[Saturday: 6.8 miles on the arterial]
There are certain activities in our culture that are illegal but are not considered immoral and are frequently overlooked. For example, the driving speed limits posted on highways are “fudgy” with a range of accepted overage which varies from place to place and situation to situation.
Similarly there have been changes in the sexual mores of the culture, relationships which formerly were condemned or kept quiet are now generally accepted.
I was reading about this Q-anon theory that pedophilia is rampant at the highest level of national leadership and I was wondering how to build an argument for or against such a thing.
On the “yes this could be true” side we have the Jeffery Epstein story, his conviction for sex trafficking, his connections to powerful people and his strange death.
We know that people in high places frequently engage in selfish behaviors, sometimes immoral behaviors, and sometimes illegal behaviors. They have the power to deploy more effective defenses against discovery and prosecution.
Powerful people are different from us.
Or are they really?
Jeffery Epstein was caught and convicted. And he died in jail after being arrested again. If the rumors about his death hold any weight (that he was going to “spill the beans” on the sex lives of powerful people and was therefore silenced) surely that means there is something embarrassing (at minimum), about such behavior.
Large organizations and powerful people have felt the wrath of society because of sexual misbehavior as it is currently understood: a morality based on consent. For examples look at the Roman Catholic Church and Harvey Weinstein.
Our shifting cultural morality still holds pedophilia as wrong. A movie is made about heroic Boston newspapermen outing evil priests. Crime shows on TV paint child abductors and abusers as the most evil antagonists. And the most attractive rumor of our day, the one getting the most traction, isn’t about smoking pot or taking bribes but about abusing children.
On the “no this isn’t true” side: Could our country be taken over by a secret group of people who engage in, provide for, approve of child sex trafficking, rise up through the ranks of various organizations to positions of power, maintain secrecy, and have their hands on all of the controls of financial and political power?
The main detriment to the accumulation of power is competition. Other people also want to be at the top. Those other people use strategies like combining together, digging up information, having secrets of their own.
So to me the question becomes how big of a cabal of sex trafficking pedophiles would it take to control the country and would such a group be able to successfully accumulate that power under the scrutiny of rivals and competitors, not to mention parents and law enforcement?
Epstein himself couldn’t survive that gauntlet, and the guy in theory was just an enabler not a power player.
Secrecy is going to be a problem. We aren’t talking about quiet porn-movie consumption here. Most people keep an eye on their children. A certain number of children are unaccounted for at any given time, but if a lot of them go missing it would start to show up. And children have to be housed and fed unless this is a necrophiliac pedophile sex trafficking ring. (which would have other logistical problems)
The bigger the cabal, the more trafficking there would need to be. And the more trafficking there is, the less likely secrecy will prevail.
So we have a structural issue with the Q-anon theory: if the cabal is big then it is more obvious. But the current trend in the rumor insists on the opposite: that everybody who denies the rumor is in the cabal.
It all comes back to the main question. Is child sex trafficking acceptable in our culture? Because if it is then there is no controversy. If it is not then there is motivation and means to limit the power obtained by transgressors and the transgressions of the powerful.
Not to be trite about it, but a lot of common sense can be brought to bear from what I call the James Bond Antagonist problem.
In James Bond movies there is either a secret controlling cabal or a single evil mad scientist guy. And in either case there are lots of minions and evil-science knob twisters, not to mention the cubic yards of concrete needed to build the secret headquarters under a mountain somewhere. And the bigger this cabal is, or the more powerful the evil science is, then the more knob twisters and minions and yards of concrete are involved.
Suddenly there has to be an HR department and a Real Estate branch to build apartment buildings to house all of the minions.
Whole countries with real governments and taxes and the whole thing, have tried to do secret stuff. And other countries have put up satellites to watch the concrete trucks come and go. And there are spies and leakers and people who will spill the beans for all sorts of reasons. And this is the case when presumably most of the population actually try to do this together in a mostly unified way.
In conclusion. No I don’t believe there is an organized child sex traffic ring controlling the country.
We’ve seen news stories about one guy or one guy and his wife kidnapping and abusing children. I believe that. Maybe such a person could become a local political leader (if the politics in that area are already one-sided and corrupt). Could he become the governor of a state? Hmm… that would be difficult. Because by then a whole lot of people know his moral condition and how he acts under pressure and what his likes and dislikes are. His chief of staff reminds him when to buy his wife a birthday present…. but somehow he always makes it home to feed the people locked in his basement. And there are even more people with more shovels digging through his past and watching whether his expenses can be explained by normal living.
I think it is much more likely that some person or small group of people would set in motion an attractive lie with nearly zero risk than that a whole lot of people would effectively maintain a bunch of lies with a very large risk.
As for Epstein, I have no problem believing that a high-intelligence/low-morals guy with connections to the owner of Victoria’s Secret would work out how to take advantage of teenage girls. I personally disagree with the objectification of young women, and making them up to be precociously sexual. That is not a good thing. The whole idea of fashion models and modeling has problems in my opinion, not something I would recommend to anyone as a career or aspiration.
As much as Epstein took advantage and helped others to do the same, justice should be done. People will suffer the consequences and others will arise to the positions of power they are forced to vacate, as it should be.