But the one fairly common perversion it's still safe to label as that is child molestation. The obvious reason for this is that it's not right to take advantage of children. And let me emphasize, I completely agree -- anyone who actually molests a child should be locked up for a long, long time.
But the central tenet of the LGBT movement is that people can't help their orientation, and shouldn't be discriminated against for that reason. Shouldn't that same logic be applied to those whose sexuality skews toward the prepubescent?
If you adhere to that line of thinking -- and I do -- shouldn't child molesters at least be allowed child porn to masturbate to?
The standard answer to that is that you can't make that type of porn without abusing children. But, in fact, with modern computer generated images, you can.
Most people feel a healthy revulsion for child molesters. But, truth be told, many people feel a similar instinctive revulsion for transgenders, and even for ordinary homosexuals. Such feelings are actually evolutionarily adaptive: they keep one on the path to reproduction.
But should this instinctive revulsion necessarily equate with morality? Recently we've been taught that anyone who publicly expresses his feelings of revulsion toward homosexuals is himself immoral.
I agree that our natural feelings of revulsion ought not to dictate laws, since no one can help being what they are. Most of us have no control over whether we're smart or stupid, tall or short, crippled or able-bodied, straight or gay. Fair-mindedness demands we not be blamed for things we can't help.
This is not to say that some people don't feel an inner revulsion when seeing someone who is morbidly obese, or horribly deformed, or weirdly perverted. Of course, only extremely rude people would give voice to their revulsion. And almost all of us feel revulsion -- as well as anger -- when we encounter someone that rude.
And, as we're always told, no one should be judged by these things.
BUT -- and this is a very big BUT -- if we are supposed to retain a sense of moral outrage and shock over men who get off on kiddies -- even if they never touch a single child -- is that really any different from conflating morality with our entirely natural feelings of revulsion for, say, extremely effeminate men or extremely masculine women?
We have to remember that adults who are sexually attracted to children can't help that any more than regular homosexuals can help but be attracted to others of the same sex. And while I believe that any adult who actually molests a child should be locked away in jail for a long stretch, I also think they ought to at least be allowed computer-created pornography.
It's not as if banning those images will change their sexuality.
Exercising a selective morality is always tricky. Our government, as official policy, instructs US soldiers in Afghanistan to turn a blind eye toward Afghan Army officers who take advantage of "tea boys," underage males groomed specifically for pederasty.
If the land of the free and the home of the brave actually allows the sexual exploitation of prepubescent children by an ally -- for whom we are putting American lives at risk -- why would they not allow American men the luxury of computer generated images? Jerking off to a computer is far less harmful than physical contact with a tea boy.
Most readers of this blog are undoubtedly at least a little disgusted by this idea. But really, if we allow our instincts to tell us what is right and wrong, maybe we should outlaw homosexuality as well.
The principle is the same in both cases.
And it applies to another case as well: if we're not to blame people for their feelings, that understanding should extend to people who can't help their instinctive feelings of disgust when confronted with something they find grotesquely perverse.
Perhaps we can measure character by how vocal people are about expressing those feelings; but we can't measure it by the feelings themselves.