WARNING: this is going to be a long read. And it's not for those who do not want to use their brain or who lack one.
To start with, I'm not a lolicon myself and I am definitely not a paedo. I enjoy good art, but I do find some pictures overly sexualizing children and I do report them as well as websites that host or use such pictures for self-advertisement (generally true for WAP-site, but I did see some WWW-sites like that, too). Beauty and thus beautiful art does not know gender or age, but it does know "morality". But there is such thing as "extreme morality", which becomes, practically, a blind religion and erases whatever thin lines we have between "moral" and "immoral". If you are one of such "religious" fanatics, do not read what's next. I did warn you.
So... When I opened my mind to accept animation (and anime) as a culture aimed not only at kids, but as a general art form I started seeing more and more controversies regarding some of the anime characters. The characters that are usually tagged as "loli" (or "lolis" for plural). Not DFC (delicious flat chest), but "lolis". Although DFC can be a loli, too. Since I already saw a few loli characters, that I liked (as characters), I wondered: is there really no difference between a "lolicon" and "paedophile" (or pedophile"). Thus pushed by curiosity, that I always had for different cultural groups I started searching and reading and analyzing.
Let's start with a little bit of history. The first ever "law" or "taboo" that was accepted by humans and thus created "society" was taboo of incest, which included sex with children, siblings and elderly. This was not done for the sake of "morality", though. This was done for pure survival. As we all know any sexual activity actually bears some risks, including unplanned pregnancy. Sex between blood-related siblings bears high risks of a child being born to be weak or even mutated, which in times long gone practically meant "dead", which was not beneficial to tribe's populace, considering the need to waste 9 months before knowing the child won't survive. Sexual activity with little children could damage them both physically and mentally, which also meant they could become a hindrance for a tribe, since they could no longer help with increasing tribe's numbers. Similar thing with elderly - they maybe sexually compatible, but their body may be week, so they too can be injured which will make them more of a hindrance despite their knowledge and wisdom.
Thus it was a practical decision. So that young males and females would not waste their time on empty sexual acts, that could damage the tribe in the long run, thus decreasing tribe's chances of survival in harsh environment(s).
Similar logic was applied to other following laws, like taboo on murder or taboo on stealing: second of bliss for one could always mean death for the whole tribe. These laws became "wisdom" that was passed down from one generation to the other and at some point this "wisdom" turned into what we call "morality" nowadays. And we generally try to follow it, because even despite way bigger numbers we are still vulnerable and unfit to live on this earth is things go south. Higher morality = higher survival rate.
So did paedophiles appear at that time? Well, actually no. Even though there are no written proofs of the fact, it's believed that at some point due to the taboo on incest and death to those who broke it paedophiles died out (more or less). When did they return? Actually when society became too... Rich and comfortable. If you waste a few hours or even days you can see the pattern, that people with power in ancient Greece and Rome and cultures before them used to keep young boys (generally) and sometimes young girls as slaves working for them. Even though before Rome's orgies there were not so many mentionings of actual sexual or nearly sexual activities with those kid-slaves, it was somewhat implied, especially considering the number of spiritual rituals at the time, some of which were sexual.
Sudden increase of child abuse can be seen in the times of ancient Rome. Which is quite logical. Even if you compare it to ancient Greece, which did coin the word "paedophile" meaning "being friendly to child" (yes, there is no mention of sexuality here at all), Rome had way too many poor people, who lived in very harsh environment(s) compared to the rich ones. And when you're poor, when you're mentally broken, when you're weak you do tend to seek someone weaker to make yourself better. And who is weaker than a starving bump? A starving kid.
There was an increase in numbers of kids brutalized and abused, including sexual abuse. And lots of kids were used in orgies by those with enough power, but not mentally strong enough to search for someone equal to them and have a consented relationship. This also gave an increase to number of gays, because sometimes these people could not choose what sex the kid-toy had.
And after that it never vanished again, because broken people continued to exist. Can't say if number of such assaults increases, but it's not decreasing either.
So is it just harsh environment that makes someone abuse a child? Not exactly.Even if you ask Wikipedia it will tell you the same thing in slightly different, maybe a bit overcomplicated words: it's the innocence of a child that person sees. You see, we are all born innocent. All born weak. We have a bright light inside of us, but life inevitably makes it dimmer. Quite often this starts to happen around the time we start realize our own sex, because we also start to realize our biological needs and our biological "goal", biological "responsibility". Dreams of "higher matter" crash against the cliffs of survival needs.
As adults we all know that. Some even remember when this happened to them: an event, that killed them inside. And we all painfully miss what was before that.
The "broken people", the paedophiles, they tend to go back "there" more often than others. They dwell over the wound in their pscyhe or soul, tearing it open over and over again, making it bigger. And when they see the children... They just click. Pure jealousy: "How come they have, what I don't?". And we all know how jealousy can work: it can make you work to become better or force you to see red and punch, kick, steal, kill. And those who choose "the bad" path are called paedophiles. They attain this particular mental disorder. And it is called "disorder", because they loose the "order" in their mind, the "order' which built up the "morality" we now have.
Some of you may have noticed, that I have not mentioned lolicons yet. I will now. Let's start with a definition. Lolicon means "lolita complex" (there are also other "cons", and the below things are usually true for them as well). What is "lolita"? Actually this is a derivative from a name "Dolores", which in some interpretations means "pain". In some others it stands for "grass". Practically "Lolita" is a translation or a pet-name of "Dolores".
After a certain novel by Nabokov (in which using this name does make some sense to me as a writer) the name started being used to call young girls who look or act more sexually then others of their age (which is not a deviation, if you ask sexologists). For some it became a name for "young sluts" (which is not true, too) due to controversy of the novel. As a writer, I can say that it was not Nabokov's intention. In fact, there was already a term for such girls - jailbait. Like a young girl who looks more adult, than she actually is. Like, the girl is more "curvy" then others of her age.
Lolicons are those who are attracted to such girls. But no matter what some say, that attraction is not the same as one of paedophiles. Yes, it can be sexual, but keep in mind, that a lot of our feelings towards other are based on sexual attraction. This was mentioned by Freud, Jung and others. When we find someone attractive or even simply comfortable to be with it means acknowledgement of sexuality of that person. But it does not necessarily mean that we will have sex with them, provided the chance.
Same is with the lolicons. They are attracted, but it doe snot mean they will abuse. And this is a very thin line. You see, that attraction is also based on the same innocence of a child paedophiles see. But where paedophiles feel jealousy, lolicons generally feel... Pride. They see potential. The "curves" of our body signify maturity. The sooner we mature the stronger we can become when facing real life, because it simply becomes easy. And those "lolitas" they represent both the innocence of a child and the strength of an adult. Meaning they have potential to save the light inside of them. And lolicons want to cherish that light, want to guide it, protect it, adore it. The want to hug a loli the same way a mother or a father wants to hug their child when that child makes them proud.
But are those two mutually exclusive? Sadly, no. And this explains why some people partner lolicons with paedophiles. As I said, there is a very thin line, practically a line between hate and love. And just one misstep, just one push can make a lolicon into a paedophile. Break a person so hard, that one will loose hope in something good and one will stop wanting to protect. One will start wanting to destroy. Desire to protect and adore brought from sexual attraction *and* morality will erase the morality and turn into pure lust.
So, should you be weary of lolicons? Yes. Because a lolicon may not realize yet, that he\she has turned. But should you condemn them? No. If you think a lolicon has crossed the line (or about to cross it) you should help, instead of giving a push in that direction. We are all vulnerable and need some acceptance and support to live on and keep up with the morality, if we lack them we may fall into dark depths of our own psyche and attain different mental disorders. Lolicons are not an exception from the rule. Accept and support them so that they will not turn to "darkness".