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Child porn as thoughtcrime

The answer to the all the questions in the first set is yes, in this country
anyway, if they are interpreted by the legal system as intending to incite
illicit sexual acts, fantasies or obsessions about children.  The fantasies
or obsessions are assumed to lead to the illegal acts.

>Whom is exploiting whom?  

Well, I'd say that anyone who benefits materially from the distribution of
child porn is exploiting either the children, the pervert or both.

>Which acts are crimes?

Most of them, in this country.  A few would be open to interpretation by the

>I submit that the various child porn laws we have in the United States are
about the >clearest examples of "thoughtcrime" one can find, where the
_thought_ is what is being >criminalized.

I agree that it is an excellent example for your proposition regarding
thoughtcrime.  I disagree that the thought is what is illegal, consequently
the subject doesn't work as the basis for your argument.  *Thinking* about
commiting a crime is not illegal, *acting* on your thought may be.  Exp:  I
can think/ponder about killing my enemy.  Until I do something about my
thoughts, I'm not guilty of a crime.  If I begin to discuss the commission
of a crime with you, and it could be proven that the discussion was actually
a part of the planning to commit such a crime, then, at the very least, we
are guilty of conspiracy to commit a crime.  Intent to commit an actual
crime must be proven.

>-- consumption of child porn creates a market
>-- it harms the children
>-- it's disgusting
>-- etc.
>Clearly the first argument applies to many other things.  Why not outlaw
pro-drug speech?

Hold on here..  you are making an invalid comparison.  To my knowledge,
there is no law against speaking in favor of child porn, any more than there
is against speaking in favor of drug usage.  It against the law to *use*
either of them.

>The second argument, that children are actually harmed, is vitiated by the
fact that >much so-called child porn comes from countries where the actors
are of legal age.
>How can a 14-year-old Thai girl be "harmed" when what she is bing paid to
do is 
>perfectly legal in Thailand?

There you go again..  being legal does not, in any way, mitigate it's
harmfulness.  There may be places on this earth where it is legal to
convince a two-year-old to perform some sexually gratifying act by giving
her a piece of candy.  Just because it is legal doesn't mean it won't scar
the child.  The effect on the child is what is illegal, in this case.

>And the case of morphings, drawings, stories, etc., clearly involve no
actual children, >so the argument that children are harmed is empty.

The argument is not dependent upon whether or not actual children are used,
any more than whether or not an actual gun is used in a robbery - the net
effect is the same.  Children are harmed by the promotion of child porn
because it leads to the abuse/exploitation of kids.

>As to me argument that images, stories, etc., are disgusting, amoral,
inappropriate, >etc., well, perhaps.  But what is the legal and
constitutional basis for restricting >such things?  Many opinions and
actions are vile and disgusting, but are not illegal.  >Under what
interpretation of the Constitution is the creation of a drawing depicting,
>say, a 7-year-old girl having sex with someone or something a criminal act?
The >obscenity laws?

First, you must separate opinions from actions.  In this country, opinions
are not ever illegal.  Some actions are.  The illegality is probably (I'm
out of my depth here, not being a lawyer or student of the constitution)
based on various laws which would fall under the umbrella of "obscenity".
We, as a society, have the right to formulate, pass and enact legislation
which we deem to be in our best interests.  And, as long as the laws which
are passed do not violate our constitution, the underlying basis for passing
such laws, the fact that an individual may not agree with the law does not
give that individual the right to violate it without consequence.  In other
words, an individual may be able to violate a law without consequence, if he
can prove that the law is unconstitutional.

>My point is this:  For anyone who claims that "thoughtcrime" is something
the Evil >Empire specialized in, i.e., totalitarian communist regimes, look
to the enforcement of >laws about what can be viewed or accessed from the
United States.  Thoughtcrime.

Your case is weak, because it is based on the false premise that the
illegality of child pornography equates to illegality of thought.  It is
overt action which is illegal, not thought.

Let those who believe that they have a constitutional right to "keep and
bear child pornography" violate the various laws and see if they can prove
that their constitutional rights are violated by the law which proscribes
such things.

By the way, Tim, I found your "translation" to be offensive, crude and
deliberately provocative.  I do, however, support your right to publish it.

Generally speaking, I find your missives to be enlightening and appreciate
the way they cause me to think carefully about my position on various topics.


Chuck Thompson