Sunday, July 06, 2014

Knowing it's wrong, unable to say why

Magaluf is a tourist resort on the Spanish island of Majorca. It has hit the news because of an incident at a bar there in which an 18-year-old British woman performed a sex act on 24 men in under three minutes (she won a free drink).

She (and the men involved) have been universally condemned, with the mayor expressing his "total rejection" of and "absolute indignation" at what took place.

But here's the thing. Under the rules of liberalism what the girl did isn't wrong at all. As Dr Leslie Cannold, an Australian ethicist, put it:
Defining our own good, and living our lives in pursuit of it, is at the heart of a moral life.

What matters for liberals is that we get to subjectively define our own good. What it is that we happen to choose doesn't matter (as long as it doesn't interfere with others equally defining their own good).

Under the terms of liberalism, what the girl did might in fact be thought heroic. After all, she defied a moral taboo to act as she wanted to.

And yet what she did will strike just about everyone as being very wrong, as a new low point in the moral life of the West. Even most liberals are going to instinctively think of it as wrong.

So how do liberals extricate themselves from this dilemma? Their moral philosophy says that what the girl did was virtuous, but their moral intuition tells them that it is deeply wrong.

Well, there is an underhand way out of the dilemma, and that's to claim that the girl's choice wasn't really her choice after all, that she didn't give consent adequately and so on. And that's how the left-liberal press is treating this:
Katie Russell, a spokesperson for Rape Crisis said: “The exact circumstances are unclear but we are very concerned about girls and young women being coerced or exploited in situations where they are potentially vulnerable for example through alcohol consumption.

“There are obvious issues of consent here; it is not clear whether this video was made with the young woman’s consent and it is not clear whether those who have posted and shared the video widely did so with her consent."

Holly Dustin, Director of End Violence Against Women said: “This incident and the wide online sharing of the video points to enormous questions of lack of consent and abuse."

That is what is left to liberals in expressing moral disapproval. All that they can do is to query whether the choice is authentic or coerced.

It's not persuasive. Let's say the young woman involved hadn't drunk any alcohol at all. Would her actions then strike us as being morally legitimate? And here's another problem with this approach to morality: it is easily defeated. What, for instance, if the young woman insists that she was not, in fact, coerced?

That's the defence that the organisers of the bar crawl are making. They have released a statement saying:
All you need to do is look at the video and you can see she clearly isn't drunk and knows what she is doing. Definitely not forced in any way.

And they pointed out that:
The girl and her 8 friends bought tickets for the next BARCRAWL as they said it was AMAZING!

Even those involved in organising bar crawls are aware of the rules of play. Anything goes as long as it's consensual. Therefore, moral debate has to focus on the issue of consent, rather than on the quality of the actions themselves.


  1. A very keen observation. If an individual's choice is too far over the line, say it wasn't his choice at all but rather the result of coercion. That's an interesting tactic that I hadn't noticed before, but I'll sure keep my eyes open for it now.

  2. The problem is a liberal would define an act as authentic, and therefore not coerced, only if it comports with liberal orthodoxy. Any act that doesn't is coerced even if obviously voluntary. The subject suffers from false consciousness or some such rot.

    1. Yes, good point. A classic example is whether women should choose to be careerists or homemakers. In theory, if a woman voluntary chooses the homemaker option, this choice should not be interfered with. The problem is that such a choice conflicts with the larger aims of liberalism. For instance, liberals want the individual to be autonomously self-determining. Our sex, however, is predetermined and therefore has to be made not to matter. But this means that traditional sex roles have to be deconstructed. Therefore, a woman choosing the traditional homemaking role is making the "wrong" choice. Similarly, liberals want to maximise individual autonomy. This means making women independent from men, which requires women to be self-supporting careerists. So, again, the traditional homemaker role is the "wrong" choice.

      But liberals don't generally want to openly deny women the choice to be homemakers, as this would seem to breach the "don't interfere in people's choices" aspect of liberalism. So what do they do?

      Sometimes, they argue that women who choose to be homemakers restrict the choices of other women (by creating cultural expectations etc.). Sometimes, as you mention, they bring in some version of the "false consciousness" argument (the woman's choice is coerced by patriarchal conditioning etc.) Sometimes they pin the blame on social structures (women wouldn't choose that option if the workplace were made more female friendly etc.).

      Most commonly, though, the liberal state passes measures which gradually make the "wrong" option more difficult to make (tax measures etc.)

      What it all shows, though, is that the only way that liberalism can be made coherent is if everyone voluntarily goes for the "autonomous" option or if non-autonomous options are gradually closed down.

    2. It's almost a version of Stockholm Syndrome...that they only reason the particular choice was made was because of the (non-preferred) circumstances the person made him or herself in.

    3. It's even worse than that. Liberals define (when convenient) coercion to mean "you don't want to do something with your own resources". Hence a woman who gets an abortion because she can't afford the child has been coerced. That's why unmarried men must be enslaved to outrageous child support demands, otherwise women wouldn't be making real authentic choices about bearing children.

  3. Her parents must be so proud!

  4. This only went viral because of the sheer wierdness of it. The high count, the speediness if it, the fact that it's in the middle of a dance floor. The fact that none of the guys actually get off, but are just happy to be part of the fun. The girl giddy about her 15 seconds of being a famous porn star. It's bizarrely sterile and pointless. Crappy people having crappy sex in a crappy place, so let's all mock these chavs.

    The idea that she'd been coerced is ridiculous, but there's simply no other objection to make. Like the way feminists work tirelessly to "free" foreign prostitutes in Germany. .. who immediately go right back to prostitution because it's easy money. Sluts put the rest of us women in danger because they change men's expectations.

    Another Irish girl. Slane Girl was from Belfast. Bit of ethnic rivalry there. Many more mamading videos of English girls, but none have gotten this sort of (primarily English) press.

    1. It's bizarrely sterile and pointless.

      Yes, that's a striking aspect of it. That's particularly disappointing at 18. It's as if the sexual revolution has made sex more public but less significant than it ought to be.

  5. Another thing, the Muslims around here tell each other that we're all a bunch of vile sluts who have had so much sex that we won't even notice it if one, two ... or a dozen more men fall on us. They mock conservative women involved in counter-jihad efforts -- protests and signature-collection -- by pulling up these videos (and there are countless such videos) on their cell phones and saying, "See? This is one of you, getting f***** in the arse! One guy, another guy, you can't get enough! " They shout this at them and threaten to follow the women home and "do her the favor".

    They are addicted to these girls gone wild brand of porno and it feeds their disgust for Western women, and dehumanizes us in their sex-starved sight. It also fuels their frustration because we are all supposedly gagging for it, but they're not getting much action, so we're seen as "racist". Racist sluts.

    These mamading women are not to be pitied. They should be locked up for performing lewd acts in public and for endangering the welfare of others. They are criminals, not victims.

  6. Her parents are Christians and are absolutely mortified. I feel bad for them, but there's a group dynamic involved here that needs to be crushed by making examples out of some of these women. Spain really does need to start locking them up or anyone halfway will flee the island.

    Another thing, to continue my previous rant, is that these girls completely demoralize the European conservative men. It's hard to fight for your women's honor when so many of then so obviously have none.

    Okay, end rant.

  7. "What matters for liberals is that we get to subjectively define our own good."

    Because the alternative is "to be oppressed". The Oppressor drives much of liberal idealistic and abstract madness.