"Whenever I go into a restaurant, I order both a chicken and an egg to see which comes first"

Saturday, July 17, 2021

Guilty Until Proven Innocent–The Kangaroo Courts And Raw Injustice Of MeToo

Depriving due process in cases of alleged sexual misconduct has long been a principle of the MeToo movement.  Sexual abuse is such a serious crime, its advocates say, that every accusation, every allegation no matter how weak or precarious the charge, must not only be investigated but the accused must be punished before trial or conclusive, damning evidence.

Women on college campuses have been given license to accuse with impunity; and such license has, not surprisingly, led to frivolous claims – payback, sexual vendetta, or umbrage and animus.  Worse, claims of sexual abuse are automatic tickets to enthusiastic membership of MeToo and feminist activism and with it needed self-esteem.

In April the Washington Nationals baseball team announcer, F.P. Santangelo was accused of an anonymous Instagram post of sexual misconduct.  Anonymous, mind you – a mindless trolling which, given the timorous, intimidated tenor of the times, led to his ‘administrative leave’.  

After an ‘exhaustive’ review by Major League Baseball, and after three months, he was reinstated in full, his reputation damaged, his character impugned, and his ability to carry out his professional duties impaired.  Over nothing.  An unfounded, random, attempt to denigrate if not destroy a public figure.

Coincidentally, on the same day that Santangelo was reinstated, the Nationals placed another team member on ‘administrative leave’ for the same reason – allegations of sexual misconduct.  Not only was he dismissed from duty, but the language used to explain his absence reeked of sanctimony and MeToo doublespeak.  ‘We not tolerate sexual misconduct of any kind’, the Nationals Manager said, thus implying if not stating explicitly that they assumed the ballplayer’s guilt.  A simple declaratory statement of investigation into an alleged breach of corporate rules would have been enough; but no, the craven Nationals’ front office went public in its support of the culture of specious, unfounded claims.

Father Brophy, the senior prelate at St. Timothy’s Church in New Brighton, always sermonized about ‘the occasion of sin’.   The environment in which one lived – friends, institutions, occasions – was the Petri dish for aberrant behavior.  If boys never visited Jimmy’s Smoke Shop, they would never see the girly magazines that Jimmy had arrayed behind the pipe tobacco, would never have been excited by them, and never would never have pleasured themselves with lurid thoughts of the women they had seen in Crack and Come!.

Image result for girly magazines of the fifties

Not only Father Brophy, but worried mothers warned their daughters about to go off to college about the same occasions of sin.  Boys cannot be trusted, these mothers warned, and particularly in the alcohol-fueled environment of frat parties, the worst of male, hormone-driven, sexual behavior was to be expected.

This advice is now considered by MeToo advocates to be chauvinistic, retrograde, and demeaning to women.  A woman should be able to go anywhere she pleases, regardless of the dangerously enabling environment. If she  walks into a drunken rave-up debauch, she should be able to do so décolleté, buzzed, and perfumed and expect no untoward advances, no come ons.  The Deke animals should treat her with the respect they would pay to an infirmary matron, an elderly aunt, or a second grade teacher.

Mona Charen writing in The National Review strongly disagrees.  The hook-up, alcohol-fueled culture on campuses, she says, provides the enabling environment for sexual abuse to occur.  In other words, she does not deny that it occurs, but asks if such unwanted advances would occur if the prevailing culture on college campuses were different.  Referring to a case of sexual assault on the Stanford campus She writes:

Here is the truth that the Left will never acknowledge — the hook-up culture liberals celebrate and defend is the greatest petri dish for enabling rape and sexual assault imaginable. It does women no favors to tell them that the way they drink is irrelevant. It may not be a crime to get blind drunk at a bar or party — but it’s reckless. The Stanford woman’s blood-alcohol level was three times the legal limit. Again, that doesn’t make an assaulted woman a criminal, but who can doubt that, but for that, she would not have become a victim?

Are not college campuses the very epitome of the occasion of sin denounced by Father Brophy? Fraternity parties, highly-charged with alcohol and hormones; and uninhibited by still-developing but an immature sense of responsibility and morality.  They are without a doubt an occasion for sin. Anyone attending them is not only at risk, but knowingly puts themselves at risk. Is a girl who deliberately attends these parties totally exempt from sexual responsibility? Does she not bear some responsibility for her actions there?

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Father Brophy would warn girls away from such occasions of sin.  Of course boys will be sexually forward and irresponsible - that's what adolescent boys are and what they do in a favorable enabling environment. 

Father Brophy’s warnings about the occasion of sin were necessary because he, like the rest of us, knew about human failings.  We may think we are responsible, principled, and moral; but we are no Jesus Christ in the desert.  We may think that we have every right to go anywhere we please, and that civil and criminal law protects us.  

But the enabling environment is not so well-defined and clear cut.  It has no signposts, no warnings, no firewalls, and no alarms. Sexual behavior, the most irrational and human of all, does not always respond appropriately. Sex provides its own bells and sirens - disregard them at your peril.

In such a steamy, unprincipled environment, the definition of guilt, innocence, and crime is not easy. Despite  re-education classes about proper, respectful sexual behavior, few hormone-and alcohol-fueled young adults will bring their class notes to the dance. All rules are off if the environment is right.  

Assessing legal responsibility in such a highly-emotional, sexually fluid, and intemperate milieu is difficult if not impossible.  It is not so simple to assume automatic male responsibility and to similarly exempt women completely. The enabling environment and in particular individuals' deliberate, conscious choice to enter it cannot be discounted.

Image result for images old catholic priest at pulpit

Assessing the institutional culture and social dynamics of any environment before entering is the key to moral behavior and supersedes more facile social or political prescriptions.  Assessing responsibility in a complex, dynamic, and often emotional environment is not easy, but can never be avoided.

The case of F.P. Santangelo demonstrates how the MeToo culture has become distorted and pernicious.  Even the suggestion of ‘unacceptable’ behavior by men must be called out, challenged, and refuted.  Not only has this political juggernaut upended the foundational democratic principle of due process, it has deliberately chosen to feminize men in a radical MeToo image.

Men are to MeToo advocates what white people are to BLM radicals – all irrevocably, irremediably bad.  There can be no redeeming features of a sex which has for millennia imprisoned, abused, and marginalized women.  Presumed guilt is the only way to judge allegations of sexual abuse, just as it is in cases of alleged racial discrimination. 

Of course a white policeman accused of unnecessary force to subdue a black man is guilty of racism, and his physical abuse of black men no different than Ku Klux Klan lynching. Both racial and gender movements, supposedly righteous and progressive, have made a priori moral judgments.  Due process is a distraction, a diversion, and a ploy to promote male, white supremacy.

Image result for images MeToo marches

This civil injustice is spreading with the complicity of the press.  The managers of social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram have vowed to censor unpopular speech and images.  The frightening, never-thought-possible cultural gulag envisioned by George Orwell, has arrived.  The people of a democracy cannot be trusted with free speech especially when progressive agenda are at stake.  Any speech which goes counter to the received wisdom of the Left whether on issues of race, gender, ethnicity; or even more recently on public health, economics, or international diplomacy, must be expunged, eliminated, erased.

Image result for images orwell book 1984

Because of this capitulation of the social media and lively complicity of the mainstream press, the progressive canon goes unchallenged.  More and more otherwise intelligent people, once champions of free speech and debate, are being taken in by this new gulag mentality. Progressive principles and the quick realization of progressive Utopia are too important to leave to the people, ignorant, susceptible, and weak-willed that they are.

The re-instatement of F.P. Santangelo is good news indeed.  A good man, top broadcaster, and member of the community, has been returned to duty.  The bad news is that this travesty happened at all, that all men are still tarred with the same presumptions of misogyny and sexual primitivism.

The irony of it all is that feminists claim that women are as strong, independent, determined, and willful as men; but that they need special attention and support.  They are still weak, frail, unsure and uncertain girls who cannot stand up to men.

Savvy women of course have nothing to do with this nonsense. They are heirs to Shakespearean heroines who best men at every turn; who have plenty of  poison arrows in their quivers, and who operate within the strictures of their time and place to get exactly what they want.  Who ever said Goneril, Regan, Dionyza, Tamora, Volumnia, or Margaret ever needed special protection? Or Ibsen’s Hedda Gabler, Rebekka West, or Hilda Wangel? Or Emma Bovary, or Stendhal’s Mathilde de la Mole?

Image result for images diana rigg as hedda gabler

The tragedy is that men are intimidated if not cowed by such progressive cant, and the American electorate feels obliged to bow and scrape before Black Lives Matter, the young Leftist demagogues in Congress, and street-corner, neighborhood liberal preachers who have bought the absurdity and pomposity of the movement hook, line, and sinker.

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