Among the things I’ve encountered on the internet from our opposition, the most dangerous is the desire to silence us, to remove from us the basic human right of free speech, which, at least in America, has been granted to us all through the First Amendment of the Constitution’s Bill of Rights. Here is an example taken from Twitter:
Ostensibly such arguments are presented on the view that to give pedophiles, even non-offending ones, a voice is to somehow legitimize the sexual abuse of children. This is, of course, absurd, but it hints at the real motivation behind this position, which is that pedophiles may actually have some valid things to say, a notion that may undermine this person’s most deeply held justification for their own hatred, that being that pedophiles are not in the same class as other human beings, and that we therefore do not deserve the same rights as everyone else. In the end this is clearly not founded in reason, but in emotion, which makes it a case of special pleading, as it is simply assumed to be true on some obscure moral principle and nothing else.
The above writer says pedophiles don’t deserve a voice. On what grounds? That our speech would be so dangerous that we might alter society’s perspective to the point where it may legally allow child molestation? This position demonstrates a terrible lack of faith in the very underpinnings of the principle itself, and therein lies the problem. If this principle stands on such shaky legs that it could be easily undone by simply granting pedophiles a voice, then clearly it is a principle which needs to be re-examined anyway. But I tell you this is not necessary. It is with great irony, then, that I, a self-confessed pedophile, assert that the principle on which we hold sex with children to be taboo is indeed strong enough to withstand any criticism or discussion. In other words, I appear to have more faith in the morality of society’s position than many non-pedophiles do. I have posted this quote before, but I think it is warranted again here:
Though all the winds of doctrine were let loose to play upon the earth, so Truth be in the field, we do injuriously, by licensing and prohibiting, to misdoubt her strength. Let her and Falsehood grapple; who ever knew Truth put to the worse, in a free and open encounter?
Once again, this is taken from Areopagitica, a famous defense of free speech made by notable Christian writer and philosopher John Milton, who is here arguing that to suppress the speech of anyone whose views we disagree with is to devalue truth itself, because if one genuinely believes their ideas are correct and have faith that the majority of society will be able to recognize the inherent truth of that, then they have nothing to fear by allowing their opponents to speak freely. To suppress the speech of one’s opponent is merely to demonstrate a deep-seated insecurity in their own beliefs.
Moreover, as has been stated and demonstrated repeatedly not only by me but by many notable experts on pedophilia, to silence pedophiles is to marginalize them even more, to push them further underground, where they become far more dangerous than if they are out in the open where they can be observed, and helped. To put it another way: to remove a pedophile’s voice is to remove his humanity, and to remove his humanity is to remove his faith in the goodness and fairness of others, and to remove those things is to remove the final barriers that stand in the way of him placing moral constraints on himself, because a man who has been cornered and beaten into submission by a society that claims to be just is a man who will no longer see fit to honor that society’s notions of justice. For what difference does it make to him if society places no additional value on the pedophile who does not offend than it places on the one who does? More simply, it seems to me to be self-evident that it is much more dangerous for children when society silences and oppresses pedophiles at all costs than it is when they provide them with incentives to embrace society’s values with respect to children and sex, one of those incentives being a dignified place at the table of discussion, a sturdy and well-placed stall in the Marketplace of Ideas.
Finally, I would point out that there is but one reason, and one reason alone, that the right of free speech has stood strong since its inception: its strength lies in its universality. This is because, once a justification has been made to silence one group, it isn’t long before a justification can be made to silence another, and another, until the thing at last has no value. If one weakens the framework on which a human right stands by allowing for exceptions, then before long the entire structure crumbles. This, of course, applies to all human rights, but most especially to freedom of speech, which our legal system is founded upon, for everyone who is accused of some heinous act or who is doubted in some respect has a right to plead his case, which would be impossible without free speech. Our legal system would be a mockery of justice without this core value, and anyone who stood accused of sexual abuse, no matter how innocent, could then be demoted to the status of non-human, and one’s enemies could then be systematically demolished by simply accusing them of being a pedophile or sex offender and scrounging up some proof to justify the accusation.
These are but three reasons why freedom of speech must be protected for all, not only for those we like or agree with, but everyone, pedophiles included. Martin Luther King, Jr. has said that an injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. I can think of no greater injustice than removing or suppressing a person’s voice based on some aspect of their being, particularly one they did not choose. Have we learned nothing from history? We have long embraced the notion of universal human rights in this grand country, and I hope we can say, today, tomorrow and forevermore, that we shall never get to the point where any individual or group will be silenced because they are merely disliked or disapproved of in some capacity by another individual or group.