Tuesday, December 21, 2010


I have mentioned from time to time how certain gambits or approaches can behave geologically: a move or idea starts up in one area of activity and then after a bit pops up in another area of activity. It migrates.

The ‘extradition’ gambit in the Julian Assange Wikileaks case, based on dubious and creakily contrived Swedish sex charges but somehow connected to a US government effort to get its hands on him and shut him up (and make it look like the trouble isn’t the fire but the guy who pulled that noisy fire alarm hook), is one clear though complex example.

And there are layers to it. What started out over here as the basis of the Sex Offense Mania Regime has popped up as a way to go after people whom the government itself (and not simply as an agent for this or that domestic pressure group) wants to get.

You can, by the way, review an extended discussion of the ominous legal complexities of the Assange case here. And you can get a picture of the actual substance, such as it is, of the Swedish sex complaints here.

But today there is now an ‘extradition’ case closer to home. A Colorado man named Phillip Ray Greaves II self-published a book entitled “The Pedophile’s Guide to Love and Pleasure: a Child-lover’s Code of Conduct",  wherein he wants to offer guidance on how “child-lovers” might and must remain within bounds when conducting their relationships.

The book created a stir and was pulled from Amazon, leaving him only the option of selling and mailing the books more or less on his own.

Let me say right now that regardless of whatever benefits might accrue to children from such an experience, they are hugely overridden by the potential dangers and damages to the child. Children are not sufficiently developed to have any ability to process overt sexual experience, no matter how delicately and carefully the romantic and relational elements are finessed.

And in so vital an area of development and experience, the Family and the Parents are – there can be no workable alternative – the primary adults responsible for so vital but truly awesome a task.

In current American society and culture, then, this is already an at-risk situation, since significant pressure-groups with much Beltway clout are, for reasons of their own, rather seriously bent upon reducing the Family and Parental Authority and Parental Responsibility.

Which has, humans being humans, opened up an avenue for other persons – with their own needs and agendas – to step up to the plate and offer their services, so to speak.

At the very best, I would say, such services are simply not workable. I’d sort of put this type of relationship into the same category as wanting very much to have a relationship with a favorite movie or TV star: it may be something you can imagine in the privacy of your own mind and it will help you get through the day (although in that case I’d advise developing constructive and workable alternatives), but you can’t be going to Hollywood and trying to get into your star’s house or somehow show up in his/her life.

Yes, there was – maybe still is – that band ‘roadie’ bit, where smitten music-lovers can actually entertain a semi-realistic expectation of at least a ‘hook-up’ with a current ‘idol’, but that’s not much of a basis for national policy or building and sustaining a civilization and raising the young. There are boundaries in life, especially when it comes to imposing yourself in the lives of other human beings, and genuine Maturity consists to great extent in learning – disciplining yourself, actually – how to constructively live within certain boundaries created by the rights of others.

All of this stuff about Boundaries, self-discipline, distinguishing fantasy from reality, postponing gratification or actually ruling out certain types or venues of gratification, respecting others, and in general doing the ancient Greek thing about Knowing Yourself so as to Conduct Your Life Well … these haven’t had a lot of good press in the postmodern, Boomery, revolutionary post-Sixties world (and Hugh Hefner probably didn’t do Us any favors with his Playboy-philosophy (and Playgirl, a bit later) back in the 1950s).

It’s always been curious to me – and will be to cultural historians in the not-too-distant future – how a Left pretty much dedicated to Deconstructing ‘maturity’ in the name of ‘total autonomy’ and a Right pretty much dedicated to imposing Law-and-Order could comfortably make common-cause. But they have, to some extent, and the Sex Offense Mania Regime – still very much legally a reality, even if the daily frizz is starting to wear off – is the unholy spawn of such a union, such a ‘deal’. Such a deal, indeed.

Anyhoo now, Mr. Greaves of Colorado has been arrested on a warrant issued by a Sheriff in Florida. The Sheriff was outraged by the afore-mentioned book, had a couple of his undercover deputies buy a book (apparently the undercover bit consisted in writing to him for a copy while posing in writing as a buyer, sending along a money order to cover purchase, postage, and handling, and – so very slyly – asking him to autograph the book, all of which he did).

The Sheriff – wait for it – plans to extradite Mr. Greaves from Colorado to Florida, where he will, if matters pursue their statutory course, stand trial on charges of obscenity and child-endangerment and whatever Sex-Offense Regime charges are applicable.

There are some large questions of law, although the SO community knoweth full well that such nit-picking hardly deserves to be allowed to slow things down.

Initially, it was presumed that Mr. Greaves could make a stand in Colorado and fight the extradition. But as best I can make out, and he was represented by a public defender who had a bunch of other cases that day, Greaves has accepted extradition.

Whether he is in over his head or playing a much larger and deeper game than the authorities in Florida had originally envisioned is still an open question. Custer had envisioned the afternoon going much differently, and the Sioux neatly helped him along in his imaginings by initially running away from him, causing him to gallop after them without sufficient reconnaissance into the Little Big Horn’s valley.

My concern doesn’t stem from any support for the vision and project of his book. But I am alert to the dangers of using ‘extradition’ as the AWA used the Commerce Clause, simply as a pretext to go after people who aren’t really in your jurisdiction and who are expressing opinions that you don’t hold-with.

A law is like a watertight-bulkhead: integrity is essential, and that integrity comes from its seamless strength. To puncture it here and there, figuring that this small hole you’re drilling won’t really do much damage, is actually creating a lethal danger much larger than the measurable circumference of your little drill-hole would appear to suggest.

And if the ship’s officers don’t mind a whole bunch of folks drilling this and that little hole, then before long your watertight integrity – here, the rule of Law – is fatally compromised, even though on a nice calm day no lubber with a nifty drill can imagine the awful consequences of an agitated ocean exerting its awesome pressure against the bulkhead now riddled with small – and maybe even patched - holes.

I recall a 1950s TV episode of Steve Canyon (USAF colonel in the Cold War days) where some kids out for laffs just beyond the perimeter fence of a SAC base take a potshot at a taxiing nuclear bomber with their BB-guns; one of the pellets nicks a porthole in the plane, it takes off, heads toward its patrol area along the edges of Soviet airspace, the huge pressures at its operating altitude widen the crack, the crew freeze into snowmen, the plane is heading straight into the USSR, and poor Canyon has to go up in an armed fighter and shoot the plane down (its crew already frozen to death).

That scenario has remained with me throughout the SO Mania Regime.

And then there is Titanic, whose imbecile lubber of an owner ordered her constructed with lower watertight bulkheads so he could fit in more nice stuff for the first-class passengers; he figured that she was unsinkable anyway so what was not to like? You want to keep your best-performing passengers happy – that’s what you’re in business for.

The American Rule of Law – I think – was also (like the American economy) considered to be unsinkable … and now We know.

I don’t know how things will develop at this point. Surely, any publisher might be liable, now, to warrants from this or that locality if a book is not well-received.

The fact that the folks in that locality don’t buy the book might reasonably be considered to be a corrective that will impress itself upon the publisher. Though in the case of self-publishers, who may simply want to say something and not necessarily maximize profits as corporate publishers do … another interesting element.

Nobody in this affair is completely ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ from a legal standpoint.

Something to keep an eye on as this thing migrates and mutates.


The latest on this case is here.

It appears that the Florida warrant is for an obscenity charge, and not a child pornography charge. The obscenity laws are "local" in the sense that a local community can set some standards for itself. But how that can apply in a case of a book that is nationally distributed raises some significant questions.

As you read the article, note the supporter who thinks that the Florida Sheriff and warrant is right "morally" and (he sorta figures) therefore "legally". This is precisely the type of thinking - or rather emoting - that has fueled the Mania Regime from the get-go.

I am NOT saying that morality is merely subjective and personal 'emotion'. The question here is a legal one: can an indidual community not only "ban" a book it finds offensive and without redeeming social value (which a local jury has not yet determined) BUT ALSO arrest and extradite a person who has never been to that community but whose book is available through a non-local distribution?

This is not a 'technicality': the precedent to be set is a huge one and there is a sizable chance that the US Supreme Cout will need to get involved.

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