When you undergo a medical procedure or volunteer for a research study, you are presented with forms to sign, outlining what is going to happen (and what bad things could happen), and expressly consenting to have those things happen.
If you are accused of rape, “he or she didn’t physically resist” isn’t an acceptable defense. In fact, express consent is the emerging standard.
Consent, I think we can agree, is a big deal in America today.
It was a big deal in 1776, too, when Thomas Jefferson asserted in the Declaration of Independence that governments “deriv[e] their just powers from the consent of the governed.” Consent is a central issue in the 27 colonial grievances listed in the Declaration of Independence, one of which (“imposing Taxes on us without our Consent”) became a primary battle cry of the American Revolution: “No taxation without representation!”
To this day, American politicians proudly claim “consent of the…