Steve Bainbridge, citing the example of an artist who employs mutilated human cadavers in his craft, writes,
Despite my libertarian leanings, I must concede to thinking that there are some things the law ought to prohibit just because they are so … well, yucky, for lack of a better word.
Yuck. Double yuck. I want it banned and the harm principle can be damned. Do I have a reasoned analysis of how to fit the yuck factor into a coherent political theory? No. And I don’t care. Some things are just too yucky for a civilized society to tolerate. This is what Leon Kass calls the “wisdom of repugnance,” which is hard to square with a generally libertarian world-view but nevertheless makes good sense to me in this case and a number of others.
I agree at a visceral level and, as a practical matter, would say that law made by humans is naturally going to operate in that manner, anyway. But it’s certainly problematic on an intellectual level.
To take a current case in point, I would argue that “the yuck factor” is the primary rationale that currently motivates the ban on gay marriage. We’re no longer at the point where most people view homosexual relations as quite on par with cadaver art but a majority is still exceedingly uncomfortable with the idea. The arguments about “the sanctity of marriage” and such are a smokescreen for “the yuck factor.”