Politics

Let Every Taboo Fall

August 05, 2017

Multiple Pages
Let Every Taboo Fall

I can never quite make up my mind whether politics is important or unimportant to me. I have only to read the latest headline to feel either a surge of rage or despair, moderated by a brief burst of bitter laughter. Is reality satire, or satire reality? It is difficult to say these days. I used sometimes to write in a satirical vein, but am now hesitant to do so just in case some policy maker draws inspiration from it for a later foray into the higher (and compulsory or enforced) absurdity.

On the other hand, my life continues on its even path much as usual. I have, after all, lived for longish periods under military or other dictatorships without suffering acute misery, largely, no doubt, because I was protected by my foreignness from their worst excesses, but also because there is (within quite wide but not infinite limits) more to life than the political arrangements under which it is lived. Of course, there are some political circumstances that make life intolerable, but most of our political passions attach to relative trivia. How many times in my life have I worked myself into a tizzy at some new political idiocy, only to discover several months later that nothing much has changed!

“The work of human liberation from the accumulated irrational taboos of the past must continue, until that glorious day when there are no limits at all.”

Nevertheless, despite my efforts to retain an almost Olympian detachment from the day-to-day flux of daily news, I have still not fully mastered the art. Part of the trouble is that, if you do not go to the news, it comes to you. I was about to say that the only way to avoid it is to become a hermit in the Syrian desert, but perhaps, on brief reflection, this is not the most fortunate of formulations. No; to avoid the news, one must turn on neither one’s computer nor one’s mobile telephone, let alone one’s television, pass no newsstands and go to no airports, where one will be surrounded by screens relaying news of the latest North Korean missile tests with that of a Hollywood star’s latest divorce, love affair, or entry into drug rehabilitation. I do my best, but it is not good enough.

I have therefore been unable to cut myself off from the news that the British government has managed to find a way to alter the past in a more radical way even than Stalin, in fact in such a way as might have made him blush with shame or reduced him to fits of the giggles. I refer, of course, to the legal permission for which the population has for so long thirsted: namely, that to change sex inscribed on birth certificates. Compared with this, removing people such as Trotsky and Yagoda from photographs was but a crude and primitive attempt to change the past.

It is the government of Mrs. May that has granted this basic human right to the British population. Although she has gone far beyond what Stalin ever envisaged, I nevertheless suggest that she be known henceforth as Josefa Vissarionovna in honor of the pioneer in this great field of human endeavor, and to which she is making so important a contribution. Not that Josefa Vissarionovna is herself a pioneer, far from that: She has neither the brain nor the character for that role in life. She is but a humble follower, a mere apparatchik of decadence, a kind of Molotov or Bulganin of perversity. Even the Irish, I am told, are in advance of her in mankind’s glorious march toward limitlessness.

Let us, though, look to the future, instead of dwelling on the past. Now that transsexualism is the new normal, it is time to run a sweepstakes on the next progress to be made. I think it will probably be a race between necrophilia and incest, though the arguments in favor of both take the same form and are very similar.

Who is hurt by either necrophilia or incest (assuming the latter is committed by consenting adults, that is to say, people over the age of criminal responsibility)? Both are victimless crimes. The hoary old argument against incest, that it leads to a high proportion of offspring with genetic defects, is anachronistic in an age of so wide a choice of contraception. Besides, is not this argument inherently demeaning of people with handicaps, or should I say persons of different abilities, insofar as it stigmatizes genetic defect? (I suggest that in future, the words genetic defect be replaced by variant DNA.) It is shameful that the question of incest should be discussed in so outmoded a fashion.

People who would like to commit incest but are inhibited by the legal prohibition of it must live in a state of permanent frustration, and there is nothing worse or more dangerous than frustration. Blake told us that it is better that a baby should be strangled in its cradle than that anyone should nurse a desire that he has not acted upon. Think of all the harm, then, that is done by frustrated incest!

Let us turn now to necrophilia: another victimless crime. Who is really harmed by it? The corpse is no longer a person, and so is beyond harm. The relatives of the deceased might object, but, at least in English law, no one has ownership rights over a corpse; in any case, the relatives’ distress, if they experience any, would be the result of pure unthinking prejudice, which it is the duty of government to eliminate from the hearts and minds of the population. And surely it is better that corpses after death should provide pleasure to someone than simply be disposed of as quickly as possible, as if they were merely useless. What better tribute, indeed, could there be to the dead?

Once the incestuous and necrophiliacs have been liberated from the stigma that has pursued them down the ages, there will be other groups to liberate, as there are other fish to fry. The work of human liberation from the accumulated irrational taboos of the past must continue, until that glorious day when there are no limits at all.

But when it arrives, my life will continue on its even path…

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