Thursday, March 15, 2012

ZenTiger Dying for sex?

In the secular and liberal world, the concept of consent is the cornerstone of a liberal's approach to moral issues. Beyond consent though is a more fundamental human desire - the wish for public endorsement of a person's actions. For example, things that were originally only an issue in the "privacy of the bedroom between consenting adults" now require not just state endorsement but full acceptance from the Church. Whilst liberals say they tolerate anything with appropriate consent, they tend not to tolerate wildly different opinions.

So we fall back to the issue of consent, which isn't a bad place to fall back to.

An extremely important event then, was the recent ruling that failure of one party to disclose AIDS to their sexual partner could be treated as a crime tantamount to rape, because the partner cannot provide fully informed consent.

There are groups that oppose this move. The AIDS foundation is worried:
The Aids Foundation says that a Court of Appeal ruling that says people with HIV could be charged with rape if they do not tell a sexual partner about their disease, is over the top. In a precedent setting decision on Monday the Court of Appeal in Wellington ruled people with HIV could be charged with rape if they do not tell a willing sexual partner about their disease.
It doesn't actually go far enough. The case related to entitlement for ACC due to mental duress, and is seen as a potential precedent setting case, but lets get even clearer. Many AIDS related organisations suggest condom use should remove any such obligation to inform partners of HIV status. Condom use (protected sex) is no guarantee of safety either. Participants are still unwittingly placed in a game of Russian Roulette, and whether there are 5 blanks and one live bullet in the barrel, or a magazine clip of 20 blanks with only one live bullet, is beside the point. Meaningful consent requires disclosure, and not just on AIDS either - how about on all known sexual diseases! Why not let the partner make the decision on how safe they really think condoms are? Just this attitude alone speaks volumes.

This is going to send ripples through secular society. Presumably, the reaction of the AIDS foundation suggests "Caveat Emptor" rules if anything gets in the way of lust, or in this case, ethics and moral obligation.

My post here is to suggest to Conservatives that lending support for these kinds of issues is a practical approach for creating a sea change of opinion on the issues of casual sex, relationships and the meaning of integrity. Putting things in terms of consent is something liberals can understand, and ultimately have to support to be true to their belief system.

[Link to the story behind the graphic - not directly related at all but a worthy story.]

4 comment(s):

Chuck Bird said...

The editorial in the Dominion is encouraging.

The comments on KB are also encouraging.

ZenTiger said...

Haven't been paying much attention to the blogs, so good to see the story has at least come up. Will go have a look.


This is why conservatives need to support gay marriage.
Encouraging gays to form faithful relationships is the best harm minimisation policy around.
I still cannot see how it damages the traditional heterosexual marriage though.
Unless it is all about a name.

ZenTiger said...

I think Conservatives are all to happy to support fidelity and commitment. Couples demonstrating this have my respect.

However, I would suggest the issue for some conservatives is not about a name, but more particularly about the meaning of words.

If you accept that the word Dog, to some people means an animal that is specifcally canine, and then finding another group of people insisting they should be able to call a cat a dog, I'd argue this is a bad thing. It devalues the word dog to render it virtually meaningless. And I'm not going to be keen on having to pay a dog license for my cat, for that matter.

Although I will probably be labelled dogophobic (or catophobic?) for not agreeing that a dog can be called a cat?

If marriage means "the union of a man and a women, until death do they part, for the purposes of raising a family", then there is a genuine problem making other things fit.

Not that I dispute different people provide different definitions. That is part of the debate. Look at polygamous marriages for example. (See, I didn't say "look at marriages for example", and expected you to understand that I was taking about polygamy. I needed to add the word polygamous before marriage to indicate I was talking about a different use of the word marriage, one that changes the meaning of the word marriage.)

The debate therefore isn't just about a name, it is about who gets to define a word's meaning in society, and rather than have new words for new situations, some people want old words replaced. That's a pretty interesting discusion if we take a broader perspective on this issue.

This is of course a little more complex than the above generalisation I just made, as the instiution of marriage has apsects of it that have indeed changed throughout history in many ways. covering all that here though is on the wrong thread!

BTW, I think the biggest threat to the institution of marriage (Christian definition) in general is the high rate of divorce and the number of single parent families. The reasons behind such failures will show why our society is in decay.

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