For the Children!

That title, my dears, is the rallying cry of...well...a fuckload of people all seeking to push an agenda, mostly not a good one, and looking to do so via invoking children, supposedly so sweet, innocent and deserving of protection.

Now, I'm a misanthrope and for various reasons I would make a shit parent, so I don't really think kids are sweet. I was a child myself, and apparently my memory's still good enough to remember things in detail, so I don't think they're innocent either (if they are, that innocence is going to vanish into nothingness very very very very very very very very quickly). As for being deserving of protection? That alone I can agree with, if only because innocents are entitled to at least some level of it.

However, I don't think things like censorship (that the for-the-children brigade push quite forcefully) are in anyone's interest, let alone that of children. That, though, is a blog post for another time, and for now I want to talk about an arguably quite disturbing trait of at least some of the for-the-children brigade: their desire to sanitise and infantilise everything.

I think that's really at the root of their crusade against anything vaguely sexual or vulgar: the fear that somewhere, somehow, a child might see it, and who knows what would happen then? Surely it would lead to the wreck and ruin of all society! Clearly the answer to this is to ban everything that so much as hints at being vulgar or sexual! Do it now! Do it for the children!

My answer to this is: Stop repressing yourself. It's not healthy. Neither is censorship, which infringes freedom of speech, freedom of expression, freedom of thought, possibly privacy depending on the kind of censorship, and also restricts legitimate inquiry on the basis that some of it is immoral. (Side note: those who are afraid of curiosity are very, very, very stupid indeed and may or may not have something to hide.) The solution to your problem is not a blanket ban on anything you think will corrupt a child's mind (and please note children are more corrupt than you think), it is educating children so that when they grow up they'll be able to deal with sex and vulgarity sensibly. Well, more sensibly than you can at any rate.

The thing is, there are some things in life that adults can do without getting hurt too badly and children can't, and that's OK. It's OK for some things to be NSFW. It's OK for there to be a line between what a child can do and what an adult can do. It's OK because theoretically adults can make sensible decisions about that. What's not OK is for a moral guardian to decide that because some things aren't safe for children to see or do, nobody else should be able to see or do them, even if they have the mental and emotional capability to do so. It's infantilising, insulting and downright disturbing - not to mention that tiny little problem with infringing on the autonomy of sapient beings...

...I want to make something very clear here, both because I doubt some people get this and because I don't want to be falsely accused (which I don't put beyond people). I don't want to sexually abuse children. I don't want to show hardcore porn to five-year-olds. I want there to be a safe place for things that aren't work-safe or appropriate for young children, because while I obviously don't want children to be exposed to these things if they don't have the mental and emotional capability for it, I don't want adults with the mental and emotional capability to be restricted. It's not fair and a blanket ban is frankly unworkable.