The Measure of All Things?

Someday I shall write a great feminist novel urging women to gird on their armor and kill all the men. That would give them a few years of peace before they (the women) died off. Then the monkeys could begin evolving again—perhaps with better results than they have obtained so far.
—Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings
Those children I never wanted to have—if only they knew what happiness they owe me!
—E. M. Cioran

The morning newspaper with a cup of coffee is a lifelong habit I’ve never been able or eager to break. But there are mornings, not few enough, when I feel like burning my birth certificate and resigning from the human race. On page 2 of this morning’s local paper, I read about a fifty-six-year-old man pleading guilty to the rape of three girls who were all under the age of ten when he assaulted them. This creature, I assumed, occupied a very low rung on the socioeconomic ladder. But in the New York Times, the same morning, I read about a similar predator from the opposite end of that ladder—the Canadian fashion tycoon Peter Nygard, charged with twenty-five years of trapping, raping, and trafficking underage females.

On the same page in the Times business section was a story about the $75 million that JPMorgan Chase Bank will pay the Virgin Islands for helping to bankroll the international pedophilia of America’s own Nygard, the late Jeffrey Epstein. The bank had previously settled a class-action suit by paying $290 million to two hundred victims of the unspeakable Epstein, whose trafficking operation might have implicated two American presidents, as well as a royal prince of Great Britain. An even more spectacular sex offender was the “sports doctor” Larry Nassar, sentenced to life in prison for molesting several generations of America’s most gifted female gymnasts when they were teenagers.

“Everywhere the ceremony of innocence is drowned,” wrote Yeats, who in the same poem, “The Second Coming,” wrote, “The best lack all conviction, while the worst are full of passionate intensity,” a lament that never rang more true than it rings in the USA (and worldwide?) today. This essay will not be about pedophilia or rape, except as chronic symptoms of human depravity. But sex crimes epitomize the ruthless, relentless selfishness—the empathy vacuum—at the heart of the human dilemma. And pedophiles, second only to murderers, are criminals who deserve the most severe punishment and isolation from the rest of the human race.

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