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OpEdNews Op Eds    H3'ed 6/15/11

Does the Punishment Fit This Crime?

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"Where Id Is, Let Ego Be!"

Yes, old Freud, cokehead that he was, still was able, more than one-hundred years ago to provide this useful prescription for human beings to live by. It is ultimately necessary for mankind to follow this prescription in order to live with one another, and to, in fact, survive. This, so that the species can follow its genetic destiny and reproduce.

When rabbits do it, or chimpanzees do it, they do so, unknowingly following the reproductive dictates of evolutionary biology. In animals, the impulse originates in the same parts of the brain as in humans. In both, the sex drive originates in the evolutionarily oldest, least under conscious control, reptilian part of the brain.

Along with the drives for air, food and water, sex is a drive which is ordinarily impossible to extinguish.

We have been taught from earliest childhood that married couples are expected to maintain but one relationship while married. Yet, a recent article appearing in suggests humans are not meant to be monogamous.

  "Jane Lancaster, evolutionary anthropologist at the University of New Mexico, said humans are in committed relationships mainly for the purpose of raising children. 'Many monogamous marriages are not sexually monogamous but they represent the commitment of men and women to raise children together.' When children are not involved, there is nothing beyond a mutual commitment between those involved in the relationship to ensure their fidelity, she said .

  "Jean-Philippe Laurenceau, associate professor of psychology at the University [of Delaware], said humans often choose the socially acceptable alternative to their animal instincts.

"It's our frontal lobes that help us put off our needs for instant gratification," Laurenceau said. "Ultimately, if you want to have a successful relationship, you're going to have to make a decision that maintaining a particular relationship is more important than the freedom that comes with having sex with whomever you want whenever it happens to be available."

There certainly is no biological imperative for couples to remain faithful to each other. Marriage is a moral and cultural artifact. Sexting has become defined by some as a violation of what is proclaimed to be the only acceptable form of a marital relationship. These are perhaps the same folks who loudly proclaim that the only form of acceptable marriage is between one man and one woman. They also boldly assert that life begins at conception (or perhaps earlier) adding abortion to their long list of "sinful" behaviors.

While not at issue here, there is a second moral imperative which, if broken, will inevitably put its violator in the hands of criminal prosecutors. That is the prohibition against sexual relationships between adult and child. Yet, even here there is no consistency; in some states the "age of consent," is sixteen, while in others, it is eighteen. In almost all states, it is criminal offense (often a felony) for an employee of a school district to have sexual relations with a student of that district, regardless of the age of employee or student. Strangely, this means that on one day, teachers so involved are felons, while on the very next, they are of no interest to law enforcement.

The Weiner Case

Congressman Anthony Weiner engaged in sexting six adult women. From what has been revealed thusfar, there is nothing to suggest that he had any physical relationship with any of them. The communications causing all the fuss consisted of pictures of Weiner's genitalia. While he did engage in communications with a minor child, there is nothing to suggest those communications were improper or sexual in nature. Rather, according to the most recent reports from the police serving that girl's community, "Nothing inappropriate occurred."

Call it infantile, adolescent, or obsessive, certainly, stupid, there is nothing in the reported behavior to suggest that Weiner broke any law, state or Federal. While it is assumed that his wife will be less than pleased with his behavior, since she is out of the country, serving as an aide to Hillary Clinton, no one knows her precise response. Even in the worst case, that of the end of his marriage, such a matter is entirely private between the two parties.

Weiner's constituents

Several press reports indicate majority support by Weiner's constituents. There is one report that 56% of those polled support his plans to return to work, and to continue representing his congressional district.

Press Reports

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An OpEdNews editor, Sherwin Steffin is a retired educator, and research analyst. His working career ranged from classroom teacher, university administrator, founder and CEO of two software companies, independent consultant, (more...)

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