Anthony Esolen on the Moral Structure of Pedophilia

Public Discourse has just published a remarkable piece of eloquent, incisive, and bold truth-telling by the remarkable Dr. Anthony Esolen, Providence College English professor and Touchstone Magazine senior editor.

Esolen makes the case that society has largely appropriated a revolutionary idea about sexuality that undermines any rational argument against pedophilia. Yes, we retain some vestigial sentiments against pedophilia but have deracinated anyreasons to oppose it. We have eradicated in Esolen’s words “the moral structure” that renders opposition to pedophilia rational. According to Esolen, the moral structure that supplants the historical moral structure and makes possible pedophilia is this: “the welfare of children is subordinate to the sexual gratification of adults.”

All that motivates or animates society’s current opposition to pedophilia is some sort of antiquated and ultimately useless sentiment left over from a time when people understood true moral reasoning and held true moral reasons. But sentiment cannot long stand.