One thing that I always try to do is be morally consistent. That is, do I apply the same rules in the same way every time. To do otherwise is to be a hypocrite. Most humans largely try to do the same thing. Of course, this results in people trying to justify heinous and immoral acts in order to assuage their own guilt of the hypocrisy. This is where today’s question comes from.

I can have camera footage of a crime. I can possess cell phone video of a fight, a murder, theft, or any other crimes and it is not illegal to possess that footage. There are even television shows that center around showing videos of crimes in progress. Most people do not have a problem with that.

Until the crime being filmed changes. Let me explain:
It is always a crime for an adult to knowingly have sex with a child. I don’t care how or what anyone says, I think that we can all agree with that one. Now, there could be a legitimate argument over what age a person ceases being a child, or what constitutes knowingly, but let’s leave that aside for now. The reason it is wrong and a crime is that a child cannot give consent. This is the reason why children can’t consent to any number of things from marriage, to contracts, medical care, and many others. This is also why it is a crime to have sex with certain adults with reduced mental capacity.

So with child pornography, what is going on here is that a pornographer is committing a crime in taking the picture in the first place, since that child is incapable of granting consent.

That is where my dilemma enters. The crime is the sexual act with a person who is victimizing a child. I am not trying to claim that child pornography should be legal, but I am trying to understand why it should be illegal to have a picture of one crime and not another, while still remaining logically consistent. Any ideas?

Categories: Uncategorized


Wayne Conrad · March 4, 2012 at 12:28 am

Because the sexual image of a minor is not an image of a crime, it is the crime.

By definition. As you point out, the minor is not legally able to give consent for their intimate image to be taken.

I get the feeling I'm missing the point, because this one doesn't seem like much of a dilemma to me.

Divemedic · March 4, 2012 at 1:55 am

Then why wouldn't a murder be likewise? A dead person cannot giver such permission.

And why can't a minor who is now an adult give such permission? Traci Lords is a good example of this. She was a porn star who lied about her age, and was filmed at the age of 16 years, yet her films are all illegal.

I am not saying that possession of child porn isn't a crime, I am trying to understand why this is considered different than a film of a murder or a robbery.

Wayne Conrad · March 4, 2012 at 6:18 am

The law presumes that the act of taking a sexual image of a minor harms the minor. The law does not (as far as I know) make that presumption about taking an image of a murder. That would change if, for example, a market for "snuff" films was presumed to cause an incentive to commit murder. Until then, the image itself, although distasteful, is not seen as inherently harmful.

I think I agree with (what I think is) the law on these points.

Your Traci Lords question is very interesting, but I don't know.

Comments are closed.