The First Daily Mark Foley Memorial Contest

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Reason Contributing Editor and Brickbat auteur Charles Oliver writes in with an email whose subject line reads, "In Honor of Mark Foley." Oliver directs us to the latest in a long line of Manichean dualisms, this one a (fully legal) photo quiz on the ripped-from-the-headlines topic of "Jailbait or Legal?"

Boasts, or perhaps more accurately, confesses, Oliver: "I got 9 out of 16 right." Sorry, Charlie, on this particular test, one wrong answer means you fail.

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  1. Christ, that link screams “NSFW”. So tempting… so tempting…

  2. Ouch. Fortunately most of my wrong guesses were that somebody was jailbait when they were legal. It’s best to just stay away when in doubt. I think the Olsen twins are legal now, albeit really creepy.

  3. Well, after that distressing exhibit (five of sixteen, dear heavens), I’d better ask for ID in the future…

  4. Good Christ.

    I, erm, got a few wrong. Realllll wrong…..

  5. If this is a Foley memorial, shouldn’t the pictures be of boys?

  6. 11 out of 16. But I didn’t find very many of them all that attractive anyway.

  7. 14/16!, whoo-hoo. The trick is that I went with the opposite of my instincts just about every time. And the photos of celebrities or with better production values were exclusively jailbait… you know, what the introduction to the quiz implied.

  8. But I didn’t find very many of them all that attractive anyway

    right. either you’re gay or into senior citizens.

  9. Sorry, Charlie, on this particular test, one wrong answer means you fail.

    Not necessarily, so long as you always errs on the side of caution, you can still get passing marks.

    FTR. 6/16 – Fortunately for my continued freedom to walk the streets of these here United States, 0/16 would give me the time of day.

  10. 6/16–keep in mind, that under 16 is real big time jailbait but the truth is that under 18 but over 16 can be jailbait too.

    In my day a barefoot 15 year old girl in your car was enough to get you in trouble. Didn’t always, but it could.

  11. I’d actually have to talk to those girls before drawing a judgement about whether they were mature adults or juvenile minors that no adult should consider screwing with.

    You know, like Mark Foley did with those pages, for hours upon hours, before he began sexual relationships with them.

  12. Congratulations, you’ve discovered that older adolescent can look like adults, and that young adults can look like older adolescents.

    It’s a good there are nothing besides looks involved in deciding whether it’s appropriate to try to seduce someone.

    If there’s grass on the field, right?

  13. What is joe crying about now?

  14. Joe, I didn’t get the impression that the purpose of this quiz was to give Foley a free pass. But I sincerely feel sorry for young 20-ish men trying to date somebody these days.

    Peachy, even if you ask for ID it won’t do you any good; a fifteen-year-old showing a fake ID saying she’s 18 can still get you arrested. Maybe you should buy one of those “mosquito” devices that make the high-pitched frequency adults can’t hear. Turn it on, and any potential date who says “Eeew, what’s that irritating sound?” should be strictly avoided.

  15. If there’s grass on the field, right?

    You see, this is a perfect example of why Americans need to play cricket. Rather than the above, clunking suggestion, you could have the far more eudite ‘if there’s grass on the wicket, then let’s play some cricket’.

    Superior in every way.

  16. As a former teenage girl myself, who is still resentful of being legally required to waste my youth dating only callow acne’d teenaged twits, I prefer the aphorism “If you’re old enough to itch, you’re old enough to scratch.”

  17. As a gay man, I can say that my greatest desire for this issue would be for Mark Foley to kill himself and for this sordid mess to go away.

    Right now, the Democrats are saying, “How could you let that disgusting gay predator be near those children? Don’t you know how dangerous that is?” Republicans, when not in full-on damage-control mode reply, “What took you so long to realize that gays are evil?”

    And every time Foley opens his mouth it makes things even worse. Today, it was the “I was molested” bit. Great! Now the message has become, “Molestation makes people gay, and then those gays will go on to molest kids and spread the disease of gayness (which, as we all now, leads to AIDS and death).”

    This whole thing is just bad, bad news. I hate it.

  18. Jennifer,

    If you don’t know someone well enough to figure out if they’ve gotten past Algebra I in school, you probably shouldn’t be dipping your wick.

    Ask for ID? Call me crazy, but the due diligence for letting somebody into your bed should probably go beyond that for letting someone into a dance club. If it isn’t, then yeah, you might end up sleeping with some early-budding kid who’s going to spill the beans to Mommy when she gets picked up at school the next day.

    The principle that you shouldn’t sleep with children, like the principle that the govenrment shouldn’t torture people, isn’t a bar that you should strive to just barely clear.

  19. Loundry,

    I have heard no Democrats say that Foley’s homosexuality should have been a tipoff. I’ve heard that a lot from outraged Republicans, but every Democrat I have heard or read commenting on the issue has identified the “overly-friendly” emails to the kid, not the man’s sexual orientation, as the warning that should have been heeded.

  20. If you don’t know someone well enough to figure out if they’ve gotten past Algebra I in school, you probably shouldn’t be dipping your wick.

    True. And yet . . . having sex with someone you don’t know very well isn’t the smartest thing to do, but should it be illegal?

    I’m guessing the statute of limitations has long since passed in regards to the dressing on my salad days, but let’s say it hasn’t. How would I, or society as a whole, be better off if the cops arrested certain people who were in their early 20s when they dated my high-school-aged self?

  21. The principle that you shouldn’t sleep with children, like the principle that the govenrment shouldn’t torture people, isn’t a bar that you should strive to just barely clear.

    Forgot to mention: I am not advocating that anyone sleep with “children,” but that’s different from “people who are biologically adults, though not legally so.” Consensual sex with a sixteen-year-old is worlds apart from sex with a pre-pubescent.

  22. Mark VIII:

    that’s just to lead inevitably to comments about “sticky wickets”, and nobody wants that.

    or do we? wait a minute…

  23. MNG,

    It probably is not safe for work (even though the pictures aren’t offensive). My work filter caught it…guess I’ll have to take the quiz later.

  24. By the way: none of the threads about halfway down the current page to the bottom of the current page are capable of accepting comments. They all give the error: 404 not found when I try to post on them.

  25. My work filter caught it…guess I’ll have to take the quiz later.

    Oh yeah, sure you will Smacky. Do the quiz at home, so you can give it the attention it deserves…

    Goddammit! It’s perverts like you, walking the streets that CORRUPT innocent young life. If I had my way, I’d cut your testes off and feed them to my goldfish.

    NO ONE SHOULD BE ALLOWED TO HAVE SEX WITH ANY FEMALE UNDER THE AGE OF 21.

  26. Oh lighten up, people, it’s just a humourous expression – I’m years past the point where I would be taking a crack at the possibly questionable, and even in my salad days I would have performed more due diligence than that. (Although I’m with Jennifer four-square on this – if a sixteen-year old wants to get screwed, that’s none of the government’s damned business.)

  27. Jennifer,

    “And yet . . . having sex with someone you don’t know very well isn’t the smartest thing to do, but should it be illegal?”

    No, absolutely not. But it’s a dangerous act, with lots of potential consequences. If one of the problems pops up, you bear the responsibility.

    “How would I, or society as a whole, be better off if the cops arrested certain people who were in their early 20s when they dated my high-school-aged self?”

    I doubt anyone would be better off. Personally, I like sliding-scale laws. It’s silly to pretend that a 20 year old sleeping with a 16 year old is the equivalent of a 50 year old doing so.

    “Consensual sex with a sixteen-year-old is worlds apart from sex with a pre-pubescent.” If you’re 50, it’s also worlds apart from sleeping with a 21 year old.

    I’ll agree with this, though – we’re talking about a grey area. Your typical older adolescent (adolscence staring around 11 by most definitions) is not a little kid, but isn’t a young adult, either. And it gets even more complicated, because there can be widely varying levels of emotional maturity among teens of the same age.

    And yet, it is clearly exploitive for a 40 year old to use candy and liquor to seduce a 14 year old, even if the 14 year old is horny. Any line that is drawn is going to necessarily be artitrary; that’s why you stay the hell away from the line.

  28. To answer my own question: if I discovered some guy was arrested and imprisoned for having dated me when I was younger, my own life would be ruined, because the guilt of knowing I played a role in the destruction of someone else’s life would absolutely shred me inside.

    Please don’t make any condescending remarks about how my former boyfriends actually did me great harm but I was (and apparently still am) just too clueless to understand this.

  29. To answer my own question: if I discovered some guy was arrested and imprisoned for having dated me when I was younger, my own life would be ruined, because the guilt of knowing I played a role in the destruction of someone else’s life would absolutely shred me inside.

    Please don’t make any condescending remarks about how my former boyfriends actually did me great harm but I was (and apparently still am) just too clueless to understand this.

    But it’s a dangerous act, with lots of potential consequences. If one of the problems pops up, you bear the responsibility.

    Uh-huh. Just like smoking marijuana has lots of potential consequences–namely, the government has decreed that’s grounds to be locked up. That’s not a natural consequence, but a government-invented one. Likewise, until rather recently there were consequences for adult homosexual activities in Texas. Do you think the gay men who were arrested for having sex with their lovers should have simply borne the responsibility?

    “Consensual sex with a sixteen-year-old is worlds apart from sex with a pre-pubescent.” If you’re 50, it’s also worlds apart from sleeping with a 21 year old.

    Anna Nicole Smith’s ancient ex-husband should have died in prison rather than in his bed, I take it.

    So long as both people are consenting, I don’t see how it’s any of the government’s damned business who has sex with whom. And what laws there are should be based on actual harm, not the principle of “Eeeew! Gross!”

  30. “Please don’t make any condescending remarks about how my former boyfriends actually did me great harm but I was (and apparently still am) just too clueless to understand this.”

    It ain’t me, babe. I hope it’s not too much of a shock to discover that one can be neither a complete libertine, nor support the imprisonment of 21 year olds who have 16 year old girlfriends.

  31. Shit. I wish I had a sixteen year old girlfriend. It would. Kick. Ass.

  32. Speaking of sex, maybe the server squirrels would do a better job if they got laid once in awhile.

  33. “So long as both people are consenting, ”

    And there is the nub…
    When is a child capable of consent?
    It is not a drop dead date, and depends on their relationship with the adult involved.

    A 16 year old sleeping with an 18 year old they’ve been dating for two years(probably both are equally able to consent)

    A 16 year old and a 50 year old in a position of power (boss, teacher, cop), probably no way to determine that the child consented.

    Lots of grey area in between.

  34. Loundry,

    The most disgusting thing I have heard about Foley is from Andrew Sullivan who claims that Foley was out hitting on teenagers because he was in the closet. Apparently, in Sullivan world being in the closet makes you a pervert and stalker.

    Joe,

    If you have ever worked or been around the House, you would know it is a small place. I find it difficult to believe that all the pages knew Foley liked teenage boys but no one on the other side of the isle knew anything. Yeah right. The Democrats knew about it just like the Republicans did. They just didn’t do anything about it because that is what Congress does, cover up for each other. This whole “what did Hassert know and when did he know it” speal is going to look pretty stupid when it turns out the entire House knew the guy was a pervert.

  35. Speaking of sex, maybe the server squirrels would do a better job if they got laid once in awhile. Poor horny distracted little rodents.

    A 16 year old and a 50 year old in a position of power (boss, teacher, cop), probably no way to determine that the child consented.

    True, but I don’t like the idea of government taking responsibility for making sure people are shielded from bad relationships. Fire this hypothetical teacher, but don’t put him in jail.

    As for Foley, my problem isn’t with what he did, but the fact that he did it after pushing for laws to make his very actions illegal. So I hope the hypocritical sonofabitch gets the maximum prison time the law he helped create allows for.

    Real prison, not the country-club tennis camp reserved for politicians and rich people. You know, the kind of prison where people deemed “pedophiles” according to Foley’s laws have an extra-rough time of it.

  36. John,

    I normally wouldn’t say anything of this sort, since you, unlike another poster here, rarely misspell words, but your affinity for a particular phrase to describe the different political parties in Congress is bugging me, because you’ve repeatedly used it and misspelled it every time I’ve seen you use it.

    “the other side of the isle”

    the other side of the island?

    the word you’re looking for is “aisle”

  37. I realized about halfway through the little test that the easiest way to tell jailbait from legal was to determine which photo was produced as part of a Russian porn shoot (legal) and which photo was produced as part of a Hollywood publicity package (jailbait). Funny that.

    As a fellow poof, I second Loundry’s comments. The Dems will gladly sacrifice their gay brethren in an effort to recapture the House and potentially the Senate. The Repubs will gladly sacrifice the Gays for mere sport.

    I am not sure I completely agree with Sullivan’s comments in re a life in the closet leading to questionable and cringe-worthy IMs. However I will state that the best cure for gay-baiting is for all of the closet-cases to f’ing come out already.

  38. John,

    1. “Everyone knows” is a different level of knowledge than having printouts of those “overly friendly” emails. A few Republicans knew about them, and they actively kept any Democrats from findng out.

    2. Reponsibility for how the Page program is run is through the Speaker.

    3. Yeah, both grabass and covering up for each other are endemic on Capitol Hill. Hopefully, one good thing about the fierce partisanship of the last few years is that scumbags will have only half their colleagues covering up for them, and have to worry about the other half ratting them out.

  39. You know, like Mark Foley did with those pages, for hours upon hours, before he began sexual relationships with them.

    Emails and text messaging are now considered “sexual relationships”, Joe?

  40. $5 says that if Foley were a Democrat, joe would be going on about how it wasn’t a relationship, it was just e-mails.

    And probably claiming that poor ole Foley is the inevitable result of societal pressure whom we should excuse instead of oppressing him and what was undoubtedly a “beautiful love story” between the page and the congressman.

    I’m not sure which is more disgusting… Foley’s actions, which though wrong and disgusting, can only have really hurt the page and himself or the crazy reactions of those who honestly don’t see the double standards in their own behavior.

    Most humorous is the “sex is like torture” routine joe cites above in his BS “bright line” argument. He goes dead silent as soon as he gets hit with a reasonable analogy by jennifer:

    “namely, the government has decreed that’s grounds to be locked up. That’s not a natural consequence, but a government-invented one. Likewise, until rather recently there were consequences for adult homosexual activities in Texas.”

    “Do you think the gay men who were arrested for having sex with their lovers should have simply borne the responsibility?”

    Can’t wait for joe to answer THAT one…

  41. That should have read

    I’m not sure which is more disgusting… Foley’s actions, which though wrong and disgusting, can only have really hurt the page and himself or the crazy reactions of those who honestly don’t see the double standards in their own behavior and how it enables the whole sick routine to run like a Timex wristwatch… It just keeps on ticking, going round and round.

  42. I say, just turn the page and go onto the next story.

  43. Jennifer and Joe: I think I’m with Jennifer on this one. If a 16 year old is old enough to consent to sex with a 21 year old, it is going to take some pretty compelling evidence to convince me that they are not old enough to consent to sex with a 40 year old, particularly if the consequence for the 40 year old is going to be jail time. Joe, by your logic, a 90 year old would presumably be less threatening and potentially manipulative than someone who is 40, so shouldn’t the geezer get a free pass under your rationale? Would it make a difference if the geezer was worth $100 million, or penniless?

    The real problem is that we have legally disconnected the age of consent for sex (largely determined by state law) from the age of consent for communicating about sex. So, in many states the 40 year old can have sex with a consenting 16 year old, but if he videotapes the event he can go to jail for a very long time. I suspect we got to this point because the anti-porn crusaders had difficulty getting laws passed restricting porn altogether, but it was politically easy to pass legislation “to protect children”. The situation at this point is nothing short of bizarre.

  44. Emails and text messaging are now considered “sexual relationships”, Joe?

    I thought one of the conversations mentioned getting together at Foley’s place for drinking and hanging out. Doesn’t that then leave the possibility open that there may have been more than just some dirty IMs going on between him and (at least one of) the teens?

  45. ed,

    “Emails and text messaging are now considered “sexual relationships”, Joe?”

    Tell your girlfriend that you’ve been spanking it while sending IMs and photos back and forth with another girl as she strokes it. Let us know how the conversation goes.

    rob,

    “…if Foley were a Democrat…”

    ZZZZzzzzzzz……… You know what? You forgot to mention Bill Clinton. BTW, you really don’t know if a 54-year-old man seducing a minor under his authority is more disgusting than public disapproval of that 54 year old? Really? Why don’t I believe you?

    Ron, “Joe, by your logic, a 90 year old would presumably be less threatening and potentially manipulative than someone who is 40…” Why would you presume that? I don’t get it. “Would it make a difference if the geezer was worth $100 million, or penniless?” No, it wouldn’t. I’m not sure I understand your point here, either.

  46. ed,

    “Emails and text messaging are now considered “sexual relationships”, Joe?”

    Tell your girlfriend that you’ve been spanking it while sending IMs and photos back and forth with another girl as she strokes it. Let us know how the conversation goes.

    rob,

    “…if Foley were a Democrat…”

    ZZZZzzzzzzz……… You know what? You forgot to mention Bill Clinton. BTW, you really don’t know if a 54-year-old man seducing a minor under his authority is more disgusting than public disapproval of that 54 year old? Really? Why don’t I believe you?

    Ron, “Joe, by your logic, a 90 year old would presumably be less threatening and potentially manipulative than someone who is 40…” Why would you presume that? I don’t get it. “Would it make a difference if the geezer was worth $100 million, or penniless?” No, it wouldn’t. I’m not sure I understand your point here, either.

  47. rob, Jennifer,

    “Do you think the gay men who were arrested for having sex with their lovers should have simply borne the responsibility?” T

    he “consequences” I alluded to were getting busted by the girl’s parents. I didn’t mention legal sanctions.

    Getting busted by a teenaged girl’s parents for boinking her is pretty bad, even if you’re another teenager. If you’re a 54 year old man, I imagine you’re well into fired from your job, disgraced among your neighbors, and possibly buckshot in your ass territory. At a minimum, you’re likely to end up with a schoolgirl writing her first name and your last with little heartsies in her notebook, and some really unpleasant conversations. This is all

    Sorry I didn’t see your second iteration of the post, Jennifer. rob, I hope my answer lives up to your eager anticipation.

  48. rob, Jennifer,

    “Do you think the gay men who were arrested for having sex with their lovers should have simply borne the responsibility?” T

    he “consequences” I alluded to were getting busted by the girl’s parents. I didn’t mention legal sanctions.

    Getting busted by a teenaged girl’s parents for boinking her is pretty bad, even if you’re another teenager. If you’re a 54 year old man, I imagine you’re well into fired from your job, disgraced among your neighbors, and possibly buckshot in your ass territory. At a minimum, you’re likely to end up with a schoolgirl writing her first name and your last with little heartsies in her notebook, and some really unpleasant conversations. This is all beyond any legal sanctions.

    Sorry I didn’t see your second iteration of the post, Jennifer. rob, I hope my answer lives up to your eager anticipation.

  49. Joe: You are arguing for a line based upon the age of the older party to the tryst. I perhaps mistakenly assumed that you were justifying that approach on the ground that the older a person is, the greater their presumed power over the younger party and the greater the need for society to protect them. If that is not your rationale, perhaps you can clarify it for me.

  50. he “consequences” I alluded to were getting busted by the girl’s parents. I didn’t mention legal sanctions.

    In earlier posts on this thread you talked about laws, and why sex between THESE two people should be legal while sex between THOSE two people should not, and now you’re saying that getting busted by the girl’s parents is the actual consequence you were talking about? Well, then, all the more reason for young girls to date older men who are more likely to have their own apartments.

  51. Ron,

    I am basing my position on the belief that the advantages an adult has over a minor in experience, authority, legal status, and other areas make it difficult, if not impossible, for a child to give genuine consent to sex. I’m just not sure where your 90-year-old example is coming from, or why the money would make a difference.

    BTW, I am also not arguing for a hard line, but a floating one, based on the ages of the people involved.

    Jennifer,

    I argued that the laws should be based on the morality and consequences of such trysts. You’ve got it backwards in assuming that the consequences are based on the laws.

    I don’t think bribery is wrong because there’s a law against it; I think there should be a law against it because it’s wrong. Same thing with diddling schoolboys.

  52. Jennifer,

    You asked earlier why it should be illegal to do something that did no harm to you. Are you familiar at all with Conflict of Interest laws? “No harm done” is a not a defense when someone on the Planning Board acts as the attorney for someone appearing before the Planning Board. It doesn’t matter how great the project turns out.

  53. All parties involved are supposed to be interested in a sexual relationship.

  54. Are you familiar at all with Conflict of Interest laws? “No harm done” is a not a defense when someone on the Planning Board acts as the attorney for someone appearing before the Planning Board. It doesn’t matter how great the project turns out.

    What does this have to do with whether or not teenagers and adults should be legally allowed to have sex with each other? I’ve said earlier that a teacher who has consensual sex with a student should be fired (though not arrested), and I’d say a guy should recuse himself from the zoning board if he’s having sex with someone about to apply for a variance. Otherwise, what’s the connection?

    I argued that the laws should be based on the morality and consequences of such trysts. You’ve got it backwards in assuming that the consequences are based on the laws.

    Really? Since I didn’t call the law on my former boyfriends, what consequences did they suffer, do you think? What were the moral implications of my earlier relationships?

    And I hope you’re not seriously arguing that something as vague as “morality” (beyond ‘do no harm’) should be the basis of law. “Morality” is why homosexuality was illegal, losing virginity before marriage was illegal, refusing to go to church was illegal . . . the Republicans love using “morality” as an excuse to outlaw sex they find icky, and also use “morality” as an excuse to deny gay couples full rights. I hope you’re not going to follow in their bigoted, prudish footsteps.

    I am basing my position on the belief that the advantages an adult has over a minor in experience, authority, legal status, and other areas make it difficult, if not impossible, for a child to give genuine consent to sex.

    If you’re using “minor” and “child” to mean “sexually mature under-18 teenager,” then you could use this argument to outlaw a lot of adult relationships as well. Should Gene Simmons be arrested for sleeping with thousands of adult bimbo groupies who were impressed by his rock-god status but would never have looked twice at Gene Simmons, IT guy?

    I grew up near a Navy fighter base, and for a good 10 years after the movie ‘Top Gun’ any guy in a Navy flight suit, even an ugly guy, found it very easy to find 18- and 19-year-olds who wanted to sleep with him solely because he was a fighter pilot. Should it be illegal for Navy pilots to take advantage of their status to find sex partners?

    And how does an adult’s “legal status” give him an advantage over a minor? “Hey, baby, if I commit murder at my age I could face the death penalty. If the government implements the draft I’m old enough to be called up. I can legally enter into a contract. Doesn’t that make you want to fuck me?”

  55. joe – Jennifer’s got you nailed to the wall on this one.

    You want a Clinton reference? How about the sexual harassment charges that you give him a pass on? Or was he not actually Monica Lewinsky’s boss at that time?

    How about Paula Jones?

    Maybe in the first case, your argument that “no harm done” is looking a bit more attractive now… But in the latter case? Yeah, damage was done and recompense was paid.

    Ah, when the shoe is on the other foot… It still stinks.

  56. Should Gene Simmons be arrested for sleeping with thousands of adult bimbo groupies who were impressed by his rock-god status but would never have looked twice at Gene Simmons, IT guy?

    I still have trouble believing that any woman slept with him. Ever. I mean, George Clooney…yarrgh, he’s unattractive. But Gene Simmons? He is Ugg-leee.

  57. Jennifer,

    “What does this have to do with whether or not teenagers and adults should be legally allowed to have sex with each other?” In both cases, there is too-great a potential for the abuse of power. You don’t look at buddy-buddy deals going on at the Planning Board and try to pick and choose which ones are likely to turn out well and which ones aren’t. What I’m saying is, adults should recuse themselves from scamming on children – even the physically attractive, almost-adult ones.

    I can’t speak to the consequences of your earlier relationships. Nor am I going repeat myself about the dangerous dynamic, and the seriousness of the potential for harm.

    “And I hope you’re not seriously arguing that something as vague as “morality” (beyond ‘do no harm’) should be the basis of law.” Don’t worry, I’m not. It’s all about the harm, and the danger of harm, to me.

    “If you’re using “minor” and “child” to mean “sexually mature under-18 teenager,” then you could use this argument to outlaw a lot of adult relationships as well.” True, but our system of governance recognizes a presumption of liberty – the right to act against your best interest – for adults that is not fully extended to minors.

    “And how does an adult’s “legal status” give him an advantage over a minor?” He can buy beer, enter into certain contracts, and generally has greater freedom than his teenie girlfriend. Geez, this is classic libertoid stuff, Jennifer! The government’s interference has created perverse incentives for young girls to date adult men – whatsamatter with you? If you don’t write, “Then the answer can’t possibly be more government interference” without presenting a case on the merits, and then assume that you have just won the argument, I will be VERY disappointed in you. 😉

  58. rob,

    ZZZZZzzzzz..gzzt….humph..huh? Did you say something? Mmmmmm….zzzzzzzzz……

    Jennifer,

    Having tits and being horny doesn’t make you sexually mature.

  59. Why doesn’t the vamp temptress jailbait bitch go to jail?

    She knew exactly what she was doing!!!

  60. What I’m saying is, adults should recuse themselves from scamming on children – even the physically attractive, almost-adult ones.

    And you assume that any sexual activity must be “scamming?” I think you’re saying more about yourself here than you intended. I also admire the way you keep using the word “children” here, in hopes of blurring the lines and making people think we’re talking about John Karr’s dreams of JonBenet.

    “And how does an adult’s “legal status” give him an advantage over a minor?” He can buy beer, enter into certain contracts, and generally has greater freedom than his teenie girlfriend.

    So if the ability to buy beer is what concerns you, then it should be illegal for a guy who’s 21 to date a woman who’s 20, right? He can buy beer and she can’t. That might entice her to enter into a relationship with him. And what contracts can he enter into that will make a teenager get all hot and bothered? “Oooh, honey, when you signed that car-rental agreement you looked so hot I had to change my underwear.”

    “And I hope you’re not seriously arguing that something as vague as “morality” (beyond ‘do no harm’) should be the basis of law.” Don’t worry, I’m not. It’s all about the harm, and the danger of harm, to me.

    Outside of legal consequences, which you’ve already said were not the issue here, what harm are you afraid of?

    “What does this have to do with whether or not teenagers and adults should be legally allowed to have sex with each other?” In both cases, there is too-great a potential for the abuse of power.

    Which is certainly justification for disallowing teachers from having sex with their students, but what power does the average adult have over the average teen? There are some teenagers living in my building–what actual power do I have over them?

    Having tits and being horny doesn’t make you sexually mature.

    What does?

  61. joe – Yeah, I kinda figured you’d have nothing to say on the subject. Your inability to recognize faults among your ideological counterparts is just sad. When coupled with a rabid desire to point out the faults among those who don’t share your ideology is hypocrisy.

    “The government’s interference has created perverse incentives for young girls to date adult men – whatsamatter with you?” – joe

    Dude, you’ve been posting on this site for YEARS and you still have a fundamental lack of undersanding regarding the basic libertarian approach. You should realize that the libertarian argument is NOT “two gov’t wrongs can make everything all right.” Just because the gov’t has set up a punishment system for a given behavior that often causes harm where no other harm exists doesn’t mean you need MORE gov’t intervention but less.

    Unless you’re being purposefully thick-headed, which I certainly wouldn’t consider you to be above…

  62. joe – Yeah, I kinda figured you’d have nothing to say on the subject. Your inability to recognize faults among your ideological counterparts is just sad. When coupled with a rabid desire to point out the faults among those who don’t share your ideology is hypocrisy.

    “The government’s interference has created perverse incentives for young girls to date adult men – whatsamatter with you?” – joe

    Dude, you’ve been posting on this site for YEARS and you still have a fundamental lack of undersanding regarding the basic libertarian approach. You should realize that the libertarian argument is NOT “two gov’t wrongs can make everything all right.” Just because the gov’t has set up a punishment system for a given behavior that often causes harm where no other harm exists doesn’t mean you need MORE gov’t intervention but less.

    Unless you’re being purposefully thick-headed, which I certainly wouldn’t consider you to be above when it suits you…

  63. jennifer – It seems that while most of us think an action is right or wrong based on the act being committed by a person, joe thinks it is right or wrong depending on the ideology of the person committing the act.

    For a guy who is so concerned with the possibility that a 21-yr-old might use their legal status as an adult to entice a 17-yr-old into S-E-X, he has absolutely no problem pretending that there is nothing wrong with the behavior of the last Democrat to sit in the Oval Office.

    See also, hypocrisy.

    “Hypocrisy is the act of pretending or claiming to have beliefs, feelings, morals or virtues that one does not truly possess or practise … this form of behaviour is closely related to the fundamental attribution error, a well-studied phenomenon of human psychology: individuals are more likely to explain their own actions by their environment, yet they attribute the actions of others to ‘innate characteristics’, thus leading towards judging others while justifying ones’ own actions.”

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hypocrisy

  64. I amight have missed it earlier but I’d guess “joe” has a daughter or a younger sister.

    If we had sex planners who could scientifically evaluate sexual maturity then we could issue sex licenses and the whole problem would be solved.

    Except for unhappy relationships.

    We’ll have to have relationship planners to determine relationship compatibility and issue relationship licenses.

    Violators of said licenses will be punished in accordance with applicable law.

    There is no problem that planners, empowered by law, cannot solve.

  65. Jennifer,

    “And you assume that any sexual activity must be “scamming?”” No, just that between a minor and an adult who is significantly older. I thought that was pretty clear from what I wrote.

    “I also admire the way you keep using the word “children” here, in hopes of blurring the lines and making people think we’re talking about John Karr’s dreams of JonBenet.” I’ve stated that I think there should be a sliding scale – that a 21 year old with a 16 year old girlfriend should not be prosecuted. Do you really think I would say the same about an 8 year old? Kids in high school are still kids – horny kids, but still kids.

    “So if the ability to buy beer is what concerns you, then it should be illegal for a guy who’s 21 to date a woman who’s 20, right?” It’s the whole package of advantages that an adult has over a kid that matters here. If you pluck any one advantage out of the context, you can minimize it, but that’s not how it actually works in the real world – they go together, so they need to be thought of together. That was a cute paragraph you wrote, and any time you want to raise the issue of wet panties with me it’s fine, but it’s really not an honest way to approach the issue.

    “Outside of legal consequences, which you’ve already said were not the issue here, what harm are you afraid of?” STDs. Family problems. Pregnancy. Broken homes. Broken hearts. The whole gamut of complications that come from sexual relationships, that people should make a clear-eyed decision to chance, without undue pressure or manipulation put on them. A grown adult simply has too much power to pressure and manipulate a juvenile. And then there’s the whole Amy Fisher thing.

    “There are some teenagers living in my building–what actual power do I have over them?” You’re smarter, more knowledgeable, more experienced (especially at relationships), and can avail yourself of more resources to get what you want.

    “What does?” Having enough maturity and experience in life and love to make informed decisions about the consequences of becoming sexually involved.

  66. joe’s definition of the downside of sex:
    “STDs. Family problems. Pregnancy. Broken homes. Broken hearts.”

    joe’s solution to the downside of sex:
    “Having enough maturity and experience in life and love to make informed decisions about the consequences of becoming sexually involved.”

    Now, how do people gain maturity and experience? By making mistakes and learning from them. Bit of a “catch-22” wouldn’t you say?

    Leaving aside the reality that – given the divorce rate – most adults are prone to joe’s laundry list of “STDs. Family problems. Pregnancy. Broken homes. Broken hearts” it seems that perhaps adults can’t be entrusted with the decision to have sex either.

    Of course, this is central to joe’s world view, in which only “experts” – sometimes referred to as “planners,” – should make such potentially devastating decisions.

    The award for best summation of joe’s worlview goes to Apostate Jew: “There is no problem that planners, empowered by law, cannot solve.”

  67. “There are some teenagers living in my building–what actual power do I have over them?” You’re smarter, more knowledgeable, more experienced (especially at relationships), and can avail yourself of more resources to get what you want.

    That is not the same thing as having actual “power” over them. By your standard, you could say any poster here above the age of 50 has “power” over the young’uns like Timothy or Smacky.

    On the other hand, if a teenager has a big trust fund, wouldn’t that mean he has more power than me? He can avail himself of more resources to get what he wants, after all. If we ever had sex, HE’S the one who should go to prison for taking advantage of me, the bastard.

    “What does?” Having enough maturity and experience in life and love to make informed decisions about the consequences of becoming sexually involved.

    So it should be illegal for any man to sleep with any woman who is a groupie, because such women aren’t making mature, informed judgments when they decide to sleep with some ugly sweaty guy solely because he’s a rich, famous musician. And the women who used to hang around the Navy base hoping to snag themselves an aviator–immature, Sad. Clueless about life and love. Hands off.

    Also, fucking Paris Hilton should be a punishable offense, if the woman’s emotional maturity is the indicator. I’m not going to make a joke about the Catch-22 you’re positing here: a person can’t have experience in life and love until she’s experienced in life and love.

    “Outside of legal consequences, which you’ve already said were not the issue here, what harm are you afraid of?” STDs. Family problems. Pregnancy. Broken homes. Broken hearts. The whole gamut of complications that come from sexual relationships, that people should make a clear-eyed decision to chance, without undue pressure or manipulation put on them.

    Those consequences can happen at any age. But as far as pregnancy and STDs are concerned, a young girl is actually better off with an older, more experienced man–in my high school there were guys so dumb they actually thought a girl couldn’t get pregnant her first time, and one guy (allegedly) who thought wrapping his dick in Saran Wrap was just as good as a condom. The more knowledgeable one’s partner is, the less likely an inexperienced person will get into trouble.

    By your standards, it should be illegal for teenage guys who are socially prominent at their schools–football-team captains, for example–to have sex with the dorky girls. Uneven power. He’s taking advantage of her. He can use his status to manipulate her. Yadda yadda yadda.

    And where the hell is it the government’s business to prevent people from suffering romantic anguish? Furthermore, why assume that “manipulation” is always at work here? You’re operating on the default assumption that whenever a pre-18 person has sex with a person above the age of 21 (or whatever) it simply MUST be a traumatic catastrophe. No. It can actually be a lot of fun, and a wonderful growing experience. I know this firsthand.

    Kids in high school are still kids – horny kids, but still kids.

    Thanks to laws implemented by well-meaning guys like you, who think 16 and 17-year-olds should be shielded as much as possible until they’re flung into the world at age 18 with maturity, wisdom and experience sprouting into existence the second they hit midnight on their birthday.

  68. AJ,

    “If we had sex planners who could scientifically evaluate sexual maturity then we could issue sex licenses and the whole problem would be solved.”

    But since we don’t – since such a thing is impossible (scientific evaluations of maturity?) – we are left with three choices:

    Open season on the young’uns, so that no healthy relationship between people of different ages is ever interfered with, at the risk of pervs getting away with all exploiting kids; or

    Complete bans on any sexual or romantic contact with someone under some age, so that no exploitation ever occurs, at the risk of some perfectly healthy relationships being interfered with; or

    Something in the middle that curbs the worst of the abuses, without being so intrusive that it interferes with perfectly harmless relationships, at the risk of having some of the problems from choice 1, and some of the problems from choice 2.

    Are you really willing to make it legal for a 50 year old man to seduce a 12 year old? If not, we’re just haggling over the price.

  69. Whoops. I posted before I saw what Rob wrote. I see he noticed the Catch-22 as well.

  70. Whoops. I posted before I saw what Rob wrote. I see he noticed the Catch-22 as well.

  71. Jennifer – You are killing me. KILLING me! Every time I post you come along and make similar points – but better. I’d complain about being shown up, but it’s just so pretty that I can’t.

    I suppose my real complaint with all of this is that I’d have been seriously pissed if joe had “saved” me from the college-age girls I dated when I was 17. Because in his definition they were “taking advantage of me.”
    (Disclosure: I honestly thought being sent to the local college for “Post Secondary Enrollment Option” in my junior year was more accurately defined as “the closest I’m getting to Heaven as a teenager.”)

  72. “Are you really willing to make it legal for a 50 year old man to seduce a 12 year old? If not, we’re just haggling over the price.” – joe

    Hardly. But that IS a common argument among people who think there’s nothing wrong with that sort of thing. So, joe, who’s side are you really on here?

    Seriously, no one is advocating “open season on 12-yr-olds.” But an obviously consensual relationship between a 16 or 17 year old and an “adult” is different. I started at 15, and tho I wouldn’t want my son or daughter to (ever, perhaps!) I suspect that they will someday have sex. Sooner rather than later, assuming the apple doesn’t fall too far from the tree. My only hope is that they use adequate protection to prevent STD’s and pregnancy.

    All of the other so-called downside of sex you list are really possible downsides to marriage. A broken heart is probably unavoidable no matter what, but if you outlaw marriage you could avoid “Family problems. Broken homes.”

    joe: If only the 5-year planners would get behind this Revolutionary Plan!

    me: I’ve created a monster.

  73. Jennifer,

    “That is not the same thing as having actual “power” over them.” Nope, not going to get into the “nothing except a gun to your head is power” argument. Sorry, I’ll pass.

    “By your standard, you could say any poster here above the age of 50 has “power” over the young’uns like Timothy or Smacky.”

    “On the other hand, if a teenager has a big trust fund…” See above comments about plucking examples vs. real world.

    “So it should be illegal for any man to sleep with any woman who is a groupie, because such women aren’t making mature, informed judgments when they decide to sleep with some ugly sweaty guy solely because he’s a rich, famous musician.” Nope. Adults are entitled to the presumption of liberty, and soundness of mind when making bad decisions – in other words, of giving meaningful consent. We’re talking about minors, who are not.

    “Those consequences can happen at any age.” Yes, but as I said before, adults are presumed to be able to make decisions about doing hazardous things in a way that minors are not.

    “By your standards, it should be illegal for teenage guys who are socially prominent at their schools–football-team captains, for example–to have sex with the dorky girls. Uneven power. He’s taking advantage of her. He can use his status to manipulate her.” These imbalances in power are not remotely comparable to what an older adult can bring to bear on a younger teen. This both mitigates the potential for real harm, and also the culpability of the seducer (who is another juvenile) for the same reason that the ability of a juvenile to consent is reduced. (You might have guessed, I’m also not big on charging 15 year olds as adults).

    “You’re operating on the default assumption that whenever a pre-18 person has sex with a person above the age of 21 (or whatever) it simply MUST be a traumatic catastrophe.”

    No, not at all. This is where my Conflict of Interest comparison comes in. There can most definitely be quality projects built when the Planning Board members have familial and business relationships with the applicants, or financial interests in the project. These laws don’t try to micromanage what’s a good buddy-buddy project and what’s a bad one. They create a margin of safety around what everyone realizes has the potential to be a bad scene. The reason the government can interfere with a juvenile’s freedom of choice like that is because they are juveniles, and their freedom of action can be more readilty infringed upon.

    “Thanks to laws implemented by well-meaning guys like you…” Yes, Jennifer, before I came along, 16 year old boys and girls were renowed for their wisdom and judgement.

    This conversation started out well, but it’s clear that you’ve got your back up, and that you’re bringing a certain defensiveness into the conversation, in order to defend the legitimacy of your experience. Where you once made solid arguments, you’re declining into empty sarcasm, semantic arguments, decontextual redectio ad absurdems, solipsisms, and a healthy dose of How DARE you?” If this trend continues, I’m going to get bored, and stop reading your comments entirely, as I’ve done with rob.

  74. Are you really willing to make it legal for a 50 year old man to seduce a 12 year old? If not, we’re just haggling over the price.

    Of course, keep in mind that if you’re not willing to make it illegal for a 22-year-old to seduce a 20-year-old or an 18-year-old (depending on whether you like 21 or 18 as the age of majority), you’re also haggling.

    There has to be some line-drawing, but “sliding scales” that would allow one adult to have sex with somebody – but would make a felon of an older adult for doing the same thing with the same person – is a step in the wrong direction.

  75. Sorry, that should read “but setting up sliding scales that would…”

  76. If you’re gonna regulate people’s behavior, I say you go all the way …

    Sex and relationship licenses (I think some religions had and some still have analogs of such licenses) are the way to go. At least as long as the shiksa (a totally reighteous Gentile!) and I are issued them retroactively.

  77. I meant to say: “20-year-old or an 17-year-old”. One of those days.

  78. Eric the .5b,

    I’m totally haggling. I think our options in this area run the gamut from completely horrible (no legal recourse when Congressman Foley diddles your son) to just barely good enough (a 22 year old having to wait until his girlfriend’s birthday in 13 months).

    Jennifer,

    I want to revise one of my earlier comments. Not that I was wrong! Just poor phrasing. 😉

    You wrote, “By your standard, you could say any poster here above the age of 50 has “power” over the young’uns like Timothy or Smacky.”

    Maturity, wisdom, self-control, experience, and reason do not increase at a constant rate over a liftime. A 50 year old has much less of an advantage over someone half his age as a 23 year old has over a 15 year old.

  79. This is where my Conflict of Interest comparison comes in. There can most definitely be quality projects built when the Planning Board members have familial and business relationships with the applicants, or financial interests in the project. These laws don’t try to micromanage what’s a good buddy-buddy project and what’s a bad one. They create a margin of safety around what everyone realizes has the potential to be a bad scene.

    But here’s the porblem with your analogy: the purpose of a Planning Board (according to those who believe such things) is that they’re necessary for the Greater Good Of Society Overall, right? I can do whatever I want with my property this could cause much harm to others in town, so we need a Planning Board to protect the town’s interests.

    Then obviously, a PB member with all this power and the responsibility to make sure thousands of people are spared from harm after must be kept away from the temptation to use that power for personal gain. (Especially when there can be millions and millionos of dollars involved.) You must place some limits on the Planning Board guy for the good of the whole city.

    YOu can’t say that about with private consenting sexual relationships between two people.

    The reason the government can interfere with a juvenile’s freedom of choice like that is because they are juveniles, and their freedom of action can be more readilty infringed upon.

    However, while I’ve referred to a teen’s lack of freedom to date an adult, the actual fact is that the adult is the one threatened with a loss of freedom–jail time.

    And in your sliding scale where by your own admission some good relationships will be hurt, you are basically arguing that it’s worth prosecuting some innocent people just to make sure the guilty ones get it too.

    Actually, since you advocate the government restricting juvenile’s freedom of action for their own good, then here’s a serious question: why shouldn’t a juvenile choosing to have improper sex be punished same as a juvenile who drinks underage, or is caught with cigarettes, or any other adults-only stuff? And if you think juveniles should not be punished for choosing sex when they’re too young or their partner is too old, does this mean you also think kids should not be punished when they choose to drink and smoke?

  80. This is where my Conflict of Interest comparison comes in. There can most definitely be quality projects built when the Planning Board members have familial and business relationships with the applicants, or financial interests in the project. These laws don’t try to micromanage what’s a good buddy-buddy project and what’s a bad one. They create a margin of safety around what everyone realizes has the potential to be a bad scene.

    But here’s the porblem with your analogy: the purpose of a Planning Board (according to those who believe such things) is that they’re necessary for the Greater Good Of Society Overall, right? I can do whatever I want with my property this could cause much harm to others in town, so we need a Planning Board to protect the town’s interests.

    Then obviously, a PB member with all this power and the responsibility to make sure thousands of people are spared from harm after must be kept away from the temptation to use that power for personal gain. (Especially when there can be millions and millionos of dollars involved.) You must place some limits on the Planning Board guy for the good of the whole city.

    YOu can’t say that about with private consenting sexual relationships between two people.

    The reason the government can interfere with a juvenile’s freedom of choice like that is because they are juveniles, and their freedom of action can be more readilty infringed upon.

    However, while I’ve referred to a teen’s lack of freedom to date an adult, the actual fact is that the adult is the one threatened with a loss of freedom–jail time.

    And in your sliding scale where by your own admission some good relationships will be hurt, you are basically arguing that it’s worth prosecuting some innocent people just to make sure the guilty ones get it too.

    Actually, since you advocate the government restricting juvenile’s freedom of action for their own good, then here’s a serious question: why shouldn’t a juvenile choosing to have improper sex be punished same as a juvenile who drinks underage, or is caught with cigarettes, or any other adults-only stuff? And if you think juveniles should not be punished for choosing sex when they’re too young or their partner is too old, does this mean you also think kids should not be punished when they choose to drink and smoke?

  81. I’m totally haggling. I think our options in this area run the gamut from completely horrible (no legal recourse when Congressman Foley diddles your son) to just barely good enough (a 22 year old having to wait until his girlfriend’s birthday in 13 months).

    How old is that girlfriend in your “just barely good enough” example?

  82. So much for politics and philosophy. Let’s talk about something important: How’d I do on the jailbait identification quiz?

    I was wrong almost half the time — but I think that when I erred, I almost alway erred on the side of caution. Unfortunately, I cannot be 100% sure of this, because of the suck-ass way the quiz resets when you are done and doesn’t let you scroll back up to recheck your answers first. But I believe I either ID’ed all the legals as either jailbaits or legals, and almost all the jailbaits as jailbaits. The one exception I remember is that I assumed the photo from the actual movie “Lolita” was of an actress who was actually a legal adult at the time. I was wrong.

  83. Actually, since you advocate the government restricting juvenile’s freedom of action for their own good, then here’s a serious question: why shouldn’t a juvenile choosing to have improper sex be punished same as a juvenile who drinks underage, or is caught with cigarettes, or any other adults-only stuff?

    Actually, I’ll cop to being intrigued by this approach, though I’d want the penalties for both parties to be far less severe than they are for the older party in the current regimes. (With an age of consent below the age of majority, of course.)

  84. If we’re going to draw uneasy lines and declare that anyone who crosses them should be imprisoned and declared a sex offender, shouldn’t we at least have something like a basis in fact for those lines, as opposed to assertions of “decency” or “morality”?

    In all seriousness, shouldn’t we demand some actual, independent psychological studies into the harms and benefits people experience from being consensually sexually active at different ages – and with what ages of partners? If there were such research already out there on sexual histories, you’d think someone on some side would be citing it.

  85. I think teens who are not quite legal (16-17) and are caught cavorting with adults should be punished with a spanking. In the public square. It should also be televised on local cable access. With possibly a “Best Of” anthology show in national syndication.

    Also, they should be forced to wear some kind of uniform while the penalty is exacted.

    The wantons should still be allowed to go back and cavort, mind you, as long as they’re cool with the public spanking everytime they’re caught.

    This seems fair to me. Freedom + consequences. You play, you pay.

    That’s my thinking.

    Be back later. I have to shovel out some of the creepiness. Hard to breathe in here.

  86. … showering … can’t get clean …

  87. … showering … can’t get clean …

  88. I hit post ONCE, goddammit!

    Fucking whore servers.

  89. Jennifer,

    “YOu can’t say that about with private consenting sexual relationships between two people.”

    I think we’ve hit on an irreduceable First Thing here. We both agree that efforts to protect the public good compel the government to draw a broader margin around public acts than the private acts of adults. I believe that it is appropriate to draw a similar margin of safety around minors in such areas entering into contracts and engaging in dangerous behavior, one broader than that drawn around adults, because they are minors and therefore are presumed to lack the reasoning, understanding, and knowledge of adults. You do not, and believe that they should be treated like adults, despite their greater vulnerability.

    “However, while I’ve referred to a teen’s lack of freedom to date an adult, the actual fact is that the adult is the one threatened with a loss of freedom–jail time.” Since you’ve made so many arguments about the agency of minors and restrictions on their freedom, I’ve addressed those in my arguments.

    The infringement on adult freedom is much easier to defend, actually – having sex with kids is dangerous, like driving drunk. Therefore, it is appropriate to ban it.

    “And in your sliding scale where by your own admission some good relationships will be hurt, you are basically arguing that it’s worth prosecuting some innocent people just to make sure the guilty ones get it too.” Um, no. I would prosecute zero adults who did not have sex with minors. Did this adult do no damage by having sex with this minor? Did this adult do no damage by selling beer to this teenager? Did this gun nut do no damage by firing his gun into the street yelling “Yee-haw?” Who cares?

    “why shouldn’t a juvenile choosing to have improper sex be punished same as a juvenile who drinks underage, or is caught with cigarettes, or any other adults-only stuff?” That’s a good question. My immediate response is that the younger teen having sex with an older person is in the position of being enticed and persuaded into to it by the adult, which reduces her agency. A teenager buying beer, on the other hand, is either putting one over on the adult, or is in cahoots with him. I’ll have to give that some more thought.

    Eric the .5b,

    That you would even ask that question means that you’re haggling, too.

    Any line is arbitary, but say she’s 15 years, 11 months. A 22 year old on a 15 year old is plainly criminal; a 24 year old on a 17 year old puts into the territory of the merely icky.

  90. That you would even ask that question means that you’re haggling, too.

    I never denied that I was. I just wanted a sense of your bargaining position.

    Any line is arbitary, but say she’s 15 years, 11 months. A 22 year old on a 15 year old is plainly criminal; a 24 year old on a 17 year old puts into the territory of the merely icky.

    When we’re debating the law in question, it’s just circular to call the first example “plainly criminal”. The “merely icky” example may not be legal in some jurisdictions (or under laws like Foley’s work).

  91. The infringement on adult freedom is much easier to defend, actually – having sex with kids is dangerous, like driving drunk. Therefore, it is appropriate to ban it.

    Having sex with a consenting teenager is like getting drunk and moving 3,000 pounds of steel through the public sphere at speeds in excess of a mile a minute?

    How many bystanders do you think could potentially die if a teenager has sex with an adult? By comparison, how many bystanders can potentially die when a guy drives drunk?

    Any line is arbitary, but say she’s 15 years, 11 months. A 22 year old on a 15 year old is plainly criminal;

    How do you know this? Would you be willing to, say, look at the individual girl in question and see if she’s suffered actual harm, or do you just “know” she did?

  92. why shouldn’t a juvenile choosing to have improper sex be punished same as a juvenile who drinks underage, or is caught with cigarettes, or any other adults-only stuff?” That’s a good question. My immediate response is that the younger teen having sex with an older person is in the position of being enticed and persuaded into to it by the adult, which reduces her agency.

    Again, Joe, the same prejudice as before–you automatically assume the teen was “enticed and persuaded into it.” How do you know so much about what’s happening in these kids’ beds? This is a serious question, not a rhetorical one: where are you getting this knowledge about how exactly a teenager winds up in bed, and what harm she suffers from it?

  93. Jennifer: Don’t forget one important constituency for laws making it illegal for the 18+ crowd to mess around with those under 18: minor teenage boys who can’t get dates with their female peers because the older guys – with their jobs and their cars and their cleared-up-from-acne faces – are bagging all the cute girls in the senior class.

    Under-18’s having sex with legal adults is a tough nut. I would never want to put someone who is obviously a social peer of his/her sex partner in jail or on a lifelong sexual predator list just because one fornicator had just reached the 18th birthday, while it was months away for the other. In states with a sub-18 age of consent law, a 16-year-old sleeping with his 15-year-old classmate should be treated less severely than a legal adult taking the same liberties. The attempt to avoid the bad effects of a strict “no sex with minors” rule by adapting some sort of age-gap rule is well-intentioned, but making something illegal for a 21-year-old that’s OK for a 19-year-old is the same sort of crap as outlawing alcohol for 18-20-year-old adults.

    If we want to move the age of majority to 21, let’s stop screwing around with half measures and do it. Kick the young adults off the voting rolls, if you dare. I’m not in favor of this, mind you, and it isn’t going to happen, but that’s where this sort of “thinking” leads.

    There is one stat abroad that supports the idea that sex between older guys and younger girls is a social problem. 70% of teen prednancies are said to be the result of older guys knocking up their younger girlfriends. These guys (connected with Planned Parenthood) show that the numbers are a bit more complicated.

    http://guttmacher.org/pubs/journals/2906197.html

    …regardless of the mother’s age, the pattern of fathers being slightly older than mothers fits squarely within societal norms. For example, in 1988, babies born to women aged 21-30 were fathered by men who were, on average, three years older than their partner. While a 25-year-old man fathering a child with a 15-year-old would probably meet with social disapproval, the same might not be true for a couple consisting of a 21-year-old and an 18-year-old, particularly if they were married.

    Stats that refer to activity by “teenagers” without mentioning that the 18- and 19-year-old cohorts are legal adults are fundamentally dishonest, from a public policy perspective. I’d also be interested in how many “teen” pregnancies ended in abortions, elective or otherwise, for girls in the same age range. That data was apparently not available, or the Guttmacher folks didn’t think it important enough to collect. Even those of us who support keeping abortion legal are in favor of it being less “necessary.”

    I wasn’t in rob’s situation, but I was one of the youngest kids in my graduating high school class. I wasn’t a grade skipper, I was just born very close to the cutoff date that would have had me starting school a year later. I didn’t turn 18 until well into my first college semester. Had I gotten lucky with one of my classmates, it is likely that she would have been the adult sleeping with a minor. As things were, my GF at the time was a year behind me in school, if only six months on the calendar.

    A practical solution to keep horny older kids away from nubile younger ones is to make sure that schools don’t allow those who repeatedly fail grades to take classes with academic peers who are much younger. Alternative schooling for the 18-year-old sophomore is preferable to social promotion, though. Get these young adults into social situations with peers of roughly the same age, not hanging around with much younger ones.

    Kevin

  94. Jennifer,

    “Having sex with a consenting teenager is like getting drunk and moving 3,000 pounds of steel through the public sphere at speeds in excess of a mile a minute?” In some ways it is; in other ways, it isn’t. Nor do I consider the deaths of bystanders to be the minimum line at which society has an interest in preventing the behavior.

    “Would you be willing to, say, look at the individual girl in question and see if she’s suffered actual harm, or do you just “know” she did?” I prefer not to wait until somebody’s life is maybe ruined, maybe not, before asking whether something is a good idea. Would you be willing to wait until the drunk drove the six miles into his driveway, then giving him a battery of tests to measure his reflexes, vision, awareness, and judgement? Or, maybe, there should be a law against getting piss drunk and driving home.

    I don’t know what’s happening in each individual case; I do know enough about human development to realize that being succored into sex too early is bad for you; and that adults are able to take advantage of kids’ immaturity to manipulate them.

    I know there are middle-teen girls who had sex with much older men and were none the worse for it, just as there are people who’ve driven home drunk without hurting anyone. In both cases, it’s a game of percentages – the behavior is sufficiently likely to be harmful that the entire class of behavior needs to be outlawed.

    To answer your ealier question about the Catch 22 – teenagers can learn about life and love with people roughly their own age; it’s been known to happen, you know, and they’ll probably learn better lessons bumbling along with a peer they can fully relate to, than being manipulated by some old perv who knows how which buttons to push to get sexual favors.

  95. “Any line is arbitary, but say she’s 15 years, 11 months. A 22 year old on a 15 year old is plainly criminal; a 24 year old on a 17 year old puts into the territory of the merely icky.”

    Just as a matter of interest, why is that so plain? Here in Canada, for instance, the age of heterosexual consent is 14, and the sky doesn’t appear to have fallen. Googling “age of consent” finds the surprisingly-named ageofconsent.com where it lists quite a few other countries with sub-16 consent, some as low as 12.

  96. I do know enough about human development to realize that being succored into sex too early is bad for you, and that adults are able to take advantage of kids’ immaturity to manipulate them.

    So what is “too early,” and how do you know? And yes, adults are “able” to do this; does that mean every single adult actually does?

    “Would you be willing to, say, look at the individual girl in question and see if she’s suffered actual harm, or do you just “know” she did?” I prefer not to wait until somebody’s life is maybe ruined, maybe not, before asking whether something is a good idea. Would you be willing to wait until the drunk drove the six miles into his driveway, then giving him a battery of tests to measure his reflexes, vision, awareness, and judgement? Or, maybe, there should be a law against getting piss drunk and driving home.

    Again you’re comparing drunk driving–which can actually kill people–with someone having sex at an age you personally find offensive, which in turn “proves” it’s wrong.

    I know there are middle-teen girls who had sex with much older men and were none the worse for it, just as there are people who’ve driven home drunk without hurting anyone. In both cases, it’s a game of percentages – the behavior is sufficiently likely to be harmful that the entire class of behavior needs to be outlawed.

    Yes, I said before: you’re perfectly willing to lock up the innocent in order to get the guilty. Actually, it sounds like you’re somehow combining consensual sex with rape here. Of course, you’ve already admitted that society wouldn’t be better off if my former boyfriends were in prison, yet here you advocate locking them up anyway.

    You know, a lot of guys who drink get so drunk they beat the hell out of their wives and kids. Maybe the entire class of drinking behavior needs to be outlawed, huh?

  97. Joe,
    I think I’m basically in agreement that the line is arbitrary yet it needs to be drawn somewhere. Making it an objective line by drawing it at puberty would obviously be too young given the age some kids reach puberty these days. 10, 11, 12 years….

    I’m a little less clear on what the law should say about it or whether it should be handled more as a social problem.

    This line startled me a bit though:

    “My immediate response is that the younger teen having sex with an older person is in the position of being enticed and persuaded into to it by the adult”

    Where have you been the last couple of centuries? Or are you just a really nerdy looking guy or lacking in charm or other sorts of attractive features? Teenage girls, and even boys, can be quite flirtatious and often make the first move. I don’t know percentages of ‘enticer to enticee’ but teens are a lot more advanced, especially females, about the power of their sexuality, and how to use it, than you are giving them credit for.

  98. Almost any law will have to draw arbitrary lines when not dealing with specific harm…

    For instance, say the speed limit is set at 55. An 80 year old with poor vision and poor reflexes (some 80 years olds don’t suffer this) driving 70 on the highway is much more dangerous than a good driver with all faculties driving at 80. What’s the limit? Arbitrary.

    An adult sleeping with a 16 year old might not be a problem depending specifically on the relationship itself. As Jennifer said – if it’s a teacher/boss/etc – fire them immediately. Other situations that simply have large age differences however aren’t that simple as “maturity” isn’t an objective standard. I know lots of 40 years olds with less maturity than some 20 somethings.

    It’s the nature of all laws that don’t deal with specific harms – this one is no different.

    Additionally – when someone speeds too fast or sleeps with a “less mature” person, how does one define harm when no provable harm exists? One 16 year old may take away great sex, another might have bad realtionships forever. Is this a civil suit waiting to happen?…

    “I know I willingly slept with you when I was 16, but the harm didn’t surface until I was 32. I will now sue.”?????????????????

  99. “Would you be willing to, say, look at the individual girl in question and see if she’s suffered actual harm, or do you just “know” she did?” I prefer not to wait until somebody’s life is maybe ruined, maybe not, before asking whether something is a good idea.

    Except that’s exactly what Jennifer is saying – why aren’t you willing to ask whether it was really a bad idea instead of just putting people in jail for maybe (or maybe not!) causing harm?

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