Guilt by Allegation Is a Frightening Standard

Thursday’s Senate Judiciary Committee hearing with Dr. Christine Blasey Ford and Judge Brett Kavanaugh was an event many of us likely will never forget. Some thought it was a hearing about Ford’s uncorroborated allegations of sexual misconduct against Kavanaugh. They were mistaken.

Thursday was really about who we are going to be as a people and a country moving forward. It was, for some who haven’t been paying close attention, a brutal slap in the face with the realization that we are at war. It’s a vicious, no-holds-barred war of ideologies and worldviews. It is a war about what we actually believe and how we want to operate as a society.

Undoing the Work of Centuries
You can get bogged down in the “he said, she said” back and forth and the “I believe her!” bromides. You can think that Ford was credible. You can think that there wasn’t some well orchestrated political smear campaign going on to prevent Kavanaugh from becoming a 5th and deciding vote on the Supreme Court.

But what is really going on here had nothing to do with what we saw unfold on Capitol Hill last week. It has to do with whether we as a people actually still believe in due process, in the rule of law and in the concept of innocent until proven guilty. These are concepts under which we have operated since our founding as a nation nearly 250 years ago, but even more importantly, they are based in English common law traditions that are nearly a millennia old. They are rich, solid and firm foundations upon which to build a free society that respects the inherent dignity of every human being.

Now some on the Left have decided that for short-term political gain those traditions should be trashed. To them, the starting point is now guilt, not innocence; there is no innocent until proven guilty. It’s you’re guilty until you can prove yourself innocent.

But even more troubling is that it’s guilt by allegation and that somehow the preponderance of allegations makes someone guilty. You can shower an innocent man with dozens or hundreds of thousand false allegations, but the number of false allegations doesn’t matter: the man would still be innocent.

Broken People, Broken World
This guilt by allegation is how reigns of terror start: a series of allegations against a political opponent is legitimized as proof that then justifies someone being destroyed and sent to the guillotine, both figuratively and literally. In this reality, there is nothing but a raging mob that can turn on a dime, and with a thumbs up or thumbs down can decide if someone can be killed. It unleashes the bestial, base, and corrupt aspect of our nature. While some think that human nature is inherently good, I’m here to tell you: we’re not inherently good. We’re no angels. We are imperfect human beings in an imperfect world, and these procedures of due process and rule law are restraints upon our base natures.

Because of our inherent imperfections, societies must be constructed around common beliefs, commonality of right and wrong, and just as important, the commonality of how words are defined. When we remove these common ideas from a society, in which most people believe the same things, society starts to come apart at the seams. We’re left with competing opinions that become deeply held convictions.

But a society that used to have a certain commonality of beliefs cannot tolerate a long-lasting tension of competing opinions. It will demand yet again a commonality. At this point, one competing belief system will, by force, compel the other to accept its views in order to bring a sense of peace and stability to society again.

Rule or Ruin? No Thanks
There are people who believe that it will take a national tragedy to snap our collective consciousness back to some level of civility and community, but I’m not so sure that such an event would accomplish anything other than more of what we are currently living through. Power has corrupted absolutely, and we saw that on full exhibition last week.

A large segment of our society wishes to impose on everyone else a set of beliefs that run counter to our nation’s founding principles. That effort is well on display in Washington nowadays. An uncorroborated claim that runs counter to more than 35 years of personal history and behavior? Sure. String the man up. Lose an election? Must be a conspiracy, so let’s launch a slow-burn coup within the government to ensure nothing is accomplished.

Despite the vicious, no-holds-barred, unethical behavior of the Left and Democrats, a “Rule or Ruin” approach in the lust and pursuit of power, this won’t end with Chuck Schumer as Senate Majority Leader or Kamala Harris in the White House. Not by a long shot. The only question beyond the short-term political battles is whether anyone will be willing to change the path we’re currently traveling for the good of our country and of our society. My only hope is that the American people, having truly awakened to what the Left represents, will repudiate it, not only at the ballot box but in every other segment of society as well.

Photo Credit: Jose Luis Magana/AFP/Getty Images

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About Ned Ryun

Ned Ryun is a former presidential writer for George W. Bush and the founder and CEO of American Majority. You can find him on Twitter @nedryun.