Thursday, September 06, 2007

Do We Believe In Thought Crime ?

I was always a bit concerned about the whole Chris Langham thing …this of course means I secretly wish to normalise child abuse……no I abso-fucking lutely do not . I am as appalled as anyone but , if I `m honest I find myself a little concerned about the way he was treated or at least the way the Public and blogasphere reacted.
His crime , as far as children were concerned was not physically abusing them but down-loading images of their abuse and by implication having lustful thoughts about them. I take it that I am not going to be accused of not recognising the hideous moral deformity of watching child rape for pleasure but it is essentially a “Thought Crime “ and not a real crime . I am aware naturally that supporting for such a repellent industry is itself a form of physical abuse by proxy but that there is still a distinction between this and actually molesting a child .
I believe there is an important boundary here and it should not be blurred. In this difficult case we should still be clear minded enough to distinguish between a man’s soul for which he answers to God, and his actions, which we may punish with far greater severity here. Where are Liberty for Chris Langham ? We on the right are quick to support Liberty when they spot the encroachment of the concept of thought crime into jurisprudence and common acceptance even when it is those “ countenancing “ terrorism but silent on his behalf . His crimes are quiet severe enough to warrant considerable punishment imprisonment of course but they could have been a lot worse.

As I write this I am horrified that I do …. Is it wrong , I `m genuinely not sure.


Nick Drew said...

well it's certainly a complex issue Mr M. Seems to me that actively accessing this vile material lies somewhere between actual deeds of abuse (string 'em up), and having vile lusts (thought-crime only: resisting such urges actually commendable)

These distinctions will probably become a good deal more pertinent in the days to come: I suspect McBroon has a number of thought-crimes he'd like to legislate against

'disputing the accuracy of government statistics'

'disrespecting the european ideal'

'denial of the benefits of wind-farms'

'questioning the courage of a serving prime minister'

(no, actually I made that last one up of course)

CityUnslicker said...

i am with you N. To take the idea further we are extremely close to having Computer graphics that will be indistinguishable from real vidoes/picutres.

If people choose to make sick vids and watch em then they in a fre society they would be guilty of nothing, just considered a littel weird.

What is the betting in our society that people will go to jail for 'creating' images.

Another aspect that makes me wonder is that people can sit at home, use a computer, speak to and hurt nobody directly and yet get sent down for years and years; in many ways this is thought crime.

hatfield girl said...

Wrong, because downloading this stuff has to be paid for and thus you fund it and enable it. Millstones, necks, casting.

Ed said...

I'm with Hatfield on downloading child porn. But what about cartoons of child porn as a thought experiment. Yes it's pretty sick but no children were harmed in its creation.

The government is already trying to outlaw violent porn and mocked up necrophilia - even if it's just acting. Even if it's between two consenting adults. That is state interference in people's private life.

Newmania said...

I have accepted obviously that the perpetrator is culpable for supporting the child pornindustry...

"'disputing the accuracy of government statistics'"

Nick I wish I had the time and methodology to make a gestalt of what has hapoened here . I happen to think the way figures have been used is one of the most dreadful developments of the last ten years and yes I know it was not new exactly.

ED I am myself highly confused about it . I have seen a cartoon of child pornography by accident and I am not kidding you when I say that I felt a palpable sense of evil in my stomach and immediate need for air. I cannot belive there is no corrosive efect and that it might not be a danger . Molesters typically imagine their deed with increasing intensity

I didn`t mean to imply that I thought I knew the answer .

CU , I am unable to be as clear about it as you are but if you seperate social good from individual guilt then it is easier .We should control access discourage and monitor but is it a crime ...?I really don`t know

feeble eh

Ed said...

But N if you take that to the logical extreme then we would not allow any violence or bad language to be available either, for surely they are feeding the imagination of those who are pre-disposed to those things too.

I agree that it is horrible but I don't think that the state should be forcing us to stay away from abhorrent stuff, we should "do the right thing" or not of our own free will.

Anonymous said...

I think you are creating a false dichotomy here.

Thought crime in respect of child pornography i.e. lusting after evil images is totally different from paying for and/or downloading evil and illegal images of child abuse and child pornography. The viewer is participating in the abuse, funding it, encouraging and enabling further abuse.

Lusting after evil and illegal images, however, is not and should not be a crime. If it were to be made a crime, the majority of us would be guilty of it in respect of our subconscious fantasies of which over which we have little control. Rape is one of the commonest fantasies, I believe.

Auntie Flo'

Newmania said...

Rape is one of the commonest fantasies, I believe.

Is it Flo....? Tsk I understand what you are saying but I still think that while supporting child you for the original act thats a bit like saying smoking blow makes you as bad as a child slave owner because it encourages and supports the industry. To an extent its true but its unreasonable to say the one is as bad as the other.

I am not saying either is good in the case of Chris Langham and he should certainly go to prison I am saying theere is a distinction ,not just an undifferentiated evil once you cross a line .

That at least was what I meant to say buit your comment has clarified it for me I think.

Odd what you say about rape I had never thought if that which is true I`m sure . I wonder why it is noone fantasisies about marrying that nice chap on the exec course at Marks and Spencers and after a long and civilised socila intercourse ending up with sex as taboo as vanilla ice cream.

Not my subject ... god knows is my contribution

Croydonian said...

Where I think folk go wrong is in assuming that porn etc is defined by what appears in it rather than by what one does with it. Mothercare catalogues etc are very popular in some quarters. Does anyone remember the 'Mini-pops' scandal of the early (?) eighties?

Newmania said...

What an honour !!!! I suspect the material Mr. Graham was watching would be hard to confuse with an advert for little swimmers...although if this plea gets me out of dying of bordedom in the den of vice I`m all for it

Leonardo said...

I'm from the World Have Your Say, the interactive radio programme from the BBC World Service. We'll be talking about "crime thought" today and will have writer Gore Vidal with us. I've seen your blog post and would like to have you on the programme. Check the website and please send me your number. My email is
The phone is 020875570293

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