All right thinking people just know that pedophiles can be found only in the Catholic Church and college football programs.

This is bad enough on its own, but the scandals aren’t limited to Doctor Who. As the Daily Mail notes, this story is emerging shortly after accusations that longtime BBC television host Jimmy Savile molested as many as 450 people in his lifetime, making him one of the UK’s “most prolific sex offenders,” according to the NSPCC charity group.

The more we hear about what was going on in the era of sexual liberation, the more the Catholic scandals look like a symptom of the times rather than a special pathology of the Church. The BBC was apparently a hotbed of abuse for underage female and male fans, and revelations about abuse in schools, the Boy Scouts, Jewish organizations and other institutions in which adults regularly interact with youth keep coming to light.

It’s almost enough to make a person think that when a society casts sexual restraint and self control to the winds, the young and the weak become victims of a culture of exploitation and gratification. It’s almost enough to make someone wonder if unbridled and socially glorified libertinism rather than celibacy is the leading cause of the sexual exploitation of minors.

Sex Abuse Scandals Rock the BBC

When sex scandals erupted in the Catholic Church and Penn State’s football programs, we heard a lot about how the sick culture and institutions of religion and football created a safe space for pedophiles. Why no similarly harsh words for private school?
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Here’s what’s really interesting about these two articles: we haven’t heard any calls to re-examine the institution of private school in light of these revelations.

When the Catholic Church scandals erupted, there was a lot of discussion of what factors specific to the church had allowed them to continue. Priestly celibacy, obviously: you’ll naturally attract people who can’t act on their sexual desires in public. Hierarchy and tradition clearly played a role; victims deferred to authority, and so did many of the people who tried to bring these crimes to Authority’s attention. The Catholic Church’s repressed attitude towards sex was referenced, as were its retrograde views on the role of women. Surely such a thing could not have happened anywhere except an all-male patriarchy?

Similarly, when Jerry Sandusky’s crimes were exposed, the commentary focused on the flaws of Penn State as an institution–and also on the macho culture of football. Yet as the Horace Mann revelations continue, I haven’t seen anyone question whether Horace Mann deserves to exist, much less suggest that private school presents an unusually ripe field for pedophiles–a field that should be sown with salt. The authors of the two bombshell articles (both Horace Mann graduates) certainly don’t make any such suggestion; they are plainly bewildered that this was allowed to continue as long as it did.

What explains the difference? The obvious candidate is the demographics of columnists and academics who write about these things. Few of them are football players. Few of them are practicing Catholics (or social conservatives). But a fair number of them went to private school, or send their children there. Even if they are prone to question the institution as an institution, doing so would be awfully uncomfortable. And it might not do much for little Emily’s chances at Brearley.
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But it’s worth asking why we were so sure that other institutions–ones we don’t participate in–were somehow uniquely pedophile-friendly, rather than subject to the normal human instincts to give our colleagues the benefit of the doubt, and avoid scandal at any cost.

Sex Abuse Scandals at Horace Mann: What Do They Tell Us About Private School?

Yes, the problem is exclusively with the Catholic Church and college football…. Rubes.


Unfortunately, it seems that the future Aldous Huxley predicted in 1932, in Brave New World, is arriving early. Mockery, truculence, and minimalist living are best, then enjoy the decline. However, we do need a Revolving Door Tax (RDT) and to prosecute politicians and staff and their “family and friends” who profit from insider trading.

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