Truth is the unintentional expression of hatred by a person who deplores a group of people. Unlike Hillary Clinton, who believes her opponents are her enemies, that her enemies are many, that her enemies oppose all that is right, that her enemies are right-wing extremists; unlike Mrs. Clinton’s rage, on film, Tim Wu’s revelation—in the New York Times—is a confession in the form of an opinion column: a plea by a law professor for a police state.
His temper is repugnant, his timing recriminatory, his tone rebarbative. He wants arrests. He wants indictments. He wants prosecutions. He wants convictions. He wants them—the people he condemns without evidence and dispatches without due process—to go to jail because, as far as I can tell, Wu thinks they look guilty; he says they are guilty because the political right is wrong, meaning the right is without rights, thereby removing any restrictions on the state to do as it pleases.
What should not please the court of public opinion is Wu’s dismissal of probable cause. He asserts what he cannot prove—what we all know is true, that criminals exist—without establishing the existence of specific crimes by specific suspects. In his world, suspicions suffice for searches and seizures. In his world, perpetual investigations perpetuate justice. In his world, to believe is to know.
What Wu does not seem to know is that doubts matter more than beliefs, that our standard of criminal justice begins with the presumption of innocence and ends when a prosecutor proves his case beyond a reasonable doubt. Before pursuing justice, the state must have just cause to investigate. Before the state looks into a person’s life, it must convince a judge to look at the reasons for looking. What a person looks like counts for nothing, which is how it should be, unless Wu wants to join the lawsuit against Harvard, his alma mater.
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