Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Misogyny as Ideology

When liberals squawk disbelief of what conservatives say about politics that doesn’t surprise me much. The same goes for the other way around. Nothing new. Most of us know that some partisans think their opposites in the game don’t mind lying, when it comes to framing political issues. As a liberal, myself, I happen to think most liberals have a firmer grip on reality than most conservatives, but that’s not really the same thing as honesty or reliability.

As a longtime observer of matters political, I have considered the so-called “war on women” to be mostly a useful slogan to characterize a series of throwback positions taken by right-wingers that, when taken as a whole, could be seen as anti-female. But that view hardly pointed me toward expecting conservatives/Republicans would leap before looking to defend the frat tradition from charges of facilitating gang rape at the University of Virginia.

No, I wanted to believe conservative men love their daughters just as much as do liberal men.

If you’d have asked me a week ago whether this snowballing scandal would divide along ideological lines, knee-jerk-style, I think I would have said something like, not so much, because there will be plenty of conservatives worried about rampant "lawlessness" in Charlottesville. But I would not have said that men who vote Republican will be more likely to doubt women who say they’ve been raped.

Today, I’m absolutely sure of this -- suspending activities at UVa’s frat houses isn’t a matter of punishing the innocent for the crimes of a few. Not at all. It’s a matter of stopping the bleeding … literally. Moreover, when we’re talking about The University’s traditions, shielding gang rapists doesn’t exactly jibe with the concept of living up to an “honor code.”

Given what has come out in the last week, temporarily shutting down fraternity activities, while proper investigations determine which individuals and groups are guilty of what, makes a lot of sense. Not partisan sense. Real sense.

Bottom line: If a goodly number of conservative men in Virginia (and elsewhere) -- can it really be most? -- now feel that defending the archaic institution of college fraternities is more important than getting to the truth in this case, then the “war on women” has been validated as more than a slogan. And, the “war” is being escalated in a most telling way. It substitutes misogyny for ideology.

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