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Archive for September 3rd, 2018

Instead of raising children in an adult world…we prefer to live much of our lives in a make-believe children’s world.  –  Hugh Hefner

Up until the nineteenth century in the West (and much later in most of the world), people understood that the point of childhood was to prepare for adulthood.  As psychologist Robert Epstein pointed out, “In every mammalian species, immediately upon reaching puberty, animals function as adults, often having offspring…In most nonindustrialized societies, young people are integrated into adult society as soon as they are capable, and there is no sign of teen turmoil.  Many cultures do not even have a term for adolescence…”  And yet nowadays, we have artificially extended childhood not just past puberty, but in some ways into the third decade of life; people who though most of human history would’ve been working in a profession, been married, and even held positions of responsibility are now un-ironically referred to and treated as “children”.  The confusion between the biological reality of childhood and the increasingly-extended legal concept is so profound that many people quite seriously label sex between someone over 18 and a 17-year-old young adult (above the age of consent in over 80% of the world) as “child rape”, as though the 17 year old were actually (rather than just statutorily) a complete incompetent who might as well be 4 for all the rights she has.  But I’ve discussed this topic on a number of essays, including “The Shape of the Spoon” and “Still a Child“; it’s not really the infantilization of young adults (under the misapprehension that they aren’t adults) which I want to address today, but rather the infantilization of adults that everyone agrees are indeed adults.

I realize that’s probably not very clear, so I call your attention to today’s epigram, and also to Robert Heinlein’s statement that “The whole principle [of censorship] is wrong; it’s like demanding that grown men live on skim milk because the baby can’t eat steak.”  Or the very concept of “family friendly”, which not only pretends that all families have young children, but that the entire family should be limited to what is appropriate for the youngest.  Furthermore, the bluenoses and control freaks want to seal all of society, even older adults who have no dependent spawn, into a worldwide nursery where everything conforms to their idea of what is “safe” for young children; these Procrustean prudes want to censor books, television, movies, the internet and even society until they are satisfied that nothing exists, even in private, which might confuse or upset a 7-year-old.  Lest you think I exaggerate, consider the War on Sex (of which the War on Whores is only the front lines), whose excesses and violence are excused under the banner of “child protection”; sex workers are repeatedly infantilized both in our intellectual and emotional capacities, and in a pretense of fact.  It’s no accident that one of the most ludicrous myths of the “sex trafficking” hysteria, the notion that the average sex worker debuts at the age of 13, is also one that prohibitionists cling to most doggedly and repeat most obsessively:  it implies that we are all psychologically and emotionally locked into a juvenile state due to the supposed “trauma” of our work in a way that the dogma we were all molested as children (or have daddy issues or whatever) can only hint at.  But even this trope isn’t as revealing as the astonishingly stupid statement that “no little girl dreams of growing up to be a prostitute”; leaving aside the evident absurdities of this non-argument (which I’ve previously discussed), consider what it is actually saying:  that adults (or at least adult women) should only be allowed to do work, or presumably any activity for that matter, which a young child can comprehend.  Obviously, even those who vomit out such idiocies don’t really believe them; nobody complains that “no little girl dreams of being a middle manager” or “no little boy dreams of being an accountant”.  No, it only applies to sex…which is what “family friendly” means too, despite that every family owes its existence to sex.  What it all boils down to is, people who are uncomfortable with their own sexual feelings want to keep everyone else from having any kind of sexual life that hasn’t been sanitized into unrecognizability, and “the children” are just a convenient excuse.

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