NZ is in the midst of a scandal, with a group of teen boys boasting online how they 'scored' with under-age girls, then humiliating them and posting the details online. They referred to their sexual conquests as 'Roast Busters'. This has precipitated a witchhunt of sorts, with fathers threatening to hunt down the youths.
Does this strike anyone else as bizarre? There is no justifying the action, but I have the greatest of empathy for these youths because:
1. This is NZ culture. Before coming to NZ I'd never encountered a NZ'er who did not have a predatory attitude towards women; nor cheatened on them. I was chastized by a friend of a very good friend for reproaching one. That's not to say that the same attitude does not exist in other countries either; its just that NZ's small, slow-growth economy results in men displaying the most carnal behaviour.
2. These kids might be the worst examples of sexual predation, short of rapists, but that is because these kids are just that - 'kids'. Since when did we give kids such high levels of moral agency, yet turn a blind eye to the parental influence, or the values of society more broadly. We don't allow these kids to vote for a reason.
So how might we appraise the parents role in this. Well, let's first consider the broader mindlessness of relationships depicted by:
1. Parents, siblings and other relatives - who probably talk of their conquests
2. Celebrities who dress sexually as if they were 'sex objects'; with a corresponding lack of mental engagement displayed, or not overtly presented.
3. Relationship books that mindlessly talk about how the problem with relationships is that they don't 'spice up' their sex lives; that they have allowed sex to become boring.
4. Gay and lesbian parades that turn sexual displays into a cause celebration
5. Artistic expression that 'mindlessly' depicts sexuality as art; with a corresponding dubious expression of values.
6. Conservative reaction to all this mindlessness is similarly 'mindless' renunciation. Not the expression of positive values; but that one should choose sexual abstinence rather than think.
So you might wonder why such moral condemnation is being poored upon these kids, because they are surely the most vulnerable in society. Of course the girls they 'conqueror' are also vulnerable, and should not be ignored, but the problem with all this; the reason why such social condemnations always fail, is because they are mindless. They fail to address fundamental issues. They treat the symptoms, whilst ignoring the cause. The cause is an underlying absence of values, which sees people attempting to derive a sense of value from conquest. Not displays of value; but relativistly projecting that the person whom one 'conquers' has no value. A great many insecure men act in such way, and you will find women who act in the same fashion. This is the nature of ambivalent people with a poorly developed set of values, who are intellectually apprehensive; who feel compelled to project a lie, that they are full of confidence. Don't berate him for failings of the broader society, when it was 'others' lack of intellectual engagement that made this possible. Parents need to acknowledge that they have a responsibility, that that it comprises not simply meeting the material needs of their children, but doing several other important roles:
1. Modelling values - showing practical life-affirming values
2. Intellectually engaging with their kids - describing to their kids in 'concrete terms' with real life issues (like this) what healthy relationships, ethics, etc is all about. The intent is to educate them, so they are conceptually 'wise' and that this knowledge is not floating ideas, but grounded and practical. i.e. That it serves their life. The problem is that society is vulnerable because the parents lack these skills.
Governments, in recognition of these issues, are inclined to 'again' appeal to the self-evident; to treat the 'symptoms', by overlooking the custodians, and attempting to treat the kids, whilst they remain under the custodianship of the child. They cannot afford to do that. The parent cannot be ignored. The parent needs to be educated to treat the child. Instead we have:
1. Government punitively engaging with the community
2. Vigilantes who mobilise to take action where governments are ineffective.
This is the false dichotomy we are presented with by conservatives and liberals. Vote libertarian! Then stop voting - its extortion!