The other mccain

Readers may recall that Darren Beattie, the former Trump speech-writer who got chased out of the White House for attending a 2016 conference where he delivered a speech about “The Intelligentsia and the Right.” In that speech, Beattie used the term “Corporate Marxists” to describe those whose ideal is a society “in which a vanishingly small wealthy, gated, insulated elite lords it over hordes of easily controlled helots.”

These elitists — alumni of prestigious universities, where they were indoctrinated with prejudices that are generally anti-American and anti-Christian — are the kind of people running Silicon Valley nowadays. To describe their worldview as “progressive” would be to mistake selfishness and snobbery for a coherent political ideology.

They endorse left-wing politics not because they have any systematic understanding of politics, but rather because leftism is fashionable in their social milieu.

What do they have in common? Well, they are rich — the 1% — and attended the “best” schools, and none of them have ever served in the military. Because of their indoctrination, they ooze politically-inspired sympathy for brown people, homosexuals and foreigners, while reflexively disdaining white heterosexual males (despite the fact that they are mostly white male heterosexuals themselves). These attitudes of the elite are, as I say, not really a coherent ideology, but simply a set of fashionable prejudices — the world according to the kind of people who find Jimmy Kimmel funny. And these are the people running Facebook, Google and Twitter, corporations that exercise an effective monopoly on the distribution of online information. They are seeking to use that power to impose their political prejudices on the rest of us. Instead of Orwell’s “Big Brother” being a totalitarian political party, it turns out “Big Brother” is a bunch of uber-geeks living in California.

In 2012 Kristin Olsen, a Republican member of the State Assembly of California, sponsored a bill that criminalizes sexual relations between K-12 teachers and students, including students over 18, as well as sexual text messages and other communications aimed at seducing a student. The bill was proposed after a 41-year-old teacher and 18-year-old high school student publicly announced that they were in a relationship. The bill was killed in committee by Democratic lawmakers concerned about the constitutionality of the proposed legislation.

What the heck is this? Can anyone explain how a hook-up in a hotel room inflicts “emotional distress” on a 17-year-old boy? Because I distinctly remember being a 17-year-old boy, and I was out for all the “emotional distress” I could get. My problem at 17 — a quite common problem in the Bible Belt back in the day — was that my adolescent lust was condemned as sin by the prevailing social standards, which tended to limit one’s opportunities for fornication. Far be it from me, as a Christian and a father of six, to advocate or endorse sin, but my religious beliefs do not require me to pretend that I don’t know what teenage boys are like.

Some of my conservative friends are enjoying Asia Argento’s embarrassment because they figure that turnabout is fair play, that after years of “rape culture” hysteria on university campuses and the attendant evisceration of due-process protections, it’s about time a woman should suffer the painful consequences of the presumed-guilty standard that feminism has foisted upon us. As tempting as it may be to enjoy the schadenfreude of this moment, however, do we really want to applaud this kind “social justice”? Isn’t the real lesson here about the way a culture of victimhood creates incentives for spurious accusations?

She could have accused him of rape, but she didn’t, which I interpret as evidence that she enjoyed being “jumped” by a teenage boy, but that is immaterial to the legal issues involved. We do not know what actually happened in that hotel room, but if Jimmy Bennett was a victim — suffering “emotional distress” from whatever it was that happened — why didn’t he go straight to the police with his accusation? Why did he wait four years, and then threaten her with a lawsuit, rather than to report this alleged crime to the police? Because it was a shakedown, that’s why.

Once you pay the Dane-geld, you’ll never get rid of the Dane. Once feminism created a culture in which victimhood was celebrated and rewarded, it was inevitable that claims of victimhood would proliferate. When everybody in the workplace is required to be careful what they say, lest they be accused of “harassment” or “discrimination,” and when it seems every college girl in the country is claiming to be a rape victim, people become cynical about these claims. And this cynicism gives rise to the kind of situation where Jimmy Bennett, watching Asia Argento being praised for her courage in calling out Harvey Weinstein, decides to call a lawyer and threaten Argento with a $3.5 million lawsuit.

It’s a hustle, a scam, a racket. Certainly, I am not the kind of fool who believes that those who claim to be pursuing “social justice” are never motivated by factors as simple as revenge and greed. Just like “Mattress Girl” at Columbia University, who tried to ruin her ex-boyfriend’s life because he didn’t want to be more than “friends with benefits,” so do many of these #MeToo allegations seem to be more about a sadistic desire for revenge than “social justice.” When the Nietzschean “will to power” derives from victimhood, as Ed Driscoll has observed, we should be skeptical of anyone who claims, as does Jimmy Bennett, that he has suffered “emotional distress,” when common sense tells us otherwise.

While we’re at it, can we please stop pretending that the legislative intent of age-of-consent laws is to protect teenage boys from older women? As a conservative, I don’t believe in “gender equality,” so it is not hypocritical for me to defend a double standard. Men and women are different, and we are engaged in a damaging distortion of reality when we compel people to pretend otherwise. While the law in California may declare that Jimmy Bennett is the victim of a crime, common sense declares that he was quite happy to be “victimized” by Asia Argento. Only later — maybe because she wasn’t interested in any future hookups with her one-time boy toy, and maybe because his acting career wasn’t very successful — did Bennett decide he could cash in by threatening her with a lawsuit.

But that would be wrong. Not only would it be sinful, it would also be dishonorable. Decent people don’t engage in blackmail, nor do they seek publicity for their sexual escapades, especially by such dishonest means as Jimmy Bennett’s bogus claim of victimhood. While I suppose I should be happy that Asia Argento has been caught up in her own #MeToo scandal, my pleasure is diminished by the knowledge that many others caught in similar situations have not had the luxury of being able to buy their way out of prison with a $380,000 settlement. At least now we’ve established the market value for boy-toy blackmail, however, so if any teenage boys want to shake down a cougar, they know the going rate.