Saturday, September 22, 2018


The latest Bret Stephens column, which is on the subject of Christine Blasey Ford and Brett Kavanaugh, is right about a few things ("I believe Merrick Garland was treated despicably by Senate Republicans") and wrong about many more ("That’s beside the point here. I believe Dianne Feinstein has behaved recklessly"). But this in particular jumped out at me:
I believe in the presumption of innocence. I believe this is fundamental, and that it should apply in courts of public opinion as well as those of law.
Really? Is Stephens arguing that we should presume Harvey Weinstein is innocent until he's had a jury trial? Is he saying the same thing about Les Moonves? Charlie Rose? Matt Lauer? That we should disregard the many credible accounts of abuse by these men? Outside the realm of predatory sexual behavior, should we presume that Osama bin Laden was innocent, because he never went to trial? What is Stephens saying here?

He goes on to write:
I believe that sexual assault is evil, but so is bearing false witness.

I believe women lie just as often as men do.
That might be true as a general rule, but does Stephens seriously believe that women lie just as often as men do about sexual assault? Do we need to explain yet again the men who lie about committing sexual assault will mostly be believed, while women who claim they've experienced it, whether they're telling the truth or not, will be subject to harassment, threats, and a smearing of their reputation?

The fact that feminism has altered that balance somewhat in the case of Kavanaugh and Blasey Ford -- a significant percentage of Americans suspect him and believe her -- doesn't change the traditional balance. Most men get away with not telling the truth about assaults they've committed. Most women who've reported assaults truthfully (or in some cases not truthfully) are assaulted once again by the system and become pariahs in the eyes of people who know them or know of them.

Does Stephens think the balance has shifted to parity? Really?

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