The Brett Kavanaugh fiasco raises a lot of questions about sexual harassment and abuse accusations.
Should an accuser automatically and always be believed?
If so, why don’t we do this with other crimes?
It’s a fair question.
What if I made an accusation of some other kind, out of the blue, against you – let’s say, “You killed my cat.” Or: “You stole my cell phone.”
Would the proper response to my accusation be, “Well, let’s hear him out. Granted, there’s no evidence or proof. Frankly, there’s no possibility of any. But we have to hear him out. Nothing else goes forward until we get the truth out.”
The truth—based on what evidence? How are you supposed to confirm or refute truth when little or no evidence is ever provided? Nor can any ever be established.
I’m not saying it’s like this with every single accusation of sexual harassment, although frankly it often is.
And it’s certainly like this according to the accusations leveled against Supreme Court justice nominee Brett Kavanaugh.
If this is all it takes to prevent appointing a Supreme Court justice, then what’s to stop anyone else from doing the same thing the next time around?
It’s deeper than politics. Obviously, politics is involved. But at some point we have to ask the difficult questions: Should accusers of sexual harassment automatically and always be believed? And, if so, then how can we justify NOT doing that with any other type of crime or accusation?
The rules of evidence and logic, we’re led to believe, do NOT apply in cases of sexual harassment – at least, not certain ones. When Bill Clinton was President and such charges were leveled against him, he was given the benefit of the doubt, again and again and again, even when there was some evidence to support the accusations. So yes, there’s a TON of politics and intellectual dishonesty.
But the only way to fight that politics and intellectual dishonesty is through reason, logic and facts. In legal contexts, this means: due process of law. It means having to provide evidence for your claims and ultimately to prove what you’re saying is true. Especially in cases like Judge Kavanaugh’s, where (some say) the statute of limitations no longer even applies to accusations dating back to 1982!
I don’t know if most Republicans and conservatives are intellectually armed to fight this the way one needs to fight it. Because doing so would be a supreme act of political incorrectness. It would be denying the feminists who dominate our culture intellectually (not numerically), the types who say, “Shut up, men. You just don’t understand. If a woman says this happened, it probably happened. Get over it.”
If that’s to be the way we conduct business, it’s a recipe for profound and prolonged irrationality and injustice. Such irrationality and injustice will ultimately devour and overtake even the people who seem poised to win this battle, the people who want to keep Brett Kavanaugh from ever sitting on the Supreme Court.
Republicans and even some Democrats stood up to this irrationality back in 1991, when it was Clarence Thomas going through it. But 2018 is not 1991. My speculation is that it’s far, far more irrational now than it was then (and it wasn’t rational back then, either).
We will soon see.
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