Wednesday, December 22, 2010

More Musings Prompted by David Epstein Case

Doug Mataconis takes a look at the legal issues raised by the David Epstein case, especially in light of Lawrence vs. Texas.

What it does mean, however, is that just because we don’t like something doesn’t mean it should be illegal, and that I cannot think of any good reason why Professor David Epstein should go to jail.

Thank you.

A psychoanalyst writes

There is almost no way to construct a rational, legally based morality that forbids incest between adults. Most of us have a visceral reaction of disgust when we think about incest because the taboos are so deeply ingrained but the incest taboo can not be supported by rational argument alone.

But the writer tries to come up with a reason that consanguineous sex is wrong for everyone…

In parent-child incest the difference between generations is denied and the significance of the primal ties between parent and child are denied.

The difference between generations is denied? No more so that any other intergenerational sex between adults. Those relationships are not illegal and are widely accepted, and so this can’t be a reason to have laws against consanguineous sex.

Parents and adult children are not legally obligated to have any ties. Ever hear of estrangement? Disinheritance? Also, I don’t think most people in these relationships deny their “primal ties.” Most are very aware of such ties.

Objections like these don’t even deal with the fact that laws are written in such a way that siblings, uncles/aunts and nephews/nieces can also be prosecuted for consensual sex.

What exactly is the offending behavior? What if a woman who was adopted as a newborn finds her birth father and pursues a relationship with him? It is okay for them to kiss each other on the cheek? The lips? It is okay for one to massage the other and touch every part of the other’s body except the genitals? Is it okay for them to live together and take care of each other? What exactly is wrong and should be illegal, and why? Those who want to deny others their rights to love, sex, and marriage don’t seem to give details, but they should have to justify and clarify why, exactly, they want to prevent other people from doing what they want to do with each other. They often cite “inbreeding,” but that is only possible with heterosexual intercourse and carrying a fetus to term. What about consanguineous same-sex relationships? Birth control? All of the other kinds of sex that aren’t intercourse? Are those wrong and justly outlawed just because the lovers are related?
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  1. "Prompted be" should read "Prompted by"

  2. Thank you. Corrected. Shame on me! I need to be more careful.


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