We got an email earlier today alerting us to the return of Jim Peron to prominence. This was not the first email expressing this concern that we have had in the past few months, in fact the number we have received is surprisingly high given we thought the issue had gone away back in 2005 when Jim Peron had his work permit revoked on the grounds of bad character due to his paedophilia apologist days back in San Francisco.
What made this email different was that in addition to the claims that he is back in favour and increasing in influence was that it pointed to a new website with our Locke Foundation Report on it and a copy of Unbound (hosted overseas). It invited people to make sure its existence got out there in cyberland.
We were not sure that we wanted to go there again. We certainly do not want to re-litigate this issue it was stressful enough the first time round but we see the point.
Since leaving New Zealand, Jim Peron continues to be published, has had invitations to speak and host conferences, is hailed as an authority and with the demise of the evidence from the world wide web that we unearthed, along with others, some are claiming he was framed, that we, along with Lindsay Perigo, made made the whole thing up because we hate gays. These latter claims are ludicrous – not only is our alledged co-conspiritor gay himself but so was one of the researchers (our flatmate) who worked with us, to write the report! A huge deal was made of Peron’s sexual orientation and our faith at the time and to this day. The reality is that these things have no bearing on the issue at hand.
The fact is, that what Jim Peron did was disturbing. I think Joseph Rowlands sums it up well:
A few years ago, a prominent libertarian (Jim Peron) in Objectivist circles was outed as a supporter of pedophilia. Some investigators in New Zealand found copies of a magazine he published on the topic, including an article in his own name.
The responses at the time were very curious. I would have expected libertarians and Objectivists to try to distance themselves from his viewpoint, or to condemn that ideas he had promoted, or to distance themselves from him. Instead, their was an outpouring of sympathy for him. He has a right to free speech, they said. This is just a witch-hunt, they said. He claims no knowledge of any of it, despite the article penned in his name, they said. That was decades ago, they offered. Age of consent laws are arbitrary(!) they began to argue…
On and on, people who had already supported him found ways to dismiss this significant information about him. They determined that there was no significant loss with having libertarian or Objectivist ideas falsely connected to child-rape.
It was shocking to me at the time for a few reasons. One, because the hatred and disgust that most people felt was for those who brought out the facts. Two, because while the issue should have been about someone promoting pedophilia, people tried to ignore that and hide behind the freedom of speech principle. And three, because when these didn’t seem enough, people actually started making arguments to try to make it seem more respectable, starting with age of consent laws being arbitrary.