A Thought Experiment

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5 Responses

  1. Ken Rhodes says:

    I suspect that the crux of the whole issue (for most of us) is the casual use of the word “consent.”

    “Consent” has to be “informed consent.” So when eleven year old Debbie “consents” to the advances of her generous Uncle Charles, the law says her “consent” is nothing of the sort, and Uncle Charles is committing statutory rape. Likewise when Debbie is 22, if Uncle Charles has plied her with whisky to have his way. Likewise if Debbie is severely impaired developmentally, so her consent can never be “informed.” …etc…

    If we could ensure the consent is always informed, then the rest of the issue would devolve into merely regulating public displays of lewd behavior (eliminating the “yuck” factor), not regulating the lewd behavior itself.

  2. K. Baker says:

    I couldn’t agree with you more . . . but I think where you and I might draw the line is very different than where many queer theorists would.

  3. Jimbino says:

    Wrong, Ken Rhodes.

    If consent, based on competence to make an informed decision or contract, is to be the standard, our system that bases consent on age is both over- and under-inclusive. There are 17-year-olds far more competent than “mature” adults when it comes to sex and most other things.

    I know I did everything I could to frustrate any parental or governmental attempt to limit my sex partners at age 14.

    As in the case of pilot licensing, any gummint interest in protecting children would be well served by requiring passing of a test for competency, after which a person could have sex with any partner, stranger, friend or relative, of his choosing. Anything less is child abuse.

  4. Joe says:

    I don’t know what Ken Rhodes is “wrong” about.

    We set fixed guidelines here as rough standards since individually weighing each and every time is too cumbersome in practice. I’m not sure how that changes his basic point.

    I don’t know what “competency” means here and sex and pilot licensing doesn’t quite seem the same to me personally. Are you saying if the sixteen year old is “competent” (whatever that means) the father can have sex with her? Sounds like you are pushing for some sort of “sex license.” Doesn’t sound advisable.

    Incest taboos partially is a matter of consent, even for adults that can be an issue, as it is for a psychiatrist and his adult patient. But, realistically, we don’t actually enforce incest laws, except in cases of abuse or if they result in children. Even there, probably there are many that don’t come else, especially involving non-blood relations.

  5. Joe says:

    Addendum: We enforce incest laws when the family member is having sex with a minor, but that is basically just a subset of statutory rape, if a particular kind. A few spare exceptions probably can be found but are just that.