Even if She’s Telling the Truth, Brett Kavanaugh’s Accuser and All Those Taking Her Accusations Seriously Should Be Ashamed of Themselves
by Alexander Zubatov
I am in disbelief of how absurd, how downright silly, our culture has become. I do not care how you feel about Brett Kavanaugh being on the Supreme Court. I don’t have strong feelings one way or the other about the prospect myself, though, to be frank, I’d be happy to see the nail hammered into the coffin of certain clear evils, such as the practice of race-based affirmative action in higher education, and the Supreme Court is going to be a big help or hindrance in that process. But if you are a passionate liberal and feel like another conservative on the high court is going to destroy America, that’s fine. I can understand that point of view. It’s a legitimate political position. And if the reason you support the chapter in the #MeToo drama that features Kavanaugh as the principal antagonist and that’s now unfolding before our eyes is that you see it as no more than a maneuver to derail the nomination, I can even understand that. It’s a pretty low-class maneuver, but heck, the Republicans sure did themselves and the country no favors in the low-class department when they did what they did with Obama’s nomination of Merrick Garland (about whom I also had no strong feelings). So maybe this is a kind of tit-for-tat. Fine … though I’m not sure what the endgame here is, since I’m guessing that the same people looking to put the kibosh on Kavanaugh will be just as dissatisfied with whomever Trump trots out next in the unlikely event they succeed.
All of that is to say that if your motivation for supporting this “investigation” into what Kavanaugh did or didn’t do in high school is that you want to stop him being on the Supreme Court at all costs, this isn’t about you. No, it’s about those true believers, the ones who seriously think that this is conduct that needs to be investigated, and it is also about the Republicans in Congress who seem to be going along for this ride. To make this easier, I’m just going to assume away the possibility of outright lies and unreliable memories (though I’ll also link to Rick Fischer’s response to this article if you want to read about some of those issues), and grant here, only for argument’s sake, that Kavanaugh did exactly what he’s accused of doing: let’s suppose that at some point at a party a 17-year old, drunk high schooler named Brett Kavanaugh tried to hold down and strip and/or grope Christine Blasey Ford, two years his junior. This is alleged to have happened in 1982, i.e., 36 years ago.
Let’s start with this. This is a woman who is now 50 years old. If she is still talking about this minor incident from three-and-a-half decades ago, there is something deeply wrong with her, and there is something still more deeply wrong with the sick victimhood culture that produced her. Being pinned down and groped is an unpleasant and uncomfortable thing to have happen to you. But look, unpleasant and uncomfortable things happen to us all the time. We need to deal with it.
When I was in high school, I once got held down by a few guys and punched in the face. I have no lingering problem with the incident or with the guys that did it. They were just being dumb high school kids. If I met one of them on the street today, if I recognized him, I’d probably say hi and shake his hand, and even while I was still in high school, I did my best not to inflate the incident beyond what it was or get “the authorities” involved. In fact, during my senior year, one of those same kids came up to me in the hall and praised me for a column I’d written in our high school paper that he happened to agree with. There were no hard feelings on either of our parts.
Since then, my personal space has been repeatedly violated by people. I recall the filthy, stinking, loony homeless guy who sat down next to me on the subway one day and put his arm around me and asked for some change. If you live in a big city like New York, crazy homeless or drugged-out people do stuff like this to you (and since our awful current mayor routinely elevates the rights of homeless vagrants to disturb the peace over the rights of ordinary citizens and tourists trying to enjoy the city, I’m seeing more and more of these incidents of emboldened homeless harassers). These incidents are often unpleasant and uncomfortable. You get over it.
Okay, but these aren’t sexual incidents, right? How about this: a few months ago, riding in a subway car by myself late at night in Brooklyn, a big black guy entered the subway car, aroused himself and then stood right over me with his exposed, erect member looming no more than two inches away from my face. Overcoming my fear of physical danger, I gave him an are-you-nuts? look, got up and went to the next subway car, where there were other people sitting, checked to make sure he didn’t follow me and then resumed reading my book, laughing to myself about the insanity of the incident. I didn’t even notify the train conductor or the cops. Why didn’t I? Well, I actually felt bad for the guy: if you have to get your kicks exposing yourself to strangers on public transportation, you must be leading a pretty unsatisfactory existence. Did this incident traumatize me? No. Like I said, I was frightened for a moment, but after it passed, I thought it was kind of funny.
Oh, but it’s different for a guy. Really? I love it when the same people who insist on denying obvious gender differences in proclivities and capacities of all sorts and even insist on raising their kids in a gender-neutral fashion (which I consider a form of child abuse that’ll likely put those kids in therapy for the rest of their lives) suddenly turn into shrinking violets crying for help when it comes to the issue of sexual assault. We’re not talking about violent rape here. We’re talking about a teenager who groped you over three-and-a-a-half freaking decades ago! Can you really not get over that? Do you really think it’s anything other than an utterly disgusting and low-class-slime move to crawl out of the woodwork all these years later, when the people involved are in their 50s, and start making a public spectacle about it all?
Clown shows like the one we are witnessing unfolding in the halls of Congress only make sense if we are living in a culture that teaches women that when something like this happens to them, they need to act like pathetic trauma victims for the rest of their lives. If you are a Holocaust survivor, you might be a victim of trauma. If you witnessed a loved one brutally killed before your very eyes, you might’ve been traumatized. If you were raped by your father when you were four, you get a “legitimate trauma” badge. But if your problem is that a drunk kid at a party momentarily held you down and groped you when you were 15, you haven’t got a trauma problem. You’ve got much bigger problems than that. Your problem is that you were socialized to be weak and pathetic and entirely lacking in grit, resiliency and robustness. I feel bad for you, and you can and should get help … but I’m sorry to say that you’ve got absolutely no business turning the glaring inadequacies in your own character into a public trauma party and inflicting your brittle mental state on the rest of us.
Notice that I haven’t said a single word so far about the propriety or impropriety of Kavanaugh’s own alleged conduct. Should teenage boys be holding down and groping teenage girls? That question sort of answers itself, doesn’t it? But I’ll ask you another question: should teenage boys be holding down and beating up other teenage boys? Here are a few others: should kids be bullying other kids? Mercilessly teasing them? Should kids be cheating on tests? Here’s a more general one: should kids be self-absorbed, inconsiderate, ungrateful, selfish pricks that put their own needs over those of everyone else in their midst? If you still didn’t get the point, the point is that kids do stupid, reckless, thoughtless things. Adults do those things too, but kids do them a lot more often. It’s biological. They’re still developing. That’s why we generally prosecute adults who beat up other adults but meet teens with a gentler form of discipline. Teen boys with raging hormones get drunk at parties and behave badly towards girls and each other. In 1982, before the age of sexual harassment and #MeToo, they would have had even fewer scruples about behaving badly towards girls in their midst. We, as a society, don’t generally make a practice of holding those kids accountable for their conduct almost 40 years later.
Think about dumb or inconsiderate things you did when you were in high school. I’m sure there are some, right? How would you like it if, during your process of interviewing for an important job, some brittle screeching harpy emerged out of the woodwork and told your prospective employer that you used to tease her or looked at her the wrong way or made her otherwise uncomfortable or even groped her back in high school? And here’s the kicker: how would you like it if that employer, instead of laughing the whole thing off as a childish indiscretion that’s ancient history, then proceeded to ask you about the incident, expressing a desire to get to the bottom of this thing? That would be pretty nuts, wouldn’t it? Well, that’s what we’re living through today.
And this brings me to the final part of this screed: if Congressional Democrats are, at least, more closely allied with the #MeToo mafia and have an obvious political interest in undermining Kavanaugh, I cannot for the life of me even begin to fathom why Congressional Republicans would entertain this charade. They have the power of numbers on their side right now, so why not laugh this out of Congress instead of setting a dangerous public precedent that allows what someone is alleged to have done in high school to be fair game for a Supreme Court confirmation hearing? Even if some moderate Democrats have offered up the possibility of support for Kavanaugh on the condition that his decades-old conduct is aired and cleared, the principle of permitting something like this to go forward is, to me, too awful to countenance.
Having done my informal poll of people around me about this incident (and most of my friends and acquaintances here in New York are committed liberals, of course), it seems that this is another case of the media and political elites being completely out of touch with what normal people think is appropriate. Just as on issues of immigration and out-of-control identity politics and free speech suppression in our universities, the longer the elites keep ignoring the rest of us, the more likely it will be that more right-wing populists will be voted in to force a course correction. This is precisely why Steve Bannon has repeatedly said that unhinged leftist identity politics are actually good for the fortunes of the populist right. The excesses of the #MeToo movement that we are currently seeing falls into that same category … which is all to say this: you guys can keep doing this to us for awhile, but sooner or later, as the insanity mounts and a guy’s errors in judgment from back in high school become fair game for a job interview many decades on, we’re going to rise up and say enough is enough!
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Alexander Zubatov is a practicing attorney specializing in general commercial litigation. He is also a practicing writer specializing in general non-commercial poetry, fiction, drama, essays and polemics. In the words of one of his intellectual heroes, José Ortega y Gasset, biography is “a system in which the contradictions of a human life are unified.”
Some of his articles have appeared in The Federalist, Times Higher Education, Quillette, The Imaginative Conservative, Chronicles, The Independent Journal Review, Acculturated, PopMatters, The Hedgehog Review, Mercatornet, The Montreal Review, Republic Standard, The Fortnightly Review, New English Review, Culture Wars and nthposition.
He makes occasional, unscheduled appearances on Twitter (https://twitter.com/Zoobahtov).