Sunday, September 05, 2004

Adultery criminalized?

Recently, the Prime Minister of Turkey said that the Turkish government hoped to soon make adultery a crime. "We believe that adultery should be a crime, because society also expects this," Justice Minister Cemil Cicek was quoted as saying by newspapers. Under the guise of penal code reform designed to meet European Union criteria, the ruling Justice and Development Party says it has been asked to introduce this legislation by its core conservative supporters, including women, who mainly live in rural areas and abide by strict social rules.

I'm really at a complete loss for words. While there's no doubt that adultery is a completely shameful, selfish act, it just doesn't seem like outlawing such actions will in any way reduce there occurence. In fact, doesn't this legislation just encourage pre-marital sex - i.e. encourage people not to get married? One thing's for sure: people aren't just going to stop having sex (A Brave New World comes to mind).

I get the feeling someone hasn't thought this one through all the way...


At 11:51 AM, Blogger jrl20 said...

This action raises a fundamental question that I don't think is fully fleshed out in your post. You note that it is one thing to say that something is morally wrong but that it is quite another to criminalize it. My question is how do we decide when it is appropriate to take that second step -- to criminalize morally reprehensible behavior -- and when do we decide to leave it be as a matter of individual conscience?

You seem to suggest that outlawing adultery might be futile, but is that really true? What makes adultery different from any other undesirable behavior?

At 2:01 PM, Blogger Pissed Off Girl said...

I, for one, think we should encourage adultery. Perhaps we could draft legislation that would offer a tax writeoff for those men who keep mistresses. Regardless of the moral reprehensibility, such a law would encourage efficiency in the production of wealth.

So far as the religious right is concerned, certain researchers within the field of evolutionary psychology believe that adultery (particularly when a mistress is "kept") actually promotes family values by distributing wealth and providing resources for those who would othewise go without. I'm not making this up. See, e.g., David Buss's book, The Evolution of Desire: Stragegies of Human Mating.


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