Before going any further there are two phrases you should remember: Hard cases make bad law, and when they talk about protecting your children, what they really mean is destroying your rights. The former is a well known legal maxim; the latter - while perhaps not entirely verbatim - was a favourite saying of Chris Tame
, who until his premature death seven years ago, was Britain's leading Libertarian.
These two pearls of wisdom have now come together, and if ignored they will have serious repercussions for Internet freedom.
Earlier this year, two men were convicted in the UK of two shocking murders of underage girls in separate and unrelated trials. Stuart Hazell
had pleaded not guilty to the murder of Tia Sharp but changed his plea during the course of the trial. Later the same month, Mark Bridger
was convicted of the murder of April Jones. The two men and cases could not have been more disparate; Hazell appears to have realised the enormity of his crime, and accepted his punishment. Bridger's defence was frankly ludicrous, and he has recently learned the hard way that in addition to a life sentence, he will be subjected to other, arbitrary punishments
if he is allowed to associate with other prisoners. The one thing the two killers have in common is that shortly before committing their crimes they had accessed child pornography on-line, and indeed Hazell had photographed his victim's dead body.
In the tiny minds of Britain's puritanical elite not to mention its loony feminists
, this can mean only one thing: pornography leads to sexual abuse and ultimately child murder.
Is there any evidence to support this? It would be ludicrous to claim that nothing we read or see affects what we do; to take two extreme examples: Sir Isaac Newton
is said to have been inspired to formulate his law of universal gravitation by an apple falling off a tree and hitting him on the head. Today, some people find inspiration in the perversion of Islam to justify or even perpetrate acts of mass murder, the same way so-called Christians found a similar justification in their holy writings for torturing and executing witches. In between these extremes there are those who have been inspired by the films of Bruce Lee
, the writings of this poet, that novelist, the soloing of this guitarist, and so on.
If a man were convicted of murder by using jeet kune do
, no one would clamour for martial arts films to be banned, and only a tiny minority of so-called humanist bigots
would call for the banning of the Bible
or the Qurʼan
on such a spurious pretext, yet David Cameron wants to criminalise what he calls "pornography depicting rape
Yes, you heard right, two men murdered two young girls, so Cameron wants to block pornography depicting rape. What might this entail - how about the painting below?
Or how about The Accused
in which the actress Jodie Foster is the subject of a brutal gang rape? It is unlikely even the most vitriolic man-hating radfem
would like to see this banned because it is based on the true story of gang rape victim Cheryl Araujo, a case reminiscent of the recent Steubenville case
. The film earned Foster her second Academy Award.
Is there really a connection between this and the murders of April Jones and Tia Sharp? If there were, then perhaps the convictions of these two men should be reviewed, perhaps they were not culpable for their actions?
"Honest, Your Honour, it wasn't my fault, the Internet made me do it. Can I go home now?"
Anyone care to make out that argument?
If Cameron gets his way, it won't stop at depictions of rape, because pornography is anything its opponents want it to be. Check out The NCROPA Virtual Archive
which currently houses over twenty-five hundred files relating to sexual censorship in the UK from 1973 to 2002. The ludicrous Julia Somerville affair
of 1995 shows where this obsessive overprotection of children can lead.
Now look at this page
from the NSPCC's website. Most of the statistics churned out by this august organisation should not be taken at face value, but police statistics are generally more reliable, and here they give the following for 2011/2:
4,991 offences of rape of a female child under 16
889 offences of rape of a male child under 16
3,986 offences of sexual assault on a female child under 13
1,010 offences of sexual assault on a male child under 13
5,779 offences of sexual activity involving a child under 16
160 offences of abuse of children through prostitution and pornography
371 offences of sexual grooming.
The child rape figures are truly shocking, but look at those related to pornography, a mere 160 at most. The obvious implication of this is for the Government to stop posturing over a non-issue which is clearly being used as a pretext for censorship, and to invest money and resources where it is really needed, which is not online. The protection of the young is first and foremost the responsibility of their parents and guardians, not of Big Brother, not of the NSPCC, and certainly not of the nanny state.