professional Christian Roy Moore, who is credibly alleged to have spent his thirties pursuing high school girls with the “I get older, they stay the same age” gusto of Matthew McConaughey’s character in “Dazed and Confused,”
.. a quick typology of the predators that flourish among the godly and moralistic and traditional.
.. rotten patriarch. This is the man who depends on the trappings of spiritual or familial authority to exploit the young and weak, shame them into silence, and pre-emptively discredit them.
.. the way conservative impulses protect this kind of figure — both in the suggestion that a man of his religious reputation should be trusted over his accusers, and in the risible invocation of Biblical examples to defend an older man’s lust for a 14-year-old girl.
.. the burrower, the networker, the institutionalist — the predator who embeds himself within a hierarchical system that protects him because it wants to protect itself.
Many Catholic priest-abusers fit this pattern.
.. the larger ecclesiastical entity saw its own self-protection as more important than their punishment.
.. serial repenter — the creep who relies on the promise of forgiveness to keep his place and his powers and his opportunities to prey again... Harvey Weinstein ran Miramax the same way an abusive religious leader rules his cult. Bill Clinton was both a liberal pig backing feminist causes to buy immunity and a serial repenter in the style of his Baptist youth. A liberal academic eminence grooming disciples to be victims has a lot in common with a man of God who does the same... Some cultural conservatives, in evangelical Christianity especially, combine a belief in male headship in churches and families with a “boys will be boys and girls shouldn’t tempt them” attitude toward sex. It’s a combination that’s self-contradictory and deeply toxic, handing men not just power but a permission slip to abuse it — which, predictably, they do... the impulse to hide or dismiss scandal because it hurts the short-term cause, which is common to all institutions but particularly strong for conservative ones, is a path to self-destruction in the long run.
.. the Catholic Church’s sex abuse experience is a case study. And we may be watching something similar happen with evangelicals, who decided with Donald Trump and may decide with Roy Moore that in the war against secular liberalism, they simply can’t afford to police the morals of their leaders.
It’s a theory that makes sense if you think only of today’s elections, but in the long term it’s cultural suicide — because it tells your neighbors and your children that your religious convictions are always secondary to your partisanship.
In certain ways sexual predation actually was the culture in the years when Weinstein came of age, in the entertainment industry and the wider society it influenced and mirrored.
.. There is a liberal tendency to regard sexual exploitation as a patriarchal constant that feminism has mitigated, and a conservative tendency to regard it as a problem that’s gotten steadily worse since the sexual revolution.
.. You can remember some of it with ’70s statistics: Never so many divorces, never so many abortions, a much higher rate of rape, an S.T.D. crisis that culminated in the AIDS epidemic.
.. something new happenedin Catholicism between 1960 and 1980: The prevalence of pedophilia stayed about the same, but suddenly the rate of priests groping and seducing and raping teenagers shot way, way up. As went Bowie and Zeppelin, so went the most putatively-conservative institution in the country.
.. The coarse worldview I’ve called “Hefnerism” endured, as the victims of Weinstein and Bill Clinton and Donald Trump can well attest.
.. They featured our civilization’s last great burst of creative energy. Those predatory directors and rape-y rock stars made great movies and memorable music.
.. peace feels like cultural exhaustion.