I always wonder: Do they believe it? Or do they say it because they lack intellectual arguments?
I have come to believe that both are true. As a student of the left since graduate school at the Harriman Institute at Columbia University's School of International and Public Affairs, I am more aware than most people of how old and ubiquitous this mode of attack is. Since Josef Stalin got away with calling Leon Trotsky a fascist -- Trotsky, the father of the Bolshevik Revolution (along with Vladimir Lenin) and the founder of the Red Army -- the left has relied on defaming its opponents. And whatever it says often enough it comes to believe.
Moreover, the libel list never ends. The left may not produce liberty or prosperity, but it does produce labels. We now have "misogynist" and "transphobic," for example. In every single area where the left differs from the right, it assigns a label to the right.
This brings us to the constant charge that President-elect Donald Trump is a misogynist, a hater of women.
Like the other charges against him and those who voted for him, it is repeated so often -- by every liberal columnist and commentator; by CNN, MSNBC, The New York Times, the Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times and every other left-wing newspaper; and by all the left-wing Christian and Jewish clergy -- that people just assume it to be so.
Amazingly, there is little, if any, evidence to support the charge. The evidence supports charges of insensitivity, boorishness, crassness, immaturity and verbal impulsivity. But not misogyny.
Take the most infamous of the alleged proofs of Trump's misogyny: the 2005 recording of a private conversation between Trump and "Access Hollywood" host Billy Bush in which Trump said: "I'm automatically attracted to beautiful (women) -- I just start kissing them. It's like a magnet. Just kiss. I don't even wait. And when you're a star they let you do it. You can do anything. ... Grab them by the p----. You can do anything."
Why does that demonstrate misogyny? How is that hatred of women?
It's crass, juvenile, sexually aggressive, improper, etc. But in what way does it demonstrate hatred of women?
In fact, in his professional life, as reported during the campaign by the Washington Post, Trump was known for hiring women for the highest positions in the American real estate industry. Read the Post's Nov. 24, 2015, piece, "Donald Trump, a champion of women? His female employees think so."
Other proofs of Trump's misogyny are his insulting statements toward women. But for every one of those one can point to insulting comments he made toward men. Remember "Lyin' Ted" and "Little Marco" and his devastating put-downs of Jeb Bush? And nothing he has said to women is as bad as what he said during the campaign about Dr. Ben Carson, calling him incurably pathological and comparing him to a child molester.
So why do so many women -- and men -- call Trump a misogynist?
Because he has so often described women in sexual terms. Because, as the charge goes, he "objectifies" women.
Now, before responding to that, it is worth noting that this clearly disturbs college-educated women and men far more than it does those who did not attend college, which either means the college-educated are wiser on this matter, or the non-college-educated are wiser.
As in most matters, my position is that college makes most people less wise. You have to go to college to think that men who see women they find attractive as sex objects hate women. Throughout history, women understood that men sexually objectify women, that this is male nature and has nothing -- repeat, nothing -- to do with hatred. Only the well-educated equate sexual objectification with hatred.
If sexually objectifying women makes men haters of women, then gay men hate men, because gay men sexually objectify men exactly the same way heterosexual men objectify women.
If you have a problem with this -- and I can understand why people do -- you need to take it up with God or Charles Darwin. But this is how male sexual nature works: It objectifies the object of its sexual attraction -- male or female.
The good news is that every healthy male is capable of both respecting women and sexually objectifying them. Even Donald Trump.