Should an Incredibly Disturbing Guide to Pedophilia Be Banned?

Alright, people, go with me here. I know you read that title and needed no further incitement to hop on the comments section and rage. And I feel you. But give it a minute…

The book in question leaves little to the imagination: “The Pedophile’s Guide to Love and Pleasure: A Child-Lover’s Code of Conduct,” by Phillip R. Greaves II, was self-published, and was available on Amazon until Wednesday, when it got pulled following thousands of angry emails.

So yes, the idea of the book is horrible. Also, my initial reaction was that pedophilia is illegal, and so it seemed like a how-to guide on the topic would be equally as unlawful.

Then I realized that I have a copy of Guerilla Warfare sitting about two feet to my left.

But that’s neither here nor there. Greaves’ book is obviously incredibly disturbing, especially after you hear from the author that it really is intended as a literal guide. According to CNN, he describes the book as “my attempt to make pedophile situations safer for those juveniles that find themselves involved in them, by establishing certian [sic] rules for these adults to follow.”

Of course, the goal should be to eliminate pedophilia situations, not turn them into something that could pass as “safer” or somehow acceptable.

BUT. When it comes to things like pedophilia, it can be a fine line between giving a voice to someone who wants to cause heinous pain to a child and call it love, and censorship. Do we cave to our sensibilities and say that indeed, some books should be banned, or do we say that no book should ever be banned, under any circumstances?

What do you think?

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    • lotusflwr

      Amazon is within their rights to remove it from their digital publishing platform. I do think that these people calling for an Amazon boycott are going way too far and are really ignorant of how the Kindle digital publishing stuff works.

      I couldn’t care less whether the book is published or available, digitally or in print, since I don’t believe in censorship. However, Amazon’s decision to remove it from their Digital Kindle publishing platform is akin to any publisher deciding it doesn’t want to publish a lousy book, or Walmart deciding it doesn’t want to sell a book of erotica or something.

    • Eileen

      I agree with lotusflwr, and would like to add that while I don’t think it should be banned, I think that if it can be proven that any would-be pedophile used this book to attain his child-loving ends, the author should be held partially culpable, just as with hate speeches that result in hate crimes.

    • Aileen

      This is quite tough. As an editor (well, assistant to the editor), I want to say that all censorship is wrong. This guy self-published, obviously knowing that no sane publisher (even if they wanted some press) would pick that manuscript up. However, like you mentioned Jessica, pedophilia is illegal, and I’m pretty sure most people would agree it is obscene. If this is a “guide,” at some point it will delve into moments of child pornography (even if it’s just describing the act)…again, totally illegal.

      The only semi-common ground everyone would find is to allow the seller to decide whether to sell the book or not, which is different from completely banning this book and not even allow this creepo to self-publish. I do agree with Amazon’s decision, though, because with they cater a great deal to families, and I’d make the same one in their shoes.

      So, to end this ramble, I think censorship is a slippery slope and although I totally do not feel comfortable with this book, once you ban one book, it’s easy to ban something else that we may consider completely tame. Either way, that book is gross, and I basically cringed the entire time I was writing this!

    • Elle

      *sigh* This is not censorship. The government is not stopping this guy from writing his how to have sex with a child book, Amazon simply doesn’t want to carry it, nor should they be forced to.

      • MNiM

        This.

        It is not a question of censorship, and frankly actual conversations about censorship would be a lot less aggravating if we all stopped using the word as shorthand for “stuff that’s been banned because someone thinks it’s offensive”.

    • Emily

      Amazon can sell or not sell whatever it likes, whether the existence of the book itself is illegal or not.

      As for that, are there descriptions of illegal acts in the book that can be considered child porn? (In Canada it’s been ruled that sketches can be considered child pornography even if they were not drawn from life, I imagine text could be similar) Also, inciting a crime is also a crime (that’s how hate speech is banned) if this book can be found to incite molestation, the author would then be culpable.

      In Canada, anyway. I don’t know how the US differs here.

    • Crimson Mask

      Amazon banning the book is not censorship, and it is misleading to equate Amazon’s refusal to publish and/or distribute (anything) to censorship. Phil Greaves remains free to distribute his PDF files from his own website, or print it up and sell it by direct mail. He might even find a publisher willing to invest in his writing… especially now that the controversy may lead to profit. No amount of public outcry could legally deny him that.

      What is more troubling is that we have people threatening the man’s life and he has to seek police protection over what amounts to the expression of an opinion.

    • Diabetes Guide

      It is simply outrageous to have something like that. Shouldn’t even be written in the first place.

    • Queen

      You all sick talkin even about having a right to publish this crap..this is disgusting. the only right this pedophile has is the death penalty. the ones who writtes it and the ones who buy thems should be put in jail.