Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Repugnant: Heather MacDonald finds an upside to the unjust campus rape witch hunt -- it will force college "boys" to keep their pants zipped

This blog advocates for a lot of people whose loose sexual morality and fealty to the "hook-up culture" is anathema to me, but I very rarely publicize my personal views because, as Pope Francis famously said, "who am I to judge?" I tell you my personal views so that there is no confusion about why I find Heather MacDonald's piece in the Weekly Standard, Neo-Victorianism on Campus, so terribly repugnant.

MacDonald sees a clear upside to the "the new campus sex regime" of "biased campus sex tribunal[s]" that "puts boys in danger of trumped-up assault charges heard before kangaroo courts." She thinks these injustices will "result[ ] in boys taking a vow of celibacy until graduation," and, she clucks, "there is simply no loss whatsoever to society and only gain to individual character" from that. MacDonald goes so far as to bleat that she does not consider college men unjustly accused of sexual offenses to be "sympathetic victims" because, even though they are not guilty of rape, "many are guilty of acting as boorishly as they can get away with."

Let's put this in plain language. MacDonald is perfectly content with unjust laws and illegal policies that put college men (and, please, Ms. MacDonald, they are "men," not "boys") at grave risk, so long as these unjust laws and illegal policies usher in an era of sexual morality in the academy that mirrors MacDonald's personal views.

Excuse me while I go bang my head against the wall.

Trust me, I "get" the point of MacDonald's piece -- it's ironic that "radical feminism unleashed the current [sexual] mess" on campus, and now, radical feminists are "unwittingly accomplishing what they would never allow conservatives to do: restoring sexual decorum." But MacDonald's blithe indifference to the injustices inflicted on the wrongly accused -- so long as "sexual decorum" is restored -- is  jaw-dropping. She engages in the worst kind of victim-blaming by suggesting that if young men just keep their pants zipped, they will avoid the injustice of a wrongful rape claim and a wrongful expulsion.

Finding an upside to the current campus witch hunt against young men echoes Catherine Comins' famous quote in a 2001 Time Magazine piece:
Catherine Comins, assistant dean of student life at Vassar, also sees some value in this loose use of "rape." She says angry victims of various forms of sexual intimidation cry rape to regain their sense of power. "To use the word carefully would be to be careful for the sake of the violator, and the survivors don't care a hoot about him." Comins argues that men who are unjustly accused can sometimes gain from the experience. 'They have a lot of pain, but it is not a pain that I would necessarily have spared them. I think it ideally initiates a process of self-exploration. "How do I see women?" "If I didn't violate her, could I have?" "Do I have the potential to do to her what they say I did?" Those are good questions."
(Emphasis added.)

Six years ago, MacDonald wrote a provocative piece that helped expose the myth of the campus rape epidemic, and this blog and its predecessor praised her for it. But no one should be content with laws and policies that wrongly expel young men just because they behave boorishly, and no one should absolve college administrators of responsibility for the injustices they commit even though those injustices cause college men to eschew promiscuity. Based on her current piece, Heather MacDonald is no friend of the wrongly accused.