The question is not really “what is wrong with a man who has sex with a chicken?” but the question is “what is wrong if a man has sex with a chicken?” After all it is his choice and who are you to judge and to pontificate on a man’s sexual orientation and pleasures? In other words isn’t that a bedroom matter which shouldn’t concern us? Well in June 2010 a certain Petro Maradze, a 73 year old man of Mafuke Village in Zimunya, Zimbabwe, committed suicide after he was caught red handed in a sexual act with a chicken, by his 61 year old wife, Grace Maradze. Earlier this year, a similar case was reported on the front page of one of South Africa’s newspapers. A woman who caught a man having sex with her chicken reported the matter to the tribal elders and asked that the perverted man pay her bogadi of 10 cattle since the chicken knew no man before this man’s penetration!
What is wrong with this situation? Is there anything wrong with a man sleeping with a chicken? Is there anything wrong with a woman who wishes to profit from this encounter and demand bogadi? Is it wrong and is there a way of knowing if something is wrong? Dear reader, do please stay with me, but for a little while, while we traverse yet another path. Last month, it was reported that a 28-year old Zimbabwe man, Sunday Moyo, was arrested for having sex with a donkey. During his appearance in court he said that a donkey was actually a prostitute who had over night transformed into a donkey. The prostitute had made an ass of herself! He told the court he paid $20 for a prostitute he met at a night club and that somewhere in the time between meeting her and when he was arrested, the prostitute transformed from a woman into a donkey. According to the New Zimbabwe paper he is reported to having said, “Your worship, I only came to know that I was being intimate with a donkey when I got arrested.” To everyone’s horror and amusement Moyo also said in court, that he was also a donkey. He further declared: “I do not know what happened when I left the bar, but I am seriously in love with (the) donkey.” A sexual act between a person and an animal is termed bestiality. The question to pose is whether there is anything wrong with bestiality. Even if someone was to argue that there was something wrong with bestiality shouldn’t such an argument be really a personal opinion and should not be treated as right? What I am digging into is this: is there a way that we can know what wrong and right are? Or are right or wrong individual mirages?
In December 2002 a German man by the name of Armin Meiwes, dubbed “The Cannibal of Rotenburg”, sent an advert in internet chatrooms seeking “men for slaughter” so that he could slaughter and eat them. He found a volunteer, 42 year old computer engineer by the name Bernd Brandes who begged to be devoured. Armin filmed himself killing, disembowelling and cutting up his victim. He was to later describe how he prepared an elaborate meal of human steak in a green pepper sauce with croquettes and Brussels sprouts and how the meat tasted like pork. He now languishes in prison serving a life sentence for his weird culinary delights. The question that confronts us though is what is wrong with a man killing and cooking another one in a green pepper sauce with croquettes and Brussels sprouts? Considering that both of them were consenting adults one wishing to be eaten by the eater, it does mean that there is value in asking the question: does consent remove the right to question whether something is right or wrong? The problem arises repeatedly in matters of euthanasia. If a person wishes to die and asks that a supporting oxygen supply be switched off, is it right or wrong to comply?
I have up to this point proffered a number of illustrations of where the moral judgement had been required. The reason why these are important is to confront what is a growing Gaboronese mood draped in extreme liberalism which argues repeatedly that individuals should not moralize; that there is no merit in saying that anything is wrong because who are we to judge? As long as something is not harmful, it is permissible. This Gaboronese mood is largely out of touch with the larger national mood; but since it has access to the radio, the lawyers, the money, newspapers, education and the politicians, for a while it forgets itself and mistakes itself for a national mood. At the heart of its argument is the theory of relativity or relativism which argues that nothing has absolute┬átruth┬áor┬ávalidity, having only relative, subjective value according to differences in perception and consideration. This Gaboronese mood therefore poses the question:
what is wrong with a man having sex with a chicken? It argues: It is only his sexual preference. I may differ with him; I may have no attraction to a donkey or a chicken; or I may have no interest in frying human liver in garlic sauce, but who am I to say it is wrong. To say it is wrong would be to moralize, argues the Gaboronese mood, since I should not impose my views and positions on others. The Gaboronese mood is however not without contradictions. While it appears extraordinary liberal, it is selective liberalism. It wishes for safe streets, well behaved teenagers, and incorrupt leaders but has no philosophical route of how to reach to such ends. It argues that a man’s right to enjoy chicken thighs must be protected by law but does not see how such enjoyment may harm the society irreparably. The Gaboronese mood remains the greatest threat to national stability since it fundamentally want to uproot the fabric that holds the nation together. If the Gaboronese mood were Bernd Brandes, and we were Armin Meiwes, it would be easier to sort it out once and for all.