National Review insists Duggar family crimes are no reflection on cultural conservativism or Christianity

Progressives merely claim they are out of political convenience

By Scott Eric Kaufman
Published May 28, 2015 3:34PM (EDT)
In this Aug. 2, 2007 photo, Michelle Duggar is surrounded by her then only 17 children, and husband Jim Bob.                             (AP/Beth Hall)
In this Aug. 2, 2007 photo, Michelle Duggar is surrounded by her then only 17 children, and husband Jim Bob. (AP/Beth Hall)

National Review's Kevin D. Williamson takes issue with the progressive response to the Josh Duggar molestation allegations, claiming that the real hypocrites are not the stars of a reality television show who preach one behavior but practice another, but those on the left who refuse to address sexual abuse scandals when they occur outside of a Christian context.

According to Williamson, the first axiom progressives follow is that "[i]nstances of sexual abuse among Catholic clergy, conservative Protestants, the military, and police agencies tell us a great deal about the dysfunctional culture of those communities and institutions, and suggest avenues of reform."

The second, he contends, is that "[i]nstances of sexual abuse involving elite New York City schools, Upper East Side synagogues, 500 teachers every year overwhelmingly employed at public schools, trendy yoga factions, the homes of the children of artsy millionaires, etc., tell us basically nothing."

As proof, he offered the many instances in which progressives attacked the church and its patriarchal structure, and claimed that they were silent on the issue of sexual abuse in public schools, which he claims are matriarchal because the majority of public school principals are women.

He doesn't address the fact that a structure need not correspond to the gender of those within it -- especially when they work at the lower, local levels of the hierarchy -- but that's beside his point, which is that "the crimes of Josh Duggar tell us [nothing] about cultural conservatism or traditionalist Christianity."

Scott Eric Kaufman

Scott Eric Kaufman is an assistant editor at Salon. He taught at a university, but then thought better of it. Follow him at @scottekaufman or email him at

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Catholicism Feminism Kevin Williamson National Review Progressivism The Duggar Family