Dutch Court OKs 'Pedophile' Political Party
In this story we learn that a Dutch court refused to ban a political party from registering whose platform is to lower the age of sexual consent from 16 to 12. Of the three known members, one was convicted of sexually molesting an 11-year-old 20 years ago. The reasons for this ruling sound very American.
"Freedom of expression, freedom ... of association, including the freedom to set up a political party, can be seen as the basis for a democratic society," Judge H. Hofhuis said in his ruling. "These freedoms give citizens the opportunity to, for example, use a political party to appeal for change to the constitution, law, or policy."
According to the judge, voters are the final moral authority when it comes to political parties and the laws of the land.
"It is the right of the voter to judge the appeal of political parties," he said.
There were dissenters to the ruling to be sure, and their objections ranged from their view that children had the right not to be presented with this political view to the further harm the very existence of this party could do to past victims of pedophilia and sexual abuse.
Noteably missing from the story's presentation of the opposing opinion is the moral evil of pedophilia. The legal stance was about rights and harm (and certainly rightly so), but not about inherent morality.
This appeal to rights is ubiquitous in our own culture as well, and though it may or may not lead to the establishment of the 'Americans United For The Sexual Liberation of Minors' political party, it does not have the power to prevent it either. We have come to a point in our cultural psyche in which 'rights' are the last word on any contested legal issue, and all one needs to do in order to have their way is to claim a 'right'. For some reason, that appeal seems to have the force of divine utterance for us. It is more powerful than moral arguments, but as we see in this Dutch case, it cannot settle an inherently moral issue.
The opponents to the Dutch ruling are right that children have some kind of right to be protected from pedophiliac political propoganda, but in a world comprised of nothing more than competing claims to 'rights', children have no more right to not be raped than rapist have to rape children. So who decides? Well, judges do. And it is not surprising that in cultures that value pluralism and tolerance, judges will tend to rule on the side of more tolerance and not less-we are multiplying rights instead of limiting them, no matter what they are.
That reality, however, leades to inherently absurd realities. Because our Western European cultures are becoming more and more relativitstic and natrualistic all the time, we end up living in cultures that believe on some level that pedophiles have a 'right' to be a political presence and that children have the right to not be subjected to their message. Think of San Francisco during the NAMBLA parades. The absurdity is we believe that two contradictory 'rights' should be public realities at the same time when one of them is clearly morally abhorrent. Oftentimes the way we release this mental and moral pressure cooker is we claim that NAMBLA has the 'right' to march and that parents have the option, if they so desire, to keep their kids inside during the parade of depravity. "Just decide not to watch," "Change the channel," we argue believing that that absolves us from our moral namby pambyism.
What needs to be regained is a public square that is not afraid of drawing moral distinctions. Pedophilia is evil, and it is a moral good to protect our children from the actions and messages of its proponents. Hence, in a morally centered pluralistic society, the rights of the children outweigh the rights of the molesters and they should be refused the right to form public politicial parties.
Dostoyevsy was right. Despite every complicated and extended attempt to prove him wrong, he was right when he put these words in the mouth of Ivan, "When God is dead, everything is permitted."
A culture built on nothing but a pluralism of rights is literally absurd. A culture built on rights adjuicated by a supernatural, objective, and enduring source is reasonable, healthy, moral, wise, and utterly necessary.