The Kavanaugh Accusation: A Defining Moment for #MeToo

September 25, 2018 Updated: September 25, 2018

What is #MeToo’s mission? Is it to work for a reduction of abusive sexual behavior and to promote greater respect for each other, or is it to weaponize sex for partisan, ideological purposes? We may find out this week.

Just last week, I wrote in support of #MeToo’s efforts to curb predatory sexual behavior, saying that they could be more effective and helpful if they would dare to challenge the rich and socially accepted purveyors (Hollywood, Playboy, et al.) of socially corrosive sexual titillation.

Now, one week later, #MeToo is in a position to squander their long-term effectiveness in one huge misstep.

All they have to do to blow it is to hitch their reputation to the attempt to derail Judge Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination to the Supreme Court on the flimsy basis of unproven accusations of impropriety as a minor. If that happens, #MeToo will lose a ton of respect, credibility, good will, and moral authority.

If, going forward, #MeToo focuses its efforts on adults using positions of power to coerce or extort sexual favors from those beneath them in a hierarchical organization, they will enjoy mainstream support.

But, if #MeToo starts going after every man who crossed a line as a callow teenager, the result will be a circus. Heaven knows, we have enough problems to address in the present without reliving thousands of years- and decades-old cases of adolescent impropriety of various degrees of veracity.

Yes, let’s do more to teach today’s youth about proper conduct toward members of the opposite sex, but let’s reserve the heavy artillery of branding someone for life for incorrigible adults who pose a present threat to decency and respect today.

Hopefully, there are enough sober thinkers in the #MeToo movement to see how much support they will lose if they call for the unjust ruination of a man’s career on the basis of unproven allegations.

Sadly, two female U.S. senators are setting horrible examples. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) has stated that Kavanaugh should be disqualified “given what we know.” Sorry, senator, but we don’t know what did or didn’t happen 36 years ago.

Sen. Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii) apparently blames all males for sexual misconduct, and has called on men to “step up” and “do the right thing.” Well, I stepped up last week in support of curbing sexual predations. Now I hope the senator will reciprocate and do the right thing by not lynching Judge Kavanaugh on the basis of an uncorroborated allegation dependent on fuzzily recalled events from 36 years ago.

Hypocrisy

What makes progressives’ attempt to torpedo the nomination of a brilliant and fair-minded jurist, who by all accounts has been a model of upright behavior throughout his professional career, is the rank hypocrisy of it all.

Liberals have long blamed the environment in which someone was raised for the occurrence of crime and poverty. While I don’t think environment explains or exculpates everything, it can indeed be a potent factor. So it is with sexual misconduct. That is why, in my article last week, I urged #MeToo to criticize today’s social environment in which recreational sex is glorified and chastity and monogamy are devalued.

Liberals also have customarily come down on the side of lenience for minors who have broken laws. Indeed, while we can disagree about how much leniency to show to adolescents, we need to make some allowances for juvenile misbehavior, for minors are not fully mature individuals either emotionally or psychologically. Many of us made mistakes as teenagers that we would never made as adults.

The eleventh-hour attack on Kavanaugh reminds me of how, six years ago, the left went after GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney for some high school mischief. I happened to live in the same dormitory as Mitt that year, and wrote about the incident for Forbes.com.

Even though I think Mitt did what he was accused of (something I won’t believe about Kavanaugh without credible corroboration), I feel that he learned and grew from his overzealous behavior. Kids are kids, they make mistakes, and to say that a mistake in youth disqualifies a person from doing honorable work as an adult is wrong and cruel. (It’s also impractical, because if only people who never stepped out of line as kids can be eligible for high office, those offices will have to remain vacant.)

Progressives say that standards of conduct must be stricter for someone to occupy a position as powerful as a seat on the Supreme Court. That is laughable coming from people who gave Bill Clinton a pass for his alleged serial sexual depredations, even though as president he had more power than a Justice Kavanaugh ever would.

Furthermore, Clinton’s known transgressions as an adult were far more outrageous than Kavanaugh’s unknowable, alleged transgressions as a youth. To have given Clinton a pass, but to condemn Kavanaugh is as dishonest a double standard as can be imagined. And to pretend that the Clinton episode is “ancient history” and that progressives’ standards have risen over the two decades since is bunk.

Just two years ago, those now arguing that an alleged sexual assault by an intoxicated teenager disqualifies an individual from high office for life wanted Hillary Clinton—a woman who had allegedly thrown dirt on the female accusers of her husband—to be president of the United States. How utterly cynical.

Yogi Berra famously quipped, “When you come to the fork in the road, take it.” #MeToo now finds itself at a fork in the road.

In this case, it is more than obvious which fork #MeToo should take. They should opt for the higher road of evenhandedly and consistently working to uproot sexual exploitation from the workplace, and shun the downward path toward becoming nothing but another demagogic tool of partisan politics.

Dr. Mark Hendrickson is Adjunct Professor of Economics at Grove City College. He is author of several books including “The Big Picture: The Science, Politics, and Economics of Climate Change” (CFACT.org — 2018).

Views expressed in this article are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.

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