Feminists and the concept of consent

Note: I’ve edited several points below to clarify my point.

I really try to not follow what goes on in the news. Ironic, seeing how I am a reporter. But I have far too many other things to do, and even if I have free time I tire of reading about the petty drama that permeates our daily lives while far more consequential matters are overlooked because they bring to light an unpleasant reality.

This whole debacle with Miss Nevada, however, was too good to pass up. From what I understand, she was asked how to combat sexual assault on college campuses. As a trained martial artist, it seems natural her response would involve some form of self-defense.

In response, feminists blasted her for victim blaming or that it is a part of “rape culture” to use force to defend yourself from your attacker.

There have to be a thousand other bloggers and writers out there already writing the same thing I would, if I wished to waste my time pointing out how stupid this idea is. Julie Borowski, a.k.a Token Libertarian Girl, does it justice in this video, so I won’t waste my time and yours addressing it.

Instead, I wanted to bring up something else that I find so irritable about the current wave of feminism when it comes to the issue of rape.

One, they actually think people think rape is acceptable in any way. It’s not.  For the sake of brevity, I’m not going to go into what the debate is really about. Murray Rothbard addresses the issue at hand in this article.

Ironically, my moral beliefs on the matter are much more stringent than anything you will hear from feminists. (In short, just because a person consents to sexual activity doesn’t mean they are not being taken advantage of; what is legally acceptable and what is morally acceptable are not the same, i.e. if a person voluntarily sells an item worth $300 for $3 to someone who knows the true value of the item but says nothing, that may not be a violation of the NAP, but from my perspective it’s morally wrong).

 

But let’s put that aside. Let’s take feminists at their word and assume they are genuine when they claim to be fighting against rape – except when it’s committed by a women. Then, there is such a thing as a “good rape,” apparently. Rape, as we have established, is sexual activity without consent. Consent, therefore, is the crux of the whole matter and where feminists claim to care about.

But it is at sex that their concern for consent stops, and it shouldn’t. Consent, from a libertarian anarchist perspective, extends to all areas of life, not just sexual activity. The Non-Aggression Principle requires consent.

Shouldn’t consent be obtained before forcing someone to do something, or anything? Isn’t consent in all things, as long as a person is not violating another individual’s rights, a good political principle to abide by?

The Declaration of Independence says that government derives its just powers from the consent of the governed. In reality, the State derives any powers it wants from its superior force of arms compared to those who might resist. It maintains a farce of consent by coercing people to send their children to State-run schools where they are taught the de facto legitimacy of the State.

It would be like sending kids to Wal-Mart to be educated for 12 years, where they are taught to regard shopping there as a religion act of worship, and then expecting them to choose to shop anywhere else when they get out.

For example, we often hear the term “well, you voted and your side lost, so deal with it.” Or, they will say, “That’s how the system works” and “It’s better than the alternative.”

Or, my personal favorite: If you don’t like it you can leave!

Then, when you say you do not consent, they will insist that you did when you voted, and if you tell them you didn’t vote they will say that’s your fault for not exercising your right to do so. This is then used as the basis for claiming elected officials represent an entire population, rather than those who voted for them – and who are not allowed to withdraw their consent for several years and 90 percent of the time they vote them back in.

Put another way, they claim a majority vote in a certain area constitutes consent of every single person in that area. Politically, consent only needs to be obtained on a collective level.

Imagine taking the definition employed for consent of the governed and applying it to sex or, dare I say it, marriage and relationships. In other words, the same arguments used to initiate coercion and aggression against people and their property are placed on rape and sex.

Imagine the following:

  • Cindy is told by a group of people that John has been elected to have sleep with her and all the other girls. When she objects, they inform her that they voted in an election and decided he was the best choice for them. When she tells them that she doesn’t consent, they insist she did because she voted, and if she didn’t vote it was her fault for not voting. If she says it violates her rights, they claim she had the freedom to choose who she was going to sleep with in the election. Furthermore, she lives in the area and has to follow the rules. When John tries to sleep with her she defends herself and he attacks her all while telling her to stop resisting.
  • A man forces himself into a woman’s home after buying her an expensive dinner. When she tries to keep him out he becomes livid and insists that he is going to sleep with her. When she says she doesn’t consent, he tells her that she “implicitly” consented to sleep with him when she allowed him to buy her a nice dinner. Even as she continually says she doesn’t consent he insists he does and breaks into the house and sleeps with her against her will and tells her that how the world works and if she doesn’t like it she can live somewhere else.
  • A man is informed by the State Department of Marriage that he cannot discriminate against a potential spouse based on certain criteria deemed illegal and if he does he will be guilty of unlawful discrimination and subject to a lawsuit. When he tells them he has a right to decide whom he will marry they reply that he gives up certain rights when he chooses to engage in a social ritual and interact with other people. Also, they tell him he doesn’t have the right to discriminate. When he decides not to get married they inform him he must obtain a state marriage license before a certain date or be subject to a “shared responsibility” fee to help provide for those who choose to get married and have families.
  • When all these people in these scenarios go around arguing that this type of behavior isn’t appropriate and that individual consent is needed before sexual activity or marriage, they are told they want a utopia, or worse, they are anti-social and selfish.

That is what makes feminism so hypocritical. It preaches about consent, but only concerning sexual activity (and it depends on who the victim and the predator is; how many feminists called for Clarence Thomas’ head on a platter when he accused of sexual harassment, but remained silent during the Clinton years as women came forward with allegations of being groped and harassed?).

When it comes to the State, they promote its use in the most despicable ways and have no qualms engaging in coercion and aggression against people who do not consent. One of which is how Title IX has been used on college campuses to set up show trial style commissions or committees to punish men on the flimsiest of pretenses. This is exactly what happened to Judith Grossman, a feminist and lawyer whose son was accused retroactively of rape by his ex-girlfriend and forced to fight his school to prevent expulsion. He was not allowed to present evidence or confront his accusers or any of the witnesses. He was spared from the same fate as other young men only because his mother happened to know the law and could fight it.

Modern feminists also make absurd claims about how women make 77 cents for every dollar a man makes in an effort to push for government legislation and treat women, who are a higher percentage of the population than men in this country (143.4 million to 138.1 million) as a minority.

So my point is this: If feminists were just as concerned about consent in political activity as they claim to be when it comes to sex, they would all be libertarians.

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4 Responses to Feminists and the concept of consent

  1. greattomato says:

    Word of advice: no one is going to read this article to the end — especially women — because you start by making it sound like feminists “incredibly high threshold of consent” is wrong. Furthermore “Feminism” as a political movement and anti-rape culture are not the same thing.

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  2. greattomato says:

    I mean, I dig pointing out hypocrisies, but you’re treading a thin line in you commentary. Say feminists misunderstand that libertarianism would offer them more freedoms and better recourse in a system of justice. Don’t work on some contrivance that women are misunderstanding consent of the governed because they have a high standard about consent regarding their personal safety..

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    • The Question says:

      My point is not that a high threshold for consent regarding sexual activity is wrong. I think that is fine – as long as it enforced equally, and morally speaking I have an even higher threshold than they do. My point is that feminists go to great lengths to mark the precise line when consent for sexual activity begins to the point where it “yes” becomes “no” and the definition of rape is defined arbitrarily – yet this same definition applies nowhere else in life. If I were commenting on this from a moral point of view I would have discussed this from another perspective, but my main contention is that their alleged concern for consent completely disappears when it comes to political activity.

      I do get your point, though. I’ve added a bit of clarification at the top to rectify this. I appreciate the feedback, as always.

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      • greattomato says:

        Thank you for the clarification. A significant problem in the left and right radical movements are the factionalism and lack of focus on a comprehensive goal against the reactionaries and the status quo. Thanks for responding; I appreciate the back and forth.

        Like

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