Rod Dreher

Had you heard of the UK rape conviction of two small boys? I hadn’t, until reading British commentator Frank Furedi’s denunciation of the proceedings as a sick farce that teaches a lesson about the moral degeneration of British society — but not the one you might think. Furedi writes:

British society has become so morally disoriented about childhood that it has lost the ability to make a moral distinction between childhood and adulthood. It looks upon adults as simply biologically mature children, and children as physically underdeveloped grown-ups. This leads to a tragic state of affairs where children’s behaviour is continually interpreted through the prism of adult imaginations. At its worst, contemporary British culture attributes adult motives to children’s behaviour. Consequently, even infants in nurseries are told off for their ‘harassment’ of other kids or for their ‘racist’ behaviour.
Adult obsessions with sex are recycled through the discussion of children. As a result, society tends to sexualise children through interpreting youngsters’ behaviour as if it is driven by adult motives. The adult world – including many child experts and policymakers – often see sexual motives behind normal children’s behaviour. We live in a world where six-year-old children are expelled from school for inappropriate sexual behaviour, where a 10-year-old boy is put on the Sex Offenders’ Register for touching a girl, and where playing ‘doctors and nurses’ is increasingly interpreted as the precursor to an act of sexual violence.

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