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A shift of sexual mores

by Katrin Wed Jun 12th, 2013 at 04:51:24 AM EST

Daniel Cohn-Bendit is very much attacked for some quotes on "erotic encounters" with children. This triggered off a discussion in today's newsroom. These encounters must have taken place in Frankfurt in the late 1960s or 70s, around the time of a huge reform of the German penal code regarding sexual offences.

To a contemporary reader it is inconceivable how anyone could express such an attitude. It is as if there wasn't a consensus that children's sexual behaviour is incompatible with that of adults, and that adults must not seek or permit "erotic encounters" (fascinating expression, found it in Wikipedia) with children. How could DCB fail to know that? Simple: the consensus wasn't there then.

A travel in time to 1974, to find out who or what was to be to protected by the laws.

front-paged by afew


Imagine the relationship of two children, 13 years old. Peter and Christine are exploring each other's bodies. That means sexual acts with a child under 14, but not punishable because children under 14 can't be punished. Then Christine becomes 14. Shock, she is a person over 14 having sex with a child under 14. A serious offence. Luckily she isn't caught, and a few weeks later it's Peter's birthday. They are now both 14. Shock! He, a male over 14, is having sex with a girl under 16! Another serious offence, this time his. If he was old enough to marry, he could escape punishment by marrying his victim, who would then cease to be a victim.

And this was only heterosexual sex. Gay sex was absolutely banned until 1973 (a Nazi-era law), and there was a higher age of consent than for heterosexual sex until 1994. Lesbian sex on the other hand didn't exist (if under-14-year-olds weren't involved), because female sexuality was denied.

So who or what was protected by this collection of absurdities? Peter or Christine? Hardly. Some sexual mores that require marriage and the wish to procreate, but these mores had become controversial. That's why their defenders tried to claim they were protecting children. These mores were challenged by the concept of self-determination. This is what DCB argues when he writes about children touching him: they wanted it, and they were free. All sexual mores necessarily had to be questioned. Only after self-determination became (at least ostensibly) the criteria for banning sexual behaviour, could the debate move on to limiting this self-determination, but that happened later. DCB wrote exactly in the time when one set of sexual mores had lost all credibility, but wasn't yet replaced by the new consensus.

Is there any way to manage such a radical shift in paradigm without attacking the old one by limitless provocation? I suspect not, and we should bear that in mind for future use, the next time we want to achieve a radical switch of the consensus.

Display:
Interesting.

By what time would you say the new consensus had arrived?

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by A swedish kind of death on Mon Jun 10th, 2013 at 06:00:31 PM EST
In the Anglo world that would be with the rise to power of Reagan and Thatcher, IMO. Nancy Reagan thought 'just say no' was an answer to all of societies problems.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Mon Jun 10th, 2013 at 08:31:14 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I find that extremely different to answer. Firstly, you are asking about a point in time for a slow movement that took many years. Then there are different levels: the argumentation of the lawmakers and other politicians, the argumentation of courts, the argumentation of the media. They all switched to the paradigm that focuses on consent at different points in time. And a few years later they started to be embarrassed of what their respective outlets had said earlier. The relevant chapter in the German penal code used to be "Crimes and offences against morality" and was re-named to "Crimes and offences against sexual self-determination" in 1973.
by Katrin on Tue Jun 11th, 2013 at 05:53:33 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, that really nails it. The transition was from one of culturally-defined "morality", which in most cases amounts to property rights, to one of individual rights.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II
by eurogreen on Tue Jun 11th, 2013 at 06:12:33 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I understand there was a transition period, but if we are not still in the transition period, there was some kind of end to the transition period. For example, I think I saw something about German Greens and child sex discussions in the 80ies. Was the old paradigm still being fought then? Is that the tail end of the transition so it should be interpreted as poeple who had not noticed that the debate was moving on, or is it something else?

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by A swedish kind of death on Tue Jun 11th, 2013 at 02:02:50 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes, that was still the process of discarding the old paradigm and introducing a new one, in the domain of party politics and writing programmes. In the domain of legislation the process probably ended 1994 when the same age of consent for straight and gay sex was introduced. The press exaggerates the affair of debating paedophilia and the age of consent shamelessly though. We didn't kick the paedophiles out without a debate: this topic had to be debated. Nowadays it is taboo. Re-read the absurdity of the laws we had then, and you know why we had to question everything, in this case very vehemently and unharmonously, by the way.

The main proponent of abolishing the age of consent, a man always accompanied by half a dozen kids, hijacked every party conference. He had picked them up from the street. These kids hadn't known an adult paying attention to them before and they were absolutely loyal to him. Whenever we tried to kick their topic off the agenda they started a noise. We delegated the matter to a commission in which he could participate. Probably that was naïve, but so what?

by Katrin on Tue Jun 11th, 2013 at 03:11:09 PM EST
[ Parent ]
 "In the domain of legislation the process probably ended 1994 when the same age of consent for straight and gay sex was introduced."

I remember a discussion in socialist youth camp in 1992 where the question of the different ages of consent for homosexual and heterosexual sex was discussed and at least one participant demanded the abolition of the general concept of the age of consent.

The bundestag deputy present did strike that down at once, though.

by IM on Thu Jun 13th, 2013 at 12:37:22 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Roman Polanski is another example of the problems that arose out of this shift. I recall being a young teacher at a very progressive high school in Los Angeles in 1967-1969. Many single male teachers had relationships with their female students it seemed. I didn't know whether to be proud or ashamed of the fact that I was not one of them - not for want of opportunity. And the young women - OH MY GOD! But it just did not seem appropriate to my evolving Oklahoma-Arizona-California sensibility.

And some of my 9th grade female students were eager for attention and physical contact, which was a challenge. They would stand beside me almost touching me or grab my arm or hand. My choice was to put a hand on a shoulder or pat a head. Some seemed very much in need of male parental attention. As this was a private school I was hired despite lacking any college background in education, so I really do not know what was taught in teachers education at that time about those subjects. But some faculty and administration spoke positively about the Summerhill philosophy, though the school was much more formal and traditional than that.  

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."

by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Mon Jun 10th, 2013 at 07:46:05 PM EST
Puberty turns you into a hormone bomb. For most of history 40 was very old, and humans probably did most of their reproducing as soon as they could.

Which is fine if you want a culture of young animals. But the issue with age of consent is that while some adults are horny, others - especially those called paedophiles - are violent, abusive and predatory. So at the very least it's more likely to be a bad idea than not, because child-adult sex includes a huge power imbalance. And at worst it puts children and teens in literal physical danger.

In the UK the problem isn't that some people have sex with children, but that there's a shocking amount of evidence that abuse is systemic, with children being removed from relatively functional families by secret courts (when did those appear?) and put into a 'care' system just so they can be abused and possibly even murdered with impunity.

Worse, there's seem clear evidence of collusion among the establishment, with some very odd bahaviour by certain police, judges, lawyers, politicians, and local councillors - and numerous reports that when police investigations get too enthusiastic, officers are moved on and told to cool off.

Kids being hormone bombs comes nowhere close to justifying any of this.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Tue Jun 11th, 2013 at 02:01:55 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Linking paedophilia intrinsically with violence is plain wrong, manipulative, and flies on the face of little the facts that exist from unbiased studies. As is plain wrong and manipulative to label all sexual activity below current age of consent as "paedophilia".
by Ivo on Sun Jun 30th, 2013 at 03:21:37 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Daniel Cohn-Bendit is very much attacked for some quotes on "erotic encounters" with children. This triggered off a discussion in today's newsroom. These encounters must have taken place in Frankfurt in the late 1960s or 70s, around the time of a huge reform of the German penal code regarding sexual offences.

While it is inevitable that historical figures often are evaluated in terms of the current prevailing morality it is critical that they next be considered in the light of the context of the times in which they were operating. Thank you for this diary.  

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Mon Jun 10th, 2013 at 08:28:45 PM EST
Is there any way to manage such a radical shift in paradigm without attacking the old one by limitless provocation?

Recently, the French minister of culture nominated Bob Dylan for the Légion d'Honneur. The committee of superannuated dignitaries who vet candidates apparently objected to him, allegedly because of his former drug use and, incredibly, his opposition to the Vietnam war.

They were overruled.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Tue Jun 11th, 2013 at 05:01:36 AM EST
his opposition to the Vietnam war...
...was seen as vicarious trechery, as the USA was (unwisely) only picking up the Frenchman's burden in Vietnam.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Tue Jun 11th, 2013 at 11:12:42 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes, but this objection (from an elderly general, apparently) was the subject of widespread ridicule. Having been opposed to France's colonial adventures hasn't been an obstacle to receiving the Légion d'Honneur, at least not since De Gaulle died.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II
by eurogreen on Tue Jun 11th, 2013 at 11:43:04 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Perhaps one who had seen action at Diem Bien Phu - usual suspects.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Tue Jun 11th, 2013 at 12:59:51 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I'll go off on a tangent on the further evolution of legislation on sexual behaviour with self-determination as a principle.

In the olden days, prostitution was criminalised, which mainly meant that prostitutes were criminalised. This was quite perverse considering that most prostitutes ended up as prostitutes against their will, as victims of human trafficking over ever longer distances: this means being kidnapped or tricked by pimps or brothel owners, then raped and then coerced with taken-away papers and money, physical violence, threats of telling the family at home or harming the family at home, or drug addiction.

Going beyond decriminalisation, there is the concept of turning prostitutes into "sex workers", practitioners of just another job paying taxes and falling under regular state control, giving prostitutes legal protections and healthcare. In Germany, a legal reform in this sense was enacted a decade ago. The concept hit some limits in popular  when it came to jobless people and their treatment: can jobless people be recommended for such jobs and penalised for not taking them, and is that worse than when done for any other job?

However, the bigger issue is how this influences the human trafficking part. Which, in much of Europe, goes east to west in the last two decades. (For me this means that is I live in a "source country" for Western Europe and an "export market" for countries further east and south, thus both ends of the trafficking.) My arguments (based on the stories of escaped girls and op-eds by some sociologists I read) that the full legalisation of prostitution does nothing against the trafficking weren't exactly popular in the past, but again:

  • Prostitution exists to serve a demand, a demand for sex any way the 'customer' likes, at 'affordable' prices. That means that sex workers who only do what they are willing to do and what's safe for them and ask for a decent sum won't ever cover the demand.
  • Controllers going into a brothel to ask the girls about their condition won't do anything about the extortion part: the same methods of blackmail and dependency used to keep them 'working' will also work to get them to lie to the controllers.
  • With the above, for pimps and brothel owners, fully legalised prostitution means that they can expand unbothered and take even more off the girls while the state finances their healthcare costs: in effect, a subsidy.

Over a week ago Spiegel had an article bolstering all of these points (was in the Newsroom):

Human Trafficking Persists Despite Legality of Prostitution in Germany - SPIEGEL ONLINE

When Germany legalized prostitution just over a decade ago, politicians hoped that it would create better conditions and more autonomy for sex workers. It hasn't worked out that way, though. Exploitation and human trafficking remain significant problems.

...The police can do little for women like Alina. The pimps were prepared for raids, says Alina, and they used to boast that they knew police officers. "They knew when a raid was about to happen," says Alina, which is why she never dared to confide in a police officer.

The pimps told the girls exactly what to tell the police. They should say that they were surfing the web back home in Bulgaria or Romania and discovered that it was possible to make good money by working in a German brothel. Then, they had simply bought themselves a bus ticket and turned up at the club one day, entirely on their own.

Web of Lies

It seems likely that every law enforcement officer who works in a red-light environment hears this same web of lies over and over again. The purpose of the fiction is to cover up all indications of human trafficking, in which women are brought to Germany and exploited there. It becomes a statement that transforms women like Alina into autonomous prostitutes, businesswomen who have chosen their profession freely and to whom Germany now wishes to offer good working conditions in the sex sector of the service industry.

Another concept has been attempted in Sweden: decriminalising prostitutes but criminalising their clients. For me bizarrely, this method has been blamed for human trafficking by proponents of full legalisation, as if it didn't happen elsewhere. But the method may be failing for other reasons: lack of application.

No jail time for Sweden's sex buyers: report - The Local

Despite Sweden's much-debated and soon 15-year-old law that bans buying sex, rather than selling it, the statute has not resulted in any convicted sex buyers spending time behind bars.


*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Tue Jun 11th, 2013 at 12:31:00 PM EST
Having six months as maximum penalty means that in most cases jail will not be the penalty. For sex buyers, in no cases apparently. So we have a conservative judicial apparatus. But who doesn't?

15 years on, the law while much reviled in liberal (european, not american) circles, is well established. The left and the conservatives support it, which means that the opposition is loud but ineffective.

The effect of the law is mainly on public morals. Since it is a crime, it is now a moral sin to a larger extent then before. When men of high social position - in particular within the judicial apparatus - are arrested for buying sex they in general get off with light sentences (and keep their jobs) but at least they are shamed which lessens their influence. And that is something.

Sometimes the investigations also hooks into more then just sex purchases. I am under the impression that the investigation against Göran Lindberg - head of police at county level - started as an investigation in a circle of sex buyers.

Göran Lindberg (polis) - Wikipedia
Lindberg greps 25 januari 2010 misstänkt för sexualbrott. Han dömdes i november samma år av hovrätten till sex års fängelse för grov våldtäkt, våldtäkt, köp av sexuella tjänster, försök och medhjälp till sexköp samt koppleri och misshandel.[18]Däremot friades han vad gäller våldtäkt av barn, som inte ansågs styrkt.Lindberg was arrested January 25, 2010 on suspicion of sexual offenses. He was convicted in November of the same year the Court of Appeal to six years in prison for aggravated rape, rape, purchase of sexual services, abetting and attempting purchase of sexual service and pimping and assault. [18] However, he was acquitted in terms of rape of children, who were not considered proven.

Before the investigation he was a much sought after lecturer on gender equality in the workplace and very influential in the public debate on gender equality. One wonders how some people work.

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se

by A swedish kind of death on Tue Jun 11th, 2013 at 01:52:15 PM EST
[ Parent ]
A swedish kind of death:
The effect of the law is mainly on public morals.

I see. Oh dear, there is public morals again, when I thought we were rid of it.

So that law, which (at least ostensibly) intended to eliminate an extremely exploitative profession, is a complete failure. Public morals don't interest me, and public morals don't improve the situation of the prostitutes either. Guys who buy sex aren't the issue for me, only poverty that makes people do jobs that are degrading is the issue. Giving residence permits and working permits and proper jobs to the women will reduce the pimps' profits. Encouraging the women to give evidence will increase the pimps' risk. This approach won't find the approval of the xenophobian mainstream, though. It's poison for getting re-elected.

by Katrin on Tue Jun 11th, 2013 at 02:47:21 PM EST
[ Parent ]
there is public morals again, when I thought we were rid of it
You can get rid of public morals?

Finance is the brain [tumour] of the economy
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Jun 11th, 2013 at 02:48:37 PM EST
[ Parent ]
No. See below.
by Katrin on Tue Jun 11th, 2013 at 03:17:44 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Katrin:
So that law, which (at least ostensibly) intended to eliminate an extremely exploitative profession, is a complete failure.

As I noted when the law was introduced, the situation of the prosititutes where not high up on the debate agenda of either side. But a purpose of the law is to decrease prostitution through a decrease of demand, in turn both through risk of detection and through stigmatisation of sex buying.

After some googling I find a government inquiry (SOU 2010:49 if anyone wants to read it) concluded that during the first ten years the effects included a decrease of street prostitution in Sweden when compared to Norway and Denmark. Internet prostitution increased in similar numbers in all three countries, leading to the conclusion that compared to not having the law (as in Denmark and Norway).

I don't think you get rid of public morality, I think you change it. Perhaps we are using different definitions.

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se

by A swedish kind of death on Tue Jun 11th, 2013 at 03:07:43 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Internet prostitution increased in similar numbers in all three countries, leading to the conclusion that compared to not having the law (as in Denmark and Norway).


Finance is the brain [tumour] of the economy
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Jun 11th, 2013 at 03:11:30 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes.

After some googling I find a government inquiry (SOU 2010:49 if anyone wants to read it) concluded that during the first ten years the effects included a decrease of street prostitution in Sweden when compared to Norway and Denmark. Internet prostitution increased in similar numbers in all three countries, leading to the conclusion that compared to not having the law (as in Denmark and Norway) total effect was that the law decreased prostitution.

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se

by A swedish kind of death on Tue Jun 11th, 2013 at 04:57:55 PM EST
[ Parent ]
BTW, when assessing these developments, does the study mention Viagra? AFAIK another mayor booster of prostitution (and adverse health effects on prostitutes).

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Tue Jun 11th, 2013 at 05:14:17 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Not that I can find.

I hasten to add that I have not read the whole thing, just the summary and the proposals. But the search function could not find Viagra. I think it would have been interesting if they had checked the developments in prostitution against Viagra sales in these three countries, but it appears they did not.

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se

by A swedish kind of death on Wed Jun 12th, 2013 at 07:51:31 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes. I meant something else: the notion that "public morals" are objective norms and have to be upheld, as opposed to the approach of protecting vulnerable persons from consenting under pressure.
by Katrin on Tue Jun 11th, 2013 at 03:16:10 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I thought so. Poor choice of words there, changing the public attitude in regards to buying sex would have been less ambigious.

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se
by A swedish kind of death on Tue Jun 11th, 2013 at 05:05:24 PM EST
[ Parent ]
improve the situation of the prostitutes

A restriction of the issue to that is based on an implicit assumption that policy choices have no effect on sex trade. But the point is that the policy choice of full legalisation subsidizes the 'industry'. Which also means more victims. Thus, for many, the effect of policy choices is not between slightly better or worse situation, but being made into a prostitute or not.

poverty that makes people do jobs that are degrading

It's much worse than that. Again, for the majority who were human-trafficked or tricked from abroad, this is not choice.

Giving residence permits and working permits and proper jobs to the women will reduce the pimps' profits.

As the German experience has shown, too, that's a false liberal hope. In a 'business' based on blackmail and threats, working permits are a paper and proper jobs a front, and legal safety in doing 'business' and reliance on state social systems increases pimp profits.

Encouraging the women to give evidence will increase the pimps' risk.

How so? If they can use the same extortion and threats as before (including the implication that they can't trust police as police is "in" on their business) to force the women to pretend to authorities that everything is voluntary and nice, it will actually decrease their risk. And that's the typical situation in all the stories on escaped girls, and the situation described in the above linked article, too.

This approach won't find the approval of the xenophobian mainstream

I'm not so sure. Bot the xenophobic and the liberal mainstream is just fine ignoring how all those East Europeans truly got into the 'business'. Not to mention the part who are clients.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Tue Jun 11th, 2013 at 04:50:40 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I read proper jobs as non-prostitution jobs. Which gives a different reading.

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se
by A swedish kind of death on Tue Jun 11th, 2013 at 05:01:59 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I read it as prostitution jobs due to the "reduce pimp profits" part, but I may be mistaken.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Tue Jun 11th, 2013 at 05:11:16 PM EST
[ Parent ]
No, by proper jobs I mean non prostitution and non red light district jobs. Economic freedom from the sex industry.
by Katrin on Tue Jun 11th, 2013 at 05:27:24 PM EST
[ Parent ]
" But the point is that the policy choice of full legalisation subsidizes the 'industry'."

A contested point. The counter position is that legality strengthens the position of the prostitutes, including the possibility for victims of traficking to free themselves. All "German experience" that I know of was only short term, did not include work permits, and was stopped because some xenophobes fantasised that women invent accusations in order to get residence and work permits. Short term safety is no safety at all. Do you know of any other experience?

by Katrin on Tue Jun 11th, 2013 at 05:29:17 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The counter position is that legality strengthens the position of the prostitutes

That's not a counter-position, but a challenged original position that doesn't touch the question of how this influences the level of human trafficking. And it's not evidence-based but a naive principle, which again ignores how easily all the supposed protections can be (and over and over again in all the sickening stories, are) sidestepped by the same tools of control.

work permits

This was the part I misunderstood. On this, I'm not entirely negative: a general work permit in place of a job-specific work permit would not tie employment to fully legalised prostitution and would lift the threat of expulsion once the human-trafficked girl is freed (and that's the main reason for the connection to immigration restrictions, I fully agree on that). On the other hand, the main problem I see is still the issue of making nominal legal protections real, as they won't be worth anything as long as the human-trafficked girl interacts with authorities while she has no true control over her papers and money.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Wed Jun 12th, 2013 at 01:57:40 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Beware learned helplessness. This is not an insoluble problem.
It has to be possible to get trafficking victims to not cooperate in their own enslavement. Which is what this is  

 - involuntary labor with the proceeds stolen. Slavery.  -

it is very difficult to effectively police a crime that goes unreported, but that is not inherent in this problem itself - unlike the drug trade where everyone involved are sort of acting on their own volition, trafficking has unambiguous victims - people who have all the incentives in the world to see the police nail the criminals,  who know who the criminals are, and where to find them. So there has to a way to make enforcement work.

I mean, taking it to the limit and making the penalty for pimping public execution, confiscation of all property and the distribution of it to your victims would work, no?

by Thomas on Wed Jun 12th, 2013 at 05:36:13 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It has to be possible to get trafficking victims to not cooperate in their own enslavement.

I'm waiting for proposals for freeing them from the blackmail and threats and ensuring that they are in true control of both their documents and their 'earnings'.

taking it to the limit and making the penalty for pimping public execution, confiscation of all property and the distribution of it to your victims would work, no?

Harsh punishments against pimping would help drive it underground, but its effectiveness is still dependent on getting the evidence.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Wed Jun 12th, 2013 at 01:24:23 PM EST
[ Parent ]
BTW, what's your take on the Swedish approach of demand destruction?

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Wed Jun 12th, 2013 at 01:58:49 PM EST
[ Parent ]
it is very difficult to effectively police a crime that goes unreported, but that is not inherent in this problem itself - unlike the drug trade where everyone involved are sort of acting on their own volition, trafficking has unambiguous victims - people who have all the incentives in the world to see the police nail the criminals,  who know who the criminals are, and where to find them. So there has to a way to make enforcement work.

That presumes that the victims trust the police.

I'm an upstanding pillar of the community who has nothing particularly incriminating to hide, whose employer is a highly respected upstanding pillar of the community, and who has never personally been accosted by unfriendly police officers. And I have still seen enough examples of police behavior that I wouldn't trust a beat cop with a bag of candy, nevermind the continuation of my breathing privileges.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Wed Jun 12th, 2013 at 02:54:58 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Uhm. The logic of the draconian punishments was mainly to preclude reprisals - dead pimps beat up nobody.
There are less harsh things that would also help - for example, not automatically deporting the women in question, but instead having some sort of plan for putting their lives back together.
Re; trusting the police. This too, is an issue that can be fixed. Better training. Job-video-logging. It would cost very little to record everything that happens near a cop. Cameras and storage media are cheap, sticking the former on their uniforms and the latter on their belts would not cost much. And would take all element of "he said, she said" out of any disputes about their behavior. Which is better for the cops, and better for the citizens.
by Thomas on Wed Jun 12th, 2013 at 03:10:37 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Uhm. The logic of the draconian punishments was mainly to preclude reprisals - dead pimps beat up nobody.

You're still assuming that the police will actually pursue the case, and that the pimp will be convicted.

And that the pimp doesn't have friends who will revoke your breathing privileges on his behalf. After all, a democratic state can't just round up all a mafioso's friends and put them in a concentration camp. Rule of law doesn't work like that.

This too, is an issue that can be fixed. Better training. Job-video-logging. It would cost very little to record everything that happens near a cop. Cameras and storage media are cheap, sticking the former on their uniforms and the latter on their belts would not cost much. And would take all element of "he said, she said" out of any disputes about their behavior. Which is better for the cops, and better for the citizens.

A good deal better for the citizens and for some of the cops. Not so great for others.

There's the outright thugs, of course, who will object to no longer being able cook their testimonies or push their colleagues to cook theirs. My heart bleeds for them, but we sadly need to take them seriously as a political faction.

Additionally, there are certain times (such as the recent Chinese state visit) where cops are given a set of official instructions (such as keeping the foreign dignitary safe) and a set of... less official instructions (... from seeing any Tibetan flags). I'm not convinced that scapegoating the cop who gets caught on tape obeying an unwritten, extralegal order will do anything at all to make that sort of orders stop happening. And until that sort of orders stops happening, the police has what you might call a credibility issue.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Wed Jun 12th, 2013 at 04:15:05 PM EST
[ Parent ]
That is part of what I meant with "Better for the cops". If the cops routinely log everything, this shields them from orders of this kind. Because those would also get logged. The idea being that the system is always on during working hours. It would also be a helpful investigative tool, just because digital storage stomps all over memory for reliability, and with good tagging habits, one could go back and review things, and check with coworkers if witness seven is as suspicious as he seems to you, or if he just did not like the cut of your jib.
by Thomas on Sat Jun 15th, 2013 at 10:16:16 AM EST
[ Parent ]
That is part of what I meant with "Better for the cops". If the cops routinely log everything, this shields them from orders of this kind. Because those would also get logged. The idea being that the system is always on during working hours.

This only holds if (a) all or most communications are intercepted with high fidelity, (b) all or most intercepted communications are routinely investigated by independent third parties and (c) bosses are prosecuted for giving illegal orders.

If a significant fraction of communications are unmonitored, either because they are not intercepted or because it requires an active complaint before the records are accessed, it just creates an incentive to hush up the communications. And if cops cannot trust that a boss who gives an illegal order will reliably go down in flames upon exposure, they have an incentive to collaborate.

And since the boss is frequently only one or two handshakes from the Minister of Justice, and since the Minister of Justice is accountable only to a parliamentary majority, not to the rule of law, the officer cannot count on this happening.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Sat Jun 15th, 2013 at 03:01:11 PM EST
[ Parent ]
... really, take a moment and consider if you are not overdoing your cynicism. I called it learned helplessness before, but I see this often - people being way to good at thinking of ways for a reform to fail, and not vetting their pessimism right. Specifically. You really think any politician is knowingly going to order a cop to be a law-breaking thug on camera, and get away with it too?

Uhm. Not bloody likely.

by Thomas on Sun Jun 16th, 2013 at 04:34:59 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The more likely problem is going to be political resistance to implementing such a system at all, due to the above. Might in fact be the reason it is not done currently, and puts a really depressing spin on the way lots of places view citizens recording cops. The police are agents of the social order, if they are doing their jobs even remotely right, all of their actions should stand up to the light of day.
by Thomas on Sun Jun 16th, 2013 at 04:38:54 AM EST
[ Parent ]


Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.
by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Sun Jun 16th, 2013 at 07:57:53 AM EST
[ Parent ]
You give this briefing prior to the event:

This is a controversial visit, and as such we must be prepared for attempts by protesters to force a confrontation with the delegation of foreign dignitaries. I would like to stress the importance to our relationship with the visiting country of keeping the delegation safe and keeping the event running smoothly. But I would also like to stress the importance of respecting the democratic rights of protesters to gather and voice their concern in an appropriate manner.

If the police disperse a lawful protest during the event, you release the following statement to the press:

The police was given clear instructions to respect the democratic rights of protesters to gather and voice their concern. It is deeply regrettable that individual officers have taken their desire to keep the delegation safe to inappropriate levels, and a full inquiry will determine the level and extent of culpability.

If the police fails to disperse a protest that annoys the foreign dignitary, you send the following memo to the chief of police:

The august foreign dignitaries were accosted by protesters representing their domestic opposition parties outside the headquarters of one of our large export businesses. This left the delegation with with the highly unfortunate impression that the government condones, or perhaps even supports, opposition protests at official state visits. Such support would, of course, be a gross violation of long-standing diplomatic protocol.

It is the view of the foreign service that the conduct of this event should be examined for possible lessons on how we may better ensure that future visits proceed smoothly.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Sun Jun 16th, 2013 at 07:48:06 AM EST
[ Parent ]
During the Stuttgart 21 protests, the police were told to be confrontational so that "violence-ready elements" among the protesters will 'show their true face'. "Confrontational" meant unprovoked tear gas attacks and baton charges and pepper spray into people's eyes from short distance.

When asked to justify their behaviour, police claimed that they were provoked by violent protesters who used pepper spray themselves and threw stones, and showed two videos as proof. The date/time of the videos was blackened out. Later the same videos were shown in court, with date/time exposed, proving that those events happened hours after the initial police attacks.

(If you speak German, check this TV report for the details.)

The scandalisation and exposure of this case of requested-from-above police violence is not unconnected to the fact that victims were mostly 'decent' middle-class and upper-middle-class people who couldn't be assumed to have been some Black Bloc idiots who 'got what they deserved'. When it hits hard-leftists, working-class youth or immigrants, the evidence will get much less media play.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Sun Jun 16th, 2013 at 02:48:01 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The German legal change coincides almost perfectly with the eastern extension of the EU and a drop in the wages of low-skilled labor. Of course prostitution went up. As far as pimping is concerned, there is no control group. The German experience shows very little.
by oliver on Tue Jun 18th, 2013 at 09:07:31 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Reading more in SOU 2010:49 (pdf in swedish).

The reports says that since 1977 prostitution has officially been seen as exploitation, primarily dealt with by social services to help prostitutes leave and prevent young people that exhibit at risk behaviour from entering prostitution.

The legal change in 1998 was intended to reduce demand and increase the relative position of prostitutes, both which appears to have worked. It was not intended as a silver bullet, but came in a legal package intended to reduce sexual and gender based violence (Kvinnofridslagen). The main thrust remains to use social services both to reduce the number of prostitutes and the number of sex buyers. In light of this the report does not find the lack of jail sentences problematic in the average case. However the report argues for increased maximum sentence to two years in order to give space for different degrees of jail time in case of aggrevating circumstances (like trafficking). The cabinet did not follow that recommendation afaik.

On the topic of trafficking the report concludes that Sweden has as a result of this law had less of an increase then Norway and Denmark. Less demand and higher risk reduces the proftis.

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se

by A swedish kind of death on Wed Jun 12th, 2013 at 08:11:52 AM EST
[ Parent ]
A key to understanding attitudes in the late '60s to mid-70s is to remember that the baby-boom generation was the mass operator of the shift in sexual mores, and that we were then adolescents, post-adolescents, not-very-adult young adults. And that the claim to freedom was about our youthful sexuality first and foremost. All of us had close memories of post-puberty frustration, and it was a commonplace to assert that young teenagers should be free to choose to have sex if they wanted. Theories about pre-pubescent sexual desires seemed to fit quite naturally into that thinking.

Why didn't that shock us? Mainly, what shocked us was the reactionary, repressive atmosphere in which our own childhood and early adolescence had taken place, and that we were rapidly freeing ourselves from. What still astounds me about my 1950s childhood is how appallingly ignorant we were about anything to do with the body and above all anything sexual, concerning either children or adults (I don't know how old I was before I learned that adults had pubic hair). We were brought up in a vacuum where sex didn't exist and entire parts of the body were not spoken of. In my case, it was due to religious bigotry, but none of the kids, of religious or non-religious family, that I went to primary school with knew any more than I did. There was some dirty whispering among boys, but an "underground" ethos surrounded it and it could not come out into the open. It was mostly ill-informed anyway - I remember a boy bursting with the news that babies (we had no idea of what caused babies to happen) came out of women's bums ("must be brown," another boy commented).

After this, in the fast-moving sexual liberation of the '60s and '70s, the notion that we had always wanted sex seemed self-evident. What's more, remembering some of my own pre-pubescent experiences (under the cloak of utter ignorance, and therefore all the more convincing imo), I'd say there certainly are pre-pubescent desires. What we did not do was look at that with any kind of nuance as to what those desires were exactly, and to whom they were addressed. And by the turn of the '70s the agenda was provocation and ridicule to chase the guardians of the old order away, and there was no room for nuance there. We really thought nothing could stop us from turning the old world upside down.

I'm quite sure we didn't think that it was OK for dirty old men to molest children. We just weren't thinking about dirty old men, or not very seriously. What we were saying was, if you want it, get it on.

Insofar as that served as a pretext for some adults to prey on children and do them harm, we were wrong. Insofar as we were blowing up a dismally repressive old order, I still think we were right.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Tue Jun 11th, 2013 at 03:29:14 PM EST
The Eastern Europe had the "repressive" climate up until Perestroika. There was no sex in the USSR...

I have to notice that I did not watch the blockbuster films of the last Soviet years, Little Vera (with the first actual sex scene for their cinematography) and Intergirl at that time. So I missed that initiation... Little Vera is interesting in depicting the lower-average Soviet living. Intergirl seems to be made as an introduction to prostitution for the girls of a falling empire. Isn't that kind?

Change in sexual culture makes other changes easier, apparently. It surely distracts, exites, while other transformative things are going on. Could this version of Bread-and-Circus be an old trick?

by das monde on Wed Jun 12th, 2013 at 07:47:17 AM EST
[ Parent ]
In contrast, in Central European film-making, the Sixties did arrive, and there was a tolerated (though not at all liked) beatnik-semi-hippie counter-culture.

The apparently 'glamorous' plot of Intergirl reminds me of the regime's contradictory policy on prostitution at the end of the eighties: it was mostly suppressed, but the few prostitutes who were tolerated in specific areas were also 'employed' as 'hosts' of foreign state visitors (and later any convertible-currency-paying Western hotel guests), which also meant secret service connections.

BTW, the Intergirl of Hungary was the 1989 movie K, a not at all glamorous documentary about these 'privileged' prostitutes. (I haven't seen it, I only heard from an acquaintance who went to see it believing it to be a sex film, then was disgusted to the extent that he left half-way.)

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Wed Jun 12th, 2013 at 02:17:50 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Here we go again with the ideologic clichés and oversimplifications about the "Eastern Europe repressive climate"... You cannot lump together highly religious cultures like Poland, or with historically documented sexual repression like Russia with the relatively agnostic and more tolerant societies like Bulgaria, which was otherwise a staunch ally of the USSR. What definitely did not exist prior the Perestroika was the bourgeois fixation on sexuality and sexualisation of daily life; and the manic desire to control it. In fact some Eastern Block countries like Bulgaria were much more tolerant to sexuality than the Anglo-Saxon countries, which were - and still are - the most repressive in the developed world.
by Ivo on Sun Jun 30th, 2013 at 04:03:25 AM EST
[ Parent ]
there have been anecdotes wherein chinese exchange students have come to christian countries and found them sexually repressed and full of 'hangups', to use a 60's word that seems to have dropped out of semantic sight.

which is odd considering our progress for LBGT, and their lack of tolerance in this dept, one wonders what 'liberated' het-sex means in china...

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Sun Jun 30th, 2013 at 05:18:02 AM EST
[ Parent ]
afew:

I'm quite sure we didn't think that it was OK for dirty old men to molest children. We just weren't thinking about dirty old men, or not very seriously. What we were saying was, if you want it, get it on.

Insofar as that served as a pretext for some adults to prey on children and do them harm, we were wrong. Insofar as we were blowing up a dismally repressive old order, I still think we were right.

so many taboos were insane, there was the idea that they maybe all were, so let's toss them all and restart from scratch. there was also some 'respected' literature at the time which exalted sex in some very dodgy situations, enfant-terriblisme, gutter-love, (genet), lolita-ism, sayings like 'incest is best' etc.

after too much liberality, and the brakes applied by HIV and other STDs awareness, people came to realise there were maybe many significant reasons bonobos were bonobos, and humans were not...

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Sun Jun 30th, 2013 at 05:56:03 AM EST
[ Parent ]
would explain well the context in which DCB made very ex post facto controversial commentary on the sexuality of minors.

One can understand, perhaps, the confusion of certain catholic priests in this context?

Personally, I don't think we can find understanding for that. Even when things were "morally fluid," at least for the more relativist among us, it should have been clear that in this particular topic, we are always and everywhere going to be confronted with power on the one side and powerlessness (of children) on the other.

That was never the case with women's sexuality or with homosexuality, both involving a shift in attitudes regarding sex between autonomous actors, in order to recognize their equality before the law. Children have never been considered autonomous and/or equal before the law (understood that there is ambiguity here regarding what constitutes the age at which a child becomes adult, but with the caveat that certainly there is no ambiguity as regards pre-adolescents and probably great agreement as regards early adolescents as well) , and with good reason

The Hun is always either at your throat or at your feet. Winston Churchill

by r------ on Wed Jun 12th, 2013 at 06:01:41 AM EST
"Children have never been considered autonomous and/or equal before the law ... , and with good reason"

Yes. And beating them for their own good had never been considered wrong by the law then. Gays had never been considered equal before the law. Women had never before treated autonomous or equal before the law. And we were told "with good reason". It is very nice that for you the difference is obvious and has always been obvious. I had to think about it before arriving at a conclusion.

"One can understand, perhaps, the confusion of certain catholic priests in this context?"

I've never heard that they were confused. They weren't concerned with sexual liberation, either. They had (and I dare say have) a domination issue, which is not unusual in hierarchical environments.

by Katrin on Wed Jun 12th, 2013 at 09:16:06 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Children are physiologically different from adults. It's not just that they are smaller and weaker, but also that their brains are not fully developed, even welll into adolescence, and therefore are not fully responsible for their actions in the way that adults typically are (though of course here there are equally exceptions, and when there are exceptions we also tend to call these exceptions "vulnerable," in need of protection, in the same way we think of children).

I'd point out that if you are going to try to excuse the German Greens' paedophilia problem "back in the day" (and of course this also means DCB) on the basis of shifting moral environment at the time, you'd do well to consider that the environment for the Roman Catholic Church was also shifting, do not forget that the 70's were a time of liberalisation in the church in the wake of Vatican II, this is the period when Liberation Theology was becoming a force for good. It was a time before the repression of the latter movement, by John Paul II, assisted by the future German pope (who directed the actual dirty work), which resulted in the much more reactionary church we have today.

What I am saying, I guess, is that if you are going to employ moral relativism as an attitude with respect to DCB and other german greens, perhaps you should consider that there are other logical extensions of this same tendancy to moral relativism.

The Hun is always either at your throat or at your feet. Winston Churchill

by r------ on Wed Jun 12th, 2013 at 10:02:46 AM EST
[ Parent ]
um, are you suggesting that
  1. there was a particular upsurge in paedophilia in the catholic church during the 60s-70s period
  2. this was theorised by paedophile priests as a matter of sexual liberation?

These would be two extraordinary claims... Data will probably be hard to come by for the first; but for the second, if anything was ever published on the subject, it should be easy.

I think the reality is that paedophilia was always, until very recently, considered a very minor misdemeanor by the church hierarchy.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Wed Jun 12th, 2013 at 10:27:15 AM EST
[ Parent ]
just suggesting that if one is going to employ moral relativism for one set of people, it follow others could benefit, as regards our judgment of them, from moral relativism of the same kind and degree

The Hun is always either at your throat or at your feet. Winston Churchill
by r------ on Wed Jun 12th, 2013 at 10:38:55 AM EST
[ Parent ]
... in which case, it's a shame you picked such a threadbare example. If you were to have mentioned a catholic priest who publicly advocated paedophilia, then that would be comparable.

Or is your intention to "bury '68", à la Sarkozy? Or just to have a drive-by dig at DCB?

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Wed Jun 12th, 2013 at 10:50:21 AM EST
[ Parent ]
paedophilia. It was (some) german greens. Others, like DCB, were far more ambiguous in their statements on this subject than they ought have been.

The Hun is always either at your throat or at your feet. Winston Churchill
by r------ on Wed Jun 12th, 2013 at 11:01:41 AM EST
[ Parent ]
And you failed to own a very bad analogy.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Wed Jun 12th, 2013 at 02:21:13 PM EST
[ Parent ]
While I see your point and agree with your perspective, I would like to notice a big difference:

It seems to me that the Greens where trying to have an honest discussion on the subject. A discussion made in public arena. At a time that we all agree it was fluid.

Catholic priests were doing things in the hide, going against their own supposed morality about sex. Doing it against targets at their weakest: not only children, but children with a disrupted family background where the family would not complain.

I particularly dislike DCB (I could go on and rant about his pseudo-cosmopolitan pseudo-green view of the world - but that would be off-topic), furthermore I agree with your view on the subject at hand about children protection. But I would be inclined to give DCB a pass here: He was having (and the "greens") an honest public discussion about the subject, at a time where that discussion was understandable. This is a completely different affair of abusing, in the hidden, of children from disadvantaged backgrounds.

I do not think your comparison is fair.

by cagatacos on Wed Jun 12th, 2013 at 12:00:23 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Of course the comparison isn't fair. Nor is his bracketing of the German Green paedophilia advocate with DCB.

In my opinion, independently of the German activist's right to advocate a change of law, he should have been investigated by the police for his "lifestyle", and probably jailed, if the obvious inference turned out to be true. The same applies of course to DCB... except that they would have come up empty-handed.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Wed Jun 12th, 2013 at 12:08:09 PM EST
[ Parent ]
"Children are physiologically different from adults."
Yeah, I know that children are physiologically (and psychologically) different from adults. I informed myself on the subject when I had to decide on a party programme. Before those conferences I didn't know it. Actually that is my point.

" the German Greens' paedophilia problem "back in the day""

You have perhaps the wrong idea of what a party conference adopting a programme does. There wasn't a paedophilia problem. There was a discussion about lifting all bans on sexual behaviour that all participants had consented to. Which automatically led us to the question if children can consent. So what you call "the German Greens' paedophilia problem" in reality was a debate instead of automatically deny this question by reflex.

Since the child abuse scandal of the Catholic Church and some other institutions and persons is in the open, we have heard many victims, young ones and old ones who now can speak of it for the first time. They have given evidence of suffering and of betrayal of trust and power. There has been nobody who accused DCB. Nevertheless you equate the two "cases". I object to that (can't surprise you).

by Katrin on Wed Jun 12th, 2013 at 12:27:01 PM EST
[ Parent ]
as I too object to it.

But, we're talking about DCB, and there is a golden opportunity to impugn his name, so I can't help myself, I just can't stand the bastard.

The Hun is always either at your throat or at your feet. Winston Churchill

by r------ on Wed Jun 12th, 2013 at 12:41:01 PM EST
[ Parent ]
That's just the end justifies the means by other words. And you also talked about the German Greens.

The direction this discussion could have been taken is how there reform was implemented elsewhere: who pushed for change, who had the serious debates on what sexual behaviour should and should not be permitted, how and why did the main parties come around. Can you tell us at least how things developed in the PCF? (After all, the members of the Internationale weren't exactly progressive on sexuality for a long time.)

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Wed Jun 12th, 2013 at 02:28:51 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Dany the Red is peddling policies (austerity pact) which are killing people, I figure what is good for the goose is good for the gander.

PCF history on this as regards being retrograde is as old as the hills...before my time, and I am not young. As far as the narrative (which in this case is accurate), it boils down to Thorez and especially his wife (Vermeersch) who took the lead on social issues, and she (supported by Thorez) was dead set against birth control (bourgeois tool to turn working class women into whores, a not unreasonable claim when one recalls French society at the time, women from the countryside moving to cities to be secretaries, or maids, and be vulnerable to male employers unwanted but casually accepted by societies advances)...In this way, PCF under Thorez was very much against population control, seeing it as a bourgeois tool to keep working class population under control and thereby control the working class with greater ease. Morale of the story for me is that cults of personalities and assimilated are undesirable, as this was clearly what was at work in the party at the time, as evidenced by what happened once Thorez was no more.

Once Thorez was gone (dead before I was born, I think the coins were still minted from silver back then) things evolved quite quickly, and PCF support for birth control and abortion was immediate, and Vermeersch resigned from her leadership posts (but not from the party, which she never did). Openness to homosexual rights came much later, as it did for everyone, but the PCF was in this case well ahead of everyone.

As regards DCB of course, Georges Marchais had some very choice words for Mr Cohn-Bandit, way back in the beginning, along the lines that he wasn't real lefty, that once he grew up he'd turn out to defend the interests of his upper bourgeois family, and here as usual Marchais nailed it well before his time (as he did, in amusing ways sometimes, less amusing others, on a number of subjects, Afghanistan coming to mind..)

The Hun is always either at your throat or at your feet. Winston Churchill

by r------ on Thu Jun 13th, 2013 at 03:48:33 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Are you really suggesting that children should have the same legal status as adults, and that not giving them that legal status is equivalent to beating and abusing them, and also women, minorities, etc, etc?
by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Wed Jun 12th, 2013 at 10:03:59 AM EST
[ Parent ]
 
No. I am suggesting that each day we found another that law that was deeply unjust, maintaining power structures we wanted to destroy, or simply outdated. There were a few acceptable laws existing too, but we had to question and doubt all of them, to find out which is which. Very interesting for the people who now revive the thing. Most of them belong to the same end of the political spectrum that then told us that gay sex had to be largely banned, and women's freedom and equality would destroy families and the values of the west. We decided to distrust them on principle, and that was a sound decision. It meant that we had to find out what to maintain by hard work and endless discussions.  
by Katrin on Wed Jun 12th, 2013 at 12:06:18 PM EST
[ Parent ]
We now have, in a certain number of western European jurisdictions, "sex" legislation which is based on notions of individual rights and protections, rather than traditional moral codes.

This is, without a doubt, progress. But substantial minorities remain who reject the new approach, and adhere to older codes, generally based on their religion. These comprise mostly autochthonous Christians, and mostly immigrant Muslims.

This poses a moral problem to society in general. Such people often reject equality of rights for homosexuals (as seen in the substantial mobilisation in France against gay marriage), but perhaps more importantly, they try to preserve a patriarchal, ownership-based control of female sexuality. This constitutes a problem of human rights for women whose family circle espouses such codes.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Wed Jun 12th, 2013 at 12:28:37 PM EST
These comprise mostly autochthonous Christians, and mostly immigrant Muslims.

While probably less in number overall (but I'm not certain at the local level), IMO the inverses to those are problems, too: conservative Christian immigrants from other continents and second- and third-generation 'born-again' Muslims. Also, among autochthonous Christians, at the most fanatic edge, converts of new sects like U.S.-origin Evangelical movements are a significant part of the problem.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Wed Jun 12th, 2013 at 02:37:43 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I'd say Peter and Christine are two kids being kids.  Hopefully they've been raised to be smart about what they do.  Teenagers having sex with each other has gone on as long as there have been teenagers.  That's radically different from this:

So who or what was protected by this collection of absurdities? Peter or Christine? Hardly. Some sexual mores that require marriage and the wish to procreate, but these mores had become controversial. That's why their defenders tried to claim they were protecting children. These mores were challenged by the concept of self-determination. This is what DCB argues when he writes about children touching him: they wanted it, and they were free. All sexual mores necessarily had to be questioned. Only after self-determination became (at least ostensibly) the criteria for banning sexual behaviour, could the debate move on to limiting this self-determination, but that happened later. DCB wrote exactly in the time when one set of sexual mores had lost all credibility, but wasn't yet replaced by the new consensus.

The bits about self-determination are, I'm sure, all very interesting if one wishes to engage is deep philosophical discussion of sexual evolution.  More often than not, much of the talk of "they wanted it," "they were free," "self-determination," etc, simply strikes me as adults rationalizing their own or others behavior.

Also, writing of five-year-olds "wanting it" -- and I'll grant the assumption of the account being fictional -- and defending such a statement as merely a means of being provocative strikes me as (1) not very provocative and (2) sick.

Also, too, Roman Polanski should be in jail and the French elite have no taste in film.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.

by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Wed Jun 12th, 2013 at 06:42:25 PM EST
Drew J Jones:
Also, writing of five-year-olds "wanting it" -- and I'll grant the assumption of the account being fictional -- and defending such a statement as merely a means of being provocative strikes me as (1) not very provocative and (2) sick.

You sum up why conservatives are harping on this matter. By contemporary standards... but we are going into repetitions. And no, Roman Polanski shouldn't go to jail. He should have gone to jail 40 years ago. The remark about the "French elite" distracts from the question why he wasn't jailed then.

Intriguing which parts of this thread are seen as provocative. I've also written "this topic had to be debated. Nowadays it is taboo." To be honest, I expected someone would jump at this and say the current campaign was not about enforcing a taboo on debate.

by Katrin on Thu Jun 13th, 2013 at 04:36:41 AM EST
[ Parent ]
didn't cover itself in glory (Frédéric Mitterand, Bernard Kouchner, Bernard Henri-Levy, Jack Lang, Alain Finkielkraut, Pascal Bruckner...this is quite the spectrum) back when the Swiss were holding Polanski.

So, I'm not sure how pointing this out is a distraction. It's more just a fact. There were some (Onfray comes to mind, but he is really more an outsider when it comes to the elite) who were right in their expressions of disgust towards this Polanski character, but in the main you saw a french elite which was circling its wagons in contemptible fashion. And these clowns are still influential, which says a lot about how long it takes and how much it takes for the elite here to utterly discredit themselves (if that is indeed possible).

As for Polanski needing to do time way back when instead of now, surely you are correct, but he didn't, and this is in large part because he was being defended by those same french elite (and those in some other European countries), which is why the "distraction" is still relevant.

 

The Hun is always either at your throat or at your feet. Winston Churchill

by r------ on Thu Jun 13th, 2013 at 05:04:15 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Fascinating. The reasons for Polanski being set free and the deal in the making are shifted to the other side of the Atlantic. Wow. The judge who set him free and who wasn't opposed to the deal was a Yank.
by Katrin on Thu Jun 13th, 2013 at 05:35:16 AM EST
[ Parent ]
he hadn't yet been sentenced. And he fled when he realised he might have to do some time.

Next thing we know, he's living and working in France. Never to return to the US.

Saying he had been "set free" betrays a misunderstanding of how the US justice system works.

The Hun is always either at your throat or at your feet. Winston Churchill

by r------ on Thu Jun 13th, 2013 at 05:44:16 AM EST
[ Parent ]
He would have awaited his sentencing in jail, if the case had been treated as either I would like to have it treated OR as it would have been treated by the US nowadays.
by Katrin on Thu Jun 13th, 2013 at 05:55:50 AM EST
[ Parent ]
these days, he would have been held with a high bail amount, which he certainly would have been able to make, what with all the help of his friends in high places (if memory serves, the President of the Republic Nicholas Sarkozy even interceded on his behalf with the Swiss authorities...)

And these people have more than enough money to avoid accountability, as we live in the times of the accountability-free generation, of which all the elite figures I mention are proud members.

The Hun is always either at your throat or at your feet. Winston Churchill

by r------ on Thu Jun 13th, 2013 at 06:05:16 AM EST
[ Parent ]
redstar:
these days, he would have been held with a high bail amount

I doubt that. Have you read the girl's evidence?

redstar:

we live in the times of the accountability-free generation

You surely can substantiate that a bit, can't you? The rich and powerful have better chances to escape accountability than the rest of us. This isn't new. And as to an "accountability-free generation": The nazi crimes come to mind... Or the war crimes of other wars...

Waiting for your reply. I must fetch some pop corn in the meantime.

by Katrin on Thu Jun 13th, 2013 at 06:32:29 AM EST
[ Parent ]
paedophilia in the United States where bail (ignoring whether it can be posted or not) is granted. Jerry Sandusky was out on bail pending his trial (and google it, you'll see just how accountable the powerful were in his case). The crime really needs to be heinous in order for no bail to be set. It may be set at a very high level (say, a half million in the case of former wrestler Buck Zumhofe) but that's entirely my point...if you're extremely wealthy, a half million is a trifle. If you're not, not so much.

And, if you are European and a famous film director, you can count on dozens of member of the french cultural and political elite to have your back.

As for whether or not we live in an accountability free era, I have to wonder if we live in the same society. The one I live in has elites virtually everywhere being wrong about everything. Economics, fiscal and monetary policy, fear of inflation, fear of Saddam's weapons of mass destruction, the sovereign debt crisis is due to state over-spending, I could go on. And all of the powerful people, in the media, in government, at the heads of banks (which nearly destroyed us all, not that that will mean jail time for any of them outside of Iceland)...are still where they always were, in positions of power, with no accountability. Can you name me one significant figure of the elite who has paid the price for being so wrong over the past 12 years?

Your own country is going to re-elect a powerful person with 70+% approval ratings who has been wrong about most all of what ails Europe today and you are going to ridicule my assertion that we live in an accountability-free world? (And not coincidentally, when the accountability-free generation has been in their prime...)

I think that's a bit rich.
 

The Hun is always either at your throat or at your feet. Winston Churchill

by r------ on Thu Jun 13th, 2013 at 07:50:33 AM EST
[ Parent ]
So no evidence for this generation (or rather the rich and powerful of this generation) enjoying more protection from being held accountable than previous ones. Thought as much. But on the point of bail being possible even in cases of child abuse you are right and was wrong.
by Katrin on Thu Jun 13th, 2013 at 08:07:21 AM EST
[ Parent ]
That was serious accountability.

Prior to that there are many other examples from that generation. In the US, a number of wall street financiers went to jail and forfeited fortunes (head of NYSE, head of what would become Citibank, et c.). Chamberlain was booted from power for his stupid foreign policy.

Their kid's generation? Not much.

The Hun is always either at your throat or at your feet. Winston Churchill

by r------ on Thu Jun 13th, 2013 at 08:46:28 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Umm, no, I didn't. I pointed at the majority of nazi criminals, those that got away. Your claim that this generation of rich&powerful gets away with more criminal behaviour than previous ones is far-fetched and you didn't back it up.
by Katrin on Thu Jun 13th, 2013 at 10:52:31 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Not really. We don't know what they're getting away with, by definition because they're - you know - not getting hauled up in court for it.

We do know that UK judges consistently pass down ludicrously lenient sentences on paedophiles and abusers who have establishment links, and that many investigations are actively prevented on establishment orders.

We also know from cases in Europe and the US (e.g. Franklin and Dutroux) there seems to be clear evidence of judicial, political and police protection of sadistic paedophiles.

And we know from the UK that someone like Jimmy Savile can make a career out of abuse, and will be allowed to do so, no matter how many victims complain. (And there were many.)

So - no evidence? Really?

If you're wilfully blind to the facts - or worse, are trying to sweep them under the carpet - you might think that.

But no one familiar with the evidence is going to agree with you.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Thu Jun 13th, 2013 at 11:11:30 AM EST
[ Parent ]
ThatBritGuy:
Not really. We don't know what they're getting away with...

Exactly: we don't know and can't make the comparison Redstar made.

You point at cases where rich and powerful people got lenient sentences. I am not disputing that being rich and powerful helps enormously to get away with crimes. I am disputing that the present generation has better chances to get away than previous ones. And I am disputing that getting away with sexual abuse of children has become easier than in previous generations.

ThatBritGuy:

If you're wilfully blind to the facts - or worse, are trying to sweep them under the carpet - you might think that.

My, what a rhetorical flourish. Am I meant to clap?

ThatBritGuy:

But no one familiar with the evidence is going to agree with you.

If that is so, why don't you supply that evidence?

by Katrin on Thu Jun 13th, 2013 at 01:07:35 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Katrin isn't arguing that the present elites gets away with little, she says that they don't get away with more then other generations elites.

I guess if studied (invent some metrics, find sources) the current crop would in comparision probably come in high in getting away with looting their core population, low in getting away with murders against their core population, low in getting away with murders against colonial populations, but high in getting away with destroying the biosphere upon which the civilization rests. Or something like that.

But really, the important thing is that they are getting away with too much. And as long as that holds I don't really think it is all that relevant wheter that is more or less then 19th century politicians or medival barons got away with.

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se

by A swedish kind of death on Thu Jun 13th, 2013 at 01:36:20 PM EST
[ Parent ]
trials. Not just in Germany, but elsewhere, in the aftermath of the war. People were hung, shamed, jailed, stripped of their companies, stripped of their positions.

Prior to the war, in the United States, a great commission investigating the financial sector resulted in jail sentences as well, not to mention loss of position and stature or confiscatory taxation of the wealthy, with high marginal tax rates continuing until the 1960's.

Nothing like that of any sort is happening today.

The Hun is always either at your throat or at your feet. Winston Churchill

by r------ on Thu Jun 13th, 2013 at 04:24:13 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Jerry Sandusky was out on bail pending his trial (and google it, you'll see just how accountable the powerful were in his case).

Pffffffft.  I am informed to this day by no less an authority than Penn State fans (collectively) that it's all just a big conspiracy between ESPN and the NCAA to ruin Paterno's good name.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.

by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Thu Jun 13th, 2013 at 05:17:14 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The UK has no statute of limitations on these kinds of crimes.

Putting Polanski in jail now would suggest there's at least some interest in accountability.

Of course there isn't, especially not among the 'elites', who have a long and vile history of being involved in these kinds of things - a history which is continuing today.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Thu Jun 13th, 2013 at 05:34:42 AM EST
[ Parent ]
ThatBritGuy:
The UK has no statute of limitations on these kinds of crimes.

Interesting. Can you give a more precise version to"these kind of crimes", please? Child abuse in general, or rape (the girl in the Polanski case being under the age of consent distracts from the fact that she didn't consent anyway), and are there many crimes without statute of limitations in the UK?

by Katrin on Thu Jun 13th, 2013 at 06:03:07 AM EST
[ Parent ]
You may not be aware that quite a few ageing celebrities and TV personalities have been arrested here recently for sexual crimes of all kinds that took place decades ago.

Civil cases have something like a statute of limitations. E.g. unpaid financial debts are considered 'statute barred' after six years, and remedies cannot be enforced by court action.

But so far as I know there is no statute of limitations in UK criminal law.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Thu Jun 13th, 2013 at 11:16:22 AM EST
[ Parent ]


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