Consent Is Deontological

Consent Is Deontological

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Language: English

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00:01
[Music] in the western world we've got two predominant views on ethics deontology where the morality of an action is based on if the action is right or wrong under a set of rules and consequentialism where the morality of an action is based on if the action produces a good outcome put simply it's good is good rules versus good is good ends the most obvious example of deontological ethics is a religious code and due to this deontological ethics is considered by a lot of fedora tippers and neck beard growers to exclusively be the domain of
00:32
uneducated quasi-religious dumb hicks and there's some truth to this view for sure if you're a 75 iq pleb just trying to get by in life with no understanding aptitude or desire to learn about ethical philosophy it's probably a lot easier for someone to tell you that there's a simple enough set of rules to follow to get a mostly good life you know say your prayers and eat your vitamins kind of stuff the practical function religion serves for most people is a way to be ethical enough to fit into society without having to think about it too hard and that's a big help for those people who aren't thinking about it it's for this reason that
01:03
excuses to violated deontological code are a lot less persuasive than the otherwise would appear to be the obvious problem with this view is what do you do when the rules you're following are actually bad rules or how do you recognize a rule is bad at all if the source of morality is the rules themselves the flaw here is that there can be an inability to update the morals when they need to be updated in the face of that flaw it's hard to argue with the consequentialist critique of religion or culture screw the rules they hold us back goodness comes from a good result that's a very appealing argument who doesn't want good ends who doesn't want
01:34
the world to be better and who wouldn't do the hard but necessary work to make it happen it makes sense that if an action's outcome creates goodness but is still against some law or rule shouldn't we do the action anyway shouldn't that law or rule be updated or discarded as not being congruent with the new reality considering it like this i am not surprised at all that the internet's favorite pseudo-intellectuals are all consequentialists to the point that they use deontology like a slur all of the arguments that you've been making have rung dantological to me if that's yours
02:05
it's not your dig that's fine are you a consequentialist but if it sounds like i'm simping for consequentialism i'm not consequential ethics forms the core justification of every utopian ideology and underpins the logic of both marxism and fascism if you can identify equality as having infinite value then you can commit any number of atrocities to obtain that value and your ethical calculations will still come out in the green what does it matter if you kill six million jews if the end result is that you create a thousand year reich what does it matter if you collectivize all property and purge any who resist
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you as reactionaries if the end result is you create the stateless classless moneyless society and bring about the end of history if the final end is good enough you can justify any number of smaller bad ends along the way because the ethical calculation will ultimately still turn up positive which brings us to the topic of consent let me ask you this question it's gonna seem obvious but bear with me why is rape bad the deontological answer to this question is easy enough assuming you subscribe to a set of rules that defines rape is bad but that's not a satisfying answer is it
03:07
rape is bad because it's bad i mean yes but that still doesn't explain it at the same time what is the consequentialist answer to this question well firstly you'll quickly discover that it's actually deontological in fact all of consequentialist ethics is deontological if you dig deeply enough here's a great example take the question should we kill gay people for being gay you and i will likely say no we shouldn't but a radical islamist who wants to see sharia law implemented on everybody worldwide will say yes of course inconsequentialist thinking can justify both positions we can say well killing gay people is a bad
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end we're violating their rights death and suffering is bad etc and the radical islamists can say well killing gay people is a good end one less sinner on earth god's will has been enforced etc etc it turns out in any consequentialist calculation what constitutes good ends is ultimately derived by a previously held deontological position this was one of the greatest discoveries of jonathan heights work that all of morality is ultimately just how you feel with this in mind let's return to that question about consent you can make the argument that if person a rapes person b any
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pleasure that person a gains from the encounter is dwarfed by person b's pain making it a bad outcome that seems reasonable what if ten people gang rape somebody or a hundred or a million it becomes harder and harder to argue that the overwhelming amounts of satisfaction from such a situation doesn't outweigh the anguish of just one individual this is why consequentialism always becomes a tyranny of the majority because the majority superior number of positive ends can be directly garnered through the minority's exploitation most consequentialists at this point will reply with the following argument i've
04:41
even heard destiny make it at some point an act is so morally bankrupt that regardless of any moral calculations of the event itself in a vacuum normalizing that event creates a much worse society destiny calls these hidden ends again this seems reasonable right a society where 100 people are allowed to gang rape somebody because the ethical calculations of that event in a vacuum might be positive would still be an unstable nightmarish society to live in as those attitudes towards consent bodily autonomy and sex would permeate into other areas of life you can't
05:11
really argue with that these other negatives are the hidden ends and it is these hidden ends that make the action immoral because the action doesn't happen in a vacuum so let's set up a hypothetical this will be my analog to vaca's coconut island let's call it dev's spaceship let's say there's a large group of people on a spaceship the spaceship is massively damaged and is slowly drifting towards earth there is no contact between the ship and anybody outside due to the damage to the communication system there is no hope for survival of anyone because the damage upon re-entry will be so
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catastrophic that nobody on earth will ever know what transpired on that ship in its final hours in this situation is it morally permissible from a consequentialist point of view for all of the ship's occupants to gang-rape somebody if not then why not the act itself pleasures more people than it harms there will be no normalization of the act in wider society because the destruction of the ship will completely wipe away any evidence that actually happened this act does exist in a permanent vacuum where no matter what happens the wider society doesn't change destiny's hidden ends have been
06:13
accounted for so what is the consequentialist objection to any normal person this still seems like an obviously immoral act but consequentialist ethics leaves us entirely unable to describe why and the reason for that is simple because consent is fundamentally a deontological value let me explain consent is a person's voluntary agreement to fulfill the desires of somebody else this applies to not only sexual consent but all consent let's say you're looking for a job some jobs might be farther than you're willing to travel some jobs might have demands on your time that's incompatible with other obligations some jobs might be in a different field than
06:44
you're willing to work in all of these examples what you're willing to do and what they're willing to pay you for aren't congruent you can't come to an agreement but let's say you do find a job where it's congruent where you are willing to do what your boss pays you to do in this situation your boss doesn't have the right to force you to work at gunpoint indeed you don't have to show up but in exchange for your consent to that job he consents to give you money you both have a desire and you both consent to giving up something to see that desire met additionally while you're consenting to work you're also consenting not to do any range of other
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possible things during that time period consider this red circle to be all the possible things you can do at any given moment now consider this green circle is what your boss wants you to do if you want to get paid aka you want your boss to consent to give you his money you have to consent to do only the things within the green circle and to consent not to do the other things in the red circle in other words in exchange for the money you want you are consenting to narrow your range of possible actions and your boss's behaviors also overlap with a similar diagram he is also consenting to narrow his range of possible actions too this is what a
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voluntary exchange is when both parties are being honest consenting to do a specific thing at the expense of other possibilities and the trade-off for that loss of possibility is that you satisfy each other's desires sex works the same way when you consent to sex with another person they're also presumably consenting to sex with you and additionally whatever else comes along with that relationship whether it be casual or serious this is why informed consent actually makes sense at least to some reasonable degree for example if one person is consenting to sex under some preconceived notion of exclusivity and the other person violates that
08:16
notion it absolutely feels like a violation of consent just ask anybody who's been cheated on but what's important for our discussion is that all of this stuff describes a non-religious deontological framework when you enter into a friendship a romantic relationship a business relationship there are rules for your interactions within that framework whether they're explicitly stated or not when you consent to bind yourself to a series of rules in exchange for some benefit at the expense of other possible options you are choosing to operate within a deontological framework and then if you violate those rules even if there's no bad outcome that a consequentialist
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could point to you've still violated the agreement but this is why your average consequentialist will never actually consider somebody's word to have any worth this is why socialists online will lie to your face if it means that they win and sometimes they're dumb enough to tell you that you call it selling out your principles i call it [ __ ] winning and that's my principle to win as a socialist not to lose as a socialist that's not my principle i don't give a [ __ ] about principled failure principled failure is worth dog
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[ __ ] what is honor to a person who only believes in material conditions who thinks that the word of another carries no weight there's a series of two examples both related to labor that can prove my point here the first one is workplace safety consider a boss who is violating the safety code in order to cut corners and be a bit more productive at the expense of his workers a socialist might appeal to the deontological consideration of the code itself but when pushed they will fall back to the consequentialist answer of actual safety and harm the safety code exists to avoid accidents so even if the boss's corner cutting doesn't result in
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any accidents this time it absolutely could later and we don't want to normalize that behavior and cause more accidents down the line the hidden ends the second example is arriving to work on time consider a worker who is routinely late for a shift every dumb twitter comedy will say something like good on you fight the power boss makes a dollar i make a dime [ __ ] the man over every possible way you can steal back from them etc etc the consequences of this act doesn't affect them but the bosses they hate so much and the deontological concern that you gave your word to be at a specific place and time that you gave your consent in exchange
10:22
for your boss's consent to give you money in fact doesn't actually matter to them if you can violate consent to get a better deal the socialists will advise you to do it because the better deal is a good outcome and consent is deontological it is a product of agreements not outcomes understanding that consent works in this way explains why people on the left have such a hard time with respecting it and while i'm certainly being cheeky right now i don't only mean in the context of sexual assault or pedophilia let's return to employment a common socialist position is that workers cannot truly consent to
10:52
employment because of power imbalances the workers will die without getting paid and buying the food they need and so their boss is willing to exploit that need because starvation is a gun to the worker's head to use the socialist phrasing no negotiation between workers and bosses ever actually constitutes consent because workers are always being coerced by bosses by the way this is the point that vasha's coconut island tries to illustrate the problem with this view is that it rests atop the idea that two parties who negotiate from different positions of power can never truly be negotiating because they aren't holding the exact same cards in their hand one
11:23
person will always have a better position and therefore they will always be exploiting the weaker party and so it's never truly consent the natural end result of this view is the complete destruction of the very concept of negotiation since nobody is ever perfectly equal and if you were a revolutionary communist who only believed in consequentialist ethics and was willing to do any number of deontologically bad things to achieve your ideal end undermining the concept of negotiation itself by rendering it invalid and therefore only leaving violence on the table is absolutely
11:54
something that you would want to do but what makes negotiation legitimate is not the relative bargaining strength of the various parties it's consent if you are a person who wants negotiation destroyed if you don't consider agreements to be valid because they're deontological nature then there is absolutely no way in hell you can actually value consent there is no consequentialist justification for consent itself only a vague understanding that a society which devalues consent can be a bad society to live in and if you think that society is somehow good then there is just no reason to value consent at all consent
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seems to rest on top of some understanding of natural law if we are individuals with free will then we can both give consent and be held responsible for our actions marxism as a school of thought entirely rejects this notion i love going back to this essay the title always makes me laugh but in marx's on the jewish question he devotes the middle third of the essay to condemning france's 1789 declaration of the rights of man of the citizen for offering up a definition of rights that is too liberal here are his criticisms and bear with me it will be a little bit
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long but i want to make the point clear above all we note the fact that the so-called rights of man are nothing but the rights of a member of civil society i.e the rights of egotistic man of men separated from other men and from the community article 2 these rights are equality liberty security and property what constitutes liberty article 6 liberty is the power which man has to do everything that does not harm the rights of others liberty therefore is the right to do everything that harms no one else the limits within which anyone can act without harming someone else are defined by law just as the boundary between two
13:28
fields determined by a post it is the question of the liberty of man as an isolated monad withdrawn into himself but the right of man to liberty is based not on the association of man with man but on the separation of man from man it is the right of this separation the right of the restricted individual withdrawn into himself the practical application of man's right to liberty is man's right to private property what constitutes man's right to private property article 16 the right of property is that which every citizen has of enjoying and of disposing at his discretion of his goods and income of
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the fruits of his labor and industry the right of man to private property is therefore the right to enjoy one's property and to dispose of it at one's discretion without regard to other men independently of society the right of self-interest this individual liberty and its application form the basis of civil society it makes every man see another man not the realization of his own freedom but the barrier to it equality used here in its non-political sense is nothing but the equality of liberty as described above namely each man is to the same extent regarded as such a self-sufficient monad in security
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article 8 security consists in the protection afforded by society to each of its members for the preservation of his person his rights and his property security is the highest social concept of civil society the concept of police expressing the fact that the whole of society exists only in order to guarantee to each of its members the preservation of his person his rights and his property the concept of security does not raise a civil society above its egoism on the contrary security is the insurance of egoism none of the so-called rights of man therefore go beyond egotistic man beyond man as a
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member of civil society that is an individual withdrawn into himself into the confines of his private interests and private caprice and separated from his community in the rights of man he is far from being conceived as a species being on the contrary species life itself society appears as a framework external to the individual as a restriction of their original independence the sole bond holding them together is natural necessity need and private interest the preservation of their property and their egotistic selves it is puzzling enough that a people which is just beginning to liberate itself to tear down all
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barriers between its various sections and to establish a political community that such a people solemnly proclaim the right of egotistic man separated from his fellow men and from the community here's what marx said in a lot fewer words the liberal conception of rights as being a product of natural law aka natural rights is too individualistic it ignores collective concerns this passage forms the marxist basis for the rejection of rights it is the right of people to stand apart but not the right of people to be brought closer together one of the biggest reasons as to why marx is incredibly stupid is that the individual does not actually need a
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right to be brought closer together but the individual does need the right to stand apart if people want to be closer they can voluntarily choose to do so no rights are required for that beyond consent but if people do not want to be closer if they actually want to be disassociated disconnected if in more practical terms they want to be free of an abuser or a rapist or a manipulator then in a liberal society they have that right to stand apart imagine a marxist society where the right to be brought closer together is enshrined imagine an abuser having the right to be close to their victim out of a sense of marxist
16:37
illiberal anti-individualism that is what marx is saying when he critiques the liberal idea of rights as an individual withdrawn into himself into the confines of his private interests when he says the right of man to liberty is based not on the association of man with man but on the separation of man from man his critique is that the liberal conception of rights does not allow people to be forced together it is for this reason that marxists have never respected consent not consent to ownership not consent to labor and not
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sexual consent it is in their ideology to actively reject consent as part of liberal egoism of bourgeois privacy consent is deontological in nature and deontological ethics are ultimately just capitalist constructions that the marxist needs to see torn down and because to the marxist individual concerns are second rate the consent of the individual is not required within a marxist society at this point in my ethical understanding i'm not a consequentialist or a deontologician but a virtue ethicist thanks sargon's reading suggestions for that virtue ethics posits that it's not only good
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rules or good ends that create goodness though both of those things play a role but it's also good habits in other words you are what you consistently do cultivating a character with positive traits aka virtues and not with negative traits aka vices creates good people moreover in virtue ethics moral content lies not just in the deliberation of an act or the outcome of an act but in the act itself consider saving somebody from a car accident you may have a deontological reason to do so some legal or religious rule to follow you may understand the positive outcome of doing
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so somebody is alive afterward but the action of saving the life itself also has moral content because it shows and builds a good moral character in your personality the bravery the honor the self-sacrifice consent may be deontological but it also speaks to virtue the consent to do something means assuming you honor that consent and actually do it you're building your character this is why what you choose to consent to and not consent to is of the utmost importance and at the same time you'll also realize that we are far outside of the socialist framework right now socialists don't have proper
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language within their lens to describe any of these concepts i'm talking about they certainly don't practice any of these concepts i think that's why you can pluck any random socialists out of a crowd and they will probably be entirely lacking in any sort of virtue they may pay lip service to the idea of consent but they cannot truly understand why it is so vitally important and what it actually does to you and to others when you give consent and follow through for all of consequentialism's good components and give the devil as due there are a lot of them there is no room within a consequentialist framework for the concept of consent if you value
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consent then you must value your honor and you must be able to trust others at their word this requires some notion of deontological ethics if you meet a person who just completely ignores deontological ethics on principle you will likely discover that they actually have no principles at all

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