John Ince: No sex for me; I want to be a judge

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By John Ince

Do you like sex?

Seems like a stupid question.

Of course you like sex. Everyone likes it. That is why our society is obsessed by it.

Wrong.

Here at the Sex Party, we have a contrarian view. We think that most folks in our culture are secretly frightened of the organs between our legs, and the things we do with them.

Yes, that is a downer idea, but please hear me out.

We think that sexuality in our culture is mostly bravado. Trumped-up enthusiasm that sits on top of a ton of insecurity.

And it shows up not just in people’s private lives, but on the public stage, such as the bizarre controversy that is happening in Manitoba right now.

It involves a senior female judge who has had to step aside from her post because sexual photos of her taken many years ago appeared on the Internet before her appointment as a judge, until they were recently removed.

Nobody is alleging the sexual acts in the photos, or the photos themselves or the publication of the photos, depicted anything unlawful.

The problem with the photos is that they showed a judge as an overtly sexual being.

Merely for exhibiting a playful sexual appetite, the poor judge is now the object of righteous scorn from a host of legal experts.

Get this from Prof. Arthur Schafer, director of the Centre for Professional and Applied Ethics at the University of Manitoba, as quoted by CBC: If a member of the legal community were to pose for risqué pictures, even in the privacy of their own home, it would be “wildly imprudent and reckless behavior for a lawyer, nevermind for a potential or future judge”.

And: “it is inconceivable that a lawyer who discloses this would become a judge.”

Or hear this from another legal expert, Annalise Acorn, a law and ethics professor at the University of Alberta: “I don’t think that a person would have the authority to judge others”¦when they had that kind of compromising materials about themselves out in the public sphere.”

So according to these recognized experts in ethics, just by taking sexually explicit photos of yourself, or having them published anywhere, you are not fit for the high office of a judge.

Photos of a judge expressing himself in other recreational ways, such as playing tennis or the piano or riding a motorcycle would elicit no ethical issue to these folks.

But disclosing sexual recreation would bar them from the bench.

In our society we have no secret fears about playing golf or piano or riding a motorcycle. And so judges who do those activities, and publicly, suffer no stigma.

But society does have anxiety about sexuality; and because of that, we are deeply troubled that a person in authority should be outed as an overtly sexual being.

Especially troubling about the ethical experts’ statements on this issue is that they do not acknowledge that the root of the ethical issue lies not in any misconduct of the judge, but in a deep social prejudice against sex.

A hundred years ago in the Deep South of the U.S., the image of a male judge holding hands with a black woman would provoke the same sort of negative response as we see today in the Manitoba case.

But 100 years ago, the real ethical issue has nothing to do with any moral default of the judge, but a collective moral failure: prejudice, against a race of people, or against sexuality.

The failure of the ethical experts to recognize that the heart of the matter in the Manitoba case is unhealthy social attitudes towards sex is itself an ethic issue.

Consider the implications of what they are saying: we must only have judges who cannot be fully open about their own sexuality. The people who make important decisions about sex in courts of law, must themselves be sexually inhibited.

Decades of legal decisions show the effects of such a policy: prohibiting a range of healthy, consensual sexual expression.

The Sex Party is no stranger to such decisions. In one of our cases, a judge upheld a Canada Post decision to deny us the right to mail political flyers in the midst of an election that showed tasteful erotic art; yet overtly homophobic material was OK.

What judges sexually restrain in themselves, they will naturally try to restrain in the culture. When only sexually inhibited people become judges, antisexual judicial decisions will naturally predominate.

And those sex-negative decisions in turn express powerfully negative ideas about sex, which in turn breed more sexual fear in the general population.

Note the nasty system: our sex-inhibited leaders help generate insecurity about sex and then experts and others demand straight-laced leaders who then produce more sex-negative decisions.

If you probe just a little way down in your own erotic psychology, who will find the wounds of this toxic-culture process.

At the Sex Party we are trying to dismantle this sex-negative system, so that all of us can loosen up about sex. We urge you to help in this case.

Stand up for the rights of judges or any person in authority to express their sexuality in any lawful way they want.

Write the ethicists involved and protest their “ethical” pronouncements:

schafer@cc.umanitoba.ca

aacorn@law.ualberta.ca

John Ince is a Vancouver lawyer, entrepreneur, author, and leader of the Sex Party.

Comments (7) Add New Comment
emily
this should have nothing to do with the exposure of her sexuality. as a judge, she is supposed to be prudent enough to differentiate btwn a criminal and an innocent person. if she can't do it in her own home (and not know that her husband was being outrageously unethical), how is she going to be able to do it in the courtroom.
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Martin de Pateshull
"Thou shalt not commit adultery. "

Exodus 20:14.

What do they teach you in Lie School, John Ince, call date Ianuary 10, 1980? Lawful to violate the moral law? And if you do not accept the moral law, fine; but as was said to Saul, "Because thou hast rejected the word of the LORD, he hath also rejected thee from being king."

If one is not going to keep the word of the Lord, one may not act in office in right of the Crown. Bonus points if you find the Charter which proves this!
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beelzebub
You have to love the internet.
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George T. Baker
I'd get it on with Judge Douglas. Meow.
Ugh!
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Ted Campbell
I write novels - strictly as a hobby - writing is easy - getting published really takes skill. I portray the people in my stories in what I think are real life situtations. My characters (male & female - single and married) are faced with typical situations including opportunities to say yes or no to sex. I've watched people read my material, their heads go up and down because all of us encounter this in our daily lives. When people take a close look at the players involved it's easy to imagine this happening to any of us. I hope she returns to the bench. We need more real people in that postion. Ted Campbell
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R U Kiddingme
In theory, John is entirely correct that private lawful sexual activity has no more moral drawbacks than tennis (a game which fills me with far more anger, rage, and negativity than equivalent amounts of happy num-num).

On the other hand, there is such a thing as social decorum. A judge is expected, more than average Jills, to conduct herself with dignity, politeness, and so forth. All public servants are obliged to obey a code of conduct. Not a peep has been said to challenge that basic presumption, or limitation on actions if you will, so to countenance judges who appear in amateur pr0n but not to, say, sing in nightclubs, is a case of overly high expectations.

I do however yearn for the day when such disgusting, immoral, antibiblical behaviour is mainstreamed to the point where my wife will think it is ok.
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Andrew
If the pictures are deemed acceptable by the majority of the public in the first place, I don't like the double standard going against a judge. Sure, we hold judges to a higher moral standard, which is why they are appointed to the position they are in. However, it seems we are holding them to an idealist, and non-realistic expectation. The prof from the Manitoba university with knowledge of applied ethics is right. It was reckless behaviour for the judge to participate in these photos, as judges are in the public eye in a morally supreme position, but it wasn't wildly reckless behaviour. Further, we cannot expect everyone to have a squeaky-clean past. I would expect that's why the law system is there. It is to reform and help people that can be helped. Mistakes are made, and it was not a good decision, but holding it to her from her past mistakes is just another double standard we hold against a public official who's duty is to help society, by forcing them to learn from their mistakes. Hopefully, her feet aren't entirely swept out from under her because of this situation.

I agree with this article, as sexual nature is automatically deemed non-appropriate. It is going to hurt her reputation for what should be very little concern, if only we were a bit more accepting of our genitalia.

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