Sexual Misconduct, Feminism, and the ‘Roy Moore Rule’

From what we know about the allegations of sexual misconduct in the news recently, there is no reason to doubt that some are legitimate, or that others are likely to turn out to be false.

Leaving this question of truth and falsity aside, however,  the commentary on this latest manifestation of the phenomenon of sexual misconduct is worth noting for more than one reason.

First, and predictably, this spate of allegations has been situated within the framework of a feminist narrative: the allegations, even those without a speck of substantiation, have been treated as proof of the guilt of the accused, and the alleged misconduct is depicted as the legacy of “the Patriarchy.”

This is quite revealing, for it crystallizes the self-contradiction—the logical quicksand, if you will—upon which feminism has always rested. In other words, feminism depends upon the very same traditional conceptions of women and men that, ostensibly, it wants to destroy as illegitimate.

Although even the staunchest of traditionalists had always recognized they were only ever trading in generalities regarding gender differences (that is, patterns that admit of exceptions), they nevertheless recognized as fact that women—physically, hormonally, and psychologically—are fundamentally different from men.

Physically speaking, women on average are smaller and weaker than men. Thus, women deserve special protections on the part of men.

For example, men were never to strike women; those men who violated this proscription could expect to be treated with contempt—often violent contempt—by other men. Women were thought to be—or at least given the benefit of the doubt in public—that they were more sexually inexperienced, naïve, and pure than men. Men were expected to hold doors for women, help them carry their bags, and offer them their seats when none other were available.

These ideas, “liberated” feminist women now insist, are “sexist,” maybe even “misogynistic.” Women can do anything that men can do. Whether it is fighting fires or fighting criminals and terrorists; coal mining, whale gutting, or lumberjacking; whether studying the sciences, mathematics, or engineering—women can do it just as well, if not better, than men.

Or so goes the contemporary feminist line.

Women are no more or less desirous of sex and certainly no more or less sexually experienced, than men. And they have as much need of men’s protections as men have of the protections of women.

That is to say, women most definitely do not need men to save or protect them.

Their anatomical differences notwithstanding, men and women are indistinguishable from one another. So, they should be treated as such.

However, while feminists reject traditional gender “stereotypes,” their response to sexual misconduct allegations proves that feminists also endorse these same “stereotypes.”

Women, evidently, are indeed weaker than men. How else can we explain, to hear feminists in the media and elsewhere tell it, that women are constantly at the mercies of oversexualized men? Everywhere that the activists and journalists would have us look we find women claiming to have been victimized by men.

In fact, today’s woman, or at least the feminist version of Woman that is promoted regularly in the media, doesn’t just appear to be weaker than men; it seems she is much weaker than those women from yesteryear who feminists tell us lived under the male bondage from which today’s woman has emancipated herself. After all, women in the past weren’t “triggered” when men referred to them as “Ma’am,” pulled out their chairs, opened their doors, and complimented them on their appearance. Quite the contrary. Conduct that today’s feminist views as proof of a system of misogynous oppression, yesteryear’s woman viewed as manifestations of the kind of chivalry that they expected from gentlemen. And they were proud of themselves and their power in demanding it.  

Women are both equal and radically unequal to men. Gender “stereotypes” of the past both are and are not true. This is the incoherence at the heart of contemporary feminism.

Second, the commentary on these scandals has revealed the glaring moral cowardice and posturing of many of those weighing in on them.

Judge Roy Moore, Republicans and Democrats insist, must drop out of Alabama’s  U.S. Senate race because of unsubstantiated, decades-old sexual allegations that several women have suddenly leveled against him—charges that Moore unequivocally denies. Yet many of these same people, exemplified by Senator Mitch McConnell, the poster child for moral weakness in Congress, refuse to apply the “Roy Moore Rule” to Senator Al Franken, a seated Democrat from Minnesota, by calling for his resignation—even though he was photographed groping a woman while she slept.

Allegedly, sexual misconduct is commonplace in Washington, D.C. and in Congress. Even so, proponents of the Roy Moore Rule show themselves unwilling to apply it to those of their colleagues (and themselves?) who are the culprits. It only works for those they would rather not see become their colleagues, apparently.

Former President Bill Clinton stands accused of numerous charges of sexual assault and rape. For decades, his fellow partisans in Hollywood, the national media, and academia vociferously defended him while demonizing his accusers as “trailer trash” and worse. Recently, however, and now that the Clintons are no longer of any political value to them, some of the Clintons’ former apologists admit to having had a change of heart on this matter.

These conversions should not impress. As long as it is maintained that so much as the allegation of sexual misconduct against a person suffices to render the accused ineligible of acquiring or maintaining a professional position, or a position in the public eye—as long as the Roy Moore Rule is upheld—then it is only fair that every politician, journalist, commentator, academic, and entertainer who either defended Bill Clinton against charges of sexual assault or endorsed Hillary Clinton despite the claims of her husband’s accusers that she threatened and intimidated them should resign from their positions effective immediately. They showed, at a minimum, awful judgment.

But we shouldn’t hold our breath. Real virtue, as opposed to moral showboating, comes at a cost.


About Jack Kerwick

Jack Kerwick earned his doctorate degree in philosophy from Temple University. His areas of specialization are ethics and political philosophy, with a particular interest in classical conservatism. His work has appeared in both scholarly journals and popular publications, and he recently authored, The American Offensive: Dispatches from the Front. Kerwick has been teaching philosophy for nearly 17 years at a variety of institutions, from Baylor to Temple, Penn State University, the College of New Jersey and elsewhere. His next book, Misguided Guardians: The Conservative Case Against Neoconservatism is pending publication. He is currently an instructor of philosophy at Rowan College at Burlington County.

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8 responses to “Sexual Misconduct, Feminism, and the ‘Roy Moore Rule’

  • I have to laugh when I think about all of this. Mitch McConnell, Ted Cruz and the other charlatans in the Senate don’t want Roy Moore to join their number because they know he’ll expose them for that they are. That’s why they’re so eager to jump on these unsubstantiated claims as justification to force Moore to drop out, which he’s not going to do. As it stands right now, polls are showing him back in the lead, by as much as six points in one poll which polled 11,000 people. Two others, including one published by Real Clear Politics, shows him with a 2-point lead. It’s highly likely that Roy Moore is going to the Senate – and there’s not a damn thing Mitch McConnell and the other pansy Republicans can do about it.

    • Ted Cruz, normally excellent on principled issues, was not at his best here. Nobody is perfect, and remember, our current President (who endorsed Luther Strange over Moore and Mo Brooks) outed Cruz as the son of the one who helped assassinate JFK. So, given that Cruz was raised by an assassin, he is actually very good. 99% pure. One mistake.

    • It can be reasoned that Roy Moore as Assistant District Attorney for Etowah County, Alabama understood that it was illegal to date a girl of 14 years of age in the late 70’s and that he wouldn’t have dated her had he known age. As a result, it would be reasonable to rationalize that he didn’t know her age at the time. Perhaps she told him that she was older, maybe 16, which is the age of consent in Alabama. Assuming that Roy Moore was not intending to break the law, it would be easy to write off this accusation. It would have been difficult to prove this accusation in a court of law at the time of the event and since the Statue of Limitations has long since run out, it’s really irrelevant to our discussion now.

      What is relevant to our discussion is what Roy Moore has freely admitted, that he dated girls of the ages of 16 and 17, while he was in his thirties. Also, he admitted that he met his current wife while she was a teenage minor while he was in his thirties, though he respectably married her in her mid-twenties. This fits his pattern.

      What I can conclude from this for myself is that Roy Moore is at best a Sleazeball. He is not suitable to be a senator from the Great State of Alabama. I don’t care for the rationalizations of his behavior. He does not deserve the recognition and accolades that are heaped upon him for his supposed morality. He is scum, period.

  • “Women, evidently, are indeed weaker than men. How else can we explain, to hear feminists in the media and
    elsewhere tell it, that women are constantly at the mercies of oversexualized men?”
    I think this misses the mark somewhat. The feminists argument revolves around Patriarchy and men’s over representation in positions of power. Because men are over represented, we see more incidence of men preying on women. the women aren’t weaker except in power. Having said that, there’s no doubt that the feminists see this as their chance to get the upper hand in the battle of the sexes. They set their movement back twenty years when they got out their knee pads for BJ. They were sure they would become ascendant again under president hillary. Now they hope to seize the moment and parlay it into a winning hand. Most feminists are dems and the dems are becoming the party of Color. Once that happens, women’s issues will not be at the forefront.

  • Feminist Wimyn want control. Total control. Of everything.

    If they were the physical equal to men and were exactly the same in all aspects, there would be no need for Title IX or any other gender preference “legislation”.

    They use their gender as a sword or a shield, depending upon the outcome they seek. They’ve been honest in convincing each other and enough girly men “you can have it all”, but the only way that comes to pass is if men abdicate and give them “all”.

    Feminists are misandrists. They hate men.

    • Good to see you here, Schmutzli. I have often enjoyed your comments over at American Thinker, which for some reason of habit I don’t visit any more.

  • Excellent article with clear logic and argument. Stands well above much of the pap produced recently by supposed leaders of conservative thought.

  • First, Franken admitted he did it and sincerely apologized. Also he wasn’t accused of molesting a child. Moore is a pedophile. Period. Everyone in his town knew it. Moore was even banned from the mall because he was a well known creeper. He met his freaking wife at dance recital. She was 15 and he was 30. He was unmarried and didn’t have kids. WHY was he at a children’s dance recital. But like always you try to compare apples to oranges and failed miserably. But by all means, carry on your disgusting support for a pedophile. We’ve come to expect nothing else of you people.

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