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Thursday, 15 November 2012
Why Paedophilia Concerns Have Come to Override Basic Rules of Law
Whether or not the BBC, as the Conservative Mayor of London Boris Johnson argues, should prove that the programme Newsnight was not acting with malice towards senior Tory politician Lord McAlpine wrongly accused of paedophilia by an abuse victim, one thing is clear.
The current obsession with paedophilia seems to have erased or greatly diluted the basic legal principles that a person is innocent until proven guilty and, even more importantly, that the burden of the proof is on the accuser.
Paedophilia and, to a lesser extent, rape have become such politically incorrect crimes that they are treated as if they were worse than even murder or mutilation.
Yet losing life or a limb is certainly worse than being a victim of sex crimes.
When another child abuse scandal connected to the BBC, that of Jimmy Savile, emerged, we heard a never-ending number of celebrities and commentators repeating ad nauseam that children must absolutely be believed without a doubt in the world when they make this kind of accusations, almost implying that disbelief is a crime in itself and echoing similar assertions made about rape and women who claim to have been raped.
Nobody should be believed absolutely and undoubtedly: children, adults, women and men. People who say they have been victims of a crime are witnesses; and it is a well known fact that crime witnesses are highly unreliable, as this latest case concerning Lord McAlpine confirms for the umpteenth time.
This applies to all crimes: the least unpopular as much as the most hated ones. It has nothing to do with the severity of the crime, or how much it is disliked, or how strong emotions it arises.
It is a simple rule of law. To punish an innocent is worse than to let a guilty off the hook.
In the case of paedophilia, even accusing an innocent may be worse than to let a guilty off the hook.
"To call someone a paedophile is to consign them to the lowest circle of hell – and while they are still alive" correctly writes Boris Johnson.
But why have we got to this point of insanity, where paediatricians have been lynch mobbed for having the same prefix as paedophiles (from the Greek for "child") in their name and accusations can fly around and be believed so liberally?
The reason is very simple. Starting from the 1960s "sexual revolution", strongly if not entirely consciously influenced by Sigmund Freud and Wilhelm Reich theories that repressing sexual impulses is not good for you, sexual activity has been removed from the moral sphere.
Contemporary, influential moral philosopher Peter Singer writes in his Practical Ethics that ethics should not concern itself with sexuality, and that driving a car, due to what he believes to be its environmental impact, raises more moral issues than having sex.
This new dogma has been readily and happily accepted by a majority opinion, leading to such nice results as multiplication of marriage breakdowns, adultery, divorces, broken families, abortions, illegitimate births, multiple partners and fathers, AIDS, increase in sexually transmitted diseases, homosexualist agenda being imposed on everybody, incest and Muslim polygamy made quasi-legal or accepted.
But public opinion, seeing where all this was going, namely that sex with children woud be next on the list of morally permissible activities, strongly drew a line at that. Something similar happened with rape.
Given the very confused ideas about sexuality and morality that prevail in our societies (and I grant that the subject is complex), all the furore about paedophilia (and to a lesser degree rape) derives from and is directly proportional to the eagerness and almost desperation with which all other forms of sexuality have been embraced without a thought in the world.
It turns out that sexual activity is not beyond the realm of ethics after all.