Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Who'll Protect Us from the Protectors?

Firedoglake's Christy Hardin Smith, who has been absolutely excellent about so many things, gets over emotional in this morning's post about, Brian Doyle, the Homeland Security executive arrested yesterday for allegedly cruising a (policeman posing as) pubescent girl in a chat-room.

Many things occur to me from and about this post. On the one hand, I do think that this administration, from the top down, has had an amazing predisposition to attract and select some of the most awful people on the planet and put them in positions of responsibility. That is quite possibly because the head man is not only not a regular guy, but is instead a sociopath, one of the most awful people on the planet, who has been totally corrupted by his consequence-free upbringing and the absolute power the credulous electorate has awarded him. The fish rots from the head, as Mr. Dukakis used to say.

I don't think it's making too much of it, or over-psychoanalyzing, to suggest some link between the infantilizing modes of the quintessentially patriachal "conservative" power structure and crimes like this. These guys think the world should take its marching orders from father-figures (or God-the-Father-figures and His fatherly vicars) and they get violently upset whenever anybody suugests that there should be any limits to their power over their wards, their "children"; so it should come as no surprise that some of these people will chose to exercise that power, a la Jim Jones, in a little droit du seigneur with the children. It is the ultimate ethical extension of the royalist world view.

All of this said, I think that discussions of pedophilia tend toward the hysterical, even among the otherwise reasonable people, very, very quickly. Christy's misguided appeal to auythority is an example: "I attended a prosecutor’s seminar on sexual predators when I was working, and was told that the average pedophile has hundreds (yes, hundreds) of victims over a lifetime. "

This claim about the "average" pedophile strikes me as very dubious indeed. I would really want to know what these numbers are based on. It reminds me of an "expert's" claim that 'the average drunk driver drives drunk between a hundred and a thousand times before being caught.' An average of between X and 10X? Hmmm. Remember, that experts in these enforcement efforts, like "drug experts," have every egotistical and professional incentive to inflate their claims, and none to soft-pedal them.

And just by the way, anybody who takes claims made at prosecutor's seminars as gospel should be sentenced to a careful re-reading of Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas.

Finally, what we've been told so far suggests that this guy had the odd wank with someone representing herself as girl. Christy seems to assume from this that Doyle has molested "hundred, yes hundreds" of actual children. Maybe for a new mother that is a sound, adaptive default stance. But for an officer of the court it's a bit much.


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