Monday, January 11, 2010

Thank heavens I'm not the cynical type

Looking back over the past year and re-reading commentary surrounding the Roman Polanksi arrest and the death of Ted Kennedy, and then thinking further back to my politically formative years during the Clinton era, I'm increasingly struck by how eagerly so many left-liberals, champions of the oppressed and underprivileged and don't you forget it, fight to defend rich, powerful, and prestigious elite men who commit reprehensible acts against vulnerable women and girls of much lower socioeconomic status.

It's not all of them, by any means, but it's remarkable how much I see people like this, and how unashamed they are. Say what you will about back-to-the-kitchen right-wing reactionaries, I'll give them this: They're all pretty much in agreement on the “Is drugging and raping a 13-year old girl as she pleads with you to stop a serious crime?” issue, whereas no such consensus exists among founders of prominent feminist organizations.

If I were the cynical type, I'd start to wonder how much of the concern endlessly expressed about the plight of the underprivileged is genuine, and how much is a way for liberal politicians, interest groups, and intellectuals to strut, preen, and create the illusion that they are something other than members of the same establishment they are supposedly rebelling against. If I were the really cynical type, I'd start asking why laws and regulations produced for the ostensible purpose of protecting vulnerable or oppressed people from the depredations of the powerful seldom seem to have much actual effect on the powerful, aside from giving them a bigger stick with which to beat those beneath them.

If I were the cynical type.

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Anonymous said...

Thanks for writing this. You are right to point out that the left, for all its rhetoric otherwise, often fails to champion the rights of women and girls. It's especially loathe to do so when the rights of women inconveniently clash with partisan goals (as in the case of Bill Clinton.)

But the right is hardly immune to sacrificing individual women's lives and happiness to such sickening displays of partisanship. If I recall correctly, the multiple allegations of groping lodged against gubernatorial then-candidate Arnold Schwarzenegger were largely greeted with indifference. His offenses were less egregious than Clinton's and Polanski's, but the same principle seems to be at work.

As usual, Sarah Palin seems to provide the best demonstration of this sort of double standard. I've heard the same liberal make endless cracks about her while professing indignation that the notoriously volatile John McCain insulted his wife, though McCain's wife and Palin probably hold similar political views. Charges of misogyny only seem to matter when they can be used to smear the opposing party; otherwise, powerful men apparently should feel free to exploit women as they please.

rossbcan said...

Its all about pretexts for advocates. Those they claim the motive (unprovable) is to help never seem to be "helped", only made more dependent and, to resolve this, the "advocates" claim more resources required.

This is also the script according to Machiavelli (strategically denied bible of arbitrary power – politics):

Machiavelli Paraphrased: “Arbitrary power can get away with ANYTHING, so long as it appears “necessary” to intellectually crippled populations (falsely framed arguments, based on lies for input facts, flogged by corrupt experts, shilling and prostituting their academic degrees for power, blind trust of populace, a social disease and mental illness I call “expertitus”) . In essence, all such arguments are a house of cards, false assumptions built upon false assumptions, the false equating of speculation to REALITY.”

The is the exact same algorithm used to rationalize the initiation of aggression against Iraq, a war crime. The same false “argument” is being carefully constricted against Iran. Embargo, the first step of war, initiated.

With the discrediting of socialism, all pretexts regarding slavery of the productive to “help the unfortunate” (who adapt to dependency, collapsing civilization) have been replaced by pretexts “to avoid terror” such as necessity for preemptive justice, war or “save the environment” (AGW fraud, etc).

In these false arguments, the “bad guys” always have something to steal. The “good guys” are those who intend to profit by the thievery.

Anonymous said...

You make a valid point, but one of the examples that you have chosen to illustrate it is fatally flawed. Polanski's victim, the only person who has any moral authority to say whether or not to pursue sanctions against her violator, has stated that she wants the matter dropped.


John Markley said...

Cheryl Cline,

The fury at Palin really does bring something terribly ugly out of some people, doesn't it?

I do get the impression that some liberals have been getting more comfortable over the last few making the sort of remarks that they would usually be quick to identify as offensive. I'm not sure if there's been an actual increase, or if my antennae are just more attuned to it than they used to be, but it's quite glaring at times.


I know, and I agree that the decision to prosecute or not prosecute rightfully belongs to the victim, but virtually none of the people on the left arguing against prosecuting Polanski were doing so primarily on that basis. Instead, they downplayed the gravity of the original crime, or claimed that Polanski had already suffered enough, or said Polanski was a victim of American puritanism, or made other arguments that had nothing to do with respecting the victim's choice one way or the other; they made arguments that could have- and would have- been made with equal force even if the victim DID want Polanski punished. Aside from libertarians and some radical feminists, virtually no one arguing against prosecuting Polanksi was basing their argument around respect for the victim's autonomy.