From the French, l'enfant terrible originally referred to a child who embarasses his or her elders by ill-considered speech or behaviour. A fitting label then, for those feminists who interrupt the discourse of those concerned about rape, in order to politicise and ideologise the issue; those who seek not justice and prevention of the crime, but the dissemination of violently anti-male propaganda, conflating 'all men' with a minority of rapists, and advocating for barbaric forms of retribution.
The effect of their words goes far beyond a mere faux pas. The following was written by one such enfant terrible, and can be taken as a 'smoking gun' of sorts; an indication of the kind of world these people are trying to create:
The presumption of innocence, as it is not specifically iterated anywhere in the Constitution, will not attach to sex crimes. Instead, all individuals will be presumed to exist in a state of non-consent . . . . As such, defendants accused of sex crimes will bear the burden of proof, and will have to prove their innocence. There is a danger inherent in such a system that a few innocent men will be punished, and this is quite unfortunate. It is not, however, more unfortunate than men raping with impunity in epidemic proportions simply because their victims are unable to prove to a room full of misogynists that, despite the ridiculous presumption of a default state of consent, they did not consent to a sex act. Victims will decide whether a crime has occurred, and defendants will not. This might frighten men, some of whom will claim that women will use the law to punish men out of vengeance. That might happen once in awhile, but our job is to protect the largest number of people possible, and false rape accusations are about a hundredth as common as rapes that go unpunished (by my calculation.) . . . . Any defendant convicted of rape will be assumed to have proven he is incapable of responsibly exercising his sexuality in society. As such, the penalty for rape will be immediate and irreversible castration.A comment, left by another unruly child on the same piece:
I think the central point that the dudes ‘don’t get’ is that the majority of [advocates of this bizarre proposal] genuinely don’t care if [the] proposal is ‘not fair’ to the hypothetical falsely accused rapist of the post-revolution future.Upon reading this, I temporarily lost the ability to care about women being raped, and I am sure that most others will feel the same. As I encounter more and more hate speech along these lines, as I inevitably will, those places inside me which care about sexual violence against women will gradually die off altogether. So far, they've taken one hell of a beating. The short-term disgust I feel at this vile proposal translates into apathy over the long term, and I have good reason to doubt that I am in any way unique in this regard.
But no matter how indifferent I may become to the plight of sexually abused women, there is one fundamental difference between myself and the bigots cited above. Under no circumstances do I believe that members of the opposite sex should be treated unjustly simply for being members of the opposite sex. One thing which feminists absolutely fail to grasp, and have always absolutely failed to grasp, is that there is a distinction to be made between one's emotions of the moment, and an unerring respect for the principles of justice. Perhaps their underdeveloped minds cannot entertain the dichotomy, or perhaps, living as they do through the flux of feelings, they only experience the former, the latter existing as an intellectual abstraction beyond their reach. Fear not, for I can present a recent example from the UK to illustrate exactly what I mean.
Jon Venables, who in 1993 committed (with accomplice Robert Thompson) the horrific and infamous murder of two-year-old James Bulger, is back in the news. Venables and Thompson, children themselves when they committed the murder, never spent a day in an adult prison; Venables is now facing charges for an undisclosed sexual offence. The more impulsive members of the public are, predictably, baying for his blood, and I have no doubts that if a mob could find him, he would meet a violent end at the hands of vigilante rule.
I am not using Venables as an example because I sympathise with him. On the contrary, I do not; and I would continue in my indifference towards him if he were torn to pieces by a crowd, and this is precisely the point. Despite my own personal feelings, or lack thereof, such action would still be wrong. It would be wrong for reasons articulated by sociologist Max Weber: the state must possess the monopoly on the legitimate use of violence, else there can be no question of legitimacy at all. This is a point made as well by legal and political philosopher James Fitzjames Stephen. State-administered justice must stand in place of the private vengeance which would take place if we did not live in society. The dangers of allowing each to exact his or her own vengeance should be obvious: the right to legitimate violence would be bestowed upon each individual, a state of affairs which could no longer be considered 'society' at all. 'Right' in this instance is a misnomer, for rights are ultimately delivered at the point of force. If vigilantism is not forbidden, regardless of how justified it may seem to those cheering on the mob, social order is already lost, and the law has broken down. It becomes irrelevant, making it impossible to prosecute or convict any criminal; we would be in a Hobbesian state of nature, where the only law is that of the jungle. The strongest would rule, at the expense of the weaker, who would have no chance of securing justice or reparations for the transgressions made against them. Such a breakdown of the social order would unleash one thousand John Venables unto the world, all of whom would remain beyond the reach of justice and restraint; on the other hand, without proper legal procedures, misidentifications would result in the violent deaths of innocents. This would be the price of permitting vigilante action.
It is my contention that false rape accusations are vigilante action, of a more insidious sort than that which manifests as excited mobs. False accusations are vigilante piracy, using legal mechanisms which are designed to bring about justice, for the ends of personal vengeance and to deliberately bring about injustice. They are often committed by those women who feel 'wronged' in some way, although the men who are accused are typically innocent of any crime. It is to be expected that feminists will defend a woman's right to run to Big Daddy Government if she should feel the slightest upset, and that a man should pay the price out of all proportion. Plenty of behaviours which impact negatively on others are not, and should not, be crimes. This is apparently a sticking point for feminists, who wish to utilise the state to insure against any discomfort or misfortune whatsoever. But we must be clear: whatever 'wrong' a man may have done, a false accusation is a deeply serious crime, one which wrecks lives, tarnishes justice, perverts law and order, and leads us gradually to the breakdown which will unleash horrors onto the world that it should pain any balanced person to think of; perhaps even the vile proposal cited at the start, where innocent men would be routinely and systematically mutilated and imprisoned on the say-so of any vindictive female (or perhaps one who simply wants an alibi or attention). In keeping with the principles outlined above, although I have no sympathy whatsoever for false rape accusers, nor for those who call for the mutilation of innocent men, and would perhaps even take some amount of solace upon hearing the news that such people had been torn to pieces by an angry mob, this can never be allowed to happen. False rape accusers must be punished – and harshly – through the justice system. But even punishments delivered through the state must be subject to restrictions. Although far from perfect, the justice system has evolved in theory and practice over centuries, and there is much which must be preserved, given its effectiveness at delivering fair outcomes and reparations in other areas. Those who advocate for such brutal punishments as bodily mutilation seek to overturn hundreds of years of progress towards civilisation, and to return to the standards of an age in which women were drowned or burned alive, for being falsely accused of witchcraft. Indeed, the vile proposal above is not without precedent, but belongs to an age of barbarity which humanity has long since surpassed. Furthermore, it would be stupid to assume that legally-sanctioned physical torture would stop there. One should expect to see the return of iron maidens and other torture devices. One should expect that thieves – or indeed, alleged thieves – would have their hands removed in order to prevent them from stealing again. I assume that the person who wrote the cited proposal would not mind at all if she were to wake up one day in her utopia, to be faced with a court order that she is to be fitted with a scold's bridle. Since she endorses this kind of treatment, and her speech is surely troublesome, I can only assume that she would happily accept this as punishment for running her mouth.
But in 2010, I think it is fair to say that vile speech is not a matter for the criminal law. The unruly children, who cannot separate their subjective emotional states from an objective, grounded conception of justice, should simply be humiliated. They should be laughed at, scorned and shunned by all who believe that the law should serve all people, the best that it can, and should take every precaution to never punish one who is innocent. This is a matter more important than punishing the guilty. In the 1760s, the English jurist William Blackstone stated that it is "better that ten guilty persons escape than that one innocent suffer." A true principle of justice is this: the law cannot touch a hair on the head of an innocent, and this is more important than seeing any guilty person punished. This is not to say, of course, that the guilty should go unpunished. Every action must be taken to punish the guilty, restricted by the respect due to the liberty of those who have done no wrong. It is ironic, if sickening, that feminism, a movement and an ideology which so frequently touts its commitment to liberty, violates and desecrates the principle of respect for the freedom of innocent men. Who could seriously argue that the vile proposal above is any less authoritarian than the worst of patriarchies?
For those who do not care for justice at all, only for the goodies that their group may get – or for the evils delivered to another group, identified as their enemies – they have proved themselves unworthy of engaging in discourse on these matters. They are les enfants terribles, and will need to learn some manners before the rest of society can take them seriously. The kneejerk response to this is that disallowing unorthodox views at the adults' table is tantamount to restricting the discourse. True though this is, it is entirely justified, on the same grounds that we laugh off those whose contributions to discussions on immigration involve gas chambers and the same kind of sweeping generalisations. The analogy is apt, because to this type of feminist, men are as the Jews were to the Nazis. Nazi, like feminist, is a political identity adopted at will; man, like Jew, is an immutable fact of birth. Like the Nazis, this certain type of feminist wishes to maim or kill every member of that birth group, as though the individual members lack moral agency, and are all automatically guilty. (This begs the question, of course: if no man is a moral agent, how could any individual man be held accountable for any of his own actions? Feminism is metaphysically absurd, an emotional ideology forever in flux.)
To those who would deny this, I suggest that the misandry is so prevalent as to be invisible. The kind of language used – that it would be merely "unfortunate" for innocent men to be permanently mutilated – is echoed by a recent false rape case in which the false accuser, caught on secret video, lamented that it was "unfortunate" for two innocent men to now be sitting in prison on her lie, but that part of the lie was necessary for her to commit vigilante piracy against a third. In both cases, men's lives, their liberties, their identities, are merely instrumental for someone else's greater plan. Nothing indicates cultural misandry and hatred of the male more than this: the instrumentalisation of man, that he does not exist in his own right but for the use of another, and he may be thusly ruined for their sake.
The barbarisation of l'enfants terribles; vigilante piracy and the breakdown of justice; the instrumentalisation of man. This is the future we face when we allow the worst of criminal atrocities to be minimised and trivialised as little white rape lies.