Monday, October 1, 2018

Innocent Until Proven

Living according to principle is a good thing, generally. Better than random and unprincipled living. But what if you’re living by principles that are not true? That leads you to bad ends. Possibly harmful to yourself and others.

We’re witnessing an example. Some of us live by the freedom principle of “innocent until proven guilty,” with equality before the law, rather than preferential treatment for certain classes. Some others of us live by a different principle: “Always believe women accusers.” Notice the lack of evidence and the presence of special class.

Found on Facebook. Credited to Occupy Democrats Logic

They’re using the phrase “Always believe the survivor.” But a person is a survivor only if they actually went through something to survive. You don’t know they’re a survivor just because they’re alive, because you don’t know what they’ve gone through.

How do you come to know what they’ve gone through? Their say so and other evidence. You can’t just delete “and other evidence” because of their tribe, such as their being female.

Senator Feinstein corners Senator
Murkowski between testimonies
Thurday, image found here
The principles of freedom that we adhere to, that are embodied in our Constitution, aren’t the normal way for humans throughout history. They’re a rare discovery, a way to perpetuate the occasional decent society. The norm in human experience is tyranny, poverty, and savagery. Those things are easy to get. Freedom, prosperity for the masses, and civilization are rare, and ought to be treasured and protected.

When people yell at our senators in elevators that they have to believe the survivor because she’s a woman, or collar our senators in the hallways, and then our senators weaken—we have reason to be upset about that. This isn’t about one Supreme Court nominee; this is about the rule of law and the maintenance of our 230-year experiment in self-governing through a constitutional republic of limited government and guaranteed rights—rather than the alternative of any popular flavor of tyranny.

How do we know the “always believe the woman accuser” principle is false? Evidence. History.

Let’s start way back. Joseph was falsely accused by his slave master Potiphar’s wife, for which he was imprisoned. Michelle Malkin recounts this story on a Facebook live. She says,

"Joseph and Potiphar's Wife" by Guido Reni, 1630
image from Wikipedia
The sad fact is that people—yes, that includes women—tell lies about all sorts of things all the time. And, yes, that includes lies about sexual harassment, assault, and rape. Women have told these types of lies from the beginning of time.
Other examples include Emmitt Till, a 14-year-old black boy from Chicago, visiting relatives in the south in the 1950s, accused of raping a white woman—absolutely falsely accused. Obviously so at the time, but racial prejudice led powerful people to disregard his human value and set his murderers free. In 2007 his accuser admitted she had lied. Too late.

Emmett Till
Meme found on Facebook, credited to Penny Whitehead

More recently there’s the Duke Lacrosse players, and football player Brian Banks

Brian Banks
Meme found on Facebook, credited to Stanley Trump Ziel

And this story, of a man who spent 28 years of a 48-year sentence after being falsely accused of rape—even though the actual perpetrator was named at the time. The accuser had a dream, and this guy’s face came to mind, so she recounted her previous story and blamed this man. The real perpetrator eventually confessed, leading to the case being overturned.  

Clarence Moses-EL, who spent 28 years in prison
after being falsely accused of rape.
Image from here.

And let’s not forget this one, which is eerily similar to the current witch hunt—and which has proven over time that character certainly wasn’t the problem: Justice Clarence Thomas

Clarence Thomas, during his nomination hearing
screen shot from here

In literature, we have To Kill a Mockingbird, which looks very similar to the Emmitt Till story. We like to think we would be on the side of Atticus Finch, the lawyer who defended the accused. But if you’re the kind of person who believes Christine Blasey Ford only because she’s a woman accuser, and you’re ignoring her lack of evidence, including the refutation of her story or refusal to corroborate by all her named witnesses, up against Brett Kavanaugh’s life reputation, contemporaneous evidence (calendar), six previous deep FBI character investigations, many character witness who have known him for decades both in work and private situations, and his own testimony—then I can guarantee you are the very kind of person who would have sided against Atticus Finch’s accused, and against Emmitt Till, because tribe means more to you than truth.

from the movie To Kill a Mockingbird, with updated graphics
Meme found on Facebook, credited to Fred McCarty

And that’s why we don’t want you or anyone like you to have power over us. You are not fit for causing anything but tyranny.

What does your tyranny of tribe look like for real humans? Take a look at what you’re doing to a good man and his family. Ted Cruz talked about what Kavanaugh meant by his "family being destroyed":

To some that may sound like hyperbole. I don’t think it is. Judge Kavanaugh has two young daughters, a ten-year-old and a thirteen-year-old. For the rest of their lives, their daughters will go to school, will interact with people, many of whom are convinced their father is a rapist.
I want you to think of the effect that has, when those are the allegations. That’s where it starts. Not, “I disagree with your jurisprudence.” Not, “I think you’re wrong in how you interpret the Constitution.” But “You are…” And let’s be clear: he has been accused of, among other things, participating in repeatedly drugging and gang raping women, to take some of the more sensational, I think ludicrous, claims that have been aired.
These little girls are going to have classmates of theirs repeat those charges to them.
Some of the most poignant testimony yesterday was when Judge Kavanaugh described how he’s taught law at Harvard Law School for over a decade, and he said he may never get to teach law again. And that’s entirely possible. That’s entirely possible, even if Judge Kavanaugh is confirmed to the US Supreme Court as a sitting justice, in our polarized world. I’m a graduate of the Harvard Law School. I think it is entirely possible those on the left would say, “We don’t want someone we believe is a rapist ever teaching again.”
He also talked about how much he has loved coaching girls’ basketball, coaching his daughters in basketball. He mentioned he may never coach again. That’s a very real possible consequence of the mudslinging and irresponsible behavior of the last two weeks. It may well be, in this tribalized, partisan, divided world that the parents of the other girls say, “No, we don’t want him as a coach anymore.”
Real damage has been done. A lifetime of good living has been buried by one suspiciously timed and unsupported allegation.

People who want power that is not limited by the Constitution caused this damage. I don’t know whether Blasey Ford was merely a tool or simply a liar. But the real victims here are Brett Kavanaugh, his family, and justice—and all of us who love justice.

Don't we ever believe victims, then? Most of the time. Because most of the time they are telling the truth and the evidence, especially when gathered fresh, is likely to show that. We do the best we can, in an imperfect but best ever justice system, to hold wrongdoers accountable. Sometimes, with "innocent until proven guilty" as a principle, we feel frustrated that justice can't always done. But that's a sacrifice we make so that justice can be done as often as possible, and tribal preference is never substituted for blind justice. Because we know that's where tyranny lies.

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