Stephen Kershnar is a teacher of “libertarian philosophy and applied ethics” at the SUNY Fredonia. His faculty profile mentions:
Kershnar has written one hundred articles and book chapters on such diverse topics as abortion, adult-child sex, hell, most valuable player, pornography, punishment, sexual fantasies, slavery, and torture. He is the author of ten books, including Desert Collapses: Why No One Deserves Anything (2021), Total Collapse: The Case Against Morality and Responsibility (2018), and Abortion, Hell, and Shooting Abortion-Doctors: Does the Pro-Life Worldview Make Sense? (2017).
Recently, due to some comments made by him during a podcast, he has been the subject of heavy criticism for apparently justifying pedophilia.
Fox News quotes the philosophy professor:
“Imagine that an adult male wants to have sex with a 12-year-old girl. Imagine that she’s a willing participant. A very standard, very widely held view is there’s something deeply wrong about this. And it’s wrong independent of it being criminalized,” Fredonia philosophy professor Stephen Kershnar says in a clip posted to Twitter Tuesday.
“It’s not obvious to me that is in fact wrong. I think this is a mistake. And I think that exploring why it’s a mistake will tell us not only things about adult-child sex and statutory rape, but also about fundamental principles of morality,” he said.
“There’s a lot of activities that children engage in that they don’t understand all that well. For example, when you first show up to participate in a judo tournament or when you prepare for your bar mitzvah. You have a rough idea, but it’s not clear how much you fully understand it,” he adds.
It’s not the individual case of Kershnar that’s interesting here though. What’s really interesting is how atheists and liberals are actually incapable of criticizing him from the perspective of their own moral philosophy.
This is also actually not the first time that Kershner has commented on the subject of adult-child sex. In 2001 he penned an article for Public Affairs Quarterly titled “The Moral Status of Harmless Adult-Child Sex.”
Similar to the comments quoted from him earlier, his arguments revolve primarily around the idea of consent.
RELATED: The Problem with Consent [Excerpt]
He starts off by addressing those who say children can’t consent based on the argument that children are somehow not capable of “understanding” sex. He responds by pointing out that there are precocious children in fields such as music and mathematics, and thus concludes that there may also be children who understand sexuality.
We read on p. 114:
There might be children who are precocious and fully grasp the different dimensions of sex, much like some precocious children can grasp the different dimensions of music and mathematics. Also, it might be that some of these children are sufficiently independent of their parents that they are able to escape the psychological and physical domination that accompanies adult-child interaction.
He discusses the issue of consent at length over the span of many pages and replies to the usual criticisms against adult-child sex based on this premise. He then concludes by saying that even if it is morally wrong, it should still be allowed…
Because in principle, this is precisely the kind of thing that liberalism—in its quest for “liberty”—should uphold:
In a society that emphasizes liberty, one might think that nonharmful (and non-rights-violating) activities should be permitted, even if wrongful, at least where the relevant parties consent to (or are not forced into) the activity. This is because having act-options that are morally wrong is valuable at least in part because it gives persons the space to exercise their autonomy and thereby shape themselves and their lives.
How could any atheist or liberal argue against Kershner’s reasoning here?
Isn’t their whole moral philosophy based on an individualistic search for “autonomy”? And doesn’t this philosophy of theirs imply very strongly that one should have the “empirical” right to “try” whatever he or she wants in order to discover this-so called autonomy, including adult-child sex?
RELATED: Liberalism Doesn’t See Anything Wrong with Incest
Years later, in 2015, Kershner wrote another book called Pedophilia and Adult–Child Sex: A Philosophical Analysis. Within this book, slightly over 100 pages long, he had basically ironed out his arguments.
Chapter 3 is the most interesting part of the book, as this is where he counters some of the most common objections against adult-child sex.
For instance, objection #2 is regarding the alleged lack of “valid consent” on the child’s part.
Like in the quote from Kershner which was presented earlier (where he mentions judo tournaments and bar mitzvahs), Kershner argues that there are countless situations in life when children are “coerced” into activities—mainly by their parents—without their “valid consent,” or there is what he describes as a “valid-but-not-real consent,” since children don’t fully understand the activities.
He writes on p. 36:
Parents often impose medical exams and treatment on unwilling children. They also send their children to school and religious ceremonies and force them to stay with relatives they despise despite their explicit opposition. If the parents’ actions in these cases are sometimes permissible, and surely they are, then valid consent is not a necessary condition for permissible activities involving children.
The same is true for consent that is real, but still not valid. This might occur with regard to religious ceremonies that children agree to because they are coerced into doing so or lack any understanding of the nature of a ceremony, let alone a particular type of ceremony. The consent is invalid on some theories because it is involuntary or uninformed or because it is given by an individual who is not morally responsible.
Chapter 4 is about “consent.”
Chapter 5 is about “exploitation.”
Basically, he takes on the usual arguments against adult-child sex one at a time.
It must also be noted that Kershner is not alone in his thinking.
David Benatar (an atheist philosopher from South Africa) penned an article titled “Two Views of Sexual Ethics: Promiscuity Pedophilia, and Rape.” Interestingly, like Kershner’s article, this article by Benatar was also published in Public Affairs Quarterly and this was in 2002; just a year after Kershner’s.
Benatar says that the “casual view of sex”—the common and usual liberal-modern approach to sex as a hedonistic means for maximizing pleasure or “sex for the sake of sex”—involves not only accepting pedophilia but also rape.
RELATED: Rape and Hookup Culture: Two Sides of the Same Coin
Without going into every argument (as they’ve already been presented from Kershner), Benatar writes on p. 195:
Nor is it evident, on the casual view (unless it is coupled with a child-liberationist position), why children need consent at all. If a parent may pressure or force a child into participating in a sport (on grounds of “character-building”), or into going to the opera (on grounds of “learning to appreciate the arts”), why may a parent not coerce or pressure a child into sex?
Peter Singer (one of the world’s leading atheist ideologues) shows that determining sex to be licit on the basis of “consent” also justifies bestiality.
Around the year 2000, Singer was criticized for his positive review of a book by Midas Dekkers called Dearest Pet.
Dekkers is a popular Dutch intellectual public figure who was initially a biologist. He is known for his particular affection towards animals.
Singer was accused of advocating for bestiality as well, because he said that the issue with sex with animals is not so much related to morality but rather cruelty. He argues that if there is no cruelty, a person can take part in “mutually satisfying activities” with their animal.
During 2003, in order to somehow try and shine a light on the controversy, Neil Levy (who is now a “senior research fellow” affiliated with Oxford’s department of philosophy) penned an explicit article for The Journal of Social Philosophy titled: “What (if Anything) Is Wrong with Bestiality?”
We’ll reproduce some enlightening excerpts from his article about “consent.” And they don’t really require any commentary as they’re pretty explicit and self-explanatory.
He writes on p. 446:
Failure to meet the very high standard demanded by the identity thesis renders bestiality impermissible only if the standard is the appropriate one to apply in this context. Though animals cannot consent, in this sense, to sexual activity, they are capable of a behavioral analogue of consent, as Singer’s own examples in “Heavy Petting” make clear. Toward the end of the article, he cites cases in which the nonhuman animal makes the first advances. For example,
Who has not been at a social occasion disrupted by the household dog gripping the legs of a visitor and vigorously rubbing its penis against them? The host usually discourages such activities, but in private not everyone objects to being used by her or his dog in this way, and occasionally mutually satisfying activities may develop.
Call this behavioral analogue of consent “consent.” Someone, or something, consents* to engaging in activity when he expresses, through his behavior, a willingness to engage in that activity. If animals are capable of initiating sexual contact with human beings, then presumably they are capable of giving consent. The dog in Singer’s example has clearly consented to a sexual exchange.
So again, we ask:
According to their own principles, how can any atheist or liberal refute this such arguments?
After all, some perverted individuals may achieve their “individualistic fulfillment,” their “hedonistic satisfaction” or the “actualization of their personal autonomy” via a sexual act with their dog.
Atheists and liberals must thus acknowledge that when the only condition for sex to be licit is a concept as relativistic and subjective as “consent” (rather than the metaphysically absolutist and morally objective commands of Allah), having sex with a child or an animal, or anything for that matter—as long as “pleasure” is the aim—becomes an issue of mere semantic gymnastics and ultimately, potentially licit.
So, if they’re honest with themselves and coherent with their own worldview, they should drop all “moral objections” to Islam as well, such as their criticism of the marriage of the Prophet ﷺ to ‘Aisha (radiyAllahu ‘anha).
RELATED: The Hypocrisy of the West Accusing Islam of Pedophilia
Lol, lets wait for him ahaha
Lmao this is so humorous because everyone here is waiting for wayne
That daughter of Stalin is busy doing the stuffs mentioned in this article… if you know hippies, you know 😛 Once she’s done, she may come again to post her nonsensical rants XD
Bestiality is really hard for a liberal to refute.
Either he is a vegan and says that we should leave the animals alooone based on X, Y, Z arguments.
Or he can’t because arguably killing a goat is more suffering for it than bestiality.
Of course a sane human would prefer to die than do the deed with a goat, but liberals aren’t sane and given how they mutilate their God-given bodies, barely human.
If you look into the background of the atheists listed here who advocate for all of this sexual degeneracy, you will find something in common.
Bheria is the best author at the MS imao.
To be fair Wayne doesn’t say a lot of islamphobic stuff but they do say a lot of nonsense and can only see things through a left-right spectrum.
Hey brothers and sisters please don’t worry about Wayne the more attention you give her the more nonsense she will spew if she comes ignore her if she says something stupid reply with facts but all in all ignore her.
I agree with you here 🙂 She’s someone to be ignored. There were some mad people before who commented outlandish nonsensical stuff, once they were ignored they left.
The West: Hypocrisy as the founding principle of a civilization.