April 12, 2009

Romania to decriminalize incest

Romania weighs decriminalizing consensual incest:

Three European Union nations ? France, Spain and Portugal ? do not prosecute consenting adults for incest, and Romania is considering following suit.

Laws exempting parents, grandparents, brothers and sisters from prosecution for incestuous acts if they are not forced upon adult family members are decades old in France, Spain and Portugal.

In Romania, decriminalizing incest among consenting adults is being considered as part of a wide range of reforms to the country’s criminal code. No date has been set yet for a parliament vote on the bill, and opposition to the proposal is fervent even among some lawmakers in the ruling coalition.

Before anyone makes the connection between godlessness & depravity, do note that only France is particularly secular in a European context (90% of Romanians aver a belief in God, and 8% a universal spirit).  So why criminalize incest between consenting adults? From a rational individualist libertarian perspective this might fall under the “victimless crimes” category. But most humans have a reflexive repugnance to this sort of behavior, and there are plenty of evolutionary psychological theories & data which suggest that the sexual relations between first-order kin are unnatural (though to be fair, many things that modern humans engage in with gusto are unnatural). In any case, see Larry Arnhart on incest.

Note: I do not, as an empirical matter, believe that decriminalizing brother-sister sexual relations will result in an epidemic of incest, anymore than a removal of the taboo upon coprophilia would result in its widespread practice.

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