PoliticsGuilty Before Proven Innocent - When Campus Came to...

Guilty Before Proven Innocent – When Campus Came to Congress


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The confirmation hearings for Judge Brett Kavanaugh showed how the polarising atmosphere in modern universities, marred by a doctrine of self-censorship, no-go zones and safe spaces can, and has, spread to wider society and American Congress, perniciously threatening American jurisprudence, security and its future as a bastion of the free world.

We witnessed first-hand how these constitutional due processes vanish when accusations of misogyny or sexual harassment arise. They have simmered under the surface in Institutions of Higher Education for decades, with the Senate in deciding whether to #ConfirmKavanaugh or #CancelKavanaugh succumbing to such foibles. In a highly publicised display of the erosion of a millennium of judicial due process that every civilisation worth its salt had upheld since the dawn of time.

American Horror Story

America first witnessed this when false rape charges were lodged against Duke University lacrosse players in 2006. They were, to quote, victims of a “tragic rush to accuse”, with no regard to actual evidence before making the accused identities public, most notably the stripper’s partner present throughout calling her tale a “crock of s**t”.  The chief prosecutor was disbarred, but not after giving dozens of interviews issuing his opinion on the matter.

Rolling Stone’s Smear Article Against Virginia Frat House Retraction and Damages Suit // Rolling Stone 

Some years later, due process and Constitutional Rights went by the wayside once more when uncorroborated and unvalidated accusations hit the headlines, after Rolling Stone magazine published the fictitious smear of University of Virginia fraternity’s alleged gang rape. The 2014 article was soon retracted, and $1.65 million was awarded in a defamation settlement.

What these two stories have in common that is so troubling is the protection of the victim’s privacy and rights, while parading around the patent guilt of the accused without first addressing the facts or allowing the courts to decide.

It is not a matter of not taking the claim of sexual abuse with the severity it deserves, as each case warrants those concerned to prick their ears and address the allegation to ascertain who, what, where and when so that those found guilty can be punished according to the rule of law by incapacitation, deterrence, retribution, rehabilitation and restoration.

A Case of He Said She Said

Americans may disagree on the relative credibility’s of Judge Kavanaugh or his accuser, Dr Christine Blasey Ford. But what was more astounding was witnessing the asymmetry that is rife on campuses dictate the hearings.

Dr Ford’s veracity hinged on the empathy of an audience, and her perceived plausibility. It required little by way of witnesses, physical evidence or corroborating testimonies, nor a clear storyline from the accuser.

HE Said, SHE said, the woes of imbalanced gender empowerment // The Weekly Standard

Kavanaugh was deemed guilty from the outset – he had to prove his innocence, rather than the other way around.

The position of “Reverse Onus” against the defendant has now become  a universal right demanded by the feminist movement in cases of rape. In no way does this excuse the severity of rape, nor the gravity we should bestow upon those women who do come forward. What is a problem, however, is the erosion of western judicial process: ‘innocent until proven guilty.

Such rules have been laid down by the greatest English judges, who have been among the brightest of mankind. Indeed, this rule is not peculiar to the common English law; there never was a system of laws in the world in which this rule did not prevail. Ancient Greece, Babylonia, and Rome preserved throughout European history as a maxim ‘that it is better the guilty should escape punishment, than the innocent suffer. Satius esse nocentem absolvi quam insentem damnari.’

Enter John Adams

John Adams is one such brilliant mind who offered a most prescient and sagacious explanation for this principle:

‘It is more important that innocence be protected than it is that guilt be punished, for guilt and crimes are so frequent in this world that they cannot all be punished. But if innocence itself is brought to the bar and condemned, perhaps to die, then the citizen will say, ‘whether I do good or whether I do evil is immaterial, for innocent itself is no protection.’ And if such an idea as that were to take hold in the mind of the citizen that would be the end of security whatsoever.’

Adams was a preeminent Founding Father of the United States, served as first Vice President and as second President of the United States, having excelled as a lawyer and diplomat, gaining prestige and recognition as leader of American independence from Great Britain. A man of outstanding calibre and integrity, having campaigned for the abolition of slavery, whose advocacy lay the groundwork for the abolition movement a decade later. His 18-year effort in Congress did away with the ‘gag rule’ that automatically nullified anti-slavery legislation. A man who, for all his moral scruples and nobility, could not bring himself to risk crucifying an innocent on the altar of moral righteousness.

“there exists the capacity for spiteful, powerful victims to ‘construct’ truths based on their own self-interests.”

We uphold liberty and property as fundamental western values. But, if we negate the respect for self-defence with anonymity until found guilty, and fail to offer a fair hearing to balance and counterpoise, society itself is of very little value – because the fruits of our labours could be torn from the hand like they were the tree. And therefore, this principle of ‘innocent until proven guilty’ and ‘beyond all reasonable doubt’ must be strictly attended to. It had been better to have acquitted, than a wrong ruling and that a precedent should be established.

Justice Threatened, Security in Peril

The very notion of justice is already now compromised by the legal requirement, or at least universal practice, of protecting the name and identity of the accuser while simultaneously publicising the name and details of the accused and having their name dragged through the mud, even after the accused is acquitted.

Judge Kavanaugh had to prove his innocence, rather than the accusers prove his guilt. This is a reflection of one cherished stance in universities: the postmodern idea of relativist truth.

On campus, all can present equally valid narratives. What privileges one story over another is not necessarily any semblance to reality, at least as established by evidence and facts. Instead, there exists the capacity for spiteful, powerful victims to ‘construct’ truths based on their own self-interests.

Those individuals who would have been victims of historical biases are then under no obligation to play by what they consider to be rigged rules of facts, evidence or testimony.

This perverse dynamic explains why Senator Cory Booker maintained that Dr Ford told ‘her truth’. Without mincing words, evidence was not so relevant – a recollected story of events from 36 years ago would inherently carry as much weight as Kavanaugh’s rebuttal, if not more given the different genders, and by extension their asymmetrical access to power.

On campuses, race and gender have determined who we are and what we can and cannot vocalise for some time now. The writing off of old white men as prejudiced bastions of patriarchal oppression does little to redress imbalances, nor does it treat everyone with value ‘as an end in and of themselves, rather than a means to an end’ as Immanuel Kant proposed.

To accurately gauge the veracity of the claims would have been a messy process of cross-examining times and places of witness testimonies, taxing reprinted teenage memories nearly four decades prior. Motives would have been raised and questioned as under due process of constitutional norms.

The fact we are human has value, and to revert to discrediting the old guard and removing their agency, albeit hard fought, is inconsistent stereotypical hypocrisy. Blanket race- and age-based discrimination on an ad hoc basis left Kavanaugh guilty for once being a privileged white prep school kid of 17; while Senator Booker, by virtue of not being old and white, was a credible examiner. The progressive politics of Senator Richard Blumenthal, aged 72 and white, did not lead to his credibility being thrown into question.

The trouble with this postmodern culture lies in its inconsistencies. A misplaced anger and frustration that is presiding emotion over consideration for reason and fact.

Any claim of rape should be treated with a severity commensurate with the violation of an individual deserving of respect for their liberty and property. The trouble emerges with a Senate adopting the modern university’s doctrine of self-censorship, no-go zones and safe spaces that allow for the odd individual to abuse the protections afforded them through weaponization of the law.

Doctor Ford’s privacy entitled her medical status to be understandably respected and off-limits, and she was excused from the normally stringent cross-examination. She was never really asked why her narratives concerning the number of witnesses and their genders were not compatible, nor why all she could fathom toward Judge Kavanaugh was his presence, as opposed to predatory participation. Her accounts of the location and time of the alleged assault were either inconsistent or non-existent. 

While there is a capacity to block out such a stressful period in her life, for the process of law and order to be upheld in society, it needs to be resurrected if such a pressing matter for ‘national security’. Or else we descend into the collapse of security as we know it – when John Adams’ prophetic words that ‘whether I do good or evil is immaterial, for innocence itself is no protection’.

Judge, Jury and Executioner

By contrast, Kavanaugh was grilled on everything from his high-school yearbook to a fabricated accusation that he once committed sexual assault on a docked boat in Newport, Rhode Island: character assassination of the first-degree. While these revelations from his younger years are not flattering, and some perhaps make him quite unsuitable for the role as Supreme Court Judge were it not for decades of fundamental transformation of character.

“rape culture on campus is not for debate”

Collectivised swarming and drowning out those with different views to shame and intimidate them is part and parcel of the modern university. The campus street theatre is rearing its ugly head in the real world.

A break in the hearings saw female protestors corner Senator Jeff Flake, Republican Arizona, in an elevator, screaming in his face – breaking down in his intention to #confirmKavanaugh. Psychodrama is effective, or else they wouldn’t do it. Why else would the saying ‘throwing all your toys out the pram’ be quite as mainstream?

How Campus Creed Became Norm

Campuses, for all the fear mongering of liberal left snowflakes nestled in their safe-space ivory towers, out-of-touch with reality, there was little concern that their creed would become the norm. What is frightening is their dogma is now influencing media, voting patterns and holding the constitutional backbone of American liberty to ransom.

The trouble with this culture is their flagrant disrespect for anyone outside their belief structures. For them it matters little if innocent people are smeared if they are on the ‘wrong’ side of politics, or white cis-males that disagree. Facts, schmacts when it is the narrative that counts. What matters more is the story felt right than the truth is sought.

When serious matters arise, to rule out discussion – ‘rape culture on campus is not for debate’ – relies upon race and gender to weigh viewpoint veracity. The technique deployed here is to base a theory on multiple reports. Then, when each report is falsified, the go-to response is ‘well, this one might not be true, but…’ until you have a conviction with no basis at all. It is like playing a game of Ker-Plunk and expecting, when the last straw is removed, that the marbles still won’t fall.

These ‘woke’ individuals, who bark slogans about misogyny, roundly accuse everyone of racism or rail against Islamophobic backlashes, think it their duty because they are our intellectual and virtuous betters. It is with good reason that has been tried and tested throughout the ages that the accuser is saddled with the burden of proof, even though rates of false accusations in America lie 2-6% and 4% in the UK for sexual assault. The problem is that innocent civilians will feel helpless to the lack of protection afforded them when someone of an historically disadvantaged gender or race accuses them out of spite or vengeance, so that it didn’t matter whether they had broken the law. And, before they can get the chance to respond, the lie has already made it halfway around the world before the truth can bat an eye.

Thomas Sowell once refrained, “it is bad enough that so many people believe things without any evidence. What is worse is that some people have no conception of evidence and regard facts as just someone else’s opinion.”

The law exists to preserve the functioning of security in society. Where the innocent no longer feel secure their liberty and private property is respected, nor proffered reasonable chance at self-defence without having their reputation galled before their eyes; a pervading helplessness can take seed in their minds, and with such impuissance can bleed dissolution into chaos.

The very fabric of western civilisation is at stake, but if the cost of upholding it is too great for some, they may find themselves privy to a pining nostalgia of those better days.

Richard Bolton
Richard Bolton
Richard Bolton was born in the UK and is a Manchester University PPE graduate. He is a financial planner. Areas of intrigue include global political affairs, culture and nascent technologies. In his spare time, Richard is a keen sportsman and investor.

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