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Australian philosopher, literary critic, legal scholar, and professional writer. Based in Newcastle, NSW. My latest books are THE TYRANNY OF OPINION: CONFORMITY AND THE FUTURE OF LIBERALISM (2019); AT THE DAWN OF A GREAT TRANSITION: THE QUESTION OF RADICAL ENHANCEMENT (2021); and HOW WE BECAME POST-LIBERAL: THE RISE AND FALL OF TOLERATION (2024).

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Stangroom gets something right

Here and here.


Russell Blackford said...

Go and support him, or go and argue with him if you disagree. You don't have to agree with him just because I do.

Or stay here and make snarky remarks about a broken clock being right twice a day, or whatever. I wouldn't indulge in that kind of snark myself, of course, but some of y'all might not be as nice as I am.

ColinGavaghan said...

He has a point, up to a point, but I suspect some closer probing would reveal some rather dodgy attitudes behind those posts. Specifically, a young boy should consider himself 'damn lucky' to have had sex with an older woman, but 'No, I don’t think the situation would be the same if it were a 13 year old girl we were talking about here'

I could be wrong, but that reads more like the thinking of a blokish sexist than any sort of sexual libertarian.

Russell Blackford said...

To be fair, though, a 13-y.o. girl really is more vulnerable than a 13-y.o. boy. For a start, the 13-y.o. girl can get pregnant. The average 13-y.o. girl is going to be more mentally mature than the average 13-y.o. boy. But I think we can recognise that while also thinking that she may have more to lose and be more in need of society's protection, simply because of facts about our bodies. And Stangroom does leave that issue open, IIRC.

So I'm prepared to cut him some slack here, even though I doubt that he'll ever reciprocate and read things that I write in a charitable or even fairminded way.

stuart peace said...

well my instinct is to say that i would have love to have slept with a 26 year old when i was 13, but that for a 13 year old girl with a 26 year old guy, that is a different story.

my question to russell is this - in your mind, is the only reason that a 13 year old girl might need more protection is because she can get pregnant?

Russell Blackford said...

I'll send the question back to you, Stuart. What is your instinct based on, do you think? To be fair to Stangroom, he doesn't try to decide this point,IIRC. The pregnancy issue is the obvious possible reason to make such a distinction, but what else might there be?

ColinGavaghan said...

Yeah, but c'mon, the pregnancy issue pales into relative insignificance beside the risks of life-threatening STIs, which could be contracted by either. And Stangroom's argument (as I read it) isn't based on the fact that 'under-age' sex is harmless, but rather, that the boy clearly knew what he was doing. If the sex was consensual, in the genuine sense of the word, then a harm-based criminalisation is very dubious.

stuart peace said...

ha! i asked you for a reason!

i don't know what my 'instinct' is based on, and every time i try to come up with logical arguments, they sound so hollow, e.g. "men are natural sexual aggressors therefore young women need to be protected more than young men"

i do wonder if my 'instinct' is based upon some sort of moderate sexism.

yet at the same time, i've never had much trouble listening to my 'voice of logic' when it came to other issues, e.g. bioethics and metaphysics from first year ;)

so i can't help but wonder if there is something more to it. but if there is, i can't explain it. which is why i was wondering what you thought

March Hare said...

Would people feel the same if the teacher was a man?

Genuine question, but I think I know the answer...

Anonymous said...

well my instinct is to say that i would have love to have slept with a 26 year old when i was 13, but that for a 13 year old girl with a 26 year old guy, that is a different story.

You don't think there are 13 year old girls who would love to sleep with a good-looking 26 year old guy?