The Consent of the (Un)Governed – By Laurie Penny – Dec 2017

“Freedom” is just another word for being under the thumb of a powerful white man — for now.

By Laurie Penny

Longreads, Dec 2017





This article does a good job of identifying the relationship between sexual violence and political violence, and why we need to talk about gender and race when we talk about capitalism – white, male, patriarchal, racial capitalism.

  • In the way that women’s bodies are pillaged and rapes – our society is by a white male government.
  • Under neoliberalism, we believe we have choice and blame the individual, and we want to believe we have choice because the alternative is fatalistic. CHOICE & HOPE
  • Neoliberalism is a slippery slope to fascism.


  • drawing an analogy between the sexual exploitation of women and civil and political exploitation: “the government fucks you over, you get screwed by the system”. And – “political and sexual consent are not analogous, they are correlative”.
  • It is not true to say that “rape is not about sex, it is about power.” It is clearly and consistently about both at once. The more terrible truth is that we live in a world that conflates sex and power.
  • Neoliberalism, quite simply, describes a way of organizing society — from politics to culture and commerce — whereby the needs of the market and the worship of private profit take precedence over everything else.
  • Neoliberalism snapping right now – losing mass compliance – which creates an opening for fascism.
  • Facism is more overt: Fascism largely does not care how most people feel, as long as they stay in line.
  • Political and Sexual fascism – real, endemic and overlap:
  • Both involve powerful men grabbing whatever they feel entitled to, whatever the cost, and gaslighting the hell out of everyone until they get away with it. Which they do, because the laws that ought to hold them accountable were written by and for people just like them.
  • People who blame women for not coming forward sooner – particularly women – maybe this is a hopeful move, a move where they hope there is some choice involved, because not having any choice or that there’s nothing you can do to stop it feels worse.
  • This is how we get a world where women, for their own safety, are counseled by the people who love them against walking alone at night. It’s our choice, a choice we make for our own good, as independent women, to minimize our risk. But that’s not freedom. That’s something else.
  • Same is true o democratic process and labor market. Must believe you have the choice and are making choices. We must believe we love our lives.
  • The way we love our jobs and the way we love our country are similar to the way we love abusive partners.
  • Neoliberal’s uniqueness? – making people believe they are happy and free when really they are not.
  • Neoliberal then, is a great gateway to facism – where we all keep believing we’re in control, and where society is habitually complicit.. militarization increases slowly, and at first, ‘at the margins’…
  • Trump, of course, is the ultimate alpha, the silverback — sexually, economically and politically. He is to be respected, not in spite of the harm he causes, but because of it. He takes what he wants, and he wants the whole world. What else does it mean to be a man?
  • On understandings of masculinity and how men act based on certain societally-created expectations – and how they egg each other on.
  • The use of sexual frustration and weaponized misogyny in the radicalization of young men is consistent across ideologies, and the entitlement that underlies it is not exclusive to fascist movements.

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