In 1931, Whittaker Chambers sat in as a freshman among a half-dozen of his professors at Columbia University. They were discussing Francois Rabelais’ Abbey of Thelema, a fictitious sort of anti-monastery with a swimming pool and no clocks that ran on the motto fais ce que vouldras—”do what you like.”
Chambers, who entered Columbia as a Christian and left as a communist, worked as a Soviet spy, then years later abandoned communism, counter-attacked, and became one of the leading figures of the American conservative movement that began in the 1950s.
One southern professor who had been talking about writers with “gawjus owgan voices” and just happened to have one of those owgan voices himself, eased back into his chair and explained why he considered Rabelias’ fais ce que vouldras the mark of the modern gentleman: it bestows a certain honor among a deserving few.
Such men may do as they like because, when it comes down to it, they’re the good men.
Fais ce que Vouldras and the Predator Feminist
Being both continental and literary (and smuggling in a dash of the sacred) makes fais ce que vouldras the perfect licensure for tweedy ivy league academics in the 1930s. But while they planted the seeds, most never got to enjoy the pleasure-fest of the sexual revolution that arrived 30 or 40 years later. Nowhere are those weeds rooted more firmly today than in the various industries surrounding broadcast media.
Los Angeles Clippers owner Don Sterling, for example, was one such “good man” on whom the local NAACP chapter bestowed its lifetime achievement award in 2009 and was poised to honor him again in 2014. But then the 80-year-old Sterling’s racist remarks to his 31-year-old black mistress escaped the political-charitable society circles—where they were apparently long-standing and well known—and made national headlines.
If Sterling’s racism was “the worst-kept secret in Los Angeles” (a description that became a cliché in the many stories about him), then Harvey Weinstein’s treatment of women was the worst-kept secret among those with a Wi-Fi connection.
Roman Polanski’s public confession wasn’t a secret at all, but even that wasn’t enough to stop Hollywood feminists, from Whoopi Goldberg (“it wasn’t rape-rape”) to Meryl Streep, from calling for leniency over his admitted drugging and rape of a 13-year-old girl. Polanski, after all, wasn’t just a child molester; he also happens to be a great artist. Fais ce que vouldras!
The Feminist Opportunity
Streep, who has also been close with Weinstein for decades and has referred to him as “a god,” now says his fall has created a great opportunity for feminism that she says “is absolutely thrilling.” Let me suggest that before things became so thrilling, it was feminism that created a great opportunity for Weinstein and almost every media predator who has fallen in his wake.
If that seems counter-intuitive, ask yourself what group of women would be more likely to comply with Matt Lauer’s requests to unbutton their blouses in his office: modern feminists, or their unenlightened predecessors from the 1930s or 1960s?
Mona Charen explains how feminism became so permissive:
Like the New Left they emerged out of, feminists joined hands with sexual revolutionaries in rejecting all of the old sexual mores…They agreed with the Playboy Foundation (a contributor to the NOW Legal Defense and Education Fund) that linking sex with morality at all was an outdated idea. And so professional feminists actually helped midwife the loose sexual culture we have today.
For the Matt Lauers and the Tavis Smileys, what’s not to love about that?
If there’s one common denominator to the scores of actors, news readers, and writers such as Charlie Rose, Mark Halperin, Ryan Lizza, and Leon Wiesletier who have fallen in the past few months, it’s that 90-something percent of them rank among feminism’s officer class of media influencers.
Femininity: the Enemy of Feminism
In an interview for Socrates in the City, the great Alice von Hildebrand, commenting on feminism’s endorsement of permissiveness that emerged after the sexual revolution said she realized long ago “that feminism [had become] the greatest enemy of femininity.”
The goal of feminism for the last half-century has been to turn women into men, and so, Hildebrand argues, the way to strike back against this androgynizing feminism and its predator field officers is through embracing femininity that celebrates the essential differences between men and women, especially feminine beauty, modesty, and mystery. (For a crash course on how this is done, begin by watching every minute of the entire hour and a half interview with von Hildebrand here.)
Von Hildebrand points out that when a little girl learns, following biblical models, to love the beauty of her body and to protect it through a modesty that gives rise to feminine mystery, men’s preferences and behaviors will follow suit. But this isn’t to say that men can afford to wait around. “I was forty years old,” Chambers wrote, “before I grasped…that Rabelais with his fais ce que vouldras had shattered the moral structure of European civilization.”
So men must begin their own counter-attack against feminism and its predators by learning, perhaps for the first time, the philosophical foundations of the gentleman so that they can learn to love the good gift of the feminine female that, for a half-century now, feminism has taught them to scorn.