Prominent men are being exposed as sexual harassers and assailants, and I see that National Review has asked Ben Shapiro to offer some thoughts about that:
‘My gender is terrible,” Politico Chief Economic Correspondent Ben White wrote earlier this week. Time Politics Editor Ryan League Beckwith tweeted, “Not tweeting tomorrow. Just retweeting women. Men: Join me.”
This is the trendy new habit on Twitter when another prominent man is outed for sexual harassment and sexual assault: Virtue-signaling men rush to the medium to repent on behalf of their sex. Men, they say, are disgusting creatures — but they know that, since they’re men. So leave them alone, ladies. They’re on your side.
Ben Shapiro has some nerve chastising other people for "virtue signaling." Shapiro's career was built on virtue signaling. As a young pundit he tried to beat liberalism to death with his own virginity. His labors landed him a book deal:
I'm 21 years old, a columnist, an author, a graduate of UCLA, a Harvard law student -- and a virgin. And I'm proud of it.
As I explain in my new book, "Porn Generation: How Social Liberalism Is Corrupting Our Future," in today's America, being a proud virgin is no easy task. Those with values are under attack in a culture that treasures "tolerance" above morality. It's no wonder that because of my outspoken advocacy of traditional morality in general and of virginity in particular, I've become a favorite target of Internet leftists, who often refer to me as "The Virgin Ben."
But let's return to his National Review column.
All of this is galling. That’s because it ignores a fundamental fact about human life: All human beings are capable of sin. And that means that the antidote to human frailty and brutality isn’t issuing broad-based mea culpas in behalf of groups, but working to instill virtue in individuals through prophylactic rules. But the leftist rubric forbids such inculcation, because that would be culturally oppressive and judgmental.
Right -- we want there to be no moral rules. That's why we regularly attempt to formulate rules for decent conduct -- between genders, among races and ethnic groups, among socioeconomic classes. When we do this, Shapiro calls it "political correctness" and says it breeds insanity and kills people.
But go on, Ben.
Take a look, for example, at the reaction to the sexual-misconduct media wave. Conservatives have long proclaimed that men, left unchecked, will act like pigs with regard to women. We have recognized that men tend to see women as potential sex objects and, without social boundaries, will treat women that way.
And this is different from liberals saying that men saying "My gender is terrible" how exactly?
In order to combat piggish behavior, conservatives have advocated for certain rules and a certain educational framework, built up over the course of centuries. Some of those rules include: social expectation that sex would be connected with marriage, thus cementing the connection between sexual activity and commitment; encouragement of marriage prior to sexual activity, thereby providing objective evidence for positive consent from the woman before an entire community of witnesses; carefully cultivated rules of conduct between men and women, including, in many religions, proscribed physical contact; expectation that men would protect women in chivalrous fashion.
Oh, conservatives have advocated for these rules. Are these the same conservatives who just elected a self-confessed serial sexual assailant with five children from three marriages, a guy who said that avoiding STDs while tomcatting around in the 1980s was his "personal Vietnam"? And I don't care that Shapiro is a #NeverTrumper. He hasn't broken with the conservative movement that supports Trump, because he still needs it for his career.
All of these rules have fallen under heavy attack — and sometimes the attacks have been justified by the over-restrictiveness of certain rules. But the basis for the rules was simple: Men could not be universally trusted not to sin against women. Call it male control, complete with background checks, mandatory training, and a well-developed male enforcement structure.
The Left, in its refusal to acknowledge the inherent flaws in humanity, decided to do away with the rules. Instead, men were bad because men had been poisoned by the social structure, or because they were screwed up by their parents. Rules were artificial barriers to progress. In fact, it was the rules themselves that were to blame for male misbehavior. Marriage had taught men that women were property; thus, kill marriage, kill that pernicious view. Sexual taboos had taught men that women were dangerous seductresses; kill that taboo, kill that pernicious view. Chivalry had taught men that women were weak, and could therefore be exploited; kill chivalry, kill that pernicious view.
It seemed nice in theory. It has failed dramatically in practice.
In the conservative parallel universe, it's always 1971, even for someone like Ben Shapiro, who was born in 1984. Who are these liberals who are trying to "kill marriage"? There's a strain of such thinking on the left that derives from the 1960s and early 1970s, but it never really took root. We liberals still get married -- remember, we're the people who fought to extend marriage to same-sex couples. Ben Shapiro still hates us for that.
It turns out that men are built with a certain capacity for sin. Tearing down fences only lets those sins break out of their confines. Male misbehavior has been championed as rogueish and delightful for decades; marriage has been mocked and derided; “prudish” notions have been rejected. Have women been freed of the male gaze? Are they safer now? Are they more comfortable in the workplace? Or, as we’re now finding out, are the wages of destroying boundaries on human behavior not freedom, but anarchy — and, for too many women, oppression by voracious men?
Yes, oppression by voracious men was invented in the 1960s. It didn't happen in "chivalrous" societies before then and it doesn't happen in traditionalist societies now. (Cough ISIS strongholds cough.) And if liberalism hasn't completely wiped out bad behavior, then we should stop writing exposés of predators and shut down all the harassment training by HR departments and just return to the days of chivalry and enforced chastity, because only strumpets and whores were victims of men's brutality in the good old days.
Apologizing for your gender won’t help. Suggesting that a bit more education will teach men not to rape won’t help, either.
What's the difference between our "education" and what you propose, Ben? That you believe yours was literally passed down on stone tablets? Even by your own admission, the rules in the past had a level of "over-restrictiveness." If we're just godless heathens and the rules from your utopian past were God-given, how did God make mistakes?
Only a proactive reinstitution of checks and balances in society will help. And that will require recognizing that human nature isn’t entirely malleable and that protecting women means requiring positive manhood, not wishful thinking.
Checks and balances are precisely what we want. But they're our checks and balances, and you're a good soldier in the conservative army, so you know that even good ideas have to be rejected if they come from us, otherwise your side won't win. And you know, or ought to know, that most of your fellow conservatives don't really want enforced pre-marital virginity, even for women. They only reason they seem to like it is that they think it induces liberal tears.
Thanks for sharing, Ben, but you really have nothing to offer.
Crossposted at No More Mr. Nice Blog