By Nathan Barton
In part 1, I tried to dissect this current rash of exposing and (supposedly) punishing sexual predators. Although sexual predation (and abuse) are endemic in human society, those in power, with wealth and influence, and who are celebrities, seem to have more opportunity to prey on others, AND perhaps more likely to do so.
All levels of society – socioeconomic, religion, profession, etc. – seem to have SOME predators. But there seems to be some correlation between the “elite” and the number of incidents. For instance, a small city of 10,000 might have a couple of such cases a year. But the top tier of media (for example, professional sports or Hollywood or broadcast media) has less than 10,000 top names, yet hundreds of incidents involving dozens or scores of predators are being reported.
As I’ve pointed out, it is exactly what we should expect, and I am sure that the true extent of the situation is far from public, even yet. Looking back just a few years, we can remember such names as Bill Cosby. Anyone remember Gary Hart, the presidential contender? The list is long, and seemingly getting longer by the day. More were denounced over the first weekend in December.
There are those who point out that this is an episode of public hysteria, a modern-day Salem witch hunt. One person suggested that a more accurate comparison is the political purge: like those of Lenin and Stalin in Soviet Russia, Mao (and current leaders) in Red China, or the Night of the Long Knives when the SS eliminated the SA. Perhaps we can consider it to also have elements of the common method of internal discipline in the Communist Party USA, which involved forcing people to confess to whatever the party leadership demanded and claimed. Still, it is likely that this is a case of “where there is smoke, there is fire.”
Others, like this commentary, have decried the situation and the actions revealed. But few are actually offering any resolution. So here is an attempt to do so.
We cannot really expect to do much about the fame, or the wealth, of these predators. Oh, we might be able to deny them some of both, in the future. But unless we are willing to steal the liberty of all Americans, we cannot deny the media adulation of such pieces of trash, because the public is so enamored of them, and the pictures and scandals sell advertising and magazines and tabloids (look at any supermarket checkout). Unless we censor the news and movies and music and sports, the market will continue to “reward” these low-life types with incredible salaries and other benefits. And at least some of them make money because they are expert at their profession (however stupid that profession may be). Again, this is market-driven and therefore a direct result of public acceptance.
We can, by teaching and example, reduce public acceptance and toleration. One way is by offering alternatives in entertainment and news – including sports and the like. Unfortunately, the bad drives out the good, all too often. We can also reduce their wealth by various means: market rejection but especially by getting rid of the government, theft-funded, subsidies. (These are particularly important to the sports industry, but also play a role in the music and movie/television industry. And of course, essential to politicians.)
But the key is to take away their power. The power of politicians, the power of celebrities, the power of religious leaders, the power of educators. The power that, as Acton said, corrupts.
How do we do that? By continuing the same battle for individual liberty that we have been fighting for centuries. By tearing down the institutions that they control, breaking up the networks of formal and informal and clandestine ties between them. We lovers of liberty who now fight these battles are not enough. We must teach and encourage many more to join in the effort, and work with them not only to tear down but to replace the corrupt institutions with voluntary and clean organizations to provide those services, to meet the perceived human needs.
In schools, that means not just separating school and state (and the stolen money used by the state to support and control the “public” schools), but removing the power and influence of the state over private and religious schools. This cannot be limited to lower-level “PK-12” schools. It must include higher education.
In the media, it means letting the radio and television networks and the big daily newspapers and magazines die. They are, due to the internet and other modern technology, certainly on their deathbed. They need to go away – and we need to hold their replacements (the “alternative media”) to standards that they themselves do not create.
We’ve been working to reduce power of politicians for decades, and though tough, it is pretty straightforward. Take away the power to steal tax money and transfer it to others – either corporate or individual welfare or by buying services and goods. And reestablish individual responsibility and liberty for our daily lives. Weaken the governments, and the opportunity for predators will be reduced.
Religion, also, is tough but the way is clear. What started in the Reformation 500 years ago was good, but nowhere near enough. Anytime we try to put ANYONE between an individual human and their god (whatever that god may be), we give that ANYONE both power AND temptation to take advantage of that power to satisfy their lust for control, wealth, and sexual gratification. Until people tell their imams, their rabbis, their priests, their pastors their shaman to “go away and let me be,” the problem will be there.
And we come to perhaps the toughest: the entertainment industry, including sports and music and Hollywood. Because again, this is a matter of public worship of the sports, the movies, the teams, the actors, and the rest of the industry. The public pays richly for what they worship. Again, as in religion (which some compare these to), it is the willingness and need to belong. And to make things more complex, these industries (as compared to governments and religions) are relatively new – not much more than a century old. Also as with religion, these cannot just be dismantled but must be replaced. Replaced with forms of entertainment that are more personal and local and able to be watched (and controlled) by their customers/consumers, and not the other way around.
I don’t have any easy answers, but perhaps together we can find a way to reduce the power of these predators, by reducing the power of the institutions that shelter (and create) them. And certainly thereby reducing their wealth, and even their fame.
Mama’s Note: Only the free market can accomplish the replacement of any of these things in the long run. As long as people WANT these things, they will continue to exert undue influence. And as long as those same people continue to believe that they can and should control other people and their business via government, giving their natural authority over themselves to it, nothing will improve materially.
Remember that the desire/compulsion to control the lives of others is the ROOT of all evil. As long as most people believe that they can and should control others, whether personally or thought “voting” and “laws,” they will not find liberty and justice for all.