Creating a Culture of Consent
A couple of weeks ago, Deanne Carson, co-founder of Body Safty Australia, ignited an internet dumpster fire. She accomplished this merely by suggesting in an interview on ABC News that parents should practice seeking consent from their children, even when they're changing diapers. Unfortunately, most people only read the sensational headlines and saw her pink hair in video thumbnails before lashing out with rage and disgust. Just another crazy lefty, right?
Well, I watched the interview myself and frankly, couldn't find anything to disagree with... and I'm an anarcho capitalist, which is basically the opposite of a lefty. Snopes even created a page for everyone that couldn't be bothered to watch the interview but still wanted to know whether they join in the great collective triggering. Why such an outburst over nothing? Gavin McInnes addressed this in a video response and he summed up my position pretty well:
As he pointed out, Carson wasn't saying that you cannot change a diaper without consent. She was saying that we parents ought to practice asking for consent at such times so that we're used to it by the time our kids are older and can actually grant it or deny it when asked. It's about our training to be good parents rather than training the kids - and I think that touches on the raw nerve in all this. Most parents want to control their kids as rulers rather than serve them as the service providers we are. I'm really glad this all came up because it reveals our positions on the matter of self-ownership, which is at the root of the matter. I strongly believe that the solution to most of the conflict in the world is to sort ourselves into homogeneous tribes of philosophically compatible people and then avoid entangling ourselves with those of other such tribes. When a controversy like this comes up, we quickly see how incompatible we are with many of our current neighbors and we also see how many people believe that they should impose their ways on others who disagree with them.
Those of us who uphold the basic principle of self-ownership and wish to remain logically consistent will have no problem with what Carson actually said but of course, most people don't really subscribe to that principle. Today, most parents still treat their children as property rather than self-owning individuals and I believe that's why they got so offended by her advice. It's not really that they think she's stupid or crazy at all, it's that she revealed an uncomfortable truth about traditional parenting. The outrage was so emotionally intense that it can't have only been an academic disagreement. It was a defensive outburst fueled by an underlying guilt.
I'm sure not everyone's reaction was because of that though. No doubt a lot of them just saw pink hair and were triggered like a college commie at a Jordan Peterson lecture. They just wanted to blurt out the fashionable reaction without actually having to listen to what it is they were supposedly reacting to first... but I suppose that's a topic for another day.