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Everything posted by DonAthos

  1. White Supremacist Protest Violence

    I also reject "left versus right" in an abstracted sense (perhaps even the same abstracted sense you're referring to), but when we make decisions in reality -- again -- we must make them in full context. That means that the real-life details we abstract away (which allows us to see "left" and "right" as "fundamentally the same") must be brought back into consideration, to the extent that they matter to our decisions. This is what allows Dr. Hurd, for instance, to be able to compare the Democratic and Republican parties and find that it is moral to support one over the other to some extent (whether we agree or not with that specific decision) at this specific moment in time. And yes, this does have to do with teaming up with Stalin to defeat Hitler, and we cannot assert that away. There is a sense in which we can say, "ah, Communists and Fascists are the same; Democrats and Republicans are the same; etc.," but when we're dealing with actual manifestations of the left or the right (or anything else) the details matter to our evaluation. Antifa are not good guys (and no one here has claimed that they are), and certainly if the most extreme (i.e. most consistent) of their members had their way, life on Earth would be shitty for everyone else. The better people within a group like that, or allied to it, do not yet understand that their endorsement of violent tactics/thuggery undermines their ideas for liberty, or peace, or whatever it is that they believe themselves to be working towards. They do not understand that they are in fact creating the very thing they imagine themselves to be fighting against: fascism. But this is still different from people who understand that they are fighting for fascism and fight for it anyways. People who understand that calling for white nationalism is racist, yet call for it anyways. People who understand how their ideas are bound to actual human slavery, actual genocide, yet embrace those ideas regardless. When we're talking about Antifa and associated, as it exists in 2017 America, versus the KKK and neo-Nazi groups, as they exist in 2017 America, we can recognize that they are fundamentally the same in certain respects and different in others -- and yes, those differences matter to our moral evaluations.
  2. White Supremacist Protest Violence

    No, my comparison is fine. I mean, I'm willing to entertain an argument for just about anything... but that's what it requires: actual argumentation. Not mere assertion. Perhaps you wish to dismiss my comparison of Methodists to Jihadists because it does not suit your argument? I completely understand, if so. But you're wrong to do it, and sabotaging your own ability to understand my point. You keep using that phrase, so I decided to cast around a moment. Perhaps it is easily accessible elsewhere, and you can direct me for the sake of context? But I found it referenced as an Ayn Rand quote by a reader of Dr. Hurd: Whatever that means in terms of evaluating their philosophical premises, you'll note that the majority of Dr. Hurd's response is directed towards why he believes that the current right is morally superior to the left. This, for instance, is his conclusion: He's comparing Republicans to Democrats and finds that -- at writing -- the Republicans are morally superior (if slightly) to the Democrats. He also references Rand supporting some candidate or another at various times. Because again, however we evaluate their philosophical premises in some abstracted sense, in reality we can (and must) also compare the degree to which they put those premises into action. You tried to attack Eiuol earlier, suggesting that he might find Stalin morally superior to Hitler. Both men were so utterly evil that the idea of trying to assess their particular shade of black seems appropriately ridiculous. And yet, western countries did have to take sides, for a time. Actual calculations had to be made, in the real world. It's arguable that they were wrong to ally themselves with Stalin in any event, and certainly that argument was made at the time, too. It's also arguable that the war should have been continued after the fall of Germany and Japan, pressed on to Moscow -- and that argument was also made at the time. But when we make decisions -- when we commit ourselves to actions, according to some ethics -- we must strive to do so in the fullest context we can, using as much information as possible. Whether we're assessing states like Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union, or religious groups like Methodists and Jihadists, or political parties like the Republicans and Democrats, or political candidates within those parties, or groups like the KKK and Antifa, we cannot only look at their premises and say, "well, they're all irrational!" We also have to be able to assess the degree to which they act on their anti-life views, because if our decisions are meant to support our own lives, that matters. These groups are not all the same, morally speaking or in any other way. They are different and we must recognize those differences and act accordingly. I absolutely agree. But may I explore this a bit more? When you say that you linked up with Antifa a bit, thinking that they might be onto something, my initial reaction is that you were quite foolish to do so. I don't need that kind of experience to learn what you now know... as thankful as I am that you survived it, grew from it, and are here reporting back. But I can also understand how you might be attracted to some of the causes you mention, "anti racism, anti sexism, anti bigotry" and -- above all -- "anti fascism." And I agree with you that these are best found, in reality, within Objectivism. It's not a mistake I would have made, but I can sympathize to some degree with your having made it. However, my reaction would be quite different if you had said that you'd shaved your head and joined a group of neo-Nazis for a time, thinking that maybe they're onto something...
  3. White Supremacist Protest Violence

    Can you point out where I said that one of these two sides are "philosophical revolutionaries"? Did you accidentally get that from me saying that both sides are wrong and immoral? Of course not.* That does not make them equally immoral. Like I'd said, both Methodists and Jihadists are wrong and immoral in their religious beliefs. But they aren't immoral to the same degree. _______________________________ *But then, I don't expect that many people could provide me with an "articulate, well-reasoned statement of their philosophical ideals." I guess it's worth asking: do you think that someone who cannot provide such an "articulate, well-reasoned statement" is 1) immoral, and 2) immoral to the degree of a neo-Nazi?
  4. White Supremacist Protest Violence

    See the quote of mine that you've quoted. I said that "both of these groups are wrong. Both are immoral. But they are not immoral to the same degree." Do you disagree with that?
  5. White Supremacist Protest Violence

    Okay. Let's talk about that "fraudulent coin," then. Here is an article from CNN. Per this article, "many [Antifa] members support oppressed populations and protest the amassing of wealth by corporations and elites. Some employ radical or militant tactics to get their message across." "Supporting oppressed populations" is too vague to comment on, and protesting "the amassing of wealth by corporations and elites" is socialist claptrap, but not too different than the mainstream left. Rubber meets the road with "radical or militant tactics" -- that's what seems to differentiate them from the left, more generally; and that's what I'd meant with "they advocate for the violent suppression of fascists." The article goes on to say that Antifa "is known for causing damage to property during protests. In Berkeley, black-clad protesters wearing masks threw Molotov cocktails and smashed windows at the student union center where the Yiannopoulos event was to be held." That's bad, no question about it. They're wrong. Now let's look at white supremacists, also per CNN: "The term white nationalism originated as a euphemism for white supremacy, the belief that white people are superior to all other races and should therefore dominate society..." I don't know that this is entirely accurate -- I'm open to the idea that there might be a difference between a "white nationalist" and a "white supremacist" ("a white ethno-state where each race lives in a separate nation," the goal attributed to white nationalists in this article, does not seem to rely upon a believe in white superiority) -- but it seems clear to me that the thinking is racist in any event, and further that the only means to achieve their ends is through totalitarian force. The article goes on to quote someone from the SPLC, saying, "some white supremacists advocate genocide and ethnic cleansing. [...] All civil rights for nonwhites would be removed." That's bad, no question about it. They're wrong. Can we tell any difference between the two groups, morally? I think so. Perhaps Antifa is so wide-ranging and nebulous that it's hard to pin down precisely (I don't think they have the same degree of organization as the alt-right), but we can maybe get an idea of what we're talking about by observing the events of Charlottesville and etc. They seem to put on masks and throw rocks and such, protesting what they see as "fascism." In the case of Charlottesville, specifically, the "fascism" they were protesting against took the form of people adopting the symbols of the Confederacy and the Third Reich, carrying torches and weapons and chanting anti-Semitic slogans. So while throwing rocks is not right, is not moral, there's no question that this particular target (as opposed to Capitalism, for instance) is at least worthy of protest. Meanwhile, a white nationalist committed vehicular homicide in the style of ISIS, mowing down protestors (who were not necessarily black mask-clad Antifa). Both of these groups are wrong. Both are immoral. But no, they are not immoral to the same degree.
  6. White Supremacist Protest Violence

    I have no current interest in either defending Antifa or in researching them further. But I bothered to make a post because, even without knowing the specifics of Antifa, I recognized that what you were saying was wrong. "If both groups are wrong, then how is it even remotely possible that one can be 'marginally' better than the other?" Well, I demonstrated how it is remotely possible. That's why I bothered making a post. Because your post warranted correction.
  7. White Supremacist Protest Violence

    What view is "completely indefensible"? This? If that's what you're referring to, Buddha, then it is completely defensible. Shoplifiting and murder are both immoral actions -- they are both wrong -- but they are not equally reprehensible. Immoral actions are united in kind, but they may vary in degree. Immoral groups, too. All religions are mistaken and wrong and immoral (to the extent that they are irrational and preach that which is contrary to man and man's life), but not all religions are morally equal. Islamic extremists are not morally equivalent to Methodists. Are Antifa and white supremacists morally equivalent? I don't know enough about Antifa to say with any conviction, but it is my understanding that they advocate for the violent suppression of fascists. Assuming this to be true, then they are wrong, and short-sided, to seek to deny anyone their civil rights, even Nazis. It is a view that is fundamentally contradictory to liberty, and therefore ultimately destructive of their own cause. But no, that is not the same as an ideology rooted in fascism and racism, and with direct ties (in our none-too-distant past) to slavery and genocide. Shouting down speakers, while repellent, is not morally equivalent to driving one's car into a crowd of protestors. Do you sincerely believe otherwise?
  8. Immigration as related to loyalty

    Fair enough. Then I take it that you also disagree with the White House website press release? It reads:
  9. Immigration as related to loyalty

    Yeah, I have no idea; I'll leave such projections to the legislative analysts. But it baffles me how it's like pulling teeth just to get simple agreement over an idea like "Donald Trump supports a proposal which would reduce legal immigration," whether we agree that's good or bad, or whether we can agree on specific figures, or etc. Blows my damned mind. But to try to bypass distractions like NAFTA, etc., and get back to the main topic? There's no moral reason to restrict immigration, as such. (Inspecting folks to ensure they're not terrorists? Sure. That's a fine thing to do, but it is not the same thing as a cap on, for instance, the number of Mexicans that can enter the US in a given year.) The suggestion that keeping foreigners out, because that's good for American workers (in restricting competition and thus keeping wages high) -- this is protectionism at its worst.
  10. Immigration as related to loyalty

    I was making no argument as to whether the changes brought by this act are good or bad, but I was challenging the idea that there are no proposals (supported by Trump) to reduce the number of legal immigrants. I also mean to make no defense of Wikipedia generally, but the analysis there (and on the National Review website I'd also linked) is that this act will reduce the number of legal immigrants. Do you disagree with that analysis? If not, and if Wikipedia is accurate in reporting that Trump supports the RAISE act, then wouldn't you agree that it is incorrect to say that there are no proposals to reduce the number of legal immigrants?
  11. Are we going to go to war with North Korea? The rhetoric on their side has always been bellicose, but it usually seemed to be more propaganda than anything worth taking seriously. Now that Trump is in charge, however, who is equally given to dramatic words, and who doesn't mind stirring the pot, and since North Korea is pushing the nuclear envelope to its breaking point... will this war of words escalate to an actual fight? If so, what would it look like? Would there be a nuclear exchange? Can South Korea survive? Would the war become more global in nature? Any thoughts about what might become the defining event of not only the Trump presidency, but perhaps our generation?
  12. Immigration as related to loyalty

    Maybe it's me... From Wikipedia: From the National Review: It must be me.
  13. Immigration as related to loyalty

    Well, if anyone can be taken at his word, it's Donald Trump...
  14. White Supremacist Protest Violence

    Insofar as those flags, parks and monuments are sympathetic to the Confederacy, and by extension to what the Confederacy stood for, I think in this case the "cultural left" has a point. All right. I think it's fine that monuments to the Confederacy don't bother you; but can you understand why they might bother others? As to the idea that this is "southern whites' history," well, in a sense it is all of our history, is it not? I don't know that the Civil War belongs exclusively to the south, or more to southern whites than to southern blacks, for instance. I'm a west coaster, but I still consider the Civil War part of my heritage as an American. (But then, I consider all of history part of my heritage as a human being, so... I guess I'm suspect of one group "owning" some particular history, just as I am suspect of ideas of cultural appropriation, etc. Homo sum, humani nihil a me alienum puto.) Besides, if we were discussing, oh, erecting laudatory statues to Hitler, Goering, et al., in modern-day Germany, do you think it would excuse the project to say, "well, it's their history"? We have lots of awful things in our (i.e. the world's) history. Lots of great things, too. But it says something about us which parts of our history we admire and aspire to (commemorating with a flag, park or monument, for instance) and which we condemn and repudiate. Let's say he wasn't. Regardless, that's not why that statue was erected. He stands as a representative of the Confederacy, which was a country created specifically to preserve the institution of actual human slavery (and for which Lee, "not that bad a guy," served). Statues like these went up in the 1920s, as Eiuol noted, as part of a rising tide of racism, which coincided with a resurgence in the KKK and etc. The timing (and intention) was not accidental. And the majority of the people defending these statues and symbols today -- though they might sometimes claim otherwise -- do not do so out of some pure historical interest. If the Spanish Steps were, today, an ongoing source of inspiration for modern Romans seeking to oppress the Gauls and Moors and so forth, then I'd entertain an argument that they ought to be paved over. I wasn't there at the time, but I imagine that the Romans themselves would have been on board, in a sense; when Caligula was (rightly) assassinated, how many of his statues do you suppose survived the week? They understood the importance of symbolism. Nazis and Confederates today (or however we want to term these groups, "neo-" whatevers, "alt-right," white nationalists, etc.) want to preserve these sorts of monuments because they have not given up the essential fight of the Confederacy. They are, as they always were, enemies of liberty and of the republic.
  15. White Supremacist Protest Violence

    I agree that there is nothing wrong with preserving history, as such. We can have -- and ought to have -- appropriate museums and memorials to slavery and the Civil War so that, as you say, this kind of history is never repeated. But we can recognize that there is a difference between "preserving history" (including via statues) for this valid purpose versus erecting such monuments to pay tribute to the Confederacy, or to lionize their leaders, or to continue to wage these old battles. With respect to the statue which sparked the Charlottesville protest, I suppose you'll have to decide for yourself as to which category it belongs to:
  16. White Supremacist Protest Violence

    Agreed. For those who do want a forum to talk about all of the things they like and dislike about Trump, maybe this thread would be better? (It also features an extensive discussion about immigration featuring many of the same members and issues as this one threatens to do.)
  17. White Supremacist Protest Violence

    I cannot stand the turn the left has taken towards identity politics. It sickens me. Yet Trump is not the answer. I'm sure you're right. But drawing the scorn of the left does not mean that Trump is virtuous or praiseworthy. It is not alone because the left calls him names that the alt-right is drawn to him. With all due respect, I think this is a naive view (and perhaps intentionally so). The President absolutely sets the agenda for this kind of enforcement. So far as I know, marijuana is still illegal federally. It would be within the legal purview of the Executive to order a crackdown against marijuana in those states which have "legalized" it. But to do so would not be some morally neutral (let alone positive) use of his authority; it would be a strike against liberty. The same is true with immigration enforcement. Trump's prioritizing of this sort of thing speaks to his personal views and his political platform. This is, in part, why it matters who sits in the White House -- they are not simply disinterested executives carrying out the laws. There is justice (and injustice) in the execution of law as well as in its legislation.
  18. White Supremacist Protest Violence

    I don't know whether this thread is the place for a referendum on all-things-Trump, but do you think it's accurate to say that Trump had nothing to do with what happened in Charlottesville? Of course he had nothing to do with it directly, but I believe that Trump has played a role in helping to create the atmosphere in which these kinds of events are becoming more and more commonplace. I believe that under his administration, folks on the "alt-right" (and here I'm specifically referring to neo-Nazi/KKK types; I understand that the alt-right may be a larger umbrella than just those sorts) have felt increasingly emboldened -- in part due to his ambivalence in condemning them or disavowing their support. Of course you and your family have nothing to do with those assholes. And I know that there are plenty of folks on the left who say that anyone who supports Trump is either a Nazi or as good as one -- which is ridiculous and deplorable (and helping to contribute to the heinous "Antifa" sort of response). But I also find it noteworthy that the neo-Nazis and KKK seem to find strength and comfort in Trump's presidency. Or I mean, if that's propaganda and lies as well, I'm ready to be corrected on it. Yet at the moment, that's how it seems to me. Same here, on all counts. I get it. You answer to your own conscience, and I wouldn't presume otherwise. But Trump? I think he has plenty to be ashamed of.
  19. Is this rape? Consent? Something else?

    That progression is something I'd invented to alter the narrative (and accordingly come to a different conclusion). It does not exist in the original. If you find it inexplicable that Sally is penetrated without warning, then you do -- however unlikely it may be, I don't find it utterly impossible -- but that's the narrative that we are supposedly working with. That is how this works, in this story. It's sort of hard for me to accept that we've come so far only to reach the point of saying, "well, maybe what happened in this story isn't what happened in this story." I'm frustrated. If we don't accept the details of the narrative you've provided in the OP, then what are we even doing in discussing it? Why bring it up in the first place? Oh, I'm certain a lawyer could do all sorts of things in that radically different context. But if we're reading the narrative provided in the OP for meaning -- if we're trying to understand and respond to this provided example honestly -- then we may invent such details as seem necessary to us so long as they do not meaningfully alter what is provided. Sally may have assisted with taking off her underwear, or any other activity consistent with the provided details, but she did not know that Chris was planning on penetrating her. It took her by surprise. That's what we're given. As a lawyer, you might well do so. You could also question what she was wearing at the party, and how many lovers she'd had before Chris, and so forth... But in this case, again in terms of the narrative provided in the OP (the one you provided), we know that she could not simply tut-tut him. I agree. But this couple had decided how far they wanted to go: Sally had said "no" to Chris when he'd asked about sex. That's pretty integral to this story, I'd argue. Then he penetrated her without warning and without consent, and Sally wanted to say no again, but she froze up. Those are the details of the story. That's what we have to work with. I agree. That's in-line with the scenario I'd provided. But that isn't what happens in the story you'd provided in the OP. And we have it. Sally had told Chris "no" repeatedly, which is not a "small indication" but the archetypical example of expressing that she did not want this. We know that Sally did not want this. (And we know, not only according to what she'd said to Chris, but also according to what she thought and felt, before, during and afterwards.) Do you believe Chris honestly thought otherwise? Perhaps the reason why he waited until the lights were off, and orchestrated things such that he could penetrate Sally by surprise, and did not initiate the kind of natural, seductive "progression" we've discussed -- is because: he knew that Sally would say "no" again and did not want to allow her that opportunity. The narrative tells us that Sally froze up, in part, due to feeling "kind of intimidated." Perhaps that was Chris's intention as well. By penetrating her against her will, without her consent, and against her explicit instruction -- in a word, rape -- perhaps he meant to communicate something like, "What you say and what you want doesn't matter to me. I'm doing this regardless." That's potentially rather intimidating. If we assume (though we do not have to, but at least this would not fundamentally alter the given narrative) that Chris was larger and stronger than Sally, then maybe she was doubly right to feel intimidated. Maybe if she had tried to resist, she would have provoked some more threatening, more brutal response? I mean, I don't know. I'm just making that up. But why not? Maybe a lawyer (you know, for the prosecution) would elicit those kinds of details from Sally in direct. As a reader, even as we strain for those details of complicity (or invent them outright) which would allow us to conclude that this was "not rape," as it appears our interest to do, maybe we could also look for such non-verbal signs of revulsion and rejection that Sally may have been communicating to Chris as consonant with the provided narrative. She said "no" when asked and she thought "no," but this is not enough to convince you that she did not consent? All right. Perhaps all of her non-verbal communication amounted to "no" as well. That makes a kind of sense, right? She had said "no"; she had expressed her internal state of mind, vis a vis sex, and it was "no, I do not want this." You mean the time frame involved is too large for you? She had only said "no" earlier that evening, and not after she was penetrated by surprise? If she had said "no" ten minutes before penetration, would that suffice? Or what about thirty seconds? Perhaps we can imagine good-ol', innocent, honest Chris thinking, "well, you didn't want this a minute ago... but maybe you want it now!" Maybe with every thrust, even as she says "no" repeatedly and screams in terror, Chris can "reasonably" wonder whether she has now changed her mind. Or can we ever expect him to respect her expressed wishes? And "moaning with pleasure while being disgusted with herself"? I don't find that specific quote in the original narrative; but is that how you imagine the scene? Again, if we're going to be inventing details, why not try to be consistent with what's actually there? How about this instead: she was dry as a desert (except for the blood from the resultant vaginal tearing), and did not "moan with pleasure," but instead whimpered with the pain that is actually in the fucking narrative? Objection, Your Honor! softwareNerd has not been deemed an expert such that he can speak to what is "second nature" in this sort of situation. Or maybe you are. Have you worked with rape victims, etc.? Did you participate in the kinds of studies referenced in this article, perhaps? I disagree with your approach, that we "need the concept of rape to describe serious sexual assault for which we're happy to deliver at least some serious jail time." I think we need the concept to describe those real life situations where some person is forced to have sex against their will. (I also think it at least plausible that "sexual assault" is derivative of this, and that "rape" came far earlier, conceptually). Similarly, how we deal with jail time (or other conceivable responses) is a wholly separate issue. One can recognize a "rape," being a function of reality, and yet argue that a given legal response is too strong or too light or etc. And with that, I need a break.
  20. Is this rape? Consent? Something else?

    As far as I'm concerned -- and as far as I know my own mind -- gender plays no role (as such; differences in physical biology/sex may play a role). Maybe I'm influenced by gender unawares? The reason why I would view Sally going down on Chris differently than the reverse is because in the setting of the scenario, Chris appears to be the one pursuing sex. I don't know whether Chris would have asked for a blowjob, specifically, but I expect he would not be adverse to one, given what I know of them both -- and it seems like Sally is the one setting limits that Chris, left to his own devices, would not desire. If we imagine the situation to be reversed, where Sally wants to have sex and Chris does not want to, and insists on "no oral," then I would view his going down on her in a more favorable light (despite their agreement) than her going down on him, contrary to his clearly expressed wishes. And while it happens that I think that oral sex in either scenario is somewhat different from penetrative sex, if Chris had made it clear that he did not want to have oral sex, but Sally disregarded this and began to fellate him anyways, then yes, she may be guilty of some degree of sexual assault. Yes. Again, I see a difference here specifically because it appears as though that Sally is the one setting limits -- limits that Chris would gladly cast aside, if possible. Unless Chris gives some indication that he doesn't want oral sex, I would think it reasonable for Sally to act on the assumption that he does; but this is different than Chris taking a similar action, knowing that Sally has specifically deemed it off-limits. For Sally, I think it would be reasonable for her to begin to engage him in fellatio -- in the manner that, in my experience, people do... slowly at first, and looking for signs of acceptance or rejection. I wouldn't even fault Chris for acting in a like manner, and trying to engage her in cunnilingus, slowly and gently and searching carefully for meaningful response. I believe that there are valid ways of trying to gain a non-verbal consent (although in a case like this, where I was aware that my partner had conscious limits, and had expressed those limits, I think I would double check anyways with something like, "This OK?") But his actual manner of "surprising" Sally with a sudden penetration that she could not see coming, and could not stop, is something else altogether. I think the way Chris has approached this is a violation no matter what happens next: yes, I think "rape" still fits; the immediate withdrawal you propose, realizing that he has gone too far, only strikes me as fundamentally inconsistent with a man who would, without warning, with the lights off, penetrate someone who had not long ago made it clear that she does not want to have sex. (Could such an inconsistency exist within an actual person? Perhaps. But I don't see that it changes what he's done to Sally.) If we imagine this slightly differently... like, suppose instead of a sudden penetration, Chris transitioned foreplay from "touching" to rubbing his penis against her thighs... and then moving up towards her vagina (god, I feel like I'm writing erotica) slowly, allowing space for Sally to respond, and then moving from there to light "just the tip" penetration, and etc. Well, if we imagine such a gradual transition, such a seduction, then even if Sally suddenly realized what was going on and decided that she did not want it, said "no," and Chris responds with immediate withdrawal -- then no, I would not call that rape. So maybe that's the ambiguity you were looking for?
  21. Is this rape? Consent? Something else?

    Heh, well, I don't love the narrative as a narrative. It's not exactly Stephen King up there. But operating from what's there, we have: All right. What I read here is that they're messing around, doing the things that Sally had explicitly agreed that she was willing to do ("she explained that kissing and touching was fine but no oral or penetration") when Chris uses the cover of darkness to surprise her with something she had explicitly stated that she was not willing to do. To force the issue, in a manner of speaking. I'm sure there are plenty of details we might wonder about. What was the nature of the "touching" they were engaged in? Was Chris fully undressed in the light -- or did he only take off his shorts in the darkness? What of Sally's state of dress? What does "mostly clothed" refer to? But the fact that the author of the narrative didn't believe that those details were necessary says something, at least, about what he considers important in this scenario: Sally said that X was okay, Y was not; Chris engaged her in Y anyways. If by "consent" we are looking for a moment where Sally considers and agrees to Y... I don't think we're going to find it in this story. But then, from some time ago I remember arguments such as, "if a woman goes to a man's hotel room, she has offered implicit consent to sex," so maybe people here are reading consent in the fact that Sally was undressed at all. That seems to be the implication with "Mostly clothed + enter without warning = crotch area intentionally exposed by Sally, which Chris naturally interprets as consent." and "First off, if the guy's penis cuts through clothes, that's quite the medical wonder he's got there." But I don't agree that undressing (possibly to allow for "touching") is consent to sex, or even that it is "naturally interpreted" as such. I'd mentioned that I've had real life experience in just such a scenario, where it was made clear to me that certain activities were consented to and others were not, even when fully undressed, in bed, in the dark. I respected the wishes of my partner; Chris did not. And in this narrative, Chris has been told specifically -- more than once -- that sex was not okay (including that very night). He initiated sex with someone he knew did not want to have sex with him, disregarding her explicit instructions and their mutual agreement. If we are going to discuss this example, then I think we must look for consent within the example as presented. That consent may be explicit or found implicitly in something other activity, but I find neither; instead, I find the opposite of consent, where sex is specifically disallowed... You don't need to apologize for these sorts of questions. If anywhere, this is the forum to ask them. But I may or may not agree as to their strict relevance to the present scenario. For example, whether penetration is essential to rape or not, we have penetration in this example. Whatever "sex" may refer to in its broadest sense, penis fucking vagina certainly qualifies. But to try to answer them as asked, in this context, we're discussing consent to sexual acts, specifically. One may consent to something else generally -- including use of a car -- and if Chris had taken Sally's car against her explicitly stated wishes, it wouldn't be "rape," but it might be theft. The point remains that Sally has (or ought to have) control over certain aspects of how she (or her property) is used or engaged by others. When we're trying to determine whether it's okay for someone to use Sally (or her property) in a certain way, we look for whether she "consents" to that activity; whether it is consonant with her will, insofar as we can divine such a thing. If it is so consonant, then fair play. If not, then not. In this case, Sally had told Chris that she did not want to have sex. I think that's the clearest expression of her will that we have (and in this case, we also know something of her internal state both during and after the act, which I believe contribute to the interpretation that this is taking place against her will... but it is not something Chris would have direct access to, in any event). Is penile penetration required for rape? I'm not certain. The penetrative aspect seems to me to be more crucial than the penile. I'd imagine that one could sensibly be raped by some kind of object. Pleasant speculations. Lovely topic. Good questions, and I don't have all the answers for them. If he went down on her -- again against explicitly stated wishes -- it may or may not be rightly viewed as some species of "rape" or "sexual assault" or something like that. Parsing that sort of thing (much like "murder" vs. "manslaughter") seems a slightly more narrow sort of discussion, and less interesting to me. If she had started giving him a blowjob, knowing that he was receptive to it (perhaps he had requested one earlier and been denied), then I would think such a thing reasonable -- that consent could be initially assumed... and then depend upon Chris's further actions/reactions. (E.g. if he asked her to stop, she should stop.) Frankly -- and since you'd asked about "ambiguity" -- I would find more ambiguity in either of these scenarios (including cunnilingus in the dark) than an unwanted, surprise penetration. I don't disagree that there is the possibility for ambiguity in human communication -- or even that sexuality is notoriously fraught with it -- I just disagree that there is ambiguity in the present scenario. If we change the details, my evaluation is bound to change, too.
  22. Is this rape? Consent? Something else?

    Meh, I'm not so concerned with the original poster (though I'm ignorant of his details) -- I don't really care whether I pass some random person's "litmus test," lol. But sussing out the boundaries of what does and does not constitute rape seems to me to be a meaningful question, and a particularly relevant one in 2017. I also believe that the Objectivist community may generally need further reflection on this topic. So I was interested in your take on the scenario, and especially since you were the one who had created the thread. You ask in your thread title whether this is a case of "Rape? Consent? Something Else?" Fair enough. Good question. I say it is rape, but what say you? If you think there's the possibility of "consent" here, where do you find it? At which point does Sally consent to have sex with Chris, and by what means? I agree with Eiuol that introducing altered states of consciousness muddies things. I wouldn't want to try to make sweeping pronouncements beyond that, and speaking of which... Certainly it's not necessarily the man raping the woman. In the case where two people are intoxicated, I'm not convinced that there's necessarily a rapist and a victim (and that we need to determine who was "less drunk" to know which was which). Perhaps you are triggered -- it isn't for me to say -- but let's try to keep things productive nonetheless. It's true that people are often ambiguous, change their minds, lie, etc., etc. But in the scenario we're discussing, as described in the OP, Sally and Chris had a clear understanding of the boundaries. This isn't a question of "unfamiliar inflection": Chris asked about their having sex and was told "no." He went ahead anyways. And I would again advise Objectivists to take heed -- not in Bizarro Land, but in actual, real-life America in 2017 -- that disregarding it when a woman says "no," pressing ahead because you believe yourself to have read some nuance in her non-verbal communication, is a good way to end up in prison for rape.
  23. Is this rape? Consent? Something else?

    softwareNerd, I'm curious. Based on your framing of the OP, I gather that you do see this as an "ambiguous" case. So, all right, may I ask? Where do you find "consent" given in the original scenario? Chris asked Sally whether they could have sex and Sally consistently said "no." He proceeded to fuck her anyways, against her explicit instruction (and their mutual agreement). So where do you find consent -- even "ambiguous" consent -- in that? Others have seemingly pointed out that Sally was undressed to the point of allowing the penetration... but Chris and Sally were engaged in other activities, by mutual consent (e.g. "touching") that might well account for that. To wit, in my youth, I once dated a girl who had drawn the line at penetration, but manual and oral play were allowed. Her panties were often removed to accommodate that, and we reached that point in part because of the trust I had earned by asserting that I would not do anything that she had not agreed to. I suppose that if I had decided on it, in the dark of night, I could have "surprised" her against our agreement. But I would never have done such a thing (and to think of it, even in retrospect, disgusts me; and it certainly would have been rape). Is it that Sally did not "fight back"? Is that where we find consent? If a person robs me, and I comply with their demands (perhaps feeling intimidated), then have I consented to the transfer of property? Is it only robbery if I wind up with the robber's skin under my fingernails? Chris knew Sally did not want to have sex; they had discussed and agreed as much. I don't see where she consents to what Chris does.
  24. Is this rape? Consent? Something else?

    Well, the obvious question to ask is whether or not Sally struck Chris with a tree branch earlier in the day... But seriously, if real-life Objectivists operate on the understanding that they can disregard explicit consent -- because "maybe 30% of all communication is verbal" -- and have sex with women who have repeatedly told them "no," leaving those women feeling as though they have been raped, then they will wind up in prison.
  25. I don't know what's going to happen, but the current level of brinksmanship has me concerned. It seems to me like most of the above discussion assumes both Trump and Un to be rational actors, when I'm not convinced that either one is. Maybe Trump is playing on a higher level than I can fathom? Maybe Un, as a despot, is reliable in his (narrow, irrational) pursuit of his own interests. Maybe everything so far is going according to plan. Even so, my (admittedly limited) studies into history warn me that situations like this can get out of control, and go in directions that few had anticipated beforehand. Honestly, my feeling on this (from before Trump's election) was that Trump, as a president, would bring the US to war at some point. I think his mentality/personality demands it, and he is so volatile and undiplomatic, generally, how could he help but blunder into conflict? I would not have picked North Korea to be our first stop, however. If war comes, I'm certain that there will be various levels of support in and around the Objectivist community. But personally, I don't relish the idea. If it comes, I hope we win quickly and decisively -- though hopefully without any nuclear exchange. Apart from the horrors of war in themselves, I also fear for what this sort of situation might allow Trump in terms of domestic policy, when he is seemingly so unconcerned with Constitutional protections, or liberty (and perhaps is actively hostile to anything which would limit his personal power). I do like the idea of a Chinese intervention. I wish they would get on that already.