The schizophrenia of modern public (i.e., Progressive) schools

We spend a lot of time talking here about the way our Progressive culture infantilizes young people.  Just think about the way the whole liberal world had a collective head explosion when Newt suggested that young people get jobs to learn the value of discipline and achieve the satisfaction of wages.  But all is not perpetual babying of our youth when it comes to the Progressive education establishment.  Woe betide the child, even a 7-year-old, who dares to transgress political correctness.  Under those circumstances, no consequences is too severe, both to punish the malfeasor and to stand as a warning to all other children tempted to violate Progressive norms.

I speak, of course, of the child who punched a bully in the crotch (something, by the way, that we are all taught in self-defense classes is the best way to disable a predator) and was charged with sexual harassment.  The story would be a non-story had the incident been treated the old-fashioned way, with both bully and victim hauled off to the principal’s office, to get proportionate punishments (with, I hope, more serious punishment going to the bully).  In my day, those punishments included staying after school, missing recess, perhaps a one- or two-day suspension and the dreaded “I’m going to have to tell your parents about this.”

Mark Steyn summarizes perfectly the horror unfolding here, and I do mean horror.  This is not just a silly joke about an over-reactive school administration.  This is a life-long sentence for the 7-year-old:

There may be “another side” to this story, but it’s hard to foresee any version of events in which a First Grader can plausibly be guilty of “sexual assault”. Nevertheless, if found guilty, Mark Curran when he turns 18 will be placed on a “sex offender registry”, and his life will be ruined. If officials of the Boston public schools system genuinely believe that when a seven-year old kicks another seven-year old in the crotch that that is an act of “sexual harassment”, then they are too stupid to be entrusted with the care of the city’s children. If, on the other hand, they retain enough residual humanity to understand that a seven-year-old groin-kick is not a sexual assault but have concluded that regulatory compliance obliges them to investigate it as such, then they are colluding in an act of great evil.

Sometimes societies become too stupid to survive. If you’re wondering how a candidate’s presidential campaign can be derailed by allegations of “gestures” of “a non-sexual nature” that made women “uncomfortable” two decades ago rather than by his total ignorance of foreign policy and national security, well, this stuff starts in kindergarten. The loss of proportion and of basic human judgment in the American education system ought to be an unnerving indicator.

Yeah, you got that right.

Take the accusations against Cain seriously

Yesterday, I wrote a somewhat incoherent post to the effect that, while I’m willing to extend to Herman Cain the benefit of the doubt regarding the sexual harassment allegations, I refuse to find myself in the position of a Clinton supporter, circa 1998, sullying my own soul by trying to justify inappropriate sexual acts.  Bill Bennett says it better:

It is hypocritical in the extreme for those members of the media who didn’t take the charges and allegations against Bill Clinton seriously to be taking the allegations against Herman Cain that we now have as seriously as they are. Hypocritical is probably too soft a word, frankly.

[snip]

I have watched long enough and held my tongue long enough to give him the benefit of the doubt, but can no longer say this is a witch hunt, “a lynching” to use his word, or any other euphemism. There are allegations out there that matter and they have stacked up. For we who led the charge against Bill Clinton on a number of related issues to continue to blame the media or other campaigns or say it simply doesn’t matter makes us the hypocrites as well.

As I say, all of this is bad for our politics and polity. If Herman Cain cannot stand up to these charges, if he refuses to, then he should step out of the race. A man big enough to run for president should be big enough to have a full and candid press conference on all of this — he wants us to elect him president after all, he’s asking us to trust our lives and the country’s life to him. This could be one of his finest moments and it could be one of his worst. But either way, he must confront the moment candidly and manfully.

Attacks on Cain reflect unspoken acknowledgment of conservative virtue *UPDATED*

I’ve kept pretty quiet about the allegations against Herman Cain.  As I blogged at the beginning of this news story, the fact that the charges go back to the era following the Ninth Circuit’s decision in Ellison v. Brady (9th Cir. 1991) 924 F.2d 872, means that they’re inherently suspect.  By doing away with the “reasonable person” standard, and substituting a “reasonable woman” standard, the Ninth Circuit opened the floodgates for endless claims by women who took offense if a man complimented their haircut or said hello to them.  These claims existed side by side with genuine claims from women who were subject to traditional sexual harassment:  have sex with me or lose your job.  I’m also suspicious because Gloria Allred is suddenly in the picture.  She has a knack for showing up whenever she can to destroy a Republican.

Having said that, I do not want to find myself in the ethically compromised position of a Clinton supporter back in 1998, when we were trying our damndest to explain away entirely unacceptable, indecent, and credible accusations.  If there’s nothing but vague accusations of winks and looks, I’m siding with Cain.  If there’s more, I’m dropping him.

And as to the latter, Andrew Klavan confirms that we conservatives are doing the right thing — and that liberals are paying conservatives a backhanded compliment — when we expect more of them than base liberal behavior.  Thus, after discussing the media double standard that always attaches to sex scandals (excusable if a Dem does it; inexcusable if a Republican does), Klavan has this to say:

And yes, it’s unfair. But there’s a reason it’s unfair—a reason it should be unfair. There’s a reason we right wingers vet our candidates while the left adulates theirs, a reason we condemn our miscreants while the left elevates theirs, a reason our news outlets cover stories that the left covers up.

The reason is:  we’re the good guys. We have to do what’s right. The left doesn’t. Sorry, but that’s the way it works. It’s the price you pay for defending what’s true and good, the price of holding yourself to a high moral standard. Our politicians have to be better than their politicians. Our journalists have to be more honest. Even our protesters have to behave with decorum and decency—and still suffer being slandered—while theirs can act like animals and commit acts of violence and lawlessness and spew anti-semitic filth and still find themselves excused and glorified.

There’s a reason the bad guy in movies is always chuckling darkly while the hero frequently finds himself with a laser beam cutting a path toward his vitals. The world is a place that has to be fought for and wrongdoers hold high power in every field. Liars wear ties and sit behind desks and tell us “That’s the way it is!” while drawing seven figure salaries from mainstream corporations. Truth tellers—the Becks, the Limbaughs, the Coulters, the Breitbarts—have to create their own venues while dodging brickbats and charges of bigotry and meanness and insanity.

Herman Cain is going to have to run the gauntlet, not just of a racist and dishonest left that wants to destroy him but of a fair-minded and decency-loving right that wants him to come fully clean and let the voters decide how we should proceed. The fight for truth, liberty and morality requires sacrifice and self-examination. The self-righteous quest for power over others does not.

The world is just as unfair as you think it is. You’ll never catch the devil hanging on a cross.

To which I can only add “Amen!”

UPDATE:  Once upon a time, when SNL was periodically funny, it correctly identified the problem.  (And to the list at the end of the video, I’d add “Don’t be a Republican, especially a black Republican.”

 

http://www.americanthinker.com/blog/2011/11/sexual_harassment_pointers.html

Everything you always wanted to know about sex* . . . *that the media wasn’t going to ask *UPDATED*

I’ve got sex on my mind today.  It’s not because I’ve suddenly morphed into a 13 year old boy.  It’s because there are a lot of headlines today about sex, which also made me think about missing sex headlines and false sex headlines.

First, of course, the Herman Cain sex headlines:  Back in the 1990s, two women accused Herman Cain of sexual harassment when he was working at the National Restaurant Association, and the NRA subsequently settled the claims for five figure amounts.  I have several thoughts on this subject.  First, this story is not the same as the Anita Hill charges against Clarence Thomas.  Hill did not make her charges contemporaneously.  Instead, she emerged out of nowhere at just the right time for Democrats to conduct a high tech lynching against a high profile black conservative.  In this case, the charges were made at a time when Cain was just another executive.  The report is therefore more credible than Hill’s claims.

Peculiarly enough, though, at least from my lawyerly point of view, the fact that the charges date back to 1990 makes the charges less, rather than more, damning in my eyes.  Why?  Because the 1990s were a wonderful time for plaintiffs’ attorneys bringing sexual harassment charges.  Why?  Because the Ninth Circuit had just handed down a decision vastly expanding the definition of workplace sexual harassment.*  Suddenly, the claim made each lawsuit akin to shooting fish in a barrel.  Your female client didn’t get promoted?  Sexual harassment.  Your female client got fired?  Sexual harassment.  Your female client found the office “uncomfortable”?  Sexual harassment. Your female client was caught embezzling?  Sexual harassment.

Panicked executives (and their insurance companies) settled left and right.  Some of the claims involved genuine sexual harassers, but these legitimate claims were lost in the flurry of easy-money lawsuits.  Executives, their corporations and their insurance companies were simply loath to start rolling in the litigation mud.  The lawsuits (and I defended a few) were absolutely awful.  The executives were accused of heinous misdeeds, their every action was scrutinized, the corporation had to bear the burden of having every employee and every piece of paper in the corporation scrutinized, and the suits often morphed into class actions, which invariably primarily benefit the attorneys.  Valid claims (and I know there were valid claims) got lost in a sea of what amounted to legal blackmail.  So did Cain harass two employees?  Who knows.  The accusations are meaningless, as are the settlements.

The charges against Herman Cain got me thinking about the sex claims the major media is ignoring.  That would be the assaults that seem to be part and parcel of the Occupy movement.  So far, only the New York Post seems to be paying attention, both to the stories and to the cover-up.  Here’s just one example from a rash of similar stories:

A sex fiend barged into a woman’s tent and sexually assaulted her at around 6 a.m., said protesters, who chased him from the park.

“Pervert! Pervert! Get the f–k out!” said vigilante Occupiers, who never bothered to call the cops.

“They were shining flashlights in his face and yelling at him to leave,” said a woman who called herself Leslie, but refused to give her real name.

She said that weeks earlier another woman was raped.

“We don’t tell anyone,” she said. “We handle it internally. I said too much already.”

You would think that a story that’s all about sex would be front page, top of the news stuff, but it’s not.  The media knows its place, and its place does not include bad-mouthing the movement its president fomented.

My mentioning the president here isn’t a random, drive-by attack against Obama.  I was thinking of another series of alleged sexual attacks that took place when another president was in office.  As you may recall, when Hurricane Katrina struck, we were told that, within a mere three days of the disaster, New Orleans’ citizens weren’t just raping and murdering each other, they were eating each other too.  The MSM couldn’t get enough of reports about sexual assaults on Bush’s watch.  (Never mind that the City was officially under the aegis of Democrat Mayor Ray Nagin).  As far as I know, very few of those claims were true, and the cannibalism one was definitely a canard.

Sex sells, but as far as the media is concerned, it’s a product they want to market only when it can blacken Republican eyes.

_____________________________

*I’m pulling a complete blank right now on the standard the Ninth Circuit created, but when/if I remember, I’ll update the post to add that information.

UPDATE:  Rick, at Brutally Honest, remembers another sexual harassment charge that the media conveniently ignored.

UPDATE IIIndigo Red figured it out:

Would the case you are blanking on, Book, be Ellison v. Brady (924 F.2d 872 (9th Cir. 1991) in which the 9th Circuit decided that it doesn’t matter if the alleged harasser intended to be harassing or complimentary rejecting the “reasonable person’ standard used by the trial court instead opting for a “reasonable woman” argument in which the alleged victim perceived the conduct severe and pervasive enough to change the work environment so as to create an offensive environment from which sexual harassment can be found?

DSK’s very international affair

L’affaire DSK is all the rage in France.

On my recent visit to France, you might say I was somewhat surprised that nobody asked me about the U.S. economy, the Euro’s impending collapse or Obama. Rather, the first question out of their mouths was “what do Americans think about the DSK affair?”. They were, of course, referring to Dominique Strauss-Kahn, the recently deposed head of the International Monetary Fund and French President wannabee. DSK had been arrested in New York in somewhat dubious circumstances involving alleged transgressions with a chamber maid (think “Paula Jones”).

The reason that the DSK affair was on peoples’ minds, I think, is because it jolted the French to an awareness that there was something very wrong in their society’s treatment of women in the workplace and elsewhere. It’s about time.

During my visit, I spoke with a woman that had enjoyed a fabulous career in finance and who, as a university student, had been taught by DSK. “He was truly brilliant,” she said, “But…”. Another woman, a retired Air France flight attendent, described how she and her colleagues would beg and bribe their cabin mates in order to be reassigned out of First Class whenever certain French politicians were traveling. But then, on the flip side, I heard a few men talk about how such things should be expected of powerful men, you know, “droit du seigneur” and all. These men were the exceptions, not the rule.

But then, I listened to one man I know, an elderly, world-renown attorney who easily straddles both sides of the Atlantic, tell me how his law firm hires only women attorneys today. “We interview both men and women, but inevitably the women prove to be the better attorneys”. He got it. He was profoundly embarrassed and angry about the DSK affair. In his view, the grandstanding New York City prosecutor did a complete hack job on the case and DSK deserved to be completely discredited and set-up for a civil suit “even if his guilt can’t be proven in court” (for the record, I completely disagree with this premise on the principle of “innocent until proven guilty”).

I can’t say anything about DSK’s innocence or guilt. What I do know is that France is having a major conversation with itself on the proper treatment of women and that this is a good thing. The conversation is moving them in the right direction.

I bring this up this narrative up with regard to the reports of misogyny emanating from our White House. I don’t know if they are true or not, but I suspect this isn’t the last we’ve heard of them. Our MSM press will cover it up, no doubt, just as they did with JFK and LBJ, but eventually the truth will out. We lost a lot of ground during the Clinton Administration (Paula Jones, Monica Lewinsky, Juanita Broderick, etc.) and I would hate to think that workplace misogyny will again become the new norm.

Perhaps we, too, need a national conversation.

 

Manners, my friends, manners

For years, I’ve argued to anyone who cared to listen, that the need for PC goop, sensitivity training and hyper sexual harassment laws coincided very precisely with the decline in manners.  I don’t have any data to support this, just common sense.  In the old, mannered days, good manners dictated a few huge do-nots:  you do not discuss sex in the office; you do not insult people in the office; you do not try to proselytize your religion in the office.  In the office, you confine your talk to neutral subjects such as work (now there’s a novel concept); the weather (even Gilbert & Sullivan approved); and you make pleasantly neutral conversation about people’s appearance (“new haircut?”  “nice shirt” etc.)

All that changed in the 1960s, when manners suddenly became reactionary and passe.  Suddenly, it was de rigeur to regale your workmates with your sexual exploits.  And letting it all hang and out and being honest demanded that, if you thought someone was physically attractive, you described those attractions in the most graphic terms.  Likewise, if you didn’t like someone, what better thing to do than tell them why, in equally graphic terms.  Neutral topics and polite work conversation were for grandparents.  Our generation kept it “real.”

No wonder, then, that sexual harassment and racial discrimination, instead of dying out in the workplace with the Civil Rights era and equity feminism, suddenly became a land mine for every employer in America.  Just as the employers finally figured out that you can’t treat people differently based on race, gender, creed, country of national origin, etc., their employees stopped being able to keep their mouths shut.  Bad policies that used to come down from the top, and could properly be barred by law, trickled down to become the water cooler conversation of the ill-mannered — subject to all sorts of costly civil litigation, and state and federal penalties, against the employers.

I mention all this because of Bill Whittle’s righteous outrage at being forced to attend a sexual harassment seminar.  Even as he recognized that his employer required the seminar to protect itself from lawsuits, and that the person teaching the seminar had the best intentions, he was deeply offended at being assumed to be a sexual perpetrator or racial harasser, rather than a mannered gentleman whose mama raised him right.