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Ninth Doctor

Peikoff on date rape

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Fair enough as far as it goes. It's silly to require explicit verbal consent every time, for every advance... I mean, do you have to ask before each thrust? But that's not what is at issue here. The key part is this:

she said, "No, I don't consent." You cannot do that. You have given every evidence that that is what you are going to do, and it's too late at that point to say, "Sorry but no."

Peikoff is not just saying that sex can happen without explicit verbal consent. Such would not be controversial except perhaps in some of the more ridiculous feminist circles. Instead, he's apparently forbidding explicit verbal withdrawal of consent. I am sorry but I cannot think of a context where that is legitimate.

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I think a lot of the difference in opinion might hinge on different readings of the phrase "in certain contexts," which he uses. I'm inclined to think that since he did not explicitly define those contexts, they would be rather narrow and unusual and difficult to explain out of an actual context.

I addressed this here:

That slippery phrase “in certain contexts” seemingly provides a convenient out. And if the example he used was of a couple that likes to act out rape fantasies, and they’ve done it before, then I’d agree with him. So don’t forget to specify a “safe word”, you pervs!

The trouble is that he did specify a context. How much more explicit did he need to be? Also, he didn’t say “almost anytime you have a woman in your room then you have every right to rape her”, and no one has accused him of saying that. Even in my intentionally over-the-top anal rape scenario I provided a set-up such that the aggressor had reason to believe, albeit mistakenly, that the victim came there for sex. The ultimate sticking point is that he doesn’t allow for withdrawal of consent. “Frees the man to have sex regardless of what she then says”, I mean how much clearer could he be?

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Can we agree that it is initiation of force to have sex with someone without their consent?

Have you seen the movie "The Invention of Lying"? You should watch it, it concertizes the difference between communication and intention, by introducing us to a world where all communication is 100% honest. In that world, my answer would be yes.

In this one, it's no. Communication does not equal fact. People have free will, and the ability to lie. I can refuse to consent to something and do it on my own volition at the same time. You are making a leap, and assuming that the lack of consent is an honest communication of one's true intentions, and that the only way you're gonna get this person in bed at this point is to use force.

All you'd have to do is play around with the concretes for a bit. For instance, assume that the person withdrawing the consent is a 200 pound athlete, and the person who proceeds with the sex is a petite woman. Do you still agree with your own inference, that the lack of consent + sex = force was used?

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Why are you ignoring the totality of what he actually said?

I'm not. So now what?

I'm curious as to what you'd say if Peikoff, in coming weeks, were to clarifiy things by stating that he meant that a woman's presence in a man's room late at night constitutes consent, and that the man then has the right to have sex with her even if she says no, and even if she struggles fiercely, and he has the right to use force (only enough force to hold the woman down so that he can have what she has consented to, and no more), and his use of force cannot be considered the initiation of force because he has her consent even though she's trying to revoke the consent.

I would sit back and watch hilarity ensue. It would be like having Andy Kaufman back.

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Oh and Dante, in anticipation of your next question: So how do you know if someone not giving consent, withdrawing consent, refusing consent etc, means it or not?, the answer is easy. You find out by NOT USING FORCE to have sex with them. Like the girl in my example.

If it works, they lied. If it doesn't, then they meant it.

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. The ultimate sticking point is that he doesn’t allow for withdrawal of consent. “Frees the man to have sex regardless of what she then says”, I mean how much clearer could he be?

I don't think that what you describe here is within the context of the question he was answering for the reasons that I describe above.

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I don't think that what you describe here is within the context of the question he was answering for the reasons that I describe above.

What reasons? First you say he didn’t specify a context, now you’re saying what I describe is not within his context! I’ve used multiple examples, do you mean none were applicable? You could say the anal rape one wasn’t in his context because he specified that he was talking about men and women (not that women can’t get buggered). How about this, repeat to yourself the words “frees the man to have sex regardless of what she then says”, then hit play:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8Va0oO571Qo

Shall we go through the details of the Kobe Bryant encounter, such as they're known?

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Peikoff was using the Kobe Bryant case as his prime example. So yes this would probably give us the best idea of what he was talking about. What he said was honestly too vague to gleam any "principle" out of. Considering that he just said that it is immoral to lie to someone in order to have sex with them, I doubt that he meant that you could force someone to have sex with them after they tell you that they don't want to.

It sounds as though his recollection of the Kobe case was that a woman gave Kobe every signal that she wanted to have sex with him, she told him that she didn't want to when they went up to his room, they ended up having sex anyways (without the use of force), and then she later claimed that her earlier comment made their sexual activity rape on the part of Kobe.

By "frees the man to have sex" he means that he shouldn't have to worry about prosecution later. Not permission to force women in his house to have sex with him.

In this I would have to agree.

Edited by Hairnet

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What reasons? First you say he didn’t specify a context, now you’re saying what I describe is not within his context!

Not within the context of the question he is answering about whether using fraud. If you listen to his whole answer, the whole section in question is basically a parenthetical, in the sum context of answering a question about whether the use of fraud to get laid is the same as rape which, he answers that fundamentally, it is, even if it's not realistically enforceable. That line is meant to illustrate the difficulty and complexity of those issues by showing a way that a woman can be fraudulent in her ambiguous actions just as well as a man.

Thanks for the rape scene, btw. I wasn't sure what exactly rape was until I saw that. Now I realize that that must be what a leading defender of negative liberties is advocating. Since she's his wife, and therefore only chattel, I think you might find a better example though, like the scene from Girl with a Dragon Tattoo, maybe? That anal rape would really improve my understanding of how Leonard Peikoff thinks we should treat bitches and hoes.

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Well, that's obviously deception, so in a sense it is like rape because she is engaged in the act without her actual consent, without her knowledge - means she would not consent to what you're doing, and it is a form of having sex by force.

First, note that Peikoff makes clear that he defines rape as sex by force, where force means without consent. The question asked is if the posited situation is "the moral equivalent of rape", presuming as a settled question that rape is morally wrong. The whole controversy is what is consent and how is it objectively established in your personal moral context and in the more stringent legal context.

I second Hairnet's evaluation. The Kobe Bryant case has a purported victim either transforming regret into a retroactive rape accusation or a deliberately attempting to scam Bryant for a financial settlement. She had a poor legal case, and she refused to testify on her own behalf in what was essentially a "he said, she said" case. So much for the legal context. Morally he should had the presence of mind to kick this stranger out of his room as soon as she started to demur. He was rich and famous which can be an asset for picking-up chicks and a liability for the kind of chicks picked-up.

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Peikoff was using the Kobe Bryant case as his prime example. So yes this would probably give us the best idea of what he was talking about.

I suppose at this point it’s worthwhile to explore the facts of the Kobe case. First, there was no drinking. She was an employee, she showed him to his suite, he asked her to come back and give her a tour of the hotel after checking in his bodyguards, she does, after the tour they go back to his suite, she shows him something about how the bears come up to his terrace window, he kisses her, they make out, he puts his hands around her neck, bends her over a chair in the living room (not the bedroom), does his thing over her protests, she leaves. He did not climax, she left blood on his shirt, and had vaginal tearing when examined the next day. These are only the undisputed facts, except Kobe disagreed about how much and how soon she protested. They bear no resemblance to what Peikoff says, which is why in the opening post I said “note the details he ascribes to it”. I suspect the Kobe encounter started consensually, and, as I put it in the opening post, the parts didn't fit together.

However, there’s no reason to think at the time she went back to his suite that she’d “given every evidence that that is what you are going to do”, so the example is useless. Probably every relevant detail is different.

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I suppose at this point it’s worthwhile to explore the facts of the Kobe case. First, there was no drinking. She was an employee, she showed him to his suite, he asked her to come back and give her a tour of the hotel after checking in his bodyguards, she does, after the tour they go back to his suite, she shows him something about how the bears come up to his terrace window, he kisses her, they make out, he puts his hands around her neck, bends her over a chair in the living room (not the bedroom), does his thing over her protests, she leaves. He did not climax, she left blood on his shirt, and had vaginal tearing when examined the next day. These are only the undisputed facts, except Kobe disagreed about how much and how soon she protested. They bear no resemblance to what Peikoff says, which is why in the opening post I said “note the details he ascribes to it”. I suspect the Kobe encounter started consensually, and, as I put it in the opening post, the parts didn't fit together.

However, there’s no reason to think at the time she went back to his suite that she’d “given every evidence that that is what you are going to do”, so the example is useless. Probably every relevant detail is different.

Also undisputed is that she showed up for her rape exam the next day wearing underwear bearing traces of some other man's semen and pubic hair. What a coincidence.

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Also undisputed is that she showed up for her rape exam the next day wearing underwear bearing traces of some other man's semen and pubic hair. What a coincidence.

Indeed, she does come across as pretty skanky. This is why I stuck to the undisputed facts, the material common to both Kobe’s account and hers. All the titillating documents you need to see are available here:

http://www.thesmokin...olice-interview

I don't think it will be productive to dwell on it, I think we can all agree that Peikoff's using the Kobe case as an example doesn't work.

Edited by Ninth Doctor

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Thanks for the rape scene, btw. I wasn't sure what exactly rape was until I saw that. Now I realize that that must be what a leading defender of negative liberties is advocating. Since she's his wife, and therefore only chattel, I think you might find a better example though, like the scene from Girl with a Dragon Tattoo, maybe? That anal rape would really improve my understanding of how Leonard Peikoff thinks we should treat bitches and hoes.

If I recall correctly from the movie, they weren't married yet, and he felt she was leading him on. I don't get the part about "leading defender of negative liberties", what are you saying? As to The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, that's very different. That's about a fiduciary (social worker, in effect) abusing his position. I don't see why you're bringing it up.

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If I recall correctly from the movie, they weren't married yet, and he felt she was leading him on. I don't get the part about "leading defender of negative liberties", what are you saying? As to The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, that's very different. That's about a fiduciary (social worker, in effect) abusing his position. I don't see why you're bringing it up.

/sarcasm I did not think that the video that you posted was particularly useful to the discussion.

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Indeed, she does come across as pretty skanky. This is why I stuck to the undisputed facts, the material common to both Kobe’s account and hers. All the titillating documents you need to see are available here:

http://www.thesmokin...olice-interview

I don't think it will be productive to dwell on it, I think we can all agree that Peikoff's using the Kobe case as an example doesn't work.

The one thing that does work is that "protestations" and withdrawals of consent can be given in bad faith, in effect bluffs which the woman wants to be called on either for the motives of Dominique in The Fountainhead or a gold digger wanting to set up a civil suit worth millions against another Dominique, Dominique Strauss-Kahn. I would go as far to state that if this was Peikoff's essential point then he made it with insufficient clarity for an audience which is non-philosophical or new to philosophy (I which I think is at least a portion of his intended audience, people clicking through from their newly purchased copies of Atlas Shrugged to ARI and then finding his podcasts which are linked from the ARI home page).

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The one thing that does work is that "protestations" and withdrawals of consent can be given in bad faith, in effect bluffs which the woman wants to be called on either for the motives of Dominique in The Fountainhead or a gold digger wanting to set up a civil suit worth millions against another Dominique, Dominique Strauss-Kahn.

Are you saying that a man can ignore the objections of a woman he’s having sex with, or thinks he’s about to have sex with, if he somehow knows or believes that her objections are being offered in bad faith? I grant that a couple can establish a pattern, to make it easy let’s say that they act out rape fantasies, and after a particular not atypical encounter, the woman tells the man: “that time no meant no”. I’d expect her not to go to the police, and if I were in the jury I’d vote to acquit. That’s simply not what we’re talking about.

BTW, a feature of the Kobe case that I have heretofore assumed Peikoff intended to be relevant is that he means a first time sex encounter. I don’t think it matters, but since I’ve gone to the trouble of arguing that the Kobe case was a bad example, I’m noting this now.

I would go as far to state that if this was Peikoff's essential point then he made it with insufficient clarity for an audience which is non-philosophical or new to philosophy (I which I think is at least a portion of his intended audience, people clicking through from their newly purchased copies of Atlas Shrugged to ARI and then finding his podcasts which are linked from the ARI home page).

I think we’re all hoping for a retraction/clarification. I said earlier that if he meant this strictly to be moral guidance for women, in other words, "put yourself in this kind of position and you’re liable to be raped", then that would be fine. However, his wording doesn’t support that interpretation.

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I will have to go back on my earlier statement. I don't think the facts of the Kobe case are actually what is important. Apparently Peikoff may have had no idea what he was talking about.

What was important was that he clearly had an idea of what had happened. That narrative, although fictional, was what was important, not the actual case. The reason is that Peikoff was trying to illustrate (very poorly, and for no reason) a case where a woman wasn't raped.

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Are you saying that a man can ignore the objections of a woman he’s having sex with, or thinks he’s about to have sex with, if he somehow knows or believes that her objections are being offered in bad faith?

Since you are asking for my opinion not Peikoff's I can answer at length and in detail. You asked for it.

The first thing to note is that this actually happens, and even when the men involved get tangled with the law they sometimes avoid trial or conviction. This is not idle speculation.

You ask "can ignore" but I think the question should be "is morally permitted to ignore". The everyday ordinary answer should be "no" but there are unusual circumstances that make the "yes" answer possible. The essential question is how can a man ever know such a thing about his partner's intentions, and especially how can he demonstrate that any other man in his position should reach the same conclusion based on the same objective evidence? That ability to justify his judgment is the only thing differentiating him from a rapist in the judgment of the law and keeping him out of jail.

There are two contexts of objectivity, the personal and the social. I know things about my own experiences that I can be certain about yet can never objectively prove to another person. For example, my own emotional states and thoughts are unknown to you unless you accept my testimony at face value. Some things I may be certain about but be unable to communicate because I can't conceptualize and put words on them. (I can't describe the shape of a blueberry bush or define pornography but I know them when I see them.) When the social context potentially involves the laws and legal system then it behooves me to anticipate what I can demonstrate to others and revise my moral evaluations and act accordingly if I value my money and freedom. (If I buy a new book on Amazon, carry it around for a few days reading it and then wander into a bookstore with it, now I may need to prove I didn't shoplift it from that bookstore. Maybe I should have left the book behind, or not entered the bookstore.)

You gave one example for a "yes" and I agree that situation is far from what is contemplated here. But Kobe said "yes" and beat the rap and so did DSK although it was a near thing in both cases. Therefore ... every man should record on video his every sexual encounter and the negotiations leading to it! I can't afford the lawyers or be bothered with the video cameras so my own solution to that moral quandry is "hell no." The risk Kobe and DSK ran and the damage and disruption actually sustained balanced against the sex should have led them to have decided "hell no" as well, except I suspect they had done it before without consequences and let that affect their judgment. The Roark-Dominique fake rape example is a bodice-ripping mind-reading romance fantasy, a woman's version of an indulgence analogous to porn for men and not a guide to practical action.

The example you gave is the only one I can think of where the "yes" answer is both morally and legally justifiable. Even if there were a case that was morally justifiable based on the man's keen insight into what the woman really wants but legally not defensible the potential legal problems ought to factor into making the moral evaluation a justified objective "no" as well out of self-preservation. Generally there is no way to know what a woman is thinking without listening to the words she speaks, and if her words can't be believed she should be dumped anyway.

Edited by Grames

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I got the impression he was taking for granted some context that he didn't make clear in his brief answer. Still, I can't really imagine what that context would be in order to justify his response.

Kind of what I assumed, i.e. he was thinking of 'the women was naked, and you were naked, and she was grinding her crotch into yours, and saying 'I don't consent'', but he forgot to speak those details out loud. In that situation, yeah its not rape, since it would be akin to saying 'I am not eating' with a mouth full of cake.

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Peikoff did not readdress the issue in today’s podcast. Perhaps he records these in batches, and won’t have an opportunity for a while. Or, maybe he has nothing more to say on the matter. I’m with Jonathan in being totally unsure whether he will retract, ignore, or reaffirm the worst implications of last week’s statement.

We’re dealing with a loose cannon here.

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