Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Support For The Decriminalization Of Bestiality Is Becoming A Key Issue For Libertarian Leaders

In the early days of the newly emerging Libertarian Philosophical Movement and the formation of the Libertarian Party, there was a fringe group of Libertarians who called for the decriminalization of bestiality. These activists were present at a Libertarian Conference held in New York City in 1969 and around that time, Murray Rothbard claimed a Neo-Randian group called Students of Objectivism for Rational Bestiality existed in the outer reaches of the libertarian movement. These so-called Bestiality Boys promoted what they called Rational Bestiality. Their contention, as I understand it, was that "bestiality is illegal because humans are irrational animals and that, if humans were rational, citizens would not be arrested and jailed for engaging in sexual acts with the animals they own."

While those calling for the decriminalization of bestiality have always been present in the Libertarian Party, this issue was elevated to a whole new level when in 2011 and 2012, two Libertarian Party Presidential Candidates and one Presidential Candidate of the Boston Tea Party, made statements in favor of decriminalizing bestiality.

Carl Person, who was seeking the Libertarian Party's Presidential nomination, was the first to re-address this issue when he wrote:

The victimless crimes are prostitution, bestiality, sodomy, drugs, abortion, and the principles are that we shouldn't be regulating what people do to themselves, and the cost of the regulation should be saved and returned to taxpayers, to reduce taxes, and enable the economy to grow with commerce instead of with prisoners, private jails and private jail guards.

When asked for a clarification with respect to his position in support of legalizing bestiality, Carl Person provided the following statement regarding this issue:  

When I mentioned "bestiality", I was referring to animals, not humans (Note: some statutes prohibiting bestiality include children within the definition.). Bestiality as a victimless crime would center on two elements:  1. "property rights" - limiting the practice to one's own animals or with wild animals (not owned by anyone) and 2. "consent" and/or "non-injury" - if the animal is willing and is not injured in the process. If the animal is already dead, the victimless crime would become a variant of necromancy, and have to be analyzed in a similar fashion. I'm not a practitioner or advocate of bestiality and am only trying to apply Libertarian principles to a seldom discussed victimless crime.

Tiffany Briscoe, the Presidential Candidate of the Boston Tea Party, weighed in on the "bestiality is a victimless crime" issue by sharing her viewpoints on the subject:

Let me be clear. I strongly believe bestiality is anti-natural. But if an individual wants to engage him or herself into such an activity, it is entirely up to this individual. I condemn all anti-bestiality laws, just like I condemn bestiality itself. But this should be a decision taken by the person involved, rather than the government. Strictly on a philosophical standpoint, bestiality is probably consistent with the reasonable theory that rights apply only to humans and not animals or plants.

Sam Sloan, a candidate for the Libertarian Party's Presidential Nomination, then placed the issue in the context of marriage, when he issued his campaign platform, which included the following language:

I have no problem with a man or woman marrying multiple partners of any gender. I couldn't care less if a person wanted to marry their cat or dog. It is simply none of the government's business.

Thomas L. Knapp, Publisher of Rational Review ("The Premier Libertarian Web Journal") then commented:

It seems to me that the default libertarian position - absent a persuasive argument for "animal rights," which I do try to keep an open mind for - is that it's a property issue and therefore a victimless crime (unless of course the animal is someone else's property)...If non-human animals do not have rights and are "just property", then the answer the Zero Aggression Principle returns is that bestiality (with one's own property or with permission of the owner of said property) is not aggression, and that prohibiting/punishing bestiality (with one's own property or with the owner of said property) is aggression.

Dallwyn Merck, Secretary of the Libertarian Party of Queens County, and Vice-Chair of the Downstate Libertarians chapter of Empire State Libertarians, complimented Carl Person for having started the discussion. He wrote:

I applaud Carl Person for speaking up on this controversial issue and for setting forth a philosophical framework to enable us to analyze when and under what circumstances bestiality should be made legal. 

Engaging in bestiality is currently considered a very serious crime in almost all states. In fact, the first person executed in what is now the geographic area known as the United States was Thomas Granger, a 16-year old boy living in Plymouth Colony, who was hung on September 8, 1642 after confessing to "buggery with a mare, a cowe, two goats, divers sheepe, two calves, and a turkey".

Bestiality is far more common than most people realize. After conducting 6000 interviews with participants on their sexual histories, Alfred Kinsey published his findings in 1953, which included the result that 8% of men and 4% of women reported having a sexual experience with an animal at some point in their lives, and 8% of men brought themselves to orgasm with an animal. In Morton Hunt's study (1974), it was reported that 4.9% of men brought themselves to orgasm with animal contact. Male sexual contact was more common among rural farm dwellers than urban men. Intercourse was the most common sexual activity, usually with animals such as calves, sheep, and burros.

Since taboos against human-animal contact have been the norm for centuries, the criminal law has resulted in the arrest and stigmatization of those who have found pleasure while in contact with certain farm animals. Whether it be the shepherd with his sheep or the farm boy with a toothless baby calf, human-animal contact has been going on for thousands of years.

Carl Person has brought this issue out into the open and has started a discussion on the topic. He has done a great service to this nation by addressing this issue head on.

What was not expected is that Carl Person's initial comment calling bestiality a "victimless crime" would be the catalyst for the formation of a modern Zoosexual Rights movement and that the Libertarian Party would be given the credit for this new activism.

Lexxi Stray (the Dog Park Princess), called upon people to support Carl Person and the Libertarian Party because of his stand on this issue:

Carl Person...is in favor of focusing our national resources on REAL issues - and not squandering them chasing "criminals" who aren't hurting anyone else or interfering with other people. He plans to do this by focusing funds on creating jobs as well as by having the police force working to keep people safe, which they cannot do when they are spread thin chasing after people involved in victimless crimes. He is completely right. We spend millions of dollars trying to stop people from bending over for their dog or taking a puff of weed while men beating their wives or people drinking themselves into comas hardly get a second glance. It's time to focus on making change that helps people, not waste more tax money trying to stop people from engaging in actions that don't harm anyone else.

Finally, for the first time in far too long, politics are openly discussing the reality of bestiality - that if the animal is ready and willing there is no harm done by allowing them to satisfy their urges. While the Libertarian Party may be much smaller than either Democrats or Republicans, you can bet those groups keep their eyes on the support levels of different candidates so they know what policies to implement in order to get more support for themselves. 

One thing you can do to support bestiality and bring the positive views to light is simply support Carl Person and his fellows either online or in person and, if you plan on voting, vote for some of them come election time. Every vote they get is another sign that bestiality is slowly coming into the minds of the mainstream in a more realistic way - the illogical prejudices of the past are slowly being stripped away so that things may be looked at objectively, and this is one change I am proud to say I will be a part of.

Peter Singer, an animal rights advocate, wrote an article in 2001 entitled "Heaving Petting" offering great insight on the issue of bestiality. It reads, in part, as follows:

Sex with animals is still definitely taboo. If Midas Dekkers, author of Dearest Pet, has got it right, this is not because of its rarity. Dekkers, a Dutch biologist and popular naturalist, has assembled a substantial body of evidence to show that humans have often thought of "love for animals" in ways that go beyond a pat and a hug, or a proper concern for the welfare of members of other species. His book has a wide range of illustrations, going back to a Swedish rock drawing from the Bronze Age of a man fucking a large quadruped of indeterminate species. There is a Greek vase from 520 BC showing a male figure having sex with a stag; a seventeenth-century Indian miniature of a deer mounting a woman; an eighteenth-century European engraving  of an ecstatic nun coupling with a donkey, while other nuns look on, smiling; a nineteenth-century Persian painting of a soldier, also with a donkey; and from the same period, a Japanese drawing of a woman enveloped by a giant octopus who appears to be sucking her cunt, as well as caressing her body with its many limbs. How much of this is fantasy, the King Kong-ish archetypes of an earlier age? In the 1940s, Kinsey asked twenty thousand Americans about their sexual behavior, and found that 8 percent of males and 3.5 percent of females stated that they had, at some time, had a sexual encounter with an animal. Among men living in rural areas, the figure shot up to 50 percent. Dekkers suggests that for young male farm hands, animals provided an outlet for sexual desires that could not be satisfied when girls were less willing to have sex before marriage. Based on twentieth-century court records in Austria where bestiality was regularly prosecuted, rural men are most likely to have vaginal intercourse with cows and calves, less frequently with mares, foals and goats and only rarely with sheep or pigs. They may also take advantage of the sucking reflex of calves to get them to do a blowjob. Women having sex with bulls or rams, on the other hand, seems to be more a matter of myth than reality. For three-quarters of the women who told Kinsey that they had had sexual contact with an animal, the animal involved was a dog, and actual sexual intercourse was rare. More commonly the woman limited themselves to touching and masturbating the animal, or having their genitals licked by it.

The taboo on sex with animals may have originated as part of a broader rejection of non-reproductive sex. But the vehemence with which this prohibition continues to be held, its persistence while other non-reproductive sexual acts have become acceptable, suggests that there is another powerful force at work: our desire to differentiate ourselves, erotically and in every other way, from animals.

Almost a century ago, when Freud had just published his groundbreaking Three Essays on Sexuality, the Viennese writer Otto Soyka published a fiery little volume called Beyond the Boundary of Morals. Never widely known, and now entirely forgotten, it was a polemic directed against the prohibition of "unnatural" sex like bestiality, homosexuality, fetishism and other non-reproductive acts. Soyka saw these prohibitions as futile and misguided attempts to limit the inexhaustible variety of human sexual desire. Only bestiality, he argued, should be illegal, and even then, only in so far as it shows cruelty towards an animal. Soyka's suggestion indicates one good reason why some of the acts described in Dekkers book are clearly wrong, and should remain crimes. Some men use hens as a sexual object, inserting their penis into the cloaca, an all-purpose channel for wastes and for the passage of the egg. This is usually fatal to the hen, and in some cases she will be deliberately decapitated just before ejaculation in order to intensify the convulsions of its sphincter. This is cruelty, clear and simple. (But is it worse for the hen than living for a year or more crowded with four or five other hens in a barren wire cage so small that they can never stretch their wings, and then being stuffed into crates to be taken to the slaughterhouse, strung upside down on a conveyor belt and killed? If not, then it is no worse than what egg producers do to their hens all the time.)

But sex with animals does not always involve cruelty. Who has not been at a social occasion disrupted by the household dog gripping the legs of a visitor and vigorously rubbing its penis against them? The host usually discourages such activities, but in private not everyone objects to being used by his or her dog in this way, and occasionally mutually satisfying activities may develop. Soyka would presumably have thought this within the range of human sexual variety.

At a conference on great apes a few years ago, I spoke to a woman who had visited Camp Leakey, a rehabilitation center for captured orangutans in Borneo run by Birute Galdikas, sometimes referred to as "the Jane Goodall of orangutans" and the world's foremost authority on these great apes. At Camp Leakey, the orangutans are gradually acclimatised to the jungle, and as they get closer to complete independence, they are able to come and go as they please. While walking through the camp with Galdikas, my informant was suddenly seized by a large male orangutan, his intentions made obvious by his erect penis. Fighting off so powerful an animal was not an option, but Galdikas called to her companion not to be concerned, because the orangutan would not harm her, and adding, as further reassurance, that "they have a very small penis." As it happened, the orangutan lost interest before penetration took place, but the aspect of the story that struck me most forcefully was that in the eyes of someone who has lived much of her life with orangutans, to be seen by one of them as an object of sexual interest is not a cause for shock or horror. The potential violence of the orangutan's come-on may have been disturbing, but the fact that it was an orangutan making the advances was not. That may be because Galdikas understands very well that we are animals, indeed more specifically, we are great apes. This does not make sex across the species barrier normal, or natural, whatever those much-misused words mean, but it does imply that it ceases to be an offence to our status and dignity as human beings. 

On December 30, 2011, Thomas Granger Day was established. Thomas Granger, a teenager living in Plymouth Colony and charged with bestiality, was executed by hanging on September 8, 1642. On September 8th of each year, those commemorating Thomas Granger Day mourn his death and call for the repeal of all laws criminalizing bestiality.


The account of Thomas Granger as related by William Bradford is as follows:

Ther was a youth whose name was Thomas Granger; he was servant to an honest man of Duxbery, being aboute 16 or 17 years of age. (His father and mother lived at the same time at Sityate.) He was this year detected of buggery (and indicted for the same) with a mare, a cowe, tow goats, five sheep, 2 calves, and a turkey. Horrible it is to mention, but the truth of the historie requires it. He was first discovered by one that accidentally saw his lewd practise towards the mare. (I forbear perticulers.) Being upon it examined and committed, in the end he not only confest the fact with that beast at that time, but sundrie times before, and at severall times with all the rest of the forenamed in his indictmente; and this his free-confession was not only in private to the magistrates, (though at first he strived to deney it,) but to sundrie, both ministers and others, and afterwards, upon his indictemente, to the whole court and jury; and confirmed it at his execution. And whereas some of the sheep could not so well be knowne by his description of them, others with them were brought before him, and he declared which were they, and which were not. And accordingly he was cast by the jury, and condemned, and after executed about the 8 of Sept 1642. A very sade spectakle it was; for first the mare, and then the cowe, and the rest of the lesser catle, were kild before his face, according to the law, Levit: 20.15 and then he him selfe was executed. The catle were all cast into a great and large pitte that was digged of purposs for them, and no use made of any part of them. 

On December 17, 2012, Kelse Hillery posted an article entitled Bestiality & Libertarianism on the website Beyond The GOP. It was another major call by a Libertarian Intellectual Leader for the Decriminalization of Bestiality. That position paper reads as follows:

Often in gay marriage debates, the question arises: If we allow gay marriage, what next? Bestiality? Conor Friersdorf - who supports gay marriage - thinks this is silly, and claims that because an animal cannot consent to sex with a human, then libertarians should not worry about the ethics of criminalizing bestiality. 

Here is a good reply by Samuel Goldman at The American Conservative, which very effectively refutes Friersdorf's point. Sure, animals don't consent to sex - but nor do they consent to being killed and eaten, or being trapped in a house as pets, and most people don't worry about that. But what does this mean for libertarianism? Goldman believes that "libertarians can offer no principled defense of laws prohibiting bestiality" and that, therefore, the continued existence of bestiality laws "will be because human nature revolts against the implications of libertarianism." 

It seems correct to say that libertarians certainly cannot come up with a principled defense of anti-bestiality laws. At least, I haven't heard one or thought of one. But I do not take that to be at all opposed to human nature. 

There are two issues that Goldman's argument mixes together. First is the question of whether "human nature revolts at the thought of bestiality. I think most people would say yes. But the more important question is whether bestiality should be something that the government punishes through the criminal law. Libertarians would say no, even if they answered yes to the first question. 

And how does human nature revolt against non-punishment? I don't see lots of people clamoring to throw "zoosexuals" in prison. I don't even see them believing that the only just response to man-on-donkey sex is that the man suffer punishment. It's not as though people have a "don't do the crime if you can't do the time" response to bestiality, as they would for, say, theft or murder. More likely, normal people just don't want to deal with others who have sex with animals - which, of course, they would be able to do in a libertarian society.

I'm sure Conor Friersdorf's heart is in the right place. But I don't think he does his cause any good when he tries to argue that really, liberals and libertarians can find a way to criminalize bestiality. To do so blurs the line between social mores and government action, so that they are treated as essentially the same thing, and then allows the opposition to say that your position somehow "shocks the conscience" if it doesn't allow government action to preserve social mores, as though a failure to punish bestiality amounts to support for bestiality itself. 

This is important because statists use this same argument against libertarians not only for bestiality, but also when discussing things like drug use, discrimination, child labor, or prostitution - all of which libertarians want to legalize but do not necessarily condone.

Just because someone believes that something should be legal does not mean that person likes it. What really shocks my conscience is that some people would add to an already over-crowded prison system for something as frivolous as bestiality.

Bestiality has been legal in Germany since 1969 when it was removed from the criminal code. After that, sex with animals was only punishable if the animal was severely injured. However, this gave rise to Erotic Zoos being formed as for-profit businesses both in Germany and in Sweden. As a result, a bestiality ban has now been reinstated in Germany and will also take effect January 1, 2014 in Sweden. These new bans will outlaw Erotic Zoos where individuals pay money to have sex with goats, llamas and other animals. Zoosexual Advocates oppose the reinstatement of the ban. Michael Kiok, a lobbyist for ZETA (Zoophiles Commitment To Tolerance & Enlightment) says there are 100,000 zoophiles in Germany alone and that "mere morals have no place in law."

Does a person have a constitutional right to have sex with an animal he or she owns? Of course, the argument can be made that you have the constitutional right to use and dispose of your property as you see fit. But in Florida, Carlos Romero, owner of a miniature donkey named Doodle claimed the state's new anti-bestiality law deprived him of his "personal liberty and autonomy when it comes to private intimate activities" in violation of his "due process rights" and the equal protection clause of the Fourteenth Amendment of the United States Constitution. Mr. Romero eventually accepted a plea bargain, paid a fine, surrendered his animal and agreed to be placed on probation for one year. Still, he was unrepentant. Defending his actions, he explained that critters "do not seek other pleasures" and their feelings are "100 percent honest" as opposed to "promiscuous" humans, who "stab you in the back, give you diseases (and) lie to you."

Will this issue eventually reach the Supreme Court of the United States? Only time will tell but one thing is certain, the Libertarian Party and some of its leaders have inadvertently sparked a modern Zoosexual Rights Movement and the reaction from others in the Libertarian Party has been explosive, some saying they are prepared to "shoot dead" anyone advocating for the legalization of bestiality. Deep emotions are involved in the debate over the decriminalization of bestiality and it is possible this issue could cause the Libertarian Party to crack wide open.

For more discussions and information on the issue of bestiality, visit: http://fashiontivity.com/fashion-fact/Bestiality and http://www.browardpalmbeach.com/2009-08-20/news/those-who-practice-bestiality-say-they-re-part-of-the-next-gay-rights-movement/

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