SYNDICATED COLUMN: Will Polygamy, Adult Incest, Prostitution, Masturbation, Adultery and Obscenity Be Legalized Next? Let’s Hope So.

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Privacy is a basic human right. Yet, for 200+ years, Americans have tolerated “morals laws” that told us who we could marry and what sexual positions they were allowed to enjoy.

You couldn’t marry outside your “race” in every state until 1967. Oral and anal sex were illegal until 2003. But morals laws are doomed. Courts are throwing the government out of our bedrooms.

Puritanism is dying hard. Some people still want the police to regulate our sex lives. In his dissent to the 2003 Supreme Court decision striking down anti-sodomy laws in Texas, right-wing Justice Antonin Scalia complained that the SCOTUS had undermined “the ancient proposition that a governing majority’s belief that certain sexual behavior is ‘immoral and unacceptable’ constitutes a rational basis for regulation.”

The ancient stupid proposition.

Agonizing about an imminent “massive disruption of the current social order,” Scalia predicted ten years ago that, after the government relinquishes its power to govern personal sexual behavior and accepts that what happens between consenting adults in Americans’ bedrooms is their own damned business, “every single…law” against “bigamy, same-sex marriage, adult incest, prostitution, masturbation, adultery, fornication, bestiality, and obscenity” would fall in the wake of Lawrence v. Texas.

“This effectively decrees the end of all morals legislation,” Scalia said.

It looks like Scalia was right about that. Bigamy, same-sex marriage, adult incest, prostitution, masturbation, adultery, fornication and obscenity will likely be legalized in the near future. (But not bestiality. Animals can’t consent, so hands off Fido and Mittens.)

Thank God!

Lawrence has been repeatedly cited by judges ruling in favor of same-sex marriage.

Next to go: Laws against polygamy and bigamy.

Citing Lawrence, a federal judge recently declared parts of Utah’s anti-polygamy statutes unconstitutional. The U.S. Constitution, Judge Clark Waddoups ruled, protects Americans from “unwarranted government intrusions into a dwelling or other private places” and allows “an autonomy of self that includes freedom of thought, belief, expression and certain intimate conduct.” Which includes butt sex. And having multiple spouses. Assuming you can handle them.

Legal experts say though the politics are different than they are for gay marriage — there isn’t a big, well-funded polygamist-rights movement — it’s only a matter of time before anti-polygamy laws get thrown out. Right-wingers, reeling from the fact that gay marriage has been made legal in 14 states, are freaking out about polygamy.

“Same-sex marriage advocates have told us that people ought to be able to ‘marry who they love’ but have also always downplayed the idea that this would lead to legalized polygamy, a practice that very often victimizes women and children,” Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council, a Christianist group, said in a statement. “But if love and mutual consent become the definition of what the boundaries of marriage are, can we as a society any longer even define marriage coherently?”

Heaven forbid that “love and mutual consent” become the defining requirements for marriage!

Nothing lasts forever — not in a nation with a 50% divorce rate — but it’s clear that same-sex marriage will eventually be the law of the land.

Polygamy logically follows. “Liberals and libertarians tend to believe private sexual conduct between consenting adults ought to be beyond the reach of the law,” as Conor Friedersdorf writes in The Atlantic. “Applying that principle consistently would seem to carve out a decriminalized sphere for polygamous families.” Also, one assumes, for those organized around polyandry (one wife, multiple husbands).

It is estimated that there are 30,000 to 50,000 polygamous families living in the United States.

When gays and lesbians began agitating for the right to be married, I didn’t understand why they’d want to. Obviously, the legal protections, tax benefits and healthcare advantages are nice. But wasn’t one of the best parts about being gay that you couldn’t get married?

After mulling it over, same-sex marriage passed my one-question test for proposed changes: What harm might result? I couldn’t think of any. The best argument against same-gender that it “violates the sanctity of marriage.” Which is a set of words strung into a meaningless phrase. What sanctity? How does gay marriage hurt straight marriage? It can’t. It doesn’t. The same is true of polygamy and Scalia’s other bugaboos.

Same-sex marriage has been a rapid, and radical, change. Yet now, most Americans agree with me that it’s a good idea.

Let freedom march on. Including the freedom to jerk off.

As Justice Scalia said, there is no longer a constitutional basis for laws against masturbation. In Connecticut, where prisoners are banned from self-pleasure, it is time to let inmates touch their nutmegs. In Alabama, where you can yank it with your bare hands but not with the aid of a device, let a thousand Fleshlights sing.

Let us join the civilized world by decriminalizing the 50% to 70% of married Americans who have sex with people who are not their spouse. “In nearly the entire rest of the industrialized world, adultery is not covered by the criminal code,” The New York Times reported in 2012. In the U.S., on the other hand, cheating is a crime in 23 states, and, for members of the military, grounds for court-martial.

In Minnesota, single women who have sex at all are subject to one year in prison plus a $3000 fine.

Prosecutions for adultery are rare but not unheard of. “Just a year after the Lawrence decision, John R. Bushey Jr., then 66, the town attorney for Luray, Va., was prosecuted for adultery and agreed to a plea bargain of community service. A year later, Lucius James Penn, then 29, was charged with adultery in Fargo, N.D. In 2007, a Michigan appellate court ruled that adultery can still support a life sentence in that state,” reported USA Today.

Many arguments in support of moralizing legislation focus on the effect of targeted behavior on the vulnerable, including women and children. Moralizers miss that their proscriptions increase abuse by driving victims underground. For example, polygamous religious cults use their illegal status to isolate children, forcing some to marry against their will. Because they’re in secret compounds, they can’t call the police. Prostitution is most dangerous in states and countries where the oldest profession is illegal.

As gays and lesbians marry, there is zero sign of Scalia’s “massive disruption of the current social order.” To the contrary: morals laws are the disruptive force. Laws against victimless crimes subvert the primary purpose of law: to promote the common good. Laws that ban behavior that is widespread (such as adultery and masturbation) effectively criminalize the majority of citizens, which undermines respect for government.

Society can and will debate morality. It should not enforce moral judgments about personal behavior through the courts.

Moral laws are immoral.

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COPYRIGHT 2013 TED RALL

40 thoughts on “SYNDICATED COLUMN: Will Polygamy, Adult Incest, Prostitution, Masturbation, Adultery and Obscenity Be Legalized Next? Let’s Hope So.

  1. Hi everybody. I kind of bailed on this thread because it’s difficult to debate people who engage in unethical debating tricks, such as well-poisoning (“My opponent and all her sources regularly lie)” or various straw men.

    I’m glad to see now that a good healthy debate ensued. Thanks for that, dudes. We can’t do it without you.

    I’m not a gender essentialist. I don’t think men or women are inherently anything that isn’t determined by our respective biological castes as impregnable people and impregnating people.

    Those biological gender castes are socially enforced, though, and it would behoove all of us to try to pay attention to that, because everybody loses with that stuff.

    • Meaning, they are socially enforced to encourage men to be sexually aggressive and to encourage women to be sexually passive…men are supposed to be all about “Fuck You” and women are supposed to be all about “Fuck Me.”

      It’s all quite horrid. Do you really think it’s fun to be fucked thirty times a night at a flatrate fuck club? Do you really think those women have the option to turn down clients?

      Do you really think women get cookies for false accusations of abuse? It’s all we can do to be believed when men really do assault us.

      Because we asked for it, because we were friendly. But if we’re not friendly, we’re bitches, or cunts. Or whores who secretly desire rape.

      I appear to be ranting. Oh well. We get to do that here. And that’s good.

  2. I’d say that I disagreed with Ted about the multiple spouses because marriage used to have a meaning, but that meaning is all gone now that you can get a divorce for no reason and probably not be in trouble for adultery, so who cares? We’ve got a nation full of kids whose mothers think fathers are optional. We’re doing great.

    I don’t really care about incest so long as a kid ain’t made. For the record, sex with cousins ain’t incest.

    And finally, I can’t figure out who is more disgusting: the hooker or the john. I can’t imagine servicing disgusting people no matter how much the pay or even worse paying for sex…seems about as humiliating as it can get to me, but some people have no shame or self-respect. With that said, it is the same as drugs and gambling, which I find stupid and do not enjoy in the slightest, but they should be legal, so as to be regulated to be safer and eliminate the violence that criminality brings and turn wasted tax dollars for the ‘war’ into new tax revenue. People are going to do these things. The best way to police them is to legalize.

    • Jack,

      Let’s keep in mind that, in addition to all those mothers who think fathers are optional, there’s also a lot of fathers who think being a father is optional.

      • Oh, I don’t need to keep that in mind. It is shoved in my face by media daily. This deadbeat dad garbage is way blown out of proportion even for blacks who are so wrongly stereotyped. Last I looked only a fourth of black noncustodial fathers don’t really see their kids. Yeah, not of ALL fathers. Fathers who aren’t with the mother anymore. Across the board it is far fewer.

        While we’re at it; let’s mention all those mothers who think being a mother is optional. The time to choose is BEFORE you are pregnant. A busted condom is about the only reason you should be ‘accidentally’ pregnant. And the only time you should be getting an abortion is if you were raped. Yeah, it kind of pisses me off that so many women think they can kill their babies and then once it is convenient for them still have kids.

        I really don’t know why it is more ‘progressive’ to care about an irresponsible adult more than a helpless child.

        In case my rage comes across as directed toward you, Alex, I assure you it is not. 🙂

        Full disclosure: I am childless and do not hate women. lol…

      • No, I don’t think the rage is aimed at me.

        Clearly, being forced to generate a child when one is not willing to is another issue. Let’s wait until Ted draws an abortion-themed cartoon. Then we can go at it hammer and tongs.

        I think we can agree that those people who have children need to fully understand that children are not like cute little ducklings of floppy little bunny wabbits that you can send to the shelter when you get bored or they become inconvenient.

        I understood this very clearly, and I have not had any children, specifically because of that and my inability to guarantee a stable income with which to support that child. But I have a cat. And he’s a sweetie little boo-boo stupid baby kitty. Aren’t you? Yes you are. Yes you are. Who wants some tuna …

      • I have to answer that briefly and then we can indeed await a Rall abortion toon.

        Laws force people to do or not to do many things. In this case, a person willingly got pregnant. I suggest she simply be kept from killing her child same as she is once it is out of her. In some states, a person can be charged with murder if he causes the death of an unborn baby. Why is a mother except?

      • I’ll wait for a full-on abortion cartoon as well, but I just gotta address this nonsense.

        Jack spake unto us, saying, ” In this case, a person willingly got pregnant.”

        I’m pretty sure that 99.9% of women seeking abortions did not ‘willingly get pregnant’ those who do so willingly tend to bring the fetus to term.

        A hell of a lot of unwanted pregnancies are due to ignorance about contraception. And guess what? The reason she didn’t get that information is because the same ‘pro-life’ fucktards threw a shit-fit when the school tried to teach it to her. They closed the local Planned Parenthood office & made it against the law for the pharmacy to sell contraceptives to her as well. Then, when she succumbs to the strongest urge known to the human animal they turn their noses up and mutter about how it’s all *her* fault. That’s the wonderfully-flexible RW definition of ‘personal responsibility’ – to wit, it’s always someone else’s responsibility.

        Jack spake further, “I really don’t know why it is more ‘progressive’ to care about an irresponsible adult more than a helpless child.”

        Simple: there’s no way a rational human being can look at a microscopic ball of undifferentiated cells (through microscope, no less) and conclude that it is a ‘helpless child.’ We’ll never agree on that – but we should be able to agree that a pregnant thirteen-year-old *is* a ‘helpless child’

        I find it really hard to believe that the “pro-life” crowd is acting out of compassion when they quite clearly have no compassion whatsoever for that pregnant thirteen-year-old.

      • Well, as you quoted me yourself, I was only talking about ADULTS. NOT ‘thirteen-year-olds.’ Some intellectual honestly here would be nice. But seriously–a thirteen-year-old? Is that the age when kids are fucking around now? Wow. It would really be nice if people were still taught that virginity had some value. (And no, I don’t think extramarital sex is evil since I’d probably be accused of thinking so.)

        I see I need to spell it out. If you have sex willingly, you are taking the chance of creating a baby. Be derisive all you want, but I am not a fundamentalist. Today with a myriad of contraceptives available as well as emergency contraception…do I have to finish this thought?

        Don’t give me this ‘it doesn’t look like a baby yet’ crap. The only difference is that it is not done growing yet. By that logic we shouldn’t care about kids at all because, hey, they haven’t grown into adult humans yet. And you tried to make me out to be the crazy one!

        Everyone should have full access to education and contraception. It prevents abortions, which should be ALL of our goal.

        I find it chillingly disturbing when women care more about other women’s ‘right’ to kill than care about the lives of babies. Talk about a lack of motherly instinct.

        To close it bears repeating, if you willingly FUCK, you are taking a chance you will WILLINGLY make a child.

      • Oh and while we’re at it, we might as well get really technical. A thirteen-year-old cannot legally give consent to sex, so she could only be pregnant as the result of a rape, for which I said abortion should be allowed. Checkmate. You should feel silly, but you won’t.

      • If the 13 year old girl is pregnant by a 13 year old boy, who raped who?

        As a male, incapable of becoming pregnant, I really don’t feel that it is my place to tell women how to handle their pregnancies. Even if they “should have known better”.

      • It’s not about “looks” Jack. It’s about the fact that a blastocyst does not even have nerve cells yet, let alone a brain, heart, or cute little toesy-woesies. It’s quite obviously not a human being, ergo abortion is not “killing a baby.”

        All of your arguments rely on the single unprovable assertion that a new human life is formed the instant that a spermatazoa penetrates an ovum. That’s argument by assertion, a fallacy. It can only be proven in the logical sense if you posit a soul, or The Force or some other superstitious mumbo jumbo. If you want to base your life on superstition, that’s your right -but you do not have the right to force your beliefs on others.

        Feel free to bring ‘consent’ into the debate, but the (really technical) term you’re looking for is ‘informed consent.’ If an eighteen-year-old has been denied information then she obviously can’t give informed consent, so by your own argument she’s off the hook.

        On the subject of those-who-should-feel-silly, we have this gem:

        “To close it bears repeating, if you willingly FUCK, you are taking a chance you will WILLINGLY make a child.”

        Seriously? So, if I willingly DRIVE A CAR then I’m taking a chance that I will WILLINGLY die in a collision with a drunken driver. If I willingly BREATH AIR then I’m taking a chance that I will WILLINGLY contract tuberculosis.

    • I used to be ‘pro-choice.’ It took a woman to set me straight on this. My ex-gf had been a dumb 20-year-old using the pull-out method. It was inconvenient, and the father wasn’t there for them. But she owned up to it. She didn’t look for a way out of responsibility. And her son is the best thing that ever happened to her. That’s a woman who cares more about her child than herself, and that’s the only kind of woman who will ever have my children.

      • Wow. The purpose of sex is to make a baby. The purpose of driving a car is not to die in a crash…do I really have to say this? So you’ve managed to compare dying with becoming pregnant as if it is a DISEASE. You’re disgusting. Well, it is clear that the realm of disingenuous, fallacious analogies is not the sole property of right-wing nuts.

        If my argument is simply an assertion, then so is yours, which is “It is a human being once it pops out of the mom.” Yet that blastocyst grows into what is recognizable as a human.

        As for both of you, politics and governance aren’t about ANYTHING if not about ‘pushing beliefs on others.’ Your crowd ‘pushes’ the belief that it is OK to kill kids. I resent that, pal. And you, Russell, the ‘I’m not part of the group, so it isn’t my business to say’ is such a lazy cop-out. That is exactly like Kos founder saying “I’m white so I have no grounds to have an opinion on what is racist or not.”

        I was hoping someone could have something useful to say, but I can see I can’t expect even liberals to be level-headed when it comes to abortion.

      • And no, you know what? An eighteen-year-old that doesn’t know how babies are made has no one to blame but herself. Unreal. It is one of the biggest flaws of liberals that they do not value responsibility. At some point, it is not someone else’s fault. An adult can take it upon herself to seek out information. It doesn’t have to be spoon-fed. Holy shit.

    • Jack,

      You’re making two mistakes. I’m not trying to win on a technicality with these; you are making significant logical missteps.

      1. “Wow. The purpose of sex is to make a baby.” Actually, that’s one purpose of sex. It is also a form of intimacy. The majority of sexual actions does NOT result in a pregnancy, ergo, procreation is a secondary purpose. But, if “sex is for babies” is correct, then old people, post-menopausal women, vasectomized men, lesbians and gay, should not be having sex.

      2. Your arguments about abortion originate from the faulty and unproven notion that a fertilized egg is a child. As I said, we can wait until Ted does an abortion cartoon, but, factually–and I mean real facts, not the ones produced by Bible-Thumpers LOocal #384–the premise simply does not hold up.

      • No, Alex. Sex only exists to make babies. Without that purpose, there would be no sex. So all these other reasons are secondary. Intimacy or pleasure whatever. Those are not the overarching point of it. Sex makes babies. Getting killed is quite rarely a reason to drive a car. We get all these other reasons for sex because of the need to propagate. I’m not saying the only legitimate reason for an individual to have intercourse is to procreate. I never said that. Quite obviously we are all driven to sex because of the goal to procreate whether or not the act could actually result in a baby. Good god, why do these distinctions escape you guys?

      • Alex, seriously, do you think I was saying there was no legitimate reason to have sex other than procreation?! I thought you would give me a little more credit than that. Can you liberals not discuss abortion without blinders on?

        Life at conception is at least an answer as opposed to the non-answer of the pro-choice crowd. They have no idea when life begins apparently. As if an embryo is not alive.

      • Jack,

        I’ve gone back through your statements. I stand by my prior assertion: you are making logical and factual errors.

        First, “Is that the age when kids are fucking around now? Wow. It would really be nice if people were still taught that virginity had some value. (And no, I don’t think extramarital sex is evil since I’d probably be accused of thinking so.)”

        Besides the occasional news report of a 14-year-old giving birth, there’s the Dept. of Health and Human Services, which reports: “Before age 15, ‘a majority of first intercourse experiences among females are reported to be non-voluntary.'” (http://aspe.hhs.gov/HSP/cyp/xsteesex.htm) So, yes, that’s the age when kids are fucking around now. Usually, however, because they’re being raped, so being taught about the value of virginity is actually PART of the problem because it implants a “my value is in my virginity. If someone finds out I was raped, I will be seen as damaged goods” mentality.

        Silence is the major accomplice of rape. The victims don’t come forward due to a combination of intimidation, shame and a desire to not “make things worse” (having dad carted off in the police cruiser and the family’s complete collapse shortly thereafter being “worse”). And let’s not forget good old social pressure. I can’t imagine a 14-year-old girl would WANT people in her social peer group to know she’d been raped. Fourteen would be sixth grade. I recall sixth grade and how desperate everyone was to appear to know what was going on, to not stick out as an oddball. I can’t think of anything more oddifying than being the girl everyone knows got raped.

        Those “myriad” contraceptives you speak of? Sorry. Stuff and nonsense. First of all, most contraception is not available to someone who isn’t an adult. So, a 15-year-old who realizes she isn’t ready to handle a child is blocked right there. She can’t get the pills without some adult procuring them for her. Second, as comes up in the news every so often, moral-arbiter-pharmacists will actually REFUSE to fill the prescriptions. In a lot of parts of the country, there are only one or two pharmacies in any particular area.

        As for “I see I need to spell it out. If you have sex willingly, you are taking the chance of creating a baby.” Jack, do you recall being 14 at all? If 14-year-olds were capable of thinking, we wouldn’t need babysitters for them. And it is a really crummy thing to do to someone who is emotionally, mentally and physically not finished developing to expect them to be able to reason like a 30 year old. And even if they can, the entire culture’s structure is set up to thwart them: they can’t get full-time jobs, they can’t drive cars, so how do they pay for birth control, and how do they get to it?

        Second. “Don’t give me this ‘it doesn’t look like a baby yet’ crap. The only difference is that it is not done growing yet. By that logic we shouldn’t care about kids at all because, hey, they haven’t grown into adult humans yet. And you tried to make me out to be the crazy one!” I don’t think you’re crazy. I think you’re wrong. The false analogy is too obvious. Just google “false analogy” and then try to figure out why, as adults are merely old people who are not done growing yet, social security is a pittance.

        The issue is not that the developing embryo doesn’t look like a baby. The issue is that it has been sanctified without any proof. The issue is that the religious fantasies of some have been imposed upon all (see the pharmacist above, google “Silent Scream disproved”). The issue is the rampant hypocritical nature of the “lifers.” The embryo is sacred, they argue, ALWAYS from a God-perspective. And, also sacred, apparently, is defunding HeadStart, eliminating hot-breakfast programs at schools, gutting non-sport school programs, etc. This has never been about preserving life. This has been about men making sure women understand that once a man breeds one of them, the woman’s operating instructions are to bring the offspring to term, raise it and keep her damned mouth shut.

        Third, “Everyone should have full access to education and contraception. It prevents abortions, which should be ALL of our goal.” Yes So where’s the frank, explicit, blunt sex-ed talk? Remember Joycelyn Elders? She was all for distributing contraceptives in schools and teaching young people about masturbation (Did you do your homework? Hang on, … huh huh huh … almost finished. …). She also said that we should legalize drugs and get over our “love affair” with the fetus and start worrying about the children. And for this, they fired her ass. The entire issue is coated in political eggsucking and puritanism. It isn’t about rational thinking or improving people’s lives. It’s about the overwhelming infiltration religious indoctrination and shame still have in this country.

        Fourth, “I find it chillingly disturbing when women care more about other women’s ‘right’ to kill than care about the lives of babies. Talk about a lack of motherly instinct.” Again to the google. Look up begging the question. You assert that it’s killing. Is that a moral claim? A legal one? What, other than religious doctrine, informs it?

        And, finally, the point at which you completely invalid yourself: “Oh and while we’re at it, we might as well get really technical. A thirteen-year-old cannot legally give consent to sex, so she could only be pregnant as the result of a rape, for which I said abortion should be allowed. Checkmate. You should feel silly, but you won’t.”

        So. Abortion, you say, is wrong. Why? Because it kills a child. So why isn’t it killing a child when the child is the product of a rape or incest? In each case, the child is innocent, right?

        Or am I being obtuse?

        I could go on, but, really, this is too long by far already.

      • Hey, Alex – I want to add something to your well thought out post.

        re: She can’t get the pills without some adult procuring them for her.

        Enter Planned Parenthood – that’s where my girlfriend and I went when we were underage lovers. They practically gave us (her) the pills. But the self-same ‘lifers’ are closing Planned Parenthood offices every chance they get. This guarantees that more underage girls and underprivileged women will get pregnant.

        If they do manage to outlaw abortion, then we’ll see more teenage suicides, more girls bleeding out from punctured uteruses, and more newborns left in dumpsters.

        Then the thumpers get all sanctimonious about how other people won’t take responsibility for their actions. That’s the wonderfully flexible RW definition of ‘personal responsibility’ – it’s always some other person’s responsibility.

        “It’s not my fault people died, your honor. It’s their own damn fault for living in the building I set on fire.”

      • No matter what I say, I am conflated with religious nuts. I am militantly atheist. Thank you very much. Arguably then, it is more important to me than to the religious to stop lives from being snuffed out without a chance. I keep having words shoved in my mouth. As soon as someone opens his mouth and says, “I’m against abortion” you guys assume that person agrees with everything the pro-life camp believes. So, almost every point you make is irrelevant to me. Actually, this is far from the front of my mind when it comes to politics. There are probably dozens of issues more pressing. That’s how bad the status quo has become.

        I do not believe that abortion should be outlawed as the only change in a vacuum perfect system as you guys have suggested that I believe. Many other things would need to change for that to happen. We would have to make every attempt to remove the stigma of being a rape victim. Contraceptives and education would have to be easily available to minors as well, but again, I have to repeat, I was talking about adults, and you guys keep talking about kids…Obviously, in this terrible system that we have, I don’t entirely blame a minor.

        Even so it’s really easy for adults to say ‘Hey, I was 14. Give me a break’ for whatever transgression. No. You had a brain and made choices. How many 14-year-olds think they are big shots at the time? But hey, if they do something stupid, later it’s ‘Let me off the hook because I was a kid.’ And I’m not just talking about sex here. ANY poor behavior. ‘Sure I bullied that kid into killing herself, but I was just 14 so it’s OK. I didn’t have a mind of my own.’ Most adults aren’t much of adults anymore. Oh, and 14-year-olds are freshmen. Big difference.

        That actually makes a lot of sense that girls that young did not lose their virginity voluntarily. Everything should be done to reverse that trend and punish those responsible. But you are out of touch if you think many young people really still consider virginity something to hold onto. The impression I got as a teenager was that all ‘normal’ people lose it at ages 16-17 and if you lose it earlier, you’re dirty, and later, you’re a loser. In high school, boys and girls alike are pressuring girls to have sex.

        In some times and places, individuals we call children today had much expected of them, and they were up to the task. Today, teenagers are given almost all the privileges and almost none of the responsibilities of adults plus a bunch of free time to make terrible decisions. Now that we live much longer than we are supposed to, we are able to move the age of adulthood way back. Teenagers get a undeserved reputation as being irresponsible and stupid. By about 16, they are biologically adults. They are capable. They have fought wars, led families, and worked long hours earlier than that. They have been up to incredible challenges. My point isn’t that that should return to the norm. It is that we expect too little of them anymore. Public education, as is, is a terrific waste of time. I could have learned and done so many more useful things. It doesn’t even do the job of giving kids a good body of basic skills and background knowledge.

        I’m as against Puritanism as anybody. I don’t think that simply believing that abortion should be prevented and avoided is Puritan all by itself. Abortion is never good even when it is sometimes necessary.

        It is very simple to me that a rape victim cannot be expected to carry her rape baby even though it is alive. It would be a violation of her rights and her life. She had no choice in the matter and the baby should never have been conceived. It is difficult and terrible situation, and it is not good that the abortion happens, but in such a case it would be justified.

        In your minds, is there a point during the pregnancy at which abortion is no longer permissible? Any attempt on your side to claim such would have to be arbitrary if, as you claim, the idea of life at conception is.

        I’ll say again that not every woman is ‘pro-choice.’ The ex I mentioned is agnostic besides. For her, abortion is off the table as immoral. I don’t know how I’d live with myself. If I were to become an ‘accidental’ father with a woman I didn’t care to see anymore, I would much rather raise the kid alone on what nothing I have than have her abort it. Maybe you’re not aware but there is a segment of young women who are pretty casual about abortion. Whether or not one believes abortion should be a legal choice, we should all be able to agree that it is nothing to be taken cavalierly. She actually had a friend who said, “Yeah, I’m not using any birth control. If I get pregnant, I’ll just get an abortion and not tell anyone.”

        I’m probably saying a few more things that will be misrepresented.

  3. “When gays and lesbians began agitating for the right to be married, I didn’t understand why they’d want to. Obviously, the legal protections, tax benefits and healthcare advantages are nice. But wasn’t one of the best parts about being gay that you couldn’t get married?”

    Ted, I’m surprised you missed this.

    One of the standards of how you criminalize an entire class of people is by establishing privileges for those NOT in that class. By keeping the gays from marrying, the straight enemies keep them classified as “Other.” The enemies of gays are then allowed to argue something like this: “Gays shouldn’t be allowed to marry. Why? Well, look at how empty and meaningless their relationships are. I mean, when was the last time you saw two gays married to each other. That’s why we can’t allow them to marry.”

    It is, of course, a direct lift of the old “Women can’t be doctors because they aren’t smart enough to go through medical school. As proof, look at how no medical school admits women.”

      • Jack, did you actually follow the link or was that totally context-free snark? The article was clear-cut and straightforward.

      • I skimmed the whole thing. Detected a hint of misplaced anger, a lack of sound reasoning, and an air of superiority. On top of that I have a hard time taking assertions from a feminist at face value.

      • “I have a hard time taking assertions from a feminist at face value.

        Pretty judgmental there, Jack.

        “Detected a hint of misplaced anger, a lack of sound reasoning, and an air of superiority.”

        Odd. That’s just how I felt about your posts above about abortion.

      • I’m disappointed in you, Russell. I usually really like what you have to say here. Just the same as I cannot take seriously assertions from a neocon, I cannot take seriously assertions from a feminist. I completely disagree with their worldviews.

        I’m not a Christian, so there is nothing stopping me from passing judgment. It is what we have to do to make our way through this world. For instance, I had in the past judged you to be quite reasonable and still judge you to be so on most matters.

        I had a feeling someone would try to turn my words about the feminist piece back onto me. Your rebuttal is rather lazy. This all fits neatly into my belief that most people do not genuinely consider the other side’s points. When I was ‘pro-choice,’ I know I did not, but something never sat quite right with me. I just didn’t want to find myself on the side of those crazies.

        I fail to see how anger at the deaths of children can be ‘misplaced.’ My number one criticism of Obama is that he does not value life. And so ends my little experiment of this Leftist positing a genuine ‘conservative’ belief on a liberal blog.

      • Sorry to disappoint.

        I have a lot more sympathy for feminism than you do. Feminist semiotics turns up unexpected truths just as any deconstruction will. An example from the study of evolution: a feminist approach drives the notion of cooperation and the existence of cooperation networks as being a matter of as great importance as the much vaunted competition in driving natural selection. The idea was, in fact, championed by feminist scientists. As it happens, it’s true: cooperation and competition interact in complex ways to drive evolution, i.e. “we’ll school with other species and move with the rest when predators show up but we’re real fast in short spurts so we can grab the food that falls in before they can.”

        As far as abortion goes, if you’re religious I guess god gives it a soul at the get-go but for the rest of us it starts out as a ball of cells without awareness with a little less than 50/50 fifty chance of ever being birthed and from there to its hopeful birth becomes increasing more human, aware, and likely. Our concern for its well-being grows as it becomes more aware.

        Now if you feel that it really is “deaths of children” from the very start, how then do you justify any exceptions? Otherwise, you are setting yourself up to pick and choose and that’s a lot of arrogance for anyone to assume but IMHO especially for those of us who through the luck of being male will never, ourselves, have to make such a choice about our own body.

      • If I were female, there would be no choice. It shouldn’t be up to us to determine if that ‘ball of cells’ even gets a 50/50 chance. No one should be expected to birth a rape baby. There’s such a thing already as justifiable homicide. I address it above.

      • It’s telling that you guys avoid most of my points. I don’t know what it is about liberals that makes them so often accuse their opponents of arrogance. If I’m arrogant, it is just as arrogant to judge there to be nothing wrong with abortion.

  4. The best counter to the pro-legalization arguments for prostitution and porn that I’ve seen, is that if this is all such a necessary evil, because if men can’t have sex and jack off to pictures of subjugated women, they’ll all go crazy, then we should make it like national service, where everybody has to do their share. I have yet to run across anyone who likes that idea, because the prostitute is always some other woman to men, some disposable one. This is “othering” and also classic liberal freedomz cant.

  5. Legalizing prostitution is problematic under capitalistic structures because capitalism wants all business to grow, and making prostitution a growth industry is not what we want. Most prostitutes have poor choices, many are groomed into it very young and even legal prostitutes suffer abuse at the hands of their johns. The argument that prostitution is a job like any other does not take into account women who do not have the option of turning down clients, and as such is legalized rape.

    While decriminalizing prostitutes themselves is commendable and kind, the pimps and the clients are another story. It cannot be demonstrated that full legalization ends the abuse, and indeed it’s the rare john who would be comfortable with his own daughter being in such a line of work, and what does that say?

    • Miep, you need to read Maggie McNeil’s ‘The Honest Courtesan’ blog. Seriously. Your post is full of the same tired, shopworn fantasies used to keep prostitution both illegal and yet available. Most prostitutes are not ‘groomed’ for their career; like most of us they stumble into it. Prostitutes are abused by johns (rarely) BECAUSE it’s illegal, and there’s no consequences for the crime. Sex workers have far more freedom to accept or reject clients than, say, a cashier at a McJob; they’re independent contractors, not wage-slaves. (If they accept a client, they’re morally obligated to fulfill their contractual obligation, no matter how offensive their patron; just like every other paid contractor.) Pimps are mostly a myth; the police can’t really find them, and so create them out of the men who prostitutes associate with outside of business. Fathers used to believe that the only function of a daughter was to make a favorable marriage; what does that say about the controlling impulse of the patriarchal family?

      • It took me about two minutes of googling to determine that this person routinely denies that sex trafficking exists. This is not a person to take seriously.

      • Really? And tell me, what makes your qualifications superior to those of an actual former prostitute? Someone who has actually worked in the sex industry, with other sex workers? Exactly how do you presume to know more than someone who was a professional in the field?

        And the two minutes is telling. McNeil doesn’t deny that sex trafficking exists; she denies that it’s occuring with the numbers and frequency the prohibition crowd are citing. Along with actual sites listing real numbers; not the grossly inflated figures routinely cited by those who are working to keep sex work illegal.

        Of course, if prostitution was legal; if those massive numbers of sex traffickers didn’t exist; it would be hard to justify ever-increasing budgets and authority, wouldn’t it?

      • Comparing trafficking victims with people who claim they were abducted by UFO’s is no different from saying rape victims asked for it. The second Internet hit when searching for this person’s blog is to another blog, also supposedly written by a retired sex worker, who argues credibly that the former blogger makes extravagant and unfounded claims, and is also posting anonymously.

        I posted a link here to a well-researched piece of journalism on the legal and cultural issues surrounding prostitution, should you care to read it.

  6. Oh, heck yeah. I’m an outspoken advocate of gay rights, even though I’m straight. Frankly I find male-on-male sex yucky, but the #1 rule is “if it ain’t hurtin’ you – then MYOB” Same diff for multiple spouses – polygamy and polyandry both. Doesn’t suit my taste – but so what, if all the participants are consenting adults it’s no business of mine.

    Heinlein described ‘line marriages’ where several people of various genders & ages would be married together. As the elder husbands/wives died, they’d accept new, younger spouses. They’d share in child care, support, house keeping etc. Of course, Heinlein was a flaming liberal, far ahead of his time: he had an open marriage in 1938.

    Which provides a great segue into a coupla favorite Heinlein quotes:

    “The plural of spouse is spice”

    “Masturbation is cheap, clean, convenient, and free of any possibility of wrongdoing — and you don’t have to go home in the cold. But it’s lonely.”

    “The most preposterous notion that H. sapiens has ever dreamed up is that the Lord God of Creation, Shaper and Ruler of all the Universes, wants the saccharine adoration of His creatures, can be swayed by their prayers, and becomes petulant if He does not receive this flattery. Yet this absurd fantasy, without a shred of evidence to bolster it, pays all the expenses of the oldest, largest, and least productive industry in all history. The second most preposterous notion is that copulation is inherently sinful.”

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