First of all I was told, “who is Jeffrey Epstein, nobody knows who that is, this is a stupid story.”

Depending on exactly the time she was talking about (she said she had the story for ‘three years’) the idea that no one knew who Epstein was is called “gaslighting.”

Donald Trump brought up Jeffrey Epstein on numerous occasions during his campaign, and had brought up Epstein at CPAC even before he announced for President.

The Epstein case had been in the news media at least once or twice a year for over a decade.

The Epstein case – and the related case of Ron Burkle – was used by the Obama campaign against Hillary Clinton during their primary fight in 2007/2008.

Here’s a fact that is difficult to discuss but it’s important, and likely one of the factors in obscuring the scale of this issue:

The main woman in the Epstein case is Virginia Roberts, who claims she had sex with Prince Andrew when she was 17 years old. Here is the infamous picture of Virginia Roberts, presumably at 17, Prince Andrew, and Ghislaine Maxwell:

Finding Virginia Roberts at 17, as in this picture, does not make one a “pedophile.” Pedophilia is the paraphilia of being attracted to prepubescent children. Virginia Roberts in this picture is anything but a prepubescent child. She is a sexually mature young woman, with pronounced secondary sexual characteristics and likely mature enough to carry a heathly child to term.

One of the points Ann Coulter has made is that she finds it hard to believe that Jeffrey Epstein made his fortune on just “blackmail” because she didn’t believe that there would enough billionaires who had this “fetish.”

Surely pedophilia exists but it also cannot be particularly common. What is common, however, is normal heterosexual attraction to sexually mature young adults, as Virginia Roberts was at 17.

Justin Bieber, at 17, was a sex symbol not just to teenage girls, but a common target of “lusty jokes” by adult women. I remember a client – an office of women in their 30s-50s, that had a picture on the wall of a shirtless Justine Bieber, with his shirt off and muscular chest showing – with some racy, off-color jokes written on the picture by the various women at the office.

Would we label all of these women as “pedophiles?” Of course not.

Just to be clear: this is not to say that adult men having sex with a 17 year old Virginia Roberts is moral or justifiable.

But the real scandal here is not ‘pedophilia’ – it’s prostitution and pimping.

It is the exploitation of lower class young women and girls by wealthy, powerful men.

It is just as immoral, and just as much a scandal that Virginia Roberts was prostituted when she was 18, and some of the young women being prostituted at 20.

There is indication that some of the girls were much younger that 17. In one particular case, Jeffrey Epstein is said to have “bought” two 12 year old girls. Assuming they were prepubescent, that would be pedophilia. Even if they were post-pubescent, that would certainly be borderline pedophile and immoral and illegal in either case.

Labeling this as a “pedophilia” scandal is a way of distancing normal men – and women – from this scandal, because the vast majority of men and women are not pedophiles and are not sexually attracted to prepubescent children.

Thus, few men would be tempted by a prepubescent child being pimped out by Ghislaine Maxwell and Jeffrey Epstein.

But a 17 year old? A 20 year old? A 16 year old?

That would be far more common and far more likely to tempt the powerful men – and some women – likely involved in Maxwell’s and Epstein’s human trafficking ring.

Calling this “pedophilia” is a way to distance “normal” people.

And if the real scandal here is not pedophilia, but prostitution and pimping, then guess what?

Virtually the entire culture of America is guilty because prostitution and pimping is endemic.

After all, what is pornography? Pornography is prostitution and pimping. And pornography is everywhere.

There are tens of thousands, maybe more, mini-Epsteins, mini-Maxwells, and mini-Roberts all over America. Everyone from pornographic producers and performers, to local strip club participants and “escort services” all over the country are doing exactly what Epstein, Maxwell, and Roberts were doing.

The fact that typically people wait until the girl’s 18th birthday hardly justifies what is an economically and socially coercive arrangement.

We see a similar dynamic in the Catholic Church’s scandal. The vast majority of priestly “abuse” is not pedophiles molesting prepubescent children. It’s adult homosexuals molesting and coercing either sexually mature young men, in some cases over 18, or young boys – even though in the case of the homosexual Catholic priests they seem to have the “fetish” of younger boys many right on the line of prepubescent/post-pubescent.

By calling the Catholic abuse scandal a “pedophile” scandal what they are really doing is distancing common homosexual pederasty from the scandal.

And by calling the Maxwell-Epstein trafficking ring “pedophilia” what they are doing is distancing common heterosexuality from the scandal.

In the latter case, it’s not the biological sex that is the crime, nor the moral concern. It’s the power and the use of coercive power in the service of lust.

Part of the scandal is criminal, but all of the scandal is moral.

In the recent “#MeToo” case of Aziz Ansari some feminists had to do a little bit of backtracking. No one could credibly accuse Ansari of “rape” – at least not in the legal sense. By most people’s definition, the woman involved absolutely did “consent” by words and actions.

What Ansari was “guilty” of was being a pushy, selfish lover.

So the feminists had to regroup, and one pointed out that women need another word besides “rape” to describe certain classes of bad sexual experiences that are not legally “rape” and where questions of “consent” are debatable.

Once we start to understand these issues as issues of power and coercion things become a lot more clear.

But this is a question few – if any – want to discuss, because it opens a huge can of worms about our entire society.

Is it acceptable for wealthy women to pay a poor woman to carry a child via surrogacy? If that isn’t a form of prostitution and pimping – why not? It is the entire sexual/reproductive process, just without the pleasurable part.

Is it really more moral to prostitute a young woman on camera for public “consumption” (legal pornography) than it is to prostitute a young woman off camera (illegal prostitution?)

Is it really more moral to prostitute a woman the day of her 18th birthday than it is the day before her 18th birthday?

For that matter – is it really more moral to send a young man half way around to world to kill and be killed by Arabs the day after his 18th birthday than it is to send a young man half way around the world to kill and be killed by Arabs the day before his 18th birthday?

Is it acceptable for rich men to sexually traffick poor 18 year old young women by luring them with money?

Is it acceptable for rich men to enlist poor 18 year old young men into war by luring them with money … and the promise of a GI Bill college eduction and the lure of entry into the respectable middle class?

No one wants to touch those questions, for obvious reasons.