Applying sideways logic to pedophilia!

I remember having seen the movie Brainscan on video back in the 1990s. I remembered liking the movie quite a bit back then, and thought that the story was clever enough that I should force my wife allow my wife to enjoy it with me. Surprisingly, the special effects on this held up fairly well for being 15 years old; there isn’t anything so fake that it takes you out of the movie (possibly one scene where we see a foot being cut off, but eh, I haven’t ever amputated a foot, so who knows). The story was still good enough to make the movie watchable, although the huge surprise twist ending aspect was completely lost to me since I had already seen the movie, but also to my wife -since it was foreshadowed pretty much from the opening credits. That is the risk you take when you try to go back and watch movies you remember fondly from your younger years though; you may have simply been easier to fool when you were younger.

At some point during the movie, the main character is watching a young lady through her bedroom window (here I use the term “young lady” relatively; she was supposed to be around 15 years old for the story of the film, though I can’t figure out which actress it was, so I can’t find her true age) and it appears as though we are going to get to see her topless. I turned to my wife and said, “Ooh, I think we get to see her tits!” And the wife said something like “She’s too young for you to be looking at them.” To which I replied, “This movie came out in 1994, she’s at least 30 now.” Game, Set, Match. Right? Well, it turns out that the wife thinks that just because she was (or was supposedly) underage at the time the movie was made it makes it perverted to look at her naked -despite the fact that she has obviously passed the age of consent in the mean time…

Leave it to a woman to come up with some crazy shit like that.

Which leads me to the sideways logic and its application to pedophilia. For the purposes of this example I am going to have to make a lot of suppositions. I know that the situation could never present itself exactly as I will describe it, but nothing in life ever does. I want to try to separate this down to its barest form to try to determine exactly where the moral boundary is, where the legal boundary is, and whether the moral and legal boundaries even intersect. This is purely hypothetical, of course, and the only question I am concerned about is the end question, not how or why we arrive there…

A family lives in a house with two small children. Unbeknown to anyone, there are cameras hidden in the bedrooms of the children. The cameras run to a DVR somewhere that records thousands of hours of footage, but it is never viewed by anyone. The children live in the same house until they are in their 30s, at which point they discover the DVR. The video contains a lot of footage of each of them totally naked, dressing, undressing, etc. Knowing there is a market for such material, they decide to sell the video. Is this wrong?

Legally, of course, this is wrong. Distribution of naked images of children is a crime. The legal theory, however, is that it is exploitation of the children, and in our scenario there has been no such exploitation, as the photos were never seen by human eyes until the children were fully grown, they were never made to pose for the photos, and they themselves are the ones that are distributing them. So while it is legally wrong, it seems that the basis of the laws that make it wrong do not take the welfare of the children into consideration at all. But illegal is illegal, and distribution of this would be against the law.

How about morals? Is it morally wrong for them to distribute this? I am asking if it is morally wrong for them to distribute it here, not whether it is morally wrong for someone to look at it. Obviously it is morally wrong to look at photos of naked children, but is it morally wrong for them to sell them? If it is morally wrong to sell the photos, is it morally wrong to give them away?

Personally I think it is definitely immoral and illegal to look at the photos. However I can’t really get my head wrapped around how it could be immoral or illegal for them to sell them. I am absolutely sure they would get convicted (if caught) of distributing the photos of naked children, but I just can’t imagine a jury convicting someone for selling photos of themselves.

What do you think?

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