By D.J. Webb

I don’t have any interested in drawings of children being raped,
but I know of no legitimate law where people could be imprisoned for drawing
such a scene. See

I have no objection to throwing the book at paedophiles, and
would consider penalties much, much stiffer than any contemplated by our leading
political parties – including the death penalty in many cases – but we have

1. viewing pictures on the Internet equated with actual
child rape (in a free society the police would have to have good reason to
believe you had actually engaged in sex with a minor before viewing anything on
your computer anyway, and the possession of an easily copiable computer image
should not be actionable at all, no matter how repugnant it makes the person
downloading it).

2. the judicial insistence that all child nudity, including
nudity where there is no sexual component, is pornographic, including pictures
of children wearing no clothes at the seasides, whereas, no matter what the
motivation of the adult taking the photographs (eg a paedophile could be using
a camera on the beach), the image is simply not pornographic – unless the judge
himself is a paedophile… (actually…. I could believe that).

3. and now the drawing of imaginary pictures depicting
paedophile scenes is equated with physically raping a child.

4. It is worth asking (I don’t know from the article) the
presumed age of the children in the drawings: there are “children”
above the age of sexual maturity simply because the law says they are children
(eg the age of consent varies from country to country), and then there is the
real hardcore paedophilia of people who target those who are actually children.

I’m not suggesting eg 15 year olds should be subject to
predatory behaviour, but that there is a difference between eg rape of a 7 year
old (too young to know what is happening) and apparently consensual sex with
someone a week before his/her 16th birthday, who is biologically mature, old
enough to know what is happening, and only a “child” because we
choose to keep young people in education until they are 16.

It is easy to go down the kneejerk route and say that all such
people should have no rights – but we should think of how close the state is moving
into all our lives. When the state can monitor your drawings… there is really
no private sphere left. You will notice the case in that article is described
as a “landmark” case – in other words, a case making new case law
that will begin to be more widely applied. While it is true that the Coroners
and Justice Act 2009 does say “references to an image of a child include
references to an image of an imaginary child”, so this is not one of the
cases where new laws are being made by judges, statute laws that are an abuse
of power are also of great concern to me.

We have a very strange state! We read a while back of how a
young adult who raped a 6 year old was not given a detentionary sentence,
because the Christian parents “forgave” him (but real forgiveness
relates to forgiving something done to yourself: it was simply evil for the
parents to forgive “vicariously” on behalf of their child), only for
him to then rape a 7 year old – so real cases of paedophilia don’t necessarily
get condign punishment, whereas on the other hand, these drawings, which do not
include any violent act on any child, are subject to punishment. Does anyone
understand this?


  1. I wish I had written “interest” instead of “interested” in the first line. It is a fault of mine that I chop and change what I write and send it before it is read through properly…

  2. The law says (according to the daily mail article), “charges of possessing indecent images, two of having prohibited drawings”. So the question then becomes the interpretation of “prohibited” (and possibly of “drawing”. Who will make this interpretation? Unintended consequences are already in place, just waiting…

  3. Ah, this is a serious issue indeed. And I speak as a drawer and seller of “adult” cartoons.

    Going first to reality; it seems that there is very little paedophilia in the world. We are in the midst of an hysteria without parallel since, perahps, the witch trials. It is that bad. Most of the “paedophile” material described by hysterical police officers, campaigners, etc, is teenagers. Some people are convicted for images of young looking women who *appear* under 18 to the zealots.

    To define anyone under 18 as a child is of course absurd. Puberty occurs years before this. Most people these days have sex before 16, let alone 18. It is no more abnormal for a 15 year old to have sex than a 25 year old; and no more abnormal to find a pretty, well developed 15 year old attractive than a 25 year old- in fact in evolutionary terms it is more normal. 25 is starting over the hill.

    But that is not what the fanatics in the feminist/femiservative movements want. There is indeed a good argument that feminism is a “sexual trade union” in which old women try to restrict competition from younger, prettier nubiles. It’s not a bad argument.

    Of course, the cartoon porn law is absurd. It is impossible to judge the age of an imaginary character. If I draw somebody that somebody else thinks looks under 18, maybe I just did a bad drawing that day. It often astonishes me looking at a picture from a year or more before how much it missed the mark in some respects. All but the best artists fail to render exactly what they intended; every drawing is an approximation. I’ve done drawings that, a year later, realised had terrible perspective and the people are four feet tall or ten feet tall. I didn’t see that at the time.

    There is no way to measure the age of a cartoon character. It has no birth certificate. It is not real. What a picture shows is in the mind of the viewer. As an artist I can think of no sure way to accurately distinguish in pencil a 17 year old from a 19 year old. The bowdlers think they can. They must have godlike powers.

    This is really just part of an ongoing war, since the Victorian Era. Against sexual openness. And against men. It is an entrapment law, like the old “gross indecency” law. It is pretended that it will catch “paedophiiles” before they commit the act against a real person. This is of course codswallop. It is merely anothre means of persecution, and another means of reinforcing the terror of sex, and of making every adult subject to the mutaween. It is vile.

    We can only hope that this new era of terror is the last gasp of the Puritans. Humanity deserves better than the rule of these monsters.

  4. Yes, Ian B. I agree. Now, if I had a 15 year old child, I would be livid if some 45 year old was behaving lasciviously towards him or her – in social terms, 15 year old are not fully street-wise, and, owing to not having their own money yet, could be easily lured by a much older person. But physically, biologically, there is nothing strange about sexual attraction to a 15 year old. I defy ANYONE to show me that someone attracted to someone 16 years and 1 day old is not attracted to someone 15 years and 364 days old. In fact, I will go further: the policeman who, according to the very Act of Parliament we are discussing, are entitled to possess “pornographic images” for the purpose of cracking down on vice, are probably turned on by them. Tell me what heterosexual policeman working in the anti-paedo unit is not going to appreciate pictures of 15 year old girls he comes into contact with at work? And if there are any homosexual policemen in those units coming into contact with pictures of 15 year old boys, I think the number who will not enjoy the pictures (if the pictures are of attractive people) is going to be zero. So according to their own theory – the policemen themselves in those anti-paedo units are paedophiles themselves!

    Now: I think taking advantage of a 15 year old is some kind of offence, but it is not paedophilia as such. And it is not at all the same thing as the people who kidnap and force themselves on 7 year olds. My guess is that the number of people who are interested in actual children (pre-pubescent children) is extremely low – they are severely disturbed (although I would still argue for the death penalty for any of those who acted on their desire for pre-pubescent children), and there are probably no more than 100 of these in the country as a whole, all very well known to the police and monitored in some way. Now, as for arrests for paedophilia – my guess is that **in nearly all cases**, we are dealing with people attracted to 15 year olds, or maybe 14 year olds (as, after all, these are also post-pubescent). Real paedophilia is very rare indeed.

    I could understand paedomania if we were not trying to sexualise children at a younger and younger age – but to go out of our way in the media, the education system and the wider culture to sexualise even pre-pubescent children (as well as sexualising post-pubescent 14 and 15 year olds, who would in the 1950s have still been pretty innocent even if biologically mature) and then suddenly claim that paedophilia is rife is a contradiction in terms. Teachers who teach sex education to 14 and 15 year olds – I cannot believe there is not sexual tension in the class. Any red-blooded male who taught sex education to a class of people many of whom he objectively **must** be attracted to is going to be getting off on the whole experience.

    I looked up this 2009 law on “drawings” (, and funnily enough it did say that the drawing was illegal even if some features appeared not to be of a child, ie where “the predominant impression conveyed is that the person shown is a child despite the fact that some of the physical characteristics shown are not those of a child.” You could even see the humour in this – what they are talking about is a drawing of a child with an outsized penis! Even though the penis would be bigger than expected of a child, if the overall image appeared to be of a child, it would be illegal. And yes, Ian, you spotted that the relevant age for illegal drawings is not 16 but 18 – according to the same passage of the law. Where do I start on this? It is legal to have sex with a 16 year old, but not to draw that same person nude? 16 year olds are serving in the army, but are children for the purposes of photographs and drawings? So it is not paedophilia if you just want to have sex with a 16 year old, but the moment you get your camera out, you are a paedophile? And as you say, distinguishing a drawing of a 17 year old from a drawing of an 18 year old – what nonsense is this?

    But then Ian, you veer off course in your final paragraph, with your tirade against morality per se. Immoral behaviour between consenting adults should not be illegal, but our culture has gone heavily downhill since the 19th century due to the increasing demoralisation of society. It is this in fact that has allowed the state to get drawn in to the management of family life – in the 19th century, when morality was supported in the culture, the state was barely involved at all in the upbringing of children and families. Of course, you would claim to want an amoral society AND for the state to get out of people’s lives – but that is a mendacious combination. When the culture declines, the state is able to point to good reasons to get involved in personal lives, as there are many pieces to pick up (eg, dysfunctional families, physical and sexual abuse of children [statistically highly co-related to stepfamilies], poor parenting skills of parents who having sex in the gutters with strangers while their children are home alone, divorce, etc). It is a considerable drawback for libertarianism that it requires a good culture to function well in. I think this point is one that is rarely if ever made by libertarians – and this largely negates all the propaganda of the Libertarian Alliance. See for example Sean Gabb’s comments on “I’m a slut” bras for 5 year olds – banning them might not be the best solution, but clearly a free society is more operable where people know how to behave. It is an open question whether English people have the cultural and moral maturity to be free.

    This question has always bedevilled discussions of English freedom. Matthew Arnold, in Culture and Anarchy, wrote (

    ‘”May not every man in England say what he likes?”—Mr. Roebuck perpetually asks; and that, he thinks, is quite sufficient, and when every man may say what he likes, our aspirations ought to be satisfied. But the aspirations of culture, which is the study of perfection, are not satisfied, unless what men say, when they may say what they like, is worth saying,—has good in it, and more good than bad. In the same way The Times, replying to some foreign strictures on the dress, looks, and behaviour of the English abroad, urges that the English ideal is that every one should be free to do and to look just as he likes. But culture indefatigably tries, not to make what each raw person may like, the rule by which he fashions himself; but to draw ever nearer to a sense of what is indeed beautiful, graceful, and becoming, and to get the raw person to like that.’

  5. Well DJ, you are a social conservative and I am a social liberal, so we are bound to disagree about what is appropriate and necessary for a stable society. I’ve argued this one a lot on the web and I’m not sure I can make the effort right now. Let us agree to disagree!

    The meat and potatoes of this issue is the difference between what is socially appropriate and what is a violent or criminal act. A while back my sister told me a story about when she was at school. THere was a handsome young Italian teacher arrived. All the girls were swooning over him. At some point, he suddenly disappeared; it turned out he had had some kind of relationship with one of the older girls. He was dismissed of course by the school.

    Now this is an *inappropriate* act. If I were running a school, I would feel the same. But was it a *criminal* act? I think not. The girl was physically mature and consensual. The young man shoudl have restrained himself. He did not. But that is inappropriate behaviour. Perhaps immoral behaviour. But not a crime against all sense of humanity and nature, as with true paedophilia. They are qualitatively different things. But this was the 1970s, and there was less hysteria then. It was a matter for parents, the teachers and so on.

    The absurdity of current laws knows no bounds. The “18” has been inherited from the USA, whose ideological masters dominate the world. So, the Labour government *deliberately* lowered the gay age of consent for actual sex to 16 and in the same Act Of Parliament raised the age for mere photographs to 18! So the ludicrous situation is that I could, if I were that way inclined, seduce a 16 year old lad and sodomise him to my heart’s content; but if I take a photograph of him, I then transform into a “paedophile”. It would not be quite so bad if these were two different and incompatible laws, but they were as I said different clauses of the same Act!

    And then, a few years later, a mere drawing of said lad was decided to be equally an act of “paedophilia”. It is total madness.

    As to the contents of these mens’ hard drives described (but not of course shown) in breathless tones by the Daily Mail, it is presumably common-or-garden Japanese hentai images and comics, which are all over the web. It is often impossible to guess the ages of the stylised characters, but the Japs have a big “schoolgirls” thing in their cartoons and animation, and it was this that the Law was specifically designed to get at. It’s basically an excuse for police fishing. The material is extremely widespread. I’ve seen lots of it. But, being an artist, I am very cautious these days about what even might get cached by my browser, just in case of a surprise call from Plod. That is, I have to just steer away from anywhere on the web that might have some hentai on it.

    It is all quite ridiculous. It is the equivalent of, say sixty years ago, it being illegal not to just commit sodomy, not to just commit “gross indecency”, but even to draw a picture of some gay act, in private in your own home. Never has the law reached this far, even at the height of the previous (late Victorian onwards) censorship fad.

    It is worth reminding ourselves btw that the “gross indencency” law that generalised the prohibition not of just sodomy but anything even vaguely “gay” was introduced by a “progressive” Liberal MP, Henry Labouchere, against protests by conservatives, who called it a “blackmailers’ charter”. Wiser conservatives were well aware of the commonality of buggery. Public school and all that. The great “gay panic” was a creation of the “progressive” Left, not of the Right, in Britain at least.

  6. Ian, you seem to beleive that we all have our views and they are all equally valid. Not so. You may be a social liberal, but you are quite wrong in your views. You are an anti-social element in society, someone who is engaged in the destruction of society, a useful idiot who provides a justification for the expansion of the state. There is no value whatsoever in your opinions. I think Sean Gabb needs to consider if he has surrounded himself with the wrong type of people in the LA. I am not going to answer your further points, as I think it is a waste of my valuable time to engage in discussion with the antisocial element in society.

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