Ross Douthat has written an excellent column on the Rotherham rape crisis, where a Pakistani community in England contained about 1,400 rapes because authorities failed to respond to reports.
In a somewhat similar way, what happened in Rotherham was rooted both in left-wing multiculturalism and in much more old-fashioned prejudices about race and sex and class. The local bureaucracy was, indeed, too fearful of being labeled “racist,” too unwilling, as a former member of Parliament put it, to “rock the multicultural community boat.” But the rapes also went unpunished because of racially inflected misogyny among police officers, who seemed to think that white girls exploited by immigrant men were “tarts” who deserved roughly what they got.
Well said, Douthat, but he went on to make a point that I think speaks well of the harm and vileness that comes from hyper-aggressive social justice crusaders:
The point is that as a society changes, as what’s held sacred and who’s empowered shifts, so do the paths through which evil enters in, the prejudices and blind spots it exploits.
So don’t expect tomorrow’s predators to look like yesterday’s. Don’t expect them to look like the figures your ideology or philosophy or faith would lead you to associate with exploitation.
Expect them, instead, to look like the people whom you yourself would be most likely to respect, most afraid to challenge publicly, or least eager to vilify and hate.
Because your assumptions and pieties are evil’s best opportunity, and your conventional wisdom is what’s most likely to condemn victims to their fate.
In many cases, the counterculture is now the establishment, and former victims are forming lynch mobs.
Hat tip to Tyler Cowen for the link.