Re: Subject: What is Sexual Activity?

Sarah Marr (
Wed, 20 Aug 1997 10:29:17 +0100

Tony Hollick wrote:

> The 'younger man' is on record as saying that he actively sought a deep
> relationship (he presented Mary Kay with a silver ring as a symbol of
> his affection); and he is by all accounts an exceptional individual.

This is a most unconvincing argument. Supposing the child in question was
ten years old. Or seven. Or five. He becomes attracted to his teacher,
wants to spend time with her, takes her flowers, and as she becomes more
responsive and physcial he, not knowing exactly what the hell is going on,
sees his affection reciprocated and goes along with it. I happen to think
that five year-olds should be protected from a world which can take such
advantage of them.

> They're both *magnificent* Americans.

Why? What's 'magnificent' about them? They sound like pretty ordinary
Americans to me, albeit one of them is, potentially, a criminal. (Or has
she already been convicted?)

> Would an Extropian (or other
> free-society) curriculum exclude or prohibit 'sex education'? I rather
> think not.

I think not, also. Nor has anybody suggested it would.

> Given the lack of
> internal and external metrics for human experience and preferences,
> most of us know better than to 'second-guess' the transactional choices
> people make between themselves.

The point in this case is 'choice', and whether or not children are capable
of making certain informed choices. And in this we base an awful lot of our
raising of children on our belief that they cannot make certain choices.
So, we don't leave paint-stripper on baby's little table; we apply a
blanket "don't talk to strangers rule" rather than trusting the child's
character judgement; etc. We make informed decisions about the
choice-making capabilities of our children, for their protection.

> Are you saying you would seek to _coercively prevent_ competent
> youngsters from seeking out and obtaining 'sex education'?

Nobody has said anything like this, Tony. I haven't seen 'sex education'
mentioned once before this post. Unless you're arguing that this affair was
merely a sex education practical?

> Is it any of your business. in fact?

I would say it is the business of the child's parents, in their continuing
role as protectors of that child until he reaches such an age as to be
well-informed and competent in matters of physicality. And in so protecting
him, they do not need to resort to their own vigilante means of prevention,
since they have the law to do that for them.

> Do you believe 'we' can arbitrarily declare love to
> be some sort of 'crime'?

No. Sex with a minor, on the other hand, can be declared a crime, with a
non-arbitrary basis in at least several hundred years of Western cultural

> "Yes" or "No" will do.

No, they won't. You are phrasing your arguments in misleading ways, drawn
from false interpretations of previous statements. A "yes" or "no" to that
is a choice made against options you provide, rather than a sound exegesis
of the arguments to be presented.

The problem is, of course, that certain children are more capable of taking
decisions at an earlier age than other children. However, the
practicalities of the law mean that it must assign one single age to the
meeting of sexual majority. This does not seem unreasonable. If there is
any argument to be put, it must be that this age is too high (as I believe
it is, at 18, for homosexuals in the UK). Personally, given the current
social milieu of the West, I think 16 is about right (and given the state
of the law it would seem the majority agree with me), but I'd listen to the
arguments with interest, especially since a cross-cultural analysis would
show the age of sexual maturity to differ globally.

What I won't listen to is nonsense about people having suggested that sex
education be banned, or that love be legally controlled, etc. in an attempt
to win arguments which are almost, if not entirely, completely unrelated.


B e a u t y i s o n l y s i n d e e p.