Bill Cosby has been in the news lately, accused of sexual assault by multiple women. The moral outrage industry has been in full cry, and Hollywood got in on the act. Co-hosts Tina Few and Amy Poehler made jokes about him at the Golden Globe Awards. It’s nice to have Cosby to fall back on, especially after that false Rolling Stone article about a gang rape that never happened at a University of Virginia fraternity party. So far there has been no apologies from the University of Virginia administration. Believing the worst about its own students, it closed down the campus’s fraternities and sororities. Nor has there been one from the moral outrage industry or the “patriarchy,” “male domination,” and “culture of rape” theorists who made hay until the Rolling Stone sun quit shining, condemning the falsely accused, the fraternity, the Greek system, the university, and males in general.
According to the theorists, male domination and oppression of females are socially pervasive phenomena that are shoved under the rug in our patriarchal culture. Rape and sexual assault are far more prevalent than statistics indicate, because many such crimes are never reported or prosecuted. The subject deserves far more attention and analysis than it receives (and women’s studies programs deserve far more funding than they receive). Fair enough, take the theorists case as proved: male domination and control of women through threats, violence, and other coercive and criminal means are widespread and under-prosecuted. But be careful what you wish for, theorists, because full examination of that proposition exposes not just rampant hypocrisy among the theorists, but lifts the manhole cover on the sewer of contemporary American culture.
It must be fun to pile on frat boys or a hugely successful Afro-American who has had the temerity to suggest that not all of his race’s problems can be attributed to white racism. However, there is another Bill with zipper problems who never seems to find himself in Hollywood’s, the moral outrage industry’s, or the sexual oppression theorists’ crosshairs. That would be our esteemed 42nd president, Bill Clinton. Allegations of sexual misconduct, sometimes criminal, go back to Clinton’s days as a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford and run through his entire political career and beyond.
Before Clinton’s presidency, if a woman accused a man of sexual harassment or other sexual misconduct, and the accused was a powerful figure and the accuser was not, the presumption among feminists was that she was telling the truth. This presumption, while it can never be enshrined in the civil or criminal law without abandoning the presumption of innocence, makes sense. Accusing someone powerful of unethical or illegal conduct of a sexual nature entails risks of reprisal and public humiliation. It may involve embarrassing disclosures by the accuser about herself and actions of which she is deeply ashamed. The presumption was frequently cited when Anita Hill accused Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas of sexual harassment. While false accusations may be made to realize some sort of pecuniary or other benefit, in the interests of justice any prima facie credible accusation deserves further investigation.
The presumption vanished when Bill Clinton became a serious candidate for the presidency. During his first campaign in 1992, Gennifer Flowers alleged a 12-year relationship with Clinton, who at first denied it on 60 Minutes. Flowers then produced tapes of phone calls with Clinton, which made it clear that there was some sort of relationship between the two. Clinton apologized to Mario Cuomo for things he said about him on the tapes. That apology belied later claims by Clinton aides that the tapes were doctored. Six years later, in a deposition connected with another Clinton alleged sexual misdeed, Clinton finally admitted, under oath, that he had a sexual encounter with Flowers, although he claimed it was only once.
Paula Jones accused Clinton of sexual harassment, saying in 1991 she was escorted to a Little Rock hotel room where then-Governor Clinton exposed himself and propositioned her. Juanita Broderick accused then-Governor Clinton of raping her. Kathleen Willey alleged a sexual assault in the private study of the Oval Office. In all three instances the ordinary-citizen accusers were alleging sexual misconduct of a criminal nature against a powerful politician, which fits to a tee the template proffered in the Anita Hill case. The accusations were prima facie credible, there was evidence to support the claims, and the accused had lied about other sexual encounters, but the presumption of the accusers’ veracity was out the window.
The silence from much of academia, feminists, the Democratic party, Hollywood, and the press was deafening. Those who spoke up went after the accusers, or, in Hollywood’s case, made jokes about them. Paula Jones was “trailer-park trash,” although Clinton eventually settled her sexual harassment suit against him for $850,000. Forget about the disparity in power between accusers and accused, and the emotional trauma attendant on bringing an accusation. Now it was a matter of “she said-he said” and must be dismissed, although Anita Hill-Clarence Thomas was also “she said-he said” and that hadn’t stopped Hill’s proponents from pressing their case.
A good-old-boy defense attorney defending the sexually predatory mayor of some backwater burg couldn’t have done a better job of trashing the victims than Bill Clinton’s legions of defenders, including his wife, did of trashing his accusers. Every less-than-flattering detail of their past lives was disclosed and highlighted, every potential discrepancy in their stories dissected. Hillary, who had once said that women do not lie about sexual harassment, contemptuously dismissed all the allegations as part of a “vast right-wing conspiracy.” Decrying the “politics of personal destruction,” the Clintons spearheaded the effort to destroy Bill’s accusers.
Clinton’s oral copulations by Monica Lewinsky (which everyone but Clinton regarded as sex) were consensual, and he would have gotten away with denying them but for a semen-stained blue dress. Although Lewinsky was a star-struck woman in her early twenties, not even half of Clinton’s age, Clinton’s defenders dismissed the affair; it was a consensual, private matter. No patriarchal domination, power disparity, or female oppression here, folks, just move along.
For a rerun-in-progress of Clinton’s presidential scandals, we have the Jeffrey Epstein scandal. Epstein is a billionaire financier and Democratic donor who owns a private Caribbean island. He is also a registered sex offender, pleading guilty in 2008 to soliciting girls for underage prostitution. More than 40 women claim he abused them (many of them were underage at the time of the alleged abuse), keeping them at his island as sex slaves. There are other lurid accusations (of which there is no need to detail here). Clinton was a friend of Epstein and flight logs show that he traveled around the world on Epstein’s plane, including visits to the island. The friendship apparently ended when Epstein’s legal troubles began.
Now a suit by some of Epstein’s alleged victims to overturn his 2008 plea deal may rope Clinton in as at least a witness and perhaps show that he was an accomplice. The plea deal was suspiciously lenient and was not approved by or even shown to the alleged victims, which has become the grounds for their new suit.
Although politically-connected Epstein’s conviction and the current lawsuit against him are hard news—verifiable facts—one must dig deep to find any mention of it in the mainstream press. Most of the reporting has been in the British Daily Mail—another Epstein friend is Prince Andrew, and allegations have been made against him as well. If, as alleged, Epstein kept underage girls on his island against their will for his and his friends’ sexual use and abuse, it is not just a private matter or a “she said-he said” question concerning a sexual encounter. It is pure evil, and Epstein and friends should be locked away for a long time, if not the rest of their lives. If the allegations are proved, there are no exculpatory ambiguities of fact, law, or morality. No jury in the world would convict if the enraged mother or father of one of Epstein’s victims shot him dead.
The press’s indifference to the case and the absence of calls for further investigation when it is clearly warranted are easy to explain—nobody wants to pursue a story that could upend Hillary Clinton’s presidential run—but impossible to excuse. It provides yet another, and possibly the most damning, illustration of rampant corruption, immorality, and hypocrisy in the party that has made “War on Women” a household phrase.
The lust for power—for the government and those who control it—has deformed the Jefferson-Jackson party beyond recognition. Power has become the end justifying every immoral means. If the people must be blatantly deceived to get Obamacare passed, so be it, it ultimately feeds and expands an already huge Democratic interest group. If programs set up ostensibly to combat poverty increase it, but also result in a massive expansion of the government, so be it. If programs targeted to aiding certain racial and ethnic groups instead hinder them, but also make them reliable voting blocs, so be it. If increased governmental funding and involvement ruin schools, so be it; never mind all those professions of concern about education, keep the teachers’ unions happy. And if an investigation of alleged heinous crimes might ruin the frontrunner’s chances in the next presidential election, the ruined lives of underage girls be damned, don’t pursue it.
The loyal opposition is mostly loyal and poses no opposition. It is not in a position to fight a moral battle. For decades the Republicans have lacked the courage to challenge the hypocrisies on women’s rights, minority rights, poverty, income inequality, affirmative action, the environment, education, medical care, or anything else in the Democrats bag of tricks. The proper redoubts for the battle would be individual rights, individual freedom, strictly limited government, and capitalism, but they were surrendered without a fight long ago. The Republicans are the party of either the slow down or, at best, a little less of: government growth, debt, regulation and taxes. They have substantial hypocrisies of their own. The party of professed skepticism about government’s ability to better society embarked on a fruitless and costly war to remake the Middle East in the name of an open-ended, seemingly endless, conceptually impossible war, a war on a tactic: terrorism. In the name of that same specious war, it has endorsed the expansion of a national security apparatus that poses the biggest threat to American liberties since the founding of the republic
So both parties will seize whatever fleeting advantage they can from essentially trivial issues while ignoring the implications of theirs and their opposition’s yawning moral deficits. Long before the currency is devalued to nothing, the tax collections collapse, the borders are overrun, and the people revolt, empires rot from within. The virtues that built it give way to cupidity, corruption, sloth, degeneracy, debauchery, perversity, power-lust, and suicidal refusal to acknowledge or confront ever-more dismal reality. The pathologies are most pronounced among those claiming the “right” to rule or simply seizing power. Deep diving in the moral cesspool that is current politics and governance strengthens the conviction that America has little chance of escaping the death sentence history tolled on the empires that came before it.
IF YOU’VE HAD ENOUGH OF MORAL CESSPOOLS