Sunday, September 30, 2018

Niall Ferguson on Ford v. Kavanaugh

Without very much commentary, here are a few comments from eminent historian Niall Ferguson on the case of Ford v. Kavanaugh:

It is true that in the past week other accusations of sexual misconduct have been levelled at Kavanaugh. But none of these stories, including Ford’s, would stand up in a court of law because there is not a shred of evidence to corroborate the recollections of those telling them.

Having watched Ford testify, I have little doubt she believes what she said is true. But as a historian who has spent many long hours interviewing people about past events, including highly personal matters, I do not regard that as good enough to destroy the reputation of a distinguished judge.

Human memory is, generally, bad at history. Were I writing Brett Kavanaugh’s biography I could not possibly depict him, on the basis of uncorroborated testimony provided long after the fact, as a man who attempted rape in his youth and lied about it later. His memory is also unlikely to be perfect. But his story — that as a young man he glugged beer and had the usual Catholic hang-ups about sex — is more plausible.

And a few added words on the #MeToo movement… especially highlighting its demands for “summary justice.” For the record, summary justice includes lynching-- see the case of Emmett Till. It’s democratic corrective is: due process of law.

Ferguson writes:

The #MeToo movement is revolutionary feminism. Like all revolutionary movements, it favours summary justice. Since April 2017 more than 200 prominent men have been publicly accused of a sexual misdemeanour, ranging from rape to inappropriate language. A few seem likely to have committed crimes and are being prosecuted accordingly — notably the Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein, who denies all allegations of non-consensual sex. But #MeToo seems to have elided rape, assault, clumsy passes and banter into a single, catch-all crime. Reputations have been destroyed and careers ended. “I believe her” are the fateful words that, if uttered by enough people, perform the roles of judge and jury.

1 comment:

Ares Olympus said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.