The unraveling of the Rolling Stone feature story about a rape on the campus of the University of Virginia (UVA) has shed new light on the right-wing character of identity politics and those social layers obsessed with gender and race. It also underscores the reactionary essence of the regulations on sexual harassment that have been implemented at Harvard and other universities and colleges."Social layers." Where does that put the freakazoids within the Perpetually Aggrieved? What intrigues, though, is an allegation about creative writer Sabrina Erdely that has also gained traction among cultural conservatives.
Putting aside diplomatic language, Erdely hunted around until she found the accuser and the story that confirmed her perspective--that a rape epidemic was sweeping college campuses—and once she found it, she was not going to be deterred by such things as corroborating facts.But nobody does political correctness like a Trotskyite. It's not another distraction from calculus or theoretical physics, or a power grab for deanlets, deanlings, and the phesbian leminists of cultural studies who carry water for that part of the administration.
Erdely was the author, but the article came into being, in the wider sense, in response to the needs of the identity politics forces for definite political ends.
The political agenda at work here originates at the top of the American state and saturates wider layers of the affluent petty bourgeoisie. It is not accidental that Erdely, in her November 19 article, approvingly called attention to the Obama administration’s having “stepped up pressure on colleges [including UVA], announcing Title IX investigations of 86 schools suspected of denying students their equal right to education by inadequately handling sexual-violence complaints.”
The White House is attempting to strengthen its hold on these selfish layers of the population for whom gender and race questions are paramount. It is also seeking to divert attention from its crimes overseas and the economic devastation at home."Check your privilege": capitalist tool. If I were still in the academy, there are some people I could throw that at.
Rolling Stone, along with the Nation, Socialist Worker and other liberal and pseudo-left outlets, is more than happy to oblige, stoking up hysteria about a “rape culture.”
And even the discrediting of Erdely’s article has not deterred the profoundly subjective and self-absorbed promoters of gender-based politics. Jessica Valenti in the Guardian flaunts her contempt for democratic principles and even elementary fairness, writing, “I choose to believe Jackie. I lose nothing by doing so, even if I’m later proven wrong—but at least I will still be able to sleep at night for having stood by a young woman who may have been through an awful trauma.”
So what if it all turns out to be a slander? What if the fraternity had been set on fire and someone had died, would Valenti still be able to sleep at night? Rolling Stone editors—and this is the approach, championed by figures such as Valenti, that predominates in these circles—started from the premise that any allegation of sexual misconduct is to be treated as true on its face.
The willingness to equate sexual misconduct allegations with proven facts is an increasing fact of life in America, as we noted recently in regard to Harvard’s new sexual harassment policy. It is profoundly anti-democratic and has sinister implications for political and social life. Presumption of innocence and due process are being tossed out the window.Interesting. But there has been a theoretically consistent argument leading to the same conclusion for about a quarter century. Just read Profscam or Illiberal Education or Impostors in the Temple. And understand, as The Fall of the Faculty argues, that the deanlets and deanlings carried off much of their usurpation with the complicity of faculty that are apparently insufficiently left for Leon Trotsky's disciples.
The spirit of the McCarthyite anti-communist purges, and, for that matter, the Salem witch trials of the late 17th century, is being resurrected by elements passing themselves off as “left.”