WATCH: SUNY Prof defends 'adult-child sex,' saying 'I don't think it's blanket wrong at any age'
Video clips circulating on social media Tuesday night appear to show State University of New York at Fredonia Professor Stephen Kershnar claiming there exists valid moral justification for sex with children.
Kershnar's 2017 book likened moral disgust against pedophilia to the fact that 'many people find it disgusting to view images of obese people having sex.'
Video clips circulating on social media Tuesday night appear to show State University of New York at Fredonia Professor Stephen Kershnar claiming there exists valid moral justification for sex with children, and comparing it to the “willing” act of participating in kickball.
It just keeps getting worse! @FredoniaU this guy needs to be fired ASAP pic.twitter.com/mgOi1spSxt
— Libs of Tik Tok (@libsoftiktok) February 2, 2022
“Imagine that an adult male wants to have sex with a twelve-year-old girl. Imagine that she’s a willing participant…" Kershnar says on video.
“A very standard, very widely held view that there’s something deeply wrong about this, and it’s wrong independent of it being criminalized," Kershnar continues. "It’s not obvious to me that is in fact wrong. I think this is a mistake, and I think that exploring why it’s a mistake will tell us not only things about adult-child sex and statutory rape, but also about fundamental principles of morality.”
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“The notion that it’s wrong even with a one-year-old, is not quite obvious to me," he adds.
“There are reports in some cultures of grandmothers fellating the baby boys to calm them down when they’re colic-y,” Kershnar said, adding, "if it were to be true, it would be hard to see what would be wrong with it" in reference to that unnamed culture.
"No, I don't think it's blanket wrong at any age," he later clarifies.
While the full context of the lecture is not available, Kershnar’s university bio notes that the philosophy professor focuses on “applied ethics and political philosophy,” and has authored book chapters and articles on “adult-child sex,” “torture,” and “sexual fantasies,” as well as “pornography” and “punishment.”
Kershnar’s published works corroborate his assertions as seen in the videos, not simply from the perspective of philosophical exploration, but as arguments made in the first person.
In 2017, Kershnar published a book available in paperback from Amazon, titled Pedophilia and Adult–Child Sex: A Philosophical Analysis. He introduces his book by explaining that while “adult-child sex” is something that “ intuitively strikes many people, including [himself], as sick, disgusting, and wrong,” it is “not clear” if such an aversion is “moral.”
“By analogy, many people find it disgusting to view images of obese people having sex, but it is hard to see what is morally undesirable about such sex. Here the judgment is aesthetic. This book looks at the moral status of such adult-child sex,” Kershnar explains. “In particular, it explores whether those who engage in adult-child sex have a disease, act wrongly, or are vicious. In addition, it looks at how the law should respond to such sex given the above analyses.”
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In 2001, Kershnar authored a paper titled “The moral status of harmless adult-child sex.”
“Nonforcible adult-child sex is thought to be morally wrong in part because it is nonconsensual,” Kershnar explains.
Specifically, the professor states, “I reject accounts of the moral wrongfulness of adult-child sex that rest on the absence of consent, concerns about adult exploitation of children, and the existence of a morally primitive duty against such sex.”
The university refers to Kershnar as "a distinguished teaching professor in the philosophy department at the State University of New York at Fredonia and an attorney."
Campus Reform reached out to SUNY Fredonia and Kershnar for comment; this article will be updated accordingly.