Disclaimer: Please note that in this article I do not presume Harvey Weinstein’s innocence or guilt in relation to several allegations of rape that he currently faces.
I am going to be perfectly honest, if you asked me a week ago who Harvey Weinstein was I would have said that I didn’t know. Nevertheless, this powerful movie mogul has dominated the news this week for his depraved sexual antics.
So far several big Hollywood stars including Gwyneth Paltrow, Angelina Jolie and Carla Delavigne have come out as victims of Weinstein’s unwanted advances. However, the reason why this story had gotten so much traction is that it taps into something much more powerful.
The fabled ‘casting couch’ system whereby female actresses swap sex for access to the film industry has been well known for decades. Yet this flurry of allegations does seem to represent a crucial turning point. The ramifications of which are unclear. There is something inherently vile about men like Mr Weinstein who abuse their position for sexual gratification. But Why?
The reason why Harvey Weinstein has attracted so much vitriol is that he was clearly abusing his position. The sexual exploitation and harassment of women (mostly) by people in powerful positions is unfortunately not limited to Hollywood.
Of course, people are already calling for a change in legislation. They claim that these incidents are inevitable when our society is dominated by men. The purpose of this article is not to discuss that assertion. I merely want to point out that legislation is not the right tool to address this issue.
For obvious reasons statistics in this area are hard to come by. But this is a problem that too many women have to put up with.
Culture is something that we should take very seriously. Many libertarians assume that if a libertarian-leaning government has been put in place, then a free society will eventually be established. However, my contention is that if a society is not receptive to libertarianism it will not work.
The values of freedom, egalitarianism, mutual respect and competence define liberty. However, without a strong state to help it, libertarianism cannot be imposed from above. To a certain extent, a society will already need to be operating on libertarian principles before a decisive political change occurs.
The cavorting of Harvey Weinstein makes a mockery of these principles. We are right to be angry at people who make women (it is mostly women) pass through such a humiliating ordeal. Mr Weinstein should be condemned in the strongest conceivable way.
What makes this issue more frustrating is that so many women felt like they were consigned to a code of silence. The idea that these victims should speak out and seek justice is not a radical left-wing message. Nor am I siding with certain groups and condemning all powerful men with the ‘toxic masculinity’ label.
On the contrary, encouraging people to stand up for their individual sovereignty is something that needs to happen in order for a free society to take root. By speaking out and condemning Mr Weinstein in the media and in the law courts; we keep the legislators out of our boardrooms, offices and film studios.
For the sake of freedom, I sincerely hope that more of these stories come to light in the near future. Culture is powerful, much more so than government writs. In order to create a more egalitarian and civilised society, we should encourage people to speak out against such ghastly abuses of power.