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First they came for the communists, but I was not a communist, so I did not speak out. Then they came for the socialists and the trade unionists, but I was neither, so I did not speak out. Then they came for the Jews, but I was not a Jew, so I did not speak out. And when they came for me, there was no one left to speak out for me.
– Pastor Martin Niemoeller.

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Devaluing Children, Another 'Liberal' Policy - Thursday, July 15, 2010 at 00:14

 

Devaluing Children, Another “Liberal” Policy

David C. Stolinsky, MD
July 15, 2009

Film director Roman Polanski was released from house arrest when the Swiss government decided not to extradite him to the United States. He was sought on a fugitive warrant, based on his fleeing to avoid sentencing for a crime he committed in 1977.

The Swiss declared that it was impossible to discover whether Polanski had already served the term to which he was sentenced. No, he fled to avoid sentencing. They added that he had come to Switzerland “in good faith” for years. Yes, because he felt that as an “artist,” he was above the laws that restrict us poor, non-artistic slobs.

Polanski was 44 when he took a 13-year-old neighbor girl for a “photo shoot” at a house he was using in Los Angeles. According to Polanski, they had “consensual” sex. Well, no, not really.

First, a 13-year-old cannot consent. The age of consent in California is 18. Anyone who is over 21 and engages in sexual intercourse with someone under 16 may be guilty of a felony. The youth of the victim plus the disparity in ages makes it a crime.

Second, alcohol and drugs impair the ability to consent. Polanski gave the girl alcohol and Quaalude, a tranquilizer that was later banned because of its toxic effects and widespread abuse.

Third, the girl testified that she repeatedly said “No.” Read the grand jury transcript, but prepare to be saddened as you learn a new meaning for “cuddliness.”

Polanski was charged with rape, sodomy and giving drugs to a minor. But to save the young victim the pain of testifying, Polanski was allowed to plead guilty to sexual intercourse with a minor. He believed he would be sentenced to the 42 days he had already served during psychiatric evaluation. But when it appeared that he might have to serve additional time, he fled the country and has remained free ever since.

Polanski moved to France and wisely decided to date older women − for example, Nastassja Kinski, who had reached the advanced age of 15. She had been “discovered” a year earlier by director Wim Wenders, who was among the signers of the petition to free Polanski. It’s nice to have friends who share your beliefs.

Not satisfied with living in a French villa and enjoying the adulation of fans and colleagues, Polanski had his lawyers file a petition to have the charges dropped. As a result, the extradition request was renewed, so when Polanski went to Switzerland for a film festival, he was arrested. The poor fellow remained confined to his beautiful chalet until his recent release.

What Polanski did years ago is one thing. He is a survivor of the Holocaust, and of the murder of his pregnant wife Sharon Tate by the Manson “family.” This does not affect his guilt, though it might mitigate his punishment. But the reaction of the Hollywood “elite” is another matter. Like Polanski’s crime, it evokes only revulsion.

Comedian Whoopie Goldberg, that font of liberal wisdom, opined that what Polanski did wasn’t “rape-rape.” Well, actually, yes it was. He was charged with penetrating the 13-year-old both vaginally and anally, which seems a classic example of “rape-rape.” Whoopie added, “We're a different kind of society; we see things differently. Would I want my 14-year-old having sex with somebody? Not necessarily, no.” Not necessarily? Indeed they do see things differently.

Producer Harvey Weinstein spoke up, noting that Polanski had been awarded the French Legion of Honor. Does this increase the prestige of Polanski, or decrease the prestige of the Legion of Honor? Weinstein called what Polanski did a “so-called crime.” Would you want your family anywhere near people who think a middle-aged man having nonconsensual sex with a 13-year-old is not a crime?

Actor-director Woody Allen added his name to the petition. Allen had known his longtime girlfriend’s daughter since she was a little girl, then became romantically involved and married her − though she was in effect his stepdaughter. Apparently Allen believed that this would not decrease his credibility when speaking on the subject of sex with minors. In Hollywood, he was probably correct. Elsewhere, people might think differently.

Director Martin Scorsese added his name to Polanski’s supporters. In the film “Taxi Driver,” he directed 12-year-old Jodie Foster in the role of a child prostitute named “Easy.” She was a superb actress, even at that young age. But who can say what psychological damage was done by having her act out the role of a prostitute? She was a real child, not a cartoon.

“Art” cannot justify child abuse. In fact, “art” has no relation to morality. The commandant of Auschwitz arranged weekly concerts of classical music for the guards. Perhaps this helped them run the death camp more efficiently. But if people were not elevated by Beethoven’s masterpiece the Ninth Symphony, why would they be elevated by Polanski’s non-masterpiece “Rosemary’s Baby”? (In it a young woman has sex with the devil. Paging Dr. Freud, Dr. Sigmund Freud.)

Many film personalities signed the petition to free Mr. Polanski. But I’ll bet that not one would have signed if he were Father Polanski. What does that tell you?

Like other groups, movie people tend to stick together. This is natural. What is unnatural − in both senses of that word − is that movie people believe themselves to be above the laws that apply to us “ordinary” people:

● The Sundance Film Festival accepted a film showing men having sex with horses. Reviewers called the film “surprisingly tasteful” and “elegant, eerily lyrical.” The horses’ opinion was not reported.

● A film depicted semi-nude Dakota Fanning being raped. The 12-year-old was described as “seductive.” This is a common excuse by child molesters − “she came on to me.” The film was screened at Sundance and had a limited release, though not limited enough to suit me.

An exhibition open to children showed actual human corpses skinned, dissected and covered with plastic. The bodies may have been dissidents executed in China. A new exhibit will show corpses in sexual poses. Will pedophilia now be outdone by necrophilia? What’s next?

Some people see nothing wrong with making a film about humans having sex with animals. After all, we’re just animals, aren’t we? Some people see nothing wrong with using a 12-year-old girl to act out a rape. After all, she’s just an actress, isn’t she? Some people see nothing wrong with using corpses as entertainment. After all, they’re just pieces of meat, aren’t they?

These people are saying, “If viewers find it entertaining, we will make money – no matter what it is. What’s wrong with that? What are you, some kind of a prude? What’s your problem?”

My problem is that these people make films that influence how we see the world − and how the world sees us. Is it any wonder that Americans are often seen as sex-crazed, money-grubbing, godless narcissists? Look at the people who portray us to the world.

My problem is that I object to treating human beings, especially vulnerable ones, like disposable tissues. We fought World War II to defeat the idea that some people are less than human − and can be used and discarded at our whim.

My problem is that the Swiss are so sensitive that they put animal rights into their constitution. And now their Ethics Committee requires that even plants never be harmed arbitrarily. No, it’s only children to whom they are insensitive.

My problem is that a professor of “bioethics” at an elite university teaches that newborn babies up to a month old can be killed if they are “defective” or just unwanted. He later increased this to up to three years old.

My problem is that our president, when a state senator, repeatedly opposed bills that would require care for babies who are born alive after “failed” abortions.

My problem is that the liberal “elite” disguise themselves as pro-child, pro-woman humanitarians. But sometimes the disguise slips, revealing what lies beneath. It’s not a pretty sight. It includes demoting the unborn to things that can be discarded at our convenience. It includes seeing children not as unique individuals in God’s image, but − like a BMW − as possessions to flaunt. It includes prematurely sexualizing children by TV, films, and classes beginning as early as the first grade. It includes excusing a child molester if he is “one of us.”

My problem is that I recall Jeremiah: “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you.” When we devalue and mistreat the young, including the unborn, we are mistreating a friend of the Boss. This is not a shrewd career move.

Dr. Stolinsky writes on political and social issues. Contact: dstol@prodigy.net.

www.stolinsky.com