In 2018, it already appears that the Left will have to reckon with a famous lesson from a book that most of them have likely never read. I refer to the famous line “Live by the sword, die by the sword” from the Gospel of Matthew. Or, to make it more current for the Left’s travails: Live by the sexism accusation, die by the sexism accusation.
At least, such would seem to be the lesson of the Left’s kowtowing to the #MeToo movement, which has transformed accusations of sexual harassment into the nation’s foremost political weapon. In fact, so successful has #MeToo been, that many are now beginning to fret that the movement has the makings of a moral panic, or a “warlock hunt.”
In most cases, I believe they are right. The vagueness of the idea of “sexual harassment,” combined with the movement’s “listen and believe” ethos, is a recipe for eventual ugliness and abuse of power by activists involved. I say this both as a man and as a longtime critic of sexual Puritanism in American culture, of which #MeToo is a prime example.
Silicon Valley is Decadent and Depraved
However, for now, there’s just one problem: You can’t argue with a warlock hunt until it accuses someone who isn’t a warlock. And based on what has come out about the cultural Left’s most precious industries as a result of #MeToo, I would say that the activists behind #MeToo are either spectacularly lucky, or possess the most efficient warlock hunting guide since the “Malleus Maleficarum.” Just look at what has emerged in the past year about Hollywood, the news media, Democratic politicians, and—recently—Silicon Valley.
Anyone in doubt about the Valley’s warped proclivities need look no further than the recent publication of an excerpt of the book “Brotopia” by Emily Chang. As reproduced at Vanity Fair, the excerpt details endless, orgiastic sex parties that take place within Silicon Valley: parties that are sold with the mantle of progressive-minded boundary pushing, but that actually involve large amounts of professional and personal coercion directed toward relatively powerless women by very powerful, and apparently very entitled men.
Not to mention, the lurid details of the parties themselves, which apparently involve ubiquitous drug use and bondage, and are kept secret to avoid compromising the reputations of their participants, are hardly flattering optics in any way. And no, before you ask, it’s not just random men you’ve never heard of participating in these affairs. Elon Musk himself apparently attended one and “left early.” Which is to say, he left at 1 a.m.
For me in particular, this story is both horrifying and disgusting. Years ago, I argued that the panic over sexuality among socially awkward but rich young men of the type the story describes had all the overtones of not just a moral panic, but one motivated by very old and very troubling prejudices. Now, I am not so sympathetic.
The fact is, in the past few years, it has become clear that the titans of Silicon Valley are not the put-upon, harmless nerds arguing for freedom in every area of expression and life that they portrayed themselves to be around 2013. Rather, they are opportunistic, predatory, and entitled would-be tyrants who believe it is their right to sanitize the Internet of anything that falls short of performative wokeness (or just hurts their business model) at the very same time they flagrantly and viciously flout their own professed morals in private.
And—and this is the worst part, which applies to more than the tech sector—by making such monstrous hypocrites of themselves, these Leftist-dominated industries have cast doubt on everyone who engages in the otherwise noble tasks they originally set for themselves.
Vindicating the Bullies
It is monstrously unjust and wrong that Hollywood titans like Harvey Weinstein (and his brothel madame Oprah) tainted all artists with the brush of potential sexual predation, in this era when so much art seems to need to seek permission from the Puritans to exist. It is horribly irresponsible that a few partisan scumbags in the ranks of journalism have cast the pall of potential rape on everyone else who might seek to ask inconvenient questions and ferret out the truth.
And, by acting like the very sex-crazed and callous overgrown teenage boys that their critics at first only imagined them to be, the men exposed by Chang have vindicated the very worst of the feminist bullies who would resent their success and maleness regardless of guilt, while simultaneously empowering those feminist bullies to seize control of the lives and livelihoods of countless innocents.
So yes, #MeToo’s overly restrictive sexual ethics and its contempt for doubt and evidence are likely to sink it in the long run.
But for now, the people who it snares appear to be the very people who not only let those toxic ideas run wild, but shut down anyone who questioned them. They are hypocritical fiends, drunk on power, and just as they lived by the sword, they will die by the sword. With any luck, art, journalism, and technology will survive this corruption by so many who seek to hide their own flaws behind the karma offsets offered by the woke Puritans, and are now facing the fact that those Puritans will rightly expose them when they no longer need them.