K.C. Johnson wonders Is the Left Losing its Mind Over Campus Sex? He notes a recent column by Ezra Klein defending California’s recent “affirmative consent” law as so indefensible as to represent an intellectual tipping point.
Kleinâ€™s argument was astonishingâ€”he conceded that the law was flawed, even badly flawed, but celebrated the flaws as a virtue. The law will mean that â€œtoo much counts as sexual assaultâ€ and that innocent students will be branded rapists (though such cases, Klein suggests in a fact-free claim, â€œvery, very rarelyâ€ occur). But Klein considered it â€œnecessaryâ€ to get more students deemed guilty of rape in â€œmorally ambiguousâ€ situations to convince men in college (but, it seems, not anywhere else) that â€œthey better Be Pretty Damn Sure.â€
Kleinâ€™s column has triggered a torrent of criticism. The highest-profile came from New Yorkâ€™s Jon Chait, who expressed amazement that Klein was â€œarguing for false convictions as a conscious strategy in order to strike fear into the innocent,â€ a â€œconception of justice totally removed from the liberal tradition.â€
Johnson also reports on sharp criticism of new Harvard disciplinary policies (adopted by Harvard along with a great many other universities in response to Federal Department of Education threats and prodding) by 28 Harvard Law professors.
The Ezra Klein column was widely criticized because Klein expressed enthusiastic support for injustice when he perceived the injustice as forwarding the leftist process of making Society more just.
All sorts of people dropped their jaws and did a double take at the spectacle of one of the Left’s noisiest moralists foaming at the mouth and demanding that the innocent should be loaded onto the tumbril and carried to a meeting with the guillotine in the Place de la Concorde. But why should anyone be surprised?
The very essence of leftism is its exaggerated claims of victimization and its one-sided perspective. Leftism was never about being fair, and leftist “justice” was never about being just. Leftism is entirely about Revolution, about the triumph of the victim groups by forced political change achieved through perpetual agitation. No one ever said that the left’s agitprop would be balanced and fair. And no one ever said the Revolution was going to practice due process.
Ezra Klein simply dropped the veil a bit too abruptly, being flushed with insolence over his side’s victory in California, and allowed everyone to see him for the tricoteuse he really is.