Saturday, December 06, 2014

What Does The Rolling Stone Rape Story Debacle Show? (1)

   It doesn't show much of anything about rape...
   But it does show something about us. Specifically, that we have become too credulous about rape accusations. The 'we' here is roughly liberals--though the effect seemed to me to extend well into the center. Of course it extends to the left--neo-PCs, "SJW"s, and the radical vanguard of feminism are obviously afflicted by this problem.
   This observation will, I expect, be met with vicious denunciations--but it's difficult to deny. We have just gone through an experience in which an extremely strong consensus came into existence almost instantaneously all across the leftosphere--an instant consensus that unquestioningly accepted a radically implausible rape accusation. I scanned the web hard in the days after the story broke, and found virtually no one--not even in comment sections--raising any doubts about the story. Even very timid suggestions that the story might be questioned were shouted down. When perfectly reasonable questions finally did start appearing, they were immediately accused of "denialism," "trutherism," "rape apologism," and, that go-to accusation of the far web left, "victim-blaming."
   Much of the web fell for an obviously false story, it fell hard, and it used shrill moral condemnation to shout down any politically incorrect questions, even the most obvious and reasonable ones.
   This is a problem.
   A big, big problem.
   It's tedious to repeatedly have to say things like: yes, many real rape victims are not believed. Yes, that is still a problem. And yes, I take it very seriously. But the solution to that problem is not the one that has been sold to liberals and centrists by the more extreme left. The solution to the problem is not to believe every accusation, no matter how implausible. That is insanity. It is a blueprint for disaster. What we have just seen is, in essence, the application of that mindless principle. We didn't need this to happen in order to see that the proposed principle was crazy. Many of us have been pointing out that it is crazy. But, of course, such suggestions were met with the litany of accusations listed above...denialism, victim-blaming, etc. etc. etc...
   There's a lot of blame to go around here. Jackie did wrong. Rolling Stone did wrong. But the neo-PCs, SJWs, extremist feminists and others that compose the ascendant extreme left deserve a large part of the blame, too. These are the people that are driving much of the current public conversation about so-called "social justice," and who are managing to persuade liberals to move beyond reasonable, liberal principles toward insane radical ones. And liberals are to blame for being dumb enough to fall for it, frankly.
   Our best evidence indicates that about 1 in 20 (though perhaps as few  as 1 in 50, or nearly as many as 1 in 10) rape accusations made to the police in the U.S. are false. That's a pretty low rate, it seems, at least in the lower parts of the range. It may very well be that there is still too much incredulity about such accusations. But one thing is certain: it is obviously false that no one should ever doubt any rape accusation. That principle is rarely stated in such a clear and straightforward way, but that is, indeed, the principle that has been pushed on us by the relevant groups. It's wrong, and many of us--well, many of you, anyway--fell for it.
   This isn't an isolated case. The problem is a rather general one. An illiberal, irrationalist left has become vocal and influential, and liberalism has been tugged in that direction. From believe every accusation to only whites can be racist  and only men can be sexist to the "rape culture" and "cultural appropriation" confusions, liberals are being sold a bill of goods by the illiberal left. And if this is not resisted, liberalism is in danger of becoming the nutty, mindless mess that conservatives have long (falsely, in my opinion) accused it of being.


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