The Atlantic

One Harvey Weinstein in Hollywood, Another in the White House

A pair of conservative responses to the Hollywood mogul’s downfall illustrate the split within the movement.
Source: Kevork Djansezian / Reuters

As the Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein reels from a New York Times exposé that describes years of abusive behavior towards women, many right-leaning pundits are seizing the opportunity to discuss predatory male behavior in the liberal tribe, much as lefty pundits used Bill O’Reilly’s downfall to discuss bad actors on the right.

Many of these efforts offer worthwhile insights. And two contributions are most illuminating when juxtaposed with one another. Their authors approach the subject with some of the same assumptions. Both are appropriately scathing toward awful behavior by prominent Democrats. Yet the first effort represents the best of what American conservatism has to offer the country. And the second reveals odious moral rot.  

Comparing them is hugely instructive.

What Principled Conservatism Looks Like

In “The Pigs of Liberalism,” Ross Douthat, the principled social conservative, opines that progressive industries may finally be feminist enough to “put their old goats out to pasture,” but that there is a less optimistic way of viewing the present scandal.

It might just show...

...that a certain kind of powerful liberal creep only gets his comeuppance when he’s weakened or old or in the grave. The awfulness of Ted Kennedy, at Chappaquiddick and after hours in D.C., can be acknowledged only now that he’s no longer a liberal lion in the Senate. The possibility that Bill Clinton might be not just an adulterer but a rapist can be entertained now that he’s no longer protecting abortion from the White House.

He adds, “it would be nice to say that cultural conservatism offers an alternative, one that welcomes female advancement while retaining useful ideas about sexual difference and restraint,” but concedes that while he “might have in Congress and the alt-right ... is its own sort of cautionary tale.” Still, he offers, several conservative might help liberals “to restrain the ogres in their midst.” The column concludes with three specific suggestions:

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