Thoughts on the Anti-fiction debate further arguments

So I’ve been delving more deeply into the concept of child sexuality and others to try and better understand what people are coming from when they argue in favor of prohibitions against things like simulated child pornography or child sex dolls, namely lolicon/shotacon materials.

Incorporating my knowledge and understanding of exactly what those forms of expression are, what they mean, and their significance, and how they affect people.

From what I can see, their belief is that the materials themselves promote the interest, communicate desire, which they equate with intent to commit a crime, if not contributing to a pedophilic individual’s risk of committing a sexual offense.

In the end, it will come down to defending the right to free speech, while also proving that such materials are not causally related to, let alone meaningfully associated with the commission of child sex abuse.
I applaud @prostasia for their work investigating the science aspect, but we need to also consider the philosophical and political arguments.

Antis, prudes, etc. are clinging to a cultural argument, that as a matter of principle, sincere pedophilic expression, regardless of what form it may take, whether it actually constitutes a risk of harm, let alone actually does harm, a real person, and on that observation, should be excluded from the freedom of speech. This cultural argument is identical to those cultural normative arguments by anti-LGBT proponents, such as Lord Devlin, and Strom Thurmond, people who went out of their way to argue that “morality”, social conformity, and cultural influence is what matters above all else, regardless of the harms enforcing those norms at the state level does. It’s barbarism. It’s senseless.
They know they can’t prove it’s harmful.
They don’t trust the science which suggests a link because the methodology behind those studies are risky and rely on pejorative definitions and conjecture, and they’re unwilling to actively debate those who can prove them wrong because they have no analog.

Bottom line: civil liberties are actively undermined when simulated child pornography is attacked. Those civil liberties have a purpose, and we should do our best to ensure that even the most egregious forms of expression have a right to exist, at least in the face of an ideological position.

There is simply no argument that can be made to justify the prohibition of child sex dolls, simulated child pornography, or fictitious text-based stories that cater to pedophilic desires.
They are not causally associated with abuse, and the study that @prostasia is funding will likely confirm that finding, while also illuminating interesting facts about how it affects people, who those consumers are, and the cultures and subcultures surrounding them.

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Of course, nothing will ever justify the sexual abuse and exploitation of real children.

People know the difference between a fantasy and real life, and more and more research is being conducted to illustrate that fact.

Fantasy prevents abuse.

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In my view, this thing about dolls and virtual CP increasing the desire of people for the real thing is not exactly what those people believe, that is what they use as EXCUSE to be against it. Well, to be more precise, I do believe they believe in what they said about it. But that’s just because humans are experts in fooling themselves in the name of convenience. Like, people WANT to believe that, so they look for “reasons” to back up that position.

But anyway, maybe you already experience the fact that, even if you prove to them that dolls and virtual CP in fact reduce the chances of sexual crimes, they will remain against it. And that’s because the REAL reason for them to be against it, is morality.
And, I talk recently about this in another place, so. Let me copy that here:

" The moral is the feeling that we have, about the opinion of people around us , which is related to the way they THINK would be correct for us to behave. So, If we act in a way that will agree with that opinion, and therefore please those people around us, we receive from our brain a positive and nice feeling. Which is that good feeling we have when we help people, donate to the poor, obey rules, etc. Is the feeling that we usually describe as being “proud” or that “we did the right thing”. And the opposite is also true. If you act contrary to the opinion of the people around you, in the sense of displeasing them, you will feel a bad feeling. That’s is what we use to call “feeling guilty”. All those things are instincts we still have from long ago when for us, being alone would mean certain death. Those feelings are tools we have, so we remain close to a group because we need (needed) that to survive. But that’s not true anymore people!
Also, as we can see in this example of dolls and virtual CP, sometimes morality makes things worse. So, the truth is:

Following moral standards above reason, makes us blind about reality."

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While I completely agree with this, since so many civil liberties are being trampled on these days, privacy, self defense, due process, other forms of speech, assembly, religion and medical choice, I fear sex issues will not be one to elicit any real concern by the public. We are being overwhelmed. But, I am proud to support @prostasia for their efforts in this arena.

The best response I have found on this issue is a quote from my favorite author, Robert Heinlein. “Sin lies only in hurting others unnecessarily, all other “sins” are invented nonsense.

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I’m of the belief that dolls/fiction are even not “morally wrong” in any way, unless one subscribes to something akin to aristotelian virtue ethics - which to be completely honest, nobody does.

A person doesn’t become a monster because of what they “do” in fiction, nor can they become a saint. These are actions with fundamentally no moral value whatsoever, like choosing to eat pancakes instead waffles for breakfast.

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Ah, but do they?

I would submit that everyone lives their lives in two realities; the factual reality of the universe which can be evidenced by making empirical studies, and the cognitive reality in our own heads, which might overlap with empirical realities, but is also suscebtible to interpretation and “filling in the gaps”.

If there was only the reality of factual evidence then there would be no such thing as cognitive biases, especially ‘confirmation bias’, and there would be no purpose in trying to learn about stuff if it had no effect on our lives.

So, to person ‘A’ (much like you & I): “Fantasy” is purely imagination. We know that what goes on in somebody’s head, with or without access to props like cartoons or child-like dolls, is not actually causing anyone any real-world harm. It is impossible to show evidence that it does.

However, to person ‘B’ (responding to person ‘A’): “‘Fantasy’ that hinges on a desire to do with children what you yourself admit would be harmful in real life, is evidence that I (not having such fantasies) am 100% safe to live in a society with children, whereas you have provided evidence that you might not be. Regardless of counter-intuitive claims that ‘not all child abusers are paedophiles’ it is totally illogical to say a person who has no desires/fantasies about sex with children would be as significant a risk, and any evidence to the contrary is meaningless.”

I, personally, hold that anybody has the capability to imagine anything about anything or anybody. It may be that imagining something that one finds disagreeable or even repulsive is not going to cause that person to willingly linger on that imaginary thought intentionally, I get that.

There’s certain films like ‘Orphan’, ‘Funny Games’ and the 2007 ‘The Girl Next Door’ - that I have just imagined in order to reference them, and in doing so I’ve focused on the torture and murder scenes in my head… pretty much involuntarily.

I don’t like those thoughts, but I could (and in fact do try to) remember that they are only actors portraying a scene in a film… that came out of somebody else’s sick mind. :unamused:

So the only options I have is to either get something “positive” from those scenes, or to wish I had never seen them/wish they’d never been filmed. I am going to stick with the second option, but if I was seriously concerned that those scenes could inspire people to behave that way in real life, then I might feel it necessary to try and stop similar depictions in future films somehow.

The difference with those who argue against dolls, cartoons and fiction is that this isn’t about making these things a feature of publicly accessible films or media. There have been documentaries, and although I can’t recall any specific films or TV series there may have been and quite possibly in future - but that’s not the point. The difference here; it is what people do or think in private, that doesn’t affect any other living thing - child or otherwise. So people who try and say it should be illegal can’t be saying it because it might inspire others - how would they know about it?

I feel there are actually 2 main reasons: either the person has young children, and they feel concerned that, simply because it exists, they may develop paedophilic interests themselves. Or, they feel allowing “something like this” to exist in the world might permit they themselves the opportunity to consider the thought of children in a sexual context, and they’re afraid they might not be totally repulsed. What I’m talking about is ‘self-projecting’ of course.

If they could tie a paedophile to a goat and sacrifice that, they would, but failing that: dolls, literature and 'toons would do.

Anyway, that’s my two cents worth.

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I’d say yeah, in objective reality for sure.

Except, someone doesn’t become a saint or a monster because of anything that’s “done”. They become a saint or a monster because that’s how other people choose to perceive them. Which of course is morally wrong in my book (a highly individual journal though).

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True. And this also speaks to how confused most people’s conceptions of morality are, and the conflation of disgust with wrong.

I don’t think an “objective morality” exists, nor do I believe it can even exist. But I do believe that if we are to create and abide by some system of moral’s, then at the very least it should be internally consistent.

Disgust is reserved for the alien, which is why your average person might be “morally indignated” at someone enjoying loli/shota manga but see no problem with themselves enjoying fictional murder, torture, gore etc. They’re fundamentally the same kind of action, and any coherent moral theory would regard them as such. But most people aren’t thinking in terms of rules, or theory’s , or anything of the sort. They start off with disgust and justify that feeling ad-hoc with cynically held “moral” maxims.

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@pseudo53

Well said.

My heartfelt advice to both authors and consumers (and especially authors) of so-called ‘obscene’
materials is this: make yourself a hard target. The problem with Frank McCoy and Thomas “Mr. Double” Arthur, is that the were soft targets – they were easy to find, and therefore prosecute. The same went for Karen “Red Rose” Fletcher.

Become proficient in the use of Tor, PGP, and VPNs.

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To this I will add: avoid engaging with people who claim or who you know are involved with anything sexual involving real minors. The Arthur case did involve real minors in a way, as people frequenting the site had real CP, and were being investigated, and Arthur had raped a real child at some poing. Also, McCoy was later convicted of possessing actual CP, which we don’t know if he had it before the stories or not. I think this advice is pretty common-sensical but it’s worth repeating.
If you are an author (e.g. fanfics) delete any comments that are creepy or that suggest people want to harm minors. If you can, block those users too.

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I think there is one. “The only real sin is hurting other people unnecessarily. Hurting yourself is not a sin, just stupid.” Robert A. Heinlein, Time Enough for Love, 1973.

I find this objective and moral. I use it to evaluate all issues. Gay marriage? Not hurting anyone, no problem. Drug use? It’s your brain if you want to fry it. Fictional pornography? No one hurt. If you don’t like it, don’t look at it. Simple.

I made picture this SFW. However, upon request, it was removed. The previous panels show the man abusing the boy. The last one has a message: “Pixels don’t feel pain, but humans do. So let’s lock violent fantasies in fantasy-world and throw away the key…” and the fictional boy has written on his hand “I’m O K” with a smiley face. The artist said:

"If you think it’s OK for children to be hurt in real life, or if you plan or want or hope to do so, then I truly and honestly and faithfully hope that you taste death a billion times before you lay a finger on a child.

I tend to agree with that sentiment.

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That sounds fascinating. Could you at least tell where you found this image? I’d like to see it, or at least be given the name of the artist.

It’s on 3D Boys and the artist is Insomniac.

This thread has good ideas.

Considering that some cite the precautionary principle, I finally looked it up. I found that the criticism section of the Wiki on the idea has interesting information and even cites district court cases.

The word fictitious refers to falsehoods presented as truth, like propaganda.

The word fictional refers to fairytales.

I see the words confused often.

I don’t argue that art or dolls don’t facilitate fictional conduct; however, there are many who actually like dolls and cartoons for their own sake. In such cases, there is no representation. For those who directly like dolls, the doll is both the reality and the fantasy.

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To this I will add: avoid engaging with people who claim or who you know are involved with anything sexual involving real minors.

This is generally good advice, although I would argue that it is difficult to follow.

The Arthur case did involve real minors in a way, as people frequenting the site had real CP, and were being investigated, and Arthur had raped a real child at some poing.

How was anyone supposed to know this, particularly prior to Arthur’s arrest? One cannot (or should not, anyway) presume interest in CP based on an interest in text-only, sexually-oriented fiction, yet such a presumption is commonplace, especially among law-enforcement and the judiciary. (I would go as far as to say this presumption is a literal article of faith on their part.)

Let’s take this site as an example. How would the Prostasia site operator(s) presumably know if anyone here has CP or not? I would argue that they don’t.

The only way they would know this would be in the case where someone would be so mind-boggingly stupid as to make a public confession on this site to possession of contraband, or alternatively, admit to this privately, in a PM. (In the latter case, the recipient of the PM would have to flag it, to notify the operators of the senders’ admissions.)

In the unlikely happenstance that this were to occur, I would argue that the site operators would have no alternative but to notify the authorities of the aforesaid admission(s), and turn over what evidence they have (offending text plus poster IP address) to the authorities.

Also, McCoy was later convicted of possessing actual CP, which we don’t know if he had it before the stories or not. I think this advice is pretty common-sensical but it’s worth repeating.

At some point between the time Frank was arrested in January, 2008 and when he was put on trial in January 2010, someone posted a reference to some alleged forensic reports outlining the results of examinations allegedly carried out on some of Frank’s computers. These reports stated that contraband had been found on his computers. Many people, including myself, thought that this was the literal kiss of death, that Frank was going down for sure, for this, if not for anything he had written.

However, to my astonishment, Frank was put on trial only for materials he had either written himself, edited on behalf of others, or hosted on his website. The speculation at the time was that this must have been due to one or more defects in the search warrant which rendered those forensic reports the “fruit of the poisonous tree” and thus inadmissable.

At any rate, Frank was never put on trial for this alleged possession of contraband, at least in 2010.

There is an old adage that goes, “Commit only one crime at a time.” One would have thought that Frank would have been mindful of this, as he wanted to be put on trial for writing.

If you are an author (e.g. fanfics) delete any comments that are creepy or that suggest people want to harm minors. If you can, block those users too.

You are presuming that people are running their own sites – this is good advice, if that is the case.

It’s not about presuming someone has CP based on fiction. The authorities might have known this about Arthur prior to his arrest (see the Kutzner case, a.k.a the Simpsons case). There are not enough details around, but it’s a fair speculation given the general pattern of these prosecutions.

Also, you can delete comments on some sites like Ao3. You can even choose to mod those comments yourself and subject them to an approval process before they become public. I do that myself. Every time someone comments on my work, I get a notification and I open a message which shows the comment, and an option to approve for publication or delete.

By the way, how should one react when someone brings up their own sob story anecdote about being raped IRL in order to cause kneejerk reactions of agreement with their stance on banning the fictional stuff? Obviously, given how I just worded that, my own personal response is just to say that I don’t give a shit, but what if I wanted… softer words to respond with?

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Just point out how fiction isn’t real and that no real relation exists between that person’s experience and the existence/consumption of fictional media, and that they’re being irrational.

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Boy, tell me about it. I’ve seen far too many people use their own trauma and the trauma of others as tools of censorship. Thankfully, I’ve also seen plenty of victims defend freedom of expression, many of them specifically citing research indicating how porn does NOT increase sexual violence. As long as research prevails over emotion, then Prostasia can rest east that healthy sexual outlets aren’t going away.

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