Jewish World Review May 6, 2002 / 23 Iyar, 5762
Slurring four-letter words in front of his own teenagers, Ozzy Osbourne rides the ratings wave to a multi-million dollar contract on MTV. "The Osbournes" have replaced the Nelsons of four decades ago. Only the Osbournes don't offer you cake when you enter the house -- they offer you some off-color language and a sea of tattoos. Ozzie Nelson would have a heart attack if he knew Ozzy Osbourne had replaced him as the uber-dad.
What are children to make of all this? Well, those with responsible parents will most likely make it through OK. But the millions of American children with little supervision are now being exposed to a menu of adult behavior that is stunning in its irresponsibility.
The University of Minnesota is publishing a book that puts forth that not all sexual contact between an adult and a child is necessarily bad. Dr. Joycelyn Elders, the former surgeon general of the United States, has endorsed the book. I scolded Dr. Elders on my TV program.
Professor Harris Mirkin of the University of Missouri wrote an article for the Journal of Homosexuality that suggests the United Sates might consider adopting the liberal attitudes of Denmark in thinking about child sex. Denmark has one of the most permissive attitudes in the world about children engaging in sex with adults. According to Interpol, that socialistic paradise is one of the main distributors of worldwide Internet child pornography because there is little stigma to producing it and law enforcement is incredibly lax.
The Missouri legislature was so outraged by Professor Mirkin's article that it voted to cut $100,000 in funding from the university. In response, the faculty senate passed a resolution supporting Mirkin's "right to hold unpopular views." The general counsel of the American Council on Education, Sheldon Steinbach, said this about Mirkin: "The appropriate place to debate the legitimacy of a professor's thought is the marketplace of ideas. Today's heresy often becomes tomorrow's orthodoxy."
How profound. Let's all hope adult-child sex becomes more acceptable, right, Mr. Steinbach? How PC. I wonder if that faculty senate would be passing a resolution if Mirkin had championed the Nazi cause. I wonder if old Sheldon Steinbach would be shopping in "the marketplace of ideas" if the Supreme Court banned abortion. Somehow I doubt it.
This is America, so we have to accept the opinions of destructive people because, constitutionally, they have a right to spout them. But we don't have to be quiet about it. Pinhead professors and adults who seek to harm kids must be challenged at every step -- and scorned for their lack of judgment and character.
And make no mistake about it. Seeking a more libertine attitude toward adult-child sex is dangerous for kids. It makes it easier for perverts to rationalize their behavior.
So this is not a great time for kids in America. I feel for them. We adults have let them down. On many different levels, children are not being protected from harm in this country. And in the marketplace of ideas, that is one tragic
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