Sexual Misconduct, the Loss of Virtue, and the Rise of Careers

Sexual Misconduct, the Loss of Virtue, and the Rise of Careers, by Dean Abbott.

In all of the allegations so far, the notion of “career” as the ultimate source of meaning has been implicit. Consider Gwyneth Paltrow’s allegations against Harvey Weinstein. She did not come forward earlier, she said, because she feared that doing so would have hurt her career prospects. For the sake of her career, she suffered whatever degradations Weinstein managed to inflict on her, and she allowed him and others in the industry to inflict even worse on other young women. The idea underlying so many of these claims is that standing up to louche behavior puts at risk careers, and that careers are far too valuable to risk merely for the sake of doing the right thing. …

The answer to the problems that have come to light in recent weeks, we are told, is more education, more legislation, more shallow efforts to circumvent deep human nature. In short, we are told that the solution to the problems liberalism causes is more liberalism. This is always the way. This prescription, we can be sure, will only worsen our malady.

The real and only cure for a sexually out-of-control culture is the cultivation of sexual self-control. … The role of our social institutions ought to be to reinforce and reinstitute the strictures that the bonds of faith, family, and virtue place on us. When that happens, the number of such deplorable instances plummets.

But such medicine is repugnant to our body politic. It tastes bitter. A society as deeply in the thrall of liberalism as ours finds itself is unable to consider ideas beyond that frame.