Monday, December 11, 2017

Pivot Point

We’re at a pivot point in the culture. I don’t know how hopeful to be, but I am hopeful that this can move us northward, using Spherical Model language, on the social sphere—up toward civilization, away from savagery.
The Social Sphere of the Spherical Model

I’m referring to the sudden awareness of sexual harassment and molestation.

These are not new things. The phrase “casting couch” has been around my whole life. People know what it means. It didn’t come out of nowhere. So it shouldn’t suddenly be surprising now.

At least now people are being called out for hostile, demeaning, and sometimes terrifying behavior that no civilized person should find acceptable. The wonder is that it stayed acceptable—albeit swept under a rug—for so long.

Those of us who were adults during the Clinton years remember the scenario. Bill Clinton denies: “I did not have sex with that woman, Ms. Lewinsky.” Hillary Clinton arranges for character assassination of accusers. And there were multiple accusers, credible, with corroborating witnesses at the time. From exposure to Paula Jones, to rape allegations of Juanita Broaddrick. Media insisted all along it was all a political attack. Mrs. Clinton called it a "vast right-wing conspiracy."

And then six months later, when positive proof from Monica Lewinsky made it undeniable, and Clinton lost his law license for lying under oath about Paula Jones, his supporters and the media (redundant) started saying, “It’s just his private life.”

But his private life, as a married president of the United States, should not include using his power to obtain sexual favors from a 21-year-old intern, in the oval office, reckless behavior that could set a person up for blackmail.

While Clinton’s behavior was disgusting, he followed rumors about JFK and Senator Ted Kennedy and many unnamed politicians who did stuff like that. It's hard not to be cynical when things like that are dismissed with a shoulder shrug and nothing more.

Those who are outraged now, about so many recent allegations, what were they saying then? Because some of us were outraged then, and we were shut down and silenced—ironically while being told we were waging a war on women.

Even as recent as a year ago, people were outraged at now-Vice-President Mike Pence for refusing to dine alone with women other than his wife. How dare he discriminate? they shouted. But today he looks wise. It wasn’t just about not putting himself in a possible temptation situation; it was about protecting himself from accusations. It’s why we don’t have women suddenly showing up and making accusations about him. such allegations wouldn’t fly, because everybody knows he doesn’t allow the situations to arise.

That’s why you didn’t get those accusations against Mitt Romney either. Consistent, scrupulous moral behavior pays off at times like this. And anytime.

I don’t know how to judge our current president. He made claims, on audio, that were locker room talk. They were skanky enough that, in addition to his foul treatment of Ted Cruz and other candidates (remember the claim that Ted Cruz’s dad was involved in JFK’s murder?) I couldn’t bring myself to vote for him. (Didn't vote for sexual-predator-enabler Hillary either.) But I don’t know whether he actually did sexual assault, or just talked that way.

If he did those things, then later political success still doesn’t excuse him. I will say that some of what he’s accomplishing as President I can approve of—treatment of Israel, lower taxes. Maybe we’ll get rid of Obamacare yet. And his wife, Melania, has behaved as an exemplary first lady. Nor are there women coming out of the woodwork to accuse him of sexual exploitation. Maybe talking is the worst thing he does.

As for Roy Moore, I’m not in Alabama, so I haven’t felt compelled to determine what is true. If he is guilty of sexual assault against a 14-year-old, he shouldn’t be a senator. But if he’s guilty of nothing more than dating women younger than himself, followed by marrying and living faithfully with one wife for 40 years, then, while it may make us squeamish, it’s hardly disqualifying. And at this point we don’t even know whether that’s true. I’ve said before, I hope the truth comes out. The timing stinks, and if the women are lying, they are doing a serious disservice to women everywhere.

What I fear is that the sudden coming to morals is more political than real. Al Franken should never have been in the Senate; what were Minnesota voters thinking? (Well, there were some sketchy things about voter fraud, so maybe they said they didn’t want him but weren’t heard. Not sure.) I’m glad to see him leave. But if he’s being sacrificed just so the Democrats can claim the moral high ground, that would be unfortunate. Any other senators or congressmen being called out after years of getting away with sexual assault ought to get out of town too.

The situations in the news these days are power related. I heard an interview with Enid Greene the other morning on BYU Radio online; she was in politics in Utah for some time. She was talking about the issue in relation to power, and power is real. She said, when she had power, if someone crossed her, she had access to media and could have made that person’s life miserable, or ruined a career. It takes character not to misuse power.

People in politics, news, and entertainment media who use their power for selfish indulgence do not deserve the power.

For so long, people were afraid to speak up—because their chances to meet their personal goals would be thwarted, and nothing was likely to change just by their coming forth. So it’s a pivotal moment now, when suddenly people are willing to speak up, and people are listening, and perpetrators are actually losing their power. Which is as it should have been all along.

Let’s hope this is a real cultural shift—away from power makes it right to only the right character deserves power.

There are rules for civilization, which we list at the Spherical Model. As I’ve said,

The way to develop character in a population is to have a vast majority of children raised by their married mother and father, and taught to honor God as well as family, life, freedom, property, and truth.
And, because family, as the basic unit of society, is the way to perpetrate those values, we need strong families.

A rule that savage societies bristle against is that sex outside of marriage is always wrong. But it remains true, over the millennia. If people believe that, and live it, then you don’t have anyone getting away with “casting couches” in entertainment or anywhere else. 

We might not be all the way into the civilization zone, where we need to be, with the recent pivotal change. But it points us in the right direction, away from savagery, and toward civilization, where a lot less misery happens, because we don’t let it.

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