From seemingly out of nowhere has come a virtual explosion of allegations and charges of sexual misconduct by high-profile men. It all started in October with a New York Times story detailing the misdeeds of Harvey Weinstein. That story triggered an avalanche that has rolled over other show business celebrities, most notably actor Kevin Spacey. In the world of politics, allegations of sexual misconduct now threaten to derail the Republican senate bid of former Alabama judge Roy Moore.
Since the dawn of time, men have been sexually abusing women. Anthropologically speaking, the male of the species has strong sexual desires that are accompanied by superior physical strength. Abuse lies waiting.
But the idea with respect to human males is that by virtue of superior intellect and the resulting civilizing effect of ordered societies, the base instincts of men would be tamed. Over the centuries, and particularly in the 16th and 17th centuries, an increasing proportion of the male population underwent the transformation from man to gentleman. As prosperity increased, the proportion of the population that could be so described also increased.
So why, now, are we seemingly going in reverse with respect to the treatment of women by nominally well-educated, well-refined men?
Millions of words could be written to answer that question but I offer one possible contributing factor.
Democrats and feminists got it wrong in 1998. When allegations of serial sexual misconduct by Bill Clinton coalesced into concrete, provable and, ultimately, admitted behavior, the Left rallied to Bill Clinton’s defense.
The same feminist movement that would have gone nuclear if Bill Clinton had happened to be a Republican, instead stood by Clinton’s side. Prominent feminists like Gloria Steinem wrote op-ed pieces defending Clinton while Bill’s own wife set about systematically destroying women like Juanita Broaddrick, who very credibly accused Clinton of rape.
Bill Clinton not only survived in political office, he went on to become a celebrated rock star of the political world.
For its part, the feminist movement – which in reality is simply liberalism by a different label – was busy condemning centuries of accepted custom as it pertains to how gentlemen should treat ladies. To hold a door for a lady, or to stand when she excuses herself from the table, or to pull out her chair, or to offer one’s jacket to ward off a chill, was condemned by feminists as condescending, demeaning and patriarchal.
And thus we arrive nearly two decades later to learn that men, liberated from many of the societal sanctions that gentlemen who would disrespect a lady once feared, gravitate toward the brutish behavior to which males of every species default.
Depending on one’s core beliefs, a woman is either God’s earthly vessel of life, deserving of protection and veneration by men; or she’s a sexual object from which a man may forcibly obtain selfish pleasure.
We are now coming to realize that the core beliefs of a significant number of men were set when Bill Clinton got a pass in 1998.