Writing at The Daily Beast in the wake of the awful revelations about movie producer Harvey Weinstein, James Kirchick makes the unsurprising point that the political Left, no less than the Right, has its share of sexual predators.
Weinstein is just the latest in a long line of men whose left-wing politics coexisted harmoniously with retrograde attitudes about women. In his statement, Weinstein said that he “came of age in the 60’s and 70’s, when all the rules about behavior and workplaces were different.” Many people scoffed at this explanation, as this was precisely the time when women’s liberation brought workplace sexism to the societal forefront. But Weinstein was right in a way he didn’t comprehend. Ever since second-wave feminism became part of the political left, there have been men who, ostensibly enlightened in the realm of gender relations, are in fact deeply misogynist and believe that their progressive street cred somehow obviates their attitudes about women, attitudes as regressive as those held by the Mad Men-era males who ruled the earth just before the sexual revolution.
Kirchick identifies a number of leftists and liberals who have taken advantage of women sexually and notes that all too often liberals have failed to call them to account– most notably Ted Kennedy and Bill Clinton.
I think one of the many reasons we now have a President Donald Trump is that he and his apologists found it strikingly easy to deflect attention from the “Access Hollyood” tape and the many women who accused him of sexual assault by pointing to Bill Clinton and his behavior.
These days Julian Assange is more of a hero to the Right than to the Left. But who can forget George Galloway’s defense of Assange against charges of rape?
… Galloway, a slavish devotee of the Syrian mass-murderer Bashar al-Assad and a one-time comrade of the rapist [Gerry] Healy, rose to defend Assange by claiming that it is not necessarily rape if a man penetrates a woman while she is sleeping. (Galloway speaks with such conviction on this matter that one can only assume he is experienced in the field of having one’s sexual partners fall into slumber mid-coitus). “I mean, not everybody needs to be asked prior to each insertion,” Galloway assured, speaking on behalf of no woman, ever.
Another sexual scumbag is Sam Kriss, a hard-left supporter of Jeremy Corbyn who wrote for leftwing publications like Vice and The Baffler. After accusations of sexual harassment, Kriss was suspended from the Labour party.
As reported by the object of his unwanted attentions, Kriss’s seduction skills combine the artlessness of a conventional chauvinist with the inimitable entitlement of a Mercedes Marxist:
Sam said, “so do you want to come back to mine to see my massive house?”
“Don’t you mean your parents massive house?”
“Yeah, but when they die I’ll inherit it”
Kriss’s stock-in-trade as a writer is that of a tough guy unafraid to hurl playground insults at his ideological adversaries, to, in his own words, “make unpleasant comments about the way they look or talk,” “place them in gruesome sexual scenarios,” and “indulge in strange fantasies in which they get kidnapped and beaten to a pulp.” Given this modus operandi, it should not come as a surprise that Kriss’s attitude towards women could be summarized as, “Trump is a fascist, Corbyn is our savior, now surrender yourself to my sexual advances.”
Perhaps the hypocrisy is more glaring when leftists and liberals who proclaim their devotion to women’s rights and feminist causes engage in such behavior– and when those who share their political views excuse or overlook it. (However it was the “liberal” New York Times and The New Yorker which published the first accounts of Weinstein’s behavior.)
But as Kirchick observes:
This attitude is the reverse image of, and just as ethically objectionable as, evangelical Christians excusing away Donald Trump’s moral depravity on the reasoning that he will roughly adhere to a socially conservative policy agenda. Both are contemptuous of women. And both betray a conviction that the ends justify the means, that the revolution requires a few broken eggs, that the cause is more important than the individual victims crushed in its path.