Blogs > Liberty and Power > L&S: The Love That Dare not Bleat Its Name

Jul 11, 2005 2:48 pm

L&S: The Love That Dare not Bleat Its Name

Well, James Taylor 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 the 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.

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Mark Brady - 7/11/2005

"Not an actual lamb, but a stuffed toy one."

I understood that. I imagine the display of a live lamb would have required permission from the California Department of Agriculture. My remark turned on the distinction between a young lamb and an adult sheep. Or the difference between lamb and mutton. :)

Anthony Gregory - 7/11/2005

This all reminds me of Gene Wilder's brilliant performance in Woody Allen's Everything You Wanted to Know About Sex But Were Afraid to Ask.

Unfortunately, and despite the promise of the film title, I do not recall it answering the question of how a libertarian society would deal with Wilder's predicament.

Steven Horwitz - 7/11/2005

Not an actual lamb, but a stuffed toy one.

And yes, of course. Those laws are still on the books though.

Mark Brady - 7/11/2005

It should be okay as long as no one mentions the war.

Steven Horwitz - 7/11/2005

Well, Chris Martin, the seminar director, was a little nervous about our liveblogging that lecture, but it turns out that James did the same talk last summer in DC and there was an IHS donor who showed up. Happily, the donor loved it. The way I see it, it's evidence that IHS has not turned conservative.

Of course, we still haven't emailed Marty Z about what we're up to.

Mark Brady - 7/11/2005

I note that James did not pull out a lamb. May we assume that would be going too far--even for an IHS seminar? That said, age-of-consent issues would seem rather irrelevant in a discussion of zoophilia.

Btw, the Idaho law cannot be enforced since Lawrence v. Texas.

Sheldon Richman - 7/11/2005

Baldy must be spinning in his grave.