Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Collective anal action problems

I recently received a large number of comments, including one from a well-respected member of my dissertation committee, on a post attacking the purported anti-factivity of pretense. Now I shall squander any gained reputation for high-mindedness by applying philosophical rigor to problems of ass fucking, as cited by Alley Rat:

Now guys, we know you love the ass fucking. Love to see it, love to think about it, and you love to pretend that you are doing it. But consider for a moment what the world will be like if all the normal women out there catch the “porn star fever” that is beginning to spread and begin ass fucking as a matter of course. Sure, you may enjoy that now but how will you feel when, as you start to lose your hair and thicken around the middle you finally settle down and get married? You will then be all but guaranteed to wed someone who has ass fucked every man she has ever dated. Do you want to live in that world? We didn’t think so. Please, for the love of God leave the ass fucking to the real porn stars of America.

Unfortunately, the solution described above is subject to a collective action problem. If I wish to avert a future situation where I am "guaranteed to wed someone who has ass fucked every man she has ever dated", the success I can attain through refraining from any anal acts of my own will not be great. I shall, of course, be able to marry a woman who has dated n men and ass fucked n-1 of them -- myself being the exception. But excepting the trivial case in which my wife has dated only myself, I stand no great chance of marrying someone whose rectal chastity is uncompromised. And uncompromised rectal chastity, I think, is the desideratum that concerns us here. A man who engages in anal acts with women whom he will not marry -- a "free rider", as the game theory literature would call him -- does not decrease his chances of marrying a wife whose rectal chastity is inviolate. So it will be in his interest to disregard principles of respect for rectal chastity, regardless of the behavior of other men. The goods achieved by collective action will not be sufficient to safeguard rectal chastity when every man has an all-things-considered interest in free riding.

The problem is not especially pressing to me, I admit, because I personally do not regard rectal chastity as a desideratum of any significance. (Befitting an academic of my position, I have a preference structure which relaxes some of the strictures that others have. I have argued elsewhere that if Lewisian views of modality are correct, preferences like mine might be satisified even by women who do not actually exist.) Relative indifference to issues of rectal chastity, I think, is part of the sensibility with which men should approach women and the world.

8 comments:

Nicholas Beaudrot said...

Um.

DevP said...

a "free rider"

Jesus, Neil.

Blar said...

Another one of these posts? Isn't this just another version of the collective action chastity problem that you and Elson described in the comments here ?

Brandon said...

This is a legitimate concern, apparently.

Neil Sinhababu said...

Blar, you are a true scholar of this blog.

Rousseau said...

I didn't think the Rat was saying directly "don't do it", just that men don't actually have an interested in women "catching the fever".

Yes as a collective action problem it's insoluble, but if we're being offered the choice between two cultural mores, he presents a compelling argument (various desideratum presumed) against a culture that allows more immediate ass-fucking.

Blar said...

It's just that I find some of your posts memorable, is all.

Julian Elson said...

This seems to be a hot topic in the blogs and columns I read lately:

http://foreigndispatches.typepad.com/dispatches/2005/09/exit_as_entranc.html

And, really ****ing creepy:

http://www.thestranger.com/seattle/SavageLove?oid=23174