Tuesday, September 15, 2015

the future of marriage equality

Roxxxy demands marriage equality now!
There’s an interesting minor kerfuffle happening in the UK on the subject of sex robots. Interesting, because it says a very great deal about the society we have become. It also says quite a bit about the liberal mindset.

A company has recently announced a new and highly advanced sex robot, Roxxxy. And a feminist academic, Dr Kathleen Richardson, wants the government to ban the robot. Now whether or not you find the whole idea of sex robots to be disturbing or even disgusting isn’t really the point. I’m not saying there might not be an argument that such robots are a bad idea, but that’s a separate issue. The issue I’m addressing is this - on what basis can liberals argue for banning them?

They can’t argue for banning them on the grounds that they’re physically dangerous. They’re not dangerous at all. They can’t argue they should be banned on the grounds that sex with robots is unnatural. Homosexuality is unnatural but liberals think we should celebrate homosexuality. They can’t argue that the robots are being exploited - you can’t exploit a machine. They could argue that such robots encourage the “objectification” of women but in that case they’d have to argue for banning pornography and prostitution, subjects on which liberals and feminists tend to hold contradictory views. They’d also have to argue for banning sex toys for women, which surely objectify men to an even more serious degree - reducing men to nothing more than a sex organ. I don’t see much likelihood of any liberal or feminist doing that.

The feminist academic has chosen to oppose the sexbots because they “reinforce traditional and damaging stereotypes of women.” But do they? And what does that even mean? She is also concerned that the sex robot “perpetuates the view that a relationship does not need to be more than simply physical.” On that basis I assume that Dr Richardson also believes the government should outlaw vibrators and casual sex?

The really big problem here is that liberals always tell us they believe in choice and autonomy. Apparently they only believe in choice and autonomy when it suits them. What could possibly be more autonomous than choosing to buy a sex robot? It’s the absolute ultimate in autonomy. 

There are other issues to consider. This sex robot is not in fact intended to be merely a sex toy. The company hopes that she “will eventually be able to learn on her own, and begin to pick-up on her owner's likes and dislikes.” In other words she’s intended to be a companion. A combination of pet and sex toy. The ultimate aim (as outlined in David Levy’s intriguing book Love and Sex with Robots) is to create a robot with whom one can have an emotional relationship. Which of course raises the issue - will we see a campaign to legalise marriage with robots? I mean, do we believe in marriage equality or don’t we? It will be fascinating to see how liberals react to that idea. Surely only a bigot could oppose the right to marry robots. We should be free to love whomever we choose!

Please understand that I am not suggesting that any of these things are good ideas. They will however provide us with an amusing opportunity to see liberal hypocrisy in action as liberals confront the logical end point of their ideology.

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