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Science, Statistics, and Sexual Freedom

When pushing to overthrow a taboo, the process requires old standards to be replaced with new ones. This includes a shift in where you turn for authority and credibility. Today’s trend emphasizes replacing religiously-based moral authority with various appeals to “science”.

(Science, here, is a relative term. In fact, whenever “Science” becomes a vehicle for an agenda it only has to seem “science-y” to get the desired results.)

The toppling of sexual taboos leveraged this approach.

The rise of Darwin let people to draw connections between animals and people that were previously unthinkable. What if we are, as they allege, just another species of animal?  Well, that changes things. Sex can be reduced to a merely a natural, physical urge. It can be divorced from traditional moral considerations.

Once sex is as morally neutral as eating, drinking, or sleeping, promiscuity can be re-cast as a virtue. It becomes an efficient engine of DNA propagation. Similar lines of argument (this time claiming genetics, or psychology) de-stigmatized other former sexual taboos — like homosexuality.  (If you are paying attention, you might notice new taboos that have been targeted for toppling. “Transphobic”, for instance, is now gaining traction as an insult.)

I cannot help but notice, however, a sort of inconsistency in the arguments made by people allegedly appealing to Science. And it goes beyond very selective use of “scientific examples”, too. (e.g. Discounting monogamous animals that mate for life; or twins with differing sexual orientations).

The pro-libertine sexual biases too easily default to pro-control social biases when their beloved “science” is applied to other fields of interest.

Here’s what I mean. Dieticians have connected obesity and other health risks to certain foods and inactivity. Responding to the looming health threat posed to children, the State took charge. Government-sponsored anti-obesity programs are multiplying like rabbits.

Soda pop and chips? Now verboten in many schools. Even the healthy kids are denied access to the forbidden foods. (Prohibiting junk food? By the “Prohibition always fails” crowd? Go figure.)

Draconian methods are justified with appeals to “the greater good”. What greater good? The health of the children, of course. If people can be forced to accept (i.e. “comply with”) the morally superior behaviour of eating well, and exercising, their children will be better for it.

And this is exactly the point where their argument breaks down. If “health concerns” are a sufficient argument for why specific Food-based lifestyles can be actively promoted (preached?) while the others are denounced, the libertines have a hard choice.

Their hard choice is this: (1) Are they out of line for insisting science and medicine justify their dictating the food choices of other people?, or (2) do they need to face the medical implications of their own libertine sexual positions?

Before toppling a taboo, stop and think: What unintended consequences might follow?

Wherever a husband and wife marry as virgins, and remain sexually faithful to one another, what do you suppose their Sexually Transmitted Disease risk level would be?

Contrast that to the CDC report stating that 110 Million Americans have STD’s at any given time, with new cases resulting in $16Billion/year in medical costs. (Do you suppose that $16B/year affects your insurance costs?)

Doing the quick math, approximately 35% of the US population at any given time is infected with some kind of an STD. The CDC also says that 34.9% of the US population is affected by obesity.

If a 35% obesity rate is sufficient to trigger Nanny-state protections, limiting citizen freedoms, why is that same 35% Sexually-Transmitted-Diseases infection rate insufficient to warrant at least a re-think on our societal approval of promiscuity? (Or even taking a closer look at the data about 63% of New HIV Cases?)

If one-third of Americans are infected with some sort of a sexual disease, clearly, “safe-sex” isn’t “safe sex”. Condom campaigns aren’t doing the job. Hook-ups are still making people sick.

How hypocritical is it for government officials, and trusted teachers to warn our kids that Coke and Doritos shall be removed from campus because they’re far too dangerous, while dismissing promiscuous sex as harmless, healthy and good?

We just can’t have it both ways.

Wes Walker

Wes Walker is the author of "Blueprint For a Government that Doesn't Suck". He has been lighting up since its inception in July of 2012. Follow on twitter: @Republicanuck