Taboos and violations of the sacrosanct

Dissident1
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Taboos and violations of the sacrosanct

"Nothing is more curious thant the self-satisfied dogmatism with which mankind at each period of its history cherishes the delusion of the finality of its existing beliefs."
-Alfred North Whitehead

Whenever I have encountered material that even vaguely hints at paedophilia, it seems that all minds tends to close. Among the taboos of our modern society, paedophilia tops the list. Those who say that they have dismissed religioous, socialcultural, and political dogma from disabling their capacity for critical thought seem just as zealous in their demonisation of those who hold an attraction to young people that have not yet reached the sacred age at which one is properly allowed to be attractive and sexual are condemned before they can mutter a word.

Why should this be? Why is being considered sexually attractive unhealthy for minors? Why is having an orgasm considered "harmful"?

To answer this, we have to first think about ideas of sexual purity. According to the Christian tradition, sex is the greatest evil to befall mankind. In the book of Genesis, Adam and Eve eat of the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, realise that they are naked, and feel ashamed. According to medieval thought, that knowledge was the knowledge of their innate sexuality, the sin for which they were kicked from the garden.

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The church fathers regarded sex as, at best, something to be tolerated, a necessary evil out of which procreation resulted. The dominant western attitudes have been conditioned by these beliefs ever since. Americans, whether or not they are Christians, are heirs to this tradition, and understanding this background might help us come to terms with our own ambiguous feelings about sex.

-Vern L. Bullough and Bonnie Bullough

Early on, agricultural peoples determined that men carried inside themselves seeds, which would be implanted into a woman's womb the same way that wheat was planted and grown in the fields. For this reason, most agricultural communities maintained that their females must maintain their virginity until marriage, so that the husband would not find themselves in the position of harvesting another man's crops (children). This attitude was still prominent well into the beginning of the twentieth century. Thus the earliest form of what has come to be known as "age of consent" laws stood to promote a girls chastity.

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At common law, "rape" involved the element of force, and originally it was not a crime to have carnal knowledge of a female with her consent regardless of her age, but in the reign of Queen Elizabeth the age of consent was fixed by statute at 10 years and any violation of a girl under that age with her consent became a "consent rape".

Wilson v. Commonwealth
160 S.W. 2d 649, 651
290 Ky. 223

Around the middle of the nineteenth century, the age of consent laws that were established in England began to take a turn on American shores, along with the acceptance of ideas of childhood innocence that were introduced by the writings of Jean Jacques Rousseau. Thus it was determined that children must remain ignorant of sexual matters until they had reached the "age of accountability", at which point they would be capable of accepting Christian standards and refraining from sinful behaviour.

Therefore, anyone who would introduce a mere child to sex, either in speech or through action, was condemning that child's soul to hell. Christian morality had to be preserved at all cost.

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In determining accused's guilt of statutory offense of taking immodest, immoral and indecent liberties with person of child under 16 years old, child's consent or non-consent to acts charged is immaterial. as prime object of statute is to protect morals of youth by punishing those committting acts tending to corrupt such morals.

'35 CSA c. 48?65

So whereas Elizabethean law originally was formulated with the sole intent of maintaining female virginity until marriage, the States took the statute to declare an adherence to Christian views of morality. At the time, discussion was fierce, and there were many in Congress who held that such a law would violate the Constitution. However...

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Law and the courts reinforced t he power of one side of the sexual conversation and forced another - it's most radical strand - underground. (sic) Unquestionably, evangelical Christianity won out in numbers.

Helen Lefkowitz Horowitz
Rereading Sex: Battles over Sexual Knowledge and Suppression in Nineteenth Century America

The ideas of psychological and emotional harm that are so dominant in discussions of this nature were not a part of the formulation of the laws, nor were they present in the minds of the people. There was no question in the minds of eighteenth and nineteenth century peoples that sex was enjoyable regardless of age, but only that it was also immoral and must be kept from those who were too young to realise it.

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Legal "consent," which will be held sufficient in prosecution for rape, assumes a capacity in the person consenting to understand and appreciate the nature of the act committed, its immoral character, and the probable or natural consequences which may attend it.

People v. Perry
146 P. 44, 45
26 Cal.App. 143

The law in some states even went so far as to consider sex an "act against nature". It was against our supposedly spiritual nature, best left for animals. It was therefore an act of sexual perversion that needed to be hidden from those too "innocent" to recognise their true spiritual nature.

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There is a decided difference in law between mere submission and actual "consent". "Consent" in law means a voluntary agreement by person in the possession and exercise of sufficient mentality to make an intelligent choice to do something proposed by another. "Consent" differs very materially from "assent." The former implies some positve action, and always implies submission. The latter means passivity or submission which does not include consent. Participation in an act of sexual perversion by boy of nearly 12 was by "assent" rather than "consent," and hence no corroboration of his testimony was necessary (Pen. Code, ?? 26, Subd.1, 288a, 1111.).

People v. Conklin
10 P.2d98, 101
122 Cal.App.83

Helen Lefkowitz Horowitz -

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Within a few years the tractarians would seek to reform prostitutes. For such men, free thought was anathema. It threatened to unleash the floodgates of lust-driven sin. The reform physiology of the free-thinker was a threat to the presumed sexual ignorance of children, a critical pillar of sexual restraint.

This thought, that children must be kept "innocent" and any form of sex and sexuality must be kept from them, is by no means universally held.

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There are a number of societies around the world where sexual stimulation is used as an aid in weaning older babies from the breast. A number of cultures let children play intercourse during childhood and begin real intercourse at 8 or 10.

W.N. Stephen
The Family in Cross-Cultural Perspective

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It is paradoxical that modern love began with Greek love and owes so much to it, although the forms and ideals of Greek love are considered immoral and, to a large extent, illegal in modern society.

Morton Hunt
The Natural History of Love

There were many other ways that we could have come to view sex, and paedophilia. We simply ended up in a society that takes affront to anything sexual, and has founded a series of ideas and beliefs about sex and childhood that demonizes both.

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Obviously there were and are many different approaches to sex that the western world could have adopted; but the fact that it opted for one emphasizeing a distrust of sexual activity has afflicted western culture with an underlying hostility toward sex that has been challenged only in the twentieth century.

Vern L. & Bonnie Bullough

So when it comes to ideas that challenge preconceived notions and ideas, the stronger that your feelings are, the more likely they are to be determinately wrong. For a freethinking individual, there is no topic that is taboo. When judgements are made, they should be evaluated and reevaluated. The history of a certain line of thought needs to be accounted for before even experiential data can be accepted, since remembered experiences can be coloured likewise by historic judgements and ideological prejudices.

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If there's a taboo against something, it's usually because a considerable number of people desire to do it. The very taboos that we employ to protect us from each other and ourselves, are a map of our secret natures. When you know a culture's taboos (or an individual's, or a family's) you know it's secrets - you know what it really wants.

Michael Ventura

I am become death, destroyer of worlds


Rigor_OMortis
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Taboos and violations of the sacrosanct

Well, I'm not exactly a defender of paedophilia, but I have some facts which, amongst other things, have gone on for already hundreds, maybe thousands of years... the great amazement is that only now people find out about them, and ohh, my, are they grossened...

I must admit one thing, before I say more: having sex with an undeveloped person (and this especially applies to girls) CAN be harmful... however, the development age is far less than 18 or 21, as it is "dictated"... there indeed has to be a limit, perhaps, let's say 16 in order to be "perfectly OK", and perhaps 15 to be "legal, but not recommended"... and these ages do vary from females to males... If I correctly recall, the record for the youngest mother was somewhere at 10 and 4 months old... To sum up: I believe that there should be a restraint, but the current one is way too high.

Why I'm saying this, and why I've decided to post here, is because of the current social and informational trend. The so-called "sexual purity" of children has become history a looooooong time ago... We've had a scandal here in Romania when a movie with a 14-year-old guy and a 12-year-old girl were having sex "accidentally" slipped out on the Internet... I've talked to a lot of people on this topic, I've shared many opinions and some even written down in my previous blog (which was banned for other reasons), but I yet have to find ONE SINGLE PERSON that would truly believe that this was the first case of its kind, or at least one of the few.

Also, just go to a grade school and see what kids know about sex... in private, as not to upset anyone... you'll be surprised to find out just how much they do, presuming that sexual education is not to be taught (at least not where I live).

I'm not in the best position to talk about the origins of this child-related taboo, nor am I in favor of completely lifting it, but it seems to me that only modern Christians have it. There's no such shame at almost any other religion, nor is it at old Christian rural communities (as opposed a little to what Dissident1 said) for very obvious reasons: it's perfectly natural... presuming that there is a God, and presuming that He created us, then why would he make women be able to give birth from a very young age, men to procreate a bit later, but still at a very early age, and also impose such restrictions upon them? such philosophy is not present at Muslims (from what I know), nor at Confucians, nor at Zen-Buddhists, etc. Neither was it in the rural community in which my mother was born 49 years ago, considering that her mother married my grandpa when she was 15 (do excuse me holding up this detail until the end, I didn't want to give the impression that I'm not impartial here).

Conclusion: Perhaps the current age restraints for sex are well-placed, I'm not judging that... as for the so-called "sexual obliviousness" and "sexual purity" of children, well... When I'll write a history book, I'll remember to mention in there.

Inquisition - "The flames are all long gone, but the pain lingers on..."
http://rigoromortis.blogspot.com/


Thor
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Taboos and violations of the sacrosanct

To just clear up a fact here, women are seen to be medically fit for sexual relations at about 14, but this varies on climate (younger if the climate is warmer).

From Alan
FTT Website Designer


Rigor_OMortis
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Taboos and violations of the sacrosanct

And so quod erat demonstrandum. Thanks for clearing up.