In 1665, François Duc de la Rochefoucauld famously opined, “Hypocrisy is a tribute that vice pays to virtue.”
That definition may have been witty at the time, but seems a bit feeble in our era, when Nancy Pelosi states she absolutely believes Joe Biden didn’t sexually assault Tara Reade and she will not “answer this question again.”
As we know, that contrasts with the Pelosi who until recently was repeatedly reciting the “believe all women” mantra, as was Biden himself.
But this doesn’t make Pelosi an actual hypocrite as described by Rochefoucauld or anybody else. It makes her a bloody liar (twice over).
In the first place, no matter what she said, she didn’t “believe all women” any more than she or anyone would believe all men. (Neither did Biden, we can hope.) Only an imbecile would—and Pelosi is no imbecile. She is an unremitting power-driven political operative and a successful one, quite willing to lie at a moment’s notice to achieve her goals.
And that’s what she did. Saying she believes all women was a totally expedient lie at the time, not mere hypocrisy, which is too weak.
Lie No. 2 is, despite what she says, she doesn’t have any idea whether Biden is guilty of sexually assaulting Tara Reade, irrespective of how long she has known him. (Would she have expected that Ted Kennedy would have left a woman drowning in a car?) As any reader of Dostoevsky or Henry James can tell you, human behavior is far too various to be easily predictable.
Only two people know what Biden did or didn’t do—Biden and Reade—to the extent they are capable of remembering. (We won’t make the obvious comment about limitations here.) It’s unlikely that any truly definitive proof will emerge either way beyond the corroboration Reade already has that, as many have indicated, far exceeds Christine Blasey Ford’s nonexistent support for her accusations against Justice Brett Kavanaugh.
So we need a replacement word for hypocrisy when it reaches the Pelosi level of extreme dissimulation for political ends.
But what of the unintended consequences of the hypocrisy-spin-lies (whatever you wish to call it) of Pelosi and others in her party aided and abetted by the media?
Some say it has put #MeToo in rigor mortis. As a (recovering) screenwriter who spent decades in Hollywood, I always found that movement a bit disingenuous.
Certainly, the activities of Harvey Weinstein (and others similar) are as reprehensible as it gets and Harvey et. al. deserve whatever punishments have been and will be meted out and then some. (The executives at NBC are apparently the next to go. What about the other networks?)
But then many of the #MeToo women must have known what they were getting into, unless they were lobotomized. What was going on is as old as the Hollywood entertainment industry. (Kenneth Anger’s “Hollywood Babylon,” first published in French in 1959, has plenty of tales from the beginning, although some may be untrue or exaggerated.)
Weinstein’s close party pal Hillary Clinton must have known about the producer’s proclivities, ditto Pelosi in nearby San Francisco. They, and the actresses, may not have been aware of all of the grisly details but they knew enough to stay away had they so wished.
Sorry to be so blunt, but the lure of fame or money was so strong many of the #MeToo women and their supporters ignored the obvious for years. They are, in part, responsible for what happened to them.
Let’s hope it’s all over now, but Pelosi’s ability to look the other way for partisan purposes suggests otherwise.
(NOTE: Please do not think even for a moment if Reade is telling the truth, that I believe she brought this on herself. That’s a completely different situation.)
But the other unintended victim is something more significant—feminism. We have gone from “Sisterhood is powerful!” to “Screw you, sister!” in a heartbeat, thanks to the first female speaker of the House.
The irony of all this is that it is happening because of Joe Biden. He is what we used to call in show biz Fifth Business, that is, extraneous. (cf., the Robertson Davies wonderful novel with that title). As I wrote earlier, he is the Chauncey Gardner presidential candidate, straight out of Jerzy Kosinski’s accurately titled novel (and then film) “Being There.”
Or is he the human embodiment of Gertrude Stein’s oft-quoted description of Oakland, California—“There’s no there there”?
If #MeToo and feminism itself can be thrown over to make Joe Biden president, then anything’s possible.
Roger L. Simon is The Epoch Times’ senior political columnist. He is also a prize-winning novelist, Oscar-nominated screenwriter and co-founder of PJ Media. His latest book is “The GOAT.” Follow him on Twitter @rogerlsimon.
Views expressed in this article are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.