Can we talk about consent for a few minutes?
The #MeToo movement has truly brought the idea of consent to the foreground of public discourse in the recent past. Lunatic activists and opportunists aside, millions of American women have a legitimate grievance that men are not respecting their “no”. Millions of men are violating the consent of women, applying force and coercion to overcome the resistance of women. The only right and proper rule is that men should NEVER touch a woman without out absolute and unequivocal consent from each woman they meet. This applies to women we are married to, in a relationship with, women we are only acquainted with and women that we don’t even know. This means that a woman who is intoxicated cannot give consent. If she cannot drive, she cannot consent to sex. If she consents to kissing, she still has not given consent to more. Period.
The #MeToo movement has done us all a great service in bringing the issue of consent into our conversations. What they have not realized is that they have exposed the problem with consent across our society and the world. Consider that religions in many parts of the world and even in this land we call free do not see consent as an important feature of their faith. The majority of Muslims in the world apply force and violence both against those who leave their faith and against those who do not convert and conform to their faith. Other faiths like Catholicism and Judaism often apply social consequences as a tool to override consent against those who leave their faith. They do not respect consent.
Now let’s turn our attention to other areas of consent. Americans claim that our government governs at the consent of the governed. However, this is not true. Consider that at all times the majority rules over the minority. This was supposed to be prevented by our government structure as a Republic. The truth is that our government and elections process function in nearly every way as a pure democracy. The American electorate is very nearly split 50-50 about how we are governed meaning that at all times a minority of 49% are ruled over by the majority who enforce their governance values on the minority. The minority has been stripped of their consent. This is just the same as a man forcing his desires upon a woman, overriding her consent by sheer strength and power.
Some have said that simply living in the US under our current governmental system is implicit consent to be governed in this way. However, that is the same as saying that women who dress in a certain way or drink too much or flirt too much or walk alone at night are automatically giving consent to be abused.
In America, we claim to be the “land of the free”. How can we be free when our consent is overridden by others? If we are not secure in our bodies from our consent being stolen, how can we be free? If we are not secure in the labor of our bodies from our consent being stolen, how can we be free? If we are not secure in our earnings from our labor, from our consent being stolen how can we be free? If we are not secure in our property purchased with our earnings, from our consent being stolen how can we be free?
This is most revealed in taxation. As citizens we vote on whether we should collect taxes. Consider that taxation, by definition, is force. Taxation is theft because it overrides consent at the point of force for non-compliance. Some people say that taxation is necessary because we cannot allow anyone to opt out of paying. By definition this is force. If an idea for spending is good enough people will contribute voluntarily. Only bad ideas need taxation. Or more specifically, fears that ideas are not good enough, or popular enough, need taxation to override consent. Many people cannot imagine a world without taxation because they focus strictly on the spending side of the ledger. They cannot imagine that people would voluntarily pay for roads or police or schools, etc. Since they don’t believe in the voluntary, they believe that force is necessary and justified because the spending side is so compelling in their own mind. Yet the truth is this. How someone spends or contributes their own money is a true reflection of how people feel about public policy and governance. Liberty demands consent.