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How do anarchists deal with the "age of consent" without relying on the state's definition?

+4 votes
In other words, we realize that, just like any other state mandate, the age of consent imposed by the state is entirely arbitrary. Therefore the challenge is to determine what really constitutes consenting relations with minors. This question is formulated specifically with the case of Peter Wilson in mind. Also relevant: http://theanarchistlibrary.org/HTML/Sarah_White__Beyond_panic__controversy___taboo__Levine_s_enlightened_look_at_kids___sex.html
asked Sep 20, 2010 by enkidu (6,110 points)

3 Answers

+3 votes
there was a very interesting conversation about this on anti-pol ages ago...
too bad i can't find it now.
i think, as with many (all?) questions relating to individuals, that it must be taken on a case-by-case basis, and that so much of the stuff that trips us up in these conversations has to do with judging how something looks from the outside, as people who are gauging a relationship between others (and usually others who we don't know well).
i think that that will always be impossible to do well, because it forces decisions based on generalizations, and people are not generalizable (at least, if they are than it is a sign of how regimented and non-creative our society is and forces individuals to be).
if we're in the situation ourselves, then we check with the people we trust to see what they think, and to create guidelines for ourselves to gauge if we're still on track with what we think and value ("i am really attracted to this 8 year old. how do i tell if/when this is (in)appropriate? or if it is at all reciprocated? how far can such a reciprocation go? what do the child's loved ones think? what do my trusted advisors think?) obviously such conversations are pretty impossible in the current world, which doesn't take away the feelings people have, it just makes a good process impossible.
or so it seems to me.
answered Sep 20, 2010 by dot (51,570 points)
edited Sep 20, 2010 by dot
–2 votes
Isnt the whole idea of anarchy to live without rules, laws and regulations determining how a person should and can live their life? any person, no matter what their age, can consent. rape is rape.
I also believe the institution of 'minors' and what they can and cannot do would be removed. so this question would be deemed entirely irrelevant if a real anarchist community
answered Feb 3, 2011 by kelsoor (110 points)
uh, no.
the brevity of your answer is disingenuous.
you include words that many anarchists have knee-jerk reactions to -- like laws, regulations, and institutions -- but don't say much about what makes any of those things.
the *whole* idea of anarchy isn't to live without rules (laws, probably, but "rules," not necessarily). some anarchists have certainly taken anarchy to mean a free-for-all, but hardly the majority of anarchists (and, i expect, the longer one is an anarchist, the less one thinks that a free-for-all is the goal).
are social norms rules or regulations? perhaps not. but they are generally considered pretty important parts of viable societies, and are what many anarchists rely on as a way to remind people of what appropriate behavior is. not all societies would have the same norms, but all societies would presumably have *some*. (and i'm using society to mean groups of people living together.)
the idea that anyone of any age is capable of consent is a pretty radical view. i don't deny that there is an institution of youth in our current society, but is the paying attention to different capabilities at different ages always an issue of institution?

just some of the questions that are raised by your answer.

also, what does "rape is rape" mean? rape is one of the most contentious, questioned experiences we have today, for all kinds of different reasons... that truism completely evades the point of the question... argh.

edited for typos and additions....
–1 vote
Locally by the folks directly involved.

No blanket proclamations can be made, anarchy doesn't work that way.
answered Feb 14, 2015 by FreeBorn Angel (320 points)
is this different from the first answer to this question? if so, how? if not, why make it a different answer?
blanket proclamations are made by people calling themselves anarchists ALL THE TIME, in fact you made one yourself, since obviously "no blanket proclamations can be made" is a blanket proclamation.
Lol, you are correct, dot, thanks.

I think the question was one of how groups force their views on everybody, even those who obviously disagree with the others of the group.
ergo, you can make a group of whatever persuasion, but you can't force membership upon me.
If you are directly involved in the question ie, it is your kid, then you will be the one to decide what is an appropriate response and then be judged by your neighbors as to the correctness of your response.
ergo, locally and by those directly involved.
...