“The Right” has an unfortunate tendency to make broad, meaningless statements about “the Left.” To be more precise, in this case, David French of National Review made a broad attack on “the Left” on the basis of some people having been punished for having committed sexual assault.
“The steady drumbeat of sexual scandal is eroding the Left’s moral authority,” French wrote, because apparently liberal celebrities are all sexually assault-committing pigs. The headline of the piece also had the effect of appearing to smear #MeToo: “How #MeToo Has Undermined the #Resistance.” It sounds as if MeToo has done something wrong that “undermined” “the Left”, but really his argument is that MeToo has exposed “the Left” as immoral.
The #Resistance, on the other hand, is fresh [in contrast to Hillary Clinton, French wrote]. And it has the moral authority that Hillary lacked. It can speak clearly about “norms” and “values.” It can condemn Trump’s multiple moral failings in the strongest possible terms, unencumbered by all the Clinton baggage.
At least until #MeToo.
I truly don’t think the Left understands how the relentless drumnbeat of sexual scandal looks to Americans outside the progressive bubble. Left-dominated quarters of American life—Hollywood, the media, progressive politics—have been revealed to be havens for the worst sort of ghouls, and each scandal seems to be accompanied by two words that deepen American cynicism and make legions of conservative Americans roll their eyes at the Left’s moral arguments: “Everyone knew.”
See, Harvey Weinstein committed sexual assault, and now the #Resistance is guilty of sexual assault! Trump is innocent!
French associates every Hollywood celebrity with “the Left.” The pose makes no sense. Weinstein doesn’t reflect on the mostly innocent people protesting Trump on the street. He isn’t even an elected Democratic politician, and he hasn’t particularly been known as a hardcore progressive activist.
French granted a distinction between “the Resistance” and the Clinton camp. If Clinton, who is much more closely (relatively speaking) linked to the movement opposing Trump than is Weinstein, isn’t part of “the Resistance”, how, pray tell, is Weinstein and Louis CK?
Nor are Trump’s critics limited to “the Resistance” or to liberals generally. Trump, as French might know if he looks at the polls, isn’t a particularly popular president. In fact, French’s own magazine put out an issue dedicated to opposing Trump, and some of his principled colleagues still do not support him.
When confronted with an actual elected Democrat who is exposed as having committed multiple acts of sexual assault, the Democrats forced him—Al Franken—out of Congress. When confronted with a Senate candidate who preyed on underage girls—and sexually assaulted some of them—local Alabama Republicans tried to get him elected to office, and national Republican leaders refused to issue statements against him. Trump campaigned aggressively for Roy Moore and attacked his victims.
Now we get to the corrupt, dishonest, sexual assaulter in chief at the top of the party. The Republicans continue to support him and defend him.
If someone makes a claim, that claim is either true or not. French takes sexual assault as a valid criticism of Weinstein, CK, and other “liberal” celebrities who have seen their careers hampered by the exposure of their crimes. He takes it as a reason to cast doubt on “the Left” as a whole. If sexual assault is wrong, then that means Donald Trump is immoral and not to be trusted.
And if political ideologies can be broadly generalized into classifiers like “the Left,” then the Left, which would include MeToo, is to be praised for bringing abusers down—regardless of their purported politics.