Summary: Left and right are engaged in a never-ending struggle not just for control of America’s politics, but for its soul. Since 1980 the Right has been winning, slowly rolling back the essential aspects of the New Deal. Today we have another chapter explaining why the Left loses. Their weakness is self-inflicted. Let’s hope they find it within themselves to change; we need at least one sane wing of the political spectrum.
“Rape Happens Here“, Simon van Zuylen-Wood, Philadelphia Magazine, 24 April 2014 — Opening
For 150 years, leafy, progressive Swarthmore College tried to resolve student conflicts in the best Quaker tradition — peacefully and constructively. Then came 91 complaints of sexual misconduct. In a single year.
Read it in full; you’ll find astonishing stories on every page. It’s a story of crazy by both students and administrators (and I wonder about the writer as well). Dumb (often inexplicable) behavior by all, including apparent amnesia about the existence of police, intense “claims of victimization” by all sides, elevation of personal feelings over facts, use of campus disciplinary machinery to punish heterodox ideology, and confused thinking (e.g., what is rape, beyond feeling “scared, powerless, and traumatized”?).
It’s another story of modern America’s inability to handle a problem adequately managed by the other developed nations. We’re exceptional!
More about this article:
- Read the comments, many from students at Swarthmore.
- Note that one-third of 91 complaints of misconduct (from harassment to rape) in 2013 concerned incidents from previous years. So the number of complaints of 2013 incidents were roughly equivalent to 7% of Swarthmore’s women students (Swarthmore has 1,600 students, 51% women).
- See the statement in the next section by Swarthmore’s police chief about rape reports and convictions (the author didn’t quote either the campus or local police).
Swarthmore provides a living example of why many Americans feel reluctant to turn the management of America over to the Left. Swarthmore’s operational and moral culture displays deep, multi-level, dysfunctionality. These people shouldn’t be running a college, and should be kept far from America’s levers of power.
For additional evidence, see those of America’s great cities run by long-term Democratic governments. It’s not a pretty picture.
Unfortunately the right-wing is equally crazy (imo, more so). The common factor: of Left and Right they’re both Americans. There’s something at work here, affecting both politically active groups on the ends of our political spectrum. Both sides clearly see the crazy in their opponents, and laugh. But the Right appears to have the last laugh, as they’re winning.
About Swarthmore, police, and rape
(a) About the Swarthmore Department of Public Safety, inexplicably absent from this article:
The department is comprised of a director, lieutenant, two sergeants, two corporals, and six full-time and three part-time patrol officers. All full-time patrol officers undergo a thorough background check, psychological screening, and physical examination. Patrol supervisors are sworn in as Special Police Officers after completing a recognized Pennsylvania State Police Training Academy course for Municipal Police Officers.
These officers may exercise full police powers, including authority to arrest on Swarthmore College property. This law enforcement authority is granted by the Court of Common Pleas in Delaware County under 22PA CSA Section 501.
… Local jurisdiction is shared with Swarthmore Borough Police Department, with whom a close working relationship is maintained. Pennsylvania State Police and/or the Delaware County Criminal Investigation Unit will assist Swarthmore Borough Police in most serious campus investigations. The Department of Public Safety typically plays a supportive role in these instances.
(b) The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) asked Swarthmore Police Chief Brian Craig about the epidemic of sexual assaults on campus (29 April 2013):
In the last couple of years, he told me Friday, his department has investigated about five cases of sexual assault on campus, including one actual rape that was successfully prosecuted.
(c) “The Campus Rape Myth: The reality: bogus statistics, feminist victimology, and university-approved sex toys“, Heather Mac Donald, City Journal, Winter 2008
(d) “A Mother, a Feminist, Aghast — Unsubstantiated accusations against my son by a former girlfriend landed him before a nightmarish college tribunal“, Judith Grossman (attorney), op-ed in the Wall Street Journal, 16 April 2013:
Title IX, that so-called guarantor of equality between the sexes on college campuses, and as applied by a recent directive from the Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights, has obliterated the presumption of innocence that is so foundational to our traditions of justice. On today’s college campuses, neither “beyond a reasonable doubt,” nor even the lesser “by clear and convincing evidence” standard of proof is required to establish guilt of sexual misconduct.
These safeguards of due process have, by order of the federal government, been replaced by what is known as “a preponderance of the evidence.”
For More Information
(a) Reference pages about American politics:
- Posts about politics in America
- How can we stop the quiet coup now in progress?
- Posts about reforming America
(b) Other posts about why the Left loses:
- Climate change sinks the Left, while scientists unravel mysteries we must solve, 24 January 2014
- Watch the Left burn away more of its credibility, then wonder why the Right wins, 29 January 2014
- Apocalyptic thinking on the Left about climate change risks burning their credibility, 4 February 2014
- Why the Left is losing: another example of incompetent marketing, 26 February 2014
- This is what defeat looks like for the Left, and perhaps also for environmentalists, 17 March 2014
- America swings to the Right. The Left loses. How has the Left dug itself into this hole?, 28 March 2014
(c) Posts about America’s move to the Right:
- Recommended: Why the 1% is winning, and we are not, 26 July 2013
- Look in the polls, as in a mirror, to see America drift to the Right, 31 January 2014
(d) Posts about rape
- The full story of the rape charges against Julian Assange of Wikileaks, a possible covert op, 27 August 2010
- Being a third world nation is a state of mind, as we will learn (about prison rape), 19 March 2011
18 thoughts on “Why the Left loses: we see their vision of a new America”
It’s not unusual for 91 cases to pile out at once – a few people stepping forward may motivate others to speak up as well, even from “previous years”. The military is a much stronger and more cohesive organization today than it was before sexual assault hit the headlines.
We are much more religious and less educated than our European counterparts, which results in a rape culture – the automatic assumption is that a victim “asked for it” or deserved it in some way. It also ties in with homophobia – while female rapes are under-reported, male on male rapes are barely reported at all. While female rape generally drives the movement to build mechanisms for preventing sexual assault – it does end up benefiting the male population too, who were being raped in “initiations” and were too humiliated and afraid to speak up about it.
I wouldn’t be surprised if there’s some sodomy occurring in these fraternities which so far have evaded censure in this school. The most macho organizations are – ironically – also the ones most guilty of male rape.
An interesting story, but how is this related to Leftism? Is the school leftist? Are all of the individual employees who were involved in the 91 cases leftists?
Contrast how these cases would have been handled by police and juries. In fact the only well-handled case appears in the comments — where the girl went to the police.
Yes, I think we can safely say that many of the people in this story are of the Left.
Believe it or not a lot of people aren’t comfortable with running to a police station and announcing to a group of strangers that they’ve been sodomized. Organizations need organic mechanisms for handling sexual assault. And even if a victim does go to the police, we already know how the police react – many police departments don’t even consider rape a crime, and make no effort to investigate it.
The very fact that we would consider an institution of higher learning to be “leftist” shows just how successful Conservative propaganda has been in shifting our attitudes. In fact I’m surprised Obama hasn’t been blamed yet.
People are not comfortable being hauled up before a kangaroo court of college administrators — who learn about crime, investigative procedure, and court justice from TV — to have their lives ruined.
Yes, police often do their jobs poorly. That does not mean turning their jobs over to people will no training or experience.
Your last sentence is amazing. I will leave it to each reader to evaluate for themselves. Especially those with experience at Swarthmore.
Victims can and should have options after an assault other than “go to the police”.
The military has a procedure called “restricted reporting” (as opposed to unrestricted reporting)
This option is recommended for victims of sexual assault who wish to confidentially disclose the crime to specifically identified individuals and receive medical treatment and counseling without triggering the official investigative process. Service members who are sexually assaulted and desire restricted reporting under this policy must report the assault to a Sexual Assault Response Coordinator, Victim Advocate , or a healthcare provider.
As provided for above, victims may also discuss the assault with a chaplain. Discussing the assault with a chaplain is not a restricted report under this policy, it is a communication that may be protected under the Military Rules of Evidence (MRE) or applicable statues and regulations. The restricted reporting process does not affect any privilege recognized under the MRE. This policy on restricted reporting is in addition to the current protections afforded by privileged communications with a chaplain, and does not alter or affect those protections.
Healthcare providers will initiate the appropriate care and treatment, and report the sexual assault to the sexual assault response coordinator in lieu of reporting the assault to law enforcement or the command. Upon notification of a reported sexual assault, the Sexual Assault Response Coordinator will immediately assign a victim advocate to the victim. The assigned victim advocate will provide accurate information on the process of restricted vice unrestricted reporting.
At the victim’s discretion/request an appropriately trained healthcare provider shall conduct a sexual assault forensic examination (SAFE), which may include the collection of evidence. In the absence of a DoD provider, the service member will be referred to an appropriate civilian facility for the SAFE.
The issue here seems to be the school didn’t properly train anyone about what to do in the case of a sexual assault. That’s an issue of individuals failing to do their jobs and care for the students – not some blanket wide condemnation of “leftism” – as if this scandal is even remotely related to leftism, or politics at all. You might as well blame Obama for not personally intervening.
My first impulse is to agree… but my, what a can of worms this opens!
Surely the military is a special case. As I understand it, military jurisdiction preëmpts that of civil authorities. This alone is unique. (Diplomatic and congressional immunity also override local authority, but they are otherwise quite different). It seems to me that the military must be so different from civilian life that great caution must be used in attempting to draw any lessons about either one from the other.
Does it really make sense to expect a private entity to provide this sort of service… and to tell them how to provide it, and to demand that they provide it in conformance with values determined by the government (and not by the private entity itself)?
A university might choose to provide crisis assistance to its students. That might include taking reports of sexual assault. I would expect that such a service would tend to be run ultimately for the benefit of the university. That poses a high risk of conflict of interest, which is probably what we’re seeing here.
Imagine this was an employer rather than a university. Or a church. Or any organization. In the long run, no private entity could do anything but adopt some strategy aimed first and foremost at minimizing liability and bad press.
It seems to me that conflict of interest is rarely addressed effectively by saddling the conflicted entity with a bunch of rules and requirements and expectations of “ethical” behavior. Conflict of interest is best handled by separating the conflicting functions so that they are not both handled by the same person or organization.
Beyond that, there is a bigger problem.
I am completely in sympathy with this idea. The law is a sledgehammer, and one that can rapidly veer out of the control of, and even turn on, the person who first introduced it into a situation. I thought Danny DeVito’s character in “Other People’s Money” had it exactly right (just generalize “lawyers” to police, courts and anything to do with the law):
We out here in ordinary society generally have the option of going to the police or dealing with a situation ourselves.
I would call the police if I thought my life, or that of someone I loved, was in immediate danger; but probably in very few other circumstances. They’re more competent at causing added misery than they are at limiting damage… so things have to be pretty bad before I would gamble on the chance that their involvement would improve the situation.
That’s not their fault: that’s how we now define their job.
There is the root of the problem. The fact that we need options other than “go to the police” is an indictment of our broken system of law and law enforcement, not a rationale for new layers of private bureaucracy. It is broken because we have become infatuated with crime and punishment as drama and morality play instead of concerning ourselves with how best to maintain a functional and free society.
This sentence, from the article cited, left my mouth agape:
I cannot remember a time since I was… maybe 10? 12?… when I expected more from some authority than I did from those of my peers with whom I associated.
It seems the college has been given (and perhaps, at least to some extent, willingly accepted) the task of providing students both the freedom appropriate to adults and the safety required by children. (The female students expect to be relatively careless, yet never to experience serious consequences; the young men, in effect, expect the same thing.)
That has never been possible anywhere on this Earth.
I was uncertain about the author’s view of this mess called law enforcement at Swarthmore. I understand the view that the elites’ children at college are subject to different system of justice than inner city peons. For example, dope use shouldn’t blight their future careers, unlike the millions rotting in Federal and State prisons for similar offenses.
Hence the need for colleges to have separate police jurisdictions. And at Swarthmore, which has trained, sworn police officers — a separate channel of administrators in the process, serving to gum things up.
Re-reading my comment, and the article, there is something I would like to add.
What I wrote suggested (inadvertently—I was pursuing a different point) that individual carelessness was a leading factor in all of this.
Many of the stories do not suggest any sort of personal carelessness.
Where they do, the kind of carelessness is not symmetrical. A woman having unwarranted faith that she will not be assaulted in a given situation is very different from a young man presuming that he can do as he pleases with a woman’s body and nothing bad will happen. What they have in common is that both result from expecting to live as a child in an adult world. They are not comparable in any other way.
I suspect most of the men don’t believe that they did anything (very) wrong, and cannot understand why the women are so upset. A corollary of that observation is that punishment is not likely to fix the problem.
I will defer on this to people with experience in law enforcement, or some other relevant field.
However, most reports about these problem mention the high incidence intoxication and prior relationships, and the low incidence of physical evidence indicating use of force. This suggests that we are broadening the definition of rape, while retaining its emotional force.
As I note in the post, cross-temporal and international comparisons might prove useful here. Are these incidents increasing in frequency (specifics more detailed than “rape” are needed)? Do the levels and trends of these crimes differ in the US from that of our peers?
My guess (emphasis on guess) is that these answers would surprise most Americans.
As would, I suspect, the results of studies on the incidence of false accusations of rape.
“Punishment is not likely to fix the problem”
What crimes are “fixed” by punishment? What does “fixed” mean in this context?
This is a complex, murky, poorly-understood subject.
“This suggests that we are broadening the definition of rape, while retaining its emotional force.”
Common language is troublesomely elastic, especially words which are value-laden, and can be used (consciously or not) to provoke an emotional response to what might otherwise be viewed with greater detachment. (There’s probably a nice Latin name for that rhetorical technique and the logical fallacy it engenders, but I don’t know what it is.)
I recall a Usenet discussion over a decade ago in which the group’s general consensus was that if a woman says some situation was rape, then it was rape… meaning not that a woman couldn’t conceivably be lying, but that rape is fundamentally characterized by its emotional impact, not by any particular objective criteria. I believe the dissenting opinion amounted to acknowledging the moral and psychological equivalent of rape, but preferring to reserve the word for its traditional use. (This was probably an even more extreme broadening than what you’re perceiving.)
One advantage of the (real) legal system—or any professional or academic field—is that important words cannot be so casually redefined; alas, the terminology can then become incomprehensible or irrelevant to laymen as the common language drifts.
Much of the time, we quite literally do not know what we are talking about.
“the results of studies on the incidence of false accusations of rape”
… would no doubt be met immediately with the above problem: those who found the conclusions unpalatable (in either direction) would simply know that the definitions used in the study were inappropriate.
I agree on all points. The extreme broadening is exactly what I (lightly) pointed to in this article and in my comments.
As for the studies, most were VERY careful, like good academic research, to define their terms. The feminist response has been to ignore them, which their handmaidens in the news media have facilitated.
It can be upsetting when a person’s organization shows a complete lack of interest in his or her well being. And yes, I imagine it would be very upsetting for a school official to think rape is a joke.
Yes, that would be horrific. And there is a history of that in the USA, even in the present.
On the other hand (there is always a second hand), the author gives only the women’s side. We don’t know the other side of these stories. Also, standard practice for these kind of true crime outrage articles is to start with the strongest story. The opening story has an alarming number of oddities. I wonder how this would look like after investigation.
Apparently this was not as clear to everybody as I expected. I have added a section with additional links, both about Swarthmore and the broader issues involved.
A couple things I still don’t know:
Are victims required to use the university system? Or do they always have the right to file an ordinary criminal complaint with the local police, and expect to be afforded equal protection under the law?
What are the potential results of these university tribunals?
* Can they levy any punishments other than dismissal, or other actions that are derivative of the university’s right (like that of any other business, absent discrimination against a protected class) to refuse access to its property and services at its own discretion?
* Are the tribunals’ findings a matter of public record, or part of the student’s private university record?
* Can a tribunal refer the matter to a criminal court? If so, are the proceedings of the tribunal given any special weight that might circumvent the normal rules of evidence?
* Do the proceedings have any legal standing? For example, could an adverse finding by a university tribunal be treated as a “prior” in criminal court?
You see where I’m going with this. Though it troubles me that the government mandates this sort of thing at all, it’s still very much worse if it carries, outside the university, the damaging impact of criminal law, while circumventing the protections. Likewise, it would be troubling if victims were denied (or unduly pressured against using) their right to make an ordinary, criminal complaint regarding criminal activity.
Some of these questions have clear answers.
(1) Courts have ruled quite consistently that “victims” (itself a loaded word) can waive their rights to the civil law system, but not to file complaints to the police.
(2). Private organizations, such as a Swarthmore, have wide descretion as to actions in their own sphere. Hence the frequency of civil litigation about their actions (students pay to play in this farce).
(3) good question about the results of these kangaroo courts. Are they in a student’s record, which is private only in a limited sense.
(4). Private agencies seldom can make criminal complaints on behalf of individual citizens to criminal justice agencies. The camp and local police are open 24-7.
(5) Good question about the evidentiary standing of college kangaroo courts in criminal courts. I suspect they are evidence in civil proceedings, subject to the judge/jury’s assessment of their weight.
I suspect that many rape victim (in the usual sense) can be easily pressured by college administrators to not file criminal complaints. And the other way, as well — that young women can be encouraged to file administrative charges for actions outside the usual meaning of rape (after all, the rate of false charges to the police is 1/3 or higher). Symmetry.