22 Nov 2013

Pamela Stubbart Makes an Intriguing Point About Consent

Libertarianism 90 Comments

I am going to regret this with 99% confidence, but I was intrigued by a Facebook post from Pamela J. Stubbart (reprinted with her permission). She wrote:

Dear Libertarians Who Are Squabbling About Rape,

N.b., if “tacit consent” isn’t a satisfactory standard for the state’s moral legitimacy, then maybe it’s not good enough for the moral legitimacy of a sexual encounter, either?


I think she really did put her finger (snarkily) on something that is problematic in the standard libertarian responses on these two issues. On the one hand, I think most (male white heterosexual) libertarians would say, “It’s not obviously rape unless the woman really makes her objections quite explicit. She can’t go through the motions, then complain about it later on, after the fact.”

Yet, the same libertarians would probably say, “Just because I send in my taxes, obey traffic cops, go through the TSA scanners, and so on with my head down, doesn’t mean I consent to any of this stuff. It’s just not worth me fighting it individually.”

Last thing, before all hell breaks loose in the comments (and I’m serious, I am going to be deleting stuff if it’s obscene/outrageous): I am not claiming that it’s impossible to reconcile the two things. All I’m saying is that there is an apparent tension between the way a typical (white male heterosexual) libertarian would talk about each issue, if he didn’t realize they were being compared to each other for consistency.

90 Responses to “Pamela Stubbart Makes an Intriguing Point About Consent”

  1. lwaaks says:

    I don’t see the parallel. We libertarians often strenuously and loudly voice our non-consent about taxation, etc. We might even write something snarky on our tax forms when we mail them in. However, we don’t want to be fined or carted off to jail, so we pay our taxes (as well as obey other laws we deem immoral). Am I missing something?

    • Bob Murphy says:

      What about the solid 65% or so of Americans whom the libertarians are trying to educate? People who might say, “Hmm, I’ve never really thought about it like that before. Yeah, I suppose in a sense taxes are like stealing, huh?”

      Is the State only coercing libertarians?

      • valueprax says:

        It is a simple coincidence that Mises is talking about relations between the sexes in this passage, but for your answer we could consult The Great von Mises here:

        The conception afforded by the old laws and law books of the relations between man and woman is not a theoretical speculation of unworldly dreamers. It is a picture direct from life and reproduces exactly what men, and women too, believed of marriage and intercourse between the sexes. That a Roman woman who stood in the “manus” of the husband or under the guardianship of the clan, or an ancient German woman who remained subject to the “munt” all her life, found this relation quite natural and just, that they did not revolt against it inwardly, or make any attempt to shake off the yoke—this does not prove that a broad chasm had developed between law and practice. It only shows that the institution suited the feeling of women; and this should not surprise us. The prevailing legal and moral views of a time are held not only by those whom they benefit but by those, too, who appear to suffer from them. Their domination is expressed in that fact—that the people from whom they claim sacrifices also accept them. Under the principle of violence, woman is the servant of man. In this she too sees her destiny.

      • valueprax says:

        For those who need it spelled out:

        Mises is continuing the line of reasoning that even dictatorships require consent of the masses/majority.

        So in one sense, “Yes, the State is only coercing libertarians.”

        That might open a Pandora’s box of its own though because then the question is, can you change the nature of something by simply believing differently? For example, can Socialist economic systems work and “rationally calculate” if everyone living under them “believe” in the system?

        This is why Socialists are so fond of changing the Nature of Man, for example.

      • Major_Freedom says:

        Suppose you woke up one morning and you receive a phone call. The guy on the other end is your neighbor George. George tells you:

        “Murphy, during your whole time here in the neighborhood, I was actually going to kidnap and imprison you if you ever chose to stop letting me use your tools when I asked for them. And oh, I sometimes lied about what I was using your tools for. One more thing, that threat about me kidnapping and imprisoning you…is still active going forward, and if you don’t like it, then you must move out of this neighborhood, or at least as far away that I no longer care about dealing with you.”

        Was your relationship with George always coercive?

        • Major_Freedom says:

          Or only after he told you his actual intentions?

        • Keshav Srinivasan says:

          Is that a rhetorical question, or do you have a particular answer in mind?

          • Major_Freedom says:

            Those two options are more or less identical aren’t they?

            Just consider it as a question.

            • Ken B says:

              Identical? No they are not because Bob might have altered his behavior perhaps to oppose George’s will if he had known about the threats. It is not a given that people will always submit to threats.

              • Anonymous says:

                I said more or less Ken B.

                Yes, it’s an awkward and rather sloppy use of the term, but it’s because I know they’re not identical per se that I said “more or less”.

                I wouldn’t say 2+3 is “more or less” identical to 5. I would say identical.

                Thanks for trying to legislate truth, reason, and enlightenment on this blog Ken B.

              • Major_Freedom says:

                I said more or less Ken B.

                Yes, it’s an awkward and rather sloppy use of the term, but it’s because I know they’re not identical per se that I said “more or less”.

                I wouldn’t say 2+3 is “more or less” identical to 5. I would say identical.

                Thanks for trying to legislate truth, reason, and enlightenment on this blog Ken B.

          • Major_Freedom says:

            Neither Ken B nor Keshav have an answer.

            Does anyone?

            • Ken B says:

              I am not sure according to hat you say about action that you do. He says now he’d have attacked Bob, but how do we know? I think you are hoist on your own petard.
              To me the answer is clear. It was not coercive because Bob was not coerced. It likewise wasn’t murderous as Bob wasn’t murdered, or sexual or a bridge partnership.
              But if you want to judge Bob’s friend a scumbag I expect I agree.

    • Dan says:

      I don’t agree with her comment, but I think the correlation would be that women loudly voice their non-consent about rape, however they don’t want to get beaten to a pulp or murdered so they might not fight it while it’s happening.

      • LibertyVini says:

        This is, I think, the correct analogy. Most people hate taxes, yet most people have heard enough about what happens to tax evaders to shut up and take it, as it were. Don’t know what the percentages are currently, but wasn’t it SOP (at least, until 9/11/2001) to tell women and others who find themselves subject to a violent crime NOT to resist, for reasons of survival?

  2. Matt M (Dude Where's My Freedom) says:

    Who are these “libertarians squabbling about rape?” I’m serious here, I didn’t know this was a big issue among libertarians. Did I miss something somewhere?

    • valueprax says:

      My guess is they’re not “squabbling about rape” but commenting on real world legal cases in the media where rape is being accused, and then squabbling about that.

      So it’s not like “Is it okay to rape?”

      It’s, “Was this an example of rape?”

      • Tel says:

        A real world legal case is already evaluated under the context of state legitimacy.

        There may be moral overtones, but morality is not what is on trial, only the legal process of guilty or not guilty… a long way removed from morality.

        Pamela used the words “moral legitimacy”.

      • valueprax says:

        We’re referring to libertarians squabbling.

        Not actual defendants and prosecutors squabbling.

        So yes, it’s clearly in the realm of a moral debate hre.

  3. Edward says:

    ““It’s not obviously rape unless the woman really makes her objections quite explicit. She can’t go through the motions, then complain about it later on, after the fact.”

    Are you effing kidding me? What about impaired consent, a woman drugged with Rohypnol? She might not be saying no it the time, but its still rape.

    This is why I find Bob Roddis and Major Freedom to be such jokes. Their simplistic, black and white view of the world. it has to be violence or its not worth considering. No gray areas, No different degrees of coercion, some much less evil than others, even good in their long run effects, if they prevent the more evil and horrific coercion to be defeated. (Waging war against the Nazis in World War II)

    • Dan says:

      “What about impaired consent, a woman drugged with Rohypnol? She might not be saying no it the time, but its still rape.”

      Who would disagree with this? I think maybe the reason you find them to be jokes is because you don’t have a clear grasp of what they actually believe.

    • Ben says:

      Giving someone a rohypnol without their consent is also an instance of aggression.

      • Samson Corwell says:

        No, it’s not “aggression”. It’s called an act of malice or willful harm.

        • Major_Freedom says:

          That’s aggression.

    • Major_Freedom says:

      Hey hey hey now, I think it is honorable to at least ask me about my views on this before you throw me under the bus.

      If you had asked me, then I would have said giving a woman Rohypnol without her consent is an aggression in itself, and so makes any subsequent “consent” based on that, invalid.

      • Major_Freedom says:

        But you’d probably like it better if I condoned rape.

        That way, your actual condoning of violence from the state won’t seem so psycho.

      • Keshav Srinivasan says:

        What if she took Rohypnol intentionally and knowingly for some reason, or let’s say she just took alcohol intentionally.

        • Major_Freedom says:

          What would be the reason why a woman would purposefully ingest a “date rape drug”? Just asking, because I think it would depend on the circumstances.

          For example, if before she took it, she gave no indication that she would consent to having her unconscious body taken advantage of, then it would be rape. On the other hand, if she gave a clear indication that she’s “into that s#!t”, like she said something like “I want you to have your way with me when I’m out cold later tonight”, and the guy she was with was into that as well, then I would say consent was given. In this case, it would be like a patient giving consent to their doctor to operate on them while unconscious, before they go unconscious.

          Personally I would not agree to it if I were that guy, because I would not enjoy doing it to an unconscious person. But ethically, I think it’s just if a couple agreed to it.

          Same thing for alcohol.

          • Keshav Srinivasan says:

            So you believe that people who are drunk cannot give consent?

            • Major_Freedom says:

              Not if they’re unconscious.

              What if both people are super hammered, but conscious, and they sleep together, but then one or both regret what they did? Is that rape?

              • Ken B says:

                I would be very surprised if you thought it was rape. I do not. Not if the choice to drink in the first place was made freely.

              • Major_Freedom says:

                Ken B:

                Substitute “sex” for assisted euthanasia, or injection of poison.

                You sure that the choice to have sex was made on the basis of choosing to drink prior?

                If someone is so drunk that they do not stop you from euthanizing them, then if you succeed in doing so, it means they made the choice to be killed due to choosing to start drinking prior?

                In other words, ANYTHING GOES when someone is so drunk they are in and out of consciousness?

    • Major_Freedom says:

      Oh, and Edward, just so you know, your worldview is also black and white. You are certain that many of the things I believe are wrong. To consider my ideas wrong, and thus the opposite ideas right, or at least on the right track as opposed to being the wrong track, is actually an appeal to a black and white world. The world is not that, it’s this. Such and such is where your mind does not comport to reality as it is, and this and that is where it does.

      Your worldview is very much black and white, we just disagree on what is black and what is white. In order for you to sense my black and white worldview, you MUST already be carrying a black and white mental faculty.

      Even if you tried to interpret your ideas as including gray, then guess what? You’d still be eliciting a black and white worldview. For here, that which is gray, is not non-gray. This, but not that. Or, in Randistotle language: A, but not non-A.

      I think you’re a joke because your black and white worldview holds as just permanent violence of some (state) against everyone else (citizens). Your simplistic worldview calls for the violence hammer to fix every social problem.

      “No different degrees of coercion, some much less evil than others, even good in their long run effects, if they prevent the more evil and horrific coercion to be defeated. (Waging war against the Nazis in World War II)”

      The war against the Nazis was only just to the extent that initiators of violence were stopped. It’s not “good violence” to kill innocent people to stop evil people.

      • Tel says:

        The war against the Nazis was only just to the extent that initiators of violence were stopped. It’s not “good violence” to kill innocent people to stop evil people.

        That’s why Neville Chamberlain is such an important historical figure. Far from being wrong, he did exactly the right thing by giving Hitler the greatest possible opportunity to choose not to start World War II.

        The option of violent self defense is a last resort option, to be used after other options have been tried. That’s why I cannot accept the American invasion of Iraq as self defense.

        • Ken B says:

          Just curious. Do you believe the decision to invade other countries and expand the reich was made after Munich or before?

          • Tel says:

            I don’t believe any decision is irrevocably made until the moment of action. Chamberlain decided to sacrifice Czechoslovakia and draw the line at Poland. Germany could have been satisfied at that. They could have had their Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact, and remained stable probably for many decades.

            The historical fact is that the option was there for them and they chose to ignore it.

            • Ken B says:

              Can decisions be made on the basis of previously observed behavior and the inferences drawn there from? One main argument against chamberlains actions is that the capitulation encouraged Hitler to try for more. Another which is incontestable is that the ceding of Czechoslovakia strengthened the Nazis militarily not least in the acquisition of the skoda works and the loss of check military power. The capitulation at Munich incontestably strengthened Hitler’s position within Europe, and it is likely that it emboldened him. It certainly put paid to the small remaining amounts of internal resistance against him.
              Even more clear is the failure in 1936 when Hitler militarized Rhineland. Had he faced serious resistance at that .3 is good reason to believe that the German army would not have followed him and that his regime would have collapsed.

              • Major_Freedom says:

                Suppose a man hits people every day, and is accordingly punished.

                Then he gets out of prison.

                Should you force him back into prison based on his past activity?

  4. Eric says:

    There is a big difference. People go along with taxation and following rules is because of threats of violence. If there’s no threat of violence and the woman seemingly goes along with it, i.e. not explicit consent but physical consent (however you want to interpret that) then it cannot be consistently called rape. Hence the difference. The social contract is not valid because we are never even given an option to consent or not, the State nor most of society gives a damn whether we consent or not because if we don’t they throw us in a cage. So the State is like a rapist who either threatens or does use force to do what we are unwilling to consent to. Ergo there’s not really a discord there.

    The problem is this “It’s not obviously rape unless the woman really makes her objections quite explicit. She can’t go through the motions, then complain about it later on, after the fact.” is not an adequate definition or position. She doesn’t have to voice her non-consent nor fight back as long as there is threat of or actual violence, if there’s a threat of or actual violence it’s rape. I think the analogies got crossed in there somewhere, hence the problem.

    • Tel says:

      The social contract is not valid because we are never even given an option to consent or not, the State nor most of society gives a damn whether we consent or not because if we don’t they throw us in a cage.

      The “social contract’ is not valid because there is no such thing. The US Constitution is an explicit written document, not a made up “social contract”. Each religion has some sort of well documented set of rules. People talking about “social contract” are universally also people who think they get to decide the terms of that contract, whenever it suits them.

      The first step towards not consenting is to refuse to describe things in ways other than what they are. A contract is a written agreement with terms that are agreed on upfront.

      She doesn’t have to voice her non-consent nor fight back as long as there is threat of or actual violence, if there’s a threat of or actual violence it’s rape.

      Violence can come in many forms, and for a long time the violence of the state was kept a bit out of sight, but gradually it’s becoming much more obvious.

      I agree that there should be a well understood principle that people don’t enjoy being subject to violence, so saying, “I don’t like you holding that knife at my face” should be unnecessary… any reasonable person already understands this. Making a formal statement that you don’t consent is still a good thing to do, just to make everything absolutely clear, even clear to people who aren’t making much of an effort to be reasonable about it.

  5. Lindsey says:

    The thing people almost always forget about sexual assault is the extraordinarily prevalence of the freeze response. Its not unheard of for a victim to even “go through the motions” during a sexual assault due to this biological state. This is why “Enthusiastic consent” is SO important.

    • Michael says:

      The appearance of enthusiastic consent is not present in a very large proportion of consensual sex though. Many women enjoy their sex with a dominant and controlling man, and prefer to be treated in a manner, for the purposes of sexual gratification, that they would find abusive in other contexts.

      What about these women? How is their sexuality related to the concept of “enthusiastic” consent?

      P.S: Not really interested in any answer which judges these women for their preferences.

  6. Ted Levy says:

    Robert, you are absolutely RIGHT there is a “tension” between these two positions. Can the tension, the apparent analogy, be easily disrupted, such that it’s not prima facie unreasonable to hold both positions simultaneously? I think so. Here’s how:

    It WOULD be a very good analogy if MOST EVER WOMAN REASONABLY believed that the NORMAL and EXPECTED consequence of her saying “No” explicitly would be that her potential sex partner would then move from seeming voluntary interaction to BRUTAL, FORCEFUL, VIOLENT RAPE. But I think it unreasonable to suggest that. I think most women know that most men if explicitly turned down back off.

    Not so the State, of course. If you keep explicitly violating their tax laws or their traffic laws, etc., etc., even if no one is hurt, you REASONABLY EXPECT that brutal, violent force WILL be applied to you. Radley Balko’s new book shows how little one must do to bring this about. Often one must only be living in the wrong place or be confused with someone else.

    But thanks for bringing up an interesting intellectual puzzle.

    • Bob Murphy says:

      I think this is a good point, Ted, but your capitalization gave me the willies.

      • Major_Freedom says:

        Could it BE anymore willy?

  7. Tel says:

    The standard for moral legitimacy is that the woman makes her intentions clear and that a reasonable person would understand. Of course there are going to be difficult corner cases, but sensible people avoid those.

    The standard for libertarians is exactly the same, it is ridiculous to go and punch out with your local cops, because you will just lose and no one will care. Clearly articulating the problem and why you don’t consent to central planning is the correct strategy because it’s the only strategy with a hope of working.

    The state and the rapist are in much the same business: give me what I want or you get hurt. Since they are competitors and since the state offers a more structured protection service, it is logical that the state would want to reassure young women that they are safe from rape, even when it has only limited capacity to achieve that. The difference is that libertarians can articulate their lack of consent many times and still get the same deal, while the rape victim has some small but non-zero opportunity to get revenge.

  8. Michael R. Brown says:

    > if “tacit consent” isn’t a satisfactory standard for the state’s moral legitimacy

    How many libertarians argue that “tacit consent” is central? This seems a construct designed to link two relatively unrelated debates.

    And yes, moving on, the two realms are vastly different.

    • Matt G says:

      Excellent point.

      Regarding the moral legitimacy of the state, I think the argument is that tacit consent does not imply moral legitimacy.

      It is the same with rape: tacit consent does not imply moral legitimacy. But neither does purely tacit consent imply a lack of moral legitimacy.

      To be explicit, if a woman just surrenders control and does not give an enthusiastic or explicit “yes”, this is not sufficient information to judge whether or not the act was rape. The context matters.

      Somewhat unrelated, but consider the uncomfortable possibility that in some cases of alleged rape, there might not always be a black & white moral judgement to be made.

  9. Tony N says:

    Clearly, many commenters thus far have keyed in on the important distinction between “not offering resistance to avoid greater harm” and true “tacit consent,” which is to imply by action that you approve of something. Not fighting back when a man has you pinned down is not tacit consent to sex any more than payment is tacit consent to taxation.

    Bob, I think this is much more difficult to tackle (not necessarily impossible) when we imagine the libertarian not only paying his taxes, but demanding increased local/state/federal output , e.g. smaller class sizes, etc. This, to me, is a bit like a woman saying “gee, I’m not sure we should be doing this” as she throws you down on the bed and unstraps your belt.

    • Matt M (Dude Where's My Freedom) says:

      Or a self-described “libertarian” voting for Mitt Romney…

    • Ken B says:

      There was a court case some years ago when a woman about to be raped asked that he wear a condom. He argued in court this implied consent. This claim was rejected.

      And I like it when you talk dirty Tony N.

      • Tony N says:

        I’m E.L. James’s ghostwriter.

        Tell no one.

        • Ken B says:

          Its based on Bob, isn’t it? You don’t have to answer just blink twice if it is.

  10. Michael Barnett says:

    So what’s the big deal? Always make the woman beg for it before giving it to her? If she’s not begging for it, there’s something wrong with you and you shouldn’t be trying to have sex anyway.

  11. David Friedman says:

    It seems to me that in order for the analogy to work, you need a case where the man tells the woman that he is going to have intercourse with her whether or not she consents and her subsequent “consent” consists of not trying to fight him off. That, after all, is the normal situation with regard to government.

    When you invite someone over for dinner, you don’t actually say that you are feeding them for free, but after you put food on the table and let them eat it, you don’t have a basis for claiming that they stole your food.

    • skylien says:

      “India’s top police official was under fire Wednesday for saying, “If you can’t prevent rape, you might as well enjoy it.””


      • Samson Corwell says:

        I think India has found their Todd Akin!

    • skylien says:

      Sorry this wasn’t meant as answer to you David…

    • Major_Freedom says:

      I think this is a great answer.

    • Gamble says:

      David Friedman wrote:”It seems to me that in order for the analogy to work, you need a case where the man tells the woman that he is going to have intercourse with her whether or not she consents and her subsequent “consent” consists of not trying to fight him off. That, after all, is the normal situation with regard to government.”

      Pretty much sums it up although a man would probably stop if the woman fought back, government won’t. Only individuals exercise logic.

    • Samson Corwell says:

      I think the more important difference is in the act itself.

  12. Anon y Mouse says:

    I wonder if pjs applies this consistently when she considers, if she ever does, the oppression of women in Islam. Women who live in fear are trotted out to express their love of the burka.

  13. H says:

    Does the man have to consent?
    What if government is being abused by the yanking it’s response functions? The poor thing is blind as a bat, yet always so willing to perform. STOP SEDUCING THE GOVERNMENT!

  14. skylien says:

    I agree that just because she “tacitly consented” (means she might didn’t fight back due to fear of any but even deadly force/brutality) doesn’t mean she wasn’t raped. The problem of course is how to prove it this or that way. Unfortunately I see absolutely no solution to this problem.

  15. Will says:

    What if an unattractive woman provided drinks to a man who otherwise would not have attempted to have sexual relations with said unattractive woman. The subsequent beer goggles led to the man not resisting the woman’s advances. Was the man raped?

  16. Matt Tanous says:

    The difference is that the girl can say no without negative consequence, while the “citizen” who says no is imprisoned or worse.

    Consent doesn’t need to be explicit, though. And my personal experience where a woman tried to rape me had me explicitly deny consent. Oh, but that’s right, “men can’t be raped” because “they always want sex”. Heard that from a “rape victim advocate”. Carry on with your one-sided view of this tragic occurrence that ignores the half a million or so men “made to penetrate” their intimate partners each year (that’s TOTALLY not rape, guys, the government said so), as well as the millions that suffer from domestic violence….

  17. Michael J Green says:

    I don’t know, it seems like once the analogy is set straight, it only bolsters libertarianism. The proper comparison is one in which there is a tacit threat that, should the woman (or man!) protest, the man (or woman!) will inflict some kind of damage. Of course, I don’t think that any of us would deny that such a scenario is rape (oh boy, I hope not). So to make the analogy work, you can’t simply leave it at, “the victim tacitly consented, so all’s good.” There needs to be the tacit threat along with the tacit consent.

    The only potential problem is that it may be difficult to prove that there was a threat, or that the victim reasonably believed there to be. It’s pretty easy for us to prove that there is a threat against those who fail to pay taxes or abide by regulations.

  18. yogi says:

    Your point would be valid if the “rapist” had an armed entourage waiting nearby to visit violence on the woman if she does not meekly go along…. and the woman knew this.

    People don’t have to think of taxes as “theft” per se.They only have to be aware of the consequences of not paying them.

    Do you know anybody who doesn’t know that he can be abducted at gunpoint and put in a cage with a convicted felon if he doesn’t pay taxes ? Neither do I.

  19. Sean says:

    After thinking about it I conclude that there is not a clear parallel. The state is already coercing people into paying taxes, etc. To claim that my paying taxes without protest is like tacit consent is like saying that a slave who doesn’t speak up against his/her master is tacitly consenting to his/her condition. A woman who fears that she will be harmed due to an explicit threat (verbal or non-verbal) if she protests, and therefore refrains from doing so, is still being raped. The problem is that it may be hard to legally prove the guilt of the rapist, not that we can’t decide that this fits the definition of rape. The problem here is not the conceptual issue, but the factual one: what counts as an explicit threat and where, in a legal case, is evidence available to prove the existence of that threat? In the case of the state, being threatened with fines and jail time, written explicitly in the legal code, surely is the epitome of an explicit threat. The evidence is written up, passed around, and proclaimed to the people. Its called “legislation”.

  20. Niels van der Linden says:

    As a Misesian egoist utilitarian, any questions about ‘moral legitimacy’ (including this one) are imaginary squabbles.

    ‘Taxation is theft’ statements do not give much insight to a non-libertarian. You need to actually give people economic insight, and understanding of alternatives, to have a chance at changing their ideas in a useful way.

    You, Bob, wrote a book and made lectures about how a voluntary society could function. It appears you did that because you thought ‘taxation is theft’ (or ‘taxation is immoral by the laws of E=MC2’) didn’t cut it.

  21. David Wilkinson says:

    This is a tough issue I think. I think tacit consent is a real thing. Stefan Molyneux used the example of sitting down in a restaurant and ordering food. I guess you could say the prices are next to each thing you order, but still tacit consent holds up. What makes the taxes situation interesting is that the threat of violence remains with or without your consent. For example, I can consent to Soviet communism. Even with this consent, this doesn’t make it right for them to impose, nor does it even make it right for them to impose it on ME, even though I might consent. The problem with this type of “consent” is that it doesn’t matter. I can peacefully “consent” to give a thief 200 dollars, so he doesn’t have to be guilty of stealing from me. But this still doesn’t make stealing right, in hopes that they consent.

    So I guess if a girl is going through all the motions with a man, and never says “no” she is tacitly complying with his advances. I think the rape situation would be more analogous to government if, all along, he made it clear that if she didn’t consent, he would have sex anyway. So that is the difference between “Tacit” consent of government and “tacit” consent of sex and how it is in a subtle way, comparing apples and oranges.

    Bob, you mentioned these might be reconcilable, but you didn’t mention your reconciliation of the issues. What is your solution?

  22. Gamble says:

    Unless you sent a written letter to the various governments that claim ownership, you are indeed consenting. When responding to census, tell them how many, nothing more, When responding to ACS, tell them their questions are intrusive and illegal. When at jury duty and they roll call and ask for “here” instead say conscript.

    Send letters, go to town hall, go to county commissioners, go to statehouse, petition. Make it clear you have revoked consent.

    I have “officially” revoked consent, it is great. I just need a million friends to do the same.

    You don’t want a warrant or jail time but you need to push the boundaries.

    • Ken B says:

      If you are mugged or your car is stolen or your wife is murdered, will you call the police?

      • Gamble says:

        Remind me, what are my options?

        • Ken B says:

          To be consistent about withdrawing your consent, or to not be.

          • Gamble says:

            Ken B,

            Now you gave me a non answer and or tangent.

            If I and 10,000 others completely withdraw consent, stop paying taxes and establish a private protection business, war will certainly be aggressed upon us from the existing statist monopoly…

            Remind me again what are my options?

            Ahh that dirty phrase “political pragmatism” sure is a bitch…

            • Ken B says:

              You reply to a question with a question and you say I gave you a nonanswer?

              You annunciated a general principle. I asked you about a particular application of it. If your general principle cannot survive particular applications there is something missing.

  23. Mike M says:

    I’ve heard this analogy, I think from Dr Block in reference to voting, “that a slave master gives his slaves the opportunity to vote for which overseer they work under. Overseer 1 beats them, Overseer 2 does not, if the slaves participate in the voting, they are not giving their consent to slavery, they are simply doing what is in their immediate self interest. By adhering to the dimensions of the state that intrude in our lives, we are not violating the libertarian or anarchist philosophical beliefs, the slaves above or the woman asking the rapist to wear a condom, we are attempting to improve out otherwise dismal immediate outlook. Though in poor taste and completely removed from reality, in essence that was what the official was attempting to express with the comment about if a woman is to be raped she might as well enjoy it. Non of the situations above imply any form of consent, tacit or otherwise. Both are clear violations property rights and the nonaggression principle. In reading the above, I can’t help but feel a little bit uncomfortable with drawing comparisons from a “act” that carries tremendous personal consequences and paying my taxes or voting. I wonder how a personal who has been a victim of rape would feel in reading the above. I know it bothered me.

    • Gamble says:

      If and when enough people opt out of voting, it will have a power full impact.

      Small towns are a perfect example, sometimes the voter turnout is so low, the mayor may only get 150 votes from 2000 residents.

      It is fun to be at a town meeting and remind them their supposed mandate is only 150 strong…

      • Ken B says:

        If mayors proceed happily on 150 votes, how exactly will opting out have a big impact?

        • Gamble says:

          No you purposely missed the point.

          When you go to town hall and remind them how few votes they received, you are also reminding them their so called mandate is not much ofa mandate.

          The fewer votes the better. You know this, this is why you are scared and defensive.

  24. Martin says:

    Tacit concent is trumped by an explicit objection. When people claim that the state is “justified” by tacit concent they’re just wrong, not because tacit concent isn’t good enough, but because an explicit objection changes nothing. Do I have to get explicit concent everytime I have sex? No. Tacit concent is good enough.

  25. The NYT on Filibusters, and a Note on Methodological Individualism says:

    […] with my ill-fated link to Pamela Stubbart’s comment, I’m not here “blowing up” standard Austro-libertarianism, I’m just […]

  26. Andrew_FL says:

    I think she could complain afterwards if she went through the motions *because the rapist held a gun to her head*.

    Hm, I see others made more or less this same point.

  27. Cody S says:


    Being personally terrified of men doesn’t mean you get to imply there is a consistent, publicly acknowledged negative consequence for saying you don’t want to unbutton your shirt and pants. Such is certainly the case with law, taxation, and transportation security officers.

    Salutory Inoffensive Hand Gesticulations,

    Cody S

  28. Samson Corwell says:

    Who is squabbling about rape?

  29. joe z says:

    The biggest problem with this analogy (for the statist) is that it admits that the State, some of the time, is “raping” some of the people.

    Talk about a great institution!

  30. Anthony Gregory says:

    Bravo, Bob! It took guts to post this.

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