Slippery slope II

“Legalising gay marriage will start us down a slippery slope to legalised paedophilia and bestiality.”

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.

14 thoughts on “Slippery slope II

  1. Clare, we are already on the slippery slope, and not simply because you agree with same-sex orientation and I do not, but because of the inadequate perspectives on freedom that prevail in America, and apparently in the UK. Your logic that because bestiality “harms no other person” you can’t forbid it fails to acknowledge the harm being done to the person involved with the beast. It also ignores the harm done to the generation of children who grow up in a society that would allow bestiality. This is perhaps the gravest ill in the West at the moment: the inability to see and the decision not to care about the ramifications of our actions done in the name of personal freedom. Because of the logic in your article, we will indeed arrive at a soceity that allows for bestiality, pedophilia, and every other ill.


    • Scott, welcome. Thank you for commenting. I would love to debate freedom with you. British views of freedom are diverse: see, for example, Roger Scruton.

      People harm ourselves. Alcohol is one of the most prevalent ways: we drink to escape responsibility, and some hit “rock bottom”. And it helps others cope with our lives, though meditation or worship may be a better choice of medicine. Should alcohol be banned, to protect our most vulnerable from the harm it can do them, which they run towards “freely”?

      For me, most of us are healthy enough to “pursue happiness” in our own way, and to recognise where we do something harmful. If you look at that link, the man sees the dolphin and himself as fulfilled by his act; I find it incomprehensible, and permit myself inconsistency in my moral judgments, yet I would hesitate to ban it.

      I thought at one point, one decision may be terribly wrong, and yet I can only find that out by doing this which I passionately want to do. I feel that particular decision was right, and so I want to allow everyone but the most deranged to choose how they seek their fulfilment, however deranged it may seem to others. Out of a hundred madmen, there may be one who has found the new paradigm which eventually everyone will embrace. And while I am sure bestiality is not that, I am not sure enough of my own wisdom to ban things without good cause. Instead I trust the wisdom of the individual to see what is best for him in his situation.


      • You know, Clare, it’s interesting, at least here in America, how and when we choose to employ our great concepts of freedom. For instance, I’m sure we have people like yourself who can’t bring themselves to ban bestiality and yet don’t mind banning doughnuts and sugar, etc., on one hand trusting people on the other not trusting them at all. There is not as much virtue in standing at a distance and watching while someone destroys themselves in the exercise of their freedom’s as most people claim there is. Such views of freedom are what you would expect from cultures who have let go the tether of truth.


        • I am aware of Mayor Bloomberg’s soda ban being declared unconstitutional. It seems we agree: there are moral reasons why law should stop people “destroying themselves”, but disagree as to in what circumstances. What weight we give the arguments is a secondary issue.

          The left/right dispute is what arguments we typically use to assert that a person is destroying themselves, and so should be prevented. The left uses medical evidence, as in Mayor Bloomberg’s drinks limit. The right uses moral reasoning, as in homosexuality, though the right is keener to prosecute “The War on drugs”.

          I don’t particularly want to defend the 16fl oz (473ml) limit. It covers sugary drinks. I read that a majority of US citizens are overweight, and a third obese. I read that fructose is addictive: I read that the studies are disputed.

          On bestiality, I am not sure the person is “destroying himself”. A 12-step group says sex is addictive, but whatever sexual activity the person uses, not everyone is addicted. Much of the problem for the bestialist is the aversion and derision of other people who find out.

          On homosexuality, are you saying that it “destroys people” through addiction or anal damage, or through sin? I assert that gay lovemaking is no more sinful than straight lovemaking: whether the act is sinful depends on context, and it is not sinful in a LTR. There it unites two people in one flesh, and is a positive good.


  2. What a topic to tackle! Great post, I’m seriously impressed.

    “He imagines that once that disgust is no longer a basis for law, everything which disgusts him will be legalised.” That’s so true, I hadn’t considered the motive behind these bizarre statements before.

    I’ve yet to check out the links to see exactly what these people are saying, but for me it boils down to the fact that consenting adult relationships are exactly that – relationships between consenting adults. There is no distinction between heterosexual and homosexual relationships in this regard. Any of the other situations brought up the Silly People in Irrational Panic, such a bestiality, involve coercion, force or lack of informed consent.


    • Okay, I just read the post you commented on. I can see what you’re getting at there, but I think the problem with your argument is that every other ‘use’ of animals you mention there is harmful – they cause harm to a sentient creature. It’s something that humankind has yet to fully face up to, but I’m sure we will in time. With that in mind, that animals should be treated with respect and have rights we don’t yet give them (because they taste nice and keep us warm, and we’re still basic enough to let that override other considerations), the argument that bestiality is harmful to a sentient being (using force or lack of informed consent) will become consistent with our actions, and not need to rely on ‘disgust’ from imagined ‘natural law’.


      • If we ever stop eating pig, I hope we can find a way to grow pig flesh in tanks without nervous tissue. A lot of people round here keep chickens: one was asked their names, and he said, “That’s Supreme, and that’s Au Vin”.

        I do not want to research too far, but I do recommend the priest’s post, quoting the bestialist. Is he just deluding himself about the dolphin’s pleasure? I would have thought a dolphin could have got away, and I read that dolphins have sex for fun-

        I am disgusted by people who want to blast away at grouse with shotguns- have you ever seen a grouse take off, hover for a bit, then flap off so terribly slowly, squawking? And yet I am in favour of shooting estates, because they provide jobs and income North of Perth. I put people first, and I think it is legitimate to use an animal, for food or wool. The origin of the relationship is symbiotic, even if you could not see that from factory farming.


      • The priest’s post is very interesting, and the comments are good too. I still believe the dolphin is harmful – who initiated things in the first place? It’s a power thing – taking advantage of coercion, force or ignorance.

        I don’t think it is putting people first by allowing them to kill animals. There are undoubtedly many other ways to earn a living. It’s the same argument that’s used for fox hunting or bull fights.


  3. Pingback: A Slippery Slope Indeed! | ccithink

  4. I guess maybe its just me, but I thought there was only one way to have intercourse ( love making ). In health class they taught me it involved a boy & a girl….seems logical, seeing the pic’s & all…. now there are many ways in which we can “choose” to please ourselves, including the use of animals, yes this can be done in a harless way, but people lets call it what it is…


    • Welcome, and thank you for commenting. Everything you say is wrong.

      I guess maybe its just me,

      No, there are lots of bigots and fools who agree, and some want to enforce their beliefs on everyone else

      but I thought there was only one way to have intercourse ( love making ). In health class they taught me it involved a boy & a girl….

      This shows the importance of good sex education in schools. It is also done girl and girl, and boy and boy. It should be age appropriate- show characters holding hands and being attracted to each other, to the younger ones, maybe even the occasional kiss.

      seems logical, seeing the pic’s & all….

      You want to apply “Logic” to human relations? You have a great deal to learn

      now there are many ways in which we can “choose” to please ourselves, including the use of animals,

      Sexual orientation is innate; the sex drive has to be so strong to continue the species, which has the unfortunate effect that some people abuse animals

      yes this can be done in a harless way,

      Harmless? Not to their reputation

      but people lets call it what it is…

      using accurate but not inherently pejorative words.


  5. I don’t see it as a mater of education, just a mater of who & what has influence are learnings. If we continue to allow our behavior & or our sex dive lead us we will surely be pulled of course. God has given us the ability to reason with in the realm of logic, its a ability given to us above all other species. I agree that our sex drive is given to us for the purpose which you’ve stated, to keep us fruitful, however, this only can be done man to women. If this is the logic you speak against, them i am confused by your comment. We have be told that our sinful ( human ) behavior will dominate us if we do not surender it to the Lord, in Him we find the ability to have dominion over the things of the flesh, even the incorrect sexual desires with in.


    • Oh. Hello again. Welcome back.

      If you have ever experienced sexual attraction, you know that it is not logical, but people may respond logically. For those attracted to the same sex, it is logical to form relationships with a same sex partner. There are enough people in the world who will have children.


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