As another corrupt narrative seeks to assert itself in the canon of political correctness we may be tempted to ask ourselves if this might not be the beginning of the unraveling of an earlier narrative which has been poisoning our culture for nearly half a century.
Andrew Gilligan in the Sunday Telegraph last weekend suggests that while “there really is now no shortage of evidence about the harm done by child abuse” we should still ask ourselves if, in the context of the latest frenzy about the crimes of the past, it is not worth watching whether we could, in the future, go back to the intellectual climate which allowed them.
What is he telling us? His article is revealing an open secret: that there has been, and there currently is, an under-the-radar current in the academic world which is seeking to destigmatise paedophilia. Gilligan accepts that academic inquiry is supposed to question conventional wisdom and to deal rigorously with the evidence, whether or not the conclusions it leads you to be popular. He is right about that and the academic discourse which he is revealing to us – and which many will find shocking – may well be doing us just such a service.
Liberal society is confused, profoundly confused, by the phenomenon of paedophilia. On the one hand it demands what it calls sexual liberation and the right for all to express their sexual preferences as they chose to do so. On the other hand they cannot be seen to tolerate the sexual abuse of minors. The twisting and turning being recounted in Gilligan’s article in the Telegraph reflects this quandary at the heart of today’s dominant culture.
“Paedophilic interest is natural and normal for human males,” and “At least a sizeable minority of normal males would like to have sex with children … Normal males are aroused by children”. These are two quotations from a conference held in the University of Cambridge this time last year. At the same conference one of the presentations was entitled “Liberating the paedophile: a discursive analysis.” Another was: “Danger and difference: the stakes of hebephilia.” Hebephilia, it appears is the sexual preference for children in early puberty, typically 11 to 14-year-olds.
The American Psychiatric Association (APA) produces the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM). This is a standard classification of mental disorders used by mental health professionals. The APA has rejected a proposal to include hebephilia as a disorder in the new edition of the manual. The proposal arose because the age at which children now reach puberty has come down in recent decades. As a result many more children were now becoming vulnerable because charges of paedophilia – pre-pubertal sexual attraction – could not be brought against child abusers.
Ray Blanchard, professor of psychiatry at the University of Toronto, who led the APA’s working group on the subject, said that unless some other way was found of encompassing hebephilia in the new manual, that was “tantamount to stating that the APA’s official position is that the sexual preference for early pubertal children is normal”.
Some of those who successfully defeated the effort to change the definition said hebephilia would be abused as a diagnosis to detain sex offenders as “mentally ill” under US “sexually violent predator” laws even after they had completed their sentences.
The real shock-wave at the conference came from Philip Tromovitch, a professor at Doshisha University in Japan. Dealing with the “prevalence of paedophilia” he stated that the “majority of men are probably paedophiles and hebephiles” and that “paedophilic interest is normal and natural in human males”.
All of this is deeply unsettling to the liberal mind. The liberal left’s house of cards is falling apart because of a fundamental flaw in modernity’s analysis of the human condition. Its search for a solution to their quandary is a doomed one. By identifying this as an exclusively biological and/or psychological issue the search has tied itself up in knots. The problem is a moral one and if they were not locked in their relativistic prison they might have some chance of seeing that.
Gilligan observed that last week, after the conviction of Rolf Harris, the report into Jimmy Savils’s years of predatory activity, and claims of an establishment cover-up to protect a sex-offending minister in Margaret Thatcher’s Cabinet, Britain went into a convulsion of anxiety about child abuse in the Eighties. But, he added, unnoticed amid the furor is a much more current threat: attempts, right now, in parts of the academic establishment to push the boundaries on the acceptability of child sex.
He pointed out that a key factor in what happened all those decades ago in the dressing rooms of the BBC, the wards of the NHS and, allegedly, the corridors of power was not just institutional failings or establishment “conspiracies”, but a climate of far greater intellectual tolerance of practices that horrify today.
Norman Tebbit, a confidant of Margaret Thatcher and a minister at the very heart of her Government said on the BBC on Sunday that there “may well” have been a cover-up of abuse implicating politicians in the 1980s. Lord.Lord Tebbit added: “At that time I think most people would have thought that the establishment, the system, was to be protected and if a few things had gone wrong here and there that it was more important to protect the system than to delve too far into it.” Asked if he thought there had been a “big political cover-up” at the time, he said: “I think there may well have been. But it was almost unconscious. It was the thing that people did at that time.”
It is a separate story, but I wonder if the media will pursue the political establishment in his instance as they pursued every sniff of scandal in the Catholic Church, right up to the hounding of the Pope himself.
Gilligan reminds us that in that era, on the Left, there we many for whom the prohibition on sex by or with children was just another repressive boundary to be swept away – and some of the most important backing came from academia. With the Pill, the legalisation of homosexuality and shrinking taboos against premarital sex, the Seventies was an era of quite sudden sexual emancipation.
It is here that the crux of the inherent contradiction within modernity’s reading of modern man lies. Is our culture’s corrupt narrative about sexuality now about to fall apart?
Sexuality is a force within us that modernity has placed at the centre of the meaning of our lives. In doing so modernity legitimizes all those things that Gilligan lists. But the reality is that it is Love that is at the centre of all that gives meaning to our existence. Sex is just one of many modes through which we may realize that great centre-piece. Modernity has grossly equated sex with love and demanded a freedom for it which subordinates all else to it. With this identification come demands for all those inter-related things which have been tearing us and our society apart – the destruction of monogamous marriage, divorce, co-habitation, the redefinition of marriage out of existence, abortion, the destruction of the family, and many more.
This current flash-point around paedophilia brings an inherent fallacy into focus for us. Sexuality is a constant in human nature. It is a good of enormous significance. But like so many goods – even the goods of the earth itself – it is open to exploitation. In the frenzied effort – more frenzied every day – of modernity to elevate sex to the status of that which gives meaning to our existence, every form of sexual activity imaginable has been brought into the canon of the acceptable and allowable.
All decaying and decadent civilizations have ended up in this kind of morass. This one is an exception only insofar as it is attempting to cover is abuses of sexuality in a veneer of equality, legality and sanctimonious rights jargon. Nature is not fooled. Neither is logic. The narrative that homosexuality is something innate is breaking down in the face of the contorted thinking about paedophilia now being agonised over.
There are two sexes, male and female. There are varying intensities of sexuality experienced by humans and different experiences when it comes to sexual attraction. In some cases these produce confusion but if we are responsible we will deal with these confusions in a rational and sensible way.
The husband who experiences attraction to a woman who is not his wife can deal with it in two ways – surrender to that attraction and act the maggot, or restrain himself and be faithful to his promises. There is no doubt but that some humans find this a bigger struggle than others – just as some find it more difficult to control their temper. In neither case is difficulty a valid excuse for behaving badly.
The same goes for humans experiencing same sex attraction and for those who experience paedophiliac attraction. Decadent western society has created a narrative to make the adulterer happy. It is called divorce. It has also created a narrative for the person indulging his or her same-sex attraction. It is called homosexuality and is being legitimatized by the redefining of marriage. The search is already on to create a narrative for those who wish to indulge their sexuality in other ways. This is all madness and nothing more than a symptom of decadence.
We have now reached the last frontier and modernity is hitting the buffers. It is unlikely – at least this side of total degeneracy – that we will cross this last frontier any time soon. But if we continue to pander to our lusts we surely will.
The way forward for the rational and sane can only be the restoration of human virtue and the best code of morality the world has ever seen, that based on the teaching of the God-Man, Jesus Christ.