Are "pedophile-watch" activists in bed with the extreme right?

These thoughts came about while responding to the “gay kid” thread. It occurred to me to wonder if, sometimes, the good people who actively patrol the net fishing for “likely” pedophiles pretend to be “appealing gay youth” on boards like the SDMB, hoping to coax forth some incriminating move by a responder.

Which led to my GD question, namely:

Given that there are individuals who are intensely, concertedly involved in citizens’ efforts to police pedophile activities on the net (ie, preying on the innocent young); and given that they sometimes come across as more obsessed with pedophilia than do the pedophiles themselves; what sort of individuals are we dealing with here? Do pro-choice, pro-gay social-lib types commit to ped-patrol activities for reasons entirely consistent with their general skein of belief? Or are the PPs almost entirely conservative-Christian GOP-leaning moral-majoritarians doing their parts to stem the spread of perversion and Gomorrah-slouching in this society?

Basically, is the American political (extreme-) right exploiting the PPers, using the “threat of pedophilia” as a wedge issue ultimately aimed at all socio-sexual nonconformists–flauntish gays, abortish feminists, softish “new males,” nonchaste teens, persons of Gallic descent, etc?

Definitions–by “ped-patrollers” I mean the sort of men and women I’ve read about in the papers, who have a kind of sideline doing whatever they can to expose and entrap persons who attempt to contact and meet minors, seek out kid-porn websites, try to download underage-nude photos, and that kind of thing.

By “pedophile” I mean “as so-called in casual American speech,” not distinguishing out ephebephiles or other more specific age/developmental categories. Nor am I making distinctions as to degree of harm, degree of actual consent, involvement of incest in the situation, etc. Most speakers regard those distinctions as much too fine.

I hate to see high-minded citizens used by low-minded political types.

Whoa, was it SOMETHING I SAID??!?

This has GOT to be the first thread with either “pedophile,” “bed,” or “extreme right” in the title to attract absolutely no responses at all!

Before anyone says that pedophilia-related topics have been done to death on the SDMB, please do tote-up the thread appearances of “Bush,” “gay,” “Iraq,” “evolution,” “relativity,” “Bible,” “Christianity,” “atheism.” And more.

The rant endeth. But if this subject is such a turn-off (or a scare-off?)–then it’s back to cosmology. Or the ethics of copyright.

errr… I found the wording of the OP a bit confusing.

I’d venture that, yes, it does seem that the pedophile hunt on the net CAN be used as an excuse for other, hidden, less nobel motives. It’s an ideal vehicle cause it’s very difficult for anyone to stand in the way of excesses made in this issue, due to the risk of being accused of protecting pedophiles.

Kind of like the “War on Terror”.
In it’s name, all sorts of abuses can be lashed about against minorities. Cutting down individual rights, little by little. Any single voice that tries to speak up gets shouted down by an engraged mob. That very same mob is getting screwed, but won’t notice untill it’s too late.

In my opinion, the right would LIKE to use pedo-hunting and censoring as a wedge to institute more widespread censorship and criminalization of sexual behavior, but have found to their great sorrow that they can’t because most folks recognize that there should be different standards for the sexuality of adults and children.

So, while everybody’s agreeable to the notion of tracking down and jailing pedos and wannabe pedos, no one is willing to extend that to porn involving adult men and women, in large part because too many dads have their porn stash, or had one before they get married, and know it’s basically harmless stuff for most folks.

Also, the anti-sex feminist incursion into censorship may have backfired on conservative moralists, as it has made porn more popular with right wing and center right guys, because owning and viewing it is an act of defiance toward them bad feminist women.

But does anyone know whether the ped-watchers THEMSELVES (and their organizations, if such there are) are affiliated with extreme-right-type groups, as opposed to being in some sense “useful” to same?

For example, would a donation to some anti-ped effort (I’m mainly thinking of those that patrol the net) likely end up in the coffers of some anti-abortion or anti-gay activist group?

Are there self-avowed “liberal” ped-watchers?

My cousin, for one, who is a cop, used to be part of a sting operation to lure pedophiles on line. For that, I salute him.

If your question is “how many of those who make it a hobby to combat pedophiles on the Internet are right-wing extremists?”, perhaps you could give some reason why you think this might be likely.

I don’t know any such people, and I am myself a right-wing extremist.

If you want to know who is more opposed to pedophilia, the left or the right, I doubt you will be able to tell. If you want the usual suspects to chime in on how anti-sex and uptight the conservatives are, I will be forced to point out that pedophila is both illegal and immoral, and therefore pedophilia is a subject on which conservatives are right to be vigilant.

If, in fact, they are.

It seems your thread might be entitled, “Are Conservatives Bad People for Being Especially Opposed to Pedophiles on the Internet?” So first, you would need to establish that conservatives are really more concerned with the topic, and that this is a bad thing.


I think you mistake his intent, Shodan. He seems to be asking, "Can I give money and other forms of support to anti-pedo causes and be assured that I’m not donating to an arm of some more generic conservative group which will use the money for other things which I don’t approve of.

I agree with you about the lack of political bias WRT to pedos – nobody likes them. That doesn’t mean the orgs that support anti-pedo activities don’t have a political bias, though I have no idea what it might be.

I agree here. The far religous right would like to do all they can to castrate the 1st Admendment.

Guin- I am sorry, but I disagree. I don’t think that replying to anadults message with sexual innuendo, or an attempt to meet them & have sex with them is a crime. Your cousin must be over 18, thus any attempt by someone to meet him should not be a crime- even if the other guys “thinks” your cousin is a minor. This is a terrible thing- first of all- dudes are being imprisoned for a crime that existed only in their head . Next, some dudes know full well the “15yo schoolgirl” they are writing is really an adult- it’s a fantasy, dammit.

Then the DA gives the poor schnook a choice of pleading guilty to one count with little or no prison time- or 100 counts each with a life sentance if he goes to trial. Not to mention, if the schnook fights it, he loses his job because of the publicity, and everything he owns because of the legal cost. That’s SO very fair. :rolleyes: I have read about one dude who fought it, and got a hung jury last time I heard anything. Most can’t fight it.

Besides- many of these seem to be 'true entrapment" as in the dude they entrap really had no intention of commiting the crime in the first place. “Your cousin” should not be saluted- he should be ashamed of himself. The whole idea is very wrong and very un- American. For every known case of a child lured by a pedophile through on-line activities, there are a dozen such “entrapment cases”- thus the fake crime outnumbers the real crime. :dubious:

OK, although the first part of the OP was talking about individuals who make it their special business to try to get pedophiles off the Internet.

As to the organizations who do so, I am afraid I have no idea, since I don’t know what organizations he might be talking about. As I said, I am a member of the right wing (at least in relation to many on the SDMB), and I don’t know of any conservatives who have such an obsession.

I suppose it would depend on the organization.

Who exactly are we talking about here?


There is a danger in these sort of things, in the UK a newspaper (The Daily Mail, the UKs most reactionary paper) published a list of sex offenders. What ensued was spate of attacks against people named on the list and some people who just happened to share the same name as people named on the list. Also on a Portsmouth esate a mob atmosphere ensued with a witchhunt being led against paedphiles and suspected paedphiles with some residents using it as an excuse to settle personal vendettas by denouncing innocent people as paedphiles. At it’s worst I believe a paedotrician was attacked!!

Of course paedophiles must be comabated but irresponsible sacremongering can have negative effects.

I agree that opposition to true pedophilia–not the “casual American speech” definition, but actual sexual attraction to prepubescent youths–is a nonpartisan issue.

I wonder, though, whether conservatives are more or less likely than liberals to take steps against people (ephebophiles?) who are attracted to adolescent minors, which is plainly illegal but not necessarily immoral.

this was one of the scariest thing I’ve ever seen in this country. The return of mob justice. I was surprised that no-one got killed. The police seemed to be very reluctant to get involved. Personally, i felt everyone who was involved in these vigilante gangs should have been arrested.
There is also so called “Sarahs Law”, which some of the tabloids tried to demand last year. It basically involved a register with the name of every know paedophile in the country on. No one ever managed to explain how this would be of any use whatsoever, other than making it easier for violent mobs to kill people. Fortunately, our government managed to resist.
By the way, anyone looking at this thread would probably enjoy the Brass Eye Paedophile special, which was highly controversial, but also extremely funny ,satire on the media’s obsession with this issue.

Probably, although it would be tricky for anyone to go on record as saying, “I want to screw fourteen-year-olds” without getting shot down by all sides. The trouble with that position is that it is much harder to sell the idea that sexual attraction to teen-agers is an orientation different from hetero- or homosexuality, as many people fervently insist pedophilia is different.

But you are probably correct that conservatives are more opposed to sex of any kind for teen-agers. They tend to oppose heterosex for teen-agers because it leads to pregnancy, and oppose homosex because many conservatives think it is immoral for anyone. It is also very difficult for liberals to come out in favor of homosex for teens because it leaves them open to the charge that the push for gay rights is motivated in part by the desire of gay men to get their hands on teen-age boys.

I don’t think NAMBLA is a liberal or conservative organization. I don’t really know what the official position of other liberal groups is on pedophilia, although the ACLU is on record as favoring relaxing laws against the distribution and possession of child pornography, and generally opposes the use of Internet filters designed to prevent public libraries and so forth from accessing pornography.

As I have said before, I am not sure who we are talking about. Scott Dickerson, who are these people who are working against pedophiles on the Internet, and what “extreme right” organizations do you think they might be in bed with?



I know you are a frequent contributor to the SDMB, and I believe we’ve had exchanges now and then on various topics. I don’t happen to have you “pegged” one way or the other, so I’m not sure what it means when you describe yourself as “a right-wing extremist.”

I have read in the papers about something–it might even have been called “Ped-Watch” or “Ped-Alert”–which dutifully patrols the chat rooms and discussion groups in search of postors, respondents, websites, etc., that it regards as suspicious or questionable. (I call it a “something” because I’m not clear whether it is an organization, or just one person.)

Obviously, if there is just one org or individual involved in this, my OP is fairly pointless. But I have the defeasible impression that there are a fair number of such entities out there. For example, in my county a judge was charged and sent to trial for possession of kiddie porn, and one of the persons involved in the matter was an individual who made it his avocation to hack into personal computers and determine if any “kiddie” pix lurked there.

The essence of my interest is (a) these efforts are often portrayed as selfless and high-minded, even when (b) they are as likely as anything else to have a “chilling effect” on freedom of speech, thought, and association; which sugests to me that © the persons involved are probably not leftish champions of personal civil liberties, but more likely (d) rightish champions of traditional values and social order.

Obviously we’re dealing with stereotypes and tendencies, not matters of great precision. But it’s at least worth asking whether those who, say, favor the “choice” side in the abortion debate, or the “full acceptance” side in the gay rights debate, ought to hesitate before expression support for what might otherwise seem a no-brainer. (I probably gave my OP too much of a “conspiratorial” flavor by my wording; I don’t have particular RW orgs in mind.)

I sense–perhaps you’d agree–that those who think anti-ped activities have gone too far are afraid to speak up, lest they be charged with being “soft on pedophilia.” The parallel to the earlier stages of the gay-rights debate seems fairly obvious.

If it matters, as far as clarifying my question: I myself do not in any way assume that persons who are aroused by the thought or practice of sexual contact with children are expressing a “sexual orientation” comparable to heterosexuality or homosexuality. As far as I’m concerned, that’s not the issue here.

Last year, I tried to get involved with an anti-child porn organization. While I can’t speak about the leadership of the various organizations, the people I spoke with seemed to run the gamut from conservative to liberal. Of course, all of them were in agreement on this one issue.
I will say that if they are attached to larger, conservative organizations, it doesn’t show in the web sites I personally have visited. Of course, I haven’t been to all the sites out there and it wouldn’t surprise me to find one directly tied to a conservative group.
DrDeth,IANAL, but isn’t it about intent. If somebody is walking into a bank with a ski mask, a gun, and the keys to a stolen car outside, I doubt that the police would have to wait to arrest him until after he said “give me all your money”. Similarly, If two people meet online and one believes the other is under-age, if they agree to meet IRL (after they discuss having sex), the intent certainly seems to be there. While your fantasy argument could be legitimate, if it wasn’t mentioned on-line by one of them at some point, I don’t see it as being believable. I do agree that law enforcement is often overzealous about enforcement, but in a case like you describe, I don’t see a problem.


Read more of my posts, if you like - I tend to be one of the more conservative members of the SDMB. Think of me as december, but without the poetic ability. :wink:

Compared with other Dopers, I am an extremist. Compared with the membership of some other boards, I am a squishy-soft liberal pinko commie apple-pie-hating subversive.

I love the Internet.

I don’t have any information on point (a), but I am willing to take your word for it - people who are trying to combat pedophilia will tend to be regarded positively in the media and public discourse.

I disagree with point (b). I don’t feel that restrictions on child pornography or other efforts to combat pedophilic attacks on children have a chilling effect on First Amendment rights. At least, no more chilling than laws or actions against other kinds of crime have. Laws against yelling “Fire!” in a crowded theater could be considered having a chilling effect on free speech, but it is a limitation I am willing to accept.

Point (c) is mixed. I already mentioned that the ACLU, for instance, has a very different position on child pornography than does, for instance, the Republican National Committee or the Eagle Forum. But I don’t think the issue of combatting pedophilia or child pornography is one that breaks along partisan lines.

As has been mentioned, both the Left and the Right seem to be in consensus on the issue. I would class the ACLU position as outside the mainstream of American political debate, and I am not aware of any other mainly political organizations that are generally liberal in tone that have come out in public in favor of changing the laws on kiddie porn or pedophelia. And certainly no conservative ones.

It is sort of a motherhood and apple pie issue in the US.

I sort of doubt it. As I said, it doesn’t seem to be much of a partisan issue at all. It is not only possible, but (in my experience at least) to be fervently pro-choice, or pro-gay rights, or equally anti- either, and still be against child molestation. Anti-pedophiles don’t seem to cluster on one side of the political spectrum or the other.

In my experience.

Actually, I don’t think this is true.

Insofar as I hear people speaking up, I hear them from all sides. I am more familiar with the right side of most debates than the left, but conservatives were fairly vocal in opposition to the “recovered memories” movement and similar ideas that was triggered by the book The Courage To Heal. And I remember reading articles in The National Review about false accusations of child abuse and molestation in the McMartin preschool case. There, at least, conservatives were not afraid to speak out for fear of being labelled “soft on pedophilia” - a charge which, to give them credit, I never heard from the Left. I have even heard radical feminists speaking out against pornography, in concert with people like Phyllis Schlafly.

Other kinds of pornography than child porn, or other kinds of sexual activity, sure, the Left and the Right in America will polarize against each other. But in discussions on pedophilia, the issue of consent tends to trump the discussion rather quickly, so that libertarians, paleo-conservatives, socialists, Democrats and even gay rights activists tend to agree.

There are exceptions, of course, but they don’t correlate very strongly with political affiliation. Liberals say “do it for the children!” and conservatives call it “family values”, but everybody wants their kids to be safe.

It is always going to be possible to support an organization on one issue and find out you disagree with them on something else. Maybe you think the ACLU is right on all the other issues, but still disagree that kiddie porn should be free to distribute and possess. Maybe I think Andrea Dworkin is talking out the wrong end 90% of the time, and still think violent pornography is indecent and offensive.

My solution is to support them when I think they are right, and speak against them when they are wrong. I would rather do what good I can, and not worry too much about being associated with only the ideologically pure.


Shodan, FWIW, as a left-wing pinko by the standards of some folks, I’ve always regarded you as a sensible conservative, prepared to take stands that accord with your political and social views, but prepared to read, absorb, and discuss the views of folks who don’t agree with you, and disagree respectfully and with reasons given.

In that, you’re head and shoulders above some of the folks that the term “conservative” gets applied to.

In short, you’re a decent person. And the world needs more decent people, of whatever political stripe.

Not in all jurisdictions, it seems…

Interesting spin on the story there. According to this news source, it’s a “loophole” that makes it “difficult” to go after “offenders”, as opposed to an exception that avoids spending time and taxpayer money to prosecute non-crimes.

Thanks for the link, Mr2001.

IANAL, but in most crimes, isn’t the formation of a criminal intent a key element in prosecution? If the guy clearly expressed his intent to have sex with a minor, wouldn’t that be enough to establish something “conspiracy to have sex with a minor” or “attempted statutory rape”?

It would be like an undercover police officer accepting the payment to kill someone, and then arresting the person for conspiracy to commit murder. There was never any hit man or victim, but the person would still be guilty.

The cited article also mentioned that 31 people had been arrested as part of the operation, but this guy is the only one who got off. Were there some other circumstances in his case that didn’t apply in the others?

The link doesn’t make this clear.


PS - Thanks for the warm fuzzies, Polycarp. What makes or breaks a message board is its members, and the tone of the discussion they set. Thanks for all that you do to maintain the tone here.