The White House and a host of celebrities have decided to give the nation a great big “nudge” on the topic of sexual assault through the “It’s On Us” campaign. The idea promoted in the video, that we can “stop sexual assault” – without qualification, this can only mean all sexual assault for all time – is about on the same level as the notion that “terror” or “drugs” can be defeated in a war. Anti-drug PSAs have been on television since the 1980s; their effects are minimal at best and in fact counterproductive in some cases. That hasn’t stop them from being produced even to this day.
Every rational person knows that there will never be an “end” to sexual assault, just as there will never be a victory in the “war on drugs.” A government that is trying to get you to believe such absurdities may be preparing you to accept atrocities as well. The absurdity of the “war on drugs” has led to the atrocity of America’s prison system, one of the most brutal in the world, in which non-violent drug offenders are subject to assault, rape and murder every day. It has also, with other currents, contributed to the militarization of local police. After all, a war needs to be fought by a military.
What atrocities are being prepared by those who believe that sexual assault can actually cease as the result of a political propaganda campaign? We see glimpses already in the totalitarian atmosphere of college campuses. There men accused of sexual assault are presumed guilty until proven innocent, are denied the right to face their accuser, are not judged by their peers, and are denied due process and a fair trial. This is on top of campus speech codes, mandatory indoctrination sessions, and other things repugnant to the Bill of Rights. Even all of this isn’t enough, hence the intervention of the White House and Hollywood. This is what the “war on sexual assault” looks like.
Political Realist therefore declares war on declarations of war, and encourages its readers to develop creative and realistic solutions to problems such as drug abuse and sexual assault.
But this is not about racism, it is about realism.
Dan Hodges, writing for the Telegraph, about possible measures to address the Rotherham sex abuse scandal and its underlying causes. Unfortunately, this is what it takes for a handful of liberals to work up the nerve to confront reality, 1,400 rape victims. Maybe ten thousand raped, flayed, burned corpses hanging upside down from lampposts on every street corner in London would bring around, oh, I don’t know, perhaps another dozen.
Now I’m just being pessimistic on purpose.
Surely by now you’ve heard about the naked pictures. Why be specific or provide links? If you are reading a political/cultural blog, you’ve heard about this. If you haven’t, I’ve given you a hint as to what you might Google. I’ll see you when you get back.
I really didn’t want to say anything about it. We’re on the verge of two wars, a mid-term election, race riots (they’re dying down but still), and yet this is what will consume everyone’s attention for at least the next few days. When I went to Drudge and saw “Naked Hacker Goes On Run” as the banner headline, I knew I had no choice. Plus this scandal instantaneously became a front in the culture wars and specifically the battle between uncouth men and angry feminists. We can’t escape it.
So, here are my talking points.
1. Men are driven sexually by imagery in a way that women cannot understand, just as women tend to be aroused by literature in a way few men could understand. That’s why, to answer TIME magazine’s absurd question, there will be no hacked pictures of men. That would require a female hacker with sufficient skill as well as the determination to see and disseminate pictures of naked men. The odds of that combination, I would wager, are hovering around zero. A gay male hacker, perhaps.
2. Feminists are denouncing the leak as a sort of virtual-rape, a manifestation of rape culture, etc. I think we can say that the morality of the act of disseminating what were intended to be private intimate photos stands somewhat apart from this claim. Just as feminists and the left in general acted as if the Obamacare mandate had existed from time immemorial when Hobby Lobby’s religious rights were upheld by the Supreme Court, they are now acting as if we live in an age of unprecedented male boorishness and aggression. We live in an age in which the morally righteous and the morally depraved are apparently separated from one another primarily by how much shock they can express whenever something bad happens. It is a sort of mock display of innocence, a show to the world that you are just so good that you couldn’t even imagine such things. It happens often enough on the right as well, such as the shock that we are all supposed to express when third-worlders express their gratitude for American interventionism with bullets and bombs.
Meanwhile, as Ian Tuttle so excellently argued in the National Review recently, feminists have been silent on the holocaust of rape that took place in Rotherham, UK, over several years. Here you have an actual culture of rape, a culture in which it was and remains acceptable for dirty old Pakistani Muslim men to abduct young white runaways and gang rape them for years, and the silence is deafening. Maybe America’s feminists don’t hear news from the UK (highly unlikely). Maybe the race and religion of the rapists has something to do with it (more likely).
Finally, I can only imagine what we might hear if men, as a group, reverted to 1950s norms of politeness and courtesy. I get the sense that nothing men are able and/or willing to do will ever be good enough, that most men know it, and therefore choose to simply behave without restraint. Women will ultimately have to choose what sort of men they want: uncivilized barbarians who commit actual rapes whenever they feel like it, civilized men who may insist on taking the lead in partnerships, or the sort of emasculated, basement-dwelling, resentment-filled perverts that are the natural result of modern feminism’s influence on society. I don’t see any more than 10% of us ever becoming pajama boy.
3. We will also hear from the same types what we always hear about date rape. Suggestions that people either a) take greater measures to secure their electronic data or b) abstain from taking nude photographs of themselves altogether (oh the horror!) will be met with the familiar refrain that one is “blaming the victims” in making them. I can only repeat what I’ve said before; statistically, a thing like this is likely to happen every so often. If you are a nobody with nothing of importance stored in a cloud (like me), you have little to worry about. If you are famous, attractive, and have data stored on a cloud, the chances that someone, at some point, will hack into it are considerably higher, higher still for female celebrities. The mistake people make is one of confusing statistical probabilities with moral agents. Considered from the standpoint of statistical probability, a data hack is no more personal than a flood or an earthquake. And while the hacker is certainly morally responsible, so are we all morally responsible for being aware of the risks involved with everything we do.
Pretending that you do not or cannot understand these things makes you appear to be a righteous person in these times.
If you really can’t understand, as a thought experiment, imagine that an advanced AI perpetrated the hack and spread the photos by mistake. No intention, no malice, no victim. Suddenly it doesn’t seem so outrageous to suggest that one take personal responsibility for managing the risks involved with their behavior. The outrage results from the growing delusion that a perfect world can exist in which all people, with the right amount of education, indoctrination, or coercion, will all act and think in the same way. Unlike horny men who will practically break their necks to see a pretty woman naked, that sort of thinking is (relatively) new, and it is dangerous.
4. All of that said, it was a criminal act. Find the guy. Prosecute him to the fullest extent of the law. The damage is done, but we can choose how to move forward: with more utopian delusions, or with a rational understanding of probabilities, risks, and personal security. I’m not going to join the chorus of boys expressing glee and delight over this. Nor am I going to join the chorus of non-feminist women who have judged the celebs for taking the naked pictures in the first place (of these, I have seen quite a few in the comboxes). What the hell do I care if people take naked pictures of themselves?
I will say however that prior to this scandal, I hadn’t even heard of most of these celebrities. You can’t be half-way plugged into the culture without knowing who Jennifer Lawrence (I can’t help but appreciate her talents as an actress) and Kate Upton are. Most of the rest of them I was barely familiar with or not at all. I think we all know, though only few will say, that this will likely provide boosts for their careers in the form of greater exposure, pun unavoidable. I wouldn’t begrudge them for making lemonade out of this sour event.
My own semi-utopian dream is that people everywhere use incidents such as these to fortify themselves against foreseeable dangers. Some will, many will in fact – even many of the publicly outraged will quietly engage in some personal risk assessment with respect to their online data, just as many liberals quietly purchase guns and avoid certain parts of town in spite of their public outrage over guns and racism. I don’t get as angry about that hypocrisy as many on the right do. I take it as a hopeful sign that when push comes to shove, many of them will finally drop the act. In the meantime, though, it sure does stink.
John Derbyshire at Taki’s Magazine has interesting insights into the work of George Orwell. He shares his thoughts in a book review of David Lebedoff’s 2008 book The Same Man: George Orwell and Evelyn Waugh in Love and War.
What they mainly saw was meritocracy: the rise of an exam-passing elite. Readers of Nineteen Eighty-Four often miss this aspect of Orwell’s imagined society, with all its cruelty and oppression.
Read more at: http://takimag.com/article/one_cheer_for_meritocracy_john_derbyshire/print#ixzz3C46tMp5I
If you don’t know where the phrase “drinking the kool-aid” originates, look into Jim Jones, Jamestown and mass suicide. We often hear this phrase used as an insult for people who uncritically repeat political talking points, buy into hysterical narratives, etc. In this case, however, we are actually referring to ideas that, if consistently followed in real-life, increase one’s chances of being gravely harmed, violated and possibly murdered. It’s as close to the Jim Jones kool-aid I’ve ever seen.
I am referring to a “controversy” – and it is really insane that any controversy ought to exist at all – over an obviously amazing product developed by four men at North Carolina State University, a varnish that can detect common date-rape drugs in drinks. To normal, healthy and sane minds not corrupted by ideology, this would be an indispensable tool for women of all ages and particularly college-age girls who are in the most danger of being drugged and assaulted. For radical feminists, however, the detector threatens to undermine a narrative and a worldview in which they have a great deal invested.
This worldview is more important than individual victims, more important than actually preventing rape, more important than just about anything else. From the above link:
“Rape Crisis does not endorse or promote such a product or anything similar. This is for three reasons: it implies that it’s the woman’s fault and assumes responsibility on her behalf, and detracts from the real issues that arise from sexual violence.”
Absolutely none of this, of course, was assumed or intended by the inventors of the product. And absolutely none of it is true. That this madness can be sincerely believed by millions of women and men is truly frightening. Perhaps the notion is that if women who don’t use the product get drugged and raped, then someone will say, “well, they should have used the product.” This would indeed be a despicable thing to say, but it would be about a million times worse if a woman chose not to use it when it may have saved her because she was afraid of “implying” something about other women.
Can they not see how this logic could apply to anything? If my home is burned down because of an electrical problem, some fellow might say, “those people, they didn’t have a fire extinguisher in the house or batteries in their smoke alarm. If they lived like us, it wouldn’t have happened.” I wouldn’t want to hear that as I watch my house go up in flames. It would be insensitive and I might sock the person who said it. It would also not be outside of the realm of possibility that I did make poor choices that increased the likelihood of a fire. To ignore this possibility is to infantilize not only women, but all human beings. It is also to deny that while a victim’s actions may contribute to their victimization, the moral fault lies with the perpetrator. You can be technically responsible for something without also being morally responsible for it.
What I wouldn’t do if my house burned down is begin a campaign to “teach fire not to burn.” Human beings do have free will, can be educated and persuaded, and I am all for it. Human beings are also a widely diverse lot: some are more in control of their passions than others, and some can be fully educated on how they are expected to behave as civilized adults and choose to act like savages or sociopaths. Statistically it is bound to happen no matter who is taught what, and in that sense, probability is no different than fire, impersonal, immune to reason, but relatively easy to prepare for. Each individual man is responsible for the decisions he makes, and this in no way contradicts the statistical certainty that some men will choose rape and violence, thus making it entirely rational for women to take steps to defend themselves. Again, it must be said that this applies to so many areas of life for men and women both.
The feminists knocking this drug are causing real harm to real women. Their ideology is a dangerous fraud. Fortunately the overwhelming majority of women I’ve seen commenting on various articles related to this “controversy” are in favor of the drug and do reject the insanity of radical feminism.