Let’s not kid ourselves. The Roy Moore case is not really about Roy Moore. At root, it was never really about whether he sexually harassed anybody 40 years ago. Ultimately, it isn’t even about the Senate seat that hangs in the balance. All of those are means to a much larger end.
The real story today is that emotional feeding frenzies in public discourse put us on a path that leads—unless something dramatic changes—to the end of due process. Due process and the rule of law are concepts fast becoming meaningless to Americans hypnotized by media.
As the mainstream media has told it for decades: there should be a presumption of guilt based on any accusation of sexual misconduct, whether a Moore character running for Senate or a hapless college kid accused of rape or anybody else. Oh, and the media has the prerogative of controlling the narrative, picking and choosing who’s guilty.
Has that changed? To be sure, many of the media’s heretofore immune darlings—folks like Al Franken, Harvey Weinstein, and Charlie Rose—are now being hoisted on their own petards with multiple women coming forward to claim sexual abuse and harassment. Will we see a return to the ideal of due process as a result? I wouldn’t count on it.
What we see instead is a lot of scrambling and opportunism by media folk trying to cobble together a semblance of long-lost credibility. We see politicians like Sen. Kirsten Gillebrand, who has done a 180 on her support for Bill Clinton, now claiming he should have been forced to resign as president.
Why? I suppose to readjust her “right side of history” pose, cultivate the ground to push for a sexual harassment case against President Trump, and perhaps because she’d like to run for president herself. Other than that, I’m sure she’s just being fair and objective.
Whatever today’s circus means, it should serve as an object lesson that due process first dies in the public square. It’s only going to get worse unless people learn to focus more on the causes of our lethal disease (e.g., political correctness, agitprop, power-mongering, the practice of ritual defamation, etc.) than on the symptoms of certain media- and politico-selected diseased people.
The Life and Death of Due Process
If we could wrest our brains away from the sewer of social media, perhaps we could see that we’re living in the Twilight Zone. Trying to discern what is real from what is fake is a tall order in today’s media world, unless you’ve worked hard to cultivate a sense of discernment. Navigating the “news” is like taking a walk through a labyrinthine hall of smoke and mirrors.
This is why I think Moore’s case, as with all Gloria Allred-sponsored side shows and their unpredicted spawn, is really about the future of due process. Will it live or die? Will we be able to revive the true meaning of due process, i.e., the basic principle that people should be judged fairly on the basis of evidence? Or will we succumb to raw emotion and all of the thoughtless lynching that goes with it? Will the term “due process” simply end up as a garbage term that means whatever anybody wants it to mean?
Some folks would say that the concept of due process only applies in a court of law, and has nothing to do with the vicissitudes of public opinion. That’s a nice sentiment for a different era not controlled by a propaganda media. But due process does not exist in a vacuum. It gets its oxygen from a public understanding of what it means. If society loses its comprehension of the idea of equal treatment under the law, based on a moral code that should apply equally to all, it really doesn’t matter that we aren’t in a court of law.
Let’s not forget that public opinion has always been used as a mechanism to change public policy. This is key, and it’s why media corruption, opinion polling, and political correctness are such big deals. They create illusions of opinion cascades, which in turn strongly suggest which views will be socially acceptable to adopt. Then, polling numbers in hand, politicians stick their wet fingers in the air to check wind direction. They pass laws based on their perceptions of public opinion. The courts soon follow.
Due process first dies in the court of public opinion. It dies with bread and circus, with the mob. Then it dies in courts of law.
We Aren’t in Kansas Any More
When we deceive ourselves into believing that moral standards are a pick-and-choose proposition, we end up in a tangled dystopia in which there soon will be no due process or rule of law for anyone.
A huge swath of Hollywood and the media have been dictating to us for decades that due process should not apply to hicks and unsophisticated moralists, as they’ve labelled Moore. If it applies at all, then it only applies to upstanding and enlightened citizens like Sen. Al Franken. Now we learn that Franken sexually harassed women, including newcaster Leeann Tweeden. He admits to the photographic evidence of doing so. But longtime media rules say he’s entitled to “due process,” or at least a sense of lenience and forgiveness.
That’s certainly not the case for the likes of Moore, although he denies the allegations. Worse, he has preached that there are moral standards of right and wrong, which means he stands accused of both moral turpitude and hypocrisy, of violating his own moral code. Hollywood and the media seem to have declared this combination not only unforgiveable, but proof positive that moral standards don’t even exist. Or at least they do not exist for those who enjoy the media’s protection.
Whether this corrupt system all unravels with sexual scandals on the Left remains to be seen. It seems the Left’s growing chorus calling for Franken’s resignation is more a cynical ploy to create the illusion of moral high ground to prevent Moore from taking the Alabama Senate seat should he be elected. After all, Franken’s seat can be retained for the Left through Minnesota’s Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton. So Franken’s expendable to them.
However, if perchance the double standard of morality were to unravel, our society would actually have a shot at renewing our understanding of what due process, fairness, and justice really mean, that they must be built upon a moral code that applies equally to all. That would be a good thing.
But if the dust should settle for the Left and it consolidates power, we can expect a full-force return to its double standards of morality. We should expect a continued narrative that conditions the public to misconstrue and reject the concept of due process. Our media and power elites decided quite some time ago that some folks get the benefit of the doubt and others certainly do not.
Sen. Ted Kennedy, for example, left MaryJo Kopechne to drown while he first called his lawyer then took a nap after extricating himself from the car he drove off a bridge, with her in it, at Chappaquiddick. He went on to win numerous re-elections, honored by his colleagues as the “Lion of the Senate.” Today’s censures by the Left of Kennedy’s behavior and Bill Clinton’s sexual misconduct are nothing but stopgap measures. Only a free people who understand and appreciate the meaning of freedom can call out such cynical posturing.
Moral Standards Apply Equally Or Not at All
Either moral standards exist or they do not exist. If there are no standards, then there is no way to measure or achieve fairness. Or justice. Or equality. The concepts of due process and rule of law absolutely depend upon a society both recognizing and maintaining moral standards as equally applicable to everybody.
Lots of people have problems with the idea of morality in a free society. Their oft-quoted phrase is, “You can’t legislate morality.” Perhaps they’d be fascinated to know that we actually do have laws against murder, stealing, and rape, because those behaviors are deemed immoral.
But let’s back up a bit. To understand what a moral standard is, let’s try to understand what any standard is. A standard is just an unchanging basis that we use for comparison, measurement, and discernment. Let’s take a look at a (hopefully) uncontroversial example: a unit of physical measurement.
Whether you use the metric system or the U.S. system, all must agree and accept the value of each unit and how to mathematically convert their values. We use those standards to measure acreage, tonnage, mileage, etc. Imagine if all of a sudden anyone was permitted to change those standards at whim. The measures would have no meaning. The entire fake system would eventually collapse under its own weight.
Even though moral standards may seem more subjective than physical standards, they are critical to the functioning of any society. Without them, there is no self-regulation, no balance in relationships. The Ten Commandments, for example, provide moral standards by telling us not to kill, lie, cheat, or steal. Somehow we know in our hearts that all such behaviors are immoral. We know they corrode all human relationships. Whether or not a person believes such standards come from God, any sane individual can see how dangerous it is for functioning societies to reject such standards.
So without a rule of law based upon those principles, everybody becomes vulnerable to being abused at whim. The minute we exempt ourselves—or any hand-picked person who may serve our purposes—we end up in the chaotic territory expressed in the scripture of Isaiah 5:20: “Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness.”
There can be no room for even the pretense of due process if we allow our social discourse to cherry-pick morality. If we are going to automatically adopt a lynch mob mentality whenever someone is accused of a crime, then we are paving a path into darkness where anyone and everyone can be presumed guilty and lynched.
Granted, in the public square, we aren’t bound to presume innocence in expressing our opinions about who’s guilty in any given scandal. But once our public discourse habitually trashes the concepts of presumption of innocence or due process, then we open the door for kangaroo courts and show trials. And due process enters its death throes.