We live in a Puritan country, in which self-righteousness is eternally wedded to cheap theatrics.  This explains the dual phenomena of Meryl Streep and Hollywood’s earnest commitment to distributing her films to every country on the planet.  Like all good Puritans, self-righteous Americans are sure to be the most depraved of anyone.  So when Tinseltown, the Salt Lake City of the Puritan faith, claims to have found virtue, it is a certainty that what it has really found is a way to refine vice further.  Hollywoodian virtue is nothing more, ever, than hypocrisy in stage makeup.

Never was there better proof of this than the #MeToo movement.  That the double entendre is apparently unintentional is a perfect glimpse into the two-way mirror of the Hollywood mind.  Where the rest of us see yet another iteration of the Hollywood herd mentality, in which everyone follows the most cheaply theatrical of all the self-righteous elect, Hollywood itself sees bold action against whatever the secular sin du jour happens to be.  Once upon a time, Puritans were serious folks who spoke solemnly of sinners in the hands of an angry God.  Now that Puritanism has been polished to a high shine and renamed “social justice,” the empty-headed morality parrots who staff the clerical ranks want everyone to know that, like Indian philosophers, they themselves are coterminous with the deity.  “God is God.  Me too!”  What is thus transparently mendacious to everyone else is, for Hollywood, simply another surface in which to admire one’s own reflection.

Liberal virtue appears very much like a bandwagon.  As the virtuous liberals pass by in procession, everyone else along the route wants to get on, too.  But there’s more to the story than this.  Because, as the left has grown hoarse in shouting these past few years, to possess true virtue is to recognize that, when all are welcome, all are not really welcome.  Toleration of everyone except all-but-one is the mind-bending Zen koan of the Latter-Day Puritan Saints.  In that sense, then, liberal virtue isn’t really a bandwagon; it’s a logroll.  There can be only one virtuous person in the liberal dispensation.  Like the Weberian theory of the state, someone must have a monopoly on violence.  (And for liberals, violence and virtue are the same thing—cf. Planned Parenthood.)  Everyone else is out.  Who rolls most aggressively wins.

Enter the #MeToo soothsayers, the saintly Alyssa Milano, Ashley Judd, Madonna, and Rose McGowan.  Surprisingly—especially given how much these holywomen bloviate about compassion—it has proved difficult for those who launched the fusillade to avoid being caught in their own crossfire.  Asia Argento, who seems to have been molesting minors while she was lecturing Harvey Weinstein about sexual ethics, was denounced in public by a lesbian acquaintance who saw in the fall of her erstwhile friend an opportunity to get her own name in the newspapers for a day or two.  Rose McGowan stepped in to try to suppress the fragging and got torched in return.  Paging Mr. Robespierre.  Hollywood is the entertainment capital of the universe, but they seem not to have noticed that we are all laughing at them, not with them.  That is hypocrisy’s punch line, as well as its peril for the hypocrite.

None of this has stopped the #MeToo Amazons from war-whooping into the fray half-crazed.  Here we can see the putative bandwagon transmogrify into the Hobbesian battlefield of all against all.  The #MeToo harridans are not elevator operators welcoming the elect on board to ferry them to the heights of moral perfection.  They’re like the challengers to the King of Nemi in The Golden Bough.  Just when the old self-righteous sovereign and self-appointed champion of the oppressed, Hil lary Clinton, was starting to nod off in her dotage, along came the #MeTooers and lopped off her crowned head.  (Rose McGowan’s triumphalist virtue-signaling is more like a Viking battle cry than a compassionate call for repentance.  Read her tweets for yourself if you don’t believe me.  Which comes to mind: Mother Teresa or Arnold Schwarzenegger?)

The #MeToo movement cannot be understood without putting it firmly in the context of the Clintons.  The Weinsteinian iteration of #MeToo is just the continuation of the Arkansian and New Yorker #MeToo movement that helped the Clintons translate professional sexual predation into a side career as co-Presidents in the Roaring Nineties.  But as the Clintons aged and lost their Faustian glow, and after Ol’ Ironpantsuit lost her second shot at the throne in 2016, the liberals, who had long been held in abeyance by the Clintons’ deal with the devil, saw an opportunity to take their crown and, like Napoleon, jam it onto their own head.  #MeToo is the stroke that killed the Clintons so that someone else could play their game.  Everyone who was cozy with the Clintons had to go, too.  Harvey Weinstein was just the first schmuck who got mowed down when the massacre started in earnest.

But hardly anyone could see that #MeToo was much bigger than Beverly Hills.  Even some liberals—the half-dozen or so who retain some shadow of a conscience—had to call foul when Bill Clinton came out as a “big supporter” of #MeToo.  But why the surprise?  Bill Clinton didn’t join the #MeToo movement; he invented it.  Monica Lewinsky may have been a silly intern, but I hardly think she was confused as to whose desk she was crawling under.  (Ours, strictly speaking, but as a lawyer Bill Clinton was professionally ignorant of middle-school civics.)  He is a sexual predator and he should have been tried, convicted, chemically castrated, and sent to the camps in Siberia 40 years ago.  He has countless victims, but Monica Lew insky isn’t one of them.  No one who has read an American newspaper, even once since the 1980’s, can possibly have been unaware that Clinton’s shtick was anything other than trading sad sexual favors for soulless government sinecures.  That’s why he had to go to Washington—Arkansas being too small a market for his line of work.  If Lewinsky didn’t know that, then her friends surely did.  (“I heard the grossest thing about your new boss, Monica.”  Yeah, Monica.  Me, too.)

#MeToo is about much more than feminista revenge, more than just the Steel Magnolias set staging a mutiny on the HMS Box Office Bounty.  This is no war of the sexes, no Billie Jean King sending a chauvinist Neanderthal, tail-tucked and humiliated, back into darkness.  This was a hostile takeover, and it didn’t matter which sex the hapless losers were assigned at birth.  To put it bluntly, the #MeToo movement is to the Clinton Machine what the Commerce Department was to Standard Oil.  Harvey Weinstein and his flesh-crawling friends were patsies in a proxy war.  The insufferable Matt Damon, the decrepit Dustin Hoffman, and a generous lagniappe of assorted creeps and weirdos in what is euphemistically called “the media” (Matt Lauer, Garrison Keillor, Charlie Rose, et al.)—all these buffoons got taken down in a side skirmish over money and revenge for past slights.  But these little score-settlings are essentially meaningless.  The #MeToo movement is going to lead to precisely zero reform.  Reform what?  Who will do the reforming?  #MeToo is not a change of heart but a changing of the guard.

Ann Coulter likes to say that in the War on Women, Teddy Kennedy had the first confirmed kill.  #MeToo is not a whit different except that women don’t need Hyannis Port playboys to drive them to their demise anymore.  In the Lean Forward generation, women now volunteer to disrespect and destroy themselves.  When the game was to let the grimy rich guy have his way with you in exchange for a part in his lame movie, there was a stampede to Weinstein’s office door.  Me too, Mr. Weinstein, me too.  Now the game is different.  Donald Trump’s escapades have made it profitable for the Democrats to throw the serial rapist from Arkansas under the bus and open fire—hilariously—on Trump for being a dallier.  In the wake of that numbing hypocrisy came the #MeToo performance.  Me too, Rose McGowan, me too.  Fame is fickle—if you want to be in the limelight, then you have to be willing to change dances whenever a new tune is called.

Of course, in our national charade of separating the Incorruptibles from the Deplorables, all the Little People get ground under the tracks of the charging Panzer division of Puritan virtue.  For example, one name that hasn’t come up in all this smug denunciation is that of Millicent Lilian Entwistle, one of the first casualties of Hollywood’s congenital misogyny.  Entwistle was a nice girl from Wales who followed the siren song of fame and fortune to southern California, where, as per the eternal Hollywood script, she was used up and cast aside by the giant harvester of the studios, which mows the rows of good girls from the provinces and converts their husks into enormous profits.  Another nice girl, Norma Jeane Mortenson, died of a drug overdose in a hotel room, having been ogled by every public-school-educated rake in the Western Hemisphere.  We don’t hear anyone speak of these poor victims because to do so would be to discern the pattern in the #MeToo hypocrisy.  Misogyny is Hollywood.  Their business model remains the same: Consume Female Soul, Discard Remains.  From their sad graves Entwistle and Mortenson softly moan, “Me too, me too . . . ”

Women don’t go to Hollywood because they want to act.  They go because they are lured there, and they stay because the attention to their alter ego becomes an acceptable substitute for the soul that liberalism took from them.  When this attention begins to fade, even a little, desperation takes hold.  Peg Entwistle threw herself from the top of the Hollywood Sign when fortune’s favor passed from her.  Others choose different routes.  How many people had heard of Asia Argento before she molested a minor?  I’ll bet you’ve heard of her now.  She will ride the wave of infamy until a bigger one comes along.  Never mind that all the waves flow backward, farther and farther out to the wastes of the Sargasso Sea.  What matters is having one’s picture in Variety and a write-up in the New York Times.  Exactly like Washington, D.C.

The #MeToo movement may seem to be the latest flavor of cultural Leninism, the eternal revolution of the mind, the High Modernist doctrine of “All war, all the time.”  Once the prince, now the pauper.  Once Cinderella, now the queen.  Hollywood and Washington are mirror images, to be sure.  The zero-sum game is liberalism’s idiotic puzzle.  I win, you lose.  But let us not be deceived.  #MeToo is not confined to Hollywood or Foggy Bottom, or even to Rockefeller Center or Las Vegas or the other centers of “culture” in our ruined land.  It is now the bedrock of American life.  The full flowering of the new age of vengeance and spite, vindictiveness and totalitarianism, is precisely the #MeToo movement: the Stasi in petticoats, mani-pedi’d payback, Stalinism in drag.  #MeToo is what you get when a nation-state unravels and the only way to survive is by denouncing your neighbor.  If you thought that #MeToo would stay confined to power-lunch executives and high-flying Hollywood jet-setters, think again.  Stalinism is here to stay, and it’s coming for you next.

As in its home country, Stalinism sets in when Christianity is denied.  The charity of Christ, scorned often enough, is finally rejected, and the black miasma of self-righteousness sets in.  Is it a surprise that we preach a gospel of Me First and then have to supplement it with the Apocrypha of #MeToo?  Liberalism demands that we see everyone as stepping stones to our own career success, and the Clintons and the Washington cloacracy, along with Harvey Weinstein and the entire Hollywood elite, are the popes and cardinals of the Church of Liberalism.  Michael Avenatti is the altar boy who tried to sprint up the ecclesial ranks.  By perfectly aping the amoral moralizing of our flea-bitten elite, Avenatti proved that anyone sleazy enough could ride the wave of media success.  Of course, pounded on the reef and churned up in the undertow is the woman that Avenatti used as his own personal launching pad to stardom.  Stalinism in drag can trace its founding back to the stripper’s pole.

Or consider the Brett Kavanaugh “hearings,” which were really a 21st-century reenactment of the Oracle at Delphi.  An obviously mentally feeble woman was propped up by professional Democrat fixers, and the whole country piled on as though Christine Blasey Ford had come down from the mountain carrying the tablets of the law.  Not one month later, she, too, was forgotten.  The ruse didn’t work in the instant, but a new generation of lunatics was initiated into the heady mysteries of Leftist Outrage.  And on and on.  The Soviet army took Berlin by leaving millions of raped and murdered women in its wake.  Hollywood took America in exactly the same manner.

Lavrentiy Beria, NKVD chief during the Stalin years and the Simon Legree of the Terror, was visiting his boss on his deathbed when it appeared that the obsidian-hearted tyrant had finally given up the ghost.  Inconsolable with grief just seconds before, Beria immediately launched into a tirade of foul abuse of Stalin as soon as he thought that the old bastard was dead.  But wait.  The patient stirs.  Is he going to make it?  As quickly as he had gone from grief to vituperation, Beria swung back to grief again, dropping to his knees and shedding bitter tears into the dictator’s bedclothes.  As long as Stalin drew breath, Beria was his toady.  The instant the Georgian died, Beria would denounce him into oblivion.

Cling to the star that hoists you; ditch it when it goes cold.