PC Culture

The New Last Refuge of Scoundrels

California Assemblywoman Cristina Garcia (CBS This Morning/YouTube)
If you’re PC, it’s apparently okay to use homophobic slurs and sexually assault your employees.

‘Patriotism is the last refuge of the scoundrel.”

Samuel Johnson famously used that line in an attack on William Pitt for supposedly advancing his agenda under warped pretenses. During the McCarthy era and the 1960s anti-war movement against Vietnam, when leftists were called unpatriotic, they offered Johnson’s line as a riposte, quoting it ad nauseam, not as a serious counter-argument but as an accusation that the conservative establishment was smearing them.

When Harvey Weinstein was caught coercing female subordinates, assaulting actresses, and offering quid pro quo perks for quickie sex, he thought, in medieval fashion, that he could preserve his fortune and power by making politically correct offsets. Weinstein pompously announced that despite the charges of sexual assault, he should be given a pass because he was buying politically correct indulgences:

I am going to need a place to channel that anger so I’ve decided that I’m going to give the NRA my full attention. I hope Wayne LaPierre will enjoy his retirement party. I’m going to do it at the same place I had my Bar Mitzvah. I’m making a movie about our President, perhaps we can make it a joint retirement party.

Weinstein crammed a lot of firewalls into his apologia: His crimes were merely a matter of “anger” management. He was religiously devout. The ironic upside of assaulting women was that now he could be turned loose to devote his “full attention” to battling NRA. And he now would have time to use his cinematic talents to trash Trump. Why would liberal women hound someone promising a twofer destruction of the NRA and Trump?

Late-night host Steven Colbert tried a similar me con. He used obscene and homophobic imagery to smear Trump, in words that would have gotten a conservative fired: “In fact, the only thing your mouth is good for is being Vladimir Putin’s cock holster.” The Left did not care that he had smeared the president of the United States, but Colbert potentially had committed a mortal sin in suggesting that a homosexual act was tawdry or embarrassing.

Colbert was forced to apologize: “So, at the end of that monologue, I had a few choice insults for the president in return. I don’t regret that. I believe he can take care of himself. I have jokes; he has the launch codes. So, it’s a fair fight.” In sum, Colbert too ended up seeking the politically correct refuge: The supposedly crazy Trump had the nuclear codes and Colbert did not, so the viewer should understand that the progressive Colbert was simply doing a necessary job when he used an obscene reference to belittle Trump for the sake of us all.

Of the many recent non-apologies, some of the strangest have come from California assemblywoman Christina Garcia; they serve as a window into the state’s present descent into absurdity. Garcia had been the legislature’s face of the #MeToo movement. “Speak up, speak loud, and know there is a community of people who will support you,” she had said. She had insisted that legislators accused of sexual harassment should take an immediate leave of absence and that accusers, even if anonymous, should be believed before an investigation was complete:

No one should have to wait for an investigative article to know the truth about the kind of environment they work in. I’m working with @SEIU1000 on a bill to create a centralized mechanism to track sexual harassment complaints in state government.

But recently at least four male legislative aides and lobbyists have come forward to complain that she has talked graphically in front of her subordinates and also groped and propositioned them. They also alleged that she routinely using homophobic slurs and drank to the point of intoxication. How did a supposed victim of groping (“Two weeks into me being an Assemblywoman, I got groped, and then I was told by a senior member not to say anything”) become an accused groper herself (“And I spun to turn around . . . and as I turned, she tried to reach for my crotch and she did”)?

And how did Garcia escape the charge of rank hypocrisy? Not by asking the SEIU to ostracize such a miscreant.

One, as in the case of most of the men she wants condemned, Garcia denies the sexual misdeeds. In Animal Farm fashion, some are more equal than others: All accusers need not be believed when they lodge sexual-harassment charges against superiors such as herself.

Two, she denies she drinks too much. But she does confess that she most certainly drinks a lot: “There’s a culture of drinking in the Capitol and I’ve definitely participated in that. But I don’t think that makes you an alcoholic.”

Faced with accusations that she keeps a keg of beer ready in her assembly office, Garcia suggests that everyone does it. It is also “gross” to suggest that an office keg means much — as if it is perfectly normal for a public servant to keep kegs of cold beer in the office:

“Do I have beer in my fridge and so I’m am alcoholic?” Yes, I have beer in my fridge. Yes. At some point, I’ve had a keg at my office. A lot of us do. It’s part of the culture of socializing after the way business gets done. . . .But because you have alcohol or you are in the possession of alcohol doesn’t make you an alcoholic. I think that’s a really gross generalization.

When asked whether it was also true that Garcia routinely used slurs like “homo” or “faggot”, she explains again that 1) everyone curses, 2) she uses “f***” and “sh**” often, and 3) she uses “homo,” but not “faggot,” and 4) context matters:

Have I at some point used the word “homo”? Yeah, I’ve used that word “homo.” I don’t know that I’ve used it in derogatory context. I think you need to think about the context in which it was used. But anything can be taken out of context clearly here in this situation.

Garcia pleads that she says such things in her own state-subsidized “safe spaces”: “But even then, it’s pretty limited, but these are in places where you think you’re in a safe space and you could speak your mind and be vocal.” Safe spaces are no longer refuges but platforms from which to launch slurs and profanities with impunity?

She cannot be guilty of homophobia, sexual harassment, or drinking binges, because, you see, she is everywoman, a progressive, a Latina, and a woman of her ‘community.’

Then Garcia gets to the main point: she cannot be guilty of homophobia, sexual harassment, or drinking binges, because, you see, she is everywoman, a progressive, a Latina, and a woman of her “community”:

I’m not going to sit here and pretend I’m an angel. Was I using those as derogatory terms? No. It’s almost like I would say I’m a brown person sometimes. Am I perfect? I think all of us at some point have biases, but I try to be open and accepting of all communities including the LGBT community and I think you could look at my voting record, look at the advocacy I’ve been doing well before I was elected in conjunction not just with the LGBT community, but with communities that have been marginalized.

If you express support for the “LGBT” community and the “marginalized,” then using “homo” is apparently correct?

Not one, not two, not three, but four men have come forward with charges ranging from sexual harassment to sexual assault. No matter; they are trying to shut up Garcia, an authentic voice of the oppressed:

I think this is about shutting me up. Making sure that my advocacy stops. Making sure that I don’t ensure that my community has a voice. And it’s not just shutting me up, or shutting people like me up. Whether it’s on the #MeToo movement, whether it’s on environmental justice or whatever injustices that are out there, I have been very vocal. I’m not afraid to take on fights.

Who is behind silencing the crusading assemblywoman Garcia, innocent of homophobic slurs, sexual harassment, and drinking in her office? Nebulous forces who run evil businesses:

Communities that have been treated like wastelands for all my life. For the first time we’re going to start to identify those hotspots and start to change that situation. I started to bring attention to the chromium 6 issue and how that poisons us on a regular basis. What does that mean? That means that some of these businesses may be in danger. Why can’t I have some good green jobs like the rest of the communities that are out there? Why do I have to settle for shit?

In sum, Garcia has no drinking problem but has a keg in her office. She downplays her use of potty language and, to prove it, uses “sh**” in her interview. She does not slur gays but routinely uses “homo”(and denies reports of saying “faggot.”) In matters of sexual harassment and assault, she rails about the need to believe female accusers and demands that her colleagues so accused step down until cleared; but she does not believe her own four accusers and is, of course, going back to work before she’s cleared.

Again, why should we believe Garcia’s internally contradictory assertions? Because she is a social-justice warrior who does all these things as a “voice” for her “community” — and so is naturally being punished for her “advocacy”:

And this is about making sure I don’t have any more advocacy. That I don’t have any more voice. And it sends a message to people that I have mentored. I spend a lot of time trying to create advocates in the community. That’s my legacy. To make sure they’re told ‘if you rise up and you speak up this is going to happen you. So, sit down and don’t say anything.

Harvey Weinstein assumed that fighting the NRA and Trump would compensate for assaulting and harassing women. Steven Colbert thought that he could use gross homophobic slurs and avoid criticism because he was doing so to attack a despised Trump who holds the nation’s nuclear codes. Christina Garcia believes that as a Latina representative of her “community,” she is exempt from the very charges she often levels against others, and she assumes that using profanity, drinking in her office, and slurring gays are the exemptions given to one who is an “advocate.”

Political correctness is now the new last refuge of a scoundrel.


Victor Davis Hanson — NRO contributor Victor Davis Hanson is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution and the author, most recently, of The Case for Trump.

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