The most salient fact about this alleged episode will never register on elite consciousness: the sexual free-for-all environment, which may or may not have given rise to an assault by Kavanaugh. The sexual revolution declared that the traditional restraints on the male libido — norms of male chivalry and gentlemanliness and of female modesty and prudence — were patriarchal and oppressive. Men should stop protecting women and putting them on a pedestal. Males and females were assumed to desire easy sex with equal fervor, and to be able to walk away from a one-night stand with equal complacency.

With regard to students, adults should remain nonjudgmental and as far out of the picture as possible. Chaperones were relegated to the relic pile, as fusty as a mothballed corset. Starting in the 1970s, affluent parents often absented themselves from their teenagers’ parties, leaving the house liquor cabinet unattended. Popular culture became hyper-sexualized.

The results were not pretty: the male libido, free to act as boorishly as it wanted; females getting drunk to reduce their innate sexual inhibitions, unprotected by any default assumptions against casual premarital sex. Whether a 17-year-old Brett Kavanaugh took advantage of this putative sexual liberation, many other teenagers have, and in so doing, merely followed the new script for sexual relations.