Kavanaugh



Justice is politicized in America. When accusations fly, public discourse frequently devolves into a shouting match where truth is put in service of a broader, political goal. So it is in the latest situation boring its way through the foundations of a purportedly 'democratic' society built upon notions of due process.

Your immediate question is: "What's your angle? Who do you support? What's the politics behind your answer?"

There are two points to consider: (1)Is Kavanaugh guilty of sexual misconduct; and (2)How would this influence social politics in the country?
(1)The basis on which people pre-judge Kavanaugh's case is Christine Ford's testimonial. Flimsy or not, here is what we know of the accusation. It is a 36-year old accusation. It is a case of he-said-she-said, with no definitive evidence either way, unsurprising in a case that has been brought after the effluxion of so much time. In a different world, in a simpler world, this would be a simple, procedural issue decided by the courts.

Suffice to say that the general public no longer holds 'due process' with as much respect as in the past. Would that it were a simpler time, where I could disclaim responsibility for holding any opinion and simply believe in the soundness of institutional safeguards. The Supreme Court of the United States, with its system of nominated justices, has always been an avenue for the political expression of the both Democrat and Republican, such that some form of politicization is inevitable; but the extent to which it is pursued today, before our eyes, parallels the rapid and sustained polarization of the American community.

No one could today answer question (1), "Leave it to the our investigative agency, the FBI, our system of justice, the independent Judiciary," for the simple fact that vast tracts of the population would not accept that.

I am therefore obliged, as an anonymity, as a faceless nobody, to say: "I believe in getting to the truth of the matter, and where that is not possible, to approximate it as much as possible. The way we approximate that is through firstly, a starting point which necessarily includes assumptions; secondly, evidence accumulated through the procedural machinery; and finally, where all evidence and assumptions are equivocal, to follow one's conscience."

The trend is to pay lip service to the first and second step, and take an obstinate position under the guise of "following one's conscience". One's "conscience" is not one's politics. Yet rarely is this distinction made - trusting politicians to make that distinction is like trusting people not to grasp at profits.

Firstly, the key assumption is that one is innocent until proven guilty. Attempt to repudiate that assumption and one might as well repudiate their whole way of life in a democratic system. One hardly needs to overthrow the current system - simply move to a country without such democratic system to experience an approximation. So Kavanaugh is innocent, until he is proven guilty by the complainant through the court or by some investigative agency (this is not a legal position, since the legal position is that Kavanaugh is guilty when held so by a court only; I refer to investigative agencies to accomodate prevailing public perceptions).

Secondly, firm evidence can only be gleaned from the testimonials of Christine Ford and Kavanaugh. The evidence of news outlets are all decidedly prejudiced and so are all suspect. Other evidence has not come to light or is not to be believed, either because the FBI investigations are not, and will not, be disclosed to the public, or because such evidence has not been tested by the court. So it is a case of he-said-she-said. This is equivocal, for truth cannot come from contradiction.

Finally, as is inevitable today, one has to take a position either way, according to one's conscience. If one is too politicized, one might consider it right to proclaim Kavanaugh's guilt simply by virtue of Dr. Ford's accusation. This is preposterous. Conscience must be held to a higher standard, and not the individual idiosyncrasies of the deluded. Until more concrete evidence is uncovered, Kavanaugh is neither guilty nor should he be treated as such. Since the evidence of Dr. Ford is simply a series of verbal accusations, this is too flimsy to sustain Kavanaugh's guilt.

No matter how much one writes, the current zeitgeist judges it by the politics of the answer. So Republicans might accept my answer, and Democrats shun it. Yet that does not impugn its reasonableness, for how else is society to be ordered?

(2)Faced with this question, we must answer how social politics might be influenced by the answer. Staunch ideologues including both radical liberals and conservatives (although feminists probably epitomize such fundamentalist tendencies) will find ways to twist the answer their way. 

Here, we move to the realm of uncertainty. Feminists already clamor for Kavanaugh's conviction, painting him as the reincarnation of the Devil, the misogynistic chauvinist they all know him to be, as if they were sexually abused by him. They project their deep-seated political convictions upon the answer, believing that firstly, he typifies the rapist, the sexual abuser, the male. So what if he was innocent (which more likely than not he is, based on the evidence); he is male, and so would eventually be guilty.

I say this is borne of a culture of delusional victimhood. Kavanaugh is vilified by feminists because he typifies the male, by liberals because he typifies the Republican. They project their vision of their enemy on him, seeing the world as they always do, through blinkered eyes.

That is not to say conservatives are necessarily right, for there have been times in history where ultra-conservatism led to public atrocities. Yet this is evidently not one of those times; the Left do not see this as a public issue: they personalize it, and in so doing make Kavanaugh the scapegoat.

The Leftist answer therefore scapegoats Kavanaugh and considers his appointment a step backward for women and democracy in general. The Rightist answer is that Kavanaugh's appointment satisfies their political goals, that it does not negatively impact women's rights and that it would safeguard their idea of democracy.

The question is whether the country is willing to set a precedent for the baseless vilification of men.

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