June 09, 2013

Source: Shutterstock

Well, according to the author of the article, as well as New York’s police commissioner, district attorney, and everybody else who is not too principled, or else not too lazy, to get involved with forty-year-old hearsay, poor old Mr. Berman molested his pupils. Now, one would”€™ve thought that the liberal-minded New Yorker was all in favor of child abuse”€”after all, if boys are not properly molested early enough in life, how will they know to grow up homosexual? How will they understand that, as consenting adults, they may exercise their free choice to molest others?

Less flippant, perhaps, is the reflection that New Yorkers of roughly the same mindset as the author of the New Yorker article instituted the elite school, where a century later Mr. Berman would come to teach, on the model of English public schools, where not only was homosexuality a constant of life, but authority, from master down to the lowest fag, was strictly vertical. Some would argue that abuse, in the broadest, not merely sexual sense, was what those schools were all about, while others would add that this has remained the case to the present day. So how can you have an exclusive British-style all-boys school where the boys are not abused and democratic egalitarianism reigns supreme?

None of this occurs to the article’s author, but this is not why the scandal so appositely illustrates Mr. Berman’s dictum that mediocrity, not vice, spells apocalypse for mankind. What illustrates it is that The American Conservative has since slavishly regurgitated the New Yorker article, arriving at pretty much the same oh-my-goodness-me conclusions: “€œThe unnerving thing about it was that this man, Mr. Berman, was a nut treated like a guru by the boys he favored.”€

Mr. Berman, incidentally, is still living. If he should read what I”€™m writing now, perhaps he may recall his own words to the effect that mediocrity’s capacity for cruelty is unequaled by that of any perversion”€”sexual or otherwise.



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