Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Happy 2009, Fence-Sitters

Here's a thought I can't believe I didn't have earlier.

People who are victims of child abuse sometimes become abusers, themselves. I have heard estimates ranging from 10% to as high as 40%. And the probability that a victim will themselves turn to abuse can be affected by things like a dysfunctional family or other social factors, it's true.

If we go by the standard that even one abuser committing abuse is one too many, then would society not be justified in compelling all victims of child abuse to register for a "potential sex-offenders" watchlist of some sort? After all, considering all the abuse that we know happens, even taking the low estimates means that there's a disturbingly large contingent of child abusers being created every day.

So we should watch and monitor them, for their own good, for the good of society. No, don't bother with "blaming the victim" arguments. If this prevents even one child from being harmed, isn't it worth it? Were you abused as a child? Well then, we should keep an eye on you, eh? Just in case.

Isn't this a perfectly reasonable proposal?

Except it isn't, unless you're an alarmist, paranoid about what might happen, willing to punish the majority of victims for the transgressions of a few. Unless the "PC fascism" that right-wing talk-show hosts keep harping about really does become as bad as they predict, I can't see a proposal like that becoming a real law, simply because the invasion of privacy and loss of freedom would be too great for most people to tolerate.

In the Neil Gaiman post referenced a couple times earlier in my blog, a self-described "fence-sitter" wrote to Neil asking "if just one child is saved, isn't it worth it?" And Neil wrote about freedom of expression and censorship and ultimately convinced the fence-sitter to come down on the side of less censorship.

This is my opening statement for 2009, and it is directed at anyone who wants to take out certain things in comics, wants to suppress certain works, wants to clean up objectionable material on the basis that it might trigger some bad person's darker urges, or might teach someone the wrong thing, or, frankly, have any impact at all.

Because what you want to do is, in effect, the same thing I've described above. It is justified in the same way: "if only one can be saved". Only you'll never know if one is saved or not, and you'll punish many for the sins of a few.

1 comment:

Andre said...

But its not the same.
One is a victim and the other could be something gross.

Its not a question of reasoning and critical thinking.
Reports have started to show that we are more likely to believe in witches then genetics as a people. With that in mind most argument that want to win can toss any logic out the window and head right for the "why would YOU want this?" argument.