Welcome to Alex in Femiland: A Politically Incorrect Novel of Morals. This novel exposes some of the insidious ways in which political correctness, particularly radical feminism, destroys human relationships and human lives.

Sunday, February 5, 2012



Let me begin with another true case. A girl performs brilliantly in a humanities class during the fall semester. She seems to love the subject and admire the professor. She tells him she is unhappy with her practical major. She loves the humanities but her parents would not hear of her changing to that field. She particularly likes to write poetry and fiction. The professor offers to critique her literary work. She brings him one of her poems. He makes several suggestions as to how to improve it and shows her one of his published poems so she can see how he approaches writing poetry. They agree to meet again to discuss writing further. Before that happens, however, she becomes ill and is diagnosed with cancer. She cries inconsolably in his office, in a panic that she is going to die. The professor explains to her that her type of cancer is dangerous but treatable, which apparently her doctor had not made clear. The professor makes all sorts of allowances so she can complete the requirements for his class. Attendance is mandatory, for example, but he makes himself available for her to come to his office to discuss the course material at times when her treatment allows it, including a Sunday afternoon. During those meetings the girl often breaks down and sobs out of control. The professor is very sympathetic but also very restrained, for he is aware of the dangers posed by political correctness.

After the semester ends the girl goes back to her country of origin to receive the critical part of her treatment there. She writes to the professor that the treatment is not going well. The professor answers offering encouragement. During the next six months he sends her two short, compassionate messages, telling her that people back at the university are wishing her well and hoping that she will be back in the fall, arguing with others to her heart’s content. They are the e-mail equivalent of get-well cards. He does not receive an answer. He does not know whether she is dead, or too sick or too depressed to tend to her e-mail. Towards the end of the summer, as he drives around campus to get to a meeting, he thinks he sees her. Later he calls her phone and leaves a message to the effect that he hopes it is indeed her, for that would mean that the treatment worked. He does not receive a reply.

Later in the fall he runs into her when he is running to class. She tells him that the treatment has not been really all that successful but she is back anyway. He asks her to please stop by his office to give him more details, if she is up to it. Then he sends her an e-mail telling her when he is available for her to stop by. The professor feels a lot of compassion for his unfortunate former star student and is very worried about her.

Not long afterwards, the professor is told to see an administrator. The administrator tells him that the girl has filed charges of sexual harassment against him. The professor is shocked. There has been absolutely nothing of a sexual nature between him and this girl. Nothing. From him she has received, first, intellectual stimulation, and, then, kindness. What is the evidence? The he gave her a poem. And that he wrote her an e-mail even though she had not answered his previous two e-mails. The “evidence” is silly beyond belief. She does not point to any gestures or words by him that even remotely suggest “an act of a sexual nature,” as sexual harassment supposedly demands. But it doesn’t matter. He now has to respond to such bizarre, moronic accusations. Why would an administrator even bother with such silliness? Because if he doesn’t, the university could get sued. So he has to take the complaint seriously.

Had the girl tried the same stunt in her country of origin, or in most countries for that matter, she would have been laughed out of the place. Of course, had she not become corrupted by American academic culture, the notion would not have occurred to her. But it did occur to her. Compassion is one of the noblest of human sentiments. But in the climate of suspicion created by feminist political correctness, it is met with the worst of human sentiments: hatred.

I know of another girl who behaved in a similarly reckless manner 20 years earlier. Eventually the institution told her that her behavior had been highly irresponsible and, should it be repeated, it could lead to drastic consequences. 20 years later the administrator has to solve the “problem.” The professor has to agree to an “informal resolution” or else he has to put up with the scandal, a scandal in which he will be considered guilty by the “community,” even if he is actually found innocent. So he agrees. But it does him no good. The girl goes around telling everyone she meets on campus that he sexually harassed her. Girls are now afraid of him.

What should he have done instead? He should have sued her for defamation of character. But it is hard to sue someone who is suffering from cancer. Compassion wins again. And compassion loses again.

Welcome to the blue nose of academia. Accusations could be completely crazy and yet they have to be taken seriously. Indeed, they need not be accompanied by evidence, not even by made-up evidence. In the case I have narrated, what the girl brought up was laughable. Laughable. This feminist hysteria has led to the firing of many decent men, as I have mentioned previously. To be fair, it has also led to the firing of a few decent lesbians too.

To make matters worse, such hysteria extends even beyond sexual harassment to “date rape.” At another university a girl accused a boy of “date rape.” It was her word against his. The university promptly expelled him. But someone who is too dumb to understand the nature of political correctness went to the police. The girl ended up telling her story to the police. They started an investigation. The investigation led to an arrest warrant against the girl. Obviously the police believed that she had lied. Even then the university administration refused to reconsider the expulsion of the boy.

First you create a climate of suspicion against men. They are out to sexually harass college girls. The poor darlings have to exercise constant vigilance. So accusations are going to come easily. It is practically a duty. And then self-righteous administrators take over. Professors get fired. Going to court is not a very hopeful proposition. We have already seen how the courts set the constitution aside in their trumpeting rush to come to the aid of the “victims.” Some day we will be ashamed.

Monday, January 23, 2012



One of the most insidious aspects of the present political correctness on campus is the puritanical hysteria that now establishes the guidelines for the relations between the sexes. I will argue that such Puritanism is indeed properly described as hysterical, that it threatens academic freedom and civil liberties, and that it hinders the cause for the equality of women.

Speaking about these subjects is very painful. It is painful because it will upset many friends whose goodwill means a great deal to me and for whom I have the highest respect. Nonetheless it seems to me that it is imperative to criticize their views, views which have become quite prevalent among those who feel deeply about the goals of feminism, and among some others who have very lofty ideals about the nature of teaching. It is painful because I had never imagined that the day would come when questioning the intellectual grounds for a point of view might lead to personal censure. And it is painful because as I realize that these things must be said, I also realize that they must be said plainly and in a very personal way. I would rather hide behind the euphemisms under which these topics are often discussed, and thus not risk being thought crude, gross, and offensive, in addition to politically incorrect. But I can’t.

If men and women are to be truly equal in academic life, or in any professional endeavor, they must be able to work side by side, and they must be able to participate and be treated as full human beings. This seems plausible enough, but apparently it isn't. For a full human being is, among other things, a sexual being. This means that some of those men and women together at work or higher education will be attracted to each other, will fall in love, or at least will want to engage in sexual relations. But this unavoidable consequence of bringing together men and women is highly unpalatable to the makers of the present climate of opinion. They feel that sexual allure or tension creates an atmosphere that makes inevitable the oppression of women, and so they move to eradicate what they see as the cause of the problem. Although the ramifications of this attitude affect many areas of campus life, I cannot discuss them all in this article. I will concentrate on the worst possible case: sex between professors and their students.

On my former campus, and to some extent on my present campus also, as on most other universities and liberal arts colleges across the country, most male professors, and many female professors, leave their office doors open when they are talking to students of the opposite gender -- "you have to protect yourself," they say (I always prefer to make a point of closing the door, whatever the gender of the student, as used to be required when I first became a professor: to protect the student’s privacy). In a place that emphasizes close contact between professors and students, the advice on how to protect yourself could fill volumes. Professors are terribly afraid of being accused of sexual harassment. I, for one, worry about it whenever I have a personal or academic problem with a female student. But there is also a generalized fear that even students with whom you have hardly spoken may accuse you, for in the present obsession with sex practically any remark in class or at a social event may be seen as potentially seductive, and thus as requiring chastisement. When I came to this country in the sixties I felt liberated, freed from the prudishness of my native Colombia. But now I feel the same sort of burden that Sister Victoria placed on the boys of my first grade class, when she repeatedly sent us to rip the glossies used for advertisement in the movie theatre across the street from the school - particularly offensive were those photos showing men and women dancing, or worse, kissing (remember all those porno musicals of the fifties, and those perverted flicks with Cary Grant?). That is a sick way to live. But that is the way we are expected to live as academics in this country.

This description of the situation may seem too outrageous, but I will back it up in the postings to follow. Indeed, I will claim that the situation is actually more outrageous than that: the present attitudes encourage some students to make up false and malicious charges against their professors. The result is a climate of fear and intimidation comparable only to that which exists in the universities of countries ruled by religious tyranny.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012



Nothing in academia brings as quick and sanctimonious a condemnation as the revelation that a professor, normally a male, has engaged in a romantic relationship with one of his students, normally a female. If you get caught, your career is over. Plain and simple, as I have heard many administrators state firmly, self-righteous chests rising to announce their determination to protect all those vulnerable co-eds from the nerdy predators who lust after them.

Yet when I was a student, and during the first part of my career as a professor, there was nothing outrageous about professors marrying their students, let alone dating them. When I was an undergraduate, I remember, one of my classmates would brag about leaving her lover’s bed to go to his seminar. And another had the personal goal of trying to seduce all of her philosophy professors. It is strange to think that today’s society finds that those two poor girls had their civil rights violated by the professors they managed to get into bed. Of course, we now live in enlightened times.

In the next few postings I would like to examine this new taboo. But lest people think that I just wish to shock for the hell of it, I would like to begin today with an example -- an extreme example of a love affair between a teacher and one of his students. They first meet when she is 13 years old. By the time she is 15 they are madly in love and they decide to get married. Had this love affair taken place today, the teacher would be sent to prison and branded a sexual predator for the rest of his life. And television pundits would squeeze their bleeding hearts for every drop while expounding on the horrible psychological damage done to the poor victim, the more so the fewer signs of resentment she shows against her former teacher.

Certainly, this example complicates matters quite a bit, for it carries sexual harassment into the criminal dimension. And the fact that it is a true case only shows that in former days women were so brainwashed by society that they accepted their exploitation at the hands of men without much complaint. But thanks to women’s liberation, women no longer must settle for lives without dignity. Surely, had that girl not been so victimized, who knows what she could have accomplished, let alone how happy she might have been.

Let me tell you what happened to her, and you will understand why I like this example so much. As it turns out, she became an intellectual leader of women’s liberation, a thinker respected around the world, a Pulitzer Prize and a Medal of Freedom Award winner. Being the beneficiaries of today’s progressive thinking, we might imagine that she was motivated to save other women from the terrible ordeal that she had to overcome. But surprisingly, she felt extremely fortunate instead.

She was Ariel Durant, the wife of the famous American intellectual Will Durant, a man who devoted his life to intellectual and moral integrity. Yes, the very man who explained that “To be one's 'deliberate self' meant to 'rise above' the impulse to 'become the slaves of our passions' and instead to act with 'courageous devotion' to a moral cause."[1] So, what did Ariel Durant have to say about that sordid episode and the effects it had on her life? In a recording she made with her husband when they were both elderly, she said the following to him:

Every once in a while I had to go off and be myself and do my own adventures and I came back and I met people and we exchanged ideas, and meanwhile I was growing all the time. When you met me, Will, I was a tabula rasa, and you knew that it was because I knew nothing that you could make something of me. And because you knew that I was good for you; that my adventurous spirit, my energies, and my desire to know everything; I would fill myself up and I would bring it to you. You were stationary, you had to sit all the time; you had to read the words of books, the great knowledge in the world, and I had to go out and meet people, gather adventures and bring every kind of personality to you. I introduced you, didn’t I, to all the artists that were in Greenwich Village? I brought them to your table – you never knew with whom you were going to eat, did you? I brought them all to you from Woodstock. We had great adventures, but I brought the world to you so that, though you were learning the world from books, you had not had many adventures because you were almost like a little monk. From the age of four to the age of twenty-seven -- when you were excommunicated -- you knew nothing but Church history, Church philosophy and the word of God, but did you know much about the word of man? Did you know much about what man was around you, or everywhere within us? I was the adventure in your life and I brought you this life, and what did you do for me? You educated me; you quieted my wild blood. You brought unity and meaning to our lives so that now, after 59 years of marriage you have toned me down so that I may be a helpmate to you and I have been so happy to think that, as I believe in the Woman’s Liberation Movement, women should go shoulder-to-shoulder with men. I was so happy the first time that I saw my name with yours in the books that we were working on together for so many years. So many years of research and labor and love before we could see our names united before the whole world as representative of the unity that a man and woman can achieve and must achieve – and will achieve all over the world. I believe the time is right for all that -- with or without a Woman’s Liberation Movement. If you have character, endeavor, personality, courage and the capacity for concentrated labor, you will do what is your destiny – and, perhaps, even do it well. And for so much of the life that we have lived together, learning, contributing to each other’s way of life and character and considering the complexity of the universe, I have so many years of happy memories. And so much of it I believe I have to thank you for, Will. Not only all the attractions of a husband and a lover, but the deep companionship that has developed between us so that we almost have one breath, one life, one interest.[2]

[1] Rubin, Joan Shelley. The Making of Middlebrow Culture, Univ. of North Carolina Press (1992)

[2] www.willdurant.com/ariel.htm

Monday, December 19, 2011



I should not fail to mention Vinson, the unfortunate Supreme Court decision that gave us the infamous "hostile environment" version of sexual harassment. The plaintiff had claimed that she had suffered all sorts of indignities at the hands of a supervisor in the bank where she worked, including being raped repeatedly in the bank’s restroom. Talk about a truly hostile environment! Of course, if her charges were true, the man had committed all manner of felonies and should be sent to jail. Had the criminal justice system failed her, she could have still sued the supervisor in civil court for the damages ensuing from his assaults. This is what the families of O.J. Simpson’s victims did. Vinson tried a new approach instead. The puzzle is, why did a rather conservative Court invent a new legal offense when traditional criminal and legal remedies were at hand?

The result is a legal and social nightmare in which large sections of the population are often deprived of their constitutional rights to free speech and due process, and in which companies all over the country settle obviously bogus cases for an average of about $65,000, because it is a lot cheaper than going to trial, and because they run the clear risk of a bizarre verdict whenever sexual harassment is involved.

It should be mentioned again that Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 mentions absolutely nothing about sexual harassment. Such words are not used and nothing remotely approaching the description of it appears anywhere in the Act. This is an area of constitutional law invented by the courts under the influence of feminist political correctness.

Strictly speaking, sexual harassment law can be justified only by making a strong analogy between sexual harassment and racial discrimination. But the intended analogy turns out to be spurious, as we have seen earlier. Therefore the presumed justification is also spurious. Sexual harassment law, as a subset of discrimination law, is a very serious constitutional mistake.

Thursday, December 8, 2011



Clearly, what constitutes a hostile environment is more subject to political fashion than seems constitutionally permissible. Some years ago the Court struck down many death-penalty statutes for far less vagueness than this. It is this vagueness, however, that fuels the fires of political correctness and makes "hostile environment" into the source of the overwhelming majority of accusations and lawsuits concerning sexual harassment.

Nevertheless, for some strange reason, when sexual harassment is mentioned most people still think of the quid pro quo variety. The image that comes to mind is that of the boss telling his secretary that if she does not go to bed with him, he will fire her. This seems so much more damaging than "hostile environment." But is it a form of discrimination? No.

Most sexual harassment codes distinguish between two kinds of quid pro quo. In the traditional kind, the use of threats to obtain sexual favors, reasonable people ought to agree that it is impermissible. But two points must be made. First, there were already laws against it before anyone ever heard of sexual harassment. For such behavior is nothing other than extortion. A college professor in a private university in Southern California was recently found guilty of extortion in a criminal case. His crime was to extort money from foreign students by threatening to flunk them in his classes. Second, no one thought of accusing him also of discrimination, even though the students involved were not white. Analogously, the lecherous boss is not making his secretary a victim of discrimination. He is making her a victim of extortion.

The other alleged kind of quid pro quo sexual harassment is that in which the "harasser" accepts sexual favors in payment for hiring, promotion, or good grades. This is clearly unacceptable conduct, but how could it possibly be a form of discrimination? The situation is not different from that of a city official who takes bribes from a hoodlum. When the official gets caught he should go to jail for corruption, but surely not for violating the civil rights of the hoodlum!

Were the male boss to offer promotions or office perks in exchange for sexual favors — instead of issuing threats — he may be guilty of solicitation of prostitution. Were the woman to accept, she may be guilty of prostitution. But once again, this is not an instance of discrimination.

Some may worry about the arbitrary behavior that women may suffer in retaliation if they fail to satisfy their bosses’ sexual appetite. For example, after a nice affair, Mary tires of Peter, her boss, and starts dating the new man in the mail room instead. Peter begins to give her bad reviews and eventually has her fired. Shouldn’t there be a law against such behavior? Perhaps there should be. But it would be part and parcel of a more general labor law that protects employees from arbitrary behavior, not an instance of a law against discrimination. To see the point consider this other example. Peggy and Nancy have been best friends since high school. After graduating from college they both go to work for the same company, where they continue their friendship even though Peggy is promoted quickly and becomes Nancy’s supervisor. Enter the picture Roberta. Nancy and Roberta hit it off and become best friends. Peggy feels excluded and resentful. After a while she begins to give Nancy bad reviews and eventually has her fired. Her actions are arbitrary, but it would be really far-fetched to say that they are discriminatory. By analogy we can also see that Peter’s actions against Mary are arbitrary but not discriminatory. Notice also that Peter might direct his anger against the new man in the mail room, just as Peggy could make Roberta’s life miserable. Objectionable? Yes. Should there be a law? Perhaps. Is it discrimination? No.

Of course, if it is not discrimination, then the Civil Rights Act of 1964 cannot be used to justify any such legislation, either from Congress or from the federal bench.

Sunday, November 27, 2011



On a court decision concerning sexual harassment, Justice Scalia writes confidently that the "reasonable person" requirement is "sufficient to ensure that courts and juries do not mistake ordinary socializing in the workplace - such as male-on-male horseplay or intersexual flirtation - for discriminatory conditions of employment." He should tell that again to a country in which reckless eyeballing has finally been made into a federal crime. In practice the "reasonable person" requirement has often been replaced by the "self-righteous, politically-correct person" standard. The example of the university employee’s posted cartoon, as well as thousands and thousands of other examples, show that what constitutes a hostile environment is more subject to political fashion than seems constitutionally permissible.

According to Justice Scalia himself, sexual harassment was legally born because Title VII "evinces a congressional intent to strike at the entire spectrum of disparate treatment of men and women in employment ..." In this receptive mood, the Court bought the peculiar feminist notion that sex is a man’s best weapon to keep a woman down.

The feminist rationale for sexual harassment law does expose one form of discrimination. Take, for instance, the notion that where a power differential exists consent is not freely given. For many influential feminists both John and Peter are guilty of discrimination since they both have supervisory power over Mary. This view has made its way into the sexual harassment guidelines of many colleges and businesses as a flat-out prohibition against romantic involvements between supervisors and those under their supervision. Notice, however, how this view militates against the legal equality of men and women. For it implies that an adult woman is incapable of making wise decisions about the most intimate aspects of her life, and that therefore the state has the duty to step in and safeguard her. In short, women workers and women college students are to be made wards of the state.

Women are thus made into a "protected" group (that is how they are treated by the Federal agencies that enforce Title VII and Title IX), just as affirmative action has made a variety of racial minorities into "protected" groups. The consequence is that women and men no longer receive equal protection under the law. At its heart, then, the very justification for sexual harassment law involves discrimination against men.

Notice that the feminist rationale could not have yielded all this body of law unless, as Yale law professor Vicky Schultz, points out, "The courts said harassment was sex bias because the advances were rooted in a sexual attraction that the harasser felt for a woman but would not have felt for another man." When such a rationale, adopted as a measure against men, leads to laws whose protections are later extended to men, and now homosexuals, we are deprived of all reasons, even bad reasons, for such laws, as I will explain in the Appendix below. For abuse of power by itself may be reprehensible, and in some cases illegal, but it need not be discriminatory. As I will argue in a future article, not even quid pro quo harassment can be shown to be discriminatory, although on occasion it amounts to extortion, which is already covered by other laws.

In defense of the prohibition against sex between supervisors and their powerless female charges, some observers draw analogies to the profession of psychiatry, in which it is considered unprofessional for a doctor to engage in sexual relations with his patients. Nevertheless, realize that the doctors are seen as harming their patients, not as discriminating against them. And their patients, by the very fact that they are mental patients, are supposed to suffer from diminished mental capacity. But I do not suppose even feminists would suggest that a woman suffers from diminished mental capacity by the mere act of becoming a university student or getting a job in an office.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Sexual Harassment Law is Unconstitutiional (1)


A recent case at a state university in Washington illustrates at least two unconstitutional aspects of the sexual harassment law that plagues North America: A staff member was found guilty of sexual harassment for posting on his door a cartoon that depicted a buxom secretary saying to a friend, "if they are not dateable, it is sexual harassment."

The first aspect is the disanalogy between sexual harassment and true racial or sexual discrimination. This is critical because, historically and constitutionally, the only justification for sexual harassment law is that sexual harassment constitutes discrimination on the basis of sex. [Title VII and Title IX of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 provide the justification for prohibiting discrimination on the basis of sex, although the 14th Amendment already did that. Neither Title VII nor Title IX mention sexual harassment, though]

In the case of racial discrimination an employer denies a job to a black man because he is black. Or when the black man is given the job he is nevertheless exposed to disadvantageous terms or conditions of employment to which white employees are not exposed. In either situation there is intent to do harm to someone because of his race. Analogously, a woman may be denied a job because she is a woman, or she may be subjected to constant hostility, because she is a woman, with the intent of making it difficult for her to do well in her job, and actually often with the intent of making her quit. That is true discrimination on the basis of sex.

But the case of sexual harassment is quite different. Peter, a male supervisor, and Mary from the typing pool are working late together. At one point they look into each other’s eyes and Peter comes to believe that Mary desires him. On an impulse he grabs her, kisses her passionately on the mouth, and proceeds to caress her intimately. As it turns out his belief is correct and Mary responds to his kiss and caresses just as passionately. The beginning of an office romance.

Suppose, however, that Peter cannot work that night and another male supervisor, John, has taken his place. At some point John and Mary look into each other’s eyes and John, honestly believing that Mary desires him, grabs her, kisses her on the mouth, and proceeds to caress her intimately. Unfortunately John has read Mary wrong: She does not desire him. Mary runs out of the office crying. The next morning she files sexual harassment charges against John. Since there was serious, unwanted physical contact, John is a good as gone. In most offices and campuses he will lose his job, and few courts are likely to let him off the hook.

Notice that such duality of outcome (wanted vs. unwanted) is not possible in the case of racial harassment. Although individual sensibilities vary, the same actions, when perceived as stemming from the same intentions, are not going to be received with extreme favor when coming from one individual and with extreme disfavor when coming from another. It is not an objection to point out that a black man who hears a racist remark may make allowances in the case of a white man who has been kind to him in the past. For Mary is not making any allowances in the case of Peter. His advances were perfectly wanted. Normal women do want at least some men to make advances to them (and some women do want passionate advances). But normal black people do not want racist actions to be taken against them.

Had John been considered dateable by Mary, his job would not be in jeopardy. The constitutional issue is not what we may think of John’s conduct, but rather whether he discriminated against Mary. Did he, by his kiss, intend for Mary to fail at her job? Were his actions prompted by hostility against Mary as a woman? No and no. The analogy to racial discrimination is spurious.

The second unconstitutional aspect is the scandalous vagueness of the criteria by which people, mostly men, may be found guilty of harassment, particularly of the "hostile environment" variety. A feminist professor at Penn State demands that the print of Goya’s "La Maja Desnuda" be taken out of a classroom because it constitutes hostile environment. Penn State complies. A doctor is accused of harassment by a nurse because he wears only shorts and a shirt when he leaves his office at the hospital to go jogging. A professor at San Bernardino Community College is fired for asking his class to write a paper on whether pornography should be legal. A Federal judge concurs with the college, claiming that the First Amendment must take a back seat to the intent of Title IX.

Of course, such reading of the intent of Title IX requires a great deal of creativity on the part of the judge, since no one had anything like sexual harassment in mind when the Civil Rights Act was passed.

But what is even worse is to have a Federal court, whose mandate is to uphold the constitution, decide that some law passed by Congress abrogates the First Amendment. If the intent of Title IX does conflict with the constitution, it should have been the judge’s duty to throw out Title IX.