The most insightful commentary that I have run across on the recent media attempt to torpedo the campaign of Donald Trump with crude and lewd remarks he was recorded having made ten years ago is by Dr. Stephen Baskerville the Professor of Government and Director of the International Politics and Policy Program at Patrick Henry College. His article, entitled “The Sexual Revolution Triumphant”, which was posted at the Daily Caller on the Monday after the second presidential debate, makes the observation that both candidates are “not only products but pioneers of the Sexual Revolution, and together they personify its political dynamic.” Trump, Dr. Baskerville goes on to explain, represents the hedonism of the earlier stage of the Revolution. The later, political side of the Revolution eventually morphed into “the more aggressive and authoritarian feminism.”
The feminists were at first allies of the hedonists, Dr. Baskerville points out, but they “replaced the old sexual morality, defined by religion and enforced by social disapproval, with new political definitions of sin, defined by state functionaries and enforced by gendarmes” eventually creating a “political dynamic that both encouraged unrestrained sex and then punished men for engaging in it.” The success of the political side of the Sexual Revolution can be seen in the fact that in response to the Trump tape scandal, the outrage even of conservatives has not been expressed in terms of traditional morality but rather those of “the political ideology that has replaced it: ‘sexism,’ ‘misogyny,’ ‘sexual harassment,’ and other new political jargon that no one fully understands because it can be expanded to mean anything.”
What the liberal reporters who broke the story about the Trump tape hoped to accomplish, as I pointed out in my last essay, was to divide the Republican Party and, more specifically, to turn moral and religious conservatives against Trump. What Dr. Baskerville’s insightful observation about how conservatives have been using the jargon of feminist ideology rather than of traditional morality to condemn Trump’s remarks means is that to the extent that the liberal attack on Trump has succeeded in achieving its ends it has also succeeded in enlisting the champions of traditional morality and sexuality on the side of their mortal enemy feminism.
That feminism is the mortal enemy of more than just traditional morality can be seen in the follow up to the tape scandal. After the second presidential debate, in which Trump wiped the floor with Clinton, the media began publishing allegations of groping and other sexual misconduct against Trump. The allegations, by contrast with those made against Bill Clinton in the 1990s, are of exceedingly low credibility. The accused is an exceedingly wealthy, high profile businessman and celebrity, and thus a goldmine for anyone who could credibly bring a lawsuit against him over something like this, yet the accusations pertain to events that supposedly happened as far back as thirty years. One of the accusers seems to have lifted her accusation verbatim from a Velvet Underground song. The question of Trump’s guilt or innocence, however, is not what concerns me here, but rather how liberals and feminists responded to those who questioned the credibility of these accusations.
Let us use George Takei, the actor, best known for playing Hikaru Sulu in Gene Roddenberry’s original Star Trek series and other versions of the franchise, as an example. Takei has a large social media following and is outspoken in his progressive opinions. On Friday, October 14th, at 7:22 am, Takei tweeted the following:
“If you ever wonder why sexual assault victims don’t come forward, just look what’s happening now to those who do.”
Let us now parse this interesting remark of Mr. Sulu’s and see what we can discover. Implicit in these snide and snarky words is the idea that we ought never to question the credibility of claims of sexual assault. If we question the credibility of those who make accusations of sexual assault, victims of sexual assault won’t come forward, therefore by questioning the credibility of accusers, we are preventing victims from obtaining justice. Shame on us.
Do you see where this kind of reasoning leads? To say that it is wrong to question the credibility of an accuser is to say that an accuser has the right to be presumed to be telling the truth. If that seems reasonable to you, then you need to recognize that giving accusers the right of presumption of truth is incompatible with another right long regarded as a bedrock principle of justice in Western Civilization and especially the English speaking world. That is the right of the accused to be presumed innocent until proven guilty.
This principle, which goes back as far as the jurisprudence of the Roman Empire - ei incumbit probatio qui dicit, non qui negat (1) – has been fundamental to English Common Law for centuries. It is closely related to the principle that Sir William Blackstone, writing in the eighteenth century, formulated as “it is better that ten guilty persons escape than that one innocent suffer,” a principle that also has ancient roots. Socrates, in Plato’s Gorgias, famously declared that it is better to suffer an injustice than to commit one. In the Biblical account of the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah in the Book of Genesis, Abraham pled with the Lord not to destroy the wicked cities if ten righteous men could be found therein and He agreed. In the event, not finding even that many, He sent His angels to rescue Lot and his family, before the fire and brimstone fell.
These ancient and traditional principles are fundamental to our entire way of doing justice which, whatever its flaws may be, for all earthly justice is flawed, is superior to any system that has ever operated on the opposite concept of a presumption of guilt. These principles are far too important to sacrifice to the idols of feminist ideology.
Yet that is exactly what feminism expects us to do. George Takei did not just beam his sentiments out of thin air. The idea that those who accuse others of sexual harassment, assault and rape have a right to be believed, because questioning their veracity discourages victims from coming forward, is part of what feminists have been brainwashing their victims into thinking in gender studies classrooms for years. The result, naturally, of teaching a particular kind of accuser that she has the right to be believed, has been an avalanche of false accusations which have ruined the education, careers, and lives of many. Just ask the Duke University lacrosse team or the poor sap that Mattress Girl got her five minutes in the spotlight for defaming. These are the sort of things that come from allowing an ideological movement, whose leading personalities in the 1970s and 1980s made the absurd claims that all heterosexual intercourse is rape and that rape is an instrument whereby men as a class oppress women as a class thereby making all men culpable to have this much influence over the minds of youth.
Dr. Baskerville, in the article that I referenced at the beginning of this essay, argues that the success of the Sexual Revolution in replacing the clear language of traditional morality with the malleable and expansive ideological jargon of feminism, so that even supposedly conservative politicians feel compelled to use the latter rather than the former when condemning Trump’s locker room talk, is ominous because it is the nature of the new terminology to create a rationalization for a power grab on the part of the kind of radicals who find their champion in Hillary Clinton. This, along with what I have pointed out above about how feminism’s insistence upon a right of presumption of truth for accusers in sexual harassment/assault and rape cases would mean the abandonment of the basic principle of the right of presumption of innocence for the accused, demonstrates how feminist ideology is a threat to the principles of freedom and justice that have been essential elements of the tradition of Western civilized societies for centuries.
(1) The burden is on he who asserts, not he who denies.
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