The Thinking 

Totalitarianism in the Bedroom

February 24, 2014


E. EVERETT BARTLETT, of Stop Abusive and Violent Environments (SAVE), writes:

In my studies of totalitarian societies around the world, I’m not aware of a single one that attempted to regulate the most personal and intimate of activities – the act of making love. (If you disagree, I’m all ears!)

But now, lawmakers in California want to pass a bill that would require what they call “affirmative consent.”  Nobody can quite define it, but it sure sounds good on the Evening News!

Columnist Cathy Young weighs in.

— Comments —

Mary writes:

There are so many angles from which to tackle this subject. One angle that interests me is the tone set by the faculty and officials on a given university campus. Modern universities are now run by aging baby boomers who came of age during the heyday of free love and drug use and destruction of authority, hence they are unable to make head nor tails of this current crisis, in which no amount of “affirmative consent,” or deformed due process heavily weighted in favor of the accuser, or even signed contracts will do a bit of good. These boomers must be thinking: why do these kids not appreciate all the hard work we did? Why is everyone miserable in this utopia we created for them, this as-yet unfinished, unprecedented masterpiece of social progress and personal freedom? We have unshackled these ingrates from the bonds of convention. Communes are cool – we gave them coed dorms and male/female shared bathrooms. We have sex presentations and classes on porn – we’re opening their minds for them. We let them have alcohol and drugs and naked donut runs and Vagina Monologues and all kinds of cool stuff. Why all the trouble – what the heck is wrong with these kids? Can’t we all just love one another?

Ah, but living through a time of great social change, as part of an intoxicating revolution – when everything is in flux, yet to be determined, when new freedoms seem like the answers to questions one never dared ask before – is one thing. Life fifty years later, after the dust has settled, when the carnage is obvious to anyone with eyes to see it, is another thing altogether. These boomers need to open their eyes and accept that the baby was thrown out with the bathwater. We are in a full-blown sexual crisis in which there is not joyful license but deep suffering.

Laura writes:

I’m not sure the baby boomers are mystified by this stage. Rather, I think they see it as an extension of the revolution, in which every man is viewed as a potential rapist and in which the woman has no natural power and is too timid and dominated to say no. From Young’s piece:

What the affirmative consent standard requires is not just communication about sex; it’s constant awareness that you may be raping your partner if you don’t read the signals properly and if you fail to notice that there’s some ambiguity to be cleared up. (According to the California bill, “if there is confusion as to whether a person has consented or continues to consent to sexual activity, it is essential that the participants stop the activity until the confusion can be clearly resolved.”)

Truthfully, I have a hard time getting my mind around this. Why anyone would find this contractual  mentality appealing is mystifying. California is in the grip of insanity.

Ian writes:

“Affirmative consent?” As opposed to “dissenting consent?” I suppose “consensual consent” would have been too obviously redundant?


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