Aella & The Futility Of ‘Consent’
"Aella" is a sometime hooker, porn star, and libertarian; she was interviewed here by Reason magazine, whence the screenshot above. Someone on my Twitter feed forwarded this thread by her the other day:
Most of the thread contains language that I wouldn't want to post here, but it ends like this:
She's right, isn't she? I've heard that "but animals can't consent!" argument from people before, as a defense against normalizing bestiality, and it has never made sense. You think animals can consent to being eaten?
Aella is also a numbers-cruncher/data scientist. She did a recent survey to find out who is interested in bestiality. I'm not going to link to it, though it's safe for work, but it's really interesting that a surprising number of people say they're into it. It turns out that male-to-female transgenders are really into it -- I mean, of the set of people who are interested in this kind of thing, the biggest group is transgenders. Strong interest in bestiality also correlates with sexual assault as a child. Aella says she is non-judgmental about all this.
I'm not interested in talking about sick fetishes. What I'm interested in is talking about how feeble the standard liberal "consent" line is to prevent people from behaving like, well, animals. It came to mind today after sitting through a presentation by an activist talking about how far the public broadcasting services in Germany have taken desensitizing children to kinky sex, and evil things like rape, blood-drinking, and even cannibalism. She shared screenshots. Later, the German activist told me that in one German city this past year, the Pride march consented to allow pedophiles to march openly with everyone else. I didn't get the name of the city, but the feminist news site Reduxx reported that it was Köln (Cologne).
We know perfectly well where all of this is going. You know it, even if you don't want to admit it to yourself for fear of seeming illiberal. If you haven't yet read N.S. Lyons's long essay about the Lewis, Tolkien, the Tao, and the abolition of man, then stop what you're doing and get to it. It applies to this issue Aella brings up. Lyons approvingly cites C.S. Lewis's claim that if there is no such thing as objective moral value, then there is nothing but will between us and the void. The good liberal today says that on sexual matters, at least, the only meaningful value is "consent". The smart but depraved Aella points out correctly that unless you also believe that one shouldn't eat animals, "consent" is no ground to stand on to condemn having sex with them.
What about when it comes to children? By definition, you say, they cannot consent. But the pedophiles keep pushing for lowering the age of consent. Besides, what do you do with the case of a kid I knew growing up, a boy who we all thought was pervy from a young age, because he talked obsessively about sex even before most of us knew what sex was. He was caught in the closet fondling a classmate when we were in second grade. Looking back at context clues, I believe that boy was the victim of a child-molesting Catholic priest, for whom this kid was an altar boy in the 1970s (the local diocese admitted that this priest, now dead, had molested a number of victims back in the day). I believe, but can't prove, that the poor little boy was initiated into sex by this pervert priest.
But let's say for the sake of argument that this is what happened: what if the traumatized little boy sought out sexual encounters with other adults, even initiating them? What would the "consent" people say then? (Side note: This actually happens. Once I interviewed a woman who worked at a shelter for sexually abused children who had been removed from their parents' custody; she told me that one of the saddest and most disturbing things that shelter workers had to contend with was these little kids reaching out for physical affection, but in a sexual way, because that's how they had been trained.) You could say, I suppose, that "consent" in this hypothetical case would be a fiction, because even if the child indicated that he desired sexual contact, we can't as a society permit this to happen. You would be correct that this should never, ever be allowed to happen ... but again, "consent" is a very, very weak standard with which to try to stop something as profoundly evil as the sexual exploitation of children.
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At some point, something's got to give. People will not tolerate this forever. Or will they? Never in the history of the human race have we raised a generation of children for whom the vilest sexual things humans do to each other are easily available on the devices their parents give them. And even though, say, Weimar Germany was a byword for sexual decadence, I'm pretty confident that they didn't try to corrupt the imaginations of children, as we do today.
If this is what we do with our freedom, we should not be surprised if one day it is taken from us.