Monday, December 20, 2010

Todd Pettigrew is an Ally

Writing about the David Epstein case, he debunks William Saletan’s arguments supporting laws against consanguineous sex.

In any case, as one committed to reason, I have to look beyond whatever ick factor there is and ask what the rational argument would be against incest. In short, if Professor Epstein and his daughter want to get it on, who are we to say no? Even if it’s distasteful, does that make it immoral? And should it really be a felony?

Of course it shouldn’t. They are consenting adults.

But even if reproduction were a factor, we generally do not insist that people have a moral obligation to find mates that are genetically optimum or even genetically desirable. For instance, parents with Huntington’s disease have a very high chance of passing the illness on to their children. Does that mean that a person with Huntington’s has a moral obligation to abstain from sex? Would a married couple be immoral if they chose to have kids knowing that the kids are at a high risk for the disease? Would we send such parents to jail?

It is interesting how cases like this one bring out the part-time eugenicists.

As for Professor Epstein, I don’t know him or his daughter or the course of events that led to their supposed sexual union. The whole affair is probably more complex than media reports indicate — how could it not be? But assuming that no one was forced or otherwise mistreated (which would constitute crimes in other ways), I can’t, at least for the moment, find a rational way to condemn them.

There is no reason, other than “tradition” and bigotry, that there should be a law against consenting adults having sex, or getting married. All of the “reasons” fall apart under scrutiny and precedents. Be on the right side of history and support the right of consenting adults to love, sex, and marriage.
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1 comment:

  1. there are petitioning to stop polygamy and its full of lies.


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