I’m always fascinated with modernity’s knack at turning yesterday’s certitudes into today’s laughingstocks.
Conversely, practices regarded as mortal sins when our fathers were young are now described as perfectly valid ‘lifestyle choices’.
Moreover, one can hear all sorts of seemingly logical arguments supporting this shift and also defending each particular ‘choice’.
Homosexuality is one obvious example, though in that area advocates of modernity tend to be somewhat less logical than in some others.
On the one hand, they insist that homosexuality is a ‘lifestyle choice’, meaning that a bugger can be a chooser by opting to go one way or the other.
On the other hand, they maintain that there’s really no choice on offer: the ‘lifestyle’ is physiologically predetermined. Some people are born straight, some aren’t, and that’s all there is to it.
However, with the thin end of the wedge driven in to the hilt, logic returns to reclaim its place among rhetorical tools. Once we reject any absolute moral authority and accept that there’s no moral difference among various sex acts, an argument even for same-sex marriage becomes possible.
I’ve even heard self-proclaimed conservatives argue that married homosexuals are conservative people expressing their commitment to this core institution of our society.
My stock response is that they may be conservative, but a society that allows this abomination certainly isn’t. Then I tend to ask provocative, and typically conversation-ending, questions about where they are willing to stop.
First homosexual acts are decriminalised, then same-sex marriage is made legal. Now what about sex between siblings? Parents and children? Animals? These are all fairly popular ‘lifestyle choices’ too, and surely all the same arguments can be used to defend them.
What’s wrong with incest, lovingly called le cinéma des pauvres in rural France? Genetic risks to producing children? But then the spouses can choose to remain childless. The legalisation of homomarriage has already divorced nuptials from procreation, so what’s the problem?
Moreover, a marriage between a brother and sister may be less likely to end in divorce than a union of genetic strangers. After all, the siblings (or parents and children for that matter) have always loved each other anyway.
One can sense that many other ‘lifestyle choices’ are bound to follow the same path from legalised acts to legalised matrimony. And one can congratulate our partners in the northern reaches of the EU on having made the first step.
Sex with animals is already legal in Denmark, Norway and Germany “as long as no one gets hurt”.
Never having ventured outside the female half of our own species, I don’t know whether some animals may find the act itself ipso facto painful.
One suspects that, for as long as their feeling aren’t hurt, and no S&M is involved, horses, sheep or large dogs may accommodate a man painlessly. I’m not so sure about chickens or cats, and I’m not inquisitive enough to want to find out.
But those who are can satisfy their curiosity by travelling to, say, Denmark or Germany. In those countries not only is bestiality legal but so are a rapidly expanding chain of animal brothels and ‘erotic zoos’, with such animals as goats and llamas catering to the intimate needs of human customers.
Presumably, health and safety being of paramount importance, customers are warned against using, say, jackals or pumas for oral sex, but let’s not go into detail.
However, defying logic yet again, the same countries ban animal pornography. Doing it is all right, looking at the pictures of others doing it isn’t. Those chaps do draw the line in some funny places, but who are we to argue against modernity?
There is evidence that sexually abused sheep and other livestock tend to shy away from human contact, but such reports come from farms where bestiality is secretive, chaotic and unsupervised.
Though surreptitious bestiality may do wonders for the local economy, mainly by boosting the sales of Wellington boots, it’s crude and must therefore be discouraged.
It’s conceivable though that a bestiality bordello or an ‘erotic zoo’ may create an environment where zoophilia is elevated or, in the case of chickens, lowered to a fine art. Again, I’m not sure I wish to explore this area at greater depth.
One way or the other, the professional bestiality industry is facing stiff amateur and semi-amateur competition. Certain publications in Scandinavia and Germany are full of private ads run by owners pimping their pets and livestock.
A parallel with human prostitution is crying out to be drawn. There too one observes various levels of organisation, from university girls discreetly turning a few tricks to pay their tuition to independent pimps running a girl or two to industrialised bordellos. And they all lose out to women who undermine corporate solidarity by doing all the same things free of charge.
Predictably, as opposition to this new industry is waning, its advocacy is strengthening. The term ‘lifestyle choice’, translated into German and various Scandinavian languages, is being used as widely as ever.
The German Bundestag has meekly mooted some changes to the national Animal Protection Code, to which the robust response was anything but meek.
German ‘zoophile’ group ZETA has announced that any attempt to outlaw bestiality would run into a stiff legal challenge. “Mere concepts of morality have no business being law,” explained ZETA chairman Michael Kiok.
Myself unable to think in such cosmic categories, I’ll leave you to ponder the extent to which that one sentence overturns the last 2,000 years of legal history.
Meanwhile, people from all over Europe are flocking (no pun intended) to the German and Scandinavian bestiality bordellos. One wonders if this is the kind of free economic interaction that the founders of the EU had in mind.