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Archive for December 29th, 2010

The Incest Edition of “You Be the Judge”

We have a heavy “ick” factor today.

Our previous thorny legal posts have involved vigilante justice and a rather gruesome application of (what I assume to be) Sharia law.

Our question today is whether government should have laws against incest for people over age 18, and we’re discussing this because Switzerland is considering a law to legalize sexual relations between adult family members. Here’s a blurb from the U.K.-based Telegraph.

The upper house of the Swiss parliament has drafted a law decriminalising sex between consenting family members which must now be considered by the government. There have been only three cases of incest since 1984. Switzerland, which recently held a referendum passing a draconian law that will boot out foreigners convicted of committing the smallest of crimes, insists that children within families will continue to be protected by laws governing abuse and paedophilia. Daniel Vischer, a Green party MP, said he saw nothing wrong with two consenting adults having sex, even if they were related. “Incest is a difficult moral question, but not one that is answered by penal law,” he said. Barbara Schmid Federer of The Christian People’s Party of Switzerland said the proposal from the upper house was “completely repugnant.” …The Protestant People’s Party is also opposed to decriminalising the offence which at present carries a maximum three year jail term.

This issue also has been in the news because a Columbia University Professor recently was arrested for having sex with his 24-year old daughter, though the relationship apparently began after the woman turned 18.

If I was the the mother, sibling, or other relative of this woman, I would break Professor Epstein’s kneecaps (or perhaps aim a little higher), but I suppose there’s no reason why government should be involved in sexual matters between consenting adults.

That having been said, I certainly think it is appropriate and legitimate for the government to closely investigate, in instances such as the Epstein case, to see if any incest occurred before age 18. And if it did, break out the pruning shears.

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Previous posts on this blog have featured charts showing that Obama’s policies are not working (see here and here). I even showed a cartoon making the same point.And I cited a column with data comparing Reagan and Obama.

The Heritage Foundation has a very powerful addition to this genre, a chart comparing job performance during the Reagan and Obama Administrations.

This is a remarkable image, but let’s start with some disclaimers. There are lots of factors that impact economic performance, and many of them are outside the control of politicians. Moreover, it is impossible to know what would have happened in the past two years or in the early 1980s if Obama or Reagan had chosen different policies.

But even with these caveats, it is difficult to look at this chart and not conclude that Obama’s big government policies are much less successful than Reagan’s small government policies.

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