Fox News commentator and syndicated columnist George Will has always fancied himself as a sort of erudite leader in the conservative movement. Strangely the Beltway media has been quite willing to indulge him in his fantasies of intellectual superiority. Newspapers constantly print his columns and news programs repeatedly give him air time to impart his wisdom to the masses with his usual arrogant and condescending tone. George Will, like William F. Buckley, David Brooks, and Ben Stein, is supposed to be one of those “respectable”, intelligent conservative voices who is not prone to wild rhetorical flourishes, but who instead prides himself on his capacity for dispassionate reason. Unlike the Tea Party extremists or the talk radio personalities who make outlandish comments, George Will is supposed to be a “thinking man’s” conservative.
Yet the separation between George Will’s mentality and the mindset of a Glenn Beck or a Rush Limbaugh, has always been a figment of the Beltway’s imagination, not to mention an illusion that Mr. Will has tricked himself into believing as well. George Will refrains from using the words “FemiNazi” or “legitimate rape” in a sentence, not because he is not a misogynist, but because the terms are too uncouth for a man of his august station. However, George Will revealed himself as a member of the Todd Akin wing of the Republican Party this week with a column where he derides college campuses for being too politically correct by trying to prevent campus rapes.
In George Will’s mind, big government liberals trying to promote rape awareness and rape prevention programs on campus are taking political correctness too far. Apparently what a male assailant and a non-consenting female victim do in the privacy of a dorm room should be non of the government’s business in Will’s esteemed opinion. Police involvement in rape cases is simply a case of Big Brother stepping in and interfering with a man’s right to choose, and furthermore Will believes universities should not be held liable for failing to discipline rapists on campus.
In his column, Will dismisses campus sexual assaults and instead turns his attention to bashing big government and liberalism on college campuses as the real problems arguing that:
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.
Mr. Will would undoubtedly deny that he is an apologist for rape, but his entire screed is a litany of dismissive comments ridiculing sexual assault victims as hypersensitive or delusional. When he does use terms like “sexual assault” or rape “survivors”, he puts them in scare quotes to remind us that those are terms used by “supposed victims”. In George Will’s arrogant little head those victims do not have the intellectual capacity he does to really understand how to distinguish a legitimate rape from just boys being boys I guess. Mr. Will of course will continue to believe that he is smarter than campus rape victims, because he has not been influenced by regulation happy Washington DC or the Feminist Campus PC to think there is something wrong with sexually assaulting women.
Mr. Will’s views are all too prevalent in our blame the victim rape culture. It is probably unrealistic to expect a man as arrogant and tone deaf as George Will is to reconsider his position. However we should at least demand that news networks and newspaper columns discontinue providing him a forum for writing his tortured defenses for rapists. Instead they should print rebuttals that criticize his condescending attacks which belittle the people working hard to reduce the number of sexual assaults being committed on our nation’s campuses.
Keith Brekhus is a progressive American who currently resides in Red Lodge, Montana. He is co-host for the Liberal Fix radio show. He holds a Master’s Degree in Sociology from the University of Missouri. In 2002, he ran for Congress as a Green Party candidate in the state of Missouri. In 2014, he worked as a field organizer for Democrat Ann Kirkpatrick’s successful re-election bid in Arizona’s 1st Congressional District. He can be followed on Twitter @keithbrekhus or on Facebook.