Well, it wouldn't have been called abuse in the last century. Back then, Epstein would have called it ephebophilia given the chance, from behind that smile of his. He was very charming, with that lapsed-semitic charm so seductive to those forever in adversity. That could mean family black sheep as much as the trailer-trash waifs, as he no doubt saw them, who have come forward in recent years. He was as disgusted as anyone else by real paedophilia as he considered it, in society's perception at least.
Harvey Weinstein could apparently be a bit of a bully, but that's because he was bullied at school because of his looks, his weight and skin problems. So, when he first got into movies, he leveraged his new privilege to wedge himself into believing he was attractive for the right reasons. He said at his sentencing that he 'Just didn't understand this world' anymore. What he meant was that he didn't expect the reckoning that this century would bring.
The over-arching problem is that we're dealing with men, and the very rich and powerful men tend to be alpha males too. In their primal brains they are entitled to any reproductive female they fancy from their tribe, and with Western capitalism involved, that can mean the whole world. Who cares about trafficking laws when you can buy the airlines? Then again, many of the girls to whom Epstein gave ‘work experience’, as he saw it, or abused, as the police put it, seemed to quite like it at the time, often telling their friends they found it 'kinda cool'. This is where the new rules about what is and is not consensually appropriate comes in.
Epstein liked his girls young and virginal because men forever have liked their sexual partners young and virginal, given the chance. The cultural climate was trying to make this evolutionary truth a perversion, as it had done long ago for cannibalism and incest, and with a progressive desire to make things better along with the sea-changer of the Internet, it was working. The problem was that the traditionalists were beginning to look like the libertines who were having all the fun, not turning their own challenging experiences into abuse narratives like the dour old left seemed to be. When you come from material privilege and enjoy that for what it can bring, you tend to want those who think more about their moral compass to just relax a bit.
There is a new puritanism spreading through the West, gaining more traction with every year since the turn of the millennium. It was spawned in the critical human and social sciences in the US in the post-war decades, and with the fall of political communism in Russia and the capitalisation of Chinese communism ongoing and decided to turn its focus more on people's cultural and moral lives rather than economic (in whose hypocrisies they tended to be complicit). It's making believers in The Book like Jordan Peterson shrill with indignation, when you'd think such moral traditionalists would be grateful for the change. But they think it's Marxist moralising, not their kind of traditional.
Jewish and black people in the West have been punching up forever, so when they become successful and then displayed those whole-human, insufficiently risk-averse parts of their personalities, the fall was all the more bumpy. You only need to look at the destroyed reputations of Woody Allen, Bill Cosby, Weinstein and Epstein to see this, with an edge of 'See? They can't handle success. They have no self-control'. When it's a woman, the societal derision is almost total. How could she go against her natural instincts this way?
The treatment of Bill Clinton, Joe Biden, Alec Salmond or any number of UK Conservative MPs in regard to allegations against them is very different, with a powerful aura of establishment protectionism going on, while things which were never considered real offences – such as watching porn in your place of work – became resigning/public shaming events.
The MeToo movement was inevitable and, indeed, necessary as a natural part of making professional life more fair, but the result of it has been to fill prisons seen as lower risk with otherwise non-criminal men, outraged by the turn culture has taken. If it were just they complaining, it would be easy to ignore, but it's also their wives, girlfriends, friends, colleagues, sisters, cousins and nieces who feel politically slighted by the movement, finding their family's reputations and incomes suddenly stripped away, and having to either explain or deny it all at every turn.
Often, this is having to explain or deny things that neither party can clearly remember from decades ago, where if the man didn't behave like a cad, he wouldn't have got the contract. Social morality is defined by the culture of the times. This is a form of moral relativism, but now almost totally divorced from old ideas of religious morality, which is seen as comforting but hypocritical and corrupt. People have difficulty seeing how behaviour seen as immoral is done by people; not by the religions into which they were (more often than not) born.
Beyond the moralising and the handwringing, there is a cultural tug-of-war going on. It is a relatively new political dynamic where a highly moralistic left, in political opposition throughout the West, is, however, in cultural power, gatekeeping the media, justice and increasingly the financial industries. These people seem to have a visceral hatred for the traditionalist, patriotic, individualistic right, who have found themselves in the surprising position of having to defend the libidinous free-love and sexually permissive society of the elitist immediate post-war era, which the left now find morally irresponsible. Accusations of mansplaining will be met with counter-allegations of virtue-signalling wokery.
Penalising the past based on the increasing moralism of now, when people think differently about how they now feel, and possibly blame things having gone wrong in their lives on those experiences, is problematic. The past is, indeed, an increasingly unfamiliar place, and the more the West controls its natural, human instincts, while the rest of the world happily follows theirs, and paints everything possibly adverse as abuse, the more depressed and self-victimeering we will become. As once-upon-a-time Prince Edward and later Harry have shown us, having a pre-scripted life is not necessarily ideal for everyone, however much material comfort is involved. It is presumptuous to use the class struggle to discriminate about the circumstances into which we are born.
The profile of prisoners across the West is changing. While women in prison are still less than 5% prevalence, mental health disorders are at 80%. Beyond that, it's more and more people of all ages who have had the rug of culture whipped out from beneath them by the once relatively normal stretching or abuses of privilege, increasingly catastrophised by an endlessly edge-sniffing, anti-humanistic, rolling media culture.
Harvey Weinstein was given over 25 years for crimes for which he hadn't been tried, incurring the baffled derision of his lawyer, himself and a legion of Men's Rights activists (and some hardcore film fans). If you're well-known, there's no coming back from sex allegations, whether you're found guilty or not; in the court of public opinion there's no smoke without fire, and it's encouraged in loving the fall of those it suspected had always been morally lax anyway. The generational divisions of the Greatest Generation, baby boomers, generation X, millennials etc are overdone: there are those from the late twentieth century, and those from the start of the twenty-first. The new puritans are judging the variously normalised, amoral behaviours of a sexually-liberated past with the furious, class war-based perspective of the post-critical theory, progressive present.
As a thousand falsely accused online groups will show, the people on both sides of a prison sentence for a dazzling array of alleged sexual indiscretions, neither understand nor care about the cultural politics of why they are being charged for having a perceived overly-relaxed past. The degree of punishment often increasingly depends on ensuring that a potential complainant is sufficiently coerced into believing themselves to be a victim. In the pursuit of a neo-puritanical moral revisionism, we are taking apart the post-war twentieth century cultural legacy, one historical conviction at a time.
By Sean Bw Parker
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