Roots of the Left’s Acceptance of Pedophilia

Roots of the Left's Acceptance of Pedophilia.

by Steven Kessler · April 13, 2019
Shockingly, there are people in the liberal media attempting to normalize pedophilia. These media sources range from outlets like to peer-reviewed journals to popular cable news media shows.

One would think that a stance against pedophilia would be something we can all agree on, yet here we are. To those with only a cursory understanding of liberalism and liberal ideology, this is shocking. However, to those with an intimate understanding of liberal ideology, this is the next logical threshold when articulating the moral foundations of liberalism.

To understand the path of this logical progression, we must explore the work and thought of Jean Rousseau, the godfather and patron saint of liberalism. Rousseau believed that “man is a being who is naturally good … and the first movements of nature are always good.” Human beings are born naturally benevolent, and our natural goodness means man’s impulses and feelings are naturally just and correct, therefore making them moral to follow.

Rousseau believed that man lives in a fictitious utopian “state of nature,” which existed prior to civil society. In the state of nature, human beings lived independently; they lived free from the judgments of others; and we necessitated not favors, nor esteem, nor flattery from our neighbors.

Unfortunately, when a person selfishly acquired private property for himself, it caused society’s birth, which destroyed the utopian “state of nature” permanently. We are now forever dependent on others, forever subjected to the judgments of our neighbors, and forever faced with the need to garner esteem and flattery. As Arthur Melzer, a scholar of Rousseau, explained, “the dependency relationships formed in society, and the process of psychological corruption they produce, culminate in the other-directed self-seeker, who spends his life obsessed with others precisely because he cares only about himself.” Human beings pretend to be nice to others simply for their own personal gain. The only reason we are kind is to gain a utilitarian advantage from others, others we do not actually care about. The need to free oneself from the dependence and judgment of others and live freely is the thrust of what is known as the ethic of sincerity, or in this case, insincerity.

As David Gauthier, another Rousseau scholar, observed of Rousseau, “to depend on opinion is to depend on others for one’s sentiment of existence. It is to be alienated from oneself.” Gauthier quoted Rousseau’s moral angst: “I no longer found anything great … but to be free and virtuous, above fortune and opinion, and to suffice to oneself. Although the shame and fear of hisses kept me from behaving upon these principles at first.”

So long as Rousseau was under the tyranny of the esteem of others, he lived a beleaguered life. Rousseau felt a pressure from society to conceal his true nature and live life wearing a mask over his personality. He bemoaned the nature of this constraint in The first discourse (1750):

One does not dare to appear as what one is. And in this perpetual constraint, men who make up this herd we call society, placed in the same circumstances, will all do the same things, unless more powerful motives prevent them. Thus, one will never know well the person one is dealing with.

Rousseau is fearful of shame and negative opinions from others. He must therefore live the life of a phony, insincere person, perpetually stunted from being himself. To be oneself is the essence of a life sincerely lived.

Melzer identified Rousseau as the first person to canonize this philosophical premise, which defined “the good as being oneself regardless of what one may be” (p. 14). Simply be yourself, and “let go and stop trying. … I truly find myself when, rejecting all strenuous talk about my higher self, and liberated from shame and guilt, I just freely observe and sincerely acknowledge all that goes on within my soul.” Read Jill Locke’s description of Rousseau’s moral philosophy in Democracy and the death of shame: Political equality and social disturbance:

He connected his misery to an unhealthy preoccupation with the impressions of others and the ease with which he could be made to feel ashamed. His narrative of self-loathing and longing to be free from the judgments of others who cast one as undesirable.

Rousseau’s true goal in living authentically was escaping the judgment and shame others cast upon him. Being true to oneself means living a life without shame, free of guilt, removed from the opinions of others. For Rousseau, the authentic person is one who is not just free from shame and judgment, but has the opportunity to be whoever he chooses to be.

As the fear of shame is removed from our lives, our notion of what is good, beautiful, and true changes. For Rousseau, “morality itself requires of the individual only that he listen to his heart and yield effortlessly to its present command.” We only have to listen to our hearts because of our natural goodness. When Rousseau said, “The first movements of nature are always good,” he meant that one “acts only in accord with his impulses and reason.” The natural goodness of man means we are devoid of evil inclinations. This natural goodness makes all our actions benevolent, so long as we mean well. As Rousseau said, “I give myself to the impression of the moment without resistance and [even] without scruple; for I am perfectly sure that my heart loves only that which is good.”

Tying Rousseau’s natural goodness of man, his desire to live without shame, living free from the opinions of others, and his belief that a person must only look inside and be whatever it is he feels inside — however reprehensible it may be — to the modern issue of pedophilia should appear axiomatic. If human beings are naturally good, if they need to only look inside themselves and act on their impulses, which, again, are always moral, then they should.

If those impulses are those of pedophilia, it is logical, according to Rousseau and his acolytes, to act upon them. Society needs to refrain from judging the rapists and molesters of the world because that’s just who they are on the inside, and because of our natural goodness, all of their impulses are moral and worth following.

I submit that pedophilia is the final frontier, but then again, who knows? So long as the liberals believe morality consists in living authentically, looking within, and living a life without shame, the boundaries of socially acceptable behavior will move in directions and places our ancestors could have never imagined.


Watson, P. (2015, September 22). The mainstreaming of pedophilia. Retrieved from:
Morabito, S. (2019, February 21). The Pedophile Project: Your 7-Year-Old Is Next On The Sexual Revolution’s Hit Parade. The Federalist. Retrieved from:
O’Carroll, T. (2018). Childhood ‘Innocence’ is Not Ideal: Virtue Ethics and Child–Adult SexSexuality & Culture. Retrieved from:
Nickerson, T. (2015, September 21). I’m a pedophile, but not a monster. Retrieved from:
Lithwick, D. (2019, March 3). Is Pedophilia a Crime or an Illness? We’ve never quite known whether child molesters should be treated as sick people or punished as criminals. Retrieved from:
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Melzer, A. (1996). The origin of the counter-Enlightenment: Rousseau and the new religion of sincerity. The American Political Science Review, 90 (2).
Gauthier, D. (2006). Rousseau: The sentiment of existence. New York, NY: Cambridge University.
Gauthier, D. (2006). Rousseau: The sentiment of existence. New York, NY: Cambridge University.
Rousseau, J. (1750). Discourse on the arts and sciences. Retrieved from:
Jelzer, A. (1995). Rousseau and the modern cult of sincerity. The Harvard Review of Philosophy, Spring ‘95.
Melzer, A. (1995). Rousseau and the modern cult of sincerity. The Harvard Review of Philosophy, Spring ‘95.
Locke, J. (2016). Democracy and the death of shame: Political equality and social disturbance. New York, NY: Cambridge.
Ryn, C. (1978). Democracy and the ethical life. Baton Rouge, LI: University of Louisiana Press. · by Steven Kessler · April 13, 2019

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