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December 8, 2016 / 8 Kislev, 5777

Posts Tagged ‘wars’

“Culture” Wars – Update

Sunday, April 17th, 2016

{Originally posted to Rabbi Pruzansky’s blog}

Only in the mind of the modern feminist can an orthodox Rabbi advocate for pre-marital sexual abstinence and be deemed a rape apologist. Such was the peculiar response in some precincts to my “A Novel Idea”

Arguing over statistics and studies is a futile exercise, as the studies conflict, methodologies differ and even definitions are often imprecise. For those intellectually capable of an open mind, I urge you to read the esteemed social scientist Heather Mac Donald’s cover story in the Weekly Standard (November 2, 2015) subtitled “The Phony Campus Rape Crisis,” which will function as a devastating rebuttal to the criticism that has been directed here, and written in a much stronger manner than was my essay although our objectives were different.

To mention but two “statistics”: one blogger presumed that 23% of my congregants have “likely personally experienced sexual assault.” But “sexual assault,” as some studies, including that of the Justice Department, define it, includes even an unwanted peck on the cheek, an execrable practice still seen in some liberal Orthodox precincts but hardly synonymous with rape except to a certain subset of fanatical activists. Or, “95%” of college rapes go unreported to the police, but they are, apparently, reported to researchers. 95%? And perhaps it is 395%, or 45%? Perhaps some of these assaults are more akin to the circumstances I explored in my essay (as have others, see George F. Will’s column on a related subject).

To those who persist in citing the “1 in 5 women on campus raped” canard, I refer you to this new Prager University video released this week (as if to come to my rescue!) that debunks this datum. If nothing else, all of the above should allow for a calmer discussion of this matter.

What did I write in my essay, whose every word I stand by? Here’s a synopsis. The reality is that rape is an abominable crime that is an unimaginable nightmare and deserves to be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. To be falsely accused of rape is also an abominable crime that is an unimaginable nightmare for which the lying complainant deserves to be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. Both are life-altering events and in both cases the victims deserve our fullest support and the victimizers our unmitigated opprobrium. Obviously, instances of rape exceed false claims of rape, and as I noted, “even one is too many.”

That is the black (the former scenario) and the white (the latter scenario) of the matter. But the professional feminists see only the black. There is no white, no other side, the woman is always right, the man is always wrong. In that echo chamber, I am certain, that makes sense. In a world where truth, justice, decency and fairness matter, that contention is risible.

But I addressed both those scenarios only in passing. My focus was on the “gray” area, the “he said/she said” scenario, where the events are fueled by what I termed the culture of promiscuity and entitlement on campus, where the couple had a relationship and often a long term physical relationship, and where “feelings” – especially post facto feelings – matter more than legality or fairness. These are cases where the woman sometimes does not feel like a “victim” for weeks or months after the encounter (usually coincident with a breakup or a conversation with a feminist adviser who convinces her that she was assaulted without consent). These are cases in which there are no witnesses, no evidence, and no corroboration. They exist. They are troubling no matter who is right and who is wrong. But the feminist activists see no “gray.” The man is always guilty. Always.

Indeed, the “hookup culture” on campus has created a sense of male entitlement concomitant with some females’ pursuit of unlimited pleasure. It is in that culture that, invariably, women – who, as I noted, have a greater emotional investment in physical intimacy than do men – will over time feel used, abused, scorned and empty. And it is in that culture that, I submit, the problematic area of “he said/she said” is more likely to arise. It is for that scenario that I suggested a return to traditional moral practices, such that are already mandatory for Jews but would even benefit non-Jews. The bloggers who mock that suggestion are playing into the hands of lecherous young men and, ironically, endangering more women both physically and psychologically.

It was in this gray area that I urged a return to the virtues with which religious Jews are quite familiar – no affectionate physical contact between men and women outside the context of marriage. That won’t stop the “black” cases of rape (forcible assault) nor the “white” cases (false accusations), for the most part. But it would stop much of the “gray,” in which consent is unclear or ambiguously given, because the assumption would be, since males are an aggressive breed, that the male assaulted the virtue of the female.

But for the professional feminists, there never is a “gray” area. Men are always predators, women are always saints, and rabbis, always, deserve special calumny if they don’t toe a particular line.

What is most troubling, and quite typical of this genre, is the sheer inability of the feminist activists to tolerate another viewpoint. “On this, there can be no debate! There is only one opinion!” Feminist orthodoxy brooks no dissent (as opposed to Jewish Orthodoxy, whose every tenet, they feel, is negotiable). So their goal is to ensure that only one side of an issue is ever heard. They do this by denouncing any opposition as immoral, shrieking that any dissenter is evil, and trying to intimidate that dissenter into silence, penance and universal obloquy. This is what passes for discourse – forget civil discourse, just discourse – in that pathetic echo chamber of the young and coddled. How sad.

Typically, as they see it, for expressing views with which they disagree, I should be fired from the rabbinate, kicked out of any rabbinic organization to which I belong, tossed from any institution in which I am active, and, for Heaven’s sake, even thrown out of AAA (to which I just renewed my membership, and so will not go down without a fight).

What is even sadder is that, to these activists, men are irredeemable brutes, end of story. My objective, on the other hand, is to preserve the honor of both men and women. Their eager embrace of the “hookup culture” – as long as there is consent – exacerbates the problem, cheapens the nobility of women and undermines the sanctity of marriage. Their contempt for women, and not just women’s virtues, is breathtaking.

The Talmud (bottom of Sanhedrin 21a) teaches us that after Amnon raped his half-sister Tamar, King David’s Sanhedrin decreed that an unmarried man and woman should not be secluded together (the prohibition of yichud). That was good advice then as it is now. It doesn’t mean that they “blamed” Tamar; rather that prudence and common sense dictate not putting oneself in a situation of potential danger. No one ever “deserves” to be raped, as some hideously perverted my words. But do not walk into a field clearly labeled “Danger: Mines!” Even if the ones who planted the mines would be guilty of causing injury, surely the minefield pedestrian also bears some responsibility for his fate. The mature person takes responsibility for his own actions, a fundamental Jewish principle that I explored in my last book, “The Jewish Ethic of Personal Responsibility.”

Further irony: these critics are antagonized because they call me a “leader” who should not say these things that upset them; yet, when I try to take the lead on this particular issue – elevating the moral level on campus so that no one, but especially our young people, is ensnared in that morass – they protest. It sounds like they want “leaders” whom they control and who just follow the script that they write. But those are not “leaders” but followers with a fancy title.

Heeding our moral laws can only benefit men, women, marriages, families and society itself. That was and is my point. The fruitless debate over statistics aside, I would hope that even the professional feminists can subscribe to that.

Rabbi Steven Pruzansky

You’re in the New Army Now

Monday, January 28th, 2013

Sending women into combat, like the end of the ban on official homosexuality, has been met with worried remarks about its impact on the “warrior culture.” But the new military that the left has been building for some time now is not interested in warriors; it wants peacekeepers.

The old army fought for a nation. The new one fights for vague concepts such as human rights or international law. Its goals are as intangible as those of the ideology it serves. It doesn’t fight actual enemies, but concepts and social problems. It fights against climate change, poverty and obesity. It fights for education, tolerance and the right of everyone to the gender of their choice. It isn’t really the army, it’s the hall monitors of the United Nations, the State Department, NATO and every liberal group on the planet.

Their ideal new soldier is not a warrior; he speaks three languages, appears non-threatening and can direct refugees, hand out aid to them and quickly pick up the local culture and religion. He is uncritical when witnessing child molestation, human sacrifice or any other quaint local custom. He is willing to die, not for his country, but to win the hearts and minds of the locals. He will not fire in self-defense if there is a single unarmed man, woman or child within twenty miles.

American soldiers have played the role of peacekeepers before, but in the new military that is their only role. They are the Peace Corps,  riding in under a U.N. flag when the video game boys back across the ocean have used remote drones to take out that portion of the enemy force that didn’t manage to find a human shield in time. Their mission is to set up generators, dig wells, patrol roads and smile a lot, unless smiling is not approved of by the local culture.

A warrior culture is supplementary to peacekeeping requirements. Warriors try to kill things. They want to win wars, instead of accepting that conflicts can only be resolved through negotiations and that their presence is a negotiating tactic, not a fight for survival.

The new soldier is a policeman of the world, watching crimes that he isn’t allowed to stop. He is a diplomat with a gun. He isn’t there to shoot anyone, except as an absolute last resort. Rather he is there to represent the United States on that great mission that is the only task of worth in a fatherless country, to be a role model. He is there, smiling and handing out candy, to convince the locals that even though we bombed their country, frightened their sheep and wiped out a lot of their smuggling income, that they should not hate the United States of America.

The old army projected the hard power of killing the people who wanted to fight us until they were either dead or willing to switch to competing with us by making transistor radios and electric shavers. The new army projects the soft power of winning over the locals so that they don’t want to fight us anymore. It’s not about winning wars, it’s about preventing the need for wars; even when already in the middle of a war.

To do all this our military has to become less American and more European, less imperial and more multilateral, an international consensus building exercise with bullets that aren’t meant to be fired. It has to become more tolerant and accepting. It has to lose the “warrior culture” and swap it in for the urban liberal culture that values consensus over performance and ideological conformity over all else.

The left is not comfortable with an army that is out of step with its values. A large standing army is a dangerous thing. Neutering it will take generations, but the left just won another four years in which it can have its way with national defense. And its way is to hollow out every institution, religion, workplace and family until they exist for no other reason than to pass on and implement its ideas.

The only way that liberals will ever accept the military is through the liberalization of the military into a force that projects their social values and fights to promote them abroad through human rights peacekeeping operations, rather than national defense. And when the peacekeeping force arrives in Timbuktu, Aleppo or Ramallah, it has to carry with it the liberal standard and convey to all the natives that the United States is wonderful because it represents gay rights, girl power and the wars on obesity, poverty and cholera.

Daniel Greenfield

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/columns/daniel-greenfield/youre-in-the-army-now/2013/01/28/

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