Sunday, May 13, 2018

Snopes Quotes "Sexuality Educator" On Asking Infants' Permission To Change Diapers; Denies She Said What She Said

I've been afraid for awhile now that Snopes might have gone over to the Dark Side. Here's some confirmation. I've complained about some of their rulings against Democrats in the past. But now I'm kinda worried about their overall orientation.
   Relevant details, quoting Snopes extensively:
Sexuality educator Deanne Carson said parents should ask a baby's permission before changing their diaper.
What Carson said, quoted by Snopes:
Carson: Yes, just about how to set up a culture of consent in their homes so “I’m going to change your nappy now, is that OK?” Of course a baby is not going to respond “yes, mum, that’s awesome, I’d love to have my nappy changed.”
But if you leave a space and wait for body language and wait to make eye contact then you’re letting that child know that their response matters.
Mostly false
Sexuality educator Deanne Carson said parents could ask children if it is okay to change their diapers to teach them "their response matters," noting that it is not actually possible for babies to consent to a diaper change.
Carson did not say infants were able to or parents were required to receive consent for diaper changes; Carson did not say infants who refused consent should remain in dirty diapers.
So let's get this straight: "sexuality expert" asserts that parent's should (I'll say 'say' here, in order to avoid begging any questions) say to their children: "I'm going to change your [diaper] now, is that OK?" Snopes says that the claim that she "said parents should ask a baby's permission before changing their diaper." is "mostly false." But if saying "I'm going to change your diaper now, is that ok?" is not asking permission...then what, exactly, would count as asking permission? 

Snopes is full of shit

   Possible response: Carson is not saying that parents should actually ask their infants for consent to change diapers; she's saying that parents should pretend to ask their infants for consent. She's not saying that the infants response should actually determine the parent's action. She explicitly says that they aren't going to say "Yes, mum, that's awesome, I'd love to have my [diaper] changed." 
   Counter-response 1: Carson does not say that the the baby's response doesn't matter. She says that the baby won't verbally grant consent--won't say certain words or kinds of words. Which is basically a straw man. No one thinks that an infant is going to say words.
   Counter-response 2: Carson does say: "if you leave a space and wait for body language and wait to make eye contact then you’re letting that child know that their response matters." The upshot is pretty clear. She's saying that the baby can respond with "body language," and that this is a way to "let the child know" that its "response matters." This clear entails that the kid's response matters. (Of course it doesn't--but Carson is clearly saying that it does.) 
   Counter-response 3: This is the goddamn stupidest thing I've ever heard.
   Counter-response 4: If Carson weren't saying that the kid's response mattered, then she'd basically be saying both that (a) some kind of attitudes about consent can be established at this age, and (b) the parents should ignore the kid's responses and change it whether it "consents" or not. That is, she'd be committed to the position that parents should basically teach their baby's that consent doesn't matter. 
   The rating here should be True or, at least Mostly True.
   Carson is best interpreted as saying that parents should ask their babies' permission--she's clearly saying that they should ask. If we try to weasel out of that by saying that she's actually saying that they should pretend to ask, then Carson's position devolves into incoherence (as opposed to mere stupidity).
   Look this is idiotic, but, IMO, it's actually worth thinking about because it's so clearly representative of a certain kind of cultural madness that's gripped us. This bullshit is crazy. And it's not isolated. It's actually a rather small extension of a really stupid, really big idea that we've got lodged in our collective brain--that idea itself being a kind of superstitious extension of a very straightforward, perfectly reasonable idea: that in many cases consent matters. But that though is too pedestrian for the PCs. They're not interested in boring, obvious, true ideas. They've got some kind of compulsion to extend such ideas until they are rarefied, inhuman, and absurd. 
   I mean...does this Carson person have a crazy belief about the cognitive abilities of infants? Or does she have a crazy belief about asking non-rational beings for consent? Such people often don't actually, determinately have one or the other. Loony views like this often get going largely because they don't determinately make one mistake or the other, but, rather, muck them all up into something too unclear to pin down.
   This is absurd, obviously...but so was the Antioch "affirmative consent" policy back in the '90s. Then it was the law of the land at public colleges. So was the idea that men could become women by changing clothes...and the idea that pretending along with them might be made mandatory.
   There's madness afoot in the land, my dudes. Ignore it at your peril.


Blogger Pete Mack said...

You can't ask an infant. But you can ask a two year old. And doing so sounds like a reasonable part of potty training. If Snopes is correct, THIS is what she meant.

9:37 AM  
Blogger Winston Smith said...

That's not what she meant.

9:54 AM  
Blogger Winston Smith said...

Also, I'm skeptical that it's going to make toilet training any more efficient...but that's a question waaay outside my are of expertise.

I say: resist the urge to stretch to make stupid views look non-stupid.

9:57 AM  
Blogger Pete Mack said...

Yeah, on the whole, you are right. I read the transcript and she does discuss babies. It is perhaps a reasonable assumption that a bawling baby does in fact want its nappies changed, without any other indications of assent.

11:24 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

One of the more interesting observation about ideology is that it reduces people to a sort of moral algorithm. Any action needs to follow mechanically from a small, easily-remembered set of axioms. I think the revulsion here is really easily explained by that.

Most people understand the priorities for babies are things like object permanence and motor skills. But if your only concern is making more ideologically possessed algorithm-followers, then they better understand consent, too, dammit. It's rare you see the sheer inhumanity of ideology, but PCs can't seem to resist.

7:36 PM  

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