David Brooks on the Duke lacrosse gang rape
Don't look now, but David Brooks is trying to be Charles Krauthammer again. Prepare to cringe as Bobo addresses the heretofore unappreciated moral dimension of the gang rape a black stripper by Duke University lacrosse players:
If you wander through the thicket of commentary that already surrounds the Duke lacrosse scandal, the first thing you notice is how sociological it is. In almost every article and piece of commentary, the event is portrayed not as a crime between individuals but as a clash between classes, races and sexes.
Why might that be? Amanda hazards a guess:
That might be because the rapists were making jokes about slavery and picking cotton to the victim, which is to say reminding her of their racial privilege by referencing the history that created it.
According to Brooks, liberals are just hung up on the hate part the hate crime. It's part of our relativist permissivism, or something.
Sure, white college athletes attacked black strippers, but it could have gone either way! If only we understood that, Brooks maintains, we wouldn't fixate the sociological details. We'd blame raunch culture and move along...
You would say that the person who felt free to send this message to his buddies had crashed through several moral guardrails. You would surmise that his character had been corroded by shock jocks and raunch culture and that he’d entered a nihilistic moral universe where young men entertain each other with bravura displays of immoralism. A community so degraded, you might surmise, is not a long way from actual sexual assault.
You would then ask questions very different from the sociological ones: How have these young men slipped into depravity? Why have they not developed sufficient character to restrain their baser impulses?
I don't like to throw the word "stupid" around lightly, but Brooks is straining charity to its limits.
There is no conflict between the sociological descriptions and moral condemnation. Unchecked privilege destroys character. Power corrupts. The Duke lacrosse players somehow got the idea that their whims were more important than other people's human rights. Perhaps they weren't accustomed to being held accountable for their actions. Maybe these young men had already learned that society would be much more tolerant of their bullshit when they targeted the weak and the marginalized. Most likely they believed that rich white male athletes were God's gift to the universe and that the rules didn't apply to them. I wonder where they got that idea.
We have a moral duty to stop parents, teachers, coaches, school administrators, college students, editorial columnists and anyone else who promulgates these soul-destroying lies. Ultimately, that's why feminism, civil rights, and class-consciousness matter so much. Unfortunately, David Brooks isn't prepared to grapple with the moral implications of the sociological facts.
Read the Probable Cause Affidavit against the three Duke players.