In the comments of my most recent post on abortion, Stillwater says that few people have non-contradictory views. I demurr and point out that I dont have any contradictory beliefs. If I find that I did have contradictory beliefs, I would change them because I think that consistency is a bare minimal requirement.
To which, Stillwater replies:
That’s a fun challenge. I’m with you, of course. I strive for consistency as well. But at some point the argument’s I make or the views I hold don’t derive from initial premises. They devolve to adhoc-ery. Which isn’t to say that ad hocness is an inconsistency. But when you include too much adhoc-ery, one’s theory gets very close to simply a complete description of preferences. And that’s not a theory anyone could be proud of.
So to the challenge. First, your view of arranged marriages is inconsistent with individual liberty. Second, your view of eliminating democracy as a check on state power is inconsistent with the consent of the governed.
Is that a good start?
It’s a start. I don’t know what would count as a good one.
- When I talk about arranged marriage, I don’t mean forced marriages. The couple getting married will have the final say. By arranged marriages, I refer to a situation such that the parents or family elders can initially veto any potential partner (preferably before the couple actually start dating). Normally how this works is that for example, my parents will talk to someone who knows someone who knows someone else who has a daughter who is around my age and is ready for marriage. Of course it is entirely my choice to allow my parents to have this initial input. Presumably it will also be the girl’s choice about whether her parents will provide the initial input (or else it would be a forced marriage). Presumably if our respective parents are amenable, the children (that is us) will proceed to date each other. Each step is performed with the full knowledge and consent of the children. Think of it like this. Parents in western societies sometimes try to serve as matchmaker for their children. I am not encouraging any kind of coercion. Rather, all I’m suggesting is that since parents have the benefit of experience in being married and often know us better than we know ourselves, their recommendations are worthwhile listening to. I am suggesting that it would be in the children’s best interest to listen to their parents on this issue. I’m also asking parents to play a more active role in looking for appropriate spouses for their children. Of course when I spell it out this way, arranged marriages are not any more problematic vis-a-vis individual liberty than financial advisors.
- Consent of the governed is a more complicated issue. If we are talking about hypothetical consent, then my view is that fully rational people in a hypothetical situation behind a thick veil of ignorance would consent to being governed by benevolent technocrats and/or dictators. Such systems would enjoy hypothetical consent of the governed even if they didn’t enjoy actual consent. However, if you are talking about actual consent of the governed, then I fully admit that actual consent is inconsistent with my views on democracy. But this isn’t a problem for me because I don’t think that actual consent of the governed is important at all. There are two basic reasons for this. First of all, no system of governance except a fully voluntary society (i.e. some kind of anarcho-syndicalist) actually enjoys full consent of the governed. I will concede that democracies enjoy actual consent to a greater degree. This however brings me to the second reason. More importantly, I don’t think that there are any reasons as to why I should care about actual consent of the governed.