Although the focus of Jamie Whyte’s comments about incest rapidly degenerated to his apparent advocacy for incestuous relationships and the open mocking of the very small minority of people who choose to enter incestuous relationships, the argument he was making was largely missed, that is, whether the State should intervene in sexual or marital relationships between two consenting adults.
On The Ruminator website, Tim Batt asks a very provocative question, obviously to see how deep Whyte’s convictions are on freedom & liberty:
But what about incest – should the state intervene if adult siblings want to marry each other?
“Well personally, I don’t think they [the State] should. However, it’s a matter of almost no significance because it just doesn’t happen.”
Whyte then defended his comments in the NZH stating:
“I don’t think the state should intervene in consensual adult sex or marriage, but there are two very important elements here – consensual and adult”.
“I wonder who does believe the state should intervene in consensual adult acts?”
He said he was “very opposed” to incest.
“I find it very distasteful I don’t know why anybody would do it but it’s a question of principle about whether or not people ought to interfere with actions that do no harm to third parties just because they personally wouldn’t do it.”
The NZH have amended the previous article reporting that Whyte says:
“I regret the comments, mainly because I feel I let the party down,” he said.
Lets not beat around the bush, incest is morally repugnant to the vast majority of people. But do not forget that for many socially conservative types, homosexuality is also morally repugnant. Why do people feel justified in defending and actively seeking equality for consensual sexual and marital relationships between two consenting adults of the same-sex, but publicly ridicule a consensual adult relationship between two persons of the same biological family? I agree with Whyte, just because it’s not something we’d personally do, it doesn’t give us a right to ridicule those who do choose those relationships. Heterosexuals who support equality in LGBT relationships and who actively oppose bigoted statements against such relationships, should look at the arguments they use to justify one and vilify the other. I think the response has been largely vile from many (on the left) that attempt to marginalise a very small group of people who choose to enter incestuous relationships.
Arguments in favour of state intervention regarding incest, almost always revolve around the risk of sexual abuse. Whyte’s view on incest does not prevent criminal charges arising from sexual abuse. Where there is a lack of consent and/or where one (or both parties) are not ‘adults’, this abuse is already captured under the Crimes Act 1961. Many seem to conflate issues of rape, sexual assault and pedophilia with incest. It’s true that in many of those cases that incest occurs, but incest is not the violent act, it is the nature of the relationship between the two people. Moreover, he wasn’t even suggesting it become policy, he seemed to me to be addressing the principle behind why it ought not be illegal, rather than taking direct action to legalise it.
Whyte simply answered a question that to be fair, has not (as far as I know) been put to any other politician. In my opinion, he answered the question rationally, the way you’d probably expect from a Philosophy Professor. However, rather than analysing the argument, it was a quick lurch into cousin f*king memes and conflating other sexual crimes with incest.
As a left identifying voter I hate that I feel compelled to defend Whyte’s comments.