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Reblogged:Leftists Knock on the Bedroom Door

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Gone, apparently, are the days I could half-jokingly summarize my political philosophy as, "The government should keep its hands out of our pockets and out of our pants."

uh-oh.jpg
Uh-oh! (Image by Cristian Newman, via Unsplash, license.)
It's late to retire that joke, I know, with the Republicans no longer even imagining spending cuts. But still, once you read Megan McArdle's piece regarding the idea of changing the legal basis for defining sexual assault, you will have had a rude awakening. A new variety of Puritan is working to bring horror stories about consent forms from college campuses to everyone's bedroom.

Here is McArdle explaining why the idea is a bad one:
[A]s any biologist, or sales manager, can tell you, systems that rely entirely on positive feedback are unstable. They have no natural stopping point, no way of saying "enough." Which is the fundamental problem with affirmative consent: There is no way to be completely sure that consent was sufficiently affirmative. That's why good systems almost always incorporate at least some negative feedback -- and why rape laws have historically relied on "no means no," not "yes means yes."

Affirmative consent's plain unworkability hasn't damaged its appeal in some quarters. California in 2014 and New York in 2015 imposed these rules on state college campuses. On Monday, the American Bar Association's House of Delegates considered a proposal to urge state legislatures to adopt an affirmative-consent standard in their criminal codes. The idea drew the support of 165 ABA delegates, but they were outnumbered by 265 more-sensible colleagues, who voted to table the measure indefinitely. But the idea remains in the air. [bold added]
A consequence of such a "standard" that McArdle later names is that it criminalizes just about any sexual encounter. She is absolutely correct to warn against "a legal system that makes everyone into either a victim or a criminal."

If you thought the left stood, however imperfectly, for freedom in the social realm, think again: Approaches to the law like this -- where one has no way of knowing one's own compliance -- are the stuff from which dictatorships are made.

Two quotes from Ayn Rand are relevant here (and happen to appear consecutively in The Ayn Rand Lexicon (Go there for references.):
It is a grave error to suppose that a dictatorship rules a nation by means of strict, rigid laws which are obeyed and enforced with rigorous, military precision. Such a rule would be evil, but almost bearable; men could endure the harshest edicts, provided these edicts were known, specific and stable; it is not the known that breaks men's spirits, but the unpredictable. A dictatorship has to be capricious; it has to rule by means of the unexpected, the incomprehensible, the wantonly irrational; it has to deal not in death, but in sudden death; a state of chronic uncertainty is what men are psychologically unable to bear. [bold added]
In other words, affirmative consent is worse than even the most benighted bedroom legislation I have ever heard of. And:
The legal hallmark of a dictatorship [is] preventive law -- the concept that a man is guilty until he is proved innocent by the permissive rubber stamp of a commissar or a Gauleiter. [bold added]
Affirmative consent alone would not, of course, spell our doom. But passage of such would set a very bad precedent, and getting the public used to such laws would further erode our semi-individualist culture, to say the least.

-- CAV

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