Archive for May 6th, 2013

He that would make his own liberty secure, must guard even his enemy from oppression; for if he violates this duty, he establishes a precedent that will reach to himself.  –  Thomas Paine

Anti-immigrant protestersAs we’ve discussed before, erosion of civil liberties always begins with unpopular groups, and then once the precedents are established they are gradually extended to everyone else.  Nobody minds when it’s “just” criminals, undesirables, foreigners, heretics, slackers, sinners, perverts and whores being persecuted; in fact they cheer officials “getting tough” and decry instances where the worst consequences are avoided due to “legal loopholes”.  And while the useful idiots are cheering tyranny and supporting politicians who increase it, the categories get broader and more numerous until one day it’s their door being smashed down in a “no-knock raid”, or their daughter being arrested for wearing a miniskirt and carrying condoms, or their children being abducted because someone didn’t like photos they took, and suddenly they’re concerned about civil rights a generation too late to do anything about it.  Last month there was a perfect example in the Wall Street Journal:

I am a feminist.  I have marched at the barricades, subscribed to Ms. magazine, and knocked on many a door in support of progressive candidates committed to women’s rights.  Until a month ago, I would have expressed unqualified support for Title IX and for the Violence Against Women Act.  But that was before my son, a senior at a small liberal-arts college in New England, was charged—by an ex-girlfriend—with alleged acts of “nonconsensual sex” that supposedly occurred during the course of their relationship a few years earlier.  What followed was a nightmare—a fall through Alice’s looking-glass into a world that I could not possibly have believed existed…Title IX…has obliterated the presumption of innocence that is so foundational to our traditions of justice…the tribunal does pretty much whatever it wants, showing scant regard for fundamental fairness, due process of law, and the well-established rules and procedures that have evolved under the Constitution for citizens’ protection…

…the…allegations were a barrage of vague statements, rendering any defense virtually impossible…Nor were [they] supported by any evidence other than the word of the ex-girlfriend.  The hearing itself was a two-hour ordeal of unabated grilling by the school’s committee, during which, my son later reported, he was expressly denied his request to be represented by counsel…The many pages of written documentation that my son had put together…were dismissed as somehow not relevant…witnesses against him were not identified to him, nor was he allowed to confront or question either them or his accuser.  Thankfully, I happen to be an attorney and had the resources to provide the necessary professional assistance to my son.  The charges against him were ultimately dismissed but not before he and our family had to suffer through this ordeal…I fear that in the current climate the goal of “women’s rights,” with the compliance of politically motivated government policy and the tacit complicity of college administrators, runs the risk of grounding our most cherished institutions in a veritable snake pit of injustice…Unbridled feminist orthodoxy is no more the answer than are attitudes and policies that victimize the victim.

Alice frontispieceCry me a fucking river.  Judith Grossman’s son escaped with his academic career, reputation and future intact; how many young men with less wealthy and well-connected parents can say the same?  The abominable policies she and other soi-disant “feminists” have supported for decades have made a mockery of the justice system, creating kangaroo courts where evidence is optional and accusers are afforded special protections not given in any other crime, including murder; in the hothouse environment of universities, where administrators avoid anything that might jeopardize political goodwill, it’s even worse.  As Scott Greenfield writes in his commentary on the article,

This was about promoting the feminist agenda that no woman who alleged that she had been sexually abused, no matter what evidence she had or existed to the contrary, should ever, ever, lose.  This isn’t a contrarian view, or a secret scheme, but as open and apparent as could be.  It affected the serious and foolish alike.  It was a policy choice.  They would rather ten innocent male students be expelled than one false accusation of sexual misconduct fail.  And it not only seemed like a good idea at the time, but was bolstered by legal scholars who ridiculed the notion that the rights afforded to criminal defendants, due process, reliable evidence, confrontation, double jeopardy, have any place in university discipline when a claim of sexual abuse was on the table.  Anyone who thought the accused deserved half a chance was a misogynist, which is one step above a rapist and deserving of whatever pain was inflicted anyway.

But as Greenfield points out, even when people like Grossman wake up to the reality of the monster they have invited into their homes, they still only acknowledge that tiny portion of the injustice machinery by which they, personally, have been affected:

…Judith Grossman’s…vision is still limited to that which touched her life.  The evil she sees is “unbridled feminist orthodoxy,” because her son was charged with sexual misconduct.  But it’s no more evil than any agenda stoked by the “current climate” of fear.  I hope she is never forced to come to the larger epiphany because her son has been accused of some other offense against some other orthodoxy…she still has a very long trip ahead of her before she realizes what the “tradition of justice” really means.

This is the most difficult part of getting people to open their eyes to the dire state of civil liberties in America:  all but the most benighted souls support protections for their loved ones and groups for whom they feel sympathy, but I’m afraid very few understand that the most important rights are those afforded to the people we can’t stand, because they are the ones the tyrants are most likely to use to pry open loopholes that never stay small for long.

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