Monday, July 11, 2005
Posted by Steven Horwitz at 11:43 AM
Well, James has just broken new ground in IHS seminars by asking the students how far they are willing to extend Mill's harm principle. He started by going over various state laws on sexual practices. Then he moved to say "well, one reason I'm interested in this topic is that I'm a member of a persecuted sexual minority, where my 'love' is illegal in every state. To show you, I've brought my partner with me today." He then proceeded to pull out, from behind the podium, a large toy stuffed sheep. His beloved "Flossie." Much hilarity has ensued, but it's also a great way to push Mill's argument about rationality and consent.
The students are resisting that bestiality should be legal by arguing that animals can't consent. James's response is to ask them if they are vegetarians. "You are willing to kill animals brutally to eat them - all I want to do is make sweet love to one beautiful sheep." That's a brilliant response in my book. It's really pushing them to get at what our objection to bestiality really is. Is it just that it's "icky?" Of course the real danger is that rather than get them to rethink bestiality laws, he might turn them all into vegetarians!
Now we've gone to adult, consensual incest and then to necrophilia. We should have some interesting lunch conversation.
I also need to mention that he told us that the state of Idaho has a law against anal sex, the punishment for which is life in prison. James noted the irony of using life in prison as a way to deter men from engaging in anal sex.
(Now with picture!)
Labels: Liberty and Society 2005