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30              Elementary Morality

Abnormal Developments

If a man can get no other food it is more natural for him
to kill another man and eat him than to starve. Our horror
is rather at the circumstances that make it natural for the
man to do this than at the man himself. So with other things
the desire for which is inherited through countless ancestors,
it is more natural for men to obtain the nearest thing they
can to these, even by the most abnormal means if the ordinary
channels are closed, than to forego them altogether. The
abnormal growth should be regarded as disease but, never-
theless, as showing more health and vigour than no growth
at all would do. I said this in Life and Habit (ch. iii. p. 52)
when I wrote " it is more righteous in a man that he should
eat strange food and that his cheek so much as lank not,
than that he should starve if the strange food be at his com-
mand." *

Young People

With regard to sexual matters, the best opinion of our
best medical men, the practice of those nations which have
proved most vigorous and comely, the evils that have followed
this or that, the good that has attended upon the other
should be ascertained by men who, being neither moral
nor immoral and not caring two straws what the conclusion
arrived at might be, should desire only to get hold of the
best available information. The result should be written
down with some fulness and put before the young of both
sexes as soon as they are old enough to understand such
matters at all. There should be no mystery or reserve.
None but the corrupt will wish to corrupt facts; honest
people will accept them eagerly, whatever they may prove
to be, and will convey them to others as accurately as they
can. On what pretext therefore can it be well that knowledge
should be withheld from the universal gaze upon a matter

*                                            On the Alps

It  is  reported thou  didst eat strange  flesh,

Which some did die to look on:   and all this—

It wounds thine honour that I speak it now—

Was borne so like a soldier, that thy cheek

So much as lank'd not.—Ant. <& Cleop., I. iv 66-71.