Last November, the Internet suddenly boiled with the news that Amazon.com was selling a book titled The Pedophile’s Guide To Love & Pleasure: A Child-Lover’s Code Of Conduct, which was described as a manual purportedly informing pedophiles how to engage in sexual relations with children in a harmless manner. (Again, that’s from the book’s own back-cover description, not mine.) The outcry was as sharp as you’d expect, and before long, Amazon removed the offending book from its listings.
Now, it may be no secret that I don’t consider pedophilia, in itself, to be morally wrong, no more than any other sexuality, no matter how “deviant” society may perceive it as. (It’s the act of molesting children that’s morally wrong, and neither is it inherent to pedophilia, nor are all child molesters pedophiles. Hence my pet peeve with people continually lumping pedophiles and child molesters in the same group; don’t.) However, this being a self-proclaimed guide to consummating sexual relations with children, it had an undeniably high potential for use in harmful acts, and therefore had no place on Amazon.com; thus, and I fully support its removal.
[Update: As mentioned in the comments, I’ve changed my mind and now assert that though it’s certainly Amazon’s right to remove whatever item(s) they wish from their listings for whatever reason(s), doing so is still wrong on the basis that the book, itself, posed no threat to anyone for the simple reason that child molesters don’t need a ruddy guide in order to abuse children, and that decent people won’t be tempted to bugger minors simply because they read a book about it.]
What I most certainly don’t support, though, is its author, Phillip R. Greaves [pictured], being arrested merely for writing (or distributing) it. From The Huffington Post:
|Phillip R. Greaves
Now, the book's author, Phillip R. Greaves, has been arrested in Colorado for violating Florida state obscenity laws, reports Central Flordia News 13.
According to the Polk Country sheriff's office in Florida, Internet Crimes Division detectives contacted Greaves at his Colorado home and requested a copy of "The Pedophile's Guide to Love and Pleasure." Greaves allegedly sent a signed copy to the Polk County deputies.
The transaction led to Greaves's arrest on December 20, writes CFNews13.
Greaves faces third-degree felony charges for "distribution of obscene material depicting minors engaged in conduct harmful to minors," according to the Orlando Sentinel.
This is nothing more than a plain affront to freedom of expression. Regardless of what one might think of the book and the man who wrote it, he nonetheless did nothing (morally) wrong in penning, publishing or selling it. If he’d been arrested out of reasonable suspicion of committing child sexual abuse, that would be one thing, but to detain him simply because he wrote something that people don’t like is morally repugnant and is equal to any other form of censorship.
Obscenity laws are bullshit, serving only to suppress bold, critical or otherwise unorthodox speech and material because it might offend people’s precious sensibilities (much as it clearly has, here). Of course, if obscenity laws were to be enforced across the world, just about half of the Internet would instantly be wiped out (including this very blog, and it’s not as though this were a porn site or anything, either). At that’s just for starters. The fact that Greaves thinks it okay to have sex with children may be reprehensible (or more) to some, but that doesn’t give anyone the right to shut him up or throw him behind bars for it. Until or unless we have any credible evidence of actual (moral) wrongdoing in his case, he should be declared innocent and treated as such.
Edit: (12/22/10 5:40 PM) – Thanks – I guess – to Uzza for reminding me how it isn’t always clear, despite my best intentions, whether “wrongdoing” is intended to mean a morally or legally negative act. I’ve clarified that what Greaves did was not morally wrong, even if the law unfairly states that he should be locked up for it.