A reader has pointed out a factual error in my yesterday’s piece on bestiality: “Zoophilia was made illegal again in Germany last year. (Sorry to spoil your ‘Modernity descends into the moral abyss’ fun.) Consent is the key. Minors and animals can’t give it.”
True, the data I cited on Germany turned out to be a few months out of date. The country has indeed reimposed a ban on bestiality, making frustrated German animal lovers pop over to Denmark to get their jollies (my information on Scandinavian bestiality bordellos is current).
Contextually though, the reader seems to suggest that she has proved me wrong: modernity’s moral health is perfectly robust. She’s wrong – more so than I was in not having checked my sources properly.
The very fact that sexual perverts feel encouraged to seek equal status, even if they don’t get it in every country on earth, testifies to the depth of the abyss. Can you imagine things like legalised bestiality or, come to that, same-sex marriage having even been discussed a mere 50 years ago?
A Dane confidently predicting in 1964 that 50 years thenceforth his country would boast a chain of animal bordellos would have been committed to the nearest loony bin faster than you could say ‘maniacal delusion’.
Nor does the issue of consent matter as much as my critic thinks. First, if you believe such celebrated advocates of zoophilia as the Princeton professor Peter Singer and the Dutch scientist Dr Midas Dekker, animals can both enjoy sex with humans and communicate their consent to it, if only in non-verbal ways (from my modest experience in such matters, women may also sometimes communicate consent semiotically rather than semantically).
Second, and more important, it’s not just an individual who is entitled to give or withhold consent but also society. Traditionally, and I know this word offends today’s brittle sensibilities, acts contravening our formative Judaeo-Christian morality were banned not mainly because they harmed the direct participants, but because they ruined the moral health of society at large.
That we can no longer think along such lines testifies more than anything else to the depth of the aforementioned abyss. Actually, it was in Germany that the issue of consent was brought into focus not long ago.
In 2001 Armin Meiwes of Essen ran an advertisement saying that he was “looking for a well-built 18- to 30-year-old to be slaughtered and then consumed”. A consenting adult answered the ad and, before being slaughtered and eaten, enjoyed with Herr Meiwes a repast consisting of his freshly severed penis.
The case provided a source of inspiration for various pop bands, mostly in Northern Europe. The ‘musicians’ saw it as the ultimate demonstration of free will, and they treated the subsequently imprisoned Meiwes as an innocent victim. After all, both parties had consented to participating in the culinary experience.
This is perfectly consistent with the rampant, all-conquering solipsism that these days passes for morality. In the absence of God, each individual has full sovereignty of his person and destiny. Presumably, he was brought to life by parthenogenesis. His life belongs to him only and, if he chooses to act as the main course, it’s his privilege.
Plunging into the abyss is the greatest civilisation the world has ever known, or will ever know. There are no longer any absolute moral restraints to check its fall.
All the same reasoning applies a hundred-fold to the issue of assisted suicide, specifically the bill currently having its second reading in the House of Lords.
The proposed law would allow doctors to prescribe poison to terminally ill but mentally alert people who wish to kill themselves. Predictably, this obscenity is promoted by Tony Blair’s best friend Lord Falconer. This lot never waver in their commitment to destroying what’s left of Western civilisation in Britain.
They appeal to the solipsism that reigns supreme in the post-Christian West. Whether a person wishes to die and be eaten or simply to die is a detail that doesn’t change the principle. As long as he’s able to give consent, any doctor should be happy to kill him. No moral, cultural or, God forbid, religious objections need apply.
Empirical evidence from every country where euthanasia has been made legal is equally irrelevant. All such activists believe that their own take on subversion will make it perfectly benign.
Yet the slope leading down to the precipice is always slippery. In Holland, the first Western country to make euthanasia legal, the number of people killed by doctors has quadrupled since 2002, when the law first went into effect.
My Dutch friends are telling me that old people routinely refuse to go to hospital because they’re afraid the doctors will kill them. They understand intuitively that, when iatrogenic killing becomes allowable, sooner or later it’ll become normal and then compulsory.
Extreme euthanasia activists, the typological equivalents of those German bestiality campaigners, want to simplify matters even further. Lethal pills, according to them, ought to be given not just to terminally ill patients but to anyone over 70 who wishes to die.
Three-score and ten, right? The project has strong biblical overtones, so that’s continuity for you.
However, the demand is uncharacteristically modest. Why not shove the pill down the wrinklie’s throat, whether he wants it or not?
For one thing, this would relieve pressure on our dear NHS that’s creaking at every seam, what with the aging population and all… Sorry, I forgot that our post-Christian moral code rests on the pillar of individual consent.
This seems to be the sole criterion. If British women voluntarily kill 200,000 unborn babies every year, they’re free to do so, and we’re happy to pay for the killings through our dear NHS. Our solipsistic morality is thereby served, even though the unborn babies aren’t yet in a position to give consent.
If there still were such a thing as society, it would recoil in disgust. But we’re all atomised individuals now, and there is no centrifugal force any longer to keep the atoms within the molecule.
Welcome to the horror show called modernity. Enjoy it while it lasts, which in your case may be when you reach 70.