Why do all liberal movements experience such mission creep? What is it about the heart of liberals—always well-meaning in the beginning, but the road to hell is paved with good intentions—that keeps drifting to America’s most puritanical instincts? Why can “Occupy Wall Street,” “Black Lives Matter,” Sandernistas, the #MeToo Mafia, and other solid movements not exist without eventually devolving into the The Social-Justice Inquisition? Why are things seemingly designed more for self-congratulatory likes (“NO good person could doubt what I believe, which is the outrage of the day is an outrage!” and an instant-1000 likes) than actual change?
1. Meaning that first there’s a real issue like income inequality, racial disparities in life (especially the criminal justice system), sexual harassment, etc. 2. Then there’s a broadening of those issues until the majority of the country looks complicit, the way Rose McGowan recently blamed the entire audience of a Barnes and Noble book signing event for not “protecting her” from a protester–a group of people that were there to pay money to buy her book and shower her with applause. 3. Next up is beginning to protest anything and everything you can think of regardless of relevance, like how some Black Lives Matter activists eventually got bored protesting police stations and started protesting on major highways, Bernie Sanders rallies, Hillary speeches, and Mall of America two days before Christmas because…well, no such thing as bad press? 4. Most destructively, the movement begins to turn on itself, dividing the “purists” from the pragmatists. This step happened in Occupy Wall Street (where many leaders did not even want to let elected Democrats speak at their rallies for fear it would taint them somehow), this happened for BLM during the 2016 campaign, and it’s now most definitely and already happening to the #MeToo movement.
If you doubt me on Step 4, keep in mind that the real beginning of the movement was not the Hillary campaign. It was the implosion of several high-profile liberal donors (Harvey Weinstein, Kevin Spacey) and politicians (John Conyers, Al Franken). So far, the highest profile Republican to supposedly be affected is Roy Moore—a GOP politician that the rest of the GOP hates—and I’m not sure he really was, given how much closer his senate race was than the last two times he ran for Governor, where he lost in landslides. And now that liberals have had several months to go after the scourge that is James Franco and Aziz Ansari (one of the most judgmental PC comics out there, lot of good it did you Aziz), they’re turning their guns further inward to go after women.
French cinema icon Catherine Deneuve, Meryl Streep, and now Hillary Clinton herself (the cruelest of ironies) have now all been accused of being Aunt Lydia from The Handmaid’s Tale for the high crimes of questioning the #MeToo movement, working with Harvey Weinstein for years, and not divorcing Bill Clinton, respectively. Rather than the funereal black it was universally agreed upon “good women” should wear to The Golden Globes, Blanca Blanco wore red to The Golden Globes, and the Me Too Mafia put a hit out on her, with many women calling her names, the irony police nowhere in sight. Although how many didn’t like her choice to wear red and how many didn’t like the sexy cut of the dress I think is the real debate, closet puritanical instincts bubbling to the surface.
And maybe that’s the point. Maybe there’s something in the liberal soul not all that different from the conservative soul, because it’s not all that different from the American soul: which simultaneously tells people they can be anything they want to be, as long as it’s something others want them to be or they’ll be judged for it. The conservative tendency to believe in the “American Dream” (even as it denies it to immigrants or creates policies that hurt people that weren’t born rich) or state’s rights and rugged-individualism (except for abortion, drug laws, corporate bailouts, etc.) may not be much more paradoxical than liberal tendencies to encourage empowerment and free speech of transrights, illegal immigration, BLM activists, Me Too victims, gun control advocates, etc. but people that disagree should shut up and go away forever because their free speech is hate speech, and the NRA is a terrorist organization no better than ISIS and if you don’t agree, you’re for killing kids, don’t you know that Alabama Liberal?!
Too many of the debates liberals are having seem to exist entirely with other liberals. Step 4—dividing into purer and purer groups—seems to be all the leaders of these various movements care about, content to have a dream of leading a utopia than the reality of running a nation.
Occupy Wall Street refused to sully itself with politics by running candidates or even encouraging voting. “Sandernistas” are not bothered by Bernie’s refusal to join the Democratic Party for non-Presidential elections or his refusal to support Democratic candidates that aren’t for him (those that aren’t are called “Wall Street!”), but then how could he get anything done if actually elected? BLM activists who met with Hillary were disappointed she merely wanted to change the laws to benefit them rather than changing hearts (wonder how happy they are now with a President who wants to do neither). And the #MeToo Movement may be successfully tarnishing the reputations of Democratic President (Bill Clinton gave us 8 years of peace and prosperity, the sex fiend!) and giving Hollywood actresses one more avenue to be dramatically self-righteous, but the movement feels entirely confined within the four-square parameters of Samantha Bee/Daily Show/Seth Meyers viewers and liberal twitter, which may seem like a bigger group than it really is.
Most non-liberals I’ve talked to are actually pretty annoyed with the #MeToo Movement, including women and several reliable Democratic voters. I’ve even had someone tell me they decided not to run for office in Alabama—despite Doug Jones recent victory there—because the Me Too backlash would keep any female Democrat from winning there. You might think “Well that’s just Alabama, hopeless bastion of hopelessness,” but how many Republican or moderate or independent voters has the Me Too movement honestly attracted to the ranks of voting Democrat? If the answer is “not many,” it’s failing.
“But it is many, just look at…” liberal twitter? Hollywood celebrities? Female Democrats that will be voting against Trump anyway? It’s not entirely a coincidence that since the Me Too Movement really kicked into gear, Trump is experiencing his highest approval ratings since taking office. Yes, the economy is solid, but it’s been solid his entire first year, and a quick look at the enraged men backlashing against supposed female-tyranny you find on anonymous message boards, YouTube replies, and Yahoo news comment’s sections will tell you “it’s not the economy, stupid.” This was exactly what many conservative voters thought would happen if Hillary won and the Me Too Movement has only intensified their paranoia over the Orwellian gender-policing of the malleable term “sexual misconduct.”
Honest prediction for where it’s headed: 1. A few more big male figures (almost all of whom will be liberals) will be drummed out of Hollywood or congress. 2. One accused male will eventually kill himself, further dampening popular sentiment and dividing the two groups of women. 3. Rose McGowan will eventually accuse any woman that’s won an Oscar of being complicit in rape culture and use it to launch her next book “Why you all owe me money.” 4. More young female writers for NYT, HuffPost, Jezebel, Hello Giggles, Daily Beast, Salon, etc. will make many more pieces of clickbait. 5. Kristin Gillibrand will use it as a platform for herself, before quickly losing the nomination to Bernie Sanders or Kamala Harris. 6. And eventually the movement will peter out. 7. Devastatingly, like Occupy and BLM before it, it will keep dividing in on itself until only liberals are being asked to account for their actions, like if Seth Rogen said a mean comment to Taylor Swift at a benefit concert.