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May 01, 2014

Separate and Unequal Replaces Separate, But Equal

A while back, the indefatigable mr rdr sent us this pithy summation of the absurdity of using Title IX (which forbids sexual discrimination in federally funded schools) to justify discriminating against male students on the basis of their sex. The argument, as this author puts it, is pretty much irrefutable:

The customs and practices of the field of higher education have adopted, as a common policy formation, that sexual actions with a person the respondent knows to be incapacitated, or should know to be incapacitated by alcohol, drugs, sleep, etc., are prohibited.

This is a non-discriminatory way to frame policy.

But in a recent case, the campus policy stated that intoxication creates an inability to consent. Thus, in any situation in which a male student and a female student have sex, and both are intoxicated, this college will commit an act of gender discrimination by only charging one of them.

If both are intoxicated, they both did the same thing to each other. Why should only the male be charged if both students behave in ways defined as prohibited by the policy?

The simplicity (and neutrality) of this line of reasoning is a thing of beauty. It is the gender neutral standard Title IX aspires to in theory, but fails to deliver in practice:

If intoxication creates lack of consent,

And both parties are intoxicated,

Then neither is capable of consent.

Sokolow goes on to observe that since sex itself is not a crime (nor is drunken sex), then some other offense must be invented to push the drunken hookup over the line into full blown sexual assault. That something is a presumed desire to take advantage of the drunken state of the woman. Since there is no direct evidence of this desire, colleges invent it out of whole cloth.

But apparently, only men will be presumed to take advantage of drunken sexual partners. Women have no duty to know (and no duty to find out) whether a man they have sex with is too drunk to consent.

Which rather begs the question: if women are equally capable, equally intelligent, equal in every conceivable way to men, then from whence do these profoundly unequal and opposite duties and presumptions spring?

Surely they have no basis in law, for the language of Title IX is simple and straightforward:

No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving federal financial assistance.

No one can look at this policy and seriously maintain that these colleges are treating women and men equally, regardless of their sex. Under the authority of a law explicitly created to outlaw sexually discriminatory treatment, men are being held to completely different standards than women.

That's the textbook definition of sexual discrimination, and under Title IX any college that holds women and men to different standards based on their sex is in violation of the law.

Of course this should be no surprise coming from a President who is fond of saying that he wants everyone to play by the same set of rules, but constantly creates exceptions to those rules for classes of people he favors. Legalized discrimination under the guise of non-discrimination: in a twisted way, one has to admire the sheer gall of these folks.

Posted by Cassandra at May 1, 2014 06:19 PM

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Comments

Although I was somewhat surprised (and pleasantly so) that such a sensible argumnet could come from someone in the belly of the very institution that fosters discrimination in the name of combatting discrimination. To be sure. I'm sure that he has since beeen properly brought to heel. Oh yes I am.

Posted by: spd rdr at May 1, 2014 10:07 PM

Well, this is one of those areas where people (students, faculty, parents, ordinary citizens) need to push back. That's what a self-governing people are supposed to do.

I'm going to apologize in advance for the rest of this comment b/c I woke up feeling feistier (OK, just crankier - I've got another migraine) than usual.

I've been reluctant to jump on this particular bandwagon (the college rape one) because the arguments I've seen from conservatives have been so completely awful that I could not in good conscience support them. But starting with James Taranto's article a while back that I wrote about (the two drunk drivers analogy), some are shifting away from "Saudi Sweep" rhetoric to something approaching sweet reason.

There's an intelligent balance here. We can oppose this nonsense without veering into the swamp of denying that rape ever occurs in colleges (it does, and did back in 1977 when I was a freshman) or hamstringing colleges who have a legitimate interest in protecting young women on their campuses from predators (and they do exist) or feeling (absurdly) that if we won't defend morons harassing female students outside their dorms with obscene and boorish chants, we're simultaneously killing baby Jesus and ushering in the end of Western Civ as we know it.

I didn't have daughters, but I had another student try to rape me (not drunken hookup, but no kidding forcible rape that left big bruises on both my arms through a wool jacket and heavy sweater) when I was in college. I was rescued by another student - a male - which just goes to show you that all men aren't rapists and men will go against other men to defend women if they're raised correctly.

Had I been raped, I doubt the school would have done anything about it even though I didn't go anywhere private with the person who attacked me. Stories about girls who had been attacked and even gang raped were fairly common and I never once saw a student suspended or expelled or even brought to account in any way. It would have been my word against his, he was rich, and I'm guessing he would have lawyered up.

That's NOT how it should be, and I hope that's not what we're fighting for.

I am really beginning to despair that both sides are ratcheting up the nonsense so fast that public debates become little more than "I'm going to defend my team to the death no matter what they say/do".

Somebody's got to take the high ground if we want to have any hope of persuading the many voters in the middle. I often wonder if people truly understand just how unbalanced some of the things being said and written on mainstream blogs are? We don't fight hyperbole with more hyperbole: that simply guarantees the next response will ratchet things up another notch.

It's harder to appeal to reason than to emotion, but if we've decided that inflicting damage is more important than being in the right, this country is really in trouble.

Posted by: Cassandra at May 2, 2014 07:52 AM

I have somewhere around 37 daughters,and I am very protective of them. Frankly, if any one of them sufffered what she believed to be an assault, I would likely toss the same "very sensible position" I advocate in the abstract out the window - along with the lifeless carcass of the accused dirtbag.

Posted by: spd rdr at May 2, 2014 08:45 AM

I am very glad to see you say (OK, well, type) that, mr rdr, because colleges have some responsibility to both male and female students.

Originally, I was going to juxtapose your article with another one very near it on Instapundit. After a fair amount of thought, I decided not to. Mostly because this argument is so good - so neutral and unbiased - that I didn't want the other point I want to make to distract from it.

I am going to write a separate post about that case because my ultimate conclusion is that we need to look at each scenario on a case-by-case basis.

The very one-sided coverage of college sexual assault cases from both sides is misleading and inaccurate. On the right, we're bombarded with anecdotes about young men being falsely accused. And this happens. But you'll rarely if ever see righty blogs covering really heinous cases where young women are treated badly by these same colleges.

We're only hearing half the story, and the stories are cherry picked.

On the left (if we bother to read lefty blogs) you'll almost never see stories about falsely accused young men, but you will see the stories that are missing on the right leaning blogs.

Neither half represents the whole truth, and bloggers with agendas are deliberately telling us only those "facts" which support their preferred narrative or policy outcome.

Posted by: Cassandra at May 2, 2014 09:11 AM

On the left (if we bother to read lefty blogs) you'll almost never see stories about falsely accused young men, but you will see the stories that are missing on the right leaning blogs.

I will go one further. If they come out with a story that fits their agenda, then they will trumpet it to the heavens. But let the facts come out to refute the original premise, and you will never see that in the same blog. E.g. The Duke Rape Case.

Neither half represents the whole truth, and bloggers with agendas are deliberately telling us only those "facts" which support their preferred narrative or policy outcome.

There is no one "truth" that one side or the other has. There are competing facts that each side views through the polarized lens of their own world view. They filter out those elements that do not fit and accept those that do. And by no means am I free of this bias. I don't think anyone is. On a good day, I catch myself doing it. And it's why I think it's important to have friends or at least correspondents who hold a different worldview than you so that you are exposed to those other viewpoints to help keep yourself honest.

And the number one most important thing to do is step out of an echo chamber, and realize that people who disagree with your worldview are not evil, crazy, or stupid. They just hold a different worldview. I was fortunate enough to be exposed to both in that my parents each are at different ends of the political spectrum. I know neither is evil, crazy, or stupid and they've been married for over 50 years, so clearly there is room for peaceful coexistence between the differing philosophies. Mind you, I think each of my parents is wrong on different topics, but that's where my views differ with theirs. And they don't differ from me for any reason other than they're approaching the same topic from a different set of experiences and backgrounds. And that's ok.

Posted by: MikeD at May 2, 2014 09:32 AM

A very good analogy for right/left is male/female. Men and women have different experiences and view the world differently. A society in which only men (or only women) are allowed to shape events is a sick society.

Both perspectives are needed, and each moderates the other and provides badly needed perspective.

The ancients knew this. The Founders knew it and wrote about it. Our generation seems to have forgotten it.

Posted by: Cass at May 2, 2014 10:08 AM

Princess, Princess. I will explain the key to the mystery. When a man and a woman have sex, the man's consent is presumed, because sex is a triumph for him. The woman's reluctance is presumed unless she affirmatively rebuts it in writing, notarized before witnesses, because women who have sex are dirty or, at the very least, have been knocked down a peg or two. And that's how we treat men and women exactly the same.

Posted by: Texan99 at May 2, 2014 10:19 AM

When a man and a woman have sex, the man's consent is presumed, because sex is a triumph for him. The woman's reluctance is presumed unless she affirmatively rebuts it in writing, notarized before witnesses, because women who have sex are dirty or, at the very least, have been knocked down a peg or two. And that's how we treat men and women exactly the same.

MEIN GOTT IM HIMMEL!!!

We may finally have found something folks on the right and left agree upon :p Reminds me of arguably the dumbest fist-pumping analogy ever:

"'A key that can open many locks is called a master key, but a lock that can be opened by many keys is a shitty lock.'”

Hmmm. So promiscuity (sleeping with a lot of women you aren't married to) is a sign of strength and skill and health... if you're male, that is. But promiscuous women (who sleep with a lot of men they aren't married to) are weak, defective, and broken."

I just love it when people set up the definition of virtue in such a way that an act becomes virtuous when they do it but wrong/bad when others do it."

Last time I checked, it takes two people to spread an STD or conceive an illegitimate child.

*sigh*

Posted by: Cassandra at May 2, 2014 11:16 AM

"'A key that can open many locks is called a master key, but a lock that can be opened by many keys is a shitty lock.'”

Well that's mostly true (sometimes you need to let many people have access to a single locked door, thus... many keys). But last I checked, people aren't locks.

Posted by: MikeD at May 2, 2014 11:34 AM

A key that can open many locks is called a master key, but a lock that can be opened by many keys is a shitty lock.

Only if you take the statement as being gendered. I know of a great many people, of both genders, who have used sex as the key to open a great deal of "locks". And yeah, those "locks" are pretty shitty.

Posted by: Yu-Ain Gonnano at May 2, 2014 01:02 PM

"...but a lock that can be opened by many keys is a shitty lock."

Aka the Obamacare security center!
0>;~}

Posted by: DL Sly at May 2, 2014 01:50 PM

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