Paedophilia and the radical left of ’68

Please excuse this brief reference to scripture:

“Therefore I say to you, every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven men, but the blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven men. Anyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man, it will be forgiven him; but whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit, it will not be forgiven him, either in this age or in the age to come”

– Matt: 12:31-32

Is there an unforgivable sin in politics?

American voters, and not just those of Louisiana, have returned to office politicians of dubious moral and legal character. Wilbur Mills, Alcee Hastings, Buddy Cianci and Marion Barry were not punished at the polls (and I won’t open the door to discussing Bill Clinton). We will soon see if South Carolina’s First Congressional District has it in its heart to forgive Mark Sanford. Bribery, adultery, perjury, corruption, drug and alcohol abuse, and violence have not barred a return to office for some politicians or for some church leaders and prominent pastors. My own denomination (The Episcopal Church) has even ordained a convicted murderer to the priesthood. But the unpardonable sin — in churches, politics and in just about every walk of life — has been paedophilia.

The Catholic Church has suffered for its handling of the scandal, but is not alone in having experienced incidents of abuse by clergy and church workers committed against children. On Monday the Anglican Archbishop of Melbourne told a Parliamentary committee that his church at one time had a culture of denial and cover-up concerning allegations of abuse. The Catholic Church in Europe has been particularly hard hit and has been excoriated by the press and rights activists for its handling of the scandal.

The opprobrium held by right thinking people against paedophilia in Europe does not apply, however to revolutionaries and left wing politicians. A report in the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (FAZ) on the fracas over the award of a prize to Daniel Cohn-Bendit suggests a double standard is being applied to paedophiles in Europe. Those who molest children out of lust are criminals and beyond the pale — those who molest children out of revolutionary fervor to bring down the capitalist regime really aren’t so bad.

But first, who is Daniel Cohn-Bendit? A leader of the ’68 student uprising in Paris, Dany le Rouge has been a prominent left-wing politician and cultural warrior in France and Germany for the past forty years and presently leads the Greens/European Free Alliance in the European Parliament. The Turtle Bay and Beyond blog notes:

Cohn-Bendit has for many years aspired to a role similar to that played by Maximilien de Robespierre during the French Revolution, holding everyone accountable for everything – including Czech President Vaclav Klaus for his Euroscepticism, or Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban for having given to his country a new Constitution that protects the family, defines marriage as a union between a man and a woman, and (the worst of all imaginable actions against “European values”) mentions God!

The FAZ reports that the 68-year old Cohn-Bendit was given a award this week by the Theodor-Heuss-Foundation for his political achievements. However the awards ceremony was picketed by protesters and boycotted by the President of the German Constitutional Court Andreas Vosskuhle who declined to add his voice to those honoring the Green Party leader.

The report from Stuttgart from the FAZ  opened with some local color.

Es spielen sich ziemlich unschöne Szenen auf dem Stuttgarter Schlossplatz ab, der guten Stube der baden-württembergischen Landeshauptstadt. Die Theodor-Heuss-Stiftung hat ins Neue Schloss geladen. Daniel Cohn-Bendit soll im Weißen Saal mit dem nach dem ersten Bundespräsidenten benannten Preis ausgezeichnet werden. Als er aus dem Taxi steigt, rufen einige der etwa siebzig Demonstranten: „Schämt euch!“ Die Junge Union und Missbrauchsorganisationen haben zu dieser Demonstration aufgerufen.

Roughly translated as:

An ugly scene unfolded on the Schlossplatz in Stuttgart, the Baden-Württemberg state capital, when Daniel Cohn-Bendit arrived at the Neue Schloss. The Theodor Heuss Foundation had invited him to the Schloss’s White Hall to receive an award named for the former German president.  As he got out of the taxi he was greeted by approximately 70 demonstrators from the Youth Union and anti-abuse organizations. “Shame on you!”

The reason for the outcry? According to the FAZ it was Cohn-Bendit’s accounts of his adventures in paedophilia while working in a preschool.

In his 1975 book “Le Grand Bazar,” Cohn-Bendit justified pedophilia as a form of sexual liberation. “It’s happened to me several times that some children have opened my fly [Hosenlatz] and started to caress me.”

According to the FAZ, in a 1978 magazine article Cohn-Bendit stated:

„Letztes Jahr hat mich ein 6jähriges Genossenmädchen verführt. Es war eines der schönsten und sprachlosesten Erlebnisse, die ich je hatte. Vielleicht war es so schön, weil es so sprachlos war. Es war das einzige Mal, wo es mir nicht zu früh kam. Aber das war nicht wichtig in dem Moment, und es ist auch jetzt nicht wichtig, ein Traktat über das Für und Wider von Päderastie zu schreiben“, heißt es in der Zeitschrift.

“Last year I seduced a willing 6-year girl. It was one of the most beautiful experiences I’ve ever had and left me speechless. Maybe it was so wonderful because it was so speechless. … But that was not important at the moment, and it’s not important right now to write a treatise on the pros and cons of pederasty.”

The FAZ reports that Cohn-Bendit has since claimed these confessions were fictional and asks that he be judged not on what he said but what he did. The article states that in 2001 the Green Party cleared Cohn-Bendit of misconduct after a parent wrote a letter clearing the radical leader. However, the FAZ reported that its investigation found the parent who wrote the letter exculpating Cohn-Bendit did so out of political solidarity with “poor Dany” and did not have  a child in his class.

The judge said he would not attend the ceremony saying that he did not want to create the impression that the Constitutional Court approved of Mr. Cohn-Bendit’s utterances regarding paedophilia. However other political and cultural leaders who honored Cohn-Bendit sad they would not judge him.

Kretschmann, de Weck und Heuss begründen, warum sie Cohn-Bendit trotz allem für preiswürdig halten. Der Ministerpräsident sagt, es habe während der Achtundsechziger-Zeit Tabubrüche gegeben, die richtig gewesen seien. „Früher war Homosexualität strafbar“, heute seien bekennende Schwule Bundesminister und Ministerpräsidenten. Doch: „Bei Sex mit Kindern hört der Tabubruch auf.“ Es sei ein „elementarer Unterschied“, ob Cohn-Bendits Irrtümer verbaler Natur seien oder tatsächlich stattgefunden hätten.

In spite of everything, Kretschmann, de Weck and Heuss continue to justify their support for the award to Cohn-Bendit. The Prime Minister said that in 1968 many taboos were being challenged. “In the past, homosexuality was punishable,” but today there were gay political leaders. But: “sex with children, that taboo has not changed.” But there was, he said. a “fundamental difference” between Cohn-Bendit”s committing the acts and his writing about them.

Is there a distinction between bragging about having molested children and not having done so — and actually having done the deed? Is breaking the taboos of bourgeois society an excuse for molesting a child? Given the torrent of invective heaped on the church by the press and political leaders over its child abuse crimes — does not the tolerance, nay the celebration of Daniel Cohn-Bendit speak to a bigotry and hypocrisy among the European elite?

This is simply extraordinary. Yet, the rules of civil society do not seem to apply to the 68ers and their moral and political enablers. Hypocrisy — the war on terror — is rife in America too. Kathy Boudin can take part in a act of terrorism where a bank guard is killed and today teaches at Columbia. How is Cohn-Bendit’s conduct worse?

 

Print Friendly

About geoconger
  • Jeffrey Weiss

    Seems to me there are several questions here:
    1) Did he do it? Seems like a pretty big question for which I don’t see an unambiguous answer.
    2) If he didn’t do it, exactly how bad is it that he wrote about it that he did?
    3) Has he offered any explanation for or remorse for having written it?
    4) Has he said or written anything else that is relevant in the ensuing 35 years?
    5) What else has he done that is worthy of note?

    Similar questions would apply to Boudin — with the additional factor that she served her time after being convicted of an actual crime.

    Add to those the complex questions about how society does and does not grant second chances. Toss the Roman Polanski case in here, too…

    Plenty of grist for interesting journalism, to be sure. What I don’t see, ahem, is even a ghost of religion in anything here.

    • geoconger

      Contrast of responses — Cohn-Bendit v Catholic Church. See double standard question above

    • Deacon John M. Bresnahan

      The ghost of religion here is the basic moral issues involved. Religion used to be for most, and for many still is, the moral conscience of society. It’s strength—or examples of its collapse– is thus very much a religious news story.

      • http://ingles.homeunix.net/ Ray Ingles

        Of course, religion is now a moral conscience in society, rather than “the moral conscience of society”. If there’s a story about someone who has a philosophy rather than a religion that informs their conscience, is it a religious story?

        That said, it is useful to expose human tribalism whenever it appears. I recall stories about congregations rallying around priests who were later convicted of child abuse. Does that “speak to a bigotry and hypocrisy” of those congregants?

    • sari

      Jeffrey, at issue is whether the press treats the religious differently than it does the not religious when discussing the same sin, in this case pedophilia. Nor do I think the press (or anyone) should give Cohn-Bendit a pass, now that he’s decided that he lied during an interview. It doesn’t matter, because he validated and rhapsodized over acts are both illegal and immoral, which may have provided individuals so inclined with the justification they needed to proceed. Instead the press should have delved deeper, something they have no problem doing when investigating clergy.

    • SouthCoast

      “4) Has he said or written anything else that is relevant in the ensuing 35 years?
      5) What else has he done that is worthy of note?” Frankly, my dear…

  • Pingback: France and Same-Sex 'Marriage' - Big Pulpit

  • Pingback: » Paedophilia and the radical left of '68 – Patheos

  • Pingback: Paedophilia and the radical left of ’68: Get Religion, April 24, 2013 | Conger

  • Jen L

    Legally, there’s a huge difference between what he said he did and what he actually did. Practically, though, when someone glorifies pedophilia in their words, they should be held accountable for that, just as rappers glorifying cop-killing and racists speaking racial slurs should be held accountable for their words. Words are not unforgivable, but words are powerful.

  • domenico

    this could be useful:
    “Si la génération 68 a eu raison de secouer une société engoncée dans ses principes, elle a mal contrôlé ses propres dérives, y compris la pédophilie Trois raisons essentielles ont guidé notre décision de faire état, dans notre dernier numéro, des écrits passés de Daniel Cohn-Bendit et de lui proposer de s’expliquer, à la lumière d’aujourd’hui.”

    Read what was written in a 1978 petition:
    ” L’amour des enfants est aussi l’amour de leur corps. Le désir et les jeux sexuels librement consentis ont leur place dans les rapports entre enfants et adultes. Voilà ce que pensait et vivait Gérard R. avec des fillettes de 6 à 12 ans dont l’épanouissement attestait aux yeux de tous, y compris de leurs parents, le bonheur qu’elles trouvaient avec lui.”
    http://www.lexpress.fr/informations/le-devoir-d-inventaire_641580.html

  • Julia

    Just read the French newspaper article linked by Domenico.
    This immediately jumped out:

    One way to “shock the bourgeois” –

    For those of you who were not present for the silliness of the 60s – this is what it was all about. Shock the parents, shock the teachers, shock your peer who were not cool and with the program.

    On Mad Men the other night, Pete, in the late 60s, is handing out tickets to the Broadway play “Hair” & he grins evily while saying that it is about. He proceeds to have what he thinks is a one night stand with one of the neighbor ladies who comes to his NYC pad to get the tickets. Poor thing, she wasn’t “with it” and thought he loved her which led to lots of mayhem.

    Yup, even fiction, like (maybe) Dany the Red’s, was incentive and justification for a lot of really bad stuff in the 60s and 70s.

    My favorite song from “Hair” was the one by the pregnant girl, abandoned by her very cool lover, who is bemoaning the fact that her really cool 60s friends were all for saving the world but had no time for an individual who badly needed a friend. The 60s was crazy time, when shocking people was admired and being a good person was mocked.

  • Julia

    Second comment on this subject.

    Why is the episode in the Vagina Monologues where an adult woman seduces and has a lesbian affair with a teenage minor OK and even praised? Is this not illegal? Fiction does have consequences when it gives justification and cover to bad acts. No different than how Roman Polanski was/is treated. Is it more of the mindset of “shock the bourgeouise” justifies almost anything?

  • c matt

    2) If he didn’t do it, exactly how bad is it that he wrote about it that he did?

    There is a difference, but not necessarily as huge as you may think. There is the crime of rioting, and the crime of inciting a riot. There is the crime of treason, and the crime of aiding and abetting the enemy. There is the crime of pederasty…. Of course, as a moral matter, supporting the reprehensible with words is not much different from committing the reprehensible act itself. The verbal support is acquiessence, agreement and condoning the act. Would you ask the same question, would you even care about the answer, if someone wrote about the fantastic experience of carrying out the Boston bombing, and how wonderful it was, even if this person never committed such an act? I didn’t think so.

    • domenico

      not ‘if someone’ but if a political leader had wrote such a things…
      Now let’s imagine a right political leader writing in a book that ” one of the most beautiful experiences I’ve ever had” it was the putting a bomb and killing people . Do you think that the distinctions you made would save his political career?

  • Ira Rifkin

    Whatever his crimes and immoralities, Cohn-Bendit’s actions are in no way comparable to those of the Roman Catholic Church. The 60s are long over; history has moved on. The media’s faults, blind spots and assorted deficiencies are not always at their root worthy of GR’s attention. Agreed: ain’t no ghost here worth the commentary.

    • sari

      So, Ira, you feel that the press should not more fully explore the veracity of Cohn-Bendit’s in print allegations -and- the allegations made against him? Seriously? Because that’s exactly how the press handles even a smidgeon of a rumor that a youth pastor in a non-Catholic church crossed the line. How about the Austin guru whose crimes would never have come to light without the press? Teachers (inappropriate behavior sans religion)? Why should this guy (or Roman Polanski) get a pass?

  • Steve Bauer

    Cohn-Bendit’s actions are in no way comparable to those of the Roman Catholic Church

    I do not understand this statement. Are you saying that the paedophilia in the Roman Catholic Church was not the problem but rather the covering up was? Are you saying that Cohn-Bendit’s actions as just one individual is not comparable to the actions of many priests (simply a question of volume)?

  • Ira Rifkin

    I did NOT say or imply that this guy or Roman Polanski should get a pass, only that the Cohn-Bendit story contains little if any grist for GR.

    As for Cohn-Bendit and the RC Church, it seems clear that the magnitude of the crimes Church leaders committed are far greater quantitatively, as well as qualitatively because of the Church’s unique position as a global religious/moral authority. Cohn-Bendit has far less reach. Whatever his personal responsibility, it cannot be compared to that of the Church.

    Bash the 60s if you like, even it’s values. But molestation – real or imagined – was not one of its identifiable hallmarks.

    • domenico

      It seems to me that you do not know how influential is Cohn-Bendit… Cohn-Bendit is a ‘moral authority’ for many people. If you write “It’s happened to me several times that some children have opened my fly [Hosenlatz] and started to caress me” without condemning explicitly these facts there will be people who will think that this is good. Remember that all pedophiles will tell you that the children started and sought them .
      As I noted above at the same time when Cohn-Bendit was writing so, there were real people justifying and defending a real pedophile who committed actual sexual acts on children with a cultural and political manifesto (“Le désir et les jeux sexuels librement consentis ont leur place dans les rapports entre enfants et adultes”) that was inherent to the 60′ movement of the sexual liberation.

  • http://sarahboylewebber.blogspot.com/ Sarah Webber

    I have a six year old daughter. Anyone who would even joke or pretend . . . . The kind of shock value you would get out of me isn’t pretty. Vigilantism comes to mind.

  • FW Ken

    molestation – was not one of its identifiable hallmarks.

    Maybe, maybe not. The sexual mis-behaviors of Catholic priests peaked in the 60s and 70s and tailed off by the mid-80s. The decrease is almost certainly due in part to delayed reporting, but there is good reason to believe the actual incidence of abuse has decreased (see the link below). Only Catholic clergy have been thoroughly studied, but the studies of other clergy that we do have suggest that all clergy offend at rates and patterns similar to Catholic priests, which leads to the conclusion that indeed, the 60s and it’s aftermath was a good time for sexually predatory behavior.

    Also related to the 60s is the actions of bishops. Coverup and shuffling priests certainly happened, but it’s not all that happened. Bishops, like the larger culture, bought into a culture of therapy pushed by an ambitious and almost euphoric psychological establishment. Believing the psychologists that predators were “cured”, and abandoning their roles as shepherds in favor of CEO, bishops really did do bad things, sometimes from malice, and sometimes from stupidity.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2011/05/19/us/19bishops.html?_r=0

    That article illustrates, to me, the problems in talking about this subject. Everyone has a hobby horse to ride, and I’m fairly sympathetic to the problems journalists encounter. However, the fact remains that the news and entertainment media (often the same thing) in the hands of people for whom Woodstock marks the high-water moment in western history. When that generation is gone (and I know we are passing), something like truth about the 60s might be written.

  • Dimitri Cavalli

    How come whenever damaging quotes come back to haunt leftists, they always claim it was satire, fictional, or misunderstood?

    Here are a few examples:

    1) In 1995, pro-abortion author Michelle Goldberg was a student at the University of Buffalo. In the student newspaper, she urged people to “spit” on pro-life activists and “kick them in the head.” She also expressed hope that pro-life churches would be firebombed. Goldberg’s comments sparked an uproar–which was covered in the Buffalo News–and even a lawsuit against the university, charging that it allowed a climate of intolerance on campus against pro-lifers. (Pro-life displays had also been vandalized.) Naturally, Miss Goldberg shrugged and said she simply wrote a satire.

    2) When blogger Amanda Marcotte was forced to resign from the John Edwards presidential campaign in 2007, after critics cited her anti-Catholic, anti-Christian, and profanity-filled blog posts, she also claimed it was satire.

    3) In the 1950s, Mike Wallace interviewed Corliss Lamont, a prominent humanist professor and left-wing activist. Wallace’s staff did their homework. Wallace asked Lamont about an article he had written in the early 1930s for New Masses, a pro-Soviet, Communist Party magazine. Lamont had praised the Soviet government for having successfully “liquidated” many troublesome religious believers. Lamont was caught off guard. By using the word, “liquidation,” Lamont insisted that he meant that the Soviet government (which he continued to champion) fought religion through education, not through violence and persecution, which he claimed, of course, to have opposed.

    4) Then there was that French Cabinet minister, Frederic Mitterrand, who insisted that his own book, “A Bad Life,” which talked about his delight in visiting male brothels in Thailand and paying for sex with boys, was just an autobiographical “novel.”

  • Pingback: Paedophilia and the left redux: Get Religion, May 16, 2013 | Conger

  • Pingback: Paedophilia and the left redux