The lares and penates of post-Christian (actually postpagan) America are Money, Sex, and Power, not necessarily in that order but rather according to individual taste and proclivity. Our household gods are grinning and chuckling malevolently from the hearth as they behold the carnival of sexual scandal and hypocrisy that has been unfolding across the land for many weeks now, a merriment in which all sane Americans should join as the Sexual Revolution of the 1960’s, like Saturn, devours its children.
Liberalism has devoted the past century to sexualizing Western societies far beyond the imagination of the old “free love” movement that commenced in the 20th century, or of any such movement from a previous era, for that matter. Religious people and conservatives generally warned of the inevitably disastrous results of this process, but their warnings were either ignored or ridiculed by the coalescing secular culture as coming from prudes, Puritans, and reactionaries. Sex, unregulated by civil, criminal, and religious law—and the more of it the better—was a liberating and healthy thing, liberals insisted, and they could (and did) substantiate their claims with “studies” conducted by “sex experts.” Now—almost overnight—not only the sexual act itself but sexual flirtation and exploratory courtship are deeply suspect, whether on the job or off it, owing to what began as an outrage and rapidly progressed to the sort of mania that mass democratic sentiment has always been prone to, even before the advent of the digital media made such eruptions a regular occurrence. As usual, liberal theory confronted by inconvenient reality cast about for an extratheoretical villain to blame and lighted upon what a (male) columnist for the New York Times described as the unique “brutality” of male sexuality that can be tamed only (if at all) by the realization of complete equality between the sexes.
Both science (real science, not the fake sort Democrats attribute to Republicans) and history attest to the sexual aggressiveness (or brutality, if you like) of the male of the human, and almost every other, species, upon which it has been conceded the propagation of the species depends. So only a member of the subspecies Homo sapiens liberalis could have supposed that introducing women into traditionally male workplaces would not result in sexual attention, welcome or unwelcome, paid to women by their male coworkers in a society tenderized by the hypersexuality induced by the liberal ideals of sexual freedom and choice, moral relativism, and the equality and even identity of the sexes, even as society was brutalized by the banishment of chivalry. And this goes in spades for those places built upon the cults of physical attractiveness and personal power, as indeed the news and entertainment industry, and the political arena in an age when telegenic attributes are crucial, are. In the modern world, public life of any kind is based on the ability to manipulate the public to one end or another. This is especially so in politics and in entertainment (which the news business primarily is), where manipulation of the public means attracting and titillating it. But titillation is a double-edged sword, and the titillator easily becomes the titillized—like the viewers, but, unlike them, with sexual gratification within easy reach. The mediated world is based irremovably on sex appeal, like the wider capitalist-commercial world whose existence depends on the advertising industry that would need to have invented sex had Someone not dreamed up the idea before it.
Now, the whole vulgar, corrupt, and corrupting show is turning viciously on itself, with results delightful to behold. Yet, even in their agony, the entertainment media (though not the political class) have found their silver lining, and are striving mightily to turn it into gold by dramatizing their own hysteria and revealing it to the public gaze. The longer the scandal continues, so will the raucous headlines and the website hits, while the viewers sit transfixed before their screens at night and the advertisers rake in the shekels. All credit, then, to those to whom credit is due. You can’t keep a good man (or good girl) down.
A couple of further observations. First, so far as the liberal culture is concerned, the perpetrators’ offense is against the civil “rights” and “dignity” of the alleged victims, not against female virtue and the common decency and honor upon which civilization depends. And second, whatever became of the stinging slap across the face by which offended womanhood hitherto repulsed unwanted and improper advances? “I am woman. Hear me roar.” Really? But how can a girl who can’t defend her virtue with the back of her hand be expected to repulse the charge of a brutal male soldier twice her size on the field of battle? The spell should have been broken by now, the feminist dream ended. Only somehow, it hasn’t.