I recently read an article about an 18-year-old woman and her biological father. Reportedly, both of these individuals chose to enter into a sexual and romantic relationship with each other. Upon hearing of their choice, I was left disturbed, for as I see it, the kinds of love properly ordered for a father and his daughter is rigidly storge and agape. Hence, if a father and his daughter have erotic love (eros) for each other, then that love is disordered and their romantic relationship is a perversion of the father-daughter relationship. What helps make my view intelligible is that I understand eros to have an objective nature and order apart from the consent, will and feelings of lovers. On my view, any licit romance or sexual intimacy between two adults must conform to the nature and end of eros, a nature and end that is exclusive toward close family members.
Compare my background suppositions to the modern West. In this intellectual and cultural climate, objective natures and teleological reasoning is ignored, denied or forgotten. Consequently, the question of whether some experience of eros is properly ordered is not considered—we don’t ask what erotic love and sex are for. That is part of why the homosexual movement has been so successful in the modern West, for its impediment within the Christianized West was and remains to be the natural order, which is legitimized by God Himself. On this order, sex and erotic love are necessarily heteronormative; and so when the West lost awareness of this natural order, and once it secularized, the West also lost its reason to think that homosexual sex is wrong and homoerotic love is disordered. It’s like a great moral amnesia. Hence, the LGBT slogan “love wins” can now be paraded without public recognition of its absurdity, which just 100 years ago would have been publicly recognized as a confused perversion of what love and sex are.
Now consider incestuous relations. Without an objective teleology of erotic love that excludes incest, it is difficult to give good reason for the impropriety of incestuous relations between consenting adults. In fact, under the conditions of modern liberal sex ethics, such incestuous relations seem permissible, because these relations occur privately between consenting adults without obvious harm. Of course, we might find their conduct gross and weird, but under liberal consent theory, that is no reason to interfere with their sexual autonomy. So, love wins, right?
Or not. In fact, fuck that. If you’re like me, reader, then you know that such incestuous relations are wrong, period. But maybe you do not have a philosophy to support your belief or moral sense. If so, I invite you to consider conservatism about erotic love. I also invite you to consider a philosophy that grounds your conservatism, such as the classical natural law theories of the western intellectual heritage (see one here), so that you have a defensible argument against the perversions of sexual liberalism. This is not an invite for prudish or boring philosophy, where we are intrusive and overly moralistic. There is no need for that. Instead, this is an invite for moral sanity, where the idea of a father boning his daughter isn’t met with moral confusion or wonderment. Imagine that.[i]
[i] With the reference to homosexual sex and love, the point is not that if homosexual sex and homoerotic love is permissible, then so is incestuous sex and love. Instead, my point is that the moral confusion regarding the permissibility of homosexual and incestuous love is symptomatic of the rejection, negligence or forgetfulness of objective natures and teleological reasoning.
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