Frank Furedi recounted in an interview that upon arriving in Britain as a Hungarian immigrant, he found a society where there was a moral consensus. Consensus is a dangerous word, if there is one, but in this case Furedi uses it to refer to a minimum common understanding of what is good and what is not.
Increasingly, the sociologist continued, we see people moving away from moral judgments. Instead, a discourse of medicalization (use of words with the suffix phobia, for example) and criminalization is proliferating. His diagnosis, although focused on the British context, applies to the entire Western world.
It is precisely this discourse that is embraced by movements such as BLM or #MeToo. The latter has spread from the realm of entertainment and show business to the rest of society. It points fingers, makes lists and engages in all sorts of practices that undermine the presumption of innocence.
It could be said that #MeToo is a good summary of what progressivism is: something that theoretically sounds good and seems to have good intentions, but once applied ends up bringing a lot of undesirable consequences that makes us think that the solution is worse than the problem. Because, indeed, there was a problem in Hollywood. It was hard to justify that despicable characters like Weinstein and company could continue to act the way they did.
#MeToo, then, started from a solid and real base. However, it was quickly co-opted by the usual radical feminism. The one that seeks to transfer the Marxist class struggle to a struggle between the sexes, the one that pathologizes masculinity. In the world of #MeToo, which is the same of intersectionality, all identities can be reaffirmed except the masculine one.
While most of the historical leaders of the movement, as well as its offshoots (Time’s Up, for example), have remained conspicuously silent about New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s recent sex scandal, the climate they have generated is what keeps him between a rock and a hard place.
Accusations have been leveled against him since last December that vary in “seriousness.” Piropos, indiscreet looks and even the occasional misplaced hand. But so far, his has been a controversy of much smoke and little fire. Nevertheless, his state’s Democratic senators, Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand, as well as New York Mayor Bill de Blasio, have called for his resignation.
We seem to be heading for the scenario described by writer Camille Paglia in Free Women, Free Men, where sexual consent becomes almost a contractual agreement and men’s approach to women is marked by mistrust and suspicion, with all spontaneity disappearing.
When it comes to Andrew Cuomo, there are plenty of reasons to be indignant. But it really says a lot about the American “hierarchy of outrage” that this whole episode gets more coverage than his lousy handling of the coronavirus pandemic and his misrepresentation of the death toll it has caused in nursing homes.
Just a few months ago, Cuomo was a rising leader of the Democratic Party, promoted by a media that sought to confront his management of the virus both with that of the previous administration and that of his Floridian counterpart, Ron DeSantis. Even the ineffable Dr. Fauci, leader of a scientific community elevated to a clerical class by the Covidian circumstances, gave him an endorsement of his measures. His path seemed paved for 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.
Now, even if he makes it to the end of his term in 2022, he can forget about those future political aspirations. The base of her party, which has made the slogan “Believe all women” one of its banners, would not allow them. It is hard not to feel a certain Schadenfreude when the progressive fails to live up to the standards he has helped set, it is hard not to point out his hypocrisy. But one must know how to look a little further. A conservative camp that is incapable of setting its own standards and instead merely reinforces the opposing orthodoxy digs its own hole. Not everything goes. Let the Golem turn against its creators, but let’s not encourage it either.