Doggy Style

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When Reason interviewed Dave Barry a decade ago, he identified the biggest problem people have with libertarianism:

The argument was that if it wasn't illegal to have sex with dogs, naturally people would have sex with dogs. That argument always sets my teeth right on edge.

…I got a few letters, mostly pretty nice. One or two letters saying, "Here's why it wouldn't work to be a libertarian, because people will have sex with dogs." Arguments like, "Nobody would educate the kids." People say, "Of course you have to have public education because otherwise nobody would send their kids to school." And you'd have to say, "Would you not send your kids to school? Would you not educate them?" "Well, no. I would. But all those other people would be having sex with dogs."

The specter of canine love now haunts the debate over gay marriage. In a funny column for The Village Voice, Richard Goldstein informs us that he did a Lexis-Nexis search on the phrases "gay marriage" and "pets," thinking he'd find "perhaps a dozen hits, but the number exceeded the system's 1,000-citation capacity. When I narrowed the search to the past two months, nearly 500 pieces popped up. Most of them contained earnest warnings about people tying the knot with their pets. Perhaps you are among the many readers who have written to the local paper about the rough beast slouching toward Bethlehem (Pa.) to be betrothed."

Goldstein mulls the meaning of this animal obsession, then draws a couple conclusions of his own. "This speaks," he writes, "to the real meaning of my favorite Bob Dylan couplet: 'If dogs run free/Then why not we?' Like any great prophet, he was trying to warn us!"

[Hat tip: Bryan Alexander.]

NEXT: Male Chauvinist Aardvark

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  1. Come on, Jesse, it’s all Peter Singer’s fault. He’s the one pressing us all into the brave new world of pet love:

    http://www.nerve.com/Opinions/Singer/heavyPetting/main.asp

    I mean, if they think this way at Princeton U., then what’s to prevent the masses out in the heartland from following suit?

  2. We need to legalize bestiality to remove the stigma and encourage people to seek treatment. With properly structured programs and federally funded clinics, we could encourage people to abandon bestiality and adopt more sex-positive lifestyles. Also, right now the stigma hinders our ability to implement programs that spread educational information on STD’s, resulting in a variety of STD’s not seen outside the animal-amorous community.

    Finally, we could send social workers to empower animals and encourage them to speak up when they are coerced into non-consensual relations with humans. None of this, however, will be possible until we as a society remove the harmful label of “owner” that causes pets to view themselves as the passive victims of a hierarchy that is inherently oppressive.

  3. Jesse Walker,

    That was an amusing and rather brilliant write-up. 🙂

  4. I’m telling you, if we let the gays marry then next thing you know people will be having sex with animals! Why, just look at some of the recent letters to the fine column “Savage Love”. One of them was about a grandmother who masturbates her parakeet!

    Can you imagine what she would do if gay marriage were legal? I can, I think about it a lot. A whole lot…

  5. Nutjob —

    Right on! And think of all the commercial benefits: drive-through wedding kennels, restroom pet doors, doggie condoms. But then again, would health insurance have to cover fleas and ticks? And what about the shorter maternity leave?

  6. Folks, I’m not making this up. Here’s the link:

    Grannies who love parakeets

  7. And what about the shorter maternity leave?

    Unless you know something I don’t, I don’t think maternity leave would be among the issues with accepting bestiality. 😉

  8. At least one academic other than Singer has considered objecting to sex with Fido to be not so much different from racial prejudices or anti-gay prejudice.

    “Josephine Ho:
    Philosophers have conducted quite a bit of arguments on the issue of consent. But let me answer your question in a more commonsensical way. I don’t know if you have had much experience with animals. I know of many pet owners, who tell me that it is quite obvious whether an animal is consenting to something or not. If they do not consent, you would feel the pull on the leash, the scratch on your arm, the bite on your leg, the shit on the rug, the kick in your shin, etc. If you have ever visited any zoophilia website, you would see that it takes a whole lot of patience and care — a lot more than any regular pet owner would bother to spare — to build toward a moment of intimacy with an animal. The act of forcing a sexual act on an animal, however, is something that I would agree that should be condemned. But you have to agree: not all sexual contacts between people and animals are forced, just as not all sexual contacts between children and adults are forced. We need to recognize the specificity and complexity in each case and avoid making sweeping statements. Let’s not forget the days when it was believed that all blacks were criminals and all gays were suicidal.”

    http://chronicle.com/colloquylive/2003/10/controversial/

  9. Yep, birds frequently become attached to their owner’s hand as a mate. It’s generally discouraged by experts, as you don’t want the bird to focus on you as a mate (creates behavioral problems).

    However, once it occurs, you’re pretty well stuck, and it’s really common with people who have just one bird.

    BTW, Granny wasn’t “doing” the bird so much as allowing the bird to do himself on her.

    Now, everybody should know that sex doesn’t lead to marriage. At least several of my ex-girlfriends have a clue about this now.

  10. Here’s Glenn Reynolds take:

    “D’Souza’s piece is just dumb, revolving as it does around this statement: “The Democrats should stop hiding behind ‘freedom of choice’ and become blatant advocates for divorce, illegitimacy, adultery, homosexuality, bestiality, and pornography.” Actually, I’ve got nothing against these things, so long they’re consensual — “adultery” can be taken different ways, I guess. (I don’t share Peter Singer’s enthusiasm for bestiality, but since I’m happy to eat animals it’s hard for me to consider people having sex with them to be, you know, more exploitative.)”

    http://www.instapundit.com/archives/005391.php

    Make of that what you will.

  11. I propose a Constitutional amendment forbidding the marriage of homo sapiens.

  12. I personally loved the ‘rough beast slouching towards Bethlehem to be betrothed’ line… somehow I don’t think that what Yeats was getting at (though who knows), but it absolutely cracked me up.

  13. David-

    Hmm, that is a good point: If we can kill animals for food, how is it any less humane to have sex with them?

    I guess I’ll put that on the list of things that in principle should pose an ethical conundrum, but in practice I just don’t care about.

  14. Maybe we can have sex with them if we eat them afterwards.

  15. Hmm…

    While that is an interesting point, imagine that a race of aliens that we find aesthetically objectionable and having superior technology/strength/intelligence were to come and enslave the earth. Some of them like to eat us. Others decide they’d like to fuck us first. Maybe a lot.

    Would you rather be an integalactic sex slave for the rest of your life–keep in mind these are gross aliens (think Kang and Kodos), not the green girls on Star Trek–or just be eaten first a la Cthulu?

    Presuming that the average dog/horse/sheep is no more attracted to humans than the average human is to dogs, horses, or sheep, I would imagine that most animals would not find being used in such a manner by humans to be a pleasant experience.

    But hey, I’m just playing the devil’s advocate here. I don’t have a philisophical objection to beastiality laws quite so much as I just don’t see that they are necessary. Do these people really think that the reason most people don’t fuck animals is because it’s illegal?

  16. Well, my point in bringing up Singer, Ms. Ho, and Glenn Reynolds, all in one thread is that there are any number of academics who don’t have any principled objection to allowing people to, um, have their way with Fido, or perhaps, to marrying Fido.

    I don’t think it’s somehow a figment of some conservative’s imagination that there are people who’d change the law concerning these matters if they had the chance.

    I also think it’s a rather weak argument to bring all this up with regards to gay marriage. For either side.

  17. Jesse, my man, that was freaking and utterly hysterical. Bravo!

    –Mona–(who marvels at the belief that the reason people don’t fuck their dogs is just because it is illegal) woof!

  18. I also think it’s a rather weak argument to bring all this up with regards to gay marriage. For either side.

    It’s a perfectly valid argument. Even the tiniest change in our marriage laws could lead to unprecedented havoc, as men have sex with dogs and grandmothers have threesomes with parakeets and swans. Polygamy will flourish, so will incest. It will be chaos, unless the firm hand of the law is there to keep perverted desires in check.

    Did I mention that as a conservative Republican I believe in smaller government?

  19. From The Village Voice piece Jesse links to: “To be fair, pet nuptials are not the only thing on these troubled minds. Opponents of gay marriage also worry about incest, polygamy, and, in Scalia’s case, rampant masturbation. But what really gets them hot and bothered is the love that dare not speak, bark, mew, or quack its name. (Yes, some people are worked up over man-duck love.) Is this a case of great minds obsessing alike, or are we in the midst of a national hysteria in the grand tradition of alien abductions, complete with anal probes? ”

    HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA. The love that dare not “speak, bark, mew or quack its name” HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA. Truly inspired and FUNNY piece.

    –Mona–

  20. mostly unrelated – one of my favorite o’reilly moments of all time was when he accused joan didion of ripping off william bennett for the title of “slouching towards bethlehem.”

    i love that uneducated tardbunny.

    and on the topic of dark oceans and right wing hearts, i do wonder if bennett was trying to tell us something by styling his book after a noted occultist, mystic and promiscuous old goat?

  21. oh, and on the topic of uneducated tardbunnies, bennett should be bork.

    dar dar dar!

  22. “not all sexual contacts between people and animals are forced”

    I have yet to see someone who enjoyed having their leg humped.

    Strange that homosexually is rarely discussed other than by analogy.

  23. Thoreau,

    I don’t think Reynold’s argument is correct.

    Suppose he offered the argument:

    “since I’m happy to eat animals it’s hard for me to consider people torturing and raping them to be, you know, more exploitative.)”

    However, it works analogously to the argument Reynolds did offer.

    Wouldn’t we rightly think that something has gone wrong with the argument?

    Or do we consider meat-eaters to be WORSE than, say, a raping/torturing animal hater who refrains from killing the poor animal?

  24. We could easily deal with the threat of bestiality as well as polygamy with my own proposed defense of monogamy amendment:
    “No marriage shall be legally recognized except that that involve two human beings.”

    It is gender-neutral, yet clearly bans inter-species marriage. Of course this means that if you get tired of your cat, she will not be able to collect alimony.

  25. Gene,
    But what about incest?!?!?!

  26. Oh, I love Dave Barry.

    He hits the nail on the head. Many a person is convinced that unless something stupid or weird is outlawed, a whole lot of people will rush out and do that stupid or weird thing.

    People who are inclined to do these things are not being held back by the law in the first place, of course.

  27. Maybe we can have sex with them if we eat them afterwards.

    If it’s good enough for Germans, it should be good enough for Fido.

  28. I really don’t care if anyone has sex with animals. It isn’t nearly as bad as being forced to live in a box, unable to see the sun, force fed, knocked on the head, skinned, had the guts torn out, and put in a styrofoam tray with a date on it.

    What’s a little loving compared to that?

  29. Repugnants and DemocRATS don’t need to pay for “focus groups.”
    Dave Barry is Amurika’s focus group, and he’s free. He’s the Google vs. the Yahoo turtle-head and demented bitch, husband and wife team Tim Russert is so fond of using for filler on his Press the Meat.

    The end of the set-up for this thread talking about dogs running free put a taint on the thread:
    Dogs don’t prefer running free. They prefer running in a pack so a group-think, or, more accurately, a group-lack-o-think can kick in.

    Are we a pack of dogs here on Hit & Run?

    Arf!

  30. “If we can kill animals for food, how is it any less humane to have sex with them?” –thoreau

    I think the old quip about Puritans and bear-baiting applies here. Santorum’s objection is not so much to the suffering of the animal as to the pleasure of the human.

    And that assumes the animal is suffering. But in the case of that horny parakeet, it’s probably more accurate to say he was using the old lady as an object to satisfy his own lusts.

  31. “Maybe we can have sex with them if we eat them afterwards”

    .. eat, eat, eat .. doesn’t anyone fuck anymore??

  32. I think Ruthless needs a refill on the prescription, he seems a little more gonzo than usual.

    My aging memory tells me the Dylan quote isn’t quite right — ‘if dogs run free/then why can’t we’ is how I remember it. A free dog for loving to the first person who googles it and finds the correct couplet.

  33. Douglas Fletcher:

    http://www.bobdylan.com/songs/dogs.html

    Jesse’s right.

    I’ve always wanted a Kuvasz (http://www.kuvasz.com/). That’s “wanted” as a pet, not as a… never mind.

  34. ::sigh:: This is a ridiculous and blatent attempt to ignore the evidence of this issue. Here’s how it works. The best arguments against homosexual marriage are mostly religious. The idea is that if these religions are not true then people can do whatever they want including have sex with animals. The point that is trying to be made is that if the laws are only based on public opinion and literally nothing else, they MIGHT eventually allow anything, including murder.

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