Oh! The poverty of the mind that could argue that! He imagines his disgust for lovemaking is a moral good, and a justification for legal penalties for those who do it. He imagines that once that disgust is no longer a basis for law, everything which disgusts him will be legalised. He sees other people as lacking the proper disgust which he feels and therefore broken in some way, and needing moral guidance and social control to come round to his way of thinking, or at least conform outwardly to it, from fear. Comparison to bestiality shows quite how much I disgust him.
There will be no slippery slope to paedophilia, which has a victim. But here I found myself debating bestiality– as you do on blogs, well, I could not sleep because of the heat. I started from the position, no, of course there will be no slippery slope to bestiality.
But- how do I argue against it? It disgusts me, I cannot comprehend the desire, but my disgust should no more be a rule for the world than the homophobe’s.
Animal cruelty is a possibility. Animals cannot properly consent to bestiality. But, while I deprecate battery farming and experimentation on animals, I tolerate these things, and profit from them; and all farming ends in slaughter. We use animals for our benefit. Can bestiality morally be distinguished from other uses of animals, apart from via the disgust perhaps a majority feels?
Natural law is another possibility. Sex has the purpose of uniting two human beings as one, and in gay LTRs it does so, just as in straight relationships. Bestiality is so much less. But, such an argument equally opposes masturbation, and I would not ban that, even if anyone could.
So. Legalising gay marriage will put us on the slippery slope to bestiality.
Well, not exactly. Even if they cannot create an internally consistent moral argument for current law, legislators may want to ban bestiality. We improve, steadily: the UK parliament banned hunting of foxes with hounds, as a measure against animal cruelty. Just because we cannot abolish animal cruelty with the stroke of a legislator’s pen does not mean we should not take action to reduce it.
And bestiality will remain a minority taste. It disgusts most people.
But at the end, I am confronted with the bestialist. He does not find it disgusting, but sufficiently attractive to make the effort to do it. I imagine, there are better ways of pursuing human flourishing, even sexual release, and he does not. I do not set myself up as a judge over him, and reach out with tendrils of empathy and love- what is it like to be this man?
I cannot say, there are better ways of being, because that is the position of the homophobe judging the gay couple. If I believe that the route to progress is to enable people to seek their own flourishing in their own way, as long as it harms no other person, then I cannot forbid bestiality.
Here is a man who bases the slippery slope on the US concept of civil rights: and also includes an extract from an “animal sex advocate”. Here is a gay person who finds bestiality “creepy as hell”. I should say that I seek empathy with the person, and not with the act, which I find incomprehensible. Here is a person who finds sex funny. Well, duh.
Added: I am delighted that C. Scott Fowler has reblogged this. If you come from his site, please do comment here. I am interested in other perspectives, and you may even persuade me to modify my view.