when compromise is impossible

Libertarians and authoritarians can see the exact same thing and cling to diametrically opposite conclusions. And that's going to be a big problem in the very near future.

tied up

With this nuclear dumpster fire of an election finally over, we’re going to be bombarded with calls for unity, compromise, and understanding, despite a sad reality that one side of the political spectrum in America embraced the tactic of demonizing its opposition as its only message to its followers. And we should be compromising and seeing eye to eye by focusing on what we have in common rather than where we differ because we know that it’s a lot easier to hold grudges against abstract bogeymen than real people who you know by name. That said, while we join around the proverbial campfire to roast marshmallows and sing Kumbaya, we have to keep in mind that there will be things on which we will never be able to compromise because they violate the rights of others for the absolute worst reasons.

When professional hate monger and the GOP’s henchman from the gutter of talk radio, Rush Limbaugh, tried defending Trump’s “locker room talk” to a furious audience which firmly believes that sexual impropriety is solely the domain of the left, what he said wasn’t wrong in any way, but how he used what he said in the context of his effort at defending the indefensible makes it one of the most noxious tirades in recent memory. For reference, here is exactly what he actually said on his show…

You know what the magic word, the only thing that matters in American sexual mores today is? One thing. You can do anything, the left will promote and understand and tolerate anything, as long as there is one element. Do you know what it is? Consent. If there is consent on both or all three or all four, however many are involved in the sex act, it’s perfectly fine. Whatever it is. But if the left ever senses and smells that there’s no consent in part of the equation, then here come the rape police.

Will liberals and libertarians tolerate and promote anything and everything as long as its consensual? Maybe not promote but definitely tolerate since there is consent, and definitely not anything at all, no one would condone consensual murder, although a public libertarian once did try to defend the market virtues of child pornography, which the left met with obvious shock and disgust. But in the grand scheme of things Rush isn’t wrong in his little tirade. What’s hideously wrong is that he means it like it’s a bad thing, like allowing consenting adults to do what they want without bursting into their bedrooms to inspect that what they’re doing satisfies some outdated ideal of an archaic time, is some sort of grand moral failing, when in fact the reverse is the greater sin and the right isn’t even consistent about it.

Imagine coming to a restaurant and ordering a burger. Suddenly a guy you never saw in your life jumps in and tells your waiter that you will have the house salad instead. But having a burger is my choice, you say, I’m paying for it, this is my choice to have it, it doesn’t concern you in any way. And in reply the interloper replies that as a vegan, he finds meat disgusting and an inhumane waste, plus vegetables are better for you than a burger since an excess of red meat increases your odds of cancer and hypertension, and so, you will not be having it on his watch. It’s at this point that most of us will begin to fantasize about grabbing this overbearing herbivore by the scruff of his neck and force feeding him raw beef, but not willing to deal with assault charges, demand to know what his fucking problem is.

Consensual sexual relations between adults in their private space are exactly the same. They’re adults. They made their choices and unless you have real proof that those choices were not made freely, they’re none of your business. And no, not abiding by your standards of what their choices should be isn’t evidence of harm, and neither is suffering harassment from you because you are doing the harm, not their choices. If you really believe that should you die and get to heaven, God will scold you that you should’ve been way more judgemental and deprived more people who aren’t like you of rights, you’re not a moral crusader, or protector of values, you’re an authoritarian ass who uses religion or tradition to justify the fact that you spent a really unhealthy amount of time thinking about how other people have sex, and in dire need of a hobby, preferably something that actually helps people.

So if for whatever reason you take objection to the fact that people around you are not all having dutiful, bi-monthly sex in missionary position with the intent to conceive, just imagine some haughty polyamorist barging into your home to tell you that monogamy is for the emotionally stunted and demand that all sexual activities in your house involve at least five people, and how you would feel on the receiving end of this treatment. And if you can’t or the first words out of your mouth are non-ironic “but that’s unnatural, I’m just trying to battle perversion!” much like our hypothetical vegan who decided to suddenly take charge of your diet, then congratulations, you’ve just found your fucking problem: it’s a total lack of empathy and an irrational belief in your own moral superiority. You should start working on fixing both.

# politics // compromise / consent / morality / sex


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