Age and Consent

I see that Milo Yiannopoulos (who I usually enjoy) has found himself the target of outrage, but unusually this time from conservatives (rather than progressives). Apparently conservative Republicans (of the never Trump stripe) are claiming that he’s in favor of pedophilia. That is nonsense, as a quick look at his record of outing pedophiles shows. At worst he’s guilty of using humor to deal with his own sexual abuse, casual use of the word ‘boy’ (the same way straight men use ‘girls’) and, mostly, for being more realistic than most people can stand about age and consent.

There is no magic in the body and mind that means that a person is psychologically ready for sex when they hit a particular age. Ages of consent a broad benchmark mean to protect people from pedophiles and…. themselves. Even accepting, as I very much do, that no one should have sex before finishing puberty… not everybody matures at the same rate psychologically (not to mention the problems of dealing with personal history and issues) and some people should probably not have sex for years after they are done with puberty while others… don’t really need to wait so long. This is especially true if it is assumed that age of consent laws are established conservatively (in terms of most people’s psychological development).

Unless a valid psychological test can be formulated and administered (or god foribd some kind of government license) people will be stuck with ages of consent – but they shouldn’t delude themselves into thinking that they are anything but an awkward substitute for assessing psychological readiness.

In terms of Yiannopoulos’s case, it’s probably a mistake to clarify – the people attacking him don’t care about the truth, they just want to destroy him (because that’s related to what Trump gives conservatives, an upcoming post).

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