Thursday, December 21, 2017

Accusations

My question is why it took a conservative writer, which Bret Stephens, NYT columnist is, to weigh in and put the obvious so clearly, or, more bluntly, to, with any luck, blow the whistle?

He writes, coolly, sanely:

All societies make necessary moral distinctions between high crimes and misdemeanors, mortal and lesser sins. A murderer is worse than a thief. A drug dealer is worse than a user. And so on. Gillibrand, Driver and others want to blur such distinctions, on the theory that we need a zero-tolerance approach. That may sound admirable, but it’s legally unworkable and, in many cases, simply unjust.

His bottom line:

Of course none of it is O.K. The supposedly petty sexual harassment that so many women have to endure, from Hollywood studios to the factory floor at Ford, is a national outrage that needs to end. Period.

I'm with him: "Of course none of it is O.K."

But I've read, experienced, and know from history, that once the freedom to accuse is unleashed it can achieve a wild momentum from which none are safe.

This a wild and crazy and uniquely dangerous moment in America. Artists demand that work by other artists be torn down and destroyed. (See the controversy about the Dana Schutz portrayal of Emmitt Till, for one example, among too many others.)

The very idea of trying to sympathize, understand and with luck and talent portray the pain of others is denounced as cultural appropriation.

This is a sick time. It's not a right v. left kind of sickness. It's hard to tell the difference between right and left in many controversies. They are united most of all, fused,  by the violent urge to condemn, censor, control.

So, with regards to sexual abuse, let me return, if I can, to the formulation by Bret Stephens:

All societies make necessary moral distinctions between high crimes and misdemeanors, mortal and lesser sins.




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