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The Great Thomas & Hill Show

Summary:
Let it be said: I was never a Thomas enthusiast.  I am no fan of affirmative action in any sense.  I do not believe in ethnic or racial seats on the Supreme Court, and I can only scoff at the patent Bushian lie that race played no role in Clarence Thomas’ selection, or that he was the best qualified person in the nation for the job.  Neither am I impressed with the depth of Thomas” juristic insight or with the consistency of whatever of his principles have not been shredded during the confirmation “process.” Even at best, Thomas was never any sort of Libertarian or Randian; at most, Thomas was a Jaffaite, his “control” and theoretician being a Japanese-American Jaffaite aide.  To the uninitiated in the mysteries of modern

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Let it be said: I was never a Thomas enthusiast.  I am no fan of affirmative action in any sense.  I do not believe in ethnic or racial seats on the Supreme Court, and I can only scoff at the patent Bushian lie that race played no role in Clarence Thomas’ selection, or that he was the best qualified person in the nation for the job.  Neither am I impressed with the depth of Thomas” juristic insight or with the consistency of whatever of his principles have not been shredded during the confirmation “process.” Even at best, Thomas was never any sort of Libertarian or Randian; at most, Thomas was a Jaffaite, his “control” and theoretician being a Japanese-American Jaffaite aide.  To the uninitiated in the mysteries of modern conservatism, Harry Jaffa is the leader of the Western Straussians – in contrast to the Eastern Straussians – both groups ardent and abject disciples of the late Professor Leo Strauss.  The Straussians (who include “prince” William Kristol, son of Irving, chief aide and “theoretician” to our beloved Vice President, Dan Quayle) provide whatever intellectual patina the neoconservatives may possess.  In contrast to Eastern Straussians (e.g.  Allan Bloom, Walter Berns), the Jaffaites believe in natural rights.  That’s the good news.  The bad news is that prominent among these alleged rights is “equality,” egalitarianism, a concept illegitimately grafted onto the Jeffersonian doctrine of natural rights of person and property.  To Professor Jaffa, Abraham Lincoln and “Dr.” Martin Luther King constitute the modern incarnation and fulfillment of Lockean natural rights.  In short, “civil rights” are encouraged to ride roughshod over property rights.  Whatever this is, it is leagues away from the rights set forth by John Locke and by the Founding Fathers.

And that was Clarence Thomas at his best.  From then on, it was all downhill, as Thomas, going far beyond even the counsel of his “pragmatist” White House handlers, scrapped everything he might ever have believed in his scramble for the Court appointment.  His Randian, or natural rights statements of the past, were dismissed (much as in the case of Randian Alan Greenspan before him) as ““philosophic musings,” unrelated to the judiciary, or in deed to political life generally.  One unfortunate effect of Greenspan, Thomas, etc., is that Yahoos who are convinced that philosophy is a trivial game unrelated to any of life’s problems have had their views confirmed in spades.

And so, by the end of the regular hearings, I was genuinely neutral on the Thomas Question.  (To lapse into the jargon of the four or five Lost Days of the open hearings, “This Senator would have been undecided.”)  When I first heard of the Hill charges and the idea of open hearings, my initial reaction was to oppose both sides equally, and call cheerily for open hearings for many weeks or months, so that all conceivable witnesses could be called and every negative detail be dredged up or confirmed about everyone concerned.

The Monstrous Regiment

But then came the Monstrous Regiment, a phrase derived from the title of one of the great religious tracts of the vexed sixteenth century; the essay by the great Scottish Calvinist leader, the Rev. John Knox, who, in 1558, published his delightfully titled “The First Blast of the Trumpet Against the Monstrous Regiment of Women.”  From the moment that Pat Schroeder and the other Democrat viragoes of the House invaded the Senate, the entire regiment, nay army, of organized Left Feminism, including their wimpo Male Auxiliaries, rose up in hysteria to support Hill and denounce Thomas.  The truly horrible part is that virtually the entire media, including every TV and press reporter, threw aside the last pretense of objectivity and filled the press and the air waves with an enormous mass of frenzied bias.  TV interviewers, usually studiously neutral, threw caution to the winds, and tossed puffball questions at Hill supporters, while being snarling and argumentative with pro-Thomas leaders.  And in between, the airwaves were filled with every feminist “expert” and shrink available, lending a frenetic pro-Hill spin to the proceedings.  The Los Angeles Times, generally an excellent paper, turned itself into a house organ for NOW, if not for SCUM, for the week before and after the open hearings.  (SCUM was an early manifestation of the feminist movement, the Society for Cutting Up Men, headed by one Valerie Solanis, who capped her alleged principles by shooting in the head her onetime close friend, Andy Warhol.)  No holds were barred; it was war to the knife.

The basic premise of the Regiment, always implicit, sometimes explicit, is that whenever any woman whatsoever makes a charge of ‘sexual harassment” (or date rape, or rape, or whatever), that the charge must be taken by everyone as per se true.  Any doubt expressed, let alone any challenge to try to impeach the witness, is considered per se evil, an attempt to blame or once again “harass” the “victim.”  Note that this truly monstrous view can only make sense if one holds as a basic axiom that any woman’s charge must always be treated as gospel truth.

When the defenders of Thomas pointed out, quite correctly, that a basic principle of American justice holds that a man must be considered innocent of any charge until proven guilty, the Regiment replied that this was not a criminal trial, but a hearing to help decide a nomination for Supreme Court Justice.  In the first place, this is a disingenuous reply, because the Monstrous Regiment of organized feminism believes the same thing about a criminal trial and would push this view if they could get away with it.  (Look, for example, at the attitudes of the left-liberal media toward, (A), the accused rapist, Willie Kennedy Smith, whose name is blackened everywhere, and, (B), The Woman, who must never be named, and any impeaching of whose credibility is treated as a “second rape” by “her accusers.”)

But second, even though this was not a criminal trial, the idea of the presumption of innocence to the accused is simply a basic principle of fairness, even though there is no need for the strict criminal standard of proof “beyond a reasonable doubt.”  Add to this the inescapable fact that the sexual harassment (S.H.) charge was unsupported and unsubstantiated, and that the alleged event occurred a decade ago, way beyond the brief “statute of limitations” in S.H. cases.  Add to this, too, the Pearl Harbor surprise aspect to the charge: made deliberately at the last minute to try to torpedo the nomination.  And made by a woman who admittedly not only followed Thomas from one job to another, called him up frequently afterward (a fact La Hill denied until confronted with the inescapable evidence of the phone logs), was extremely pleasant to Thomas (“there was such joy” on their faces – Dean Kothe), and even as late as August 1991, after the nomination, expressed her joy about it to the former aide of Thomas at the ABA convention.  In short, even if the charge was true, Anita Hill’s action was an act of betrayal against a mentor who had advanced her career and whom she has treated as a friend.  There is simply no excuse for Hill’s vicious action.

Dredging up psychobabble, the Regiment claimed that this was a typical action of an S.H. victim – a claim effectively smashed by the various pro-Thomas female aides, many of whom had themselves been S.H.ed.  At best, playing along with Thomas was cynical and calculating, and can hardly justify her later betrayal after she had finally achieved tenure.

Hill’s charge was totally unsupported, to which the Regiment hotly replies that this is the nature of the “crime” of S.H.  But that of course is the main point.  Unsupported charges must never be given credibility.  In rape charges, there is often physical evidence to substantiate the claim, but by definition the verbal “crime” of S.H. can never be proven, which is one of the reasons why it should not be a crime at all.  (See below.)

Where there can be no evidence, the only defense can be to impeach the credibility of the accuser or of other pro-accuser witnesses.  As a law professor with an admittedly shocking ignorance of the law, “Professor” Hill would certainly understand that the defense would have to impeach her credibility.  And yet, the whining, and the moaning, and the general geschrei by La Hill and the rest of the Regiment! How dare anyone attack this lovely woman’s character?  But what else is any defense supporter supposed to do – except of course, to follow the feminist program of every defendant’s lying down and submitting to total female Power?

Why did the defense have to attack La Hill’s motives?  Well, how else could her credibility be impeached?  The Senators posed the question: Who is lying?  (And obviously at least one was lying, since no shrink-hermeneutics could give a Rashomon twist to the conflicting testimony.)  Who had a motive for lying?  Thomas’ motivation was obvious: to clear his good name and to become Supreme Court Justice.  The Regiment claimed that La Hill could have no possible motive for telling a falsehood.  The motives then rolled out from the defense, many of them persuasive:

  1. She could have the delusion of Thomas’ sexual interest in her, and accompanying “talkin” dirty” and then be bitter at lack of such interest later. Many women suffer from such “erotomania,” plus there was considerable testimony (“under oath,” as the Senate likes to say) about Hill’s general erotomania (John Doggett) and specifically of her unrequited sexual interest in Thomas (Phyllis Berry).
  2. She could have nursed bitterness because of professional jealousy because she at first was a top aide to Thomas at the Department of Education, and then was only one of many aides at EEOC, thereby suffering from loss of access and job status. She was also bitter that she wasn’t appointed top aide to Thomas (J.C.  Alvarez, Phyllis Berry).
  3. (Corollary of 1. and 2.) Hill was jealous of the fact that the woman who did get the top aide post, Alison Duncan, was a black who was lighter skinned than she; and, to top off the “insult,” that Thomas later married a white wife.  (Why is it that Hill’s final call to Thomas was to “congratulate” him on his marriage?)  Skin color is a big factor in sexual jealousy among blacks, a fact greatly underplayed in the general media.
  4. She could be seeking fame as a heroine of Organized Feminism. (“She wants to be the Rosa Parks of sexual harassment.” – J.C.  Alvarez.) And if she wasn’t seeking fame, why did she bring a P.R. firm as well as a brace of lawyers to the hearings?  Clearly, she is already a lauded heroine of left-liberalism.
  5. (Corollary of 4.) She could be pursuing a leftist agenda. The idea that Hill is a “conservative Republican” sounds like a pack of nonsense – she has admitted to disagreeing vigorously with Thomas about affirmative action and perhaps on abortion.
  6. But why should she jeopardize her brilliant career? What brilliant career?  A black female graduate of Yale Law School should, these days, be able to write her own ticket.  And yet, by the testimony of one partner of the private law firm she worked for after graduation, Hill was booted out as incompetent – from whence, by the help of mutual Yale Law friends, she found good jobs with Clarence Thomas.  And when she left government, where did she “profess”?  Oral Roberts Law School!  With all due respect to the lovable Dean Kothe, that short-lived law school scarcely ranked in the top 1,000.  Because of her “courageous” backstabbing act, Newsweek, which also enlisted with enthusiasm in the Regiment, is already pushing Hill for a judgeship.

Psychobabblers claim that S.H.ers commit their dastardly S.H. in patterns, yet no one could be found to come forward against Thomas except La Hill.  The only exception was Angela Wright, who decided not to testify personally, since her credibility would have been cut to ribbons.  In the first place, she was fired for in competence, and secondly, one of the reasons for her dismissal is that she denounced one of her co-workers as “a faggot.” All the Democratic Senators needed was to turn the homosexual community against them. 

Senators and Witnesses

The Regiment claimed that the Democrat Senators were tossing Thomas puff questions, while the Republicans were irredeemably nasty toward the martyred Miss Hill.  The Republicans, from my perspective, were, on the contrary, truckling and fawning on Organized Feminism.  Even the most conservative, such as Hatch and Simpson, kept mewling that, yes, they, too, are “sensitive” to women, that “my lovely daughters are women,” “my wife is a woman,” and, above all, “my mother was a woman.”  World’s record for sensitivity to one’s mother was won, going away, by pro-Thomas Democrat Senator D. Concini ” (Az.).  Everyone was being very, very respectful of nearly everyone.  For the Republicans, the most effective and brightest was Senator Specter (R,. Pa.), who drew a careful, precise prosecutorial web; Senator Simpson (R., Wyo.) was our curmudgeon; and Senator Hatch (R., Ut.) enlivened the proceedings:  (“A stereotype?  I never heard of such a thing! Tell us about this stereotype … why, that’s disgusting,” and “Judge Thomas: how did you feel, how did you feel when those rotten, despicable charges were made against you?”)

The anti-Thomas Democrats were an odious lot.  Most repellent was that gasbag Biden, without whose blatherings the time might have been cut by one-third.  Add to that his smarmy smile, punctuated by his petulant and nasty frown.  (“I’ll cut you off!”) Senator Leahy  (D, Vt.) reminded one of a Vermont village sneak, the snitch who reports his classmates to the authorities; Kennedy was …ugh!  Kennedy!  Metzenbaum was an ugly ferret-faced embodiment of evil tempered by confusion; Heflin (D., Ala.) was often amusing but was no Sam Ervin; and Strom Thurmond (R., S.C.) was lovable but often incomprehensible but at least mercifully brief.

It is conveniently forgot ten by the Regiment that the Republicans only had a few days to root out an anti-Hill case, whereas, the anti-Thomas dirt-grubbers had over three months for their campaign.  Considering the time pressure, the Thomas defense did a remarkable job.  Little thanks to the White House, whose first instincts were to temporize, to truckle, to cut and run.  It was Thomas himself who saved the day by getting rid of his handlers, and by leaping to the attack, brilliantly and emotionally, “playing the race card.”  As well he should have, since it is certainly true that the civil rights Establishment hate nothing more than “Oreo cookies,” than blacks who are conservative or in any way opposed to their agenda, and thus undercut the appearance of black unanimity for their cause.  Tossing aside his previous wimpo blatherings, Thomas was decisive, and his words rang instinctively with the rhythms and repetitive intonations of black blues and black gospel: “No job is worth this, senator, no job.”  “I died last week, Senator, I died there…”  “There has been no joy in this process, no joy.”  “I will not go into any area of my private life.  No job is worth it.  No job.”  Faced with someone prepared to tell them to go to Hell, the Senators reverted to type:  they wimped.  The specter of the black vote rose before them, especially before the swing votes, the Southern Democrats.  “This is a high-tech Iynching, Senator,” Ianced them like a lightning bolt.  Emboldened by Thomas’ dramatic counter-attack, the White House acquired some spunk, and leaped to Thomas’ side.  Despite the time pressure, excellent anti-Hill work was done by White House counsel, C. Boyden Gray, by former top handler, Ken Duberstein, and by the brilliant head of the Office of Legal Counsel of the Department of Justice, J.  Michael Luttig, in his last act before ascending to the appeals court bench as judge.

Not that the Democrat Senators were always wimps.  They did level the full force of their nasty sarcasm against the voluble John N.  Doggett, with Leahy opening smirking and snorting at Doggett’s testimony.  Doggett, however, did force Metzenbaum to retract charges made about his sexual harassing.  (“Not under oath, Senator!”)  [Where one stood on John Doggett seemed to be a test of one’s anti-Hill militancy.  Most of my friends were anti-Hill/pro-Thomas, but even many of them didn’t like Doggett; I, however, thought Doggett a strong and estimable witness.]

As for La Hill, I found her neither brilliant nor particularly credible or likable.  She impressed me as being whiny, droopy, and stolid.  I liked all of the pro-Thomas female witnesses, especially J.C.  Alvarez, who was tough, smart, and sassy, and took it to La Hill:  (“That shy, little Baptist girl from the South was not the very hard, tough, arrogant, tantrum-throwing Anita Hill I knew.”)  I also like the urban ethnic Alvarez, reminding me of quintessential New York, even though she comes from Chicago (“Senators, I need this like I need a hole in the head.”)

The Triumph of Populism: The Regiment Loses the Masses

The great thing about the Thomas victory was that the masses were not conned.  Despite the massive propaganda barrage by the media, the masses use their own eyes, watched the proceeding in great numbers, and decided overwhelming that they were anti-Hill and therefore pro-Thomas.  Despite their arrogance, despite the TV shrinks; despite the hysteria, the masses decided overwhelmingly, in the polls, as well as in letters and telegrams pouring into Congress.  The Regiment not only lost the white males and black males and females, they even lost the white woman vote.  If we men simply “didn’t get it” (See below), then neither did most American women.  As Peggy Noonan pointed out, the difference was class: upper class whites, media types, professionals, the intelligentcia, females and even males, were overwhelmingly pro-Hill.  Indeed, they were, since they constitute and virtually define the Monstrous Regiment.  But working-class women, to say nothing of men, overwhelmingly rejected Hill and supported Thomas.  The very working-class masses whom upper-class liberals profess to bleed for, told them, too, to go to Hell.  As Peggy Noonan put it, it was the difference between the voluble folks discoursing in restaurants (pro-Hill) as against the people who serve them (anti-Hill).  And while the former may be more influential, the latter, after all, constitute the body of voters.  And they couldn’t be fooled.

Felicity Barringer, in an instructive article in the New York Times (October 18), tapped the reasons why the mass of women, including working women, had little patience with La Hill.  These working women recognize that women entering the workplace have to be tough, and they couldn”t believe that a woman with Yale Law School credentials could be the shy little put-upon flower she put before the TV public.  A retired secretary in Baltimore stated that, “It’s unbelievable that a woman wouldn’t stop something like that at its inception.”  A worker in a battered women’s shelter: I was harassed and I nipped it in the bud; I stopped it right then and there.  One guy said, see, you don’t take any guff.”  An elementary school teacher asked, “Wouldn’t you haul off and poke a guy in the mouth if he spoke in that manner?“  In general, Ms.  Barringer reported that the blue-collar women of Baltimore, many angered by S.H. themselves, neither believed nor respected Anita Hill.  The women, Barringer reported, broke down sharply into class: lawyers, politicians, and “human services professionals” being pro-Hill, with working-class women being opposed.

Most of the women I know took the position that Anita Hill’s charges are probably true, but so what?  What’s the big deal?  In that way, these women, even the non-Libertarians among them, make the crucial Libertarian distinction between sexual assault (physical aggression), which should be a crime, and is a crime under old-fashioned, pre-S.H., law; and verbal horseplay, which happens all the time and should be no cause for legal or public charges and bringing in the gendarmes.  The same words were used in a L.A. Times column by Libertarian NeoCon Reason editor, Virginia Postrel.  (October 17).  Postrel writes that, even if Hill’s charges are true, “such actions might make a woman uncomfortable, but they are no big deal.”  Postrel adds that, “any woman with the gumption to pursue a career as a lawyer ought to have the guts to tell her boss that she isn’t interested in dating him and doesn’t want to hear about sex films.”  

Put it another way, the feminist agenda, for decades now, has been to insist that there is no, absolutely no, difference between men and women; that the ERA should be passed therefore as a constitutional amendment, and that all laws protecting women should be swept away.  But then, the organized harpies want to have it both ways: to insist on absolute equality between the sexes but then to assert, as Postrel puts it, that women “must be protected not just from overt physical overtures … but from anything that might disturb their pretty little heads.”  Postrel insists, quite correctly, that “the working world does not particularly care about your emotional state.  It doesn’t exist to make you miserable, but neither is it here to make you happy.”  But feminists, Postrel concludes, “are discrediting working women, teaching them to be hypersensitive, and teaching men not to trust them.  Never, never, never, they are telling men, be alone with a female colleague.  You never know what she might say about you later.” Precisely.

From a different, paleo-conservative, anti-feminist perspective, Phyllis Schlafly, in a powerful column (Newsday, October 20), blasts feminists for insisting on being “treated just like men,” as “one of the boys,” and then, in their pursuit of total power, putting on, as in the case of Anita Hill, the “phony pose” of “poor little me,” the injured ingenue, the damsel in distress who cries for Big Brother Federal Government to defend her from the wolves in the workplace – “not merely from what they might do, but even from what they might say.”  Mrs.  Schlafly, who, almost single-handedly succeeded in stopping the ERA and the Monstrous Regiment in its tracks, concludes that, “what the feminists are after is the destruction of any man who does not conform to the feminist ideology and agenda.”

Who Don’t Get What? 

Undoubtedly the most annoying ploy of the Regiment during the imbroglio was the continuing taunt: “You men just don’t get it.”  Except for feeble attempts by Senators like DeConcini to insist that, “yes, yes, I do get it, I understand,” the charge went largely unanswered.  The “it” that men just can’t seem to “get” is the truly monstrous thesis that “sexual harassment” is an unbroken continuum from, “Hi, toots, you look good today,” to actual rape.  Shortsighted, silly men, the charge goes, insist on making sharp logical distinctions: e.g., between rape and physical assault on the one hand (criminal as well as immoral); verbal threats of dismissal or lack of promotion to be fended off only by sexual favors (deeply immoral but not criminal); and verbal flirting and horseplay (trivial and certainly not criminal).  Women, on the other hand, see things differently and so (the implicit but undefended assumption goes) better and more truly: that no distinctions can be made, and that therefore there is no real difference between the ends of the continuum, so that virtually all actions of men constitute rape.  This means, of course, that actual rape is trivialized, in the course of attempting to demonize and outlaw verbal flirting.  Neocon writer, Dorothy Rabinowitz, calls this a “mindset that knows no distinction between a serious incident of harassment and the most trivial one, and no distinction either between an accusation and actual guilt.”  Therefore, Rabinowitz adds, “In this atmosphere, to be accused is to be guilty, to be the accuser is ipso facto to be granted victim status.” (Wall Street Journal, October 14.)

There are two successful and powerful rebuttals to be made to the “you men just don’t get it” charge.  One is: no, ladies, you don’t get it: you don’t get the crucial distinction between harmless verbal flirting, verbal threats of job loss in demanding sexual favors, and physical assault.  We don’t “get” the continuum thesis because that thesis is evil and wrong, and for reasons we have just out lined.  The second rebuttal is to turn the “you just don’t get it” thesis on its head.  Look, ladies, women, womyn, viragoes, or what you will: you seem to be claiming that since we are men, we can’t possibly “get it,” that only women can reach this magic realm of understanding.  You are engaging in the fallacy of what Ludwig von Mises called “polylogism.” But let’s assume for the sake of argument that you are right.  But in that case, why do you keep talking?  If men and women are doomed to see the issue totally differently, then it is hopeless to try to convince us.  And therefore, why don’t you just shut up?

The great social satirist, Tom Lehrer, once put it brilliantly when he was talking about the then-current fad of people moaning and kvetching about their “inability to communicate.” Lehrer then gave such talk the definitive putdown: “Look, it seems to me that if one is unable to communicate, the least he can do is to shut up.”

But of course women don’t want to shut up, because the whole point of this “you just don’t get it” ploy is to browbeat men into shutting up, into going along with this nonsense even though they are unconvinced.  To go along, and to grant organized womanhood permanent victim status, with all the goodies in power, perks, and income that such status implies.

S.H.  and the Law

In a rare moment of insight amidst his usual blather, Senator Simpson (R., Wyo.) called it “this sexual harassment crap,” although he has been backtracking and apologizing ever since.  But what about S.H.?  What is it, and should it be a crime?

Here, Libertarian doctrine comports totally with old-fashioned law, that is law before the civil rights hokum came onto the books.  Very simply, there ain’t no such crime as “sexual harassment.”  Physical assault or rape has been considered a crime from time immemorial, and it still is.  There is no need for some extra “crime” called S.H.  To prosecute such a crime, there is no need for special administrative bureaus or commissions.

The start of the evil can be pinpointed precisely: the monstrous Civil Rights Act of 1964, specifically Title VII, prohibited discrimination in employment on the basis of race, religion, sex, and other possible characteristics.  This horrendous invasion of the property rights of the employer is the source of all the rest of the ills, neocons and sellout Libertarians to the contrary notwithstanding.  If I am an employer and, for whatever reason, I wish to hire only five-foot-four albinos, I should have the absolute right to do so.  Period.  The next step in the logic of intervention came in 1980, when the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission adopted regulations defining “sexual harassment” as a form of “sexual discrimination,” and then we were off to the races.  The media have called it “ironic” that Clarence Thomas, as head of the EEOC, played a major role in pressuring the Reagan Administration to widen the definition of S.H. to include the sort of verbal flirting he has been accused of.  But it is more than ironic: Clarence Thomas himself forged the weapon that almost destroyed him, and in that sense he almost got his just deserts.  (I think that is the strongest of the anti-Thomas arguments, one that was, of course, almost never used.)  In all the wailing about Anita Hill and other alleged “victims” of S.H., no one considers the poignancy of employers being forced to pay taxes to support state and federal EEOCs, so that these commissions can pay the legal costs of prosecuting the same employers, thereby relieving the female plaintiffs from the economic costs of bringing suit.  The existence of tax-funded EEOCs adds insult to injury to the employers. 

The concept of S.H.  has now swollen to such lengths that the following actions “in the workplace” are now illegal and criminal:  statements such as “I wish my wife were as pretty as you,” terms of affection such as “toots,” “honey,” “dear”; use of a “demeaning” term such as “girl”; hanging pinups in one’s office; throwing office parties that include nude dancers; and – my personal favorite – inappropriate “nonverbal gestures,” such as “outlining a person’s body parts with one’s hands or looking someone up and down with elevator eyes.”

Can you imagine what is going to happen as these outrageous concepts of crime are enforced?  Can you imagine the vast Gestapo necessary to hunt down and arrest men for inappropriate eyeing up and down, for saying, “hello, honey,” etc?  Since most women now enter the workplace, the idea of outlawing flirting is not only totalitarian; it is also absurd.

One of the endless stream of feminist harpies on TV during the hearings put it thus:  “Sex must be banished from the workplace.”  This is Left-Puritanism to make the 17th-century Puritans look like casual, easygoing hedonists.  With much of the female population working, dates, marriage, even sex is going to be inevitable.  Presumably, the Monstrous Regiment, even if they don’t in their heart of hearts think that flirting and sex can be outlawed, recognize that it can be made unpleasant, costly and uncomfortable, and, above all, that outlawry can be used as an irresistible and eternal weapon for total power over the hapless and bewildered male population.

The entire legal structure, from top to bottom, from discrimination through harassment, must be replaced.  My major reason for being anti-Hill is that if she had won, the Monstrous Regiment, feeding on and gloating in their victory, would have been unstoppable.  Total power would have been theirs.  The danger is far from over, but at least they have sustained a crucial setback, even though they are trying to drown out that loss in endless whining, griping, and victimologizing.

Miscellaneous Peeves

It’s Not Sex, It’s Power.  Look, you harridans just don’t get it.  I’ll try once more.  If employers want to exercise power, why particularly put it in sexual terms?  After all, bosses also exert power over males: why not do so over both sexes by, (A), loading on a lot of work, and/or, (B), being generally grumpy and ill-tempered?  Ahh, yes: after all, if a boss “creating a hostile environment” is defined as a criminal S.H., what about a nonsexual hostile environment?  What about a boss being generally grumpy, yelling at subordinates, etc?  Are we, then, to outlaw grumpiness “in the workplace?”  Compulsory smiles by all, at least by all bosses?

In fact, ladies, I’ll clue you in: bosses who set out to seduce their employees are using power in order to obtain sex.  Capice?  Or is that concept too complex for you?  And besides, power is not really your complaint, since S.H.  is also being charged, not just to bosses, but to hapless male “coworkers,”

Power and the All-Male Senate

Enormous quantities of ink were spilled during the hearings about the fact, particularly infuriating to the Regiment, that here were all these male senators deciding on the fates of Hill and Thomas.  Well, so what?  What do you want?  These big bad males got there by a process that left-liberals usually claim they love: democratic election.  If you want more women senators, shut up and go get them elected!  In fact, there are fewer female Senators now (two) than there were at times in the past.  It’s true that Betty Friedan and other termagants have threatened to run for the Senate themselves.  Somehow I don’t think Betty out in Wyoming poses a formidable threat to Senator Simpson.

One of the best responses I heard against the continuing whine about male senators came from Pat Buchanan on Crossfire.  Irritated at last, Pat lashed out: “All right, why don’t some of you big fat (male) liberals resign and get women appointed?”  There was no reply.

There is only one logical conclusion to all this bluster – a truly frightening one because it is not as outlandish as it may first seem.  If we can’t get a fifty percent female representation in the Senate, shouldn’t a federal commission, a Federal Equal Elections Commission, be empowered to appoint all the senators so that half can be women, twenty percent black, and on and on for every Accredited Victim group?  Elections are simply too messy, and … democratic.

The goal of the Regiment is power, and a social revolution.  All the griping about male bosses and power amounts to this: why aren’t fifty percent of the bosses female?  The logical conclusion, again, is for a Federal Equal Employment Commission to appoint all bosses in the workplace, so that fifty percent can be female, twenty percent black, X percent Hispanic, and so on.

We are not very far from what still looks like a bizarre and would, in fact, be a horrifying and totalitarian world.  In order to avert this destiny, the Regiment, and all other victimological regiments, must be stopped flat, stopped now, and the movement reversed toward the relatively free society and economy we enjoyed before The Sixties and its progeny descended upon us.

The Two Plots

In contrast to the above, these are minor considerations, but they rankle nevertheless.  There has been a lot of conservative concentration on the Plot by various left-liberal Senate staffers (aides to Metzenbaum and Kennedy, such as James Brudney) to dig up dirt, and to embroider or lie to induce Anita Hill to testify.  But there is another, even more evident, Plot that virtually no one has mentioned.  There has been a lot of feminist whining about how “even the male leftist Democrats” on the Judicial Committee were so “insensitive” to women that they buried the Hill charges, which led to the famous leaking of her affidavit to Newsday and to the battleax, La Totenberg, the fake sexual harassee, who made poor Judge Ginsburg rue the day he ever smoked a marijuana cigarette.

But it seems to me that this very “insensitivity” is bogus.  Professionally sensitive leftists like Metzenbaum suppressing the Hill story?  To me, the following Plot seems patently evident: the leftist Senators deliberately feigned insensitivity, killed the Hill charges, and then one of them or a staffer leaked the Hill story to Totenberg, et al., thereby whipping up the Schroeder, etc. March on the Senate, as well as a torrent of feminist hysteria throughout the nation – insuring the open hearings and TV acclaim that the Left and the Regiment wanted from the very beginning!

What About Mentoring? 

After leading the feminist pack throughout the hearings, the L.A. Times suddenly turned contemplative, wondering: in the light of the stab-in-the-back by La Hill, what’s going to happen to the vital process of mentoring in business and politics?  (Paul Richter, October 18)  What mentor is going to take any young females under his wing if this sort of thing is going to happen?  And yet, careers in politics, and in business as well, often depend upon mentoring.  Won’t the Anita Hill case have a chilling effect on the mentoring of young women, and what then is going to happen to their careers?  Well, gang, you should have thought of that earlier.

So what’s the solution?  Again, the syllogism on the future agenda shapes up something like this: mentoring is vital to careers; young women who are not mentored suffer from deprivation of their careers; therefore: in order to insure “equal access” to mentors, every important person in business and politics must be forced by law to have protege quotas: fifty percent female, twenty percent black, X percent Hispanic, etc.  Do you honestly think this is not going to happen?  Are you willing to bet against it?

The View from Europe

It is often clarifying to see ourselves as others see us, and it was particularly refreshing during all the Thomas & Hill blather to turn to opinion from Europe.  Europe, which by and large has not suffered from the scourge of the Monstrous Regiment, concluded that Americans were crazy, in the grip of a pervasive and pernicious Puritanism, and also in the clutches of a destructive feminism.  Thus, the London Sunday Times: “America has flung itself again into one of those spasms of passionate moral debate that nations more tolerant of human frailty find it so hard to understand,” in an article under the headline “Talking Dirty.”  And London Times columnist, Janet Daley, charged that in the United States, “undesirable behavior must be prohibited by fiat.” The Italian press was particularly scornful.  Thus, Il Giornale of Milan scoffed at the “show, which worked better than Dallas or Dynasty, but (is) … humiliating, for a great democracy.” And the Italian newspaper La Repubblica remarked that “Puritan America watches television as if it were looking in the mirror.”

The Puritan note is perceptive.  For one of the grave problems with American public life is that every public personality is expected to be a saint, so that any revelations of sin or of less-than-saintly behavior discredit the person’s public performance.  This attitude is both absurd and destructive, and the problem is generally handled far more intelligently in Catholic than in Protestant countries.  When Kitty Kelley wrote her scurrilous biography of Frank Sinatra, even if all the charges were true, who cares?  How does this affect the quality of his singing, or the joy that it has brought to millions of Americans?  And why are singers supposed to be great moral exemplars?  All of American life has been poisoned by this killjoy neo-Puritan spirit.  Thus, why can’t we enjoy baseball or football or track without engaging in continuing sin-hunts?  Why are sports figures expected to be saints?  Why can’t they be enjoyed and admired for what they’re good at, and leave it at that?  The contention that they are “role models” for kids and therefore should be goody-goody should be rebutted by saying it should be up to the parents to explain the facts of life to kids.  And among those facts: a lot of truly great people in an art or craft or other endeavor may well be stinkers in private life.  So get used to that, kid!

Comment from Europe also zeroed in on the destructive feminism that has taken over America.  My favorite press comment was by London Sunday Times columnist, Barbara Amiel, who accused American feminists of corrupting behavior and relations between the sexes, and of using Judge Thomas’ alleged “bad taste” to “turn rude behavior into a constitutional cause.”  Ms.  Amiel concluded quite justly that “extreme feminism is now a state religion in America.” (Alan Riding, in the New York Times, October 14.)

At the risk of alienating my atheist Libertarian friends, I think it increasingly clear that conservatives are right: that some religion is going to be dominant in every society.  And that if Christianity, for example, is scorned and tossed out, some horrendous form of religion is going to take its place: whether it be Communism, New Age occultism, feminism, or Left-Puritanism.  There is no getting around this basic truth of human nature.

My favorite European comment on the Thomas & Hill Affair was offered by a TV producer in Rome, as noted by the San Francisco Examiner. “If an Italian boss had acted like Clarence Thomas is alleged to have acted – that is, make remarks to his pretty assistant, but afterwards not hold a grudge against her for rejecting him, keeping in contact with her and even apparently helping her – here in Italy he would be considered a good guy.” This Roman has said it all.

Epilogue: The Higher Synthesis

I was hashing over the case the other day with a distinguished paleo-conservative scholar who was taking the anti-Thomas position.  Finally, I remarked: “It seems to me there is a higher synthesis of our two views.” “Yes,” he laughed, “the higher synthesis is that either way we lose.”

I certainly see what he means.  Out of the hearings there will inevitably be a rush to confer more special privileges on both of the two clashing Victim Groups: blacks and women, and this would have been true regard less of the outcome.  President Bush has already expressed his gratitude to black support and to Senator Danforth by throwing in the towel on his opposition to the quota-imposing Danforth Bill.  In this way, President Bush preserves his consistent record of caving in on every one of his loudly and repeatedly asserted “principles.”  Also, something will surely be done to ease the blow to organized feminism.  But I still think it was far better for the cause of liberty for the Regiment to receive this splendid setback.  Especially because it shows that the masses can be reached by common sense over the heads of the arrogant media, which in this case virtually constituted a monolith.  May this not be an indication that, short of the daunting and terribly long-range task of converting the intelligentsia and the media, that this opinion-molding elite can be short-circuited by a direct, “populist” appeal to the masses?  Dr.  Samuel Francis, in a series of brilliant columns in the Washington Times and in Chronicles, has been pointing out that in the short or even medium-run, the chances of mounting a successful movement for Libertarian ultra-minimal government, or even for classical republican limited government, are minuscule.  For the intellectual, opinion-molding, and other elites who are running the show are on the other side.  Liberty, Francis points out, can only be achieved now in two phases, the first phase mounting a populist assault on the things – mainly the ‘social issues” – that gripe Americans the most: crime, the welfare system, affirmative action and victimological tyranny, high taxes, bureaucracy and politicians, gun control, foreign aid, and globaloney.  By stressing such gut issues, issues that already rankle the average person, a Right-wing populist coalition of Libertarians, “red necks,” and traditionalists can reach the masses directly and shape history.  And then, after Phase One is achieved, we can plan for the next push toward liberty.  But why am I convinced, even though each and every one of those issues is Libertarian, that Libertarians will be among the major opponents and gripers about this strategy?  Because, apart from taxes and gun control, these are issues where the average Libertarian, the Modal, is uncomfortable or downright hostile.

Well, the heck with it.  The paleo-populist train is in the process of leaving the station, the Locomotive of History is achuggin,” and it is up to the Libertarians whether they wish to hop aboard.  It’s high time that we stop finding ourselves trapped in a Higher Synthesis where, either way, we lose.  It’s time we started winning; and maybe someday we’ll have the marvelous Higher Synthesis where, either way, we win.

Murray N. Rothbard
Murray N. Rothbard, a scholar of extraordinary range, made major contributions to economics, history, political philosophy, and legal theory. He developed and extended the Austrian economics of Ludwig von Mises, in whose seminar he was a main participant for many years. He established himself as the principal Austrian theorist in the latter half of the twentieth century and applied Austrian analysis to historical topics such as the Great Depression of 1929 and the history of American banking.

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