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Consequentialism vs. Cynicism!

Posted by Dissident on Friday, April 27 2018 at 1:05:49PM
In reply to Consequentialism fails for Peter and Margaux posted by EthanEdwards on Friday, April 27 2018 at 0:31:48PM

Tom O'Carroll and Dissident are willing to include in their evaluation of Margaux's sexual relationship with Peter that given her miserable home life, she might have been better off with the relationship with Peter than not having it. I think (and Margaux herself thought) that might be true -- but sometimes consequentialism fails.

But sometimes the blame for someone's emotional harm/damage is placed disproportionately on one source depending on its popularity. For example, Margaux's father will get far less flack for his role in Margaux's problematic life than Peter due to societal biases towards and against familial authority figures and unauthorized adults with a romantic attraction to kids, respectively.

Suppose a 6-year-old girl in the Third World is dying of a disease that is curable in the West. A man offers to take her to America and cure her if she will become his until the age of (say) 18. So the family and the girl reluctantly agree.

The man feeds her and clothes her well, sends her to school, and lets her play with lots of playmates, and go on fun vacations. He listens to her and loves her like a father and plays with her.

Surely she's better off than if she was left to die in the Third World. People with only one leg can have pretty good lives. And yet... I suspect (and hope) most of you would join me in saying, "No! That's not right!"

Surely she'd be even better off if the man didn't remove her left leg, but then he's not a saint and he'd only take her on the condition he could get his needs met in that way.

Very extreme example, Ethan! No more need be said on that! And I'm sure you probably think there are a plethora of pro-choice MAPs who would actually make that type of demand too!

Surely she'd be even better off if the man didn't remove her left leg, but then he's not a saint and he'd only take her on the condition he could get his needs met in that way.

I think, Ethan, there is a huge difference between the extreme example you're using, and a man who simply has a degree of personality flaws that may cause him to be demanding at times, or argue for his little girl friend to dress up "lolita-style" for him, etc. That's like comparing a man with a fetish for throwing knives or lit torches at you to a man with a personality flaw that makes him prone to yelling at you often.

So, for the parallel? You will naturally object that some young girls love sex. I think it's very few, but in any case it's certainly not Margaux in relation to Peter, and that's the case we're considering.

I think, for the reasons I mentioned in my other response to you, that Margaux would have been better off in a youth liberated society, where she would have been empowered to make certain choices and insist they be honored, much like her friend Dara naturally learned to do sans any evident guidance or support.

Early on in their friendship, Peter has convinced Margaux to play naked in the basement, and she sits astride his motorcycle. He turns it on and she has an orgasm. It's of great interest that she never once mentions asking to do that again, nor does she mention him suggesting it. She's had peak sexual pleasure, but has no desire to repeat it. Sometimes context matters a lot.

I concur. Including the context that if she did happen to want it again, her feelings in that matter should likewise have been honored. Not only her right to say "no," but all of her choices, including her choice to be a sexual being or to refrain from it until she was ready, or at least met a person she desired to experiment with in that way.

Sexual activity with Peter is entirely for his sake, and she does it grudgingly. If she occasionally insists on it later and uses it as a weapon, it's part of a power play, not what sex is supposed to be.

Agreed, but it proved that girls can give as good as they get, and be just as devious and demanding as some adults are. And Margaux learned to be assertive in this fashion despite not starting out that way. Peter may have empowered her with or without actual intention. And it stands to reason that Dara was assertive from the outset, and the majority of MAPs are not like Peter.

Even in a society where adult-child sex was approved, last I knew none of us are suggesting kids do something they don't want as a quid pro quo.

If you think removal of a leg is surely more traumatic than unwanted sex... I think that's presumptuous of you. We know that psychological abuse can be more damaging than physical abuse.

Psychological abuse is only so permanently damaging in a system that encourages it as part of a lucrative business to entrap victims as permanent patients, and as tools towards a political agenda to control others. Susan Clancy made this very clear in The Trauma Myth, and she was no friend of MAPs, let alone pro-choice!

Let us also keep in mind that we live in a culture that has no problem coercing people to do non-sexual things that often cause serious psychological problems, including forcing all kids to participate in a standardized, authoritarian, and bullying "education" system, whether they are suited for it or not, entirely at the discretion of parents and/or the state; diligently supporting wars that we know are going to kill, maim, orphan, and render homeless countless foreign kids; forced entrapment in a home and under the control of abusive parents where they are extremely unhappy; and tolerate policies that cause extreme poverty for kids, knowing how that will affect millions of them (as Judith Levine trenchantly pointed out in the final chapter of her book Harmful to Minors). That doesn't justify expecting unwanted sexual activity from them, but it does make it clear that our concern is disproportionately placed upon sexual activity, with only minor concern for kids when it comes to many other forms of coercion and policies that frequently cause serious physical and/or psychological harm, not to mention always conflating consensual sexual activity with non-consensual. That behooves us to ask what the mainstream is really, honestly concerned about here?

Perhaps we think that Peter thought Margaux genuinely wanted the sex and was just mistaken. You might be right -- and this feeds right into why it's good that adult-child sex is illegal.

The infamous "err on the side of caution" excuse to disallow all consensual activity and to not listen to anything an underager may say, dismiss their feelings, and vengefully punish their older paramour. Which sets a precedent to continue treating youths as third class citizens in every legal sense. And which disempowers them to an extreme degree.

So if you want to think of Peter as not so bad because Margaux might have been worse off without it,

No, I think Margaux should have been allowed a range of choices, which our society doesn't permit, so she wouldn't have to choose between the likes of her father and the likes of Peter.

compare it to your evaluation of my leg-remover man.

Ugh! The knife-throwing man compared to the man who has a bad habit of yelling at people.

Keep in mind that many pedophile men cannot be trusted to figure out whether consent is genuine. Maybe the girl who loses her leg consents too, since the guy has been so nice to her and saved her life.

Seriously, Ethan? Your lack of trust for us betrays a deep dislike for our attraction base, and a strong willingness to demonize everything about us, from our inherent competency and common sense, to our very intentions. If you do not actually dislike us, then you seriously dislike our attraction base and want to believe the worst of every person who has it, believing we need to be shackled for the good of kids, and kids need to likewise be shacked for their own good. Adhering to such a cynical world view does not lead to good, nuanced policies but frightful absolutism that always presumes the worst.


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