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I had a conversation today that made me think. The Sailor had accepted a job as a recruiter (another post may come up about my growing difficuly with his job).  

To the point, he mentioned wanting to join a book club and how that would be another recruitment location.  I said it wouldn’t. That it was dishonest and, well, just shitty.  I explained that to me, such a plan violates the consent of those on the group.  If I join a bookclub, I consent to reading and talking about a book.  I don’t consent to be marketed to. 

It occured to me that capitalism is part of our consent problem in the US.  Many people think it’s always ok to try to sell something to someone/anyone.  Ads crowd every inch of our lives.  Billboards crowd out skylines.  At least most apps (on my Android anyway) tell me there will be ads, and I can opt to not use the app if I want.  

But there seems to a prevailing attitude that it’s ok to try to sell something everywhere.  The business, the chance to earn money supercedes consent.

I don’t know if he understood my perspective. He compared it to dating a church. I pointed out that is the same issue and just as problematic. If a person is going to the event with an “ulterior motive” that’s a problem. It’s dishonest. If I’m going to church, I’m going for worship and fellowship, not to find a mate. I wonder, in this hypothetical scenario, if this person is attending for the purpose of finding a date, would his/her membership continue once a date was found?  

I see this is different than I’m at church. Over the course of donuts and Bible study (or whatever people do at church), I find that I enjoy a person’s company or that we also share a love of French New Wave Cinema, a relationship can form.  I’m pretty sure that’s how people make friends. But if I’m there to sell Amway or Herbalife or whatever, I’ve infringed on the church goers consent. They consented to Jesus and donuts not a tele-markwting call. 

 I know if I’m in a book club, and another member brings up irrelevant points, like being in the military or bring a parent or being single – unless the book is about this topic (or this perspective is part of an analysis) I’m likely going to leave the bookclub. I had a history class like that once. The professor let some students derail the conversation into their personal lives (no connection to the text/time period). It was a terrible class because we never stayed on topic.  

In any discussion, people drift and tangents happen. But to force the topic, to ignore the purpose of the group, for profit or recruitment or dating violates consent.  

I can’t help but wonder how much of society’s issues with consent are tied into this. We privilege capitalism, the hunt for the dollar, over everything else. Why should consent matter?

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