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Conservatives and the Concept of Consent: A Permanently Estranged Relationship

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Rod Dreher, ladies and gentlemen:

If her account is true, then yes, it was rape. But come on: what do you expect from a culture that brings together college-age men and women, and puts almost all of them in co-ed dorms? What do you expect from a culture that values casual hook-up sex … until suddenly, it doesn’t? Believe me, I’m

not excusing what this guy allegedly did. If that were my daughter, I would be raising hell with the school (and if that were my son, I would be raising hell with him). But it does seem clear to me that college kids want to live in an environment in which they are free to engage in consequences-free sex with no interference from Mommy and Daddy (= the college administration), except when something goes wrong, in which case they rage at Mommy and Daddy for not protecting them from themselves. And Mommy and Daddy, like nice liberals who desperately want to be liked, and to be progressive, dither and wring their hands and try to pretend that what’s happening isn’t happening, that the decadent way their sons and daughters live isn’t as bad as all that. (Come to think of it, Swarthmore alumnus Jonathan Franzen wrote a novel that’s sort of about this kind of thing.)

So, Dreher’s logic: either women cannot consent to sex without permission from “Mommy and Daddy” or their representatives, or they cannot expect any legal protection when they get sexually assaulted. There is no third option. Also, apparently people are sexually assaulted “by themselves.” I don’t even know what to say about this kind of thing anymore — it’s just an irredeemably twisted worldview. (On a side

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point, I wasn’t a big fan of Freedom, but Dreher’s interpretation of it is just bizarre; he seems to have confused Franzen’s book with Tom Wolfe’s interminable account of the 1979 Cardinals, I Am Ted Simmons.)

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