Like Ken Cuccinelli, that zebra was a big fan of things that comport with natural law. (Image Credit)
That Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli is a world-class dick will come as no surprise to anyone possessed of even a passing familiarity with his political career. His Wikipedia page reads like a resume for somebody applying for the job of village asshole. He’s more or less your garden variety Talibangelical, a poor man’s Rick Santorum (and THERE’S a badge of honor), getting national attention by dropping birther dog-whistles, spending more time thinking about gay blow jobs than gay guys do, covering up the exposed naughty bits on 200-year-old state seals, that kind of thing. He has a pretty good chance of becoming Virginia’s governor, and that speaks poorly for us a nation. It speaks poorly for us as a species.
So I hesitate to take much he says very seriously, or give any of it much time and attention, but I came across a comment of his recently that got me thinking.
I’m not really qualified to discuss the ins-and-outs (sexual pun intended, in deference to Ken) of Cuccinelli’s defense of Virginia’s anti-sodomy law in the context of higher penalties for statutory rape. The evidence Think Progress cites is, in my opinion, fairly damning. After the SCOTUS’ Lawrence Decision the Virginia legislature had a chance to alter their bizarre and anachronistic “Crimes against Nature” statute such that it would cover statutory rape without restricting the behavior of consenting grown-ups. Cuccinelli helped to kill that bill. Why would he do that? Again, I’m no lawyer, but it seems pretty clear he wanted to protect the integrity of the Crimes against nature law because he liked the parts about hating on gay people. That law was only struck down last week, by the way. Cooch misses the law already – he claims – for the provision relating to stat-rape which he had a chance to save in 2004, but didn’t because it took away the gay-hating.
In 2009 Cuccinelli had the following to say regarding homosexuality: “My view is that homosexual acts, not homosexuality, but homosexual acts are wrong. They’re intrinsically wrong. And I think in a natural law based country it’s appropriate to have policies that reflect that. … They don’t comport with natural law.”
You hear this ‘nature’ argument from time to time. It’s stupid for a number of reasons, the first and most obvious of which is the frankly staggering number of species in which homosexual behavior has been observed. Obviously ‘natural law’ is whatever Ken Cuccinelli happens to think it is. Also, and maybe more importantly, where in the hell did he get the idea that this country – or any country – is based on natural law?
Who in the hell would want to live in such a place?
It makes a degree of sense in a world with stories like this for people to strive for a more natural lifestyle than the one we have. I have a great deal of sympathy for the natural, local/organic food and natural medicine (the ones that aren’t transparently obvious snake oil, at least) movements, for instance. What I take issue with is any mindset that states categorically “natural = good, unnatural = not good.” You know what isn’t natural, at all? Living in a house. Driving a car. Taking medicine. Making art. We didn’t map the human genome with nature. We did it because some really smart people got into their unnatural cars, drove to their unnatural office and got on their unnatural computers to do some unnatural experiments.
To paraphrase Thomas Hobbes, life in a state of nature is nasty, brutish and short. It sucks, and then you die.
Let’s say we make the argument that Ken is talking strictly about natural law as it relates to human relationships. Fair enough. You know what else probably isn’t natural? Monogamy. But somewhere along the way we decided it was a social good. Social goods that improve our collective civilization are steps taken away from a state of natural law. If Ken Cuccinelli is so concerned with natural laws, I strongly recommend he go try to make as many babies as he can.
I love the natural world. But I sure as hell don’t want to live in it. And nobody in their right mind wants to live according to anything remotely approximating ‘natural law.’