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The Damage Done by the Kavanaugh Hearings

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10/06/2018

As Gallup reports that more Americans expressed support for Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh during the week he denied being guilty of sexual assault, it’s clear that whether accuser Dr. Christine Blasey Ford is speaking the truth, the public might not be ready to accept the allegations without evidence. But if you were to rely solely on most news outlets , you would think Kavanaugh had been charged and convicted.

While the outspread concern over a Supreme Court nominee is warranted , mainly due to the power justices have over our lives, the conversation was never about how Kavanaugh saw the PATRIOT Act as “measured, careful, responsible, and constitutional,” despite the law’s mockery of the Fourth and Fifth Amendments. Democrats also never bothered to mention Kavanaugh once ruled that “the Government’s metadata collection program is entirely consistent with the Fourth Amendment” while sitting in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit. Before the allegations of sexual assault, all they seemed to worry about was how Kavanaugh would rule on an abortion case, apparently frightened that states would have to pick up where they left off before Roe v. Wade. But ever since Ford entered the picture, offering a compelling story of assault but also one with gaps and no evidence , the focus is back on one thing and one thing only: We must believe all women, no matter what.

The #MeToo movement has long been co-opted by politicians and Americans who identify as Democrats in the President Donald Trump era. Perhaps because accusations of sexual assault boost ratings . If news outlets can link anything back to Trump, then they’re sitting on a goldmine.

But there’s also another unintended consequence to the movement, one that seemed clear from the get-go as the #MeToo hashtag went viral in Oct. 2017.

Then, America’s left-leaning influencers , politicians , and celebrities made it clear that believing all women was always the right thing to do, automatically abandoning due process and trashing any presumption of innocence in the name of fairness.

In this very public court of opinion, accusers were seen as infallible while the accused, when formerly charged, had already been convicted long before appearing before a court. But as libertarian writer and feminist Wendy McElroy wrote recently, the damage of #MeToo-style public “prosecution” lies in how it’s made us all ignore nature.

“‘Believe the accuser’ runs up against human nature,” McElroy wrote. “People are not only fallible, but they [are] also capable of bad behavior, such as lying.”

Imagine that! As if women could ever lie .

But perhaps, what’s even more damaging to the left’s own cause, if you consider they are genuinely concerned about women’s welfare, is how the “believe all women” theme in the Kavanaugh hearings could damage an entire generation of young women.

Coming of age in a world that teaches you ought to expect being protected and treated with respect no matter where you go might sound like the ideal scenario, but it doesn’t reflect real life.

While we live in a much safer world than our grandparents did, the reality is that the world remains a big place, filled with people of different backgrounds and sometimes, ulterior motives. Ignoring this reality is to ignore truth itself.

For poor and low-income women in urban areas, for instance, dealing with harassment and abuse is all too common . Knowing how to deal with these situations ends up being part of who they are .

But for middle- and upper middle-class girls, harassment is also a possibility. Understanding that there are risks and knowing how to avoid them will better prepare these girls so they may grow into stronger, more capable, and yes, more self-resilient women .

Needless to say, it’s heartbreaking that in the United States young women (and men) are in constant danger of being victims of sexual assault. Nevertheless, it is our duty — and right — to defend ourselves when necessary, and to act accordingly if the risk outweighs the benefits.

As professor and famed feminist author Camille Paglia once explained, feminism to her generation meant having the freedom “to risk rape.” Those women were not saying they wanted to be shielded and treated like precious porcelain dolls, quite the contrary — they were stating they were ready to fight back.

Not too long ago, after punk rocker Mia Zapata was violently raped and murdered in a dark Seattle alley, Grunge musicians of the time such as Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Soundgarden, and Heart came together to raise funds for a campaign called “ Home Alive ,” which organized self-defense classes for local women. Singer Joan Jett joined the movement, writing the song “ Go Home” and releasing a video depicting a woman successfully fighting her attacker.

But the spirit doesn’t live on with the younger generation, at least it doesn’t seem like it does as many today will often say that no, women should not have to defend themselves from attackers. This is particularly true among those who defend restrictions on firearm ownership, claiming that guns don’t deter sexual assault while real life cases prove otherwise .

Regardless, the reality is that as Kavanaugh is accused of having attacked Ford, the accuser is seldom pressed to provide more evidence while the Supreme Court nominee feels compelled to continuously prove his innocence. But while Ford’s account might as well be true, the reality is that we’re turning this charade into the main story, and we’re judging Kavanaugh on the basis of an unproven claim, not real policies he’s supported and that continue to impact all men and women in America.

To young girls witnessing the spectacle on TV, girls whose parents may say they have no doubt they know what happened in that room in 1982 and who are, perhaps, pro-gun control activists and even Hillary Clinton supporters — as strange as it may seem — the message couldn’t be clearer: The world owes you your safety.

As Paglia wrote in 1991 about then-Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas and his accuser, Anita Hill, Hill made uncorroborated allegations that served Democrats with a very clear agenda: abortion rights.

While Ford’s and Hill’s stories are different in nature, it is as true today as it was then that Democrats are using allegations to push an agenda, choosing to talk about uncorroborated claims instead of the Supreme Court’s power over our lives. And that’s not a bug in the system, as both Democrats and Republicans will take any opportunity to have more control over the narrative. Still, this showdown has real-world consequences, as young people are largely influenced by what they see on social media. And you can’t go through one day online without seeing celebrities , politicians , and news personalities discussing the Kavanaugh allegations as facts.

Alice Salles was born and raised in Brazil but has lived in America for the past ten years. She now lives in Compton, California and writes for The Advocates for Self-Government, Liberty Conservative, and Anti-Media.

Note: The views expressed on Mises.org are not necessarily those of the Mises Institute.
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