What makes a job not slavery? What make sex not rape? What makes taking not theft? The secret, my friends, is consent.
Don’t talk about religion, don’t talk about politics. I know these are the rules of polite society, but I’ve always found myself gravitating towards these very topics. I believe that if we are to communicate about these topics, we need shared framework from which to work. This is what I seek to offer in my Case For Consensualism — a moral philosophy that can be used to determine our social organization.
I propose that we organize our society around the same laws and social norms that we use for sex. If two adults want to do it, it’s okay. If one adults wants to do it and another doesn’t, it’s illegal. Also, children aren’t yet able to give consent and therefor special rules need to be developed for minors. This is it. This is the basis of a consent based society.
What is the opposite of consent — coercion. I believe that there must be a very high bar to pass if someone wants to propose a law that is based in coercion. In The Case For Consensualism I believe there is only one place where coercion is justified —in order to stop coercion.
Let’s apply this to an example. Assume a lamp moves between my neighbor’s house and mine. In scenario 1, my neighbor Jon holds a garage sale. I offer him $10 for the lamp and he agrees. Yea, a consensual interaction has transpired! In scenario 2, I missed my neighbor’s garage sale but I‘m still eyeing that lamp. If I go into Jon’s house and take the lamp when he is out, I have just used coercion — I took Jon’s lamp without his permission. In this case, I think two things should happen. One, I should be arrested and two, the lamp should be given back to Jon. But what if I object? I don’t want to be taken to prison, and I don’t want to give the lamp back. In fact, both of those acts are technically coercive. Though both are morally justified because of they are enacted solely to rectify the original coercive infraction.
Hopefully this logic has been easy to follow. I would even assume that most people feel the morality of this stance is obvious. I agree! Unfortunately, most of the modern laws proposed in America and most political debates entirely disregard this moral principle. Somehow, we have gotten to a place that assumes coercion is justified under very flimsy rationale. When evaluating any policy I believe we need to separately assess its morality and its efficacy. Let this be my contribution as a moral foundation for structuring our society.
The above was an excerpt from my upcoming book The Great Unlocking: A path to economic, political, and spiritual enlightenment. To receive pre-release content when available sign up below.