Culture Wars/Current Controversies

The Return of the Postmodern Pedophile

Some of the major culture war issues of the future are going to be polygamy/polyamory, prostitution/sex work, and “minor-attracted persons.” And these issues are going to be just as contentious on the Left as they are between the Left and Right. Meanwhile, it looks like the abortion wars are heating up once again as well.

By Anne Hendershott, The American Conservative

As deviant behavior is defined down, law begins to reflect the redefinition and we find ourselves on the road to normalization.

For more than five decades, a small and deviant sub-culture has been lobbying, without much success, for greater understanding and acceptance of those who experience sexual attraction to children and teenagers. Transgendered sociologist Allyn Walker’s attempt to destigmatize pedophilia through a new book, A Long Dark Shadow: Minor-Attracted People and Their Pursuit of Dignity, is just the latest attempt to define down the deviance of adult-child love. Walker was a professor at Old Dominion University before stepping down last week.

Beginning in the 1970s with the much-maligned North American Man Boy Love Association, the LGBTQ community has attempted to distance itself from attempts by the self-described “boy-lovers” to affiliate. Although the pro-pedophile group was allowed to participate in the earliest annual Pride parades—replete with their own banners proclaiming man-boy love—a group calling itself the Lesbian Caucus boycotted the 1980 New York City Gay Pride Parade because the organizing committee had been dominated by NAMBLA.

Undeterred, the deviant sub-culture turned to academia—and postmodern theory—for support and assistance in defining down the deviance of pedophilia. It is not a coincidence that Allyn Walker is a sociologist and that A Long Dark Shadow is published by the University of California Press. Like its predecessors, Walker’s book encourages all of us to reject the pejorative label “pedophile” and replace it with the morally neutral “Minor Attracted People” in order to acknowledge that those who are sexually attracted to children do not necessarily act on their impulses. Holding pedophiles “blameless” in terms of their sexual attraction, Walker, who uses the pronoun “they,” suggests that we need to be more understanding of those who experience these sexual urges.

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