I've been watching The Family on ABC. It's not a good show, but it highlights a figure who exists in our world that we tend to ignore in our fiction, a figure Dan Savage has called the gold-star pedophile. The gold-star pedophile wants to molest/have sex with children, but has the moral character to not act upon his impulses. Andrew McCarthy is excellent. He plays his pedophile as a lonely, emasculated middle-aged man with childlike qualities. He loves puppies and ships-in-a-bottle. He desires a certain kind of touch he will never know. He's wrongly convicted of kidnapping and raping a child and spends 10 years in prison. His exoneration is not enough for redemption, at least in the eyes of the virtuous society. He is still on the sex offender registry for a more minor crime, masturbating in a car while watching children play in the park. He didn't hurt any of the children, but the behavior was inappropriate and it betrayed his evil desires.
You can't control your sexual desires. I'm of the belief that sexual desires develop with a combination of nature and nurture. Gay-rights activists want to tell you differently, but their message is wrong. The question is not whether or not you are, as Lady Gaga says, "born this way." The question is whether or not the act is in and of itself wrong. Gay sex between consenting adults is not wrong. It is an intrinsic good.
I try to avoid universalizing statements. It's possible, I believe, for a pre-pubescent child to not suffer long-term psychological damage from molestation. But the probability of such psychological damage is high enough that I condemn the act.
I think that many people have had a passing desire for a pre-pubescent, maybe during the early stages of their own puberty. The vast majority of them will never admit to these desires. Surmise what you want from reading this post. If I ever had these desires myself, I'm smart enough not to admit it.
It's possible to be born a raging pedophile I suppose, and if so, puberty must really suck for people whose primary desire is for children. They know by that point that sex with children can have destructive consequences. And if their primary sexual urges are for inherently evil acts they must accept a life without experiencing a certain kind of touch.
Society's disgust for anyone who admits to these desires might be rooted in a hatred for the crime. Parents feel a particular rage and that's understandable. The disgust may also be rooted in an anger at ourselves for having these evil thoughts. All those cop shows about child molestation, rape, and murder...All those gangster flicks...Do people watch them because they identify with the police?