Thursday, October 4, 2018

It Takes a Bully

For the first time, or so it seems, Bret Stephens has broken ranks with the Times’s relentless attacks on President Donald Trump. For the first time, he confesses, he is happy to see Donald Trump in the White House. Considering that Stephens was one of the more important conservative critics of Trump, this is worth at least a blog post.

The reason is Judge Brett Kavanaugh. Stephens suggests that Trump’s bullying behavior is the only way to fight the leftist bullies who have mobilized to destroy Kavanaugh.

In his words:

For the first time since Donald Trump entered the political fray, I find myself grateful that he’s in it. …

I’m grateful because Trump has not backed down in the face of the slipperiness, hypocrisy and dangerous standard-setting deployed by opponents of Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination to the Supreme Court. I’m grateful because ferocious and even crass obstinacy has its uses in life, and never more so than in the face of sly moral bullying. I’m grateful because he’s a big fat hammer fending off a razor-sharp dagger.

And also:

I’ll admit to feeling grateful that, in Trump, at least one big bully was willing to stand up to others.

Stephens lists the Democratic bullies on the Senate Judiciary, from Cory Booker to Richard Blumenthal. He is seriously torqued, as are many, over the presumption that a man is guilty until proven innocent.

He adds the issue of false accusation. As you know, no one is allowed to suggest that Christine Blasey Ford might be mistaken about who did what to her thirty six years ago. Stephens notes that false accusations of sexual assault are despicable:

Falsely accusing a person of sexual assault is nearly as despicable as sexual assault itself. It inflicts psychic, familial, reputational and professional harms that can last a lifetime. This is nothing to sneer at.

And yet, they do happen. And they happen more often than we would like:

Yet false allegations of rape, while relatively rare, are at least five times as common as false accusations of other types of crime, according to academic literature.

As you know Julie Swetnick’s accusations are absurd and ridiculous. Since they were included in a sworn affidavit, Alan Dershowitz recommended that she be prosecuted for perjury.

The New York Times wisely chose not to run the Deborah Ramirez accusation, but other media outlets were not as responsible. When the Swetnick allegations came out, the media lent credence to them:

Swetnick’s claims border on the preposterous. They are wholly uncorroborated. But that didn’t keep Kavanaugh’s opponents, in politics and the press, from seizing them as evidence of corroboration with Blasey’s allegation, which is not preposterous but is also largely uncorroborated, and with the allegation of Kavanaugh’s Yale classmate Deborah Ramirez — uncorroborated again….

Uncorroborated plus uncorroborated plus largely uncorroborated is not the accumulation of questions, much less of evidence. It is the duplication of hearsay.

And then, the morals police took it all one step too far. They started quizzing Stephens himself about the time he attended boarding school.

Being quizzed in recent days about my teenage years at a New England boarding school — the subtext being that I must know something about elite prep schools and the mentality of the boys who attend them.

I do. It was at boarding school where I first formed lasting friendships with kids of different races and economic backgrounds, and where liberal-leaning teachers showed us how to think critically, keep an open mind, and value tolerance and respect. I have no idea if Georgetown Prep was anything like that, but the facile stereotype of “white privilege” that keeps cropping up in discussions of Kavanaugh’s background is yet another ugly tactic in the battle to defeat him.

Thus, the notion that Kavanaugh must have done it, or must have done something very, very bad… because he is white… tipped the balance.


whitney said...

He's seeing the writing on the wall but it doesn't say much to his intelligence that it's taking this long

Ares Olympus said...

Certainly we must have innocent until proven guilty as a standard for criminal convictions.

And it reminds me that Catholicism has one great hope, the Sacrament of Reconciliation, and not all of our sins need to be publicly exposed in order for our reform. All that we need is to confess them privately with our priest, and we can be forgiven. At least I think that's how it works, but perhaps when we wrong people, we need more than just to promise we never do it again, we need to acknowledge it to those who we have wronged, whether or not they choose to forgive us. But still I don't think we can publicly deny our past actions without sinning again. But in any case, that's not the public's concern, whether we deny our past or not, but our own relationship with God.

Incidentally, I saw this rather extreme document of the wider accusations that Kavanaugh had to swear his denials, and I can see how it would make one rageful, in contrast to Ford's rather minor accusation in the realm of assault. The reason people don't admit the smallest transgression long ago is the fear that more extreme ones will be believed by those who don't know us. It takes strong character to gracefully carry the stigma false accusations, especially sexual assault.

David Spence said...

He'll be purged within a month.

Dr. Irredeemable Dreg said...

"Catholicism has one great hope, the Sacrament of Reconciliation..."

Your ignorance is limitless.

"The Eucharist is the source and summit of the Christian life."
--- St Pope John Paul II

JP just might know more about it than you do.

Not only that, you obviously know next to nothing about Rconciliation beyond what you might have seen in some TV drama.

Dr. Irredeemable Dreg said...

I wonder whether Stephens would feel differently and never penned that column if he had known President Trump has never owned a dog. Turned me around.


Not that dogs can be "owned", of course. Little slip by Striesand, there. Not a member of Proggies 4 Doggies, I guess.

Ares Olympus said...
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