In my recent Weekly Standard article about Spain’s pending legal adoption of the Great Ape Project, I worried about the consequences that would follow from demoting human beings from the moral pinnacle. I wrote:
Should that come to pass, the ancien régime (as they view it) based on the sanctity and equality of human life would crumble. In its place would emerge a society sufficiently hedonistic to eschew moralizing about personal behavior (Singer has defended bestiality), but also humbled to the point where people would willingly sacrifice our own flourishing “for the animals” or to “save the planet” and utilitarian enough to countenance ridding ourselves of unwanted human ballast (Singer is the world’s foremost proponent of infanticide). Thus, in the world that would rise from the ashes of human exceptionalism, moral value would be subjective and rights temporary, depending on the extent of each animal’s individual capacities at the time of measuring.
I rarely comment about issues of personal behavior here, but now my allusion to hedonism as a coming primary societal value–being but one of the costs that flow from eschewing human exceptionalism–was reinforced by an article in the Times of London, in which a woman, using pretty frank (although not graphic) language, defended incest with her brother and announced that she not only does not feel guilty, but has has fond memories of the relationship.
I won’t quote it here, but I think the issue isn’t whether the woman bedded her brother. We all know that such events happen. It is that the Times editors thought it was worth publishing! I mean this isn’t Penthouse, after all. The Times is one of the world’s premier publications, a newspaper that is about as mainstream as mainstream gets. Publishing the column there has the effect of granting society’s respectability to voluntary incest! Good grief.