Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Attack on George Will gets an erudite reply

In case you missed the origins of this story earlier in the week, George Will took to his usual platform at the Washington Post with some words of caution regarding federal government intervention regarding sexual assaults on the nation’s college campuses. In it, he attempted to inject corrective remedies into some of the hyperbole currently engulfing the topic. Of course, in his usual fashion, Will led off with a paragraph which seemed designed to poke a stick in a few wasp nests:

"Colleges and universities are being educated by Washington and are finding the experience excruciating. They are learning that when they say campus victimizations are ubiquitous (“micro-aggressions,” often not discernible to the untutored eye, are everywhere), and that when they make victimhood a coveted status that confers privileges, victims proliferate. And academia’s progressivism has rendered it intellectually defenseless now that progressivism’s achievement, the regulatory state, has decided it is academia’s turn to be broken to government’s saddle."

A careful reading of Will’s full editorial would show that he was essentially making two points. First, the “math” being cited to define the number of sexual assaults taking place was unfit for a 3rd grade Common Core tutorial. Second, Will noted that expanding and inflating the definition of sexual assaults to include micro-agressions – such as a boy staring for too long at a young coed with a low cut blouse – would tend to dilute the pool of actual assaults and diminish the seriousness of the real problem.

Such a stance brought the usual list of suspects up on their hind legs and into an immediate attack posture. This culminated in a coalition of Democratic Senators (Feinstein, Blumenthal, Tammy Baldwin and Robert Casey) penning a letter to the WaPo, chastising them for allowing Will to breathe the same air as the rest of us.

After running their letter and litany of complaints, this weekend the Post ran a rare response from George Will. Here’s a key sample.

"The administration asserts that only 12 percent of college sexual assaults are reported. Note well: I did not question this statistic. Rather, I used it.

I cited one of the calculations based on it that Mark Perry of the American Enterprise Institute has performed {link}. So, I think your complaint is with the conclusion that arithmetic dictates, based on the administration’s statistic. The inescapable conclusion is that another administration statistic that one in five women is sexually assaulted while in college is insupportable and might call for tempering your rhetoric about “the scourge of sexual assault.”

The Senators were likely faced with the difficult task of flipping back and forth to dictionary.com to translate Will’s writing, so we should probably have some sympathy.



Anonymous said...

A couple of weeks ago, Time Magazine had a cover story on the rise of sexual assault on campus. In the article,one of the commentators made the same arguments as George Will without complaints. The fact that the statistics comingle crude behavior with actual assaults. It clear that they objected to Wills because he is a well read and spoken conservative.

Anonymous said...

That Feinstein could even believe herself to be on par with Will and able to make a cogent argument against him is hilarious.


Bird of Paradise said...

Typical bunch of totaly uncivilized backward knuckle draggers the Demacrats

Stan B said...

The reason we have such erudite leaders as Feinstein making claims about the "sexual assault" epidemic is we have so victimized people into being unable to handle their own problems that we must call in the authorities for the slightest discomfort caused by another human being. In the old days, if a man made an inappropriate comment about a woman, or leered, or did anything else she disapproved of, she'd give him a quick smack across the face, and he'd get the message. Active objection is sometimes required, although nobody wants to admit that - which is why we are raising a nation of wimps.

Anonymous said...

Bullseye Stan B