Man convicted over "illegal" cartoons

Maybe encouraging people to have some self-discipline and critical thinking skills will help them more than accepting the tendency towards emotional knee-jerk reactions. Honestly, people who can’t think clearly are likely to cause more danger and suffering than all of the worlds pedophilia.

Exterminate all rational thought! That is the conclusion I have come to.


This is not some kind of overwhelming hardwired brain response, it’s cultural. Child porn laws cover 16-year-olds who would have been married for years already in times past.

The point of the comparison to other crimes is to see that the only thing that makes the kind of prosecution possible is precisely that we have a reason-blocking emotional response to pedophilia, which should be our trigger to overcome that response.


Don’t at all disagree with you there. But, there may be a terminology issue at play here, and possibly two issues conflated into one. In the thread and though linked items, this has involved drawings of “underdeveloped” people, and, when you get to the technical aspects, pedophelia, in the medical sense, is generally referring to those attracted to pre-pubecents. I don’t think you’ll get a lot of argument that is a definite aberration, and likely a psychological issue, though I stop short of @mrfixit’s proposals of mandatory treatment for the reasons I went into above.

Then you’ve got this nasty cultural area where we’ve got individuals who are biologically sexually mature, but at a minimum culturally, if not mentally, immature. And that results in some really nasty problems, with some pretty hackneyed fixes, things like Romeo and Juliet laws, and, arbitrary age of consent laws.
This is a much dicier issue, and less clearly a psych one, though, inability to comport with social norms and rules, regardless of their consistency with biology, is it’s own problem.

Agree completely here, and also why I Liked @popobawa4u’s response. My point is simply that we can’t just dismiss the aspect of it that confuses thinking, rather it needs to be attacked head on, as opposed to dismissed as a distraction (It is that, but, it’s way past the point of trivial-ness to be able to wave away that easily).


The confusion between paedophilia and ephebophilia/hebephilia?


Heh, were I not at work, I might look those up to determine which is which and what means what exactly. Indeed, I may have put pedophelia on the wrong end in my post above. I was aware there were separate actual labels for each, and that the one known label is often used as a catchall for the whole thing, but, even being aware, have my own uncertainty on the actual words and which goes to what meaning. I’d imagine it’s worse for those who arn’t interested in making the distinction.

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You may wish to join the discussion in this topic

From the Wikipedia article on ephebophilia:

[quote]In research environments, specific terms are used for chronophilias: for instance, ephebophilia to refer to the sexual preference for mid-to-late adolescents,[1][2] hebephilia to refer to the sexual preference for earlier pubescent individuals, and pedophilia to refer to the sexual preference for prepubescent children.[2][4] However, the term pedophilia is commonly and mistakenly used to refer to any sexual interest in minors below the legal age of consent, regardless of their level of physical or mental development.[5]

{emphasis added for ease of parsing}[/quote]

Again, however, I submit we are off topic.

It’s such a powerful distractor that no matter how many time we try to pull this discussion back to thought crimes, we keep going back to the specific example cited in the original linked article.


As a principle, I refuse social norms. They are an abstract, so are trumped by my obligations to be fair to actual people.

Why consent is so dicy is that law and policies take a rather dim view of consent in the first place - even for adults. How old do I need to be to prescribe myself medication? Why can’t I sign a waiver of liability to use an unqualified attorney or plumber? My willingness to make choices and live with the consequences of my actions are recognized only in a few specific instances - even when they do not directly affect other people. Along with other obvious hypocritical areas where mutual consent of sexual activities is not acknowledged. These restrictions exist to allow an elite to condition the masses to form the types of families, relationships, and communities which they - a minority - prefer. It seems obvious to me that such “protections” help neither the individual nor society at large.


Wasn’t there that feller got done for writing slash fic where he brutally murdered Girls Aloud?

Local boy. It wasn’t you, was it?

Got off, anyway.

Records can be sealed, gag orders can be put in place. Though, shouldn’t the long term goal to be for less taboo and stigma against mental illness?

There isn’t just “thought” involved in this, though. Drawing and possessing virtual child porn in a society in which it is anathema is an anti-social (as in against society) act. The degree of how anti-social it is varies (is it made publicly available or intentionally distributed? etc.), but in my view society has a right to react. The question, in my mind, is how do we balance the rights of society against the rights of the individual. I think this absolute (or nigh absolute) protection of all expression that seems be proposed by some people here swings things too far to the individual’s side. Individual rights are vitally important and we should error towards overprotection of them in general. However, virtual child porn is:

  1. utterly without value as art
  2. linked with utterly vile and inexcusable acts

and the producers and consumers of it are, by any reasonable definition, mentally ill. If it is eradicated, nothing of value will be lost. The question that should be pondered is how can we limit it with a minimum of unintended consequences, not whether or not it’s protected expression. Because it’s not protected expression.

Fuck, no, I wouldn’t live in Shields. /shudders

You’re assuming the conclusion here. Things must cause HARM, not simply lack value, before they can be banned. Declaring that they’re bad, and that anyone who disagrees is violating social norms, therefore must be sick, and then using the fact that only “sick” people disagree that it’s bad is extremely circular logic. Just because you or I might be squicked by it, doesn’t mean everyone is, and, just because WE might not see artistic value, doesn’t mean it lacks that value.

As far as being “linked with utterly vile and inexcusable acts”, Linked how? I don’t see it as linked to those acts any more than Texas Chainsaw Massacre is linked to serial killing. It takes more that depicting an illegal act to make something illegal. Child porn is the abnormality as far as restrictions on expression. Ordinarily, simply taking a picture of something that is a crime doesn’t usually make the picture itself a crime. If I take a picture of a murder in progress, it might also be evidence, but, the picture itself doesn’t make me some kind of accessory to the crime. Indeed, the restrictions on CP produce some bizzare results, where, two people can be engaged in a legal act, take a picture of that act, and only the PICTURE is illegal. This is dangerous ground, justified ONLY by the concept that it protects actual children to justify the restriction.

Once you remove actual children from the mix, that justification is gone.

[Citation Needed]


Wow, what a story. Here’s the prosecutor explaining why he was charged:

"A crucial aspect of the reasoning that led to the instigation of
these proceedings was that the article in question, which was posted on
the internet, was accessible to people who were particularly vulnerable -
young people who were interested in a particular pop music group.

"It was this that distinguished this case from other material available on the internet.

“The CPS concluded, with the benefit of counsel’s advice, there was a realistic prospect of conviction.”

That second paragraph - it was this that distinguished this case - I’m having a lot of trouble figuring out what the “this” was. Basically by virtue of being on the internet young people could read it, and that distinguishes it from other things on the internet… right…

And then finally the reason to prosecute was because there was a realistic prospect of conviction. If you can do it, then do it, apparently.

I just want to say that once you declare a broad class of things that you can’t possibly precisely define “utterly without value as art” based on their content, that pretty much confirms that this is about thought policing. The idea that producers are mentally ill is silly - many of them probably just want to sell a product for money. Lastly, I don’t think it is a settled issue that viewing child porn increases the likelihood to commit actual violence against children, and it may be the case that for some people it reduces that likelihood, so you can’t just say that nothing of value will be lost because we just don’t know.


I really think that the harm test is the easiest part of this to pass. Do you not feel you’ve been psychically harmed by images you’ve seen on the Internet? On the contrary, harm alone is no reason to ban expression. It is only when harm is coupled with lack of other value. And if you truly think their might be even an ounce of artistic value in drawings of toddlers being sodomized, then there’s no reason for further debate on that point since our starting points are way too far apart.

The link in the middle are the producers and consumers. Virtual child porn is linked to pedophilia (note I said linked, not a cause). Pedophilia is linked to the sexual abuse of children. Being linked to murder, in that they depict it, is a strike against horror movies and video games. That is why reasonable people do not allow their children to consume that kind of media without a healthy dose of explanation of the context, if at all. With context, violent media can become art. In my view there is no explaining or understanding of context that can turn drawings of children being graphically sexually assaulted in which it becomes art. It is valueless and horrifying.

If you take a picture of a murder in progress and then sell it to someone for their sexual gratification, I’m not sure you’re a criminal but I don’t think you’re an upstanding member of society. A more apt comparison than just taking a picture of a murder in a journalistic or semi-journalistic context is filming a snuff film. I agree that putting minors on trial, convicting them, and putting them on sex-offender registries for naked pictures of themselves is a misapplication of law. The law should be carefully rewritten to protect young people from that, while also not opening up loopholes that may harm them in other ways. I disagree that banning child pornography is anywhere near dangerous ground.

I imagine you’re not much of a fan of that decision. I personally think it’s close to a fair balance between societal and personal rights, and I think Lawrence v. Texas does a lot to prevent any misapplication of Miller v. California to private goings-on in private places.

Broad class? I pretty clearly defined what I think ought to be considered virtual child porn:

I really don’t think that’s very broad. Nude drawings of small children and drawings of 16-year-olds wouldn’t fall under that definition, for example. And rightly so, don’t you think? The former can be tasteful art, and the latter, as long as it was strictly the product of someone’s imagination and not modeled for by underage individuals, can be merely distasteful.

The last I checked, psychopathy/sociopathy is a mental illness too. Doing something so blatantly anti-social as produce virtual child porn in order to profit off of it is a rather strong indicator of that.

I make no claims to knowing if virtual child porn leads to sexual violence against children, only that consumption of it is a strong indication of pedophilia and pedophiles are more likely than most to commit sexual crimes against children. It’s a logical relationship, not a causal one. I very much doubt that consumption of child pornography (real or virtual) has a large direct effect on whether or not a pedophile, or psychopath, commits crimes of sexual violence. Or, even if there is an effect, it varies from person to person.

Actual child pornography is illegal because children are victimized in the production of it. Possession of it is illegal because it constitutes demand which will lead to production which leads to victimization. That child pornography is obscene and without artistic value is just icing on a cake of pure vileness. Virtual child pornography is a much much lesser evil than actual child pornography. The harm is only to the psyche of the viewer, and probably just a small cut into an already horribly scarred one if the viewer is intentionally consuming it. So, in the end, my strong feeling that it should be banned is driven by revulsion. The justification is that it has no value to balance against even that limited harm. I completely admit I am closed-minded about virtual child porn. But why on earth should anyone want to be open-minded about it?


Your opinion about virtual child porn is crystal clear from your responses in this thread. I don’t need any more information from you about that.

What I would like is an answer to the questions that I posed to you above, which you either ignored or entirely missed. I wonder if the only part of my post that you read was the tl; dr summary. Or do you simply not wish to address the questions?

Again, absent the lightning rod of pedophilia, what is your position on what acts or ideas people can hold in their imagination and what are the limitations on how they might share their imaginations with others?

Besides pedophilia, what other thoughts are forbidden, and how will we deal with those who are on either end of a communication of forbidden thoughts with others?

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Heh, trouble is, that’s what’s at issue in the matter above, from what I gather. Also, if it’s a drawing of a fictional character, How do you know how old they are? Ask for ID?

As to Miller, Nobody here is arguing that obscenity isn’t unprotected speech, at least as applied to the US (the case in question being clearly located in the UK, well, we’ll just ignore that for now I guess). The chasm you have yet to bridge is applying the Miller test to so called Virtual Child Porn, and getting an obscenity ruling from it. Which has yet to happen in the US. In fact, many decisions have gone the other direction.

As to this:

Wow, Really? Psychically harmed? Regardless on what exactly that might mean, (I’ve been disgusted by MANY things on the internet, but I’ve got no idea on “Psychically harmed”) I think you’ll find the standard for what constitutes Harm, legally, is a mite bit higher than that. Further, I never said it was the ONLY requisite for censorship, nor that it alone would condone censorship, rather, that it was a necessary pre-requisite that needs be satisfied before going on to any other test. This can be seen in so called “Government Interest” test.
For instance, I’d be very happy if I lived my entire life never seeing “tubgirl” again. However, there is no ground to ban it, even if it lacks all serious artistic value (a test that has never been applied because it’s not relevant), because there is no legitimate interest to be served banning it. No one is harmed by it, no legitimate interest is served by restricting that speech. Just because it’s “ew icky” to you or I, doesn’t mean we’ve got any ground to object to it, in a legal sense.

Here’s the issue, you’re talking about a theoretical, and attempting to make blanket statements of a wide swath of images based on your assumptions about that hypothetical. I have no idea what value there may or may not be in such a drawing, in part because you’re not speaking of a specific drawing to evaluate. Perhaps they depict atrocities reported in a general sense, committed by an invading force, and graphically depicted in a manner to provoke a visceral response for propaganda purposes. While not precisely laudable, that would potentially satisfy a Miller test. Blanket, general statements about images based only on one aspect of what they might contain simply don’t do us a whole lot of good.

As @davide405 notes, it’s clear what your opinion is on this particular class of… Images. I happen to share your distaste for them. That however doesn’t actually constitute evidence that it’s actually illegal, in the US or elsewhere, that it’s clear and indisputable evidence of a mental disorder (your own characterization of what you’d not view as evidence of a mental disorder, unclothed “virtual” 16 year olds, seems misaligned with the conduct you view as prohibited and medically actionable), or that, even assuming those last two unknowns to be satisfied, your proposed remedy would cause more good than harm.


What is a psychical harm? Please define?

I saw a LOT of images during my searches for various technical, behavioral, medical and forensic oddities. I don’t think any one of them harmed me.

Metallurgy is linked to knives and guns. Knives and guns are linked to murders.

Chemistry is linked to explosives and explosives are linked to terrorism. Still, ownership of Urbanski’s “Chemistry and technology of explosives”, or even a book of recipes, should not be a cause for being sent to an involuntary therapy in Guantanamo, nor for even a single cent fine.

What about selling a footage of such from a surveillance camera?

It is highly dangerous. There already are be innocent people who never wanted to harm anybody swept into the dragnet. There are already cases of common family photographs freaking people out enough to get police and child services involved, heavily traumatizing the families involved. Is this the kind of world you want to get us all doomed into, and even making it worse than it already is? Think about the collateral damage. Think about borderline cases, prosecutors eager to get another score, overworked public defenders that don’t have time to defend… and even if you can and do hire a lawyer and win at the end, it can cost you your house or worse. Meanwhile, thank you the mass media, your career is ruined, your society standing as well, and you cannot even change identity and go west and start anew.

And then there is another can of worms. This battlefield binds strengths of many do-gooders, including you. Where will they move once they “win”? What cause will be next? What will be the next moral panic, next “we must ban this or else”?

Drawings and writings with any - repeat, ANY - content should be absolutely legal to possess. These don’t harm anybody.

So why not going for more and more realistic rendering software? I consider mere consumption to be about as harmless as… something harmless. Crowd out actual real photos with simulations where no person was affected. Even allow possession of the photos themselves, as they contain a lot of forensic clues; and just go after the producers. Besides, the wide availability of simulated photos will drop the prices on the black market to rock bottom, further lowering incentives to product “the real kind”. While there will still be demand for the real stuff, it will become a niche of a niche, driving down the overall production rates and the related real harm.

And once we are in the world of 3d models, things can quickly get pretty dual-use. The same model can be used for a pedophile, for pediatry, or just for parent training. Do you want to ban just the resulting renders, or even the tools and “precursors” to make them?

…besides, if you cannot get laid to save your life, a regular porn can do wonders to satiate the built-in demand and prevent you from screwing up between real people. I imagine it’s the same when you cannot get laid because of not wanting to do harm to a child, instead of just not being able (and lately even willing) to navigate the insanely complex state machine of more advanced interpersonal communication.

And the cure is likely to be way worse than the illness.

Harm to a psyche, scarred psyche… define the terms, please?

Easy solution. Don’t seek it, don’t look at it.

The harm of leaving it alone looks lower than the harm of collateral damages of going after it.

Because thoughtcrime?


I completely reject the frame you’re placing around this discussion and your model for the relationship between the individual and society. Noticing signs of mental illness, encouraging treatment, and sequestering the ill from the rest of society if they’re a risk to themselves or others has nothing to do forbidding thoughts or punishing “thoughtcrime”.

Which is why using purported age is pointless.

Is that so? I was under the impression that drawn child porn was illegal in the US as of several years ago. I’m not really feeling all that gung ho about googling about it (don’t really want that in my search history :stuck_out_tongue:)

The hypothetical statute I suggested was intended to be limited in scope: only graphic depictions of sex acts by physically undeveloped persons. The goal was to see if anyone would agree in principle that drawings of toddler sodomy were okay to censor (or “send down the memory hole” to satisfy everyone’s Orwell fetish), but clearly I underestimated the fanatical devotion to freedom of any and all expression espoused here.

I’m going to stop here because I’ve stayed up way to late and I’m not even sure if what I’ve written above makes sense. I don’t think I’ll be on again before this thread closes. I’ve enjoyed the debate and I hope I’ve injected at least a little gray into some people’s black-and-white approach to censorship/obscenity and public mental health. I know that I’ve been forced to think hard about how to help the mentally ill without inadvertently causing harm. Cheers.

And you want to doom everybody else to worry about what they do have in their search history?

I for one prefer a world where I can search for whatever thought I get, whatever hypothesis I want to boost or disprove, anything, without having to worry about the Thought Police coming after me, and explaining myself to them.