Jump to content
Objectivism Online Forum

Should I notify the authorities?

Rate this topic


Recommended Posts

I didn't say disgusting, only vile. That's not a description of emotions, but a moral qualifier.

You provide encouragement to the person performing the physical act itself. There is no difference between being there and cheering him on and sitting at home and downloading his work. Both constitute complicity.

There is a substantial difference between "cheering on a person" in the act of creating CP and downloading it. Someone who is physically present knows who is committing the crime and either has the ability to stop it or notify the police. If he doesn't, then he is most likely a conspirator or accessory and should be charged as such.

A person who downloads CP (without paying for it) on the other hand, is the moral equivalent of someone who downloads a video of a bank being robbed or a person getting shot. No one in their right mind would say that you could be an accessory to a bank robbery by watching a video of it, and I fail to see any difference with CP.

As an aside, I think there should also be a distinction made between child pornography and "underage" pornography, which is sometimes treated the same. A 16 year old may not be fully mature, but is definitely not a child, and is most certainly rational enough to decide whether to have sex, or have it videotaped or not. Treating an 8 year old being coerced into sex and a 16 year old choosing to have sex, as the same, is ignoring the facts of reality.

Also, just to let you know, complicity is not usually conisdered a crime.

Edited by Myself
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Replies 80
  • Created
  • Last Reply

Top Posters In This Topic

Top Posters In This Topic

A person who downloads CP (without paying for it) on the other hand, is the moral equivalent of a someone who downloads a video of a bank being robbed or a person getting shot. No one in their right mind would say that you could be an accessory to a bank robbery by watching a video of it, or to an assault by watching a person being assaulted. I fail to see any difference with CP.

As always with analogies, if you saw no difference between the two scenarios, it would be pretty pointless to bother making the analogy. Clearly, you see a difference, and you're hoping that the difference will make me judge your new scenario differently, and then accept the same conclusion for the old scenario. And I do judge the new scenario differently, but that's because of the difference. I of course refuse to transfer my new, different judgment onto the old scenario, because an argument through analogy is a fallacy.

The difference is between the purpose of the robbery and the purpose of the abuse of the child. While the robbery is not done to create videos for the pleasure of the people downloading them, the abuse of the child clearly is. The sole purpose of child pornography is to distribute it to pedophiles. Whether that is done as an act of charity or for money, is irrelevant.

If I had to come up with an analogy (strictly to explain my position, not as an argument), I would say the relationship is more like the one between a bank robber and his fence than a bank robber and someone watching the tape of the robbery, captured by surveillance cameras. Keeping with the analogy, you could say that the "loot" being stolen from the victim is the pornographic material, and whoever knowingly accepts that "loot" is a "thief" himself.

P.S. I realize I started the "there is no difference" line of reasoning, and that was wrong. My argument there was that accepting the material, through file-sharing or the Internet, makes one an accessory to the crime. A similar case of accessory to the same crime would be someone cheering on as the abuse is happening, since the physical distance between the two criminals isn't relevant to establishing their guilt.

Edited by Jake_Ellison
Link to comment
Share on other sites

A person who downloads CP (without paying for it) on the other hand, is the moral equivalent of someone who downloads a video of a bank being robbed or a person getting shot. No one in their right mind would say that you could be an accessory to a bank robbery by watching a video of it, and I fail to see any difference with CP.

Why do you think these detestable scumbags put this stuff on the net? It's so that they and their perverted friends can share their experiences, they can relish in their sexual conquests of children.

This attitude perplexes me. An Objectivist considers when a person downloads a CD without paying for it he is guilty of robbing a person of his right to that property but some seem to say that when a person downloads a picture of a 6 year old being forced to perform fellatio he is in now way robbing that child of anything?

Edited by Zip
Link to comment
Share on other sites

The difference is between the purpose of the robbery and the purpose of the abuse of the child. While the robbery is not done to create videos for the pleasure of the people downloading them, the abuse of the child clearly is. The sole purpose of child pornography is to distribute it to pedophiles. Whether that is done as an act of charity or for money, is irrelevant.

The fact that a person could find pleasure in viewing a video of a child involved in sexual acts is irrelevent.

The crime being committed is sexual abuse of a child. A video is a recording of that. A person viewing that video is a person viewing a recording of a crime.

The intent of the person perpetrating the abuse is a matter of case by case determination. Off hand, I'd say that in general, someone who sexually abuses a child is doing it for his own twisted pleasure, not to distribute a video of it to other people. That would be the main motive. Distribution is a side issue. The "loot" is the pleasure.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

This attitude perplexes me. An Objectivist considers when a person downloads a CD without paying for it he is guilty of robbing a person of his right to that property but some seem to say that when a person downloads a picture of a 6 year old being forced to perform fellatio he is in now way robbing that child of anything?

Be specific. What is that person robbing? By what means?

The person who creates CP is committing a crime. But simply watching a video of a crime is not, in itself, a crime. What about the prosecutor who has to watch the tape to try the criminal? Is he committing a crime? What about the jurors who have to watch the tape to deliberate? Are they committing a crime?

Edited by Myself
Link to comment
Share on other sites

The person who creates CP is committing a crime. But simply watching a video of a crime is not, in itself, a crime. What about the prosecutor who has to watch the tape to try the criminal? Is he committing a crime? What about the jurors who have to watch the tape to deliberate? Are they committing a crime?

The Prosecutor and the jury aren't sitting around beating off to the damn videos, either. You have no argument.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The Prosecutor and the jury aren't sitting around beating off to the damn videos, either. You have no argument.

So then you're saying the real crime is masturabtion? As far as I can see, you're the one who has no argument right now.

Edited by Myself
Link to comment
Share on other sites

So then you're saying the real crime is masturabtion? As far as I can see, you have no argument right now.

What are you talking about? CP is created so that freaks can get off to it. The process of creating it violates the rights of a child and frequently destroys certain aspects of their lives. Those who possess it are committing what is rightly classified as a crime.

You seem to be making the claim that simply looking at something (in this case, a child being raped) doesn't hurt anyone and so no crime is being committed. My response to that is the creation of CP violates rights and those who possess it are encouraging its creation. They are encouraging it whether they actually pay money for the CP or whether they simply give the creator the sick satisfaction that some of his co-perverts are getting off on the slime that he is spreading around.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Be specific. What is that person robbing? By what means?

The person who creates CP is committing a crime. But simply watching a video of a crime is not, in itself, a crime. What about the prosecutor who has to watch the tape to try the criminal? Is he committing a crime? What about the jurors who have to watch the tape to deliberate? Are they committing a crime?

The right to life. The child is being abused and filmed/photographed for the express purpose of sexual gratification of the person doing the act AND so he can share the sexual debasement and perversion with fellow criminals.

Equating the rational need to view the crime in order to render a verdict of guilt or innocence with the viewing and downloading of a crime to derive perverse sexual gratification from the most vulnerable people in our society is the most convoluted example of moral gymnastics I've ever encountered on this board.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Update: the guy found out that we found out (someone told his mom for Christ's sake). He proceeded to get hysterical and destroyed the evidence. Nothing to report now unfortunately.

This whole thing sounds fishy to me. By the way, unless the computer's hard drive is physically destroyed, there are ways to extract its contents.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

In my state, it's legal to have sex with a 16 year old girl, but if you watch a video of her having sex, then it's child pornography and you're a sexual predator?

You'll have to look at your state's laws to determine if someone who views pornography involving a 16 year old is a sexual predator. In the state of Florida, where I used to live, anyone who committed a felony act concerning any one of various sexual offenses, including child pornography--a felony of the third degree--is a sexual predator upon conviction.

Jake's reply is similar to my line of thinking:

You're a sexual predator if the person in the video did not give her fully rational consent. In the case of a 16 year old, it is perfectly reasonable to assume that she might not be capable to fully understand what she is doing, so yes, you could be a sexual predator. I certainly can't fault any law that sets the age of consent at 18. (and it even makes sense to set the age of consent for porn at 18 even though the sex one is 16, since porn has implications beyond just having sex)
Link to comment
Share on other sites

You seem to be making the claim that simply looking at something (in this case, a child being raped) doesn't hurt anyone and so no crime is being committed. My response to that is the creation of CP violates rights and those who possess it are encouraging its creation. They are encouraging it whether they actually pay money for the CP or whether they simply give the creator the sick satisfaction that some of his co-perverts are getting off on the slime that he is spreading around.

How is "giving the creator...sick satisfaction" a crime? What does his mental state have to do with whether a crime is committed?

The right to life. The child is being abused and filmed/photographed for the express purpose of sexual gratification of the person doing the act AND so he can share the sexual debasement and perversion with fellow criminals.

Equating the rational need to view the crime in order to render a verdict of guilt or innocence with the viewing and downloading of a crime to derive perverse sexual gratification from the most vulnerable people in our society is the most convoluted example of moral gymnastics I've ever encountered on this board.

You didn't answer my question. How is someone who views CP depriving the child of it's right to life? What is he doing that deprives it?

It's not moral gymnastics. You claim it is a violation of the victim's rights to view a video of their rights being violated. I say otherwise. You are the one making the positive claim. The burden of proof is on you.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

You didn't answer my question. How is someone who views CP depriving the child of it's right to life? What is he doing that deprives it?

It's not moral gymnastics. You claim it is a violation of the victim's rights to view a video of their rights being violated. I say otherwise. You are the one making the positive claim. The burden of proof is on you.

Fast forward. The child grows up. His/her pictures as a dehumanized victim of a child rapist are all over the net. Do you still hold that their rights are not being violated?

Anyone who has had exposure to these sorts of crimes can tell you that a child victim of this kind of abuse will suffer for years to come and you want to tell us all that there is no crime involved in perpetrating the initial crime?

How about you prove that the individual rights of the person being exploited by the dissemination of products produced in the commission of a rights offense are not being violated.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

How about you prove that the individual rights of the person being exploited by the dissemination of products produced in the commission of a rights offense are not being violated.

Cutting out all of your emotionalism, you failed to meet the burden of proof. And it is your burden. You make the claim, you prove it. You won't trick me that easily.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

This whole thing sounds fishy to me. By the way, unless the computer's hard drive is physically destroyed, there are ways to extract its contents.

That's what I thinking, especially when the person who wanted the guy arrested, for having a hard drive full of child pornography, started questioning laws against child pornography. The way the question was framed was that the person recognized that child porn was a crime, but had reservations for turning someone in out of spite and because it may not have been his concern; there were no reservations at all concerning the person being arrested for his hard drive full of child pornography, but in various posts this became the sole concern. Also, something I didn't realize until this morning, is that the child pornography was just hypothetical to begin with--unless the poster was just didn't want to come right out with the case being concrete.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Cutting out all of your emotionalism, you failed to meet the burden of proof. And it is your burden. You make the claim, you prove it. You won't trick me that easily.

Yup, you know what I do get emotional about absolute evil. Too bad more people don't.

What burden of proof. What do you want a victim statement from a raped child? Perhaps you want to talk to police and judges and lawyers and teachers and child welfare workers, psychiatrists... Maybe you'd have to meet someone who was victimized as a child and ask them what sort of damage having all those people look at them being abused means to their sense of life, their ability to behave as any human being has the right to.

What exactly would be good enough for you? Maybe if someone had raped you and taken pictures, perhaps maybe then you could make a valid claim that the existence of those pictures has no effect on you and your individual rights.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

What exactly would be good enough for you? Maybe if someone had raped you and taken pictures, perhaps maybe then you could make a valid claim that the existence of those pictures has no effect on you and your individual rights.

How about you meet the burden of proof? That you present a logical argument? That would be good enough for me.

I'll ask again:

How is someone who views CP depriving the child of it's right to life? What is he doing that deprives it?

Here is the definition from VoS:

the right to life means the right to engage in self-sustaining and self-generated action—which means: the freedom to take all the actions required by the nature of a rational being for the support, the furtherance, the fulfillment and the enjoyment of his own life.
Edited by Myself
Link to comment
Share on other sites

To the argument that the crime in Child Pornography is 'viewing it with intent to derive sexual satisfaction from it.'

Some people get sexual satisfaction when watching other people die, some get it from watching people do drugs, in fact some get it just from watching people do -anything-. Are we going to question every cop and criminal lawyer about their own personal intent when they watch a video of a crime happening? If they watch it with the intent of going home to masturbate about it, then obviously they are a criminal and should be put in jail and should get the DEATH PENALTY because there is no worse crime in the entire world than watching a video. <---hyperbole

A person's sexual desires are parallel to his thoughts, and having thoughts can never ever be a crime. It is possible to prove that possessing Child Pornography is a crime, however not through 'the person's intent when viewing it.' Neither is it going to be proven if your argument consists of attempts at guilt-throwing and emotionalism like 'Child Pornography is so amazingly absolutely evil that I don't even see how it's possible for anyone to -not- see how absolutely unquantifiably evil it is, and I'm frightened of you because you don't agree with me.'

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Possession of Child Porn is illegal, everywhere. Period. There is no justification that can be made for it.

Some here are rationalizing the irrational. A grown man or woman getting sexual gratification from children is a sexual perversion, and is not tolerated anywhere on the face of the planet.

Edited by Maximus
Link to comment
Share on other sites

How about you meet the burden of proof? That you present a logical argument? That would be good enough for me.

I'll ask again:

How is someone who views CP depriving the child of it's right to life? What is he doing that deprives it?

Here is the definition from VoS:

“Rights” are a moral concept—the concept that provides a logical transition from the principles guiding an individual’s actions to the principles guiding his relationship with others—the concept that preserves and protects individual morality in a social context—the link between the moral code of a man and the legal code of a society, between ethics and politics. Individual rights are the means of subordinating society to moral law.

Since Man has inalienable individual rights, this means that the same rights are held, individually, by every man, by all men, at all times. Therefore, the rights of one man cannot and must not violate the rights of another.

For instance: a man has the right to live, but he has no right to take the life of another. He has the right to be free, but no right to enslave another. He has the right to choose his own happiness, but no right to decide that his happiness lies in the misery (or murder or robbery or enslavement) of another. The very right upon which he acts defines the same right of another man, and serves as a guide to tell him what he may or may not do.

The end does not justify the means. No one’s rights can be secured by the violation of the rights of others.

But the "right" to view this porn is enabled by the violation of the right of the child to his/her own life.

Still don't see how this would be a violation of the victim's rights?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

This whole thing sounds fishy to me. By the way, unless the computer's hard drive is physically destroyed, there are ways to extract its contents.

Untrue.

Data on a disk is stored as pointers, it is all over the disk and not in fixed blocks. As you write and delete data, it gets a bit messy, with files spread all over the physical disk (hence the process of 'defragmenting')

When you hit the delete button, the disk doesn't actually seek out every byte of the file and scrub it off, it just removes the pointers to it - then goes over it when the physical space is needed.

But, there are lots of tools (called things like 'shredders') that will seek out all data in a file and wipe it clean, or will just fill the disk with random 0 and 1 bits, making it irrecoverable.

In short, it depends if he just deleted the files (then they are recoverable) or if he actually looked it up on google and used a better tool.

It still might be worth reporting.

As for the proper legality of child pornography: what if you were walking down the street, nobody else about, and you witnessed a child being raped. Of course, your looking wouldn't make the slightest difference - even if you took a photograph. But it would take someone truly deranged not to notify the police.

If a stranger on the street handed you a picture of himself raping a child: you would absolutely report him to the police.

The same goes for viewing child pornography online. You are aware that somebody has committed a crime, you have photographic evidence of this, and yet you don't notify the police.

Quite clearly it is not the case, when somebody has a 'hard drive full' of such data, that they keep stumbling upon it by chance and just dont want to tell the police. A dangerous mental disorder is likely the cause.

This brings up two questions which have probably been discussed here:

1. If one knows of a terrible crime, is he obligated to report it?

2. Should the dangerously mentally ill be separated, by force, from society?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

How about you meet the burden of proof? That you present a logical argument? That would be good enough for me.

I'll ask again:

How is someone who views CP depriving the child of it's right to life? What is he doing that deprives it?

Do you recognize that sexual molestation, etc.., is such a deprivation; do you recognize that someone watching a child get raped is an accomplice? If you do, you should recognize that buying or downloading a recording of such an act would be criminal. It would make one an accomplice to the activity by supporting the media, no matter how far separated or removed it was acquired, from its originators; and not the least of all, one would be receiving the services of a child raped--watching it through a video or in person makes no difference, except maybe some sort of twisted courage.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

1. If one knows of a terrible crime, is he obligated to report it?

2. Should the dangerously mentally ill be separated, by force, from society?

If you know of a rights violation, then yes, I would say that you are morally obligated to report it. Because protecting your own rights also involves protecting the rights of others to the degree that not reporting it would put you into a similar situation of having your rights violated. In other words, let's say you witness someone being shot in your neighborhood. If you don't report it, who knows if you will be next or not?

As to the second question, we are discussing that here. Our conclusion has basically been that it doesn't matter if someone is mentally disturbed or not, if they are violating rights, then they need to be handled by the government authorities. However, one cannot conclude that just because someone is mentally ill that he is a danger to others without specific evidence that he is dangerous to others. I would suggest reading the last page, and then you can read the rest of the thread if you like.

I think child pornography ought to be illegal since a child has not reached the age of consent of an adult, and therefore cannot give his consent to be so photographed and exploited (at least not without permission of his parents or legal guardians). If you witness a rape tape or a snuff tape or a child porn tape, in the very least you are a witness to that crime, and if you don't report it, you might be rightfully be considered a co-conspirator after the fact, which is also illegal.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
 Share

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...