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In The Rebel, Camus presciently wrote, “One the day when crime dons the apparel of innocence- through a curious transposition peculiar to our times–it is innocence that is called upon to justify itself.”

Prescient indeed but also timeless.

Ironically, Camus wrote that the transposition was “peculiar to our times” and it turned out, in fact, not to be peculiar to those times but in fact apposite in 2018. Perhaps Camus was hopeful that change was coming, after all he lived and wrote in an era of decolonization, when the oppressed majority of the world outflanked their colonizers intellectually, morally, and in some cases militarily.  Camus must have believed that new times were being ushered in, times in which innocence would not have to justify itself and crime would be understood as, well, criminal.

Fast forward seven decades.

When asked by later generations how we would characterize these times, we’d have to say that these were the times of inversion, mendacity, and deceit.  Future generations (how many remain, who knows?) will lament that we managed to unwind centuries of progress in the conceptions of humanity and decency but also conspired in the fundamental alteration of the natural world, in a way that will only make the mendacious more powerful.  The innocence of the Earth itself has been asked to justify itself.  The mendacity-posing-as-philosophy continues seemingly unabated in the sadistic theater of reality.

Unless of course we decide to stop it,  bit by bit, as many good people have done  by exercising their civic duty in opposing the confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court of the United States.

A conservative white man with a history of violent behavior towards women, Kavanaugh showed his true color{s} for the entire world to see.  While he is the victimizer, he constructed himself as victim of a Left conspiracy to “destroy his life.”  With theatrics that would be booed in even the worst B-films, Kavanaugh prevaricated and screamed in order to secure one of the most powerful sinecures in the world, one with lasting and likely devastating consequences, and one ironically based on his ability to be a fair arbiter of the truth.    A scared victim of his bared her soul in public- for no chance of anything but indignity and threats—to discharge her civic duty and she’s being raked over the red-hot coals by ghoulish and Neanderthal figures who call themselves our leaders.  She, the victim, is being victimized.  He, the aggressor is being valorized.  Adding salt to the wound, dozens of people who Americans elected to represent them showed their own “Inner Kavanaugh” by stridently supporting him and casting him as the beleaguered party.

There is of course more.  Imagine for a moment that Kavanaugh’s indignance and anger were in fact not the product bad acting but were instead genuine.  This is in fact the worst scenario possible.  If this were the case, then he is in fact angry because he has to lie to cover up something he continues to feel he had every right to do.  This is the essence of violent male privilege- anger at not being able to use and humiliate girls and women as they please.  Like the Colonel in “A Few Good Men” who the lawyer knew wanted to admit to the crime because he felt he had the right to act with impunity, powerful men want to have to right both to do as they please and to not have to lie about it.  That what they “please” is molesting 15-year old girls is, well, another story.

It is not exaggeration to say that decency is under threat.  Misogyny is rampant.  Misogyny’s racial and environmental cognates are also in serious play to become the dominant philosophy of this era.  When crime dons the apparel of innocence and when that very innocence has to justify itself, we need to disrobe criminals and clothe innocence.

How loud must the tocsin sound before we realize that it’s too late to unring the bell?

Romi Mahajan is a writer from USA

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