March 13, 2007

The Selective Approach of Breaking Taboos

A case of incest has caught much attention here lately. Of course, when sex meets Nazi history, even the last slobbering idiot tries to sell his glandular activities as his opinion.

And of course, the real point is once again drowned in a sea of drool.

If this were about the procreation of genetically handicapped offspring, people with hereditary diseases would be banned from procreating, which they aren't. (A double-edged thing for sure, but what other way is there in a free society.)

And why should people, who successfully applied in- and line breeding methods to agriculture and animal husbandry since time immemorial, not use these very same methods for improving their own offspring if the issue were genetics and genetics only? Yet no sane, ethical people ever have.

On a more speculative note, incest laws had, historically, probably a lot to do with control. They may have helped those in power to prevent other families or tribes from accumulating too much strength (endogamy encourages group identification and bonding) and wealth. Thus, it doesn't seem too amazing that marriage between near relatives has been much less exeptional within patrician circles throughout history. We are, mind you, talking about parallel cousin marriage here, in patriarchal societies usually between the children of two brothers, both members of the same patrilineage.

And if incest were about genetics, why would quite a few cultures then subsume those related by adoption or marriage under the incest definition?

The incest taboo has very little to do with genetics and keeping the "race" healthy and vigorous. It is a social term and a social term only. Do I really have to spell out the devastating results if people within a community as closely knit as a nuclear family would feel free to have sex with each other?

No! This is just another one of those oh-so-progressive attempts at using fuzzy "anti Nazi" notions to destroy traditional values, because the average German will swallow anything (but ANYthing!) not to be called a Nazi. You can be a pedophile, a whoremonger, a thief and a liar, that's fine and dandy as long as you are not a *gasp* Nazi.

What was the case about that started it all?

The world was shocked by the story of a German couple, Patrick and Susan Stübing, brother and sister who grew up apart but met, fell in love and had three mutual children of whom at least two are retarded.

This is The Al Guardian's take on it:
In public, at least, they seem remarkably unfazed by what they have done. And in some senses, of course, they needn't be. They are a loving couple, who have been together for seven years and want to be with no one else. They have had four children. Beyond these details, however, the story gets more troubling. Patrick and Susan Stübing, who live in Zwenkau, near Leipzig, are brother and sister. Two of their four children have developmental problems, and all four have been taken into care. Patrick, 30, has served more than two years of a prison sentence for incest. Asked if she felt guilty about this breach of one of the last taboos, Susan, 22, simply shook her head and said: "No, I just want us to be able to live together."
[...]
What has been discussed less, is that the Stübings seem to be a textbook example of a phenomenon called genetic sexual attraction (GSA). It occurs between blood relatives who have been separated for most of their lives, and meet in adulthood; it has been known to happen in all sorts of permutations - father/daughter, birth mother/son, siblings - even, occasionally, same-sex relationships between people who would not otherwise identify themselves as homosexual.

Patrick had already been put in a children's home in East Germany when his sister was born, the third of eight children, five of whom died. (Asked in an interview what the others died of, Susan simply shrugged her shoulders.) After a lifetime spent in and out of care homes and foster families, he finally found his mother in 2000, but she died of a heart attack six months later. Brother and sister - neither of whom had known of the other's existence before this - had only each other for comfort.

But it would probably be fair to say that there would have been more to it than grief. Those who experience GSA speak of what they feel in terms we all recognise as romantic ideals of perfect love.
[...]
There is more going on than simple attraction between strangers. "It was something to do with recognition. It was like kinship, the proof you're finding each other. It was just mutual, unspoken," said a respondent in one of the only scientific studies conducted of the phenomenon, by Dr Maurice Greenberg and Professor Roland Littlewood of University College London, in The British Journal of Medical Psychology in 1995. They were surprised to find that more than 50% of people who sought post-adoption counselling "experienced strong sexual feelings in reunions".
[...]
The term "genetical sexual attraction" seems to have been coined by a woman called Barbara Gonyo, who was taken aback by the lust she felt when she was reunited with a 26-year-old son she had given up as a baby. The relationship was never consummated, because he did not reciprocate, and the feelings faded when he married. But she wrote a book about it in which she suggests, wrote Alix Kirsta in this paper three years ago, "that romantic love and erotic arousal may be the delayed by-product of 'missed bonding' that would have normally taken place between a mother and her newborn infant, or between siblings had they not been separated by adoption. Many such people, as adults, need to go through that early missed closeness. It may become sexual, or it may not."

There is certainly something childlike in the way the Stübings relate to each other. A reporter who recently organised a clandestine meeting with the couple found them sitting side by side on a bed in a motorway hotel. Much of the meeting was characterised by the couple's shoulder-shrugging, Susan Stübing's obsessive nail biting and anxious glances towards their media adviser. When questions were not directed at her, Susan, who dropped out of school at 15 with no qualifications, turned her pink pumps in circles like a child. At one point, the adviser told her: "Take that chewing gum out of your mouth." It is clear, say those who have met them, that the couple need looking after, which is one reason why, according to youth workers, their children have been taken away.
[...]
When relationships such as this do become sexual, they tend greatly to complicate knee-jerk assumptions about abuse and incest: "There is no force, coercion, usually no betrayal of trust," Greenberg told Kirsta. "And no victim. If sex occurs, it involves consenting adults."
So if we strip that of all trendy waffling, what do we have here? Another case where -- to use an Americanism -- trailer park trash, their futility, help- and haplessness is abused by the media to hammer home a fashionable cause, usually one that destroys traditional values. No doubt, there could be found an unbureaucratic solution for the few people who find themselves, like the Stübings, in such an undeserved predicament. After all, biological sisters who meet late in life, fall in love (whatever that is), have sex and, in the worst case, children, are not such an everyday occurence. But helping them is not the issue.

The issue is to throw another one of those taboos, on which our civilisation is built, on the dungheap of history. In this case it's keeping the nuclear family free from sex.

So if you feel the urge to have sex with your son, call it "genetical sexual attraction" (and write a book about it -- sex, specifically illicit sex, sells) and tell the dumb that lusting after your next of kin is not a serious social aberration but "that romantic love and erotic arousal may be the delayed by-product of 'missed bonding'".

Wait a second while I am rummaging for my sick bag...

Interestingly, it was The Al Guardian, too, who published, uncritically, the whinings of adulterers and other promiscuous scum who strive to be accepted not as what they are -- promiscuous scum -- but as "polyamorous".

Nobody with a modicum of self-control HAS to fall in love and not everybody who is in love HAS to have sex with the object of his (or her) adulation, and specifically not if there are as strong rational reasons as next-of-kin genetics speaking against it. But here we have a taboo that will not be as easily breakable as the negligible incest thingy: It is not allowed to call a spade a spade anymore. In this case it is the simple fact that the "loving couple" are coming from a class where, to put it politely, controlling one's urges is not considered a primary value. And worse, it is considered untoward by those who ought to know better to teach them any better. Besides, as the unknowing, effective and cheap vanguard of the destruction of family values, they are much more useful.

4 comments:

FabioPBarbieri said...

I mostly appreciate this blog - its resolute sticking to common sense, its distaste for trendy and foolish notions - but in this case I feel bound to tell you that you have boobed about as badly as it is possible to boob. You are clearly ignorant in this matter. I knew there was going to be trouble when I found you opening with this piece of marxisant folly - incest laws had, historically, probably a lot to do with control. They may have helped those in power to prevent other families or tribes from accumulating too much strength (endogamy encourages group identification and bonding) and wealth. Thus, it doesn't seem too amazing that marriage between near relatives has been much less exeptional within patrician circles throughout history... This is a brutalized and uncomprehending version of the ancient anthropological theory about cross-cousin marriage, reducing it, in the manner of what even Marxists call "vulgar Marxism", to a cold calculation about power. In point of fact, the cross-cousin marriage theory does not argue that taboos on marriage are intended for social control, but that, whatever their origin, they encourage a broadening of social cohesion. And the position of the elites with respect to this is exactly the opposite of what you say: it is because political or financial consideration become overriding the more a person represents not only him or herself and their families, but also vast clusters of interests, estates, companies, kingdoms, that marriage between cousins and other kin are allowed and tend to become common at the top layer of society. No Archduke of Austria ever married a cousin because he was in love with her, but because the union of their inheritances would be politically advantageous. This is commonsense, and to ignore it in the name of a ridiculous notion that the upper classes just liked to violate taboos is nonsense - and very, very far below your usual standards, I might say.

You then get closer to the point with a statement that has nothing to do with your disastrous misunderstanding of anthropology and sociology, but depends on a simple, commonplace observation of daily reality: Do I really have to spell out the devastating results if people within a community as closely knit as a nuclear family would feel free to have sex with each other? Correct. But still restrictive. It is not just about "devastating results", it is about realities of human nature so deep and unchangeable that any attempt at rationalizing them is inevitably reductive. The new-born child can recognize its parents among the crowd of faces around it, even though it has never seen a face in its nine months in the womb. The relationship of mother and child, father and child, brother and sister, is the most basic in the definition of any human being: it is part of what the person itself is, primary, unchangeable.

It is as a part of this that the taboo on incest is so strong. You may not be aware that the civilization that has given us the most powerful story of the horror of incest had no law against incestuous marriage. That is correct: there was no Greek law against incestuous marriage, and there are a few known records of brothers marrying their own sisters to keep their inheritances together - or indeed, in the case of some Hellenistic monarchs, out of what seems to have been genuine passion. (We probably have here the first recorded cases of GSA, given that members of royal houses were often taken away from each other for long periods or even for ever.) Indeed, in the Hellenistic period, incestuous marriage became routine in Egypt. Yet it is the Greek culture that gave us the story of Oedipous and Iocasta, that stark and terrible picture of utter destruction bound to incest.

Let us face it: the taboo against incest is a matter of emotion, and of that knot of ineradicable emotions and emotional relationships that belong with the family, with our most basic and most early experience of our selves, and that cannot possibly be rationalized without losing their sense. And that being the case, GSA is not just, as you like to imagine, some kind of trendy-leftie immoralist nonsense, but something that is almost to be expected when something as basic to human identity as family relationships are violently displaced. To say that when people who belong to each other as a mother to a son, a son to a mother, a brother to a sister, are brought back together after having been "streng geteilt" all their lives, a violent and uncontrollable attraction results, is at least very easy to understand, if you do not reduce all human relationships to some nonsense about "control".

And I have news for you: it does not happen only among "trailer trash". GSA has been observed and recorded at all levels of society. Nor is your German couple the first famous case of this kind: ask in Spain about theirs. Most cases are kept carefully secret, and indeed can easily be kept secret, because the inhuman current laws about adoption allow the origin of an adopted child to be concealed, on the inhuman and plainly wrong principle that any child can "bond" with any adopted parent and develop a relationship no different from that of physical parent and child. That, as you will understand, I regard as plainly bullshit, and it has, down the decades, forced millions of physical mothers to suffer the atrocious choice to give up a child completely, as though they had never had one - as though it had not been a part of them for nine months, alive and present and to be felt within them. But it is the ideological base of adoption laws throughout the modern West. And you are surprised that GSA happens, and that, thanks to these brutal laws, it happens regularly?

FabioPBarbieri said...

Oh, and by the way -
Nobody with a modicum of self-control HAS to fall in love

I never thought I would live to read anything so silly. You obviously have never been in love - not the real thing. I suggest you make a study of the world's romantic literature.

The_Editrix said...

"This is commonsense, and to ignore it in the name of a ridiculous notion that the upper classes just liked to violate taboos is nonsense..."

I have no idea how you could read that into my post. The "upper classes" are a peripheral and speculative issue here anyway. If I'd scrap the entire paragraph from "On a more speculative note..." to "...both members of the same patrilineage"*, my point would still be the same.

As my point obviously escaped you, here it is again:

It was, as the header indicates, about the comparison of two taboos:

1. The incest taboo, necessary for the survival of a healthy society, which is victimised for the sake of a fashionable and ultimately evil cause.

2. The taboo that denies the sad fact that not everybody is equal and that there are people who need to be told what to do because they are both, ignorant and stupid and always will be. This second taboo was created and is carefully kept up for the sake of an equally fashionable and ultimately evil cause.

------------------

*And frankly, it escapes me, too, how you could read into my post something that would merit the following statement: "No Archduke of Austria ever married a cousin because he was in love with her, but because the union of their inheritances would be politically advantageous."

That is exactly what I said and your statement leaves me thus speechless.

But then, maybe you weren't even trying to make a point contradicting mine, but just pontificating about historical commonplaces. That's fine with me.

The_Editrix said...

You obviously have never been in love - not the real thing. I suggest you make a study of the world's romantic literature.

I never thought I would live to read anything so silly.

"The real thing" doesn't happen in "romantic literature" and I found Tristan and Isolde and their ilk always destructive, obsessedly self-centered and pathetic.

And now?