To Catch a Neighbor
I realize that I’m not going to win any popularity contests by writing this article. In fact, I’m rather sure that most people are going to find it quite disagreeable. But if I cared about popularity, I wouldn’t have written Individual Valuism. I care about what is right, and I can only hope that others will not try to twist my support for individual choice into support for malicious harm.
“Sexual predator” stories have been pretty popular. Dateline NBC’s “To Catch a Predator” series is a widely known example that catches men intending to have sexual relations with underage girls. It’s pretty entertaining. A guy chats online with someone pretending to be a minor. The chatting turns sexual in nature, she gives him an address, and the guy goes to the house where Chris Hansen is waiting to ask him what he’s doing. The guy makes hasty apologies and excuses, and is arrested upon leaving. It’s great television, no question. It also makes me sick. Why? Because I find it shocking that someone could desire another that is under the culturally-defined age boundary? Because I think that anyone under 16 (or 17 or 18, depending on the state) is incapable of wanting or agreeing to sex? No, it makes me sick that the government enforces cultural morality over individual freedom by punishing someone that makes an agreement with another rational person about what to do with their bodies, under the excuse that intelligent people of certain ages cannot give consent.
I am also bewildered that these people are referred to as “predators.”
2. One that victimizes, plunders, or destroys, especially for one's own gain.
2. To make a victim of.
1. One who is harmed or killed by another.
5. A person who is tricked, swindled, or taken advantage of.[i]
So let me get this straight… men and women that seek consenting partners are predators if their potential mates are under an arbitrarily-chosen age, even if they are entirely truthful and will do no harm? However, Chris Hansen, NBC, and assisting organization perverted-justice.com do trick people, harm them, gain money in the process, and they are not predators? Let’s review that again. A man that is invited to a house for sex with a willing partner: predator. People that deceive strangers in order to berate and imprison them and profit from doing so: not predators. Ladies and gentlemen, this is the world you live in. When culture commands morality, victims are predators, predators are agents of justice, and freedom and the dictionary are thrown out the window.
Desiring “underage” partners isn’t as deviant as American culture would have you believe. After all, many places in history and the world today have found marriage and sexual relations at 15 and younger to be acceptable. Do the innate sexual feelings of humans change significantly according to location or across a few centuries? I doubt it. I hate to invoke other societies since the major point of Individual Valuism is that what cultures believe to be right is not equivalent to what actually is right, but I feel that it helps show that age of consent laws and beliefs in America are not as self-evident or universal as one might think. Perverted Justice has an entry in its FAQ to answer this subject:
[Q.] Girls ages 12 and younger are married to older men in other
countries, so what gives you the right to say its wrong just because
A. We're not here to debate what ages should marry others. We don't
really care what say, a
I can’t decide whether to call that funny or sad. Well, since it’s the philosophy that “PeeJ” has used to screw hundreds of people, I’ll go with sad. At the beginning, they justify their beliefs with moral relativism. They say that the practices of the rest of the world don’t matter; they just enforce Western culture, which is valid because it is their culture. In the very next sentence fragment, they give up on relativism and try to appeal to “modern psychology.” Their beliefs are inconsistent. If they think that sexually immorality is culturally relative, the facts of psychology are irrelevant to morality and needn’t be mentioned. If they don’t think that morality is culturally relative, they would care what “a Zimbabwe” or “a Serbia” does with its children. Not only are their two views inconsistent, they’re both wrong! “North America and Western Culture in general” do not agree with them. They even admit this in another FAQ question:
[Q.] What about critics of the website?
A. The vast majority of “critics” in regards to what we do hail from
They claim their
beliefs are solidified by the general agreement of
Well, at least
Perverted Justice has the culture of the
The first FAQ answer also makes a passing appeal to “modern psychology.” Perhaps I missed it among the hundreds of pages of chat logs and witty comments, but I didn’t find a single page that explained Perverted Justice’s advanced knowledge of psychology. (It’s almost as if they have no scientific basis to call other countries “backwater.”) Before you send that e-mail, note that I am not trying to deny that molestation or forcible rape is psychologically damaging, but I am saying that many people under 16 (or 17-18) can find sexual contact to be psychologically healthy. The experts of “PeeJ”—who are somehow more advanced in the field of psychology than Canada, Germany, The Netherlands, China, Italy, and Spain combined—disagree. When I was fourteen and my ten-year-old girlfriend whispered that she would do anything with me, we apparently both just had a “psychological dysfunction.”
Even if the
Perverted Justice agrees with me on that. There is one “PeeJ Fact”, a randomly-chosen statement on some Perverted Justice pages, that says “Between 1% and 6% of American men are pedophiles; for unknown reasons, very few women have the disorder. Source: American Psychiatric Association.” (They claim to know modern psychology but can’t explain why women generally go for older men?) For the purposes of this article, I’ll assume that the statistic is true. There are approximately 300 million Americans alive today and about half are male. Therefore, there are between 1.5 and 9 million pedophiles in the country. That’s somewhere between the population of Idaho (39th-most populated state) and Georgia (9th.) I guess we can all sleep better at night now that NBC has joined the few dozen volunteers of Perverted Justice in their efforts to expose and denounce the sexual feelings of millions of our fellow citizens. So they estimate that 3.5% (midpoint of 1% and 6%) of American men are pedophiles? If so, one out of every 29 men you know may be one. There may even be as many as six percent (one out of every seventeen men you know.) Are they all dysfunctional monsters? No. Like it or not, believe it or not, they may be anyone. They are your friends, your neighbors, your brothers, your cousins, and your sons and fathers.
They are also mothers. Yes, mothers. Mary Kay Letourneau is the best example against “To Catch a Predator” and “PeeJ” that I know of. No matter how many “busts” and convictions they make, her story always shines through. The “rapist” is female. The “victim,” Vili Fualaau, is male and initiated a sexual relationship at thirteen. Letourneau was imprisoned for seven years, where she was separated from her lover, the two daughters they had together, and the four children from her marriage. She was punished every time she contacted the “victim.” After seven years in prison, Letourneau has married Fualaau. They are now living as a family, finally safe from the “justice” system that criminalized their relationship. So what is Perverted Justice’s opinion of such a story?
[Q.] Why are there no female wannabes on this site?
A. It's not for lack of trying. As of this FAQ update (December 2006) we currently have found a grand total of zero females in regional rooms trying to hook up with an underage kid. That could change as of tomorrow, because we're trying!
It’s right there in black and white. They’re trying to catch women like Mary Kay Letourneau. They’re trying, no matter if the child started the relationship. They’re trying, no matter if both partners love each other. They’re trying, no matter if the lovers hope to get married and have a family. They are trying to imprison a mother of six for consensual sex with a minor, because that is something that their culture has told them to abhor.
Now, I don’t mean to
imply that all people that have sexual interests in minors are loving people. I
also don’t mean to imply that molestation or coercion cannot happen, but when
the law declares that all
relationships involving children are forbidden, they are not agents of justice;
they are agents of oppression. The