By Eugène E.

A lot of ink has been spilled and a lot of voices were made hoarse in the wake of the sexual scandal surrounding Harvey Weinstein. The real issue, of course, has been obscured: when there is a lot of noise, common sense is truly uncommon, and the facts are hard to see. Never more so when ideology and lobbying interests are involved. The Weinstein saga has little to do with Harvey Weinstein, who is simply a sacrificial lamb, served as today’s lunch special. Instead, it is yet another victory by an aggressive, illiberal movement that has dominated Western thought and mores in recent decades, setting the social agenda, influencing legislation, and damaging Western society beyond repair in the process.

That sexual assault cannot be condoned – ever – is an axiom hardly in need of being restated. If Weinstein is guilty of it, he ought to bear the full brunt of the law. Rapists and sexual predators have no place in society and should be behind bars. But since when does a sexual proposition constitute sexual assault, even when it comes from a man of power? Sleazy, immoral, louche – there’s no shortage of adjectives that can be used here, but to call it sexual assault? It’s unwise to dwell on Weinstein’s erotic adventures too much, since each new day brings fresh allegations; but many of the allegations and accusations say more about the accusers than about the accused.

One of Weinstein’s victims was reportedly paid $100,000 some years back, presumably to buy her silence. Why did she not step forward in the name of the cause back then? Why wait all these years? Was the money more appealing than justice? Many people, men as well as women, knew about Weinstein’s proclivities; why did they not speak out sooner? The answer is simple: back then silence was more profitable, so everyone looked the other way, including the victims; today the wind is blowing in a different direction, so everyone from Hillary Clinton to Tarantino is, all of a sudden, engaged in indignant chest-beating and relentless soul-searching. In fact, careerism and venality are a recurring leitmotif in this story; the casting couch its damning symbol, the method of conveyance to reach stardom. Many women decided to pay the price; now, years later, not without a little help from rigorous feminist indoctrination, they want additional compensation. The hashtag #metoo is the compensation claim. How valid is it? As the hashtag is adopted by an increasing amount of women, it becomes less of a genuine statement of distress and more of a fad. Self-victimization, the airing of one’s inner turmoil, psychological exhibitionism – this is now the in-thing, so all aboard! Fads come and go, however; so it is incumbent upon ideology to see to it that the fad becomes a meme – the truth, logic and common sense be damned. And one can surely count on feminism to rise up to the challenge.

Take the op-ed article written by Lupita Nyong’o in The New York Times, which has garnered much gushing praise and, reportedly, thousands of likes on social media for its candid portrayal of Nyongo’s experience at the hands of the Hollywood brute. The actress describes Weinstein’s initial “attack”, which took place in Weinstein’s home during a movie viewing to which Nyong’o had been invited. According to Nyong’o, she found herself alone with Weinstein in a room and was offered a massage. So far, so creepy. Nyong’o had an odd reaction, though: she offered to give him a massage instead. That was her way of staying in control of the situation, or so she explains. The explanation is buyable – in uncomfortable situations people can react in all kinds of ways. What is strange is that the experience did not deter Nyong’o from a second rendezvous with Weinstein, this time at a New York restaurant. She writes that she’d decided that the massage experience had established the necessary boundaries between them, and that there were supposed to be other people there anyway, so she’d be safe. At the restaurant, she was met by a female assistant of Weinstein’s, who informed her that this would be, after all, a rendezvous: she and Weinstein would be dining alone. Weinstein showed up and invited her upstairs to a private room; Nyong’o declined, and the story, though not the article, stops there (well, the story didn’t quite stop there: Nyong’o would agree to another meeting with Weinstein further down the road, this time in the presence of her agent).

One doesn’t need to examine the narrative too closely to ask a few awkward questions. Why did Nyong’o agree to meet Weinstein for a second time after the massage incident? Why did Nyong’o stay at the restaurant once it was clear that she’d be alone with Weinstein? Finally, where’s the bestial sexual comportment that Nyong’o is supposed to have exposed? The op-ed certainly paints a picture of a disagreeable, aggressive, unlikeable Hollywood wheeler-dealer. It also paints a picture of a woman who, despite presenting a litany of psychological rationalizations, appears to have been willing to overlook some of those things as long as it served to advance her career.

The author of an article in a recent issue of the weekend edition of the Financial Times is put off by the sight of men in various stages of fossilization mingling with a bevy of young women in a trendy bar in Los Angeles; sadly, the author laments, it is not a take-your-daughters-to-work day. Many might find such a scene distasteful. But it hardly qualifies as male oppression. The women want a breakthrough, and they believe it’s their only chance. They’re there on their own volition, ready to use their sexual powers to launch their careers. Are they any less guilty than the men at that bar? Will they claim to have been sexually harassed in a decade? Why not? Keep on telling someone he’s being victimized, and the individual will end up believing it. If Hollywood has a problem, it is not confined to a culture that is fuelled by testosterone, as the author of the FT article refers to it. Ambition meets letch – it’s a story that has forever spanned the river that is human civilization. The feminist movement doesn’t like that (certainly not when the lechers are men) and is busy trying to rewrite the script. Definitions are changed; notions are upended. Aggressive courting is now sexual harassment or, worse, sexual assault. Should we accuse balding wealthy men who saunter along with statuesque girlfriends and trophy wives of sexual harassment? Like the casting couch owners, they too offer their paramours a deal: a gilded lifestyle in exchange for sex. As with casting couch victims, women who turn down such a deal are barred from the life of privilege that is offered to them; and so many choose not to resist. Is it not another example of powerful men exploiting vulnerable women? Where does one draw the line?

These women have a choice. They can say no. Tragically, sometimes the option isn’t there. That is the verboten zone, the land of the non-consensual; and we have laws to deal with those who transgress. The problem is that certain doctrinaire activists are busy redrawing the borders to come up with a map that is more in line with their ideological objectives. This is not hyperbole. The indoctrination is real, and it works. Former US President George Bush Sr. has apologized in response to an allegation by a young actress, Heather Lind, who has alleged the ex-president “sexually assaulted” her in 2014. The actress, now thirty, waited three years before accusing a wheelchair-bound nonagenarian suffering from Parkinson’s Disease of “touching her from behind” and telling Lind a dirty joke. Why the delay? “What comforts me is that I too can use my power, which isn’t so different from a president really,” Lind explained. This, then, is the true colour of modern feminism, which is not about equality and empowerment, but reverse inequality and overpowerment. (I seem to recall a delightful scene from the movie Disclosure, in which a female character who has complained about the protagonist – played by Michael Douglas – having patted her on the posterior, jokingly pats him on the posterior in the end – a mischievous but unsettlingly prophetic gesture. Modern feminism is not about levelling the playing field and quashing a patriarchy that has become a relic of the past anyway; it is about demoting men.) Contemporary feminism teaches that women are abused and men are the abusers, that a war of nearly genocidal proportions is being perpetrated against the female sex, that men are inherently evil. Especially if they are white men. According to this discourse, men need to atone, apologize and repent, preferably on a daily basis. The whiter you are, the more spirited your self-flagellation needs to be. The strategy seems to be working. The media has had no shortage of men willing to make a public spectacle of themselves as they genuflect and beg forgiveness for, well, being males. Particularly white ones. Lind’s post, which has since been deleted, ended with the hashtag #metoo.

“#Metoo” indeed.

Feminist indoctrination has been so successful that many people now view the world strictly through the prism of gender fault lines. The ideology driving today’s agenda casts a long shadow over people’s perceptions. As the Weinstein scandal unfolded, another story briefly bubbled up to the headlines: the gruesome murder of journalist Kim Wall, who is believed to have been killed aboard a submarine while working on a news story. Police have charged the owner of the submarine with the crime. As tributes poured in on social media, some of the messages, typically left by women, took pains to emphasize the gender of the victim, as if the tragedy were just another chapter in the history of women’s rights; one message even referred to a war waged by men against women. A war? What war? This is not a crime by men against women; it’s a horrific act of violence committed by a depraved individual against a human being who happened to be a woman. But admitting as much would take the ideological wind out of feminism’s sails, which is unacceptable to that particular current of thought.

In order to be successful politically, an ideology has to have clear enemies. The man is the archenemy of feminism. However, the male gender is an abstraction; to be effective, the enemy has to have a human face. Weinstein is just such a face. As far as scapegoats go, Weinstein is a juicy target. He’s a male – strike one. He’s rich – strike two. He’s white – strike three. Of Jewish extraction – the cherry on the cake. But he is merely a convenient scapegoat, however easy he’s made it for others to turn him into one. You would have thought that Weinstein might have been eligible for the presumption of innocence principle, according to which the rage should follow the verdict and not vice versa; but when ideology and social media intersect, all gloves are off. The global community is ready to lynch Weinstein, even though, at the time of this writing, not a single charge has been laid against the man. But that’s all moot: Weinsteingate is not about Weinstein, as I have said. If Weinstein didn’t exist, he would have had to be invented. He is not the first; he won’t be the last.

The real loser isn’t Weinstein, nor the women who claim to have been victimized by him. The real loser is Western society, which is being held hostage by a feminism that has lost sight of its original goals. Far from empowering women, modern feminism is corrupting them – and, as a result, our civilization. It is an ideology that disseminates lies (as feminism does when it tries to deny differences between the two genders), promotes hatred of others, and erodes the foundations of our society.

That last bit is not a fanciful exaggeration. Feminism is one of the contributing factors to the demise of the traditional family and its concomitant population decline in Western countries. Not the sole one, to be sure, but it has had its inglorious effect; and every little bit counts. The strength of any society lies in its continuity, in its ability to replenish itself with minimal outside effort. A society that cannot do so will eventually require external help; in other words, its native population, along with its culture and way of life, is doomed. This is exactly what we are seeing in many West European countries today, where the host peoples are compelled to welcome large inflows of foreigners in order to assure the survival of their states. This need not be a major problem in a situation where the foreigners represent the same civilizational spectrum; however, the entire West – a West based on European civilization (from Canada to Russia) – is facing a demographic crisis. Europe therefore has to fall back on foreigners who hail from a civilization inherently different from the one that receives them. The Muslim polity in Europe has been aggressively asserting itself for years; in some areas, native Europeans are threatened with minority status. It is tempting to be an optimist and see a great bright future in these demographic shifts. Recent events, unfortunately, suggest that the long-term effects will be more along the lines of social anomy and, at worst, civil war. This is not doomsday talk; it is where doctrines that destabilize Western society can realistically lead.

The great irony is that the championship of women’s rights is not one of Islam’s strong suits, to say the least. Michel Houellebecq’s Submission offers a variant of the future we can all look forward to, and feminists are unlikely to find it a pleasant one. Submission is a dystopian novel, but the 20th century has shown that the journey from dystopia to reality might be short and comfortable. It will be tragicomic if a movement that started out fighting for equality in society should eventually become one of its pallbearers – and ultimately perish with it.