On the Left, as Brett Kavanaugh’s attackers demonstrate, a slur becomes gospel if it furthers a political aim, in this instance keeping a conservative from the US Supreme Court’s former ‘swing’ seat. Assertion is enough, coherent evidence be damned — and if the rule of law suffers, so be it
Many of us feel for Judge Brett Kavanaugh. Assailed on all sides by screeching feminists of the #MeToo movement, opportunistic Democrats and the Republican Party’s conservative impersonators, he didn’t really need the backdrop of Bill Cosby’s incarceration to ‘confirm’ for all ‘right minded’ activists that the burden of proof when confronted with accusations of sexual predation does not apply. Several decades back, when hysterical allegations of ritual abuse involving satanic adults and kindergarten kiddies were putting innocent people behind bars, the so-called experts were lecturing about ‘repressed memories’ and how we must always ‘believe the children.’ Now, once again, the rules of evidence have been discarded when a woman claims sexual assault years after the event.
Miranda Devine, in a perceptive article in the Sunday Telegraph, notes the ‘baby voice’ in which Christine Blasey Ford delivered her curious and often contradictory testimony, the columnist concluding that she was quite deliberately ‘playing a role’ that ‘rendered the Republican senators powerless to challenge her’ despite there being so much to question. The article came with a photograph of a smiling Ms Ford delivering a triumphant ‘high five’ at the conclusion of her testimony. That contradiction in images– the adult waif on one hand, the committee-conquering gender hero on the other — is a very jarring note indeed.
I doubt very many men bought Ms Ford’s turn at the witness table, but these days credibility, or the lack of it, elicits a safe, stock response, at least in public. The approved tactic is not to express outright disbelief but to state, rather patronisingly, that ‘I accept she sincerely believes what she is saying’. It would never do to suggest Ms Ford is a flat-out fabulist. Your standard-issue politician already has much on his or her mind. The howling of harpies at the electoral office door, with sympathetic media and cameras inevitably in tow, is reckoned a good thing to be avoided. The task of noting that Ms Ford is less than credible fell by default to President Donald Trump, who has nothing to lose. His White House is already under daily siege by knots and clots of Pennsylvania Avenue shriekers.
Trump was “mocking and bullying” Ms Ford, all the leftoid mouthpieces immediately and predictably hollered. That’s when, as usual, the ‘expert’ opinion wielders put their hands up. In the Weekend Australian, for example, Malcolm Ritter grasped the nettle and sought to explain away her inability to resolve the questions that trouble Trump and many others:
Experts in memory and the brain said Ford’s quick tour of memory machinery was generally correct. Levels of the brain substances she cited go up when a person is alarmed, and they help memories become laid down more strongly in the hippocampus, said Elizabeth Phelps, a Harvard University psychologist. That helps people vividly recall central parts of an emotional experience, while details are typically lost, said Lila Davachi of Columbia University.
A bit like climate change, it seems: contradictory evidence can always be twisted by advocates and true believers to present black as white.
Here’s how that theme played out in the actual hearing, as described in an ABC article by one Michelene Maynard, a US journalism professor who mostly writes about food and the wickedness of automobiles. Why, when the national broadcaster boasts a fulsomely staffed Washington office, it was necessary to recruit, and presumably pay, a contributor for the likes of what is reproduced below is a mystery.
Dr Ford, as it turned out, understands the precise science of what happened to her. During her testimony, Senator Patrick Leahy of Vermont asked what she remembered most from the incident.
Dr Ford replied, “Indelible in the hippocampus is the laughter. The uproarious laughter between the two,” meaning Mr Kavanaugh and his friend, Mark Judge, who was supposedly present but has not been called to testify. “They’re having fun at my expense.”
Is it just me or do the words ‘indelible in the hippocampus’ strike anyone else as contrived in the extreme? As University of London’s Christopher French noted recently at The Conversation, “Victims of childhood sexual abuse have difficulty forgetting –- not remembering -– what happened.”
The authorised SJW narrative demands women must always be believed. I can understand how that mindset evolved and came to dominate. Almost instinctively, for example, I believe Kavanaugh, just as I do Cardinal George Pell repeated’s protestations of his innocence. Nonetheless, I must entertain the possibility that I could be wrong. It is the recent trial and incarceration of Bill Cosby which highlights the need for circumspection. Ten years ago, I would have scoffed at the thought that the formerly loved comedian made it his habit to drug and rape women, yet that is what emerged in evidence time and again. The key, though, was the evidence tendered in court. When the facts changed, I changed my mind.
And that is the difference between Left-think and Right-think. If it is politically expedient to believe, such personal and emotional convictions become gospel. Assertion is enough, coherence and evidence be damned. Brett Kavanaugh is the immediate victim of that mindset. Democracy, fairness and, ultimately, the rule of law are far greater victims than anything Ms Ford endured or believes she endured.