Thursday, October 16, 2014

Affirmtive consent is the new Patriot Act

I've been writing against "consent" campaigns for years, as they promote the idea that all sex is assumed to be rape unless any female participants blatantly declare they want to partake. I even wrote about this when I was a college student myself.

Last month it become an actual law in California, although it strangely only applies to college students. In my conversations with supporters of the law, I was constantly told that it will not be used against innocent people, that it sets a reasonable standard for bedroom behavior and absolutely will not declare loving couples to be mutual rapists.

In short, I was told that the law is well-written and there will not be any negative side effects.

Well, Ezra Klein completely threw that narrative out the window this week. He confirmed that all of my fears would come true, called the law "terrible" but then he went ahead and said it's worth it.

For example, Klein wrote:

It tries to change, through brute legislative force, the most private and intimate of adult acts. It is sweeping in its redefinition of acceptable consent; two college seniors who've been in a loving relationship since they met during the first week of their freshman years, and who, with the ease of the committed, slip naturally from cuddling to sex, could fail its test.

But, Klein claims, it's all worth it because there is an ongoing epidemic of rape on college campuses. That's a dubious claim, but suppose it were true. He's saying that since we're in the middle of a crisis we need to sacrifice civil liberties and due process to protect people.

Does it sound like the Patriot Act yet?

If the Yes Means Yes law is taken even remotely seriously it will settle like a cold winter on college campuses, throwing everyday sexual practice into doubt and creating a haze of fear and confusion over what counts as consent. This is the case against it, and also the case for it. Because for one in five women to report an attempted or completed sexual assault means that everyday sexual practices on college campuses need to be upended, and men need to feel a cold spike of fear when they begin a sexual encounter.

Okay, now he just sounds like a supervillain talking to a chained-up hero.

Klein's remarks drew a lot of criticism, prompting a second post where he doubled down and argued even louder that there's an ongoing crisis, then made some bogus claims about the legal system, which drew even more criticism.

This same week, 28 Harvard law professors, including Alan Dershowitz, penned a joint statement criticizing efforts to bring affirmative consent laws to Harvard. The New York Times put the law professors head to head with social justice undergrads in an article featuring non-insightful comments like, “It just seems like they’re defending those who are accused of sexual assault."

Guilty as charged on this accusation, among other things. I completely confess that opponents of these witch hunts are indeed motivated by wanting people accused of terrible crimes to have a fair legal defense.

I want to live in a free country, and you can't have a free country where loving couples are labeled rapists if they refuse to follow a seduction checklist provided by puritanical busybodies.


  1. So much for keeping "them" out of our bedrooms. Apparently that only applies to some sexual causes.
    There's so much wrong with our culture, sexually. This bullshit is just the very tip of the piece of ice that is floating next to the exposed portion of the giant iceberg that cracked off the gargantuan glacier a few miles away. It'll be centuries before we have anything resembling a reasonable sexual climate/legal system...and that's only if religion dies and folks realize that they prefer freedom to never.

  2. On paper the law is gender neutral, but we all know how it will play out in real life: he's guilty regardless of the circumstances. One thing that seems to be ignored is: what if they are both drunk?

  3. I have a feeling this is going to get stuck down. I feel bad for the schmuck who will have to be the test case.