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 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 America says it is?

A. We're not here to debate what ages should marry others. We don't really care what say, a Zimbabwe does, nor do we care what a Serbia does. Not to say that either country has a problem with pedophilia, We simply are apathetic about what they are doing and in what terms they view the age of consent. This site is based in North America and in Western Culture in general. If a country chooses to be backwater and behind the times on modern psychology, that is their problem. We are not going to lobby for changes in laws in third and second world nations. We don't care. I don't know how much I can state that without it ringing through. If you think it's okay to have sex with a twelve year old because a backwards third world nation does it, that's your psychological dysfunction.[ii]


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 outside the United States, most notably countries like The Netherlands, Canada and Germany. These countries all have very low AOC's.


They claim their beliefs are solidified by the general agreement of North America (without Canada) and the Western world (without The Netherlands, Germany, and other countries in Western Europe with low age of consents.) Perverted Justice doesn’t say whether they define “third and second world nations” by Cold War affiliation or economic status. Either way, all three of their notable critics are well into the first world.


Well, at least Perverted Justice has the culture of the United States to fall back on. Age of consent laws are perfectly consistent throughout all fifty states. Oh wait, no they aren’t. In Alaska, Michigan, and North Carolina, the government has decided that the sixteenth birthday is the time in which one’s older sexual partner magically transforms from a felony rapist into a caring lover. Illinois, Texas, and New York believe this time is the seventeenth birthday. Arizona, Virginia, and Wisconsin believe this happens when the Earth finishes its eighteenth revolution around the Sun since the younger person’s birth. I’m not even going to try to analyze how many states consider other factors such as age disparity, marriage, which gender is the younger, and sexual orientation. Again, these are the results when culture commands morality: the Western world contains only the United States and convenient European countries, the ability to agree to sex differs by more than 730 days within an modern nation, and Canada is a third world country that is not part of North America.


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 United States had some enlightened psychology, it doesn’t seem to be getting through to its citizens. Dateline NBC caught 19 men in three days in Washington, D.C. They caught 18 more in three days in Greenville, Ohio; 24 in three days in Fort Myers, Florida; and a staggering 50 men in three days in Southern California. “PeeJ” has close to 1000 chats archived since 2003. I wonder how many “perverts” are actually out there. How many people in America alone would not object to sexual relations with those under 16? Perverted Justice has only caught a small subset of them. How many are there that haven’t come across a “PeeJ” actor, that don’t go to chat rooms, that don’t use the internet, that will never express their feelings? There are certainly thousands and probably millions.


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 United States government has no right to suppress the free choices of children. They are individuals that may claim their own lives. Society disagrees; it says that children are mindless property that do not develop cognitive abilities or know how to make informed choices until a date marked on a calendar has passed. Children may forgive this oppression, but it’s more than their elders deserve.

[i]      Only relevant definitions included. Emphasis added.

[ii]     , June 2006/March 2007.