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Down a dark road

At the time of writing, I don't know what the FBI investigation will uncover regarding the accusations against Brett Kavanaugh or if the Senate will confirm his nomination to the Supreme Court.

But I do know that what has been done to him by the Democrats and their media sycophants is the ugliest thing I've seen in American politics in my lifetime.

Nothing, not the Vietnam War, Watergate, the Iran-Contra scandal, the disputed election of 2000, not even a buffoon like Donald Trump winning the presidency, has done as much to diminish my faith in our democracy.

Because this isn't about Trump or even a vacancy on the Supreme Court; rather, it is about preserving fundamental values derived from the Enlightenment that have been crucial to liberalism and human liberty.

Bedrock assumptions of fairness and due process are now, in the Kavanaugh spectacle, being replaced by medieval standards more appropriate for judging heretics and witches.

If allowed to succeed presumptions of innocence will henceforth be replaced by presumptions of guilt (at least for the ideologically suspect), the accused will bear the burden of disproving inherently unprovable accusations, and guilt and innocence will be determined not by facts and evidence but by tribal loyalties, faith and emotion.

We will be entering a dangerous new age when reputations acquired over a lifetime of public service will be capable of being abruptly destroyed by unsubstantiated accusations from decades in the past, with the mere existence of an accusation taken as evidence of its veracity if politically useful.

If the burden of proof doesn't apply to accusations from 36 years ago, regarding an alleged incident that occurred at a high school party, in what cases does it? And if unsubstantiated 11th-hour accusations are allowed to so easily destroy lives and careers, what lives and careers will be safe?

There is, in all of this, nothing more dangerous and illiberal than the slogan "believe women," with its injunction to automatically believe people because they are of a certain gender or race or ethnicity and those they are accusing are of a certain gender or race or ethnicity.

Any notion of fairness is turned upside down when accusations need no evidence or corroboration, and when asking for evidence and corroboration is taken as evidence of guilt. Truth becomes meaningless when an accuser is assumed to be telling the truth just because she is a woman, and the accused is assumed to be lying just because he is a man.

In Victor Davis Hanson's words, "Our cultural traditions are being insidiously rewritten in this new Dark Age. We know now that Euripides' Phaedra should have been believed, as a female accuser of rape" and "Harper Lee's Tom Robinson deserved his fate because his female accuser should have been believed. ... "

Being a (supposedly) privileged white male from Yale doesn't mean you're a rapist or anything else, and the people now trafficking in such stereotypes are no better than the bigots of yesteryear who invoked stereotypes about blacks, Jews and Catholics as a means of justifying discrimination against them.

Kavanaugh isn't a real person who might be guilty or innocent of particular charges, based on the available evidence, he is a cardboard cutout representing "toxic male masculinity" and therefore guilty by definition. For Sohrab Ahmari, Kavanaugh and his family are no longer even human beings because "they stand in for every social evil, every unearned privilege, every 'structure of oppression,' every historical injustice."

We thus enter the era of the kangaroo court and the show trial, except that in Stalin's show trials there was at least a pretense of a need for evidence, even to the point of manufacturing or extracting it through torture. Now it is simply a matter of "belief" and political usefulness, based on the gender of the accuser and the accused.

In their haste to find something, anything to keep another conservative justice off the court (and thereby protect Roe v. Wade), Democrats and the broader left have now abandoned, nay, enthusiastically obliterated, cherished first principles of liberalism and replaced them with the most toxic elements of an identity politics that pits black against white and women against men for short-term political advantage.

A headline last week in the reliably radical Guardian said: "The Kavanaugh hearing proves yet again the U.S. hates women."

Apart from the illogic of such a claim in a nation where women actually comprise a majority, there was the thought that in this case it wasn't so much men hating women as radical feminists hating men (or at least white men who didn't bow and grovel and accept the precepts of radical feminism); indeed, the hatred expressed toward all things male from the women of the fevered brow should alienate not just men but women as well.

After all, women have fathers and grandfathers and also often husbands, brothers, and sons and grandsons.

And how many would like to see done to their fathers, husbands, and sons what was done to Brett Kavanaugh?

So to my friends on the left, what if Kavanaugh is innocent? Or in the campaign for cosmic social justice and revenge against all things male, does it even matter?

Freelance columnist Bradley R. Gitz, who lives and teaches in Batesville, received his Ph.D. in political science from the University of Illinois.

Editorial on 10/08/2018

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