Human Exceptionalism

A-List Hollywood Director Endorses Incest

I incurred the wrath of Game of Thrones fans when I complained about the pretty graphic (soft core) incest depicted between adult brother and sister in the early episodes, complete with grunts and sighs. And I warned that using incest to titillate in a fantasy was just the beginning.  From my blog entry, “Hedonism in Game of Thrones:”

Incest can be an appropriate plot line, although it is gratuitous here.  And it will be a telling sign of the times when someone comments that consensual adult incest is nobody’s business.

I was right in my prediction.  A-List director Nick Cassavetes has now said just that.  From the CBS Las Vegas story:

 A top Hollywood director finds it acceptable for people to commit incest. In an interview with The Wrap, director Nick Cassavetes believes no one should judge a brother and sister being with each other if they are in love. “I’m not saying this is an absolute but in a way, if you’re not having kids – who gives a damn? Love who you want. Isn’t that what we say? Gay marriage – love who you want?” Cassavetes told The Wrap. “If it’s your brother or sister it’s super-weird, but if you look at it, you’re not hurting anybody except every single person who freaks out because you’re in love with one another.”…The comments come after he unveiled his latest movie “Yellow” – in which a woman had an incestuous affair with her brother that is in prison…

Gay marriage activists should be pretty upset.

Besides, he’s wrong.  Incest, like bestiality, is intrinsicly subversive to human dignity.  Most of what I wrote about the latter is applicable to the former.  From my “Horse Sense,” from seven years ago in the Daily Standard:

The great philosophical question of the 21st Century is going to be whether we will knock humans off the pedestal of moral exceptionalism and instead define ourselves as just another animal in the forest. The stakes of the coming debate couldn’t be more important: It is our exalted moral status that both bestows special rights upon us and imposes unique and solemn moral responsibilities–including the human duty not to abuse animals.

Nothing would more graphically demonstrate our unexceptionalism than countenancing human/animal sex. Thus, when Roach’s legislation passes, the law’s preamble should explicitly state that one of the reasons bestiality is condemned through law is that such degrading conduct unacceptably subverts standards of basic human dignity and is an affront to humankind’s inestimable importance and intrinsic moral worth.

Similarly, incest is degrading conduct that unacceptably subverts standards of basic human dignity.  Not only that, but it also interferes with normal family relations, indeed, constitutes a shattering of the very concept.  Incest is a line that should not be crossed. Period.

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