Academic and legal attitudes to cartoons and other unreal depictions that could be interpreted as child pornography.

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  1. Academic and legal attitudes to cartoons and other unreal depictions that could be interpreted as child pornography.
  4. Kris Xavier’s classic essay comparing attitudes to cartoons and other unreal depictions that could be interpreted as child pornography.  
  6. Reposted by KB.
  8. NEW:  Now includes follow-up material from a 2014 article by Bernie Najarian about police actions against possession of hypothetically eroticized images that do not depict or arise from sexual exploitation.  
  10. Ethel Quayle's new Spirit of Child Pornography: as a menace to free speech in areas unrelated to porn
  12. Kristofor Xavier
  13. 2013-October-13 15:40:19, Sunday
  16. Whenever you need to respond to something objectionable that’s come out of the universities, you are forced to wonder how to to do it most effectively. This becomes an especially pointed question if the matter is something as controversial as pedophilia and freedom of thought. You’re taking on people who are heavily fortified in socially constructed legitimacy – all the right degrees, committees, job titles, connections, jargon, and academic back-scratching history, not to mention socially approved sexualities.
  18. It won’t do much good, then, to respond in full university jargon and pretend to be writing a journal paper. Might as well stick to popular, everyday language as much as possible. Many people can read that sort of response, and even the relevant academics will be able to imagine what it might look like if it was written in their field-specific dialect. Some, of course, if confronted with ordinary English, will think ‘not legitimate,’ and turn their restricted and busy minds elsewhere. But most academics really are fully fledged human beings and don’t screen out reality quite so stringently.
  20. In the writing below, I will use the journalistic style, surname-only, to refer to persons I am talking about after the first mention. No disrespect is intended.
  22. What I am objecting to here is portions of a document called “Child pornography and the sexual exploitation of children online,” subtitled “A contribution of ECPAT International to the World Congress III against Sexual Exploitation of Children and Adolescents, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil 25-28 November 2008.” ECPAT International is an organization that states that its acronym stands for “End Child Prostitution, Child Pornography and Trafficking of Children for Sexual Purposes;” the document is online in several languages (if links now outdated, check web archive – KB):
  24.  English ( ,
  26. French (, and
  28. Spanish (
  30. I am objecting to this document not out of a desire to defend child pornography, but rather out of a desire to ensure that campaigns against it don’t, as a byproduct, create a climate hostile to freedom of thought, freedom of speech and free assembly for law-abiding people who are sexually attracted to minors. As you read on, I think you will see that this is a realistic concern. There’s much more at stake here than porn.
  32. The main author of this ECPAT document is one of academia’s most active campaigners against child pornography and child sexual exploitation, Ethyl Quayle. Quayle, currently serving as a lecturer in the Clinical Psychology program of the University of Edinburgh, is one of the long-term leaders of a European-Union-funded project called COPINE (Combating Paedophile Information Networks in Europe) and a co-developer of the famous COPINE scale ( that classifies “child abuse images” into 10 categories based on erotic content and social objectionability. The wide-ranging nature of the COPINE scale, which starts by classifying items like photos showing “swimming costumes from…family albums” as level 1 exploitative, says a lot about the fundamental approach Quayle has taken. Indeed, the final sentence in the description of level 1 or photos “indicative” of abuse, tells all: “Pictures of children playing in normal settings, in which the context or organisation of pictures by the collector indicates inappropriateness.” Just as, traditionally, ‘beauty is in the eye of the beholder,’ for Quayle, abuse lies in the “inappropriate” thoughts of the beholder. If that seems to be a presumptuous statement, keep reading.
  34. Just to give some background to Quayle’s document, there have been two long-standing objections to child pornography. One is the view that children should not be put in a sexual situation that is recorded for later viewing by other people. The other is that viewing such recordings might incite people to take sexual advantage of children. Quayle carefully points out that she and her colleagues have an objection that goes beyond either of these options. I’ll get to its exact nature below.
  36. There is an obvious reason for going beyond the two traditional objections. Each of them has limitations if you plan to take up arms against child pornography in general.
  38. Even people who strongly support the first objection – let’s call it ‘bad to make it, bad to support its manufacture (BTMBTSM)’ – know it has points of weakness. For example, it can be argued against historically along the lines of ‘what’s done is done.’ Suppose there are photographs showing kids having sex in 1901. Everyone is dead; no one can be identified. Where’s the harm? Just as we can have a fun day treading the temples of Teotihuacan in Mexico, knowing full well that they were dedicated with hearts ripped out of sacrificed young men, we can (it may be argued) view these historical artifacts without harming anyone, even if they were arguably unethically or even cruelly made at the time. Also, the first objection doesn’t apply to anything that wasn’t perceptibly sexual when it happened. For example, a collection of photos of naked boys swimming in the river in 1932 can hardly be objected to: the subjects might be delighted to see the old photos, and why shouldn’t everyone else be delighted too? I’ve already written elsewhere about the child and teen erotica materials that were legally produced in the 70’s and 80’s that have been reduced to illegality today (essay no longer on the web, including archives - KB). When societies capriciously outlaw previously legal items that may be lying forgotten somewhere in your house or apartment (maybe left there by an old roommate), you know that something strange is going on.
  40. The BTMBTSM objection also raises uncomfortable, controversial questions about whether children being sexual with each other is objectionable in itself, and whether recording these moments of sexual realism can be intrinsically wrong in all cases. Certainly, in cases where children are forced or persuaded, to their later deep humiliation, to take part in pornography, wrong has been done. But are child actors harmed by doing a slightly faked sex scene for a coming-of-age movie? Now make the sex real and voluntary, and has a great deal changed? Ethicists and civil libertarians can make all sorts of contradictory firm statements about such matters. Even the ultimate artistic question – “does art have a right to depict every truth in life?” emerges in cases such as paintings or writings about the artist’s own fantasies and past experiences. This is messy. BTMBTSM also leaves the door wide open for legal cartoon child pornography, personal reminiscences about childhood sex, and fiction about sex involving children.
  42. The second objection, the ‘opening the floodgates’ (OTF) argument, appears at first to be much simpler to uphold. It proposes that viewing child pornography loosens up the viewer’s mind, making him imagine that the scenes he sees in the depictions are possible for him to view in the flesh or even to touch and get involved in. It also proposes that the circulation of such material infects additional people with the same loosening-up of inhibitions and prohibitions. This objection has the minor problem that it is clearly involved with thought control, directly trying to regulate what people have in their minds. In practice, however, western societies have never been afraid to erect some barriers against “thoughtcrime,” as author George Orwell called it in his novel ‘1984.’ Traditional penalties against crimes like adultery and sodomy were often exaggeratedly severe in order to frighten others away from the same orgasmically reinforced behaviours. Blanket prohibitions against publishing on sexual topics – all those bans on D.H. Lawrence’s explicit novel Lady Chatterley’s Lover – also exerted thought control against sexual no-no’s.
  44. The main problem with OTF is that it refers to causality. It requires that you believe that images will mechanically cause people to change their thought patterns and to perform acts that they wouldn’t perform otherwise (for a detailed view, see footnote 1). Free will, the fundamental assumption of the justice system, must be seen to be compromised by sexual imagery. Or more simply, you have to think that many people will take a monkey-see, monkey-do approach to depictions. This may sound like common sense, since we all take in information that influences what we do, and the entire advertising industry is dedicated to motivating us with images. And yet, there are deep problems involved in assuming images will have predictable effects. We have a relationship with advertising that we don’t have with all other sorts of visuals and stories. We all know, for example, that most people can watch violent dramas on stage or on television and yet not be mechanically caused to go maim or kill people. Horror films don’t function as advertising. Indeed, watching second-hand, controlled violence – for example, in American or Australian football games – is thought to be one of our main ways of shouting aggressive urges out of our system. This is called ‘catharsis,’ when merely watching something works out the energy that might otherwise go into problematical actions. Images may cause the exact opposite of what they show.
  46. The catharsis argument has long been applied to pornography of all kinds. Using porn has been proposed as a way of quenching urges for extramarital sex, problematic fetish behavior (think of the poor fellow a few years ago who was arrested while standing in the underside of a women’s campground outhouse, watching all the women do their thing up above – he must have had very poor internet skills) and sex with underage partners. Social-scientific studies attempting to find out whether pornography causes what it shows or defuses it are a notoriously mixed bag, some claiming an effect and some claiming no effect. Such studies are also plagued by scientific problems – biased assumptions and skewed samples. Studies on pedophiles, for example, have mostly been done on people who have been arrested or otherwise caught. The groups studied probably had exaggerated proportions of people with low intelligence, and people whose risk-taking behavior stemmed from serious depression or other existing mental health problems. These highly arrestable subgroups are also the most likely groups to take a monkey-see-monkey-do approach to images: the very-low-intelligence person might see new ideas he truly had never thought of, and then have no idea why they shouldn’t be acted on; the sociopath might reason that if someone else was actually getting something that was only a fantasy for him, he was darn well going to get some live action too; and the depressed person might think, ‘what have I got to lose if I do that too?’ On the other hand, the numbers of people who use erotica to subdue their socially inconvenient sexual urges are likely to be far larger than the numbers in these risk-prone special groups.
  48. Logically, in order to believe that child pornography causes sex with children or further child porn production, you have to also believe the parallel causality stories. You cannot escape the analogy that adult hetero pornography must cause the degradation of woman and relationships, and that violent depictions must cause violence. ‘Sensual images propagate the morally loose things they show’ has to be a general conclusion – it can’t be specific to one arbitrary topic or another. In fact, the OTF campaign against child pornography on the internet is the outgrowth of a (so far) spectacularly unsuccessful campaign to eliminate adult heterosexual pornography on the grounds that it causes women to be conceived of and treated as objects. I strongly suspect that everyone who believes in OTF causality for child pornography also believes in ‘objectification’ causality in adult hetero porn. In working against child porn, these believers have simply chosen a field where the counter-arguments that trip them up are socially difficult to present. Their arguments can’t win on the adult battlefield, but the same propositions can win on the child front.
  50. The front runner in the OTF camp in recent times has been the Supreme Court of Canada. In its key judgment R.vs. Sharpe ( ), it bought heavily into the idea that child pornography causes unrealistic deformations to occur in the minds of those who view it. This idea was introduced to it by expert witness Dr. Peter Collins ( ) who was then working for the Ontario Provincial Police. The court, in its judgment, accepted the following (among other, similar propositions that I won’t discuss in detail):
  53. [quote]
  55. Dr. Collins testified at trial to the first type of harm identified by the Crown, namely that the possession of child pornography contributes to the cognitive distortions of paedophiles. He testified that it is generally accepted amongst the vast majority bof forensic psychiatrists that possession of child pornography reinforces some paedophiles’ cognitive distortions. He described these “offence-facilitating beliefs” as the rationalizations and justifications that paedophiles have for their deviant behaviour. Cognitive distortions contribute to the paedophile’s belief that sexual activity with children is acceptable, and that children enjoy sex with adults. Dr. Collins concluded that child pornography, cognitive distortions and the validation of the belief that sexual activity with children is acceptable are inextricably linked.
  57. [end quote]
  59. Firstly, Collins says, the moral fundamental that ‘sex with children is unacceptable’ is literally warped out of shape within the brain by ideas arising from exposure to child pornography. Secondly, porn introduces the unthinkably unrealistic idea that ‘children enjoy sex with adults’ as a new fun-house mirror deep in the pedophile’s mind.
  61. Collin’s first proposition is basic Victorianism: seeing any depiction of forbidden sex unforbids it. Child porn makes sex with children seem do-able. Depicting adultery makes adultery happen. Writing about promiscuity produces orgies. Allowing sale of Lady Chatterley’s Lover weakens the family. Cognitive distortions consist of permissions to accept the unacceptable, and these permissions are caused by viewing a representation of the unacceptable. Freedom of speech thus must be limited so that it doesn’t allow any representation of forbidden sex. Thought must be limited to what is legally allowed in real life – but only in the case of sex. Sex has more corrupting juju than violence or any other topic that can be shown in books, photos and movies. There are no legally problematical cognitive distortions built up by watching a grisly revenge murder on TV, but such distortions are built up by seeing realistic or cartoon imagery showing sexuality in a child.
  63. The second proposition – that children do not enjoy sex with adults – is what philosophers, technically, would call an ‘empirical’ question. It is a real-world item that could be tested by an experiment: you could allow 500 children to decide privately if they wanted to have sex with any of 500 attractive adults, count how many (if any) decided to do so, and then interview them at later time intervals about whether or not they enjoyed it. Human behavior is a part of biology, and answers to biological questions (except where physical or chemical limits are involved) are usually statistical. It would be statistically safe to predict that some proportion of the children would enjoy sex with adults – perhaps some of the 14 year old heterosexual boys who admired the 21 year old supermodels in the adult test group. Think of the classic Summer of 42 ('42 ), one of the most successful movies in history. Its author, Herman Raucher, did indeed fall in love with and have sex with a 30-something woman when he was a child of 14. Evidently he enjoyed the experience very much; he spent years looking for his Dorothy and wrote a movie and a book about his profound experience of love with her.
  65. Nonetheless, such a ‘how many kids like Raucher are there?’ experiment cannot ethically or legally be run. Its outcome can only be imagined. Collins therefore proposes the bizarre cognitive short-cut of stating that imagining one experimental outcome, non-enjoyment, is cognitively well formed, while imagining the other, enjoyment, is cognitively distorted. Indeed, extending Collin’s pseudo-logic, reading Raucher’s autobiographical story, which graphically shows a child enjoying sex with an adult, provides permanent brain corruption.
  67. And Collins is supposed to be a scientist.
  69. Collins is currently serving (as of 2013 – KB), according to National Post writer Matthew Fisher, as unofficial rabbi for the American allied forces in southern Afghanistan ( ). One hopes his Talmudic judgment is sounder than his scientific judgment.
  71. The fact that the Canadian Supreme Court ate up this preposterous set of ideas from Collins shows desperation. Some rationale has to be found to ban child pornography, and this weird set of Victorian presumptions thinly dressed in a scientific burqa will have to do, if nothing better comes to hand. Child pornography causes abuse by distortedly suggesting that Herman Raucher’s reality can be real in some cases and by making thinking so seem acceptable. It’s wonderful stuff if you’re a student of propaganda, but who can take it seriously as legitimate thought?
  73. The U.S. courts have not been kind to the OTF argument, at least not in considering whether manga and similar cartoons showing child-like characters having sex should be included in child pornography prosecutions. Quayle herself notes what they said (p. 17-18):
  75. [quote]
  77. In Ashcroft v. Free Speech Coalition (2002) a majority of the Supreme Court struck down portions of the Child Pornography 18/Child Pornography and Sexual Exploitation of Children Online Prevention Act of 1996, stating that [prosecution of] virtual child pornography created without real or identifiable minors was unconstitutionally overbroad (Quayle, 2008). The US Court stated that, “Virtual child pornography is not ‘intrinsically related’ to the sexual abuse of children.
  79. While the Government asserts that the images can lead to actual instances of child abuse, the causal link is contingent and indirect. The harm does not necessarily follow from the speech, but depends upon some unquantified potential for subsequent criminal acts”.
  81. [end quote]
  83. What this means is that the court rejected the direct causality of abuse by images that are products of imagination. It allowed that some people might experience such an effect, viewing images and deciding to imitate them, but stated that this was based partly on whatever else was going on with those people, not just on the fact that they viewed images.
  85. Even where it is accepted, the OTF argument has the limitation that what it refers to must be so clearly erotic that traditional Victorian limitations against talk about sex can be deployed against it. The pornography that is banned must clearly be pornography. A child non-erotically modelling in a basketball uniform cannot be treated as a subject of pornography, even if multitudes of pedophiles collect the images. The floodgates are opened by the nature of the images themselves, not purely by the overactive imaginations of the image viewers.
  87. Quayle’s mission, therefore, is to provide the world with something better than OTF that can really root out child pornography completely.
  89. I am going to quote from Quayle’s writing here and try to explain it afterward. Her writing is normally lucid and easy to understand, but it tends to divide into a mixture of obscurantism and shibboleths – obscure explanations followed by mostly unexplained moral pronouncements – when she gets to the heart of her argument. My inserted explanations are in braces { }.
  91. [quote]
  93. p. 20 Indeed, opponents of these measures {against porn cartoons and the like}, such as the American Civil Liberties Union, have argued that people’s thoughts are their private thoughts, and that prohibition of pseudo-child pornography is a violation of free speech rights (Taylor and Quayle, 2003). However, Oswell (2006) has presented an important argument against this stating that, “Although the evidential value of the virtual image is different from an actual image (and hence the forms of police investigation and legal prosecution are different), until an image can be said to correspond to an actual case of child sexual abuse, all Internet child pornography can be viewed as real.
  95. In this sense, the primary concern is not one of the effects of the image on others {OTF is dismissed as a primary concern} or one of the relations of power encoded in the image, but one of the virtual evidentiality of the image (i.e., on the image’s capacity to refer to an objective reality that is both internal and external to the image). The ethical intensity of the virtual image lies precisely in its capacity to refer to a scene beyond itself. ” (Oswell p. 258). Oswell (2006) goes on to state that the crime of possession, making or distribution of child pornography (whether virtual or not) is a crime not only against a particular child, but against all children. “It is a crime against childhood as a universal” (p. 252).
  97. We argue that the crime of possession, and making or distribution of child pornography, whether virtual or not, are (sic) crimes not only against a particular child, but against all children.
  99. [end quote]
  101. Quayle echoes the last sentence above when she says (p. 10):
  103. [quote]
  105. In this paper the term ‘sexual exploitation’ refers to activities that may include sexual abuse of children but may also refer to activities where no such abuse has taken place but where the very nature of the activities violates the very essence of childhood.
  107. Looking through the first quote step by step, we see a civil libertarian argument answered by a strange sounding counter-argument from London-based sociologist David Oswell ( ). If you go to that link, by the way, and read the quoted snippet where Oswell describes parliamentary democracy happening separately to different parts of the human body (it sort of makes sense when you get there), you’ll see that Oswell is not a ‘plain English’ champion. He’s a practitioner of what I call the ‘sociological playfulness dialect’ that was popularized by famous French sociologist Jacques Derrida. The prominent language philosopher Noam Chomsky called it “pretentious rhetoric” and “obscurantism” but it became a major trend, since it tended to remove academic sociology to a verbal perch far away from common newspaper speech about the same topics. We find Quayle reaching up into this academic bird cage to pull out one of Oswell’s productions. (For the full Oswell article, see )
  109. [quote]
  111. “Although the evidential value of the virtual image is different from an actual image, until an image can be said to correspond to an actual case of child sexual abuse, all Internet child pornography can be viewed as real.”
  113. [end quote]
  115. Or, translated and made slightly case-specific, “though a cartoon can’t be used as evidence of child abuse, during the time we don’t know whether or not the cartoon was modelled on a real case of someone engaging sexually with a child, all such cartoons can still be treated as child abuse.” The sentence as a whole makes little sense as a logical construction, but each of its three component clauses can be understood. The important part is the last bit. Cartoon sexuality involving children is as real as living sexuality involving children. This roughly relates to an earlier argument about UK anti-child porn legislation in Oswell’s paper:
  117. [quote]
  119. Both {real photos and unreal images showing child sexual engagement or a child presented as erotic} are deemed records of crimes, although in one case {the unreal} the crime is virtual, rather than actual. If the legal status of the indecent photograph rests on it being a record of a real crime, then the indecent pseudo-photograph equally constitutes the record of a real crime. It is not a question of possibility {that a crime involving a real victim might be involved in the past or future}. This is a crime that has occurred in a virtual space. Just as when a stick is placed half in water it appears to bend at the point between water and air, the pseudo-photograph is real. It has reference and extension {it refers to a real type of situation and it takes up space, or, if Oswell means semantic rather than physical extension, it denotes some range of corresponding realities}. The virtual image of the submerged part of the stick has all the observable features of the stick once removed fully from the water, but when you place your hand in the water the stick is not where it appears. You cannot touch it where you see it. For UK legislation there is no dispute about the original and the counterfeit; both are defined through the criterion of the virtual image, of the simulacra {i.e., things showing similarity to something real}. (pdf p. 6)
  121. [end quote]
  123. You might think that when the cartoon porn viewer commits the “virtual crime…that occurred in a virtual space” he can only do so if there is an imaginary child who is the victim. Indeed, such a child does exist in Oswell’s world, the “virtual child:” “each time an image is used the virtual child is victimised (pdf p. 9).”
  125. In writing this, though, Oswell makes it clear that his concepts lean heavily on a previous publication by none other than Ethel Quayle, in combination with her boyfriend or husband Max Taylor and another colleague (Taylor et al., 2001). Ethel is very much at the heart of this whole “virtual child” line of discourse. She comes very close to quoting herself when she quotes Oswell.
  127. In case this notion of a phantom child swirling in the mysteries of new-technology-space seems unconvincing or even, well, childish, an appeal is made to greater abstractions. Oswell says:
  129. [quote]
  131. {In UK law,} the 'photograph' becomes the measure of the real and its observation. In this sense, the implicit prioritisation in UK law of virtual child pornography means that the crime of possession, making or distribution of child pornography (whether virtual or not) is a crime not only against a particular child, but against all children. It is a crime against childhood as a universal.
  133. [end quote]
  135. This hymn to the abstract condition of being a child stands alone in legal history, as far as I know. It doesn’t withstand general comparison well. For example, if zoophile porn were illegal in the UK (I don’t know if it is or not), it would be hard to imagine Oswell stating that possession of cartoon images of sex with dogs in the UK was considered to be a crime against caninity (doggyness) as a universal. His phrasing here has a preachy quality that can only be used with regard to children. It could just be dismissed as overblown rhetoric – but stay tuned. There’s more to it than that.
  137. Oswell also argues that to possess a cartoon showing underage erotica is to sexually assault all children at the same time. Quayle uses this quotation as a pivotal statement in her paper.
  139. [quote]
  141. We argue that the crime of possession, and making or distribution of child pornography, whether virtual or not, are crimes not only against a particular child, but against all children.
  143. [end quote]
  145. Finally, going as far out on this limb as is possible, Quayle calls upon a particularly grandiose abstraction, the “essence of childhood”, and states that this abstraction can be criminally violated by sexual activities involving no abuse.
  147. [quote]
  149. In this paper the term ‘sexual exploitation’ refers to activities that may include sexual abuse of children but may also refer to activities where no such abuse has taken place but where the very nature of the activities violates the very essence of childhood.
  151. [end quote]
  153. You might wonder how any of these far-fetched ideas about the rape of essences of childhood, and the mass sexual exploitation of global populations of electronic virtual children, could gain any toehold on academic or legal credibility. I believe this to be a convergence of two factors. One is that the ancient Greek philosophy that gave us concepts like the essence of childhood or childhood as a universal – the Idea of childhood, as students of Plato would put it – is still very much a part of our educational system. The other is that the decline of Judeo-Christianity in many societies has left the door open for the re-emergence of animistic beliefs in people who have drifted into “new age” ideas. In animistic or shamanistic religions, images can be very powerful, carrying spirits within them and allowing living people to be cursed or otherwise harmed via actions carried out in private with the images.
  155. I am going to label Quayle’s approach to child pornography the Spirit Possession (SP) approach. The viewpoint she shares with Oswell – that a child or children can be abused through looking at an image even when there was never a real-world abuse event or when the viewer has no causal or supportive connection to such an event – is pure new age pseudo-shamanism. The virtual child in the image is an animistic spirit, no more and no less. That this concept appeals to people shows how rapidly popular spirituality has drifted back towards paganism since World War II gave Judeo-Christianity a beating (how could God allow such evil?). In the UK in particular, a secular, socialist government is enacting legislation that, at least as explained by Oswell, is based on what in Christian terms would be idolatry – attributing spirits requiring devotion to purely artificial objects of human manufacture. The images hold what the Japanese would call a ‘kami,’ the ancient Romans a ‘genius,’ the ancient Greeks a ‘daimon.’ There is a child in there, a virginal child, and it can be protected or abused. Ancient Romans would indeed make sacrifices to images of Juno Virginalis, the ‘genius’ of the virginal female child. Quayle would doubtless be surprised to know that she, in effect, has dedicated herself to the protection of a modernized version of this demigod. Much like Collins, the guru of Canadian OTF, she sees childhood as completely virginal in nature, and the Summer of 42 and similar child-adult sex stories as unthinkable by nature, completely foreign and unknown to the natural essence of childhood. The essence of childhood is romantically innocent, and actual experiences of un-innocent pleasure (if we can call them that), though they may be valued life-long as Herman Rauscher’s were, do not cast their dross upon it. A pure demi-goddess cannot be influenced by such mortal moments in the dirt of sexual enjoyment.
  157. The abstract ideas cited by Quayle, Taylor and Oswell – childhood as a universal, the essence of childhood – may seem to be quite far from the idea of spirit possession. In fact, though, they are part and parcel of it. The ancient Greek philosophy in our education system gives us the word ‘essence’ as used by Aristotle and followers, who were for the most part modern thinkers. In this sense, the word refers purely to the general information that can be used to describe a class of objects – e.g., a dog has a tail, a snout, sharp teeth, an excellent sense of smell, etc. This is not what Quayle and company are getting at with “the essence of childhood.” We also have the word ‘essence,’ though, as an equivalent of Plato’s concept of Forms or Ideas. Quayle and company appear to use it in this sense. One thing historians of philosophy seem not to have noticed about Plato is that many of his most famous ideas (or Socrates’ ideas, if you take Plato literally in crediting Socrates) are scarcely distinguishable from worldwide shamanistic concepts ( ). In Plato’s book, Republic, there is a famous section called the Allegory of the Cave ( ) where he compares day-to-day life to a play of shadows on the walls of a cave. The immortal realities that give rise to the shadows of daily life are the unchanging Ideas, or Forms, which are located in their own sphere of perfect reality, outside the human mind. “Childhood as a universal” and “the essence of childhood” are both Ideas of this type, existing not as changeable mental concepts but as higher realities beyond any and all individual children.
  159. The basic beliefs of shamanism are identical to this, but are not easily seen to be so because they most typically focus on animals. Above and beyond all individual deer is a Deer spirit, an Idea of the Deer, which may become the protector of you or your clan. When you kill a deer, you make an apology to the Deer spirit. ‘Deer as a universal,’ ‘the essence of deer,’ lives in and beyond all individual deer. If you kill a deer badly, or waste parts of it, you abuse the Deer spirit. It is wounded, and it may retaliate. If someone on a vision quest has made a sacred pictograph of a deer on a rock and you deface it, the Deer spirit feels the blow. Let’s look at Oswell again in this context: “It is not a question of possibility. This is a crime that has occurred in a virtual space…. there is no dispute about the original and the counterfeit; both are defined through the criterion of the virtual image, of the simulacra.” It’s a perfect fit. If we took Oswell as being correct on the matter, current British child pornography law and shamanic concepts about spirit pictures would be identical in nature.
  161. The SP model of child pornography conforms to normal shamanism by endowing images with an individual spirit (the re-abusable real child or the ‘virtual child’ shown) and a broader Typological Spirit (the child as a universal, the essence of childhood, all children as a category). Thus, abuse can happen where there is no victim, and where there is no causation affecting a possible future victim (as the OTF model would need to imagine). The abuse occurs perfectly as an Idea of Exploitation committed against the Idea of the Child in a modern version of Plato’s cave. Believe it or not, in the UK, that ethereal notion is sufficient to condemn you to many years in prison. You have gravely offended the Child spirit(s).
  163. The BTMBTSM model may incriminate those who make real child porn, plus those who provide the makers value (money, other porn, compliments), plus those who give value to the first rank of users who supported the original porn maker, and so on. Perhaps everyone on the internet who has ever traded something for a child porn photo or video could remotely be considered an accessory to the crime, though in practice many people download such things without providing money, other porn, or thanks. The OTF model could incriminate everyone who looks at any image of real or imaginary child pornography, but it is weak, based on a conjecture about what they might do. The SP model seems to be just about perfect for prosecution, since it condemns every child porn viewer without any need to establish difficult connections to real-world exploitation or to causality of exploitation. How far, in fact, does it go?
  165. In the OTF model, the existence of pornographic images or stories is very important, since these items can be transferred from person to person. This propagates the mind-weakening ideas and helps to make the images themselves odious, even if they do not arise from actual abuse. In the SP model, though, the fact that images and stories can be passed around is threatening, but it doesn’t make the basic crime of offending the Child spirit any worse. Suppose a person were to find a discarded computer in a dumpster and, on opening it, find it to contain child pornography that he then wanted to use in personal viewing. He uses the porn and then destroys the computer. His crime in the SP system would be nearly as great as that of the long-time porn trader who originally put the images on the computer. He has still sexually exploited all the real children involved in the production of the images, as well as all the virtual children in the cartoon images he viewed, plus childhood as a universal, the essence of childhood, and ‘all children.’
  167. If all the images on the computer were cartoons, his crime would be no less grave. What could be more serious than sexually violating the very essence of childhood?
  169. But suppose there were no computer. Suppose only his own mind made up the imaginary pictures of sexuality involving children. The mind, like the computer, is an electronic medium. The fact that it involves the co-firing of neurons to produce images rather than the mobilization of electronic circuits is neither here nor there. The images that it produces, to quote Oswell, have “reference and extension,” even though our current neurological knowledge doesn’t yet allow us to map the exact physical extension of a mental image. Oswell’s analogy about the stick (“The virtual image of the submerged part of the stick has all the observable features of the stick once removed fully from the water, but when you place your hand in the water the stick is not where it appears”) still applies, even though at the current state of our technology, only the owner of the brain can see the submerged portion of the stick. Quayle, quoting Oswell, makes it clear that “the ethical intensity of the virtual image {the perceived ethical need to take strong action in response to the virtual image} lies precisely in its capacity to refer to a scene beyond itself. ” Thought-based imagery refers to “scenes beyond itself” just as much as electronic imagery does. All Quayle and Oswell’s arguments apply as much to thought as to images and writings.
  171. The images in the brain can’t be directly exchanged from person to person, but exchange is not essential to SP incrimination. Virtual sexual exploitation alone is sufficient to constitute a crime. True, at this point in history, the mental images can’t be proven in court to exist, though progress in neuroscience today is so rapid that we may be only a decade or two away from this. The person may, however, communicate some small part of his thoughts to another person who has a similar imagination. He may say to his anonymous online contacts, “the little boy next door is so cute, I wish I could marry him.” That could be enough to trigger an orgy of virtual child exploitation in the minds of whoever reads the text. The readers might only form their own lustful mental ideas of what the little boy next door looks like, but that would be enough to make them sexual exploiters of the virtual child, the essence, the universal, and all children. If they received a blurry photograph of him going by on his bicycle and used that image to edit their fantasies, then they would be sexually exploiting the boy directly, injuring his spirit. None of this could be proven in court, but if one reader said, “yes, I see what you mean. I’d like to marry him too,” then it could be reasonably inferred.
  173. Therefore, it follows far more strongly from the SP model of child pornography control than the OTF model that communication among pedophiles cannot be allowed to any degree. Even knowing that someone else has similar thoughts may cause the pedophile to increase his sexual assault on the essence of childhood. No pedophile thought is safe to be communicated; all of it may cause mental images that have “reference and extension” in relation to unacceptable scenes. Even knowing that it’s another pedophile complaining about the weather today may cause you to wonder what pedophilic thoughts he has had lately. Child-exploitative mental imagery is then almost inevitable, and may soon be followed by writing or cartooning referring to this imagery. The ‘essence of childhood’ must suffer enormously from this constant sexual thought. After all, in the Quayle viewpoint, the crime even when images are involved resides entirely in the pedophile’s child-violating thoughts. Possession of photos or cartoons merely constitutes evidence of these thoughts.
  175. The COPINE project that Quayle is a ringleader of is a European-Union-funded ‘research’ project that produces writings supportive of legislative committee efforts to criminalize all ‘pedophile information fora.’ (see the “Postscript” at - currently a dead link) Not child pornography, not places where real children may be exploited, but instead, information fora, or forums as we would say in North America. The BTMBTSM and OTF models are limited to erotica, and the former requires a real-world victim. The SP model has a license to make direct judgments about your brain and personality, insofar as any clues can be found about these things.
  177. As Oswell says, discussing the work of Taylor, Holland and Quayle,
  179. [quote]
  181. The distinction between pornography and erotica - used normally in the context of debates about adult pornography to distinguish between harmless and harmful material or, to put it crudely, between material with a sexual use and material with an aesthetic use - is now used to extend the range of concern predicated on the underlying personality of the individual user. But for Taylor et al, as for Lanning, the personality of the paedophile is disclosed, not through direct investigation of the mind itself, but through the manifestation of its motivated actions. It is the collection of images that provides the symptomatic evidence of motivation and hence of the underlying personality. Thus, for example, supposedly innocent pictures of children may be read as 'erotic' and interpreted in the context of the collection as a whole.     
  183. [end quote]
  185.  Oswell says ‘images’ in this particular passage, but other passages make it clear that writings are also considered part of the same problem. Any seemingly innocent material about children, if collected in a way that suggests a pedophile is the collector, indicates virtual sexual exploitation in the mind of the pedophile. This then taints the images or writings with something much like a shamanic taboo violation, and puts them on the COPINE scale, where politicians and jurists may decide to what extent their un-innocence will be criminalized or medicalized. Meanwhile, the problematic “underlying personality” of the pedophile that can turn innocent images into harbingers of crime may be communicating with other such “underlying personalities” on the internet. Clearly the free speech and free thought value of this communication is compromised by the innate tendency to mental crime. Thus, shutting down the free communication of completely law abiding members of a minority sexual orientation is easily justified, since the very sexual thoughts that define the orientation are crimes that are merely waiting to be evidenced.
  187. The world has not seen a combination of animism (spirit belief) and totalitarian mind control like this since François (Papa Doc) Duvalier ruled Haiti (1957-1971) ( ). Only in the context of the current craze about pedophilia could such a despotic, non-Western set of ideas become lodged in secular academia and major governmental bodies. When did the UK ever before embed something that is essentially a piece of voodoo, the virtual child, in its legislation?
  189. The secular perspective on the SP model of child pornography is that it is a gross invasion of new age spiritualism and extreme totalitarian thought-control mechanisms into areas of society that should be ruled by reason, intelligence and moderation. It is a grand folly and will grow to become a monster if it is left unchecked. Quayle is not by nature an academic and should be put out the door of academia to found her spirit cult elsewhere. Her attempts to warp the European Union to her fantastical beliefs should be firmly rejected.
  191. Since this (essay first appeared in) a church, what about the religious viewpoint?
  193. People often think of Judaeo-Christianity as being inclined to mystify things and to censor thoughts. Indeed, our religions have not been innocent of these trends, and yet, they have succeeded as well as they have partly because of their built-in skepticism and liberality. An image is just an image in our religions. To imagine otherwise is not just wrong; it’s filthy. Christianity is now flourishing in Africa partly because it is replacing traditional beliefs where images and other ‘simulacra’ could be used in abuse. It offers precious freedom from these sorts of cultural ghosts.
  195. Jeremiah 10:5 “Like a scarecrow in a cucumber field are they {the images}, and they cannot speak. They must be carried, because they cannot walk! Do not fear them, for they can do no harm, nor can they do any good.”  (original mistakenly said Isaiah – KB)
  197. Isaiah 44:9 All who make idols are nothing, and the things they treasure are worthless. Those who would speak up for them are blind; they are ignorant, to their own shame.
  199. The new-technology representations, first paper photographs (still made of wood for the most part, though in fiber form) and later electronic photographs and videos, are just as dumb and empty by nature as the carved wooden idols of the Canaanites. The virtual child that Quayle, Oswell and their colleagues invoke in their academic works is an ‘abomination’ in Judeo-Christianity. The typological spirit that they invoke, the Essence or Universal, is an even grosser abomination. This is not because these image-spirit ideas offend God; in this case, the images are not directly worshipped by anyone. It is because they invent a non-existent spirit world that leads people astray and out of contact with reality. This hoodwinking of people with phoney spirits that must be propitiated and never offended or abused allows despotism to establish itself.
  201. Judeo-Christianity, on the other hand, has nurtured parliamentary and republican democracy, and we who adhere to these religions will not easily be persuaded to surrender our complex network of rights and freedoms.
  203. The interest of Judeo-Christianity is in protecting children, actual children, not pictorial ghosts, essences or universal spirits.
  205. Mark 9:36 Taking a child, (Jesus) set him before them, and taking him in His arms, He said to them, 37 “Whoever receives one child like this in My name receives Me; and whoever receives Me does not receive Me, but Him who sent Me.”
  207. Children are to be treated with utmost respect: each one must be treated as if he or she were as important as Jesus himself, or even as the One who sent Jesus.
  209. As the US courts have already decided, the BTMBTSM model of child pornography control offers sufficient scope for drawing up legislation that protects actual children from being hurt by pornographers or by people who pay, trade with or otherwise support those pornographers.
  211. In historical cases of legally produced erotica that later became redefined as child pornography, there is no reason to infer abuses that may never have happened and pains that may not have been caused. Retro-illegality is not justified in BTMBTSM. Moreover, the Japanese are not oblivious to reality when they consider cartoons to be mere cartoons. Cartoons ARE just cartoons. We don’t dynamite coyotes off mile-high mesas or go ballet dancing with hippopotamuses, and we don’t imitate the sex acts we see in cartoons either. The USA is often looked upon skeptically in many parts of the world, but at least it still defends freedom of thought against prohibitions arising from indiscriminate causal guesswork (OTF model) and pagan spirit phantasms (SP model). A relatively high level of active Christianity in the US may help to maintain its appreciation of free will (and hence the value of freedom) and the fundamentally material nature of products of human manufacture, including electronic images. The first of these appreciations negates OTF, and the second negates SP. One hopes this aspect of the American ethos will re-emerge into the world and deal with these new voodoo thought-control ideas before they can ruin the lives of too many harmless, innocent people. Who may be – believe it or not – pedophiles.
  214. Reference not linked in the text:
  216. Taylor, Max, Holland, Gemma, and Quayle, Ethel (2001) 'Typology of paedophile picture collections', The Police Journal 74 (2), 97-107
  219. Footnote:
  221. 1. Looking at this matter in detail, there is a fine point of legal ethical philosophy at play here. In utilitarian legal ethics, which is a statistical ethos concentrating on ‘the greatest good for the greatest number of (socially approved) people,’ the idea that some people may be pushed into strongly undesirable behaviors by imaginary child porn is sufficient to justify criminalizing everyone viewing it. If this means criminalizing some or many cartoon viewers who would never offend in terms of actual sex with children, or promotion or support of the same, that can be justified. The justification is based on the idea that if the utilitarian measure saves at least one innocent child from being harmed, then an indefinite number of non-offending pedophiles can ethically be prosecuted and socially destroyed, or at least be prevented from contemplating non-photographic, erotic scenario information (e.g., autobiographies, stories, cartoons) that, in their hands, would remain innocuous. This argument is commonly made by child advocates deposing to courts making major decisions on child erotica. Tacitly, the Supreme Court of Canada has taken this standpoint. They do not explicitly claim that every virtual child porn viewer will abuse a child or groom a child with the porn. It is enough for them that some may do so; the remaining viewers can be imprisoned as a general precautionary measure. If nothing else, these others may inadvertently propagate information that sends more susceptible men out to commit criminal acts.  
  223. The stronger form of legal ethics, Kantian ethics, forbids that any person who is actually innocent – who has no mens rea (legal intent) to commit a crime, and no significant legal negligence – be penalized or hindered in his freedom because of a statistical generality embedded in a law. Utilitarian laws and legal interpretations generally show haste and panic and are often eventually brought down by the burden of innocent people that they penalize. In the case of something so heavily socially stigmatized as pedophilic interest, however, the recognition of innocence is epistemically blocked even when no ‘crimes with victims’ have been committed. In this situation, a ‘victimless crime’ can be imagined to be significant, as with anti-marijuana laws, where users and suppliers are penalized generally because some marijuana users may become weakened as members of society. Such victimless crime laws conform to the unstated Victorian precept “Because sensual pleasure may distract people from their social duty, the possession of items serving to augment sensual pleasure does not fall under the usual protection of freedom for normally innocuous activities, particularly not when these items may be misused in a harmful way by some people.” If harming a proportion of people alone were sufficient to cause an item to be banned, then possession of an automobile would be more heavily penalized than possession of heroin. But the automobile is not conceived of primarily as a sensual pleasure aid, so it is exempt from being dealt with in a victimless crime law, even though it is the main killer of young people in several age classes.
  225. What this means is that there are two possible versions of OTF legal interpretations against 'virtual' child pornography: simple-minded interpretations implausibly attributing a likelihood of offense causality to the cartoons for all viewers, and utilitarian interpretations deliberately designed to run roughshod over indefinite numbers of lifelong innocent people in order to forestall those who will develop the mens rea to commit an offense that has a living person as a victim.
  230. EXCERPT from a related article with more analysis of Quayle, Taylor and Oswell:  
  232. Mick Moran of Interpol and Pro-active Pedophile Policing
  234.     By Bernie Najarian  (Oct. 18, 2014)
  237. This excerpt begins at a juncture where a 2014 Twitter conversation between activist Kamil Beylant and Interpol’s Mick Moran has turned to the topic of Ethel Quayle and her beliefs.  Moran at the time was head of Interpol's Human Trafficking & Child Exploitation unit.  The whole article is at  
  239. Since this article was written, Mick Moran’s views have apparently altered to some extent. He has expressed cautious support of the law-abiding principles of’s non-offending pedophiles.  
  241. Excerpt:  
  243. mickmoran ‏@mickmoran Feb 19, 2014
  244.     @Securityconcern This is an academic paper that talks about "context" for non-abusive material. Please read it.
  248. (The link is to a pdf of ‘Typology of paedophile picture collections,’ the highly influential paper by Max Taylor, Gemma Holland and Ethel Quayle in The Police Journal, vol. 71, 2001, p. 97 – 107. This paper outlined the COPINE classification system for child images that was soon modified and enshrined in British prosecutorial guidelines).
  251.     Kamil Beylant ‏@Securityconcern
  252.     @mickmoran Thanks for responding. A colleague has published an analysis of this paper that you might find insightful (‘Ethel Quayle's new Spirit of Child Pornography: as a menace to free speech in areas unrelated to porn’ by Kristofor Xavier – BN)
  255.     Kamil Beylant ‏@Securityconcern Feb 19
  256.     @mickmoran Most people who quote Ethel Quayle, Max Taylor et al. do not realize that their viewpoint is based on beliefs resembling animism…
  259.     Kamil Beylant ‏@Securityconcern @mickmoran ... and that even a 'common sense' reinterpretation of their work is often based on the dubious 'opening the floodgates' position
  262.     mickmoran ‏@mickmoran 24h @Securityconcern Sorry. I can't agree with that. They are both respected academics whose work articulates what I see every day in mine.
  265.     In fact, Taylor et al.’s work ‘articulates’ what Moran ‘sees every day’ in his own because this paper is the bible of modern transgressive policing of the minor-attracted. Moran’s fundamental belief system is based on this paper. Within it, the transgression of the boundaries of the law begins early on. The second operational justification for transgressive policing – the point I promised I’d get back to – relates to concern over abuse involving legal images. Believe it or not. Let’s let Taylor et al. explain it.
  267.      [quote]
  268.         ...By emphasising a psychological approach to pictures attractive to adults with a sexual interest in children, rather than pictures legally defined as obscene, we can identify a range of discernibly different kinds of picture (Taylor, 1999) only some of which may be illegal. The kinds of picture that can be identified range from pictures of clothed children, through nakedness and explicit erotic posing to pictures of a sexual assault on the child photographed. This can be constructed to describe a continuum of increased deliberate sexual victimisation. Any particular example of a photograph attractive to an adult with a sexual interest in children, therefore, can be located along such a continuum of explicit or deliberate sexual victimisation.
  270.         … Whether a picture is accidental or deliberate, each time a picture is accessed for sexual purposes it victimises the individual concerned. In a sense, the function of picture collections for the offender is repeatedly to victimise the child concerned, and the victim status is exaggerated by continuing use. Relevant to this, an important purpose of child picture collections for the user is that it allows instant access to the child (or a child) as victim (Healy, 1997).
  272.      [end quote]
  274.     Here, again, we enter the strange, strange mental world of Taylor and Quayle, outlined so vividly by Kristofor in his epic monograph on their psychological presuppositions. I am much indebted to him for discussions that have allowed me to research and write the remainder of this essay.
  276.     Just before I press on, I need to apologize in advance. I was trained to write vividly and clearly. In a few of the paragraphs that follow, I need to dive into some of the most convoluted academic language I have ever seen. I extend my apologies for any difficulty you may have in following along. Stay with me and we’ll resurface into clear text as soon as possible.
  278.     In the paragraph I quoted above from Taylor et al., it’s perfectly reasonable to imagine that there is some kind of continuum of intensity that links traditionally legal, attractive photographs of children and ever more explicitly sexualized material. What is distinctly odd is to describe the entire progression as “a continuum of increased deliberate sexual victimisation.” When someone is sexually attracted to children and looks at a photo of some shirtless boys playing baseball, in what sense is anyone ‘deliberately sexually victimised?’ The image has no connection to the actual children seen, other than the impression of their visual form, and they are not affected in the slightest by any erotic arousal the viewer may feel about them. But let’s not just take that last assertion as common sense. Let’s examine it in detail, taking the Taylor and Quayle perspective into account where appropriate.
  280.     First, though, let’s deal with one side issue. Taylor and Quayle – as Kristofor noted – work in a scientific field, applied psychology, but they do not function scientifically. Science is all about linking cause to effect, after classifying the various agents involved. The orthodox way to make sure that causes are correctly sorted out and linked to effects is to isolate single causal factors. This is done by means of comparisons called ‘controls.’ In this case, the cause is viewing images with sexual interest; the proposed effect to be linked is victimization. The Taylor et al. approach in this 2001 paper is a wholistic discourse, like a political essay or a religious tract – there is no consideration of possible ‘control’ situations whatsoever. So, let’s add one in ourselves. Let’s, as a control, look at another group of people who mainly look at photographs of children to satisfy their erotic appetites – namely, tween girls who read fan magazine material about minor-aged singers, actors and dancers. Beliebers and their successors. Sputter, sputter, how outrageous, many people would say. But, in fact, the comparison is apt. Like the pedophiles, the girls mostly can’t have sex, and pictures and fantasy scenarios are all they have to make their heart valves flutter. Whether or not they actually masturbate is completely irrelevant – photographic victimisation as a mental process surely is not clicked on and off with the touch of a piece of flesh. Undoubtedly some do touch, but who can say what fraction? In any case, they have a sexual interest in the material. Anyone denying that is so badly out of touch with reality that he or she can only be classed as morally retarded. So, let’s consider the girls’ ‘victimisation’ of the boys shown in the milder end of the image continuum at the same time as we look at the pedophiles’ interest – as is proper in a controlled study, even a theoretical one.
  282.     Now, how could victimization of the subjects in the images occur? I’m going to look into three major possibilities.
  284.     1. Symbolical victimization. Erotic contemplation of the boys playing baseball or singing onstage may not have any direct effect on the boys, but it disrespects them symbolically. They were not asked to consent to being erotically contemplated in image, and they were legally unable to consent to it anyways. Their inferred wishes and well-being have been taken lightly by anyone becoming aroused over their images without their permission. It may seem a little creepy to just get worked up about them when they can’t do anything about it because they’re only images of themselves. Also, arousal towards their photographs – a situation which feminist author Andrea Dworkin vehemently believed made the viewee symbolically subject to the power of the viewer – may desensitize the aroused one towards boys in more compromised photographic situations, or towards boys encountered in real life. Many vicious cycles could be imagined to spring from this callous arousal by images that can no longer be controlled by the people shown.
  286.     As we consider these ideas, though, we can see that they seem to fit more comfortably with our test subjects, pedophiles, than they do with our control subjects, tween girls. Why is that? It isn’t that the tween girls are permitted or encouraged, in real life, to have sex with the sorts of boys they are contemplating, making the implied end of their huggy, kissy fantasies socially legitimate. Parentally and/or legally, they’re not allowed to act that way. Nor is it really that they are being encouraged to imagine erotic intimacies with the photographed boys as a stage in their growth towards mature relationships. That would seem rather promiscuous (‘slutty’) of them, even in fantasy, since they can’t actually marry the boys. In any case, the exact nature of their intentions wouldn’t change any symbolic effect their erotic viewing might have on the subjects of the photos. The boy subjects might still get the shivers, in an uncomfortable way, if they vividly thought of the millions of girls, pretty and plain, thin and heavy, ‘normal’ and ‘challenged,’ becoming erotically aroused by their photos – especially since some of the tween girls’ same-age gay boy schoolmates would undoubtedly be going through the same arousal. (I had a fabulous relationship with an early Michael Jackson photo when I was a tween). The fundamental difference between the attentions of the girls and the attentions of the pedophiles is, as Kristofor points out to me, that the girls are presumed to be benign, responsive and sympathetic in intention towards the boys in the images, or towards similar boys in the neighborhood, while the pedophiles are presumed to be alienated, exploitative, manipulative, and unsympathetic or defectively sympathetic.
  288.     The reason the pedophiles are presumed to be unsympathetic, creepy and predatory is not just because of selective sampling by the criminal justice system, in which only those who commit illegal acts are brought to scrutiny. There is also a fundamental piece of human psychology involved. As Kristofor explains it in an appendix to my Paul Krawczyk article (,
  290.  [quote]
  291.         Krawczyk’s statement that “(possession of erotica) shows a sexual interest in children; how can that not be dangerous?” grows from a related generality: anyone interested in deviant sex lacks empathy, social cohesion and self-control. This was the argument used to ensure that homosexuals were perennially seen, for over a hundred years, as frivolous, out-of-control, sex-crazed people who were too narcissistic to form meaningful loving relationships.
  292.         The proposition about deviants lacking social responsiveness is simply superstition. It has no basis whatsoever. It relates to the basic idea, in Victorian … empire-building militarism, that anyone with social responsiveness would conform to the … ‘norms’ of society. Anyone with a non-conformity that couldn’t be convincingly explained as a unique contribution to social military power could only be anti-social. The person’s anti-social nature appeared to reflect disdain for society’s ideals of moral control, ergo, he must be intrinsically out-of-control.
  294.         In Krawczyk’s Victorianism, the idea that a person who had a deviant sexual interest in children could be completely held in check by empathy – a strong respect for children’s true wishes and optimal situations – is completely ruled out as impossible. Have a deviant interest in children, and you can only be out-of-control and lacking in fellow-feeling, hence dangerous.
  296. [end quote]    
  298.     The same dreads about symbolic predation and disdain being associated with erotic viewing are found in all discussions of pornography. As Kristofor says to me in correspondence,
  300.     [quote]
  301.         Researchers have conducted almost uncountable numbers of studies to determine if viewing pornography incites callousness of one kind or another towards real people. They hope to find that viewing porn causes or does not cause a degradation of respect towards women – a consideration that doesn’t seem to have any plausible counterpart in discussions of gay male pornography. Sometimes these studies take a comical turn, as when Simon Louis Lajeunesse of the University of Montreal found that he couldn’t find a single 20-something male heterosexual university student who could serve as a negative control in a study of the effects of porn viewing. The student population all used porn, and many had looked at it since the age of 10. Lajeunesse said this in summary:
  303.         “All test subjects said they supported gender equality and felt victimized by rhetoric demonizing pornography.
  305.         “‘Pornography hasn't changed their perception of women or their relationship, which they all want as harmonious and fulfilling as possible.’
  307.         “'Those who could not live out their fantasy in real life with their partner simply set aside the fantasy. The fantasy is broken in the real world and men don't want their partner to look like a porn star.'”
  309.         In any case, the attempt to identify porn viewing as the cause of any particular type of attitude is fundamentally misguided. That is, it can be ruled out by anyone who believes in the principle of free will that underlies our legal system. The free-willed decision involved in viewing pornography relates to whether or not the viewer empathetically ‘makes faith’ with the subject – wishes him or her well, would treat him or her well in person, hopes that being depicted has done no harm, wouldn’t do any harm to any person to obtain similar pictures, wouldn’t sanction pictures harmfully obtained, and so on. The philosophical problem of the half-full vs. half-empty glass always pertains in a situation where a person may or may not establish subjective complicity or sympathy with another person. Nothing can force or effectively cause a person to make an empathetic or unempathetic decision – apart from being sociopathically mentally disturbed and thus biologically unable to establish empathy. Traditionally, deviants are attributed the half-empty glass: whether, at a given period in history, they are Jews, or gays, or culturally distinct blacks, or pedophiles, they are deemed unable to make faith with others, with the general population. Popular superstition states that their very difference is based in their inability to conform to norms, to sympathize with their community. They are different and anomalous because they are stubborn, self-willed and oblivious, says the belief. But the reality is that, despite any annoyance these so-conceived deviants may feel at being the objects of prejudice from the majority, they remain perfectly able to choose the half-full glass, to make faith, to empathize. And they do. Any pornography or erotica viewing they do has full potential for nuanced appreciation of the human worth of those shown.
  311.         Ethel Quayle, I believe, unthinkingly transmits the popular superstition that the people shown in images are in some way cursed by being ‘perved on’ in erotic contemplation. The ancient superstition of the ‘evil eye’ lives on in the shudder we are raised to feel when we think of an imaginary malevolent person becoming erotic about our images – whether in photographs or in the deviant’s imagination. The idea that the deviant is ipso facto malevolent is fundamental to this primitive cultural trope.
  313.    [end quote]  
  315.     On the symbolic plane, then, the victimization of the minors viewed in attractive, objectively non-pornographic images is purely a phantasm derived from old-fashioned prejudice. In reality, it doesn’t matter whether pedophiles or tween girls are doing the viewing of the images in question. Any of these viewers may, as far as is possible with a mere image, truly intend love or amity to the person shown. And that love may include everything we normally recognize as respect, including full respect of the person’s sexual and personal privacy in real life. So, we could dismiss Taylor et al.’s “continuum of increased deliberate sexual victimisation” as a primitive misattribution of the half-empty empathetic glass to deviants, if we could be sure that these authors were speaking at this level of symbolism. Some of their other writings, however, suggest that they are not merely speaking about symbolic victimization, but rather about something beyond that. We’ll look into that in point 3, below.
  317.     2. Recirculatory victimization. One of the ways in which objectively non-pornographic but attractive photos of children may be felt to allow pedophiles to victimize those children is that the images may be circulated around in pedophile circles, on websites and in internet relay chats. Eventually, the subjects may see signs of this and become aware that they are the objects of pedophilic eros. Taylor et al. do not discuss this idea; it does not form an explicit part of the paper that so deeply influences Moran and his colleagues. Nonetheless, there is a remote chance that it might actually happen. A boy might come across a non-pornographic pedophile image board and see his shirtless image there as an illustrative attractive youth. Does that victimize him to any greater extent than Justin Bieber is victimized by seeing many of his on-stage moves and candid off-stage moments posted in teen-girl fan sites, with comments about how cute he is and how the viewers all want him to “marry me” (which, yes, implies the honeymoon)? Certainly, any boy inculcated with the Victorian ideas mentioned above – that any deviant is a scheming, manipulative creep who means him ill – might feel oppressed by the gaze of pedophiles – but then again, looking at the control situation, he might be a gay boy who would shudder deeply at exciting the erotic attentions of girls. He might be a heterosexual boy with a girlfriend, and might find the eroto-romantic gushings of other girls nauseating and excessive – eventually becoming so upset that he punches out the paparazzi taking the photographs they look at. Objectively, the fact that someone finds your image (when it was not invasively recorded) attractive or erotic is just a happenstance. No one can harm you by finding you attractive, unless the person breaks boundaries in your personal life or with your copyrighted material. Your attribution of creepy motives or a creepy personality to the person who cleaves to your image may be dead wrong, and even inexcusably prejudiced. I find it hard to believe that Taylor et al.’s “continuum of victimization” is based on any unstated notion that children might be distressed to find out, in real life, that someone was turned on by their non-pornographic photo.
  319.     3. Direct victimization.
  321.     To understand the viewpoint of Taylor and Quayle, and especially of the latter, the reader needs to go beyond the watered-down and practical-looking material that these authors publish in law enforcement journals. In more academic settings, some unusual notions are brought forth in Quayle’s writings.
  323.     These writings in general are esoteric and convoluted, and are full of quotes interchanged among the small group of authors who support Quayle’s ideas. Anyone wishing to get a detailed grasp of this esoterica will have to read Kristofor’s paper on it. His analysis is mainly based on a 2008 paper called Child Pornography and Sexual Exploitation of Children Online by Ethel Quayle, Lars Loof, and Tink Palmer.
  325.     Here, I can only partially illustrate the eccentric philosophy that Quayle lays out in that paper. For example, she suggests that when child-pornographic cartoons are viewed, a phantom called the ‘virtual child’ is abused. This abuse of the virtual cartoon child, she believes, has the same criminal weight as the sexual assault of a real human child. Moreover, she believes that an abstract entity labelled ‘the essence of childhood’ is also abused in such situations.
  327.     Most authorities who oppose cartooned child pornography do so based on the Victorian idea that viewing such stuff would contagiously excite pedophiles to lose their moral constrictions against hands-on sexual assault. Quayle, according to her own text, finds this argument far less important than the abuse of the spirit-child in the image itself. Below, in her writings in Child Pornography and Sexual Exploitation of Children Online, she begins with a quote from her colleague David Oswell. I have filled in needed context to make the text semi-understandable.
  329.  [quote]    
  330.         “…the primary concern [with child-pornographic cartoons – BN] is not one of the effects of the image on others [i.e., not the possibility of exciting some men to commit real-life offenses – BN] or one of the relations of power encoded in the image [that is, not related to demeaning children in an objectifying way – BN], but one of the virtual evidentiality of the image (i.e., of the image’s capacity to refer to an objective reality that is both internal and external to the image). The ethical intensity [moral significance – BN] of the virtual image lies precisely in its capacity to refer to a scene beyond itself” (Oswell p. 258. Oswell (2006) goes on to state that the crime of possession, making or distribution of child pornography (whether virtual or not) is a crime not only against a particular child, but against all children. “It is a crime against childhood as a universal” (p. 252).
  332.         We argue that the crime of possession, and making or distribution of child pornography, whether virtual or not, are (sic) crimes not only against a particular child, but against all children…
  334.         In this paper the term ‘sexual exploitation’ refers to activities that may include sexual abuse of children but may also refer to activities where no such abuse has taken place but where the very nature of the activities violates the very essence of childhood.
  335.      [end quote]
  337.     Oswell, recapitulating Quayle’s ideas in his own words, says frankly:
  339.     [quote]
  340. “each time a (cartoon or other artistic, non-photographic –BN) image is used, the virtual child is victimised.”
  341.     [end quote]
  343. He produces an extended analogy based on the optical phenomenon of refractive displacement of an image, making an almost unintelligibly dense case for viewing the ‘virtual child’ seen in a cartoon as the exact moral equivalent of a real child who is being sexually assaulted (See K. Xavier essay above – KB).
  345.     [quote]
  346. “It is not a question of possibility (that a hands-on offense might be committed or might have been committed earlier – BN). This (viewing of a pornographic cartoon – BN) is a crime that has occurred in a virtual space…. there is no dispute about the original and the counterfeit; both are defined through the criterion of the virtual image, of the simulacra.”
  347.     [end quote]    
  349.     Clearly, if a virtual child – a representative of all children and of the essence of childhood – can be criminally sexually victimized in the viewing of a cartoon, then a photograph showing a real child fully dressed, involved only in daily activities, can be just as realistically used to sexually victimize the child image it shows. Not the child who was photographed! – the actual image in the photograph itself. Once you grasp this weird shamanistic construct, the subtle mysteries of the text in Taylor et al.’s Police Journal paper are easy to understand.
  351.      [quote]
  352.         The kinds of picture that can be identified range from pictures of clothed children, through nakedness and explicit erotic posing to pictures of a sexual assault on the child photographed. This can be constructed to describe a continuum of increased deliberate sexual victimisation. Any particular example of a photograph attractive to an adult with a sexual interest in children, therefore, can be located along such a continuum of explicit or deliberate sexual victimisation.
  353.      [end quote]
  355.     The mystery of how a child who is photographed clothed or in swimwear can be ‘deliberately sexually victimised’ to any extent when a pedophile later finds the photo sexually attractive is resolved by knowing that he or she cannot. That would be nonsensical – the photo was taken long ago and no sex was ever involved. Later erotic viewing cannot insert sexual contact into the child’s life where it never occurred. Also, recirculation of the image back to the child’s attention, or to the attention of the adult he or she has grown into, is not under consideration. Instead, Taylor et al.’s philosophy holds that the image itself is victimized directly by the pedophile. Erotic contemplation of the image doesn’t just symbolically represent child abuse – it IS child abuse, abuse of a ‘virtual child.’ It is an offense to ‘the essence of childhood’ – which, as Kristofor points out, appears, in the text of Quayle and colleagues, to be an entity analogous to the Deer Spirit or Bear Spirit in traditional native North American religions. These so-called academics actually, literally believe that people who have erotically gazed at a cartoon should be jailed for sexually abusing an ‘essence.’
  357.     This is not science. It’s witchcraft… How embarrassing for the police of the world that they have taken up Taylor and Quayle as guides in their search to combat the evils of child sexual exploitation. The only thing that saves them from rapid public mortification is that they, and most people who evaluate their performance, are unable to read and understand the esoteric bafflegab that Quayle uses in her more academically targeted publications. They have no idea she’s a flake.
  359.     Now that we know what kind of thought underlies the Taylor et al. bible that Moran and his colleagues are reading from, let’s look at some more of what it says.
  361.       [quote]  
  362.         Typology of paedophile picture collections. Level 1. “Indicative:” Non-erotic and non-sexualised pictures showing children in their underwear, swimming costumes, etc. from either commercial sources or family albums; pictures of children playing in normal settings, in which the context or organisation of pictures by the collector indicates inappropriateness.
  363.      [end quote]
  365.     (A later comment on this in the same Taylor et al. paper:)
  367. [quote]    
  368.         Most families have extensive and entirely appropriate pictures of their children, and such pictures are not, in these terms, indicative of adult sexual interest in children unless they are in some sense inappropriately held. Furthermore, in the same context, depictions of children in their underwear or naked may well be entirely appropriate. They can, however, be used inappropriately by adults with a sexual interest in children. Within that inappropriate context, essentially innocent pictures can fall within the category of indicative (level 1). Level 1 may include most common pictures of children, either commercially taken or from family albums. The reasons for inclusion of these kinds of photograph within the material related to adult sexual interest in children, as noted earlier, is that the extent to which a photograph may be sexualised and fantasised over lies not so much in its objective content, but in the use to which the picture might be put. In his review of 11 case studies of paedophilic sex offenders, Howitt (1995) draws attention to the significance of this kind of relatively innocent photograph in promoting and sustaining sexual fantasy. It is the context rather than the explicit content of such photographs, therefore, that is significant, and the emphasis on context in understanding child pornography cannot be over-stressed. This is also relevant to considerations of the portrayal of children and child nudity in artistic settings.
  370.     [end quote]
  372.     These two passages don’t seem to contain much voodoo, and Taylor et al. even cite a paper by Dennis Howitt that voices a conventional Victorian “weakening of the moral threshold” (usually rephrased these days as ‘promoting cognitive distortion’) argument against pedophiles’ viewing of banal images of children. It’s only when you know, from reading the rest of the paper, that the ‘inappropriate’ use of the family-style photos by pedophiles is thought to represent ‘explicit sexual victimisation’ that the creepy undertone begins to come out. This seems to move the ‘inappropriateness’ out of the ‘oh naughty, naughty’ range of reproof, (the) conventional (response) to mere inappropriateness, into a much more urgent need for some sort of restraining action. Sexual victimization is being carried out, after all.
  375.     And here we have the context for Mick Moran’s extremely constricted idea of what a pedophile could do to avoid the intervention of ‘public safety officials.’
  377.      [quote]
  378.         (Viewing of legal child photographs) demonstrates an escalation of activity by "MAP"'s that must be interpreted as an increased risk to children regardless of the illegality. If an "MAP" is living his life without acting out then he will never become the subject of any attention, legal or otherwise. However, any acting out by a "MAP" has potential to harm a child and must result in action by public safety officials. When they act, they are suspect. Illegal -vs- exploitation. Nude pictures may not be illegal but it is an acting out by an MAP and an acting-out MAP is a concern to society as a whole.
  379.    [end quote]
  381.     When I look at this passage, it reminds me of stories I’ve been told by people who grew up with raging, violent alcoholic fathers. They would huddle up in their bedroom, trying to be unnoticed, trying to shrink into the wall, knowing that any act they were perceived to make might bring on the father’s rage and a severe beating. This is the existence Moran wants pedophiles to lead in order to be unmolested by the legal authorities.
  383.     They may go to work, they may do their dishes, but even the slightest sign – the slightest context - showing that they are experiencing an erotic attraction will bring on the full force of the law. The mere possession of legal photographs, arranged in a way that suggests eros, is sufficient to press the social panic button. As deviants, they cannot be expected to have empathy. They can’t be expected to be beneficent, well-adjusted, responsible and valuable members of the community. That would be unthinkable. Any erotic move they make is a tingle of predatory interest, the flicking of the snake’s tongue. Fail to suppress it, and the snake will soon glide out. Already, in his den, he is deliberately victimizing children, according to Taylor et al., by viewing their images. In deeper Quayle literature, he is already raping the virtual child and the essence of childhood. "Any acting out by an "MAP" has potential to harm a child and must result in action by public safety officials… regardless of illegality."
  385.     Taylor and Quayle’s academically disguised Druidism, which sees horrible spiritual violation inherent in erotic interest in banal images, has licensed the police worldwide to beat up deviants. The police don’t really care whether the deviants are doing anything illegal or not. That sounds harsh, but, no matter how many times one re-reads Moran’s text, that’s exactly what he says. He, Taylor and Quayle are one. And, far across the water in Canada, his Toronto Police collaborator Det. Paul Krawczyk says the same thing: “It’s terrible. (It shows) a sexual interest in children. How can that not be dangerous?”
  387. For a growing consensus of internationally collaborating police officers, ANY erotic ‘acting’ done by an MAP, alone, in his own home, with heretofore legal materials, must be suppressed by police action. This is a level of mental suppression that has only otherwise ever been seen in religious inquisitions. And indeed, it is religious in nature. This demonization of non-offending pedophiles is not secular. It’s an expression of animistic dread – voodoo abhorrence.
  390.     When Moran reads that a pedophile looking excitedly at web-found family photos is embedded in “a continuum of increased deliberate sexual victimisation,” how likely is he to perceive that there’s something weird and phoney going on in that statement? I suspect he simply thinks, ‘sounds firmly anti-pedophile, good enough for me. Yes, when they collect mild images, they probably want less mild images, too, so let’s nip the trend in the bud.’ That’s not what the text is saying at all. What would impel Moran to get into the deeper literature where he would see that the same ‘continuum of sexual victimisation’ includes the viewing of cartoons, where “each time an image is used the virtual child is victimised” and where it can be said that “‘sexual exploitation’ refers to activities that may include sexual abuse of children but may also refer to activities where no such abuse has taken place but where the very nature of the activities violates the very essence of childhood.” If you asked him, “does Ethel Quayle think that contemplating an erotic cartoon-child has exactly the same moral significance as sexually abusing a real child?” he might well be inclined to assure you that this was a silly idea. In reality, it is the core of Quayle’s belief system about pornography.
  392. In many ways, Moran would be much better off out on the streets, beating up defiant loudmouths with his fists, than he would be basing his sophisticated strategic objectives on the law-transgressing advice of these serpentine theorists.
  395. (KB:  As I say, the M. Moran of today is not the M. Moran of 2014, so please keep the historical context in mind.)