The Small Laws

The Small Laws:

The other day, I saw a strange post at Volokh, asking whether and why adult incest should be banned by law.

Now, it's a known fact that electing a Democratic president very often leads to challenges to the basic foundations of society. I'm not sure just why this is true; as a lifelong Democrat myself, until the formation of the Tea Party, I can't think of any good reason it should be true. There are plenty of Southern Baptists among the Democratic Party; there are plenty of Catholics; and their most devout voters, the black community, are stridently religious.

Nevertheless, elect a Democrat to the White House, and suddenly you're talking seriously about whether or not there is really a rational basis for banning incest.

Dad29 has the right answer about all this, which is of course to be found in a Chesterton quote.

When you break the big laws, you do not get freedom; you do not even get anarchy. You get the small laws.
What you get, that is, is petty tyranny. A law that denies the will of the vast majority will need invasive powers if it is to enforce its authority. It will need to control you: if not your very thoughts, at least your expressions of those thoughts.

We gain a freedom to commit incest with our adult children: a freedom almost no one wanted, and which freedom almost everyone will resolve by hurling it away -- as one ought to do if one should discover something filthy in one's hand. That, though, brings us back around to Dr. Nussbaum's point, and our earlier discussion of it.

Oh, by the way, why is this incest thing suddenly something that people are willing to step up and defend? I can't help but notice that the guilty party is a noted Palin critic; and, I suppose, that suggests to a certain set that he must therefore be in the right. We need, then, to find out how we have gone wrong, in condemning behavior practiced by so obviously correct and wise a man.

I gently suggest: possibly not.

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