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J’Accuse

There may be ways in which Britain still influences the United States, but they are as nothing compared to the influence the United States has on us. Few of us follow in much detail political debates in France, almost nobody could name the leader of Latvia or Slovenia. A shared language makes influence far easier. For this reason the French aren’t nearly as interested in #MeToo as the Brits, while many Eastern Europeans find the norms of Western liberalism baffling even bizarre.

Hungary, Poland, the Czech Republic and Slovakia are completely misunderstood by EU, because they didn’t have the Sixties in the way that we did. Communism meant that there was no sexual revolution. They never experienced mass immigration. Lots of people still go to Mass. To be a Hungarian is to be descended from people who have lived in Hungary for centuries. The culture of these places comes largely from themselves. They are largely immune therefore to whatever comes from America.

But in Britain we will follow on soon enough. I remember laughing at the idea of safe spaces and trigger warnings two or three years ago when I first read about campus politics in the USA, but soon enough it all began to happen here. You most likely won’t find such places in Paris and in Bratislava they would mean literally a place that is not dangerous, but in Britain we are punished because we gave to the New World our language.

It frightens me to see what is happening in the United States today, because all too soon it will happen here. It already is happening here.

The United States is becoming divided in a way that it hasn’t been since the 1860s. It is divided politically, racially and sexually and it is losing the consensus that holds a nation together.

When I studied in the United States I thought the Democrats and the Republicans were more or less the same. Some Democrats were more right-wing than most Republicans and vice versa. I couldn’t quite work out what made someone one rather than the other. It seemed to be a debate about whether you liked Donkeys or Elephants. Not now.

Today there is a cultural war going on between two tribes and they hate each other. They each appear willing to do anything to win this battle. But will they have a country left to fight over when it is finished. Will there be anything to unite in the United States?

Though we share a common language I find Americans frequently hard to understand. I have never felt this more than watching the nominee for the Supreme Court being accused of sexually assaulting someone in the early 1980s.

Just as no British person could seriously stand up and put his hand on his heart while singing the national anthem, so too no British person could either accuse or defend in the way that Americans do. The sentimentality and the sobbing are alien to us.

Like everyone else I have no idea who did what to whom in the early 1980s. I don’t want to judge who gave the better performance. Each gave a better performance than I could have done and I suspect 99% of other Brits. We would have been embarrassed, tongue tied and simply incapable of even remembering what we did or didn’t do in 1982.

This has gone too far folks. This now gets very dangerous indeed. I have written about this a few times, but we keep finding new examples. At some point soon a very serious injustice is going to occur.

We cannot allow a situation to arise where there is a certain class of crimes (sexual), which uniquely among all other crimes require a lower standard of evidence. An uncorroborated witness statement is not going to be enough to convict anyone of anything be it theft, physical assault or murder. Something more has to be required otherwise anyone could denounce anyone of anything.

If it was the case that everyone told the truth, then by definition there would be no need to have trials. All we would need to do would be to ask the accused if he was guilty or not guilty and jail him or let him go according to his answer. The fact that we have trials at all is an admission that people don’t tell the truth.

Just as we cannot have a class of crimes that require a lower standard of evidence, so too we cannot have a class of witness (women) that is deemed to be more reliable than others. Men lie, women lie, people lie. We are all just people.

Someone is going to have to carefully explain to women that if they complain that they have been raped or sexually assaulted, then there has to be some evidence beyond the mere fact that they say it. If there is no evidence beyond the mere testimony then it is simply going to be impossible to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that a crime has occurred. This will be the case even if the supposed crime happened yesterday, let alone in 1982.

The madness that has taken over the United States is such that people’s lives are being ruined because of unsubstantiated allegations that go back decades. If we allow this to become the norm then our politics will simply become impossible.

Let’s imagine I am scared that Jeremy Corbyn might become the next Prime Minister. Well what is to stop me searching for some woman who he went to school with or who he went on demonstrations with twenty, thirty or forty years ago. Eventually I might be able to discover one who is willing to say that in 1982 he groped her, or assaulted her or raped her. If only her testimony is enough to convict Mr Corbyn then my worries about him becoming Prime Minister are over. It isn’t even necessary that he should ever have met her. It’s only necessary that she says she did and that everyone believes her. Because women never ever lie.

The philosophy of law that we gave to the United States was founded not merely on the idea that everyone was innocent until proven guilty, but more importantly that we had a standard of proof that meant it was highly unlikely that the innocent would be convicted. This is what reasonable doubt is about. We have long believed that it would be better that ninety-nine guilty people went free than that one innocent person was unjustly convicted.

It is this above all that #MeToo would like to overthrow. If the testimony of any woman in a sexual case on its own is enough to convict any man, then men will have no defence whatsoever against any woman who accuses them of sexual assault or rape. How many men out of our one hundred will be unjustly convicted? Ten? Twenty? Who knows? If women are allowed to convict on the basis of their testimony not merely about what happened yesterday, but about what happened in 1982 then no-one will be safe from accusation. Any political rival, any job rival, any ex-boyfriend or divorcing husband can be destroyed not merely on the basis of what he did yesterday, but on the basis of what he did decades ago. Feminism has long since ceased to be about equality it is female supremacism.

Men and women need each other. We cannot live in a society where without any other evidence we can accuse each other of crimes that will send us to jail for years, prevent us from gaining a new job or which will allow us to take revenge at will. It will poison the foundation of human society by making the relationship (love) that builds nations lose all sense of trust.

The United States Supreme Court is perhaps the most respected court in the world, but if someone can be prevented from serving because of mere accusation without any other evidence then it too will lose its foundation. We base our whole way of life on judging according to evidence not denunciation. It is this that distinguishes us from tyranny.

We moved from theocracy towards enlightenment when we decided that science required evidence and that justice was not determined by ordeal. But just as we cannot determine guilt or innocence based on whether a witch sinks or floats, so too the ability to perform before a tribunal does not by itself tell us what is truth, nor indeed does the ability to pay for an expensive, clever lawyer. If the law is not about discovering truth based on objective evidence then it has fundamentally made no progress from trial by ordeal, because this is what we are witnessing.  For this reason I accuse the law.

If Mr Kavanaugh had been a Liberal, there would have been no accusations. There are accusations only because he is a Conservative and Liberals dislike how he may change the balance of the Supreme Court. But if the left can succeed with such tactics, then the right will use them next time in which case who will dare to stand for anything? We in Britain gave the United States it’s language and its law, but it would be better by far that we all spoke Polish than be infected further by this injustice. J’Accuse.

This post was originally published by the author on her personal blog: https://www.effiedeans.com/2018/09/jaccuse.html

About Effie Deans

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Effie Deans is a pro UK blogger who works at the University of Aberdeen. She spent many years living in Russia and the Soviet Union, but came home to Scotland so as to enjoy living in a multi-party democracy! When not occupied with Scottish politics she writes fiction and thinks about theology, philosophy and Russian literature.

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2 comments

  1. “If Mr Kavanaugh had been a Liberal, there would have been no accusations.”

    What can be asserted without evidence can be similarly dismissed. You do what passes for your case (aspects of which many of us would in fact echo) no favours resorting to such ridiculous hyperbole. Is Salmond accused solely because he’s a nationalist? Were Weinstein or Cosby accused because they were Democrat supporters or against the GOP?

    Zola used his “j’accuse” piece to attack a right wing, nationalist anti-semitic system which was institutionally biased and racist. You’re trying to wrap yourself in his colours to attack liberals who you assert are the only ones resorting to accusing conservatives. Sorry…that just won’t wash!

  2. Agreed Effie.
    We’re on a dangerous path.
    It’s easy for people to have their name dragged through the mud these days, be it out of spite and vendetta or someone’s personal benefit.

    People lie everyday for their own convenience and now some are expecting special treatment for alleged victimhood. In areas such as this I believe there is only one woman society should believe in and that’s the blindfolded lady with a set of scales in her hand.

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