The Foundations of the "Minor-Attracted Person" Movement
In my previous post, I advocated for a stronger engagement with the growing push to normalize pedophilia in our society. Though on the surface it may seem audacious and improbable to the average American, when you look closely at both the historical progression and strategy of the movement, it is evident that this ideology is growing and it exists in a socio-cultural environment that allows for its normalization. By utilizing foundational principles from other cultural ideologies that have taken firm root in our society, this movement is laying the foundation for its acceptance. Now again, as I did in the last article, I want to hedge my words and be sure that I am clear in what I am communicating. I do not believe that we will see an acceptance of acting on pedophilia, meaning I do not think we have the current cultural landscape that would make it okay to commit child abuse. However, I do believe that there is a ripe environment that will allow for the acceptance of being a pedophile and it will be argued that we should accept and not stigmatize pedophiles. In the last article, I discussed the different strategical moves that the movement would need to make, and that they are currently making, in order to normalize pedophilia. In this article, I want to address the ideological principles that the movement must argue for and stand upon to “win the day.” If the movement can successfully argue for these ideological principles, then it will logically follow that pedophilia should be normalized.
So let’s take a look at these principles that are being used to support the normalization of pedophilia.
Principle #1: No one chooses their sexual desires.
This principle argues that the desire does not derive from within an individual but rather it derives from outside the agency of the individual, meaning the individual is not the source of the sexual desire, rather, they happen to be an individual that just so happens to have the sexual desire. You will often see the phraseology that pedophiles, “do not choose to be sexually attracted to children.”
From B4U-ACT: “No one chooses to be emotionally and sexually attracted to children or adolescents. The cause is unknown; in fact, the development of attraction to adults is not understood.”
Principle #2: Sexual desires can not be changed.
This principle argues, building off the last, that since the individual is not the source of the desire, they also have no agency over the desire. It’s almost as if there is being postulated some type of determinative structure that brought about the desire, making it outside of the capability of the individual to change the desire. You will often see the claim made that pedophiles can not change their sexual desires and the claim is often coupled with figures related to the failure of conversion therapy. This is done to demonstrate the inflexibility of sexual desire.
From B4U-ACT, under a heading of “Immutability” (which means not changeable): “Some researchers advocate curing pedophilia through reconditioning methods that alter sexual attraction or drugs that reduce sex drive. These methods resemble conversion therapy for homosexuality, however, and are just as ineffective and potentially harmful. While there is some evidence that these methods have been able to alter arousal patterns, they have shown to be ineffective in altering underlying sexual desires. The legitimacy of these studies is further cast into doubt by lack of long-term follow-ups, inclusion of control groups for comparison, valid constructs for what constitutes success, or adequate consideration of harmful effects on the mental health of the client.”
Principle #3: Desires are morally neutral.
This principle argues that a desire in and of itself does not have any moral character, it is only the actions of an individual that has moral character. Therefore a desire can neither be right or wrong, it merely just is and the desire itself can not be morally evaluated. This is the most important principle that is unique to this ideology. If it can be argued that desires are morally neutral, then it is morally acceptable to have sexual desires for children so long as you don’t act on them.
From ODU Professor Allyn Walker: “But using a term that communicates who someone is attracted to doesn’t indicate anything about the morality of that attraction. From my perspective, there is no morality or immorality attached to attraction to anyone because no one can control who they’re attracted to at all. In other words, it’s not who we’re attracted to that’s either okay or not, okay. It’s our behaviors and responding to that attraction that are either okay or not okay.”
Dealing with the Argument
If these three principles are to be considered true, then I think that it logically follows that pedophilia should be “destigmatized”, which I take to be largely synonymous with normalized. In fact, I think that if these three principles are to be considered true, then any sexual desire that one has should be normalized. The structural logic is there and can be demonstrated with a simple argument.
P1. If an individual is to be considered blameworthy for their desires, then they must be able to choose their desires, change their desires, or their desires must be morally wrong.
P2. An individual cannot choose their desire.
P3. An individual cannot change their desire.
P4. Desires are not morally wrong.
P5. An individual cannot choose their desire, change their desire, and their desires are not morally wrong. (Simp. 2,3,4)
P6. Therefore, an individual should not be considered blameworthy for their desires. (MT 1,5)
P7. If an individual should not be considered blameworthy for their desires and their desires are not morally wrong, then the individual and their desires should be accepted.
P8. Therefore, an individual and their desires should be accepted. (MP 4, 6,7)
These foundational principles are taken to be largely true in our culture which is why I think the push to normalize pedophilia is incredibly dangerous and has tremendous potential to take root. The argument is there and if the premises are in fact true, then the conclusion follows with certainty. The question is should we consider these premises to be true? I will spend some time over the next few months arguing against these foundational premises. If we are going to deal decisively with this movement, we must engage it at its strongest point. We cannot ignore it, we cannot pretend that it will just go away, and we can’t make the assumption that it doesn’t have the potential to take root. We must engage critically and firmly with this movement at its foundations to cut its source before it gets moving.
What are some of your thoughts? Are those that are writing against this topic being unreasonable or engaging in a slippery slope fallacy? Let me know what you think in the comments.