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Don’t Ban Child Sex Dolls, Subsidise Them

The government has decided to try and crack down on the importation of child sex dolls. The government are being idiots but I repeat myself. The underlying conflict here is between a moralistic view of governance and a pragmatic one. Is the law there, should it be there, to stop people doing icky stuff or is it to just, given the flawed imperfectibilty of us humans, there to manage matters as best as can be done? Are we supposed to encode morals into the statute book or be entirely pragmatic?

To take a different subject, abortion. My views are well odd by the standards of the general population, thinking that it is always and everywhere immoral. There are even many who would agree that it’s undesirable much of the time. Bill Clinton’s safe legal and rare comes to mind. That rarity showing that it’s not exactly desirable but, you know, needs must etc. Which is where we get to most peoples’ actual position. The terrors of the backstreet sepsis inducer are such that, regrettably, the NHS should be doing it. But seriously folks, don’t take the piss by using it as a method of contraception.

So with, say, pornography. Sure, we can mount the free and liberty argument, damn all to do with you or anyone else what consenting adults do. If that’s to play themselves into exhaustion while looking at piccies then that’s just fine, whatever our approval of it tolerate it we must.

To child sex, to paedophilia, clearly we’re against the act itself. This is the sort of thing the amphipedal one was warning over millstones and the deep ocean. Our task therefore is to frame the law so as to reduce it. There’s definitely harm caused to the sexee here, if not the sexor, so ban it we should and do. This also applies to the production of pornography – we’re not in the world of consenting adult actors here, cannot be. Digital production, well, that all gets a bit more complex. Because we’re really very certain indeed that more child porn leads to less child sexual assault:

[perfectpullquote align=”full” bordertop=”false” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””] Following the effects of a new law in the Czech Republic that allowed pornography to a society previously forbidden to access it allowed us to monitor the change in sex related crime that followed the change. As found in all other countries in which the phenomenon has been studied, rape and other sex crimes did not increase. [/perfectpullquote] [perfectpullquote align=”full” bordertop=”false” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]Of particular note is that this country, like Denmark and Japan, had a prolonged interval during which possession of child pornography was not illegal and, like those other countries, showed a significant decrease in the incidence of child sex abuse.[/perfectpullquote]

Which is tricky really. For it means that the production of digital child porn would logically lead to no harm done in the production, a reduction in harm done by assault and thus a better society overall. Morally of course it would be a disgrace, making mucky pictures like that, but pragmatically….

This is also what we find with pornography itself:

[perfectpullquote align=”full” bordertop=”false” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]We’re well aware that the availability of pornography is at an all time high these days. What might be less obvious is that the level of sexual crime is falling, falling like a stone actually, and has been for well over a decade. Economists posit that there’s a link between these two things: that the technology of the internet has made the porn more available and this has led to a reduction in the level of meatspace sexual violence. In the jargon the question is whether porn and sexual violence are complements or substitutes. Does the first encourage the second or does it in some manner replace it?[/perfectpullquote] [perfectpullquote align=”full” bordertop=”false” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]The truth is always going to be complex: for some people will undoubtedly act out what they see while for others the fantasy replaces the real world activity. What we’d like to know is what is the overall effect? Or if you prefer, which effect predominates? The general supposition (backed by good evidence) is that porn is a substitute for the sexual violence, even while it may in certain cases prompt it. So far so good, this is reasonably well known.[/perfectpullquote]

Worth noting that Baroness Butler-Sloss agrees:

[perfectpullquote align=”full” bordertop=”false” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””] A judge in the James Bulger case sparked anger last night as she defended the release of one of his killers and cast doubt on links between watching child porn and carrying out sex abuse. Jon Venables was set free last week after serving three years in jail for downloading horrific photos of sex assaults on children.Baroness Butler-Sloss, who gave him and Robert Thompson lifelong secret identities after they committed one of Britain’s most notorious child murders, said he did not deserve to be locked up for ever. And she denied there was evidence to show that paedophiles who seek out indecent images online also carry out physical assaults. [/perfectpullquote]

So far so good, now to today’s error over child sex dolls:

[perfectpullquote align=”full” bordertop=”false” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””] Prosecutors have turned to a Victorian law to crackdown on the trade in child-like sex dolls which are being imported in their hundreds into the UK by paedophiles. The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) has advised prosecutors that they can use the Customs and Consolidation Act of 1876 which bans the import of “indecent or obscene articles” alongside pornographic “lithographs”, “engravings” or “paintings. [/perfectpullquote] [perfectpullquote align=”full” bordertop=”false” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]Deployed in conjunction with the Customs and Excise Acts of 1979, which bans the import of illegal materials, offenders trying to bring the sex dolls into the UK would face jail sentences of up to seven years.[/perfectpullquote]

Is, in that economic jargon, a child sex doll a substitute for child sexual assault or a complement to it? Does it make a physical attack more likely by, perhaps, sharpening the taste? Or less by sating urges?

As above, we’ve that moral basis for making the law. It’s icky and ban it! Or we can actually try to make the world a better place by being pragmatic. Which reduces harm the bestest and mostest?

Everything we can see about sex tells us that the dolls would reduce harm done. In basic pornography blokes manipulating themselves into satiation reduces sexual violence against live peeps. We find this is also true of child pornography. We’ve – as far as can be done without controlled trials which we’re not going to do – strong evidence therefore that having child sex dolls around the place will reduce the number of attacks upon children.

Thus, far from banning them we should be subsidising them. The government is wrong here – but then that’s such a surprise, isn’t it?

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Quentin Vole
Quentin Vole
5 years ago

‘Amphipedal’? Was He on crutches at the time?

5 years ago
Reply to  Quentin Vole

I wanted “walking on water” and that’s as far as brain would take me on a Sat morning. There might well be a better word….

Jonathan Harston
Jonathan Harston
5 years ago

Sub! crackdown is a noun, you need a verb there, viz: crack down.

5 years ago

We don’t in fact have editors around here…..

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