If we allow Teh Gayers then surely incest can’t be far behind?

That was, you may recall, one of the protests over on the wilder and weirder shores of the sexually conservative wing of humanity over the progressive legalisation and then normalisation of gay sexual activity. If we allow that then incest and can’t be far behind, can it?

And then we get this genius of an Australian judge telling us that very thing:

Judge Garry Neilson, from the district court in the state of New South Wales, likened incest to homosexuality, which was once regarded as criminal and “unnatural” but is now widely accepted.

He said incest was now only a crime because it may lead to abnormalities in offspring but this rationale was increasingly irrelevant because of the availability of contraception and abortion.

“A jury might find nothing untoward in the advance of a brother towards his sister once she had sexually matured, had sexual relationships with other men and was now ‘available’, not having [a] sexual partner,” the judge said.

“If this was the 1950s and you had a jury of 12 men there, which is what you’d invariably have, they would say it’s unnatural for a man to be interested in another man or a man being interested in a boy. Those things have gone.”

Facepalm.

The strange thing is that I agree that I can’t see a reason for adult, consensual, incest to be a crime. But it is rather confirming those earlier statements about Teh Gayers, isn’t it?

60 comments on “If we allow Teh Gayers then surely incest can’t be far behind?

  1. But it is rather confirming those earlier statements about Teh Gayers, isn’t it?

    No it isn’t, it’s repeating them.

  2. No, it’s confirming what the campaigners agaoinst legalisation of gay sex said would.happen.

    I have nothing against gay people or what they do with what’s not my business. However, I bet most arguments against incest can be made against gay sex as well.

  3. Well yes it is in a way, because of course the slippery slope is not a fallacy. The conservatives were right that to remove one taboo due to the application of reason would justify questioning others. Just as allowing the State to interfere in one thing (compulsory seatbelts for instance) enables it to interfere in others. Sort of yin and yang thar.

    More generally this is another case where there is a (sexual) taboo and a person of reason says, “show me your justification” but never gets an answer, since it’s easier to maintain a taboo by denunciation and reasoning-by-synonym (“it’s bad because it’s wrong, it’s wrong because it’s bad”).

    Anyway the Feminists will soon have him for the high jump. Expect him to make a grovelling heretic’s apology shortly.

  4. Couple of other points-

    Firstly, the consanguinity argument has never applied to same sex sexual relations. (Nor would it apply to persons infertile due to defect or age, come to that).

    It’s always seemed to me that the widespread and apparently- at least in less conservative circles- pretty mainstream fantasy/actualité of threesomes with two related women (sisters, mother/daughter) is hard to distinguish from incest. Once you’re in a sexual situation with another family member, even if you don’t touch each other, the line seems to me to be wafer thin. Yet this does not seem to be generally considered incestuous either. A couple of MSM examples I can bring to mind include an advert for something or other depicting an “ideal girlfriend”, the punch line being her saying, “do you mind if my twin sister joins in?”; the other being twins involved in some TV show (possibly Big Brother) I can remember saying they liked to share blokes sometimes in a threesome manner.

    It’s also worth mentioning that Warren Farrell is still dogged by an interview he gave to Penthouse in the 70s in which he opined that after homosexuality, incest would be the next cultural battleground.

  5. It’s none of my bizny if a bloke wants to sleep with his mentally competent adult sister, or vice versa, much as the idea might revolt me personally.

    However, there is a reason that the most successful and advanced societies earth has ever seen were broadly founded on the Ten Commandments and the Sermon on the Mount (however imperfectly or hypocritically observed).

    That reason isn’t really the existence of God or the reality of Jesus as the son thereof, but because pretty much every other form of societal arrangement had been tried and had gone to shit.

    The mass of people getting married, staying together to raise their kids, and trying to stick as close to the Ten Comms as poss is about as good as you’re ever going to get.

    But once you remove the basic existential threats of bears, famine and disease, some people just can’t help tinkering, can they?

    The next twenty years are going to be extremely interesting.

  6. Wasn’t the campaign for “Marriage equality” inclusive of incestuous relationships anyway ? That’s what “equality” means. Surely you’re not telling me that the much trumpeted slogan about homosexual marriage was in fact, a carefully crafted lie…?

  7. Ian, the example that immediately springs to mind is Alan Clark. Does anyone know if he bedded Valerie Harkess and her daughters at the same time or separately?

  8. None of my business which adults* sleep together consensually, frankly. So morally, no bother there.

    Historically there were loads of reasons why you wouldn’t want them marrying though, and not limited to the whole birth abnormality thing. Back when men were men and women were property you kind of wanted the girls taken off your hands for a start. And they usually came with a dowry.

    And even now, it’s practically a good idea to marry outside the family because it increases your support network. My nephews, for example, have a lot of adults to look out for them once you count parents, grandparents, parents’ siblings, spouses of parents’ siblings &c.

    But yes, once you disallow the “because I think it’s icky” defence for one form of bigotry, you do rather call into question how it is applied elsewhere.

    *yes, yes, but I can’t be bothered.

  9. Considering the Ten Commandments were actually written by a society of polygamous endogamous clan tribalists, I’m not sure they’re much use in this situation. That’s one reason that among the numerous other commandments in the Jewish law is a lot of mithering about who can fuck who; endogamous societies have so much consanguinity (currently a problem for Teh Muzzies) that they’re constantly trying to strike a fine line between marrying close relatives for clan purposes and marrying “too close” relatives.

    The commandments against various incests aren’t part of “The Ten” anyway; half of which are purely religious, and the rest are either mundane (murder, theft), a bit weird (covetousness), very weird (no art!) or woefully misinterpreted (honour thy father and mother- which was a compulsion to obey the clan authority structure, not to be nice to the old folks in a Western European kind of way).

  10. Clarissa-

    I don’t know, but I be he wanted to.

    I’ve never understood how a father so great could produce a son so… well, like Alan Clark.

  11. > He said incest was now only a crime because it may lead to abnormalities in offspring

    The arrogance of such people never ceases to amaze: they go so smoothly and unthinkingly from “This is the only reason I’ve been able to think of” to “This must be the only reason.” We wouldn’t accept that from a scientist.

    So here’s one other reason that I’m aware of, and, not being a moron, I’m sure there are loads that I’m not.

    Once you get past puberty, you become aware of the ever-present possibility of sex with others. Once we’re grown-ups, we learn to deal with this normal aspect of life, happily working in offices full of men and women without exploding in frustration or having the whole thing descend into an orgy, but it is notoriously difficult and emotional and stressful for young people to adjust to that aspect of the adult world. One thing that helps them to adjust is that they have a zone they can escape to where they can relate to adults without the background possibility of sex. The fact that there is such a strong tabboo against incest means that it is simply never on the cards, which makes homes a safe haven in which people can turn to their families about emotional problems. It’s particularly valuable for young people adjusting to that aspect of life for the first time, but remains valuable to grown-ups too: there is a world of difference, for instance, between turning to a male friend for comfort after your husband leaves you and turning to your brother — not because you know your brother doesn’t fancy you, but because you know that, even if he did, actually doing anything about it is simply never going to happen.
    Remove the tabboo against incest, and you fundamentally transform the dynamic of every single family. Families become a place where sex is now on the cards, and thus cease to be a safe haven.

    One might argue that doesn’t matter, or is even a good thing, or is less important than some other consideration, but that’s not what this fuckwit of a judge is doing. He’s simply assuming that the world consists entirely of things he’s thought of. I mean, it’s not as if the above is a unique idea that only I’ve had; a few minutes’ research would have shown it to him, along with other reasons, I’m sure.

    This is why I object strongly to the talk of “marriage equality” and the language of human rights that’s been used to push it. I wrote this two years ago:

    Quite apart from the facts, there is a pragmatic problem with defining the demand for same-sex marriage in terms of equal rights. It opens the door for anyone else who wants to redefine marriage — and there are plenty of groups who would like to. Discrimination isn’t a bad thing; we should discriminate. In this case, we should discriminate in favour of gay people; we should legalise same-sex marriage because we have decided that it is overall right and good to create this new right for gay people, because they deserve it. Doing it that way leaves us ideologically able to deny the creation of new rights to other groups should we so wish. But framing the debate in terms of equal rights makes that impossible. If we insist that there is a basic human right to marry whoever the hell you like and that all we are doing is making sure that that right is legally available for everyone, we leave ourselves no grounds on which to deny future demands for further redefinition of marriage.

    I originally took up blogging because my comments on other people’s blogs were getting so big it was just silly. I need to get back to that, don’t I?

  12. It’s more complex than that. It’s long been reported that siblings raised separately have an attraction to each other that can be, when they meet for the first time as adults, “inappropriately” sexual. Similarly, communal child rearing (as some Kibbutz’s did) seems to lead to an absence of sexual attraction to non-siblings one is raised with.

    I tend to think that like likes like but this is overridden by a strong innate disposition not to find those one is actually raised with “likable” in that sense.

  13. Judge Neilson made the comments during the trial of a brother charged with raping his younger sister.

    So the question isn’t whether uncle fucking is going to become acceptable – it isn’t.

    The question is, how does Australia get rid of judges who lack judgement?

  14. “The strange thing is that I agree that I can’t see a reason for adult, consensual, incest to be a crime.”

    The answer here is that it is a crime against the species of homo sapiens and any defective individual born as a consequence of such a relationship.

    One marvellous aspect of our tolerance or promotion of multi-culturalism is the increase of abnormal people with serious defects in certain of our ethnic communities who insist on “keeping it the family” – the same communities who ostracise and even murder those who try to establish relationships “outside the family”. We will all pay an increasing cost in many different ways for these Texas Chainsaw Massacre in-breds and the mediaeval beliefs of their families and communities.

  15. Tim,

    > I tend to think that like likes like but this is overridden by a strong innate disposition not to find those one is actually raised with “likable” in that sense.

    Whether it’s innate is a gamble. I’d keep the tabboo and the laws, just in case it turns out not to be.

  16. Tim (Worstall)

    The claims of an innate rejection of incest seem dubious, not least because if there were one we wouldn’t need a fierce taboo. Taboos always arise against things that, were the taboo not in place, would be quite common, like bottom sex. Occasional “incestuous mutants” wouldn’t be enough to create one.

    There may be a simpler explanation for the apparent lack of sexual attraction between families and pseudo-families; the simple statistics that most of us don’t fancy (specifically) most other people, so the chance of somebody we really fancy being in the same family as us, or small kibbutz creche, is quite small.

  17. …exploding in frustration or having the whole thing descend into an orgy

    You’ve just described large swathes of certain countries in Asia and Africa.

  18. I believe I’ve observed the Westermarck effect in cats. I’ve raised an unrelated male and female together and the female’s preferred mate was a tom from the other end of the village, and most definitely not the male she grew up with.

  19. BTW, didn’t the incest taboo originally include relatives you were only related to by marriage, or is my memory playing up?

  20. Squander Two: “I originally took up blogging because my comments on other people’s blogs were getting so big it was just silly. I need to get back to that, don’t I?”

    Yes, me too. And yes, you do. I miss your blog 🙂

  21. Roue-

    The incest taboo frequently follows non-blood relatives and is more about social relations. Hence for instance many considering Woody Allen’s wife to be sort-of-incestuous even though he is only related by the most tenuous of social links (she is the adopted daughter of a former girlfriend). Most people would consider it highly taboo to have sex with an adopted son or daughter, for instance. Consanguinity justifications thus are somewhat weakened.

    As a contrast, it’s notable that at at least one period in classical Egyptian history, brother sister marriages seem to have become commonplace.

  22. Ian B,

    There is some evidence that animals reject close relatives when choosing a mate, which is support for an innate rejection of incest. However this is heavily qualified. What actually seems to happen is that each species has an optimum along the inbreeding-outbreeding continuum, but the optimum differs for different species.
    An additional qualification is that, obviously, animals don’t know intellectually who their close relatives are. The observed behaviour is either that animals (well, some animals to some degree) either reject as potential mates those they were raised with, i.e. the Westermarck effect mentioned above, and/or reject those who look like them.

  23. Woody Allen is a very good example of what I was talking about. Thanks to him, every adopted child gets to move their stepfather marginally along the line from “People with whom sex is always absolutely out of the question” to “Potential sexual partner”.

  24. The circumstances of this particular case are that the brother has admitted to sexual assault on his younger sister when she was 10 or 11, and is now being tried for repeatedly raping her when she was 18. The prosecution naturally wanted to bring the sexual assault conviction in evidence, but the judge ruled that it could not.

    It’s hard to understand why the judge would think that his views on consensual incest are of any relevance to the question of what evidence should be admissible in a rape trial.

  25. Although I am a bleeding heart liberal of the crassest kind, I do wonder about the question as formulated at the top .

  26. and/or reject those who look like them.

    Or smell like them. Smell and those pheremone thingies are important in social interaction, even in humans.

  27. Squander Two-

    He isn’t her stepfather and never was. She is a girl (now woman) who his ex-girilfriend adopted after their (never married or marriage-like relationship) ended.

    These questions start to come back to the libertarian question of whether the collective (“society”) has any business making general rules, and who gets to make them. I’m inclined to get stuck on one of my “show me a rational reason” jags, with everyone else doing the “icky because waffle waffle because icky” argument which, perhaps not astonishingly, but to me disappointingly, most people seem to genuinely believe is sufficient.

  28. PaulB-

    I may be wrong here but the argument seems to be that the later sexual contact was consensual incest. It’s hard to even guess at the context of the earlier contact since the law and current discourse automatically uses rape language to describe underage sex.

  29. Ian B: the brother is being tried for rape (“sexual intercourse without consent” in New South Wales), the victim being his sister when she was 18. The judge’s remarks about incest were part of his ruling on whether his earlier conviction, for sexual assault on her as a child, should be admitted in evidence.

  30. There are two separate anti-incestuous-marriage rules in English-and-Welsh law. One prohibits certain levels of consanguinity, (grandparent, child, grandchild, brother, sister, half-brother, half-sister, uncle, aunt, nephew or niece) and the other prohibits people who lived in the same household for more than X years as part of a family in which one was a child, e.g. stepparent-stepchild.

    So, if your parents divorced when you were five and you grew up with your father and a stepmother, you can’t marry her.

    But if your father takes a trophy wife younger than you when you’re in your twenties, then it’s OK to marry her (once he’s no longer married to her, natch).

    I think the second rule is a good, generally applicable, rule. The absolute prohibition on blood relations is silly. Genetic sexual attraction is a real thing, and letting siblings (the most common case) marry if they didn’t grow up together would be a perfectly reasonable law. Note that if one of them was adopted as a child, then they cease to be siblings (in law) and are allowed to marry, but if they were fostered, then they aren’t.

    As for Tim’s argument, while I know that conservatives objected to gay marriage on these grounds, I don’t know of many of the equal marriage campaigners who actually disagreed with them. Some just dismissed the argument, but there were quite a lot of cases of “we’ll come to that issue later”. Certainly when raised inside the pro-equal-marriage groups, there was a divide, so the agreement generally was not to take an official position one way or the other. Unlike, say, the nonsense about marrying animals, children, or inanimate objects.

  31. @IanB ‘Considering the Ten Commandments were actually written by a society of polygamous endogamous clan tribalists, I’m not sure they’re much use in this situation.’

    I didn’t say the 10Cs were a perfect guide to how to live your life, I said that we have yet to come up with a better way of running a society than those based *broadly* on those *and the S on the M*.

    ‘Broadly’, firstly in the sense that (I am perfectly aware that) there are other elements to both judaism and Christianity – it was a kind of shorthand – and, secondly, because I am not saying that Christianity leads to heaven on earth.

    Just that it has so far provided the soil in which the strongest and best civilisational flowers have flourished.

    But people can chuck it away and fuck 14-year-olds, or their sisters, or their 14-year-old sisters, if they wish.

  32. There are two separate anti-incestuous-marriage rules in English-and-Welsh law. One prohibits certain levels of consanguinity…

    …and the Welsh one makes it compulsory?

  33. IanB,

    As a contrast, it’s notable that at at least one period in classical Egyptian history, brother sister marriages seem to have become commonplace.

    I went to an all boys school and my history teacher explained brother/sister marriages in classical times thusly: “It wasn’t about sex, it was about knowing where the scheming bitch was at nights.”

    Always seemed very plausible to me.

  34. Interested,

    You do realise that the society that wrote the Ten Commandments was one in which fucking 14 year olds was routine? You can credit the ancient Hebrews with a lot, but not an idea that developed in Victorian England.

    The problem with the TCs is that they’re a mix of purely religious and the commonplace. You could credit the Code of Hammurabi or any other nascent legal code, for being the basis of civilisation. The Jews do not seem to have brought anything particular to the mix that became our Common law. Prohibitions on murder and theft are ordinary to most civilisations, adultery isn’t against the law, covetousness is a vague moral advisory which is not followed, art is not disallowed, etc.

    And whether the meek are going to inherit the Earth remains yet to be seen.

  35. > He isn’t her stepfather and never was. She is a girl (now woman) who his ex-girilfriend adopted after their (never married or marriage-like relationship) ended.

    So? I was talking about the effect of the relationship on outsiders who viewed what happened. The technicalities are why he wasn’t jailed, but he still broke a taboo.

    > These questions start to come back to the libertarian question of whether the collective (“society”) has any business making general rules, and who gets to make them.

    Libertarians have a distressing inability to see that there may be some difference between a rule imposed this year for reasons that we can all analyse and argue about and a rule whose origins are lost in the mists of history. In the latter case, the origins don’t even matter; the effects do. If most successful societies have a rule and most of the societies that didn’t have it have died out, then it’s not a matter of society making rules; it’s the rules that are making society.

    Some such rules should still go, of course, but it’s not as intellectually easy to dismiss them as you seem to think.

    > I’m inclined to get stuck on one of my “show me a rational reason” jags

    But you get this wrong, because you are only interested in rational reasons why a rule is written in the first place. For old historical rules, that simply doesn’t matter: what matters is the results. “Because we’ve had this rule for a long time and things have gone rather well” is a rational reason, but you always reject it out of hand. That’s just the historical version of preferring central planning to the market.

    > with everyone else doing the “icky because waffle waffle because icky” argument

    Taboos exist for reasons; taboos are a very effective method of shaping societies; some societies have been shapaed rather well; the effect of taboos on humans is that they make us think some things are “icky” — which is in fact exactly why taboos are so effective. The perception of ickiness is the effect of the taboos, not their cause. Being derisive about people’s discomfort about breaking a taboo is not an argument for the removal of that taboo.

  36. There are way too many people promoting very, very great harm (police, courts, huge costs in time & treasure, jail, & more) be applied to others who are only providing love, comfort, joy, solace and more to chosen partners. Such harms are also done to innocents and in many cases where even the madding crowd would agree is not justified or the punishments too harsh. Great efforts are spent contriving the possibility of society costs to justify the inflections of such pain to be visited upon the outliers. One post above went so far as to assert there are more abnormalities today because of incest, a preposterous assertion given the medical advances granting life to abnormalities not so caused which in previous periods would be fatal. Hurt ’em, hurt ’em some here, in effect, demand so that we stop them at all costs, and it does not stop those very few anyway, but only inflicts grievous harm upon some very, very few caught by the system among a total of so very, very few of us all.

    LEAVE PEOPLE ALONE!

  37. The technicalities are why he wasn’t jailed, but he still broke a taboo.

    I love it how to the authoritarian mind, to not be jailed because a person has done something that is not and never has been either against the law, or demonstrably in any way criminal, is a “technicality”.

    It hardly seems worth addressing the rest of the “things… because… stuff” argument in the comment. But-

    Being derisive about people’s discomfort about breaking a taboo is not an argument for the removal of that taboo.

    I’m not being derisive about that. I’m being derisive of those who express certainty for rules that they cannot support with a rational argument. Supporting taboo as a general system does not justify any particular taboo. Eating bacon sandwiches is taboo to Jews and Muslims. It’s worth asking why, and if somebody can’t beyond “Jews are successful, therefore it must be good or something” just doesn’t cut the mustard. You have to show how not eating bacon sandwiches makes Jews successful, and why it doesn’t make Muslims (particularly) successful, otherwise at best you’ve got correlation, not causation.

    Meanwhile, I will continue to deride “things… because… stuff…”.

    And laugh a sad laugh at people who believe that not going to jail because you haven’t broken a law is a “technicality”.

  38. Firstly, as eny fule no, Woody Allen obviously did not spend loads of time around an underage girl without ever fancying her then suddenly realise he felt like fucking her when she passed the age of consent. That’s why it’s a technicality.

    Secondly, your reasoning is exactly the same as that applied to free markets by central planners: “Unless someone explains exactly how this price was decided, I will conclude there’s no good reason for it and overrule it with the power of intellect.” And you call me an authoritarian. Feh.

    As I’ve said many a time, the reason we have no hope of a remotely Libertarian government is Libertarians’ distressing tendency to embrace extremist nuttery. Calling anyone who opposes incest “authoritarian” is yet another good example of that.

  39. Somehow I don’t reckon they will ever legalise incestuous marriage. Too much scope for elderly widowed folk to marry their own child or grandchild, and avoid inheritance tax. After all, now that gay marriage has been recognised, the old benchmark for a consummated marriage has gone out of the window.

  40. Squander Two; your problem is that which many people suffer. You believe something, you can’t actually support it with reasoned argument, you know you’re being dishonest, you fear that even discussion of it may risk different conclusions being drawn, you get angry, you get abusive. If your edifice of belief were not constructed on such flimsy foundations- in fact, just floating in the air with no foundations at all- you’d not react like this.

    Firstly, as eny fule no, Woody Allen obviously did not spend loads of time around an underage girl without ever fancying her then suddenly realise he felt like fucking her when she passed the age of consent.

    Ah, the cryptopaedo who only fancies older women. He’s a paedo because they were children once, and he’s really fucking the child they were. My, the tortuous logic you end up with.

    Here’s a song about a different interpretation-

    http://www.lyricsmode.com/lyrics/n/neil_sedaka/happy_birthday_sweet_sixteen.html

    -even if your characterisation were true. Which it isn’t. He had no significant relationship with her until she grew up. But who cares about facts? They’re just a “technicality”.

    As to this-

    Secondly, your reasoning is exactly the same as that applied to free markets by central planners: “Unless someone explains exactly how this price was decided, I will conclude there’s no good reason for it and overrule it with the power of intellect.” And you call me an authoritarian.

    You’ve got it inverted. My reasoning is akin to asking the central economic planner (in this case, the central moral planner) to explain where he got his price from that he’s imposing on everybody else. And if the philosopher king hasn’t got a bloody good answer for why the price of a loaf of bread must be 50p, no more, no less, I’ll say we should leave bakers and bread consumers to work it out between them.

    If you’re really going to stick with this “asking for reasoned argument is socially harmful” position, I suggest you go and stand in the corner with the rest of the people trying to drag us back to before the Enlightenment. The Greens have a whole expansive range of taboos, for instance. You’ll have a whale of a time with them.

  41. Just an FYI — in Japan, incest itself is legal (has been since 1881), it’s just that closely consanguinous relatives are not permitted to marry.

  42. Sound reasons for incest to remain a crime:

    1) foetuses conceived of incest are more likely to be aborted, and abortion though legal is not something we want to see more of;
    2) products of incest not aborted are more likely to have genetic defects, again not something we want to see more of;
    3) family dynamics are complicated enough without adding incest to the mix;
    4) there is no compelling demand for decriminalisation so why tinker when the social consequences are unknown

  43. Squander Two: In her autobiography (written before the break up) Mia Farrow herself says that she complained to Woody Allen that he had nothing to do with her older children –esp Soon her oldest adopted daughter. Farrow herself urged Allen to take the young woman to museums and baseball games. Allen did so and all the rest followed on.

    Arnald: This is what the mighty murder machine of socialism has come to in one hundred years. From “Workers of the World Unite” to “Wave after Wave of Shitty Dicks”–Bet Marx wishes he’d thought of that one.

  44. So Ecks reads and memorises autobiographies about actresses.

    I guess libraries aren’t prevalent in those mountain forests. Have you learned your responses from the Readers Digests you came across in someone’s bin?

  45. An autobiography would be “by” the actress rather than “about” her–“I wrote an autobiography about myself” seems to be redundant. Altho’ if anyone could make it work Arnald it would be you
    “Wave after Wave of Shitty Dicks” an Autobiography about Myself by Arnald. Published and binned by the Reader’s Digest.

  46. Ecks

    Good comeback!

    Meanwhile, a century of socialism is under your bed. Your bed of twigs and leaves. Keep that powder dry.

  47. Oh dear, Arsenald has wandered off from his group and is accosting strangers. Poor supervision, that’s what it is. His minder should be reprimanded. I hope they spot he’s missing before they all get back on the bus.

    Ian B, what SquanderTwo is hinting at is Chesterton’s Gate. It’s a very sound nostrum. It is generally a very bad idea to say, “I cannot see the point of this rule/institution/tradition, therefore it should be abolished.” Far better to say, “I cannot see the point of this rule/institution/tradition, but assuming it exists for reasons which seemed sensible at the time, I shall preserve it until such time as those reasons are explained to me. Only then shall I decide if it should go.”

  48. BiCR-

    Squander Two isn’t saying that. He’s saying that taboos should be maintained regardless. Neither am I saying that any particular rule/institution/tradition should be abolished. I’m saying, if anything, that one should continually check that rules made a long time ago under some particular set of social conditions are still good ones. The problem with taboos rather than simply rules is that they are all about not thinking.

    Sandman, at least, is reasonable enough to offer 4 suggestions why the rule should be maintained. Of those, the first two are probably no longer applicable (contraception) and the fourth dubious, but the third does offer at least a reason to be cautious of incest at the individual level. Squander just started ranting about Woody Allen for some unfathomable reason.

    So anyway, it then comes down to whether something being unwise (complicating family relationships) merits it being criminal. Since i tend to apply a basic libertarian position (a crime is a violation of negative rights) and since no negative rights are violated by consensual relations between any two individuals, I can’t see a case for criminality so far. Certainly, the original point made by the judge, that the consanguinity argument no longer applies, seems valid.

  49. Ian B,

    > Squander Two; your problem is that which many people suffer.

    Funnily enough, a lot of people suffer from the problem where they think that anyone who disagrees with them requires an amateur psychological diagnosis.

    > You believe something, you can’t actually support it with reasoned argument

    Oh, for fuck’s sake, this again? I remember you pulling this one before. It’s a very irritating habit, as it can really only work in a spoken argument, when some people might forget some of what was said. When everything’s written down and staying there, it’s absurd. But I remember from past occasions that you either like to feign genuine ignorance or have some weird affliction that prevents you from scrolling up.

    I have made a reasoned argument. You might agree with it or not, you might claim that the reasoning is second-rate, whatever. You might even address it, though you have not. But repeatedly claiming that I simply never wrote it, when it’s right there (seriously, just scroll up a bit), is just puerile. Grow up.

    > you know you’re being dishonest

    If you’re going to make amateur psychiatric diagnoses, do I get to accuse you of projection? Or do I not have the required lack of qualification?

    > you fear that even discussion of it may risk different conclusions being drawn

    Yes, my determination to avoid it being discussed must be why I’ve been stringing out a discussion about it for days. That’s how I roll.

    > you get angry, you get abusive.

    See, you’re abusive, but you apparently don’t even see it. Anyone who doesn’t toe your line, you don’t just tell them they’re wrong; you claim repeatedly that they’re stupid, you accuse them of suffering from psychological problems, you call them “authoritarian” repeatedly, and either you have a total inability to distinguish between “I disagree with your argument” and “You have never made any argument” or you keep saying it just to piss people off.

    I might add that all your preposterous indignance isn’t even in response to my insistence that There Is Only One Way Things Can Be. Rather, it’s in reply either to an argument that I presented with the caveat “One might argue that doesn’t matter, or is even a good thing, or is less important than some other consideration” or to the bit where I said “Some such rules should still go, of course”. Hardly the hard-line authoritarian refusal to consider change you’re complaining about. It’s almost as if you fear that even discussion of it may risk different conclusions from yours being drawn or something.

    Anyway, I don’t worry that discussing things with people might lead to different conclusions being drawn — discussion leading to my mind being changed is, after all, where most of my opinions come from — but I am concerned that discussing things with you specifically might be an utter fucking waste of time, so I’ll stop now.

  50. Oh, and, if you’d bothered following my link, you’d’ve seen that Chesterton’s Gate was exactly what I was referring to. You don’t have to follow my links, of course, but, if you don’t, talking with such great authority about exactly what I mean makes you look a bit ignorant.

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