Also of interest as regards culture watching:
Morality & Ethics
I hope that sharing power in a divided government will make Democrats less likely to continue inciting mob hatred of anyone who dares commit the heresy of disagreeing publicly with progressive and identitarian dogmas. But I’m not hopeful.
Via Tucker Carlson:
Last month one of my children was attacked by a stranger at dinner. For her sake, I was hoping to keep the incident private. It’s now being politicized by the Left. Here’s what happened: pic.twitter.com/rwNoFYxMFv
— Tucker Carlson (@TuckerCarlson) November 11, 2018
Andrew Sullivan writes:
And it is the distinguishing mark of specifically totalitarian societies that this safety is eradicated altogether by design. … You are, in fact, always guilty before being proven innocent. You always have to prove a negative. …
Perhaps gay people are particularly sensitive to this danger, because our private lives have long been the target of moral absolutists, and we have learned to be vigilant about moral or sex panics. For much of history, a mere accusation could destroy a gay person’s life or career, and this power to expose private behavior for political purposes is immense.
I’m not equating an accusation of attempted rape in the distant past with sodomy. I am noting a more general accusatory dynamic that surrounded Ford’s specific allegation. This is particularly dangerous when there are no editors or gatekeepers in the media to prevent any accusation about someone’s private life being aired, when economic incentives online favor outrageous charges, and when journalists have begun to see themselves as vanguards of a cultural revolution, rather than skeptics of everything.
Point: Kathi Wolf in the Washington Blade:
[I]n January the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services proposed a rule that would allow health care providers to refuse to provide abortion and other health care services to women and transgender people if it went against their religious beliefs. Also, in January … HHS created a new agency called the Conscience & Religious Freedom Division to help enforce laws created to protect religious freedom. … The misogynistic and anti-queer HHS proposed rule and new division are a pathway to discrimination and injustice – a threat to the freedom and health of women and transgender people.
Counterpoint: Michael Walsh writes at PJ Media:
Pace Baudelaire, but the Devil’s greatest trick was not to persuade us he didn’t exist, but to convince women to kill their own children and feel good about it.
And moral hypocrisy:
And perhaps more to the point:
— BuzzFeed (@BuzzFeed) October 30, 2017
Kevin Spacey apologizes for drunkenly trying to seduce a 14-year-old boy
ABC News: ‘But what an emotional coming out story!’ pic.twitter.com/YDqiVMnlLl
— Chet Cannon (@Chet_Cannon) October 30, 2017
Plus, a twitter feed roundup.
Time for Some Counter Views
Courting controversy, from Stacey McCain, a generally rightwing blogger:
The destruction of Kevin Spacey’s career for what he did (or allegedly attempted to do) in 1986 must be put in context of this pervasive decadence. How many 14-year-old hookers were turning tricks in New York in 1986? …
Far be it from me to defend the (alleged) behavior of Kevin Spacey, a Hollywood liberal and close personal friend of Bill Clinton. Nor is it my intention to endorse moral relativism as a defense of (alleged) behavior that was so clearly wrong. It would be the easiest thing in the world for me to denounce Kevin Spacey and demand that he be banished from polite society, at a minimum, and perhaps prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. But before the mob seizes Spacey — tall tree, short rope, some assembly required — I must ask, why should this one man be made to suffer grievously for his alleged wrongdoing, when so many other wrongdoers have gotten off scot-free? Because he is famous?
Because he is rich? Because he is “privileged”? Because we are experiencing belated remorse about the Sexual Revolution? Because the Harvey Weinstein scandal has reminded us of other rich, famous men who got away with worse than what Kevin Spacey allegedly did?
And from this blog’s comments, “Bryan” writes, pulling no punches:
Perhaps the teenage Anthony Rapp shouldn’t have attended an adult actor’s party, stayed behind after all the other guests left, and been found sitting on Spacey’s bed when the actor walked into his bedroom post-party and somewhat drunk.
And perhaps, since no sexual act took place (Spacey rolled over onto him and Rapp got up and left), maybe Rapp shouldn’t be publicizing this (and, himself) 30 years later when his career is dormant.
And maybe GLAAD and all the others who took Harvey Weinstein’s money shouldn’t be virtue-signaling now by helping to destroy Spacey’s life and career.
Finally, Joseph Fischel at Slate:
Let me be as clear as possible that Spacey’s alleged conduct, imposing himself unwanted on a 14-year-old boy, is in no way defensible, nor is closeted queerness an excuse that authorizes bad behavior. (Spacey’s statement doesn’t dispute either of these points.) However, we can condemn the alleged events of Rapp’s story without falling into the trap of fueling moral panic around the specter of the pedophile. And in its pitchfork-and-torches response, that’s exactly what the gay community is doing. It used to be straights who “pedophiled” gays to deny them civil rights and social inclusion. Now we apparently pedophile our own for moral purification and self-satisfaction.
Absent evidence of sexual trafficking, coercion, forced servitude or abuse of minors, I’ve never thought adult consensual prostitution (sex work) should be criminalized. That you can pay people to have sex if you film them and sell the resulting product (porn), but can’t pay them to have commercial sex that isn’t filmed for sale, seems absurd.
Charges against the owner of rentboy.com were originally brought in August 2015. The New York Times reported at that time on the odd circumstances behind the investigation, which was conducted by the Obama administration’s Department of Homeland Security in league with Kelly T. Currie, at the time the acting U.S. Attorney in Brooklyn:
It’s somewhat baffling, though, that taking down a website that operated in plain sight for nearly two decades suddenly became an investigative priority for the Department of Homeland Security and federal prosecutors in Brooklyn.
I guess there wasn’t enough on the terrorism front to keep DHS busy. Publicity seeking all round, particularly by Currie, who landed as a partner at NYC law firm Crowell & Moring.
More. Huffington Post noted that:
Germany legalized prostitution in 2001. A decade later, trafficking had decreased by 10 percent. New Zealand legalized it in 2003, and after five years a report found zero incidents of trafficking. But they did find that sex workers were more likely to report violence when it occurred.
After Canada legalized prostitution, sex workers experienced fewer homicides — and according to some reports, law enforcement harassment has made sex work more dangerous.
We even know how legal prostitution works in the US, since some Nevada counties regulate brothels. Researchers from the University of Nevada found brothels enforce monthly STI checks, mandatory condom usage and panic buttons in every room. Compare that to the NYPD, which has accused women of prostitution for carrying condoms.