@Irony:As the taking of human life, abortion is a moral wrong unless
medically necessary to save the mother's life. In cases of rape,
responsibility for that wrong lies with the rapist, not the woman or the
abortionist. If the mother was not raped, she bears some responsibility.Hancock isn't dismissing the concept of consent; he's saying
it's inadequate to do all the heavy lifting of sexual ethics. Despite
difficulties, it can be used to distinguish rape and non-rape, cases where
abortion should be permitted and cases where it should be discouraged or
prevented.However, if you say 'isn't the woman's
share of responsibility diminished when consent was manipulated &c?'
then pro-lifers should have no problem saying YES. Manipulation and consequent
responsibility can reach beyond the father too. Everyone who contributes to
objectifying women, cheapening sex, and demeaning motherhood bears some
responsibility for the fetus's death.The impossibility of
determining just how much responsibility lies with the mother is part of why
most pro-life groups oppose jail time &c for women who abort. Instead they
support restrictions on abortionists and measures to discourage abortions.
Mr. Hancock, as a political science professor, may have some expertise
regarding consent as it applies in politics. The problem with his opinion piece
is that he attempts to conflate the definition of “consent” to a
totally disparate area of which he has no expertise. The commentary is a word
salad that is too shallow to address meaningfully the role of consent in
government, and totally fails to understand the meaning of consent in
relationships. The final result is ramblings from the male, Christian privileged
point of view.
If we're going to discuss sexual consent and politics - Donald
Trump didn't ask for consent...
I wonder if Ralph realizes that he has just opened a door to elective
abortion.He argues that "consent" is rarely a simple
"yes" but usually involves ambiguity, social pressures, and
manipulation. Agreed. Yet conservatives have consistently argued
that a woman who has "consented" to sex has no right to an abortion. If
consent is the messy issue Hancock says it is, then what is she to do? Is she to
bear a child she never actually consented to?
@Thomas Thompson. Re: “...men tend to feel very little connection
between love and sex; while women feel that connection very deeply.”Actually if you do some research in this area, I think you will find
many studies that show exactly the opposite—that in general, women can
feel love, or an intimate connection without sex, whereas generally men do not
feel the love or intimate connection without sex. This is why we
have so many women who say that all their partner or spouse can think about is
sex. That is because the man generally does not feel the connection or
“love” without the sex.
Ralph Hancock: Consent alone will never provide an adequate sexual or political
foundation====== ...meanwhile, for Donald Trump --
consent was not even provided...
"Consent" is the sine qua non of what the law requires for sexual
relations. I'm not sure what else the author feels should be considered.
There are perhaps differing expectations between men and women over whether the
having of sex does, or does not, involve love (or only passion, which may be a
different thing entirely). I can't prove it, but I think a defensible
generality is that men tend to feel very little connection between love and sex;
while women feel that connection very deeply. This differing perspective
perhaps contributes to a good many misunderstandings between them.
I think there are some encouraging signs that people on the left are finally
rediscovering the depth of sexual ethics after 50+ years. Having dismantled
fences as inconveniences then, they are now beginning to see why those fences
were built.For instance, the short story "Cat Person,"
published in the New Yorker late last year, paints a stark picture of how women
in today's culture are persuaded by social expectations to consent to sex
that they find degrading and soon deeply regret. Some of the viral discussion
around the story is the kind of noise we've come to expect lately
("this author is too privileged to be worth listening to!"
"she's fat-shaming!" &c). But much of the discussion is
recognizing that this kind of unhealthy experience is far too common and
can't be dealt with under the simplistic rubric of consent.It's unfortunate that, just as this is happening, so many people in the
'party of family values' seem to have lost the plot, and are acting as
though MeToo &c are the enemy. There are some problematic trends, sure, but
the primary direction is right and is profoundly important. It's a vital
opportunity to work together to rebuild moral norms.
@HS Tucker. And outside the Mormon bubble that actually lives its law of
chastity, how does American society deal with serial sex with different people?
This is a not an uncommon lifestyle outside of Utah and on many American college
campuses. In trying to solve this concern, we can’t call
consent to sex “marriage” because polygamy is still illegal in
America (thank you Justice Kennedy).
@Sank you, Doctor. And if a marriage license is not consent to sex, then
the additional consent might need to be memorialized in an additional document,
specifying time, place, any other conditions, and terms of revocation of
consent. In addition to financial concerns, this could also be included in a
pre-nuptual agreement. Of course there is such a thing as marital
rape. But how far does American society want to swing this pendulum back in the
other direction? A growing number of men and women have already decided to give
up on intimate relationships with the opposite sex. I don’t
have the answer. Just posing the question.
"But what to say if the alleged aggressor himself claims that inebriation
exempts him from being a rational actor?"Then it seems likely an
intoxicated person will feel he/she has license to commit any crime and the
Ralph Hancocks of the world will wrestle with the societal implications. Maybe a wrong is just a wrong, ever think of that?
"Consent for sex is so important that it should perhaps be commemorated
legally, with witnesses, and perhaps even celebrated with family members and
friends. Let us call it "marriage.""------------Except
marriage is NOT giving consent to sex. There is such a thing as marital rape.
Consent is always needed.
"When is consent reasonable, informed, deliberate and therefore
authoritative?"Not to mention provable?Consent for
sex is so important that it should perhaps be commemorated legally, with
witnesses, and perhaps even celebrated with family members and friends. Let us
call it "marriage."
How strikingly coincidental that a few stories posted on DN right after this
one, is one containing this very issue of consent, of an actress feeling
pressured to get naked as part of a role. This can only occur in a
world of hypocrisy, which is exactly what we live in.
Great article. Was thinking about something read (BYU?) recently suggesting one
ask permission to kiss the other. It's pretty simple. Guy gets nerve to
kiss girl, goes for it... cheek turned, she backs away, it happens and she
slaps him, it happens and she smiles, or best yet it happens and all the signs
are she's floating out of her shoes. Guy is chicken or oblivious to the
signs, and girl kisses guy where he fails to evade that (slapping her is not
okay) and...The ONLY way I would have ever wanted to live my dating
years. And what never happened, which seems to be regularly portrayed by
Hollywood, is the automatic, immediate connection between kissing and sexual
intimacy. It was a better world (by far) when the consent for sexual intimacy
was marriage. All of this worked out perfectly for my spouse and I with no
As usual, Dr Hancock multiplies words to say the simplest things: the consent
principle works well but in nuanced situations, needs some additional principle
(about which Hancock keeps us guessing).