Everyone’s a deviant


Fascinating article by Stanley Fish in this morning’s NY Times.

All we can be sure of is that the struggle between the impulse to normalize — to specify a center and then police deviations from it — and the impulse to repel the normalizing gaze and live securely in a community of one’s own will never be resolved.

I agree with his central theme, but I suppose I also agree that (in law at least) there must be some way to protect each other from (real, as opposed to imagined) harm. Although these definitions can be slippery, I feel comfortable (for the most part) arguing that consent is the key. As long as individuals are capable of consent, they should pretty much have free reign to live their lives as they see fit. Of course defining consent is where we have a bit of a problem. There are always exceptions in individual cases (for example, at what age is a child capabale of consent? Some 16 year olds will be more mature than some 30 year olds), but as a society we need to imperfectly set a boundary (say 18).