That truth should be silent I had almost forgot.
Antony and Cleopatra,  Act 1, Scene 2

Unsilent Truth
April 3, 2017

A nasty premise stripped bare

The unprotection of women


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Vice President Pence has said that he will not be alone with a woman who is not his wife; he is following the so-called Billy Graham Rule.

This has created the usual stir among writers who have to have something to write about every week, and usually something that lets them shriek that someone is being unfair to someone else. As though a man has no right to decide for himself with whom he will have lunch or attend business meetings, and as though he may not determine the circumstances under which he will eat his lunch or conduct his meetings. Who does he think he is? A sovereign person or something? We are treated to the predictable charges that women are treated unfairly in American society (often from people who want more Muslims to come into the country, but go figure), and the hoots that men should learn to control themselves. May I be permitted to call people shrieking along these lines "shriekers"?

I wonder whether it has occurred to any of them how different Monica Lewinsky's life would be if she had insisted that Bill Clinton observe the Graham rule. Or Paula Jones's if she had. Or Kathleen Willey's. Or Juanita Broaddrick's. Or, for that matter, Andrea Constand's if she had insisted that Bill Cosby observe it. Or the life of any of the 19 women who accused Bob Packwood of misconduct if they had insisted that he observe it. Or if he had observed it on his own. Or even the life of Mary Jo Kopechne if the Lion of the Senate had observed it. Is it really not obvious to the shriekers that if women insisted that this rule be followed, they would be protected from predatory men?

For that matter, is it really not obvious that it protects innocent men from false accusations? Any man (such as Mike Tyson) who claimed he was innocent of charges might very well wish he had followed the rule.

Must we really have a society in which women may not be protected from predatory men and in which men must not be allowed to protect themselves from false accusations? Must we pretend that there are no dangers to people in social and business settings?

More. Must we really have a society in which men and women may not make their own decisions about what risks they are willing to take?

I suppose, therefore, that we have to agree that there is something wrong with America. But it's not that men can't control themselves. And it's not that women are treated unfairly. Rather, it is that ours has become a society where so many sneer at anyone who thinks it is a good and decent thing to protect women. Or for men to protect themselves from false accusation.

Even worse, it is that ours has become a society where there is a vocal and influential cadre of women who don't want women protected, and who don't really care what happens to women who aren't.

Women who should have been protected and weren't are valuable as tools, as props, as poster children to advance the causes of the shriekers. They can be paraded across the screen, across printed pages, and across Internet blogs to show how necessary it is that men be subject to further scrutiny and regulation. Once having served that purpose, those women can be forgotten. And they are. They are the victims of the "activist's" ideological "Slam! Bam! Thank you, ma'am." Not only can they be used to advance the cause for legal penalties for what is now called "sexual harassment" and to impose further government control over the workplace, but they must be used. The shriekers cannot do without them. Protecting them would deprive them of the victims they need for the accrual of power and reshaping of society.

I am not speaking only of the women who are used by the shriekers. I am speaking also of most of the women I named. They are of no use to the shriekers, because their stories, their abuse cannot advance the agenda. For the shriekers, they are women who Don't Count.

Even so, the women who Don't Count have their uses. They are used by the political opponents of the men who abused them. Not that the abusers do not deserve to be exposed, and driven out of polite society. They do. But those political opponents do not seek to protect such women, the victims of the abusers, from future predators. They can't ... because they have already sided with the agenda of the shriekers.

The agenda is simple to identify and to name. It is egalitarianism.

Once you accept the basic premise of egalitarianism, all the burgeoning madness we see that seems to be impossible to stop is inevitable. It does not matter that observers say, "But we didn't mean for that to happen." It does not matter that others say, "It's a perfectly good idea, as long as you don't take it too far." It matters only that the engine has been set in motion or that the beast has been released.

To be outraged at the logical outcomes inherent in egalitarianism is like drawing the legs of an equilateral right triangle and then standing in horror as the hypotenuse that drifts from one leg to the other becomes a multiple of the square root of 2. It is like wondering how you can keep from hitting the ground after you step off Coit Tower.

Once you want to claim that men and women are not different, that they are equal or should be equal — and especially once any unequal treatment can be punished by law — most of the social absurdities that press upon us are inevitable. Sensible people may be able (or think they are able) to say, "Surely it is possible to treat people equally without embracing foolishness. Surely we can and should draw lines." They can say it because they are sensible, and the reality in which we live permits people to hold contradictory and incompossible ideas.

But the law does not. Embed egalitarianism into the law and compel the application of it, and the law has no natural stopping place. Its rush into madness is held back only by people who lack the imagination to apply it. Slightly dim children can say that everyone should be treated equally, and hardly any harm will come of it. They will not see any opportunities to exploit the idea in avant-garde ways. But lawyers are not slightly dim children. They are like engineers who suddenly see the application of a newly discovered principle of physics or chemistry to propel a new invention. All they require is the occasion for propelling it.

Have a society that embraces egalitarianism if you want to, but heaven help you if you have any lawyers. It will be only a matter of time before your law wreaks havoc with the relations among the races and among men and women and between parents and children. It will be only a matter of time before it wreaks havoc between the rich and the poor, between employer and employee, and in the churches and in the schools. And in the restrooms.

Egalitarianism will not allow you to protect women. It will not allow you to protect even yourself, because to do so is to set yourself apart from those attacking you. To do so is to admit that there are differences that must be acknowledged, that must be defended. And the idea that there exist differences that may imply the existence of limitations can never be allowed. No inference from it can ever be allowed. And no decision based on it can ever be allowed.

And so, as we see, they aren't. Ω

April 3, 2017

Published in 2017 by WTM Enterprises.

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