Consent is paramount. Anything we do that involves another person, be it sex, work, or just holding a conversation, requires that all parties involved give their consent. Any rational person who cares about personal choice would agree with me here.
Yet our perspectives of consent are becoming warped. In the wake of the #MeToo movement, a new debate over how to ensure consent is both explicit and mutual has arisen. This alone isn’t a problem; of course we should be working to ensure this.
But the issue is becoming increasingly trivialised, and our view of consent as being willful interaction between two or more persons is beginning to morph into mollycoddled nannying, with adults being treated like children who don’t know how to make their own decisions.
Back in 2003, the world was gifted with The Room; a movie that embodies the ‘so bad, it’s good’ genre. Reviews of the film include such golden lines as “This film is like getting stabbed in the head”, and the movie has been dubbed the ‘Citizen Kane of Bad Movies’.
Freedom of speech is undoubtedly one of the most important features of any democratic society. Without it, knowledge could not be shared, injustices could not be called out, and the marketplace of ideas would be reduced to a single, miserable stall. Yet the state seems to need constant reminding of the importance of free expression; to them, it always seems to take second place.
Think back to the late 19th/early 20th century. A time in which colonialism remained rampant, workers laboured long hours in factories, and entertainment constituted a trip to the nearest travelling freak show. Indeed, many critics of classical liberalism point to this time as evidence of the exploitation that goes on when the state doesn’t intervene.
By taking this period at face value, however, they ignore the multiple benefits and progressions which arose from it.