Speaking of Your Inner Hillbilly

Here's a Story you won't hear parroted on OTBL.
Junk Journalist John (Jethro ) Stossel promotes 1st cousin marriage. Where's (send me to congress to defend marriage ) Paul R. Nelson when you really need him?

From Jethro:
"I'd always thought marrying a blood relative as close as a cousin was immoral, and certainly risky if you plan to have kids. Conventional wisdom says only primitive people who live in isolated places marry cousins. It leads to stupid children. But that's a myth.

It's the sort of myth that leads to stupid laws. Half the states in America have banned cousin marriage, but there's no good reason for it. "
See full story



Cato said...

The DNA at that point is distant enough (well, most all your DNA is the same anyway even if the person was from Africa or something) to not cause "hillbilly" defects. Here's an idea: think for yourself. Stossel was merely pointing out why it is a myth. Why? I don't know, maybe he wants his cousin. But if you really think about it, it really isn't that bad. "Oh ho ho he married his cousin, must be an idiot redneck!" As Stossel points out, so did Einstien's parents. And Einstien.

AndyRand said...

I don't know about you, but I guess I wouldn't want my uncle to turn into my father-in-law.

Cato said...

Well yes -- there are shall we say "political" implications to it, but the idea that the kids will turn out "wrong" is a bit of a misnomer. Point of course being it shouldn't be illegal but I can see why it is shunned for "political" reasons with family politics.

AndyRand said...

It think the point here isn't so much that Stossel is wrong, it's that OTBL won't be promoting this report of Stossel's like they did with his one on the evils of public education.
I think most still find marrying a cousin disconcerting dispite the scientific evidence.

AndyRand said...

I don't think you realized how much you've distracted this blog from it's true mission of mocking OTBL with all your serious discussion and debate.
You're not their covert agent to distract us from our mission are you?

Norseman said...

Tongue-in-cheek, tongue-in-cheek.

Lenny Bruce said...

Would you marry you cousin, if she was Lena Horne?

Bob Ucker said...

Brewer baseball fans will recognize those feet as the ones belonging to Sixtoes LaSkown...of something like that.

Otis of Mayberry said...

I thought they belonged to John Stossel's offspring?

Darwin said...

Sorry Otis, but you are wrong. Stossel is a product of immaculate deception. There are only five toes on each foot. Socio-anthropological researchers funded by Exxon and the Environmental Poison Producers of Louisiana did a study and determined there are only five toes. The picture is wrong and obvious something being pushed by the environ-foot fetish front.

Mean to Gene Chlorine said...

A little know fact:
John Stossel has invested heavily in a
Malayasian Nike Sweatshop where they hold the patent on, and have an overstock of EEEEEE Athletic
shoes. He want's to alter the American
Gene Pool to sell more product. (It's a long term investment.)

Roadkill said...

Perhaps the more interesting point here is how this idea of 1st cousin marriage ties in with the whole same-sex marriage debate. The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court has held that equal protection under the laws prohibits the state from restricting marriage to opposite sex couples. Their holding specifically mentions consanguinity as one of the few remaining reasons that the state may restrict marriage. But if the consanguinity provisions of the law are incorrect in their underlying assumptions, then there really is no reason to restrict marriages of 1st cousins, in Massachusetts, Wisconsin, or anywhere else.
Maybe that funny cartoon with a hillbilly hat on John Stoessel should be removed, as he may well be more progressive on this issue than the person who posted it at ATBL.

Watchdog Watcher said...


Why stop at cousins? Let's make incest legal too! Would that be "progressive" enough for you?

Roadkill said...

Watchdog Watcher,

Incestuous relations (brother-sister, parent-child, etc.) have clearly been shown to have adverse genetic/procreative consequences, and as such the state has always prohibited such unions as a matter of public policy. As I mentioned in my earlier comment, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court specifically mentions consanguinity as one of the few remaining bases on which the state may restrict marriage.

So yes, I guess I would stop at 1st cousins.

And I hope I didn’t offend anyone my suggesting John Stossel was more progressive than they.

Anonymous said...

I believe the Stossel worshipers live at www.ontheborderline.net. Stossel does make some good points, but he has a one-side agenda.

Watchdog Watcher said...


Maybe I was a little thin skinned about being less progressive than Stossel and over reacted slightly.

After reading your comments on another post I see that you deserve to be taken more seriously. You may not be aware of the level of spoofing and chicanery that has become a part of ATBL blog culture here so there's a certain defensiveness and suspicion about new posters being authentic.

I'm curious how you reconcile your view about cousin marriage with a comment you made on the other post:

"You are also correct regarding the Wisconsin marriage amendment, although you should be careful about describing it as an effort to reign in civil liberties. There is currently no such liberty, nor has there ever been. Same sex marriage is a radical departure from historical social norms. There is a difference between civil liberty and civil license; if you go too far down that road you may find yourself defending as “civil liberties” prostitution, polygamy, and adult-child sex."

Isn't consanguinity ( an admittedly new word to my vocabulary ) a "radical departure from historical social norms." and wouldn't that too become a precedent for defending some of the "civil liberties" you've listed? That is exactly why I brought up the "slippery slope" of consanguinity leading to legal incest.

Roadkill said...

Watchdog Watcher,

I’ve seen enough on this blog to recognize that there is a lot of silliness here, both in the commentary as well as in original posts. My only intention is to offer some perspective and hopefully help raise the level of discussion above that of bumper-sticker sentiments. After all, this is advertised as the anti-blog to OTBL.

Now as to your question regarding consanguinity (literally, with the same blood), most cultures in the world – from the least developed to modern western civilizations – have well founded and well established taboos on incest. Even the most primitive cultures recognized the prevalence of birth defects and retardation in the offspring of close family members, and consequently established prohibitions on the practice.

But different cultures have had different taboos based on the degree of kinship. For instance, some cultures proscribe inter-breeding between any family members, no matter how distantly related. These cultures would frown upon 1st cousin marriages. Others ban only close relations (brother-sister, parent-child) from marriage and/or childbearing. Good examples of this would be the European royals of the 13th through 19th centuries, where the aristocracies of various countries descended from common blood lines, and intermarriage with cousins from other royal families was encouraged for political reasons. This of course had some deleterious effects, including a higher incidence of sickliness and hemophilia amongst royals of all nationalities. In fact, the pale, wanly, and vein-protruding appearance of many interbred royals led to their description (by more ruddy and healthy commoners) as “royal blue-bloods.”

But all that notwithstanding, I do believe that permitting cousins to marry will take us a step closer to brother-sister or parent-child marriages, and in that sense I feel it meets the slippery –slope argument. Considering that advances in birth control and surgical sterilization have already provided a basis for sweeping away all legal consanguinity provisions, the stage is set for such radicalism.

If, as the gay-marriage proponents assert, any two consenting adults should be able to marry, and if there are no consanguinity prohibitions preventing such marriages, what is to stop brother and sister from tying the knot? Or mother and son? Or father and daughter? Nothing, really. So the question is, do we want to go there? I don’t think so.

But if we do, it should be as a result of robust public debate on the issue and a political decision by voters or their proxies in the legislature – not a decree handed down by some judge or panel of judges who think they know what is best for society. That was the point of my other post, and I’m just reinforcing it here.

Watchdog Watcher said...


I'll be a little more concise.
I think we are in agreement.

New Comer said...



"If, as the gay-marriage proponents assert, any two consenting adults should be able to marry, and if there are no consanguinity prohibitions preventing such marriages, what is to stop brother and sister from tying the knot? Or mother and son? Or father and daughter? Nothing, really. So the question is, do we want to go there? I don’t think so."

The smart ass in me wants to say "hey what if I love my dog, can I marry her?" That is an argument that I've heard repeated by the anti-civil union crowd. Do you seriously think anyone is advocating mothers marrying sons in this debate?

The wording of the amendment Wisconsin voters will vote on in November states:

"Only a marriage between one man and one woman shall be valid or recognized as a marriage in this state. A legal status identical or substantially similar to that of marriage for unmarried individuals shall not be valid or recognized in this state."

If you are reading the mother marrying a son argument from this, it looks like the band doesn't cover it, because it says "Only a marriage between one man and one woman shall be valid or recognized as a marriage in this state."

This mother/son argument is a red herring designed to confuse the uninformed masses who will vote on this issue based on mainly religious indoctrination.

What is your feeling on the issue of two women who love and care for each other signing a legal contract that entitles them to the same benefits of a man and a woman who love and care for each other? Obviously we are dealing with an issue that has been a suppressed taboo in our society since day one.

If the purpose of marriage is to protect the property rights and put legal entanglements on the couple in regards to their offspring, i.e. they are doing it for the children, then we shouldn't allow elderly or infertile opposite sex couples to marry. If it is for the children, then we should at least allow lesbian couples to marry, because modern medicine allows for these women to have children.

Same sex marriages definitely shouldn't be denied for religious reasons, because of separation of church and state. If fact, a church marriage is only a religious ceremony. They minister is vested with the power of the government under law to carry out the ceremony and must sign the marriage license or face fines or imprisonment. The minister or priest doing the ceremony is acting as the justice of the peace, since you can just go to the court house to get married.

norseman said...

I agree with "Road Kill" what should be considered socially moral? Much of the foundation of our culture/morality is religiously based (from a majority perspective). Though there most certainly were adjustments that were made (Slavery/Sufferage), they were not outside of that base, but in support of it. The term "Slippery Sloap" has been used, and seem to be fitting.
Look at world history, the decay of any base cultural morality ultimatly has led to the disintegration of many civilizations.

Anonymous said...

I would think that total implementatio of the libertarian perspective discussed on this blog by Cato would eventually lead to the bottom of the slippery slope. Cato may argue otherwise and point to the horizon of higher ideals. But to do so would be to ignore the gutter of reality.

Cato said...


It depends on what the "bottom" of what "slipperly slope" you are talking about. I for one do not think government should be involved in marriage at all; since the only rational reason (and not a good one) for states (let me be clear, the Federal government CANNOT be involved) to be possibly invovled revolves around the creation of new taxpayers. Of course, this is not a very good rational reason. If you want to argue the birth defects that can happen as a result of incestious relationships, then perhaps government should mandate genetic testing to make sure that two people will have acceptable offspring.

Oh -- and I've never heard of extramarital relations ever happening either, so clearly making a law against incestious marriage will stop incestous relationships from occuring even between consenting adults.

Watchdog Watcher said...

- cato

"Oh -- and I've never heard of extramarital relations ever happening either, so clearly making a law against incestious marriage will stop incestous relationships from occuring even between consenting adults."

Just because incestious relationships occur is no reason to extend rights that say the state condones such relationships.

Beside, your position plays right into the Paul R. Nelson position that someone has to go to Washington to "defend" marriage.

Cato said...

Watchdog watcher, did you read the entirety of what I said? If so, what could possibly be your point?