Hobbes, of scragged.com, asked a fairly good question:
Reuters brings us news of a most revolting sort:
A Columbia University professor has been arrested on charges of having sexual relations with his daughter, officials said on Friday.
David Epstein, 46, a political science professor at the Ivy League school, faces one count of incest in the third degree, according to a complaint filed by the Manhattan District Attorney’s office.
He had relations with his daughter, now 24, from 2006 through 2009, the complaint said. Epstein was released on his own recognizance after appearing before a judge on Thursday.
People on both sides of the political aisle can unite in condemnation of Prof. Epstein’s behavior. After all, is not “incest” cited as one of those situations, right up there with “rape,” which is used to justify the right to abortion? Committing incest is one of those acts so far beneath contempt as to be unworthy of defense.
But wait! Look again at the specifics given in the article: Prof. Epstein’s daughter and accused incestuous lover is now 24, and the alleged relationship began in 2006.
Simple subtraction reveals a starting fact: The incestuous lovers were consenting adults.
For the world’s liberal elites, and especially at Ivy League far-leftist bastions like Columbia, there is one and only one question permitted when judging the acceptability of any sexual practice no matter how perverse or reprobate: Were the participants consenting? Some professors even defend the ability of children to consent to sex; nobody questions the ability of 21-year-olds to make their own sexual choices.
On what grounds, therefore, can Prof. Epstein even be criticized, much less imprisoned? Should not government stay out of consenting adult’s bedrooms?
It is a good question because incest is, after all, illegal. Furthermore, consenting adults really should be allowed to do as they please within their home. It is not clear to me why Hobbes directs his question at “liberals” and not at libertarians. After all, liberals have not been battling nearly as much to do away with intrusive laws as left libertarians.
As for me, it seems clear that some things are reprehensible and abominable – but this does not automatically mean they should be illegal. It is not the responsibility of government to pass, or enforce, laws regarding sexual morality – except (and here I am defining “government” broadly) when there are actual victims. In this case, it appears there were no victims.
There are many sexual acts that some would consider incompatible with civilized society, while others would consider them unworthy of any attention whatsoever. In the final analysis, no absolute consensus can ever be gained – and we should revert to the default position that moral judgments are up the the individuals involved.
Should it be illegal for a 57 year old man to date a 17 year old girl (in a nation where 17 is above the age of consent)? A father in Germany thinks so. But before you object that 17 is, in fact, below the age of consent in much of the U.S., ask yourself it if would truly have been different had the girl been a few days older. If you were the father, would you then have refrained from castrating the boyfriend? Homosexual unions are illegal in many parts of the world, and were illegal in the U.S. until recently. “The Law” should only be used to protect those who cannot defend themselves. Otherwise, it is simply a tool for one group of people to impose its morality upon another.
I have already made clear my position regarding crimes against society (in my treatise “Reflections of a Racist Father“). even so, I do not believe that miscegenation should be illegal; it should be condemned by society. In the absence of pro-miscegenation propaganda and forced integration, the practice would be rare enough that it would not be a threat to our civilization. Likewise, incest poses no threat to our civilization.
What about the product of such a perverse union? Unless we wish to engage in enforcement of “pre-crime“, it is not the responsibility of any coercive agency to punish people such as the above professor and his daughter – until, and unless, such offspring are born. If, hypothetically, there were a couple that insisted on producing mutated inbreds, then the responsibility of separating them would fall upon their extended family or village. Not upon government agency. This is because the burden of supporting such offspring would fall, morally, upon the immediate community. Since morality dictates that they should not stand by and watch the mutant children suffer, that same morality would give them the right to prevent their birth in the first place. Jared Taylor uses this line of reasoning, regarding welfare, in his book “Paved with Good Intentions“.
When it comes to behaviors such as incest, there can be no position that both passes rational muster and satisfies the sensibilities of all political persuasions; it is a distasteful practice and a distasteful subject. Any meaningful stance, regarding it, will be met with impassioned objections. But, for what it’s worth, this is my opinion.