John Ince: No sex for me; I want to be a judge
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.
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:
John Ince is a Vancouver lawyer, entrepreneur, author, and leader of the Sex Party.