Consent and Social Contract Theory or “Why Liberals Deliberately Screw Minorities” – FoxxBites #1

Consent and Social Contract Theory or “Why Liberals Deliberately Screw Minorities” – FoxxBites #1


Hi everyone
FoxxC here again! I’m working really hard on my next episode of FoxxTales but in
the meantime I’ve got more in store for you! As the almighty algorithm must be
appeased at frequent intervals I’ve concocted some additional content for
your approval. I have some more playful stuff coming up in the next few weeks,
but for today we’re going to take a more studious look at a conversation that’s
been getting a lot of attention lately and try to explain why certain
ideologies have so much trouble with it… That conversation is consent! Now I know
it you’re probably thinking that stuff about sex has been done to death. people
seem to be starting to get that “no means no” and “yes” has to be a specific kind of
“yes” and you’re right people are having this conversation and it’s wonderful!
Amelia Jane over on their channel recently made a couple of great videos called: “Saying no is Bullshit” and “Sometimes yes is Bullshit Too” where they do a wonderful
job explaining the nuance of the subject in a really accessible way. I recommend
you take some time to check them out as a critical breakdown of sexual consent
is a useful starting point for a broader analysis of the idea of consent. I also
mentioned Ame’s videos because they helped me put together the conditions of
consent that I want to work with in this video. Number One: it is active and
enthusiastic! Number Two: It is ongoing. nThat means it needs constant renewal.
Number Three: it is prior informed freely given with full knowledge of the
consequences. Now that we’re clear on how I’m using the term let’s take this
definition of consent and examine how it relates to liberal ideology. Spicy! The Consent of the Governed We hold these rights to be self-evident that all men are created
equal that they are endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights
that among these are life liberty and the pursuit of happiness. That to secure
these rights governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers
from the consent of the governed. That whenever any form of government becomes destructive of these ends it is the right of the people to alter or to
abolish it and to institute new government, laying its foundations on
such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall
seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness. Nothing quite like a revolutionary
document is there? “To secure these rights governments are instituted among people
deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed” The colonists
who signed the Declaration of Independence in 1776 were just pulling
this idea of consent out of thin air, either. The world had been chewing on the idea of
what legitimized the rule of the state the king and aristocracy for quite some
time already and the new Americans were looking for ideas nearly a century old
to provide a framework for their claim to power in the new Union of States. They
found a large part of the justification in the two treaties of government
published by John Locke and 1689 and the state of nature arguments found therein….
aaaaand those arguments are all grounded in… you guessed it… consent. Consent and
Social Contract Theory. This discussion of political consent is a cornerstone of
Classical Liberalism and what is called social contract theory. It has its roots
with Socrates but became popularized by Thomas Hobbes in Leviathan published in
1651 before being developed further by Locke and later Jean-Jacques
Rousseau among the Classical Liberals Social Contract T heory is an idea that
many contemporary political philosophers think is a pretty suspect justification
for government but still forms basis of many of the political institutions and
opinions you’ll find in the public sphere. Former UK PM and
Arch-Liberal Tony Blair appealed to the social contract just last week to
justify his demands that immigrant populations do a better job of
integrating to stop the rise of the far-right. without the rights to, for example, practice one’s faith diversity would
have no content but without the duty to integrate culture or faith can be used
as a way of upsetting the basic social contract that binds us together.
Particularly now when there is an increasing evidence of far-right
bigotry on the rise it is important to establish the correct social contract
around the rights and duties of citizens, including those who migrate to our
country. Peak Liberalism. Locke argues that, from his state of nature, where all men just men white
men white Christian men are free and equal they consent to enter into society
with one another to protect their natural rights to property by giving up
some other rights notably the right to violence in defense of said property to
the State Locke uses the same idea to back up things like financial
accumulation and inequality as well the fact that we consent to use money
apparently means that we consent to material inequality according to this
charmer… aaand, I mean, I don’t really remember giving consent for money to be
a thing, right? That would be pretty silly anyhow because money’s been around a
little longer than I have, which brings up the problem with this idea of can
sent in a political sense. The governments of the countries we live in
have been around a lot longer than we have as well and they make decisions
that affect our lives – sometimes quite invasively – without many of us ever
making any sort of declaration of consent. That seems like sort of a big
deal, especially considering we’re so super keen on having our intimate
relationships be based on “enthusiastic”, “ongoing”, “prior informed”, consent, why
should we set any less of standard for any organization that we interact with
be it business or government? Locke himself would probably really disagree
with me on this point, mostly because he viewed ‘conjugal relations’, as he put it,
to be a voluntary contract from the state of nature but, somehow, not a
political one. His reasoning is that the relationship between a man and a woman
is governed by certain ‘natural laws’ and oh Foxit! I could drop some quotes and
explain this in detail but, like, it all boils down to Locke thinking that women
are there for procreation. Family is the base unit of society, for procreation. The
conjugal relationship is completely apolitical, for procreation, and it’s all
naturally governed by the superior man #cisheteropatriarchy. Keep all
that in mind through this next bit: in order to avoid this problem of consent
for future generations Locke introduces the idea of ‘tacit consent’. Tacit means
silent in Latin and Locke defines the concept thusly: The difficulty is what
ought to be looked upon as a tacit consent and how far it binds, ie how far
any one shall be looked on to have consented, and thereby submitted, to any
government where he has made no expressions of it at all. And to this I say that every man that have any possession or enjoyment of any
part of the Dominions of any government doth hereby give his tacit consent and
is as far forth obliged to obedience to the laws of that government during such
enjoyment…” You play by the rules even if you don’t agree and if you’re in that
conjugal relationship you play by the rules even if you don’t agree yeah
tacit consent silent consent This is the part of the lecture right ask the class
that they can see any problems with this definition of consent and we’d have a
nice conversation about things like coercion, economic and otherwise, the idea
of whether you can actually consent if you can’t leave… That is, if there is
nowhere else to go… Does enjoyment equal obligation if you
can’t opt out of enjoyment? Then we’d spend several classes talking about
other arguments for consent and social contract theory, look at other
philosophers, and really dig into the idea of political consent in a broad and
meaningful way… We could talk about the fact that even Rousseau had a conception
of an ongoing political consent that in his idea of the social contract that
made it hard to justify the authority of most governments we have today – in the
1700s We might even compare it backed ideas
around sexual consent… shocking I know I really don’t want to go through all
that though, which is why I started off mentioning Ame’s videos and I’ve also
linked videos by more boring academic philosophers in the discussions below. Instead, let’s look at it why a
definition of consent is such a biiiig problem for self-described “Classical
Liberals” by exposing the topic of political consent to the magic of
“Intersectional Analysis” Gender, Race, and Consent I think we’ve clearly established the a robust idea of consent is present in
classical liberalism so why the Fox do you get Classical Liberals saying stuff like this? Content Warning: Lobster Boy and Possible Rape Mention JP: “okay now it’s for 50 60 years later and we’re trying to sort this out it’s
like, well, when is it okay to have sex, exactly? and when is it not okay to have
sex? and what does it mean that it’s okay? and what does consent mean? and the answer
to that is well we never used to have to think these things through because the
rule was don’t have sex until you get married
that was the rule now that isn’t the rule okay so what’s the rule? Well we’re
not having a conversation about the rule. I don’t think that sex works very well
outside of committed relationships. I don’t think there’s any evidence that it
does. There’s a strong proclivity across cultures for the enforcement, social
enforcement, of long term monogamy. And there’s reasons for that. And I think you
deviate from that at your peril… The question is well what constitutes
consent? And we need to have a very serious conversation about that. Like,
under what circumstances is it acceptable to give consent. But we’re not
mature enough to have that conversation… Foxx: Sorry to put you through that, but, how can an Ideology think it’s mature enough to go to war over the idea of
“Consent of the Governed”, while at the same time it’s not mature enough to deal with
the demands of “enthusiastic”, “ongoing”, “prior informed”, consent in the context of
a sexual relationship. It all goes back to that special conjugal relationship
that Locke talks about. Remember how our relationship between a man and a woman
is specifically apolitical? Liberals consider the family to be the base
political unit organized under a man and it is the family that enters into
political agreements. When women demand full consent they are, effectively,
transforming the special conjugal relationship into a political one. When a
Liberal or Conservative is hand-wringing over “Family Values”
this is really what they’re worried about. According to Locke: Conjugal
society is made by a voluntary compact between man and woman and though it
consists chiefly in such a communion and right in one another’s bodies as is
necessary to its chief end, pro-creation Well, that’s really foxin’ creepy! “A right
in one another’s bodies”? sorry Locke, bud, but we know whose ‘right’ you’re talking about… *shudders* This is why free and equal sexual
consent is free and equal political consent. And this challenges the very
foundation of the conjugal relationship on which Liberals construct their
ideology. This is in part what the second way of feminists were talking about when
they asserted that “the personal is political” yeah, it sucks that most of
them turned out to be TERFs. Feminist scholars got around to specifically critiquing the social contract theory in the 1980s with Carole Pateman arguing
in her book “The Sexual Contract” that there is another ‘original pact’
underlying the Social Contract: that of men to dominate and control. One of
Locke’s fundamental arguments is against the idea of the patriarchal right to
political power, as is found in the Divine Right of Kings,
and so the ideology appears at first to be opposed to patriarchy. This isn’t really
the case, however, and this is the crux of Pateman’s argument. While the single
patriarch may have been overthrown, his downfall came at the hands of a
fraternal group who agreed to share the resources they now have access to-
including the women. Instead of getting rid of the patriarchy, Social Contract
Theory just shifts the concentration of power over women from one father figure
to the general group of dudes who form the social contract. This is very similar
to the shift from the Ceramic Universe to the Fully Automatic Universe
that I talked about in my Alan Watts video: “they got rid of the lawmaker, but they
kept the law”. The ‘natural law’ that keeps women subordinate. Their consent is still
not relevant and the Social Contract, with it’s special category of the biological family, becomes one of the fundamental pillars upholding the new
patriarchy. The problem for Liberal Ideology is even more pronounced when
you start to introduce LGBTQ2AI+ identities because rather than merely
politicize the institution of the biological family, these relationships
begin to radically redefine it. Men in gay relationships get asked “who is the girl”? in part, I think, because people are trying to figure out who has political
authority in that family, while Lesbian relationships are largely ignored
because there is no man to represent the family politically. Trans people make it
impossible to identify a person as a holder of political authority, directly
challenge the nature of biological family- trans men having babies??? – and the fact that anyone who voluntarily gives up their apparent political power, as in
the case of a trans woman, would be considered to be acting against their
rational self-interest. That really throws Liberal Ideology into a tizzy… and
causes people to consider trans people to be mentally ill. This is why, I think,
even Moderate Liberals are willing to compromise on the political consent, as
well as the rights, freedom, and safety of women and vulnerable minorities in order
to uphold the commitment to the dominant social structure. If we don’t count as
part of the body politic, then our consent doesn’t matter.
To their credit, Progressive Liberals have been comfortable in welcoming more
equality in the groups being represented under their ideological
umbrella some might call this: “co-opting of of identity” in order to claim the consent
of whatever identity groups are intersected by the
individual they raise to power. This representation doesn’t really solve the
problem of meaningful political consent for marginalized groups, however, and
still favors individuals who reinforce the other facets of the traditional
family like monogamy or amatonormativity. I’d better define that one, hey? Amatonormativity: the assumption that exclusive, amorous,
relationship is normal for humans, in that it is a universally shared goal, and
that such a relationship is normative, in the sense that it should be aimed at in
preference to other relationship types I prefer a more radical view of family and
relationships, however, like that of Shulamith Firestone writing in “The Dialectic
of Sex: The Case for Feminist Revolution” Marx was on to something more profound
than he knew when he observed that the family contained within itself, in embryo,
all the antagonisms that later develop on a wide scale within the society and
the State. For unless revolution uproots the basic social organization, the
biological family – the vinculum through which the psychology of power can always
be smuggled – the tapeworm of exploitation will never be annihilated. …and now we
have memes that assert a family can be anything! I’m filled with hope… weeell, sort
of… there’s one, last, really uncomfortable facet of social contract theory that I
haven’t got to yet and that is how it treats people who aren’t white. Building
off the work of Carroll Pateman, Charles Mills 1997 book “The Racial Contract” sets
out to examine how women and non-white people hold a similar position relative
to the Social Contract. Like Pateman’s ‘original pact’ between men that gives
them dominion over women and precedes the consensual social contract, so too is
there a racial contract, decided on by white men, to determine who may count as
a fully moral and political person. Full persons can consent and enter the Social
Contract with all the subsequent rights to property and the power form of the
contracts… everyone else…? Well, you get to be the objects of the contracts! Mills
makes the further argument that the racial contract isn’t some sort of
abstract philosophical idea but real, contractual, agreements between real,
historical, people. Without going into too much historical
detail, which would deflect the thrust of this essay, Mills point is extremely
convincing. That a series of agreements, both explicit and implicit, were made among a relatively small numbers of European men as to who would be considered a full
person and who would be a sub person in order to determine who is exploitable is
obvious, even with a cursory reading of historical documents. That stuff is
hardly subtext in Locke and pretty much every Classical Liberal philosopher but,
because I am at least a halfway competent scholar, I have a concrete
example of such a contract. The contract drawn up by the colonial revolutionaries
whose declaration I quoted. The United States Constitution and its three-fifths
compromise. The effect of these agreements that precede the Social Contract whether on the basis of sex, or race, or ability, – oh yeah, Locke covers
that, too- is to functionally and deliberately disenfranchise entire
swathes of humanity to provide justification for the exploitation of
their bodies and resources, without ever intending to allow them the freedom of
“enthusiastic”, “ongoing”, “prior informed”, consent that could in any way challenge
the established power structure. The really insidious thing about the
problem of race according to Mills, however, is that the West believes in the
myth of an idealized Social Contract. The American Constitution now says everyone is equal… almost… Our society generally believes that people will be treated
equally before the law and that there is ‘equality of opportunity’. Mills argues
that this myth covers up the political reality: some persons will be accorded
the rights and freedoms of full persons and the rest will be treated as sub
persons. A very powerful myth, indeed. Heyyyyyy!
it only took me… like… 12 pages to get around to talking
about mythology! At least I’m staying on brand! Conclusion The Social Contract, with its
preceding agreements, is an idea deeply embedded into the political mythology of
the West and its institutions will not be dislodged easily. I have to admit, not
all of the conceptions of a social contract are completely useless. The demand that
political relationships be established only by freely giving consent and that,
in the face of tyranny, a revelation is a duty are ideas that I can get behind. The
only problem is… we live in a world where not a single one of our dominant
institutions, public or private, government or business, can claim
Authority through the ideals of “enthusiastic”, “ongoing”, “prior informed”,
consent if those concepts are to be applied universally. So where, then, does
that leave the oppressed? *static* When a long train of abuses and usurpations. pursuing
invariably the same object, evinces a design to reduce them under absolute
despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such government and to
provide new guards for their future security! *Solidarity Forever Plays* Solidarity Forever! Solidarity Forever! Solidarity Forever! For the Union makes us strong! *static* Wow that escalated quickly! I plan a
quick peek into a topic and I end up with this! If you got all the way here,
thanks so much for sticking with me! I plan on examining other aspects of
social contract theory more in depth in future episodes. I haven’t had a chance
to read all of the literature on this topic yet. There’s a lot. The Pateman and
Mills information is from a secondary source and I imagine Chomsky’s
“Manufacturing Consent” would be very relevant to this discussion…
I haven’t read it… Please leave me some comments to let me know you thought of
this topic, as well as some places I could do better, and maybe some resources I should look into that I haven’t thought of yet. All my sources are linked
in the description down below, as usual, and I give you my “enthusiastic”, “ongoing”,
“prior informed” consent to hit the like and subscribe buttons, ring my
little bell, and check out my patreon if you want to support the show! ’till next
time! *blows kiss* *STATIC* There can be no power greater anywhere
beneath the Sun, yet what force on earth is weaker than the feeble strength of one?
but the Union makes us strong! Solidarity Forever! Solidarity Forever! Solidarity Forever! For the Union makes us strong! It is we who
ploughed the Prairie, built the cities where they trade, dug the mines and
built the workshops, endless miles of railroad laid. Now we stand outcast and
starving amid the wonders we have made but the Union makes us strong

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