I have yet to see any of them actually do). There are no other grounds on which one could argue for legalized male circumcision.

The root of the fallacy in their line of reasoning is childism, the belief that children are inferior and must be controlled for their own good. It is the only reason why they fail to recognize that babies are human beings and should not be subject to assault any more than adults should be. Of course, many of these people may be good parents (although I sincerely hope none of these perverts have children, that’s an unrealistic hope), but prejudice does not always entail being mean. Plenty of racists are good people and considerate to people of color. Plenty of sexists treat women “right,” according to their own idea of what’s right. That doesn’t make them any less bigoted.

Most childists are not even aware of being childists, simply because the issue is not publicly discussed. And yet it still exists. Anyone who does not hold to childist would immediately realize that assaulting children (whether in spanking or circumcision) is wrong because assaulting people who are not harming others is wrong. The fact that they are children obscures this basic fact from our awareness, because we are all conditioned to view children as inferior, less than human.

By the way, since the idiots have a cute term for their opponents, “intactivists,” why don’t we have a term for them? What about Foreskin Davidians, from the story where David collected hundreds of foreskins from his enemies? It shows well their obsessive and perverted nature. And it is just as ridiculous. Or what about Babychoppers? Tell me what you think in the comments.

The power of rituals to legitimize violence against children.

Rituals are seen as a benign part of religion and other institutions, and are said to add meaning to our lives. But rituals have been used throughout history to legitimize a lot of horrible things, like torture and to mass murder. So there are two sorts of rituals: some that serve a benign purpose, and some that serve to legitimize something more harmful. Spanking rituals are part of the latter category.

Spanking advocates use the ritual associated with spanking as a line between “discipline” and “punishment.” I’ve previously written about how I see this as a distinction without a difference. Ritualizing something does not whitewash it. The fact that you use violence on children in a ritualistic manner is no better than doing it in anger: actually, it might be worse, because the child may see the ritual as legitimizing the act as well.

The site for TIME Magazine published an editorial on “parenting” under the title Spanking Can Be an Appropriate Form of Child Discipline, written by Jared Pingleton, who works for Focus on the Family. This right-wing nut attempts to justify spanking by appealing to the ritual, and denying that spanking is child abuse because proper, ritualized spanking is administered “out of love.”

Even if you take the hardline, ultra-childist position that children must be punished so they obey their parents, there is zero scientific evidence that spanking leads to more obedience, and there is actually evidence for the exact opposite position. So spanking is not even shown to do what it’s supposed to do. But let’s examine Pingleton’s argument:

Properly understood and administered, spanking is most effective as a deterrent to undesirable behavior for younger preschoolers (but never for infants).

This is an empirical claim. What is it based on? Well, if it’s based on any data of any kind, it is not anything that Pingleton wanted to share, because he doesn’t talk about any data. And then, of course, we must ask the usual questions which expose the childism of the speaker: what is “undesirable behavior” and who determines what that comprises? Why must children be sexually assaulted to prevent this behavior, and what is the connection between sexually assaulting a child and stopping an undesirable behavior?

Is this not rather like a small-scale version of “corrective rape”? In both cases, the perpetrator identifies a behavior which he finds undesirable in someone else (e.g. a woman who is a lesbian, a child screaming), and sexually assaults them in order to change the behavior. Likewise, no study has yet revealed the efficacy of rape in changing women’s sexual orientation.

Generally speaking, we advise parents that corporal discipline should only be applied in cases of willful disobedience or defiance of authority—never for mere childish irresponsibility. And it should never be administered harshly, impulsively, or with the potential to cause physical harm. Along those lines, we caution parents who have a hard time controlling their temper to choose alternative forms of discipline. There is never an excuse or an occasion to abuse a child.

For parents who do choose to spank, the proper philosophy and approach is extremely important. Too begin with, as with all forms of correction, the concepts of punishment and discipline are absolute opposites. Punishment is motivated by anger, focuses on the past, and results in either compliance (due to fear) or rebellion and feelings of shame, guilt and/or hostility. On the other hand, discipline is motivated by love for the child, focuses on the future, and results in obedience and feelings of security.

So here we have another attempt at creating two categories of violence against children, discipline and punishment. I already linked above to my position on the subject, which is that the criteria used are either invalid or useless. If you want to read my refutation of Pingleton’s criteria, I invite you to read that entry, because he offers nothing new here.

There are however some interesting terms in these two paragraphs. For example, you have “defiance of authority” being noted as a higher level of truancy than “childish irresponsibility.” Let me remind you of the age group Pingleton is talking about here, young preschoolers, so let’s assume we’re talking about children between 3 and 4 years old. It is profoundly silly to claim that a 3 year old is “defying authority” or being “irresponsible.” I think this has a lot to do with the stereotype of young children, even babies, as calculating and mendacious (see point 5 of this entry for more).

The aim of stereotypes is to hate or dehumanize a target. The aim of portraying young children as mendacious is to produce the feeling that they’re “out to get you,” that no matter how trustworthy they seem, they are thinking of ways to get what they want. We see in this stereotype an echo of antisemitism. as well as more extreme right-wing bigotry (“if you give them an inch…”) and conspiracy theories (“the conspiracy is out to get us”).

The next expression I find interesting is “parents who do choose to spank.” Portraying spanking as a choice is not just nonsense, but also hides the fact that physical and sexual abuse usually results from the parents themselves having been abused as children. And that cycle of abuse is always impulsive and focused on the past, no matter how much you rationalize it. That means that most cases of spanking cannot, and will never, be “proper discipline,” even by the spanking advocates’ own criteria. That is why they must sweep it under the rug with the label of “choice.” Spanking is a crime, not a choice.

It is furthermore said that improper spanking leads to compliance and proper spanking leads to obedience. These two words are synonyms. All spanking does is lead to compliance and obedience. It does not make the child a better person. It does not even instill any desire to perform the desired behavior.

Finally, there is the expression “focuses on the future.” Childism is always focused on the future, in that it sees a child as raw materials from which parents must mold a future person. This is true regardless of whether you use discipline, punishment, or neither. By definition, there cannot be a pedagogy which is not “focused on the future.” The only way, the sole way, in which your actions towards a child can be anything other than “focused on the future” would be for you to see the child as a full and equal human being. Anything else is necessarily “focused on the future,” not on the present.

Many parents today view themselves primarily as their child’s friend and recoil at the idea of administering discipline. Children, though, desperately need their parents’ love and affirmation as well as their authoritative guidance and correction. Disciplining our sons and daughters is part of the tough work of parenting, but it will pay big dividends in the long run.

Again, we see the future orientation in the expression “in the long run.” All of us live in the present and must demand dividends now, not in the future. Setting rewards in the far future is usually a good warning sign that you’re being exploited in the present time (see for example the religious oppression justified by the afterlife in Heaven). It’s a pretty old game, a misdirection aimed at keeping your eyes looking into the future while people are picking your pockets in the present. Parents who use physical violence are robbing their children of their present in the name of some unseen future which, to the child, is meaningless gobbledygook. Children do not, and should not, live for the future. To say otherwise goes against nature and is about as pointless as such attempts usually are.

The opposing views offered to us, that either parents use violence or they’re solely their child’s friends, are equally invalid. Children do not need violence and they do not need friendship from adults (although there’s nothing wrong with it as such). What they do need is to be supported with the material and psychological means to flourish. This cannot be accomplished as long as they are kept in artificial family structures and prevented from living in community with other children.
But this position is outside of the margins of discourse. What we get is a “debate” between organizations like “Focus on the Family,” which is dedicated to the maintenance of the traditional family structure at all costs, and the more compassionate opposition, who believes in the family structure but also believes that it could exist in many different forms. No one is taking the side of the children.

A child should always receive a clear warning before any offense that might merit a spanking and understand why they are receiving this disciplinary action. If he or she deliberately disobeys, the child should be informed of the upcoming spanking and escorted to a private area. The spanking should be lovingly administered in a clear and consistent manner. Afterward, the lesson should be gently reiterated so that the child understands and learns from this teachable experience.

According to people like Pingleton, performing this ritual will magically bring moral insight to the child. I say magically, because there is no cause and effect presented, or possible, between spanking and moral insights. It is precisely magical thinking. I have nothing against ritual magic (actually, I think it’s a fascinating subject, although I know little about it), but when other people are actively harmed by it, you’ve gone too far.

As such, it is remarkably similar to the magic imbued to prisons and jails. We believe that by inflicting suffering on people labeled criminals, we bring them some form of moral insight. Yet again, there is no explanation as to how imprisoning and torturing people in itself can impart moral insights. While there’s always been ascetics who believe that mystical insights can be achieved by self-harm, this seems rather far removed from the very practical aims of the believers in law and order. They seek not to impart ethereal mystical insights, but rather, like the childists, direct and practical moral truths.

It is rather more likely that the hatred of children and criminals came first, and the bizarre magic-based rationalizations came afterwards. Spanking is not a magical act, it is an act of hatred (however temporary that hatred might be, or however ritualized).

As for the steps of the ritual, they are no more noteworthy than the steps of any other ritual. They say in ritual magic that it’s not the actual steps that really matter but the strength of the feelings you put into it, and that the steps are only means to channel those feelings. That is why spanking advocates are very keen to tell you about how you should feel when you perform the ritual, and why that’s so important. The movements and the magic words (“this will hurt me more than it’ll hurt you”, the spanking advocate’s equivalent of “abracadabra”) are irrelevant.

Rituals are an important factor in another form of sexual assault and physical violence against children, circumcision (both male and female). In this case, we have religious rituals instead of a secular ritual, but the principle is the same. The rituals are used to legitimize the use of violence against children. The goal of circumcision is to consecrate the newborn as a future believer of its religion of birth, to mark its religion on its skin for its whole life, to impart sexual decency, and, in some cultures, to ensure that the child will be “normal.” The goal of circumcision, as for spanking, is to generate servile obedience, nothing more (so-called health benefits are only a rationalization after the fact, and are therefore entirely irrelevant).

DD/lg as pedophilia and childism.

DD/lg (daddy dom/little girl) is a subset of BDSM which consists of older men doting on, and having sex with, younger women (sometimes actual children) who display infantile behavior and dress like children. Here are some examples of pictures used by daddies or littles (as they are called) on their blogs:

Please note that I have not deliberately chosen the worst or most squeaky images. These are only a sampling taken from a short, arbitrary interval of time.

Many people have been accusing the men involved in DD/lg (the “daddies,” a term I will not use because of its squeakiness) of being pedophiles. The standard reply from BDSM proponents is that, like all BDSM, DD/lg is not actual abuse but simulated abuse. This, however, is as poor of an argument as people who argue that pornography is not “real.” Both arguments assume that any degree of artificiality whatsoever means that nothing is real, either in a movie or in a BDSM scene. And yet this is clearly not true: how could pornographic actresses be raped on set and how could subs experience “sub drop” if nothing is real?

BDSM is not a simulation, as a simulation implies some kind of analogous, but not equivalent, situation (e.g. the car, train, or airplane simulator, used with a keyboard or controller, is analogous for using a real car, train, or airplane, which have completely different controls). Being in a simulation is not the same kind of experience as actually doing the thing simulated. Pornography and BDSM are the same kind of thing as abuse (i.e. actions performed by human bodies onto other human bodies), they are merely “softer” forms of abuse (unless actual rape is performed).

For the dom, DD/lg is about the fetishism of, and fantasy about, sexual activities with children, implemented through adult women (and sometimes actual children). This is literally pedophilia. Advocates will strenuously argue that it cannot be pedophilia because it involves adult women, but that is irrelevant to the issue of sexual orientation and sexual disorders, which we evaluate by looking at a person’s sexual fantasies. A gay man in the closet may have sex with women, but that does not make him heterosexual. Many people have fetishes or kinks that they do not act upon, but that does not nullify their existence. The fact that a pedophile may have sex with adult women does not nullify his pedophilia. It is the sexual fantasies that make him a pedophile.

[A]geplay and ddlg can ONLY be understood in the context of child abuse. the entire point of it is to imitate and act out scenarios in which children are groomed, punished, and sexually abused by an adult– specifically by their fathers or other male relatives in the case of ddlg.

The standard defense of pedophilia nowadays is to argue that the pedophile is a good person as long as they don’t act on their desires. Pedophiles even argue that their basic restraint should be seen as noble. I cannot agree that not raping children is noble or makes one a good person. I would say it is a very basic duty we all have as citizens and human beings, and that fulfilling it merely makes you not pure evil. There is no reason to give cookies for it. A fetish is not a compulsion, but even if it was, it would only demonstrate that pedophiles are innately dangerous and unworthy of freedom, not that they are noble people. If I had any kind of destructive compulsion, I certainly wouldn’t brag about it, and the fact that some pedophiles do so inclines me to believe that they don’t really have the restraint they claim to have.

Pedophilia is not in itself childism, because it is a sexual desire, not a theory, but it lends itself easily to childism. After all, pedophilia, and DD/lg as an expression of pedophilia, is based on the objectification of children as sexual targets. I think the above images explain this well enough. The pedophile does not see children (or children seen through a substitute) as persons with their own values and desires, but as passive receptacles for their sexual desire. The DD/lg dynamic reproduces this by having women dress us like girls and roleplay innocence, a sense of play, and other psychological traits we usually attribute to children, and then having them be used sexually by men who pretend to be their father or another adult male figure. The “little” is at the mercy of the “daddy”‘s sexual desire, like how real children are at the mercy of their abusers (usually their father or other male family member).

Furthermore, it does so by appropriating the language and behaviors of childhood. I know the word “appropriation” is somewhat overused, but in this case it is particularly appropriate. There are many stories of girls who find themselves ashamed of saying the word “daddy” or having braids because of DD/lg participants using them for sexual purposes. This appropriation takes place over the Internet, when girls looking for typical childhood interests see keywords invaded by DD/lg images and messages. It has also been noted that men seem to enjoy sexualizing media meant for children, and DD/lg is a big part of that.

Because children are generally not aware of their existence as a social class, and children are generally not informed enough to formulate a critique of DD/lg or BDSM in general (although I do want to point out that this is not universally true, as some children do criticize DD/lg), it is easy for DD/lg proponents to speak over children and their needs. This is why I identify DD/lg as being particularly childist. DD/lg gives pedophiles an open space to formulate rationalizations for child abuse, rationalizations which can be used by real offenders, just like BDSM supports and abets rapists and violent abusers.

The tendency of modern pornography to infantilize women has been noted a long time ago. This infantilization is mostly used to impose rigorous fuckability standards on women. DD/lg is a whole different animal: it is not only used to control women but also to sexualize infancy itself, and to rationalize that sexualisation. Both represent dangers to girls and young women, but the danger that DD/lg may be used to make pedophilia respectable is crucially important, both from a feminist standpoint and from an anti-childist standpoint.