The further to the left or the right you move, the more your lens on life distorts.

Wednesday, April 08, 2015

Collateral Damage

There's a false narrative that has been widely promoted by radical feminists and their media sympathizers (meaning a significant majority of the main stream media). It goes like this: "Sexual violence on college campuses is rampant, uncontrolled, and dangerous. One in five women on campus are victims (there are no meaningful data to support this claim), and there is a need for extreme measures to remedy the situation. The federal government injected itself into this issue and now demands that colleges and universities re-double their efforts to expose the "violence," punish the perpetrators (generally, college-age men) and do this with the assumption of guilt for those accused. Due process is thrown out the window, under the assumption that no college-age women would fabricate an accusation that wasn't true.

Except, fabricated accusations of sexual violence are occurring with increasing frequency. Male students who are wrongly accused have been expelled from colleges and universities without due process, and in a recent case at the University of Virginia (based on an expose published in Rolling Stone magazine), the reputations of many members of a male fraternity have been ruined and the fraternity has been banned by a UVA president all too eager to believe the narrative and jettison fair play and due process. And the female accuser who fabricated the entire story has gone unpunished. In fact, the media refuse to use her real full name. Unfortunately, this is not an isolated incident.

Naomi Schaefer Riley comments:
The verdict’s in on Rolling Stone. According to no less an authority than the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism [certainly not a hot bed of right-wing sentiment], the magazine’s story last year on a University of Virginia gang rape was a “journalistic failure [that] encompassed reporting, editing, editorial supervision and fact-checking.”

But as with many other stories that don’t fit into the right narrative, the media will continue to draw the wrong lessons.

As an AP article noted, “Despite its flaws, the article heightened scrutiny of campus sexual assaults amid a campaign by President Barack Obama.”

Despite its flaws? You mean despite the fact that as far as anyone can tell, the story was made up out of whole cloth?

Even once the police investigated the claims of the alleged victim, The New York Times reported: “Some saw a more complex picture, saying that the uproar over the story and the steps that the university had taken since in an effort to change its culture had, in the end, raised awareness and probably done the school, and the nation, some good.”

How has the university benefited from the fact that a fraternity has been falsely accused of a horrific crime? And how has the nation benefited from the false but now widespread belief that violent rape, even gang rape, is raging on US campuses?

Wouldn’t it have done more good for people to know that young women are statistically less likely to be attacked on a campus than off one?
But in the case of sexual violence and many other issues that are typically associated with leftist activists, the narrative rules. It doesn't matter if the facts don't fit or that reality differs rather significantly from the fantasy landscape depicted in the narrative. It doesn't matter whether it's about sexual violence on college campuses, or the hysteria engendered by 'climate change,' or "income inequality," or "hands up, don't shoot," or the faux outrage over the "oppression" of specific groups in the Middle East, the narrative is all that matters.

In fact, those who believe fervently in the narrative are true believers. Facts will not deter them—emotion is the driving force behind the narrative. In the case of the sexual violence narrative, so-called feminist writers like Amanda Marcotte would label a post like this one as "rape denial" or "anti-feminist," rather than an examination of sexual violence hysteria run amok. To be sure, there is sexual violence on college campuses, and its perpetrators should be severely punished, but only after the facts have been verified, the accused has had an opportunity to defend him- or herself, and due process occurs.

That approach should be acceptable to those on the Left who usually worry far more about the process than results. But when it comes to any left-wing narrative, they seem more concerned with the end result than the process. That is, it doesn't matter if facts are purposely skewed or the narrative distorts the truth or is an outright lie. If it "raises consciousness" for a perceived problem, the narrative has served its purpose. And if innocent people are hurt as a consequence, well, that's just collateral damage.


Although tangential to this post, there's another narrative that's been making the rounds since Barack Obama's "good deal" with Iran was announced last week: "It's either this Iran deal or war; therefore, anyone opposed to the Iran framework is in favor of war."

Like all left-wing narratives, this one is a clear example (to quote from the post) of a situation in which "It doesn't matter if the facts don't fit or that reality differs rather significantly from the fantasy landscape depicted in the narrative."

In a post in early March, I delineated a plan that could be implemented immediately if we walked away from negotiations (that are actually nothing more than capitulation to Iranian demands). It involves 11 steps:
  1. Ratchet up sanctions with particular emphasis on the banking sector.
  2. Work with allies to ensure that those sanctions will hold.
  3. Begin to supply material support to any group within Iran that wants to overthrow the government (e.g., Kurds in the North, liberal students throughout the country, other opposition groups)
  4. Work with Sunni Arabs to undermine the Iranian Shiite regime
  5. Ratchet up cyber-attacks on the Iranian technology sector.
  6. Work with allies to seize all Iranian assets in all countries where they have been placed.
  7. Use the international banking system to devalue Iranian currency.
  8. Encourage defectors who come from the Iranian nuclear technology sector.
  9. Work with regional partners to topple Iranian proxy regimes (Hezballah would be a good place to start).
  10. Work with Western partners to deny visas to all Iranian passport holders, working to cripple their ability to travel internationally.
  11. Declare Iran a terrorist state.
I don't see the word "war" anywhere in those eleven steps. If they were applied mercilessly, Iran's economy would be crippled, its access to the world would be impaired and unrest among it's people would increase. Then, Iran might be forced to come to the table and negotiate for real. Obviously, this approach is impossible for Obama's Team of 2s to comprehend—after all, they're true believers (in their own way, just like the Mullahs are) and their narrative is all that matters.