What is moral hysteria? What will our society be like after the #metoo moment? Is it possible this revolution is not what we think it is?
These are all questions journalist Claire Berlinski tackled in her article, The Warlock Hunt, featured in The American Interest. Here’s an excerpt:
Do not mistake me for a rape apologist. Harvey Weinstein stands credibly accused of rape. He must face a real trial and grave punishment if convicted, not “therapy and counselling.” Tariq Ramadan, likewise. No civilized society tolerates rape. Many of the men whose professional reputations have recently been destroyed sure sound like they had it coming. The law will decide whether the accused are guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, but I don’t require such arduous proof: I’m already convinced that Roy Moore is a sexual predator and so is Bill Clinton. Neither my certainty nor anyone else’s should be allowed to displace the law. I may be convinced, but I might also be mistaken.
These reservations aside, I am gratified that at last we all agree that a rapist—or a serial groper of random women’s genitals—should be behind bars, not the Resolute Desk. It was outrageous and unjust that we ever thought otherwise.
Revolutions against real injustice have a tendency, however, to descend into paroxysms of vengeance that descend upon guilty and innocent alike. We’re getting too close. Hysteria is in the air. The over-broad definition of “sexual harassment” is a well-known warning sign. The over-broad language of the Law of Suspects portended the descent of the French Revolution into the Terror. This revolution risks going the way revolutions so often do, and the consequences will not just be awful for men. They will be awful for women.
Caught up in the hysteria of taking down any man accused of sexual harassment, Berlinski points out we may be missing the big picture. The reality of our newly-formed society might not be the enlightened, safe place we may have imagined. It’s possible, she warns, the fight for equality could come full circle and create a gender divide in the workplace.
“Given the events of recent weeks, we can be certain of this,” Berlinski writes. “From now on, men with any instinct for self-preservation will cease to speak of anything personal, anything sexual, in our presence. They will make no bawdy jokes when we are listening. They will adopt in our presence great deference to our exquisite sensitivity and frailty. Many women seem positively joyful at this prospect. The Revolution has at last been achieved! But how could this be the world we want? Isn’t this the world we escaped?”
Read the full article here.
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