Any rational observer of the Democrats’ non-stop character assassination machine can see that something is seriously sick in our republic. Instead of allowing Supreme Court confirmation hearings for Judge Brett Kavanaugh, Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee were permitted to use trumped-up, hip-pocketed charges to stage a show trial more in tune with a totalitarian system.
Like Justice Clarence Thomas before him, Kavanaugh has undergone pre-meditated, well-coordinated attacks by Democrat elites who cling to the apron strings of an anti-human brand of feminism to justify this craft. There’s a good term for the practice they’re engaged in: ritual defamation.
Perhaps an apt metaphor for ritual defamation is the gang rape of one’s character and good name. Whatever the end result, this episode represents an underhanded rape of the rule of law, as well as of Brett Kavanaugh’s character.
Laird Wilcox’s Essay On Ritual Defamation Is a Must-Read
So in light of the travesty of the Kavanaugh hearings—the character assassination; the utterly uncorroborated accusations of sexual misconduct when he was a youth; the use of a disruptive mob to hijack the process; the utter disregard for basic common sense and fairness, much less the rule of law—we need to study the mechanics behind these gutless acts.
In 1990, a Kansan civil liberties advocate named Laird Wilcox wrote an excellent and cogent essay entitled “The Practice of Ritual Defamation.” The essay provides a major public service. It clarifies the mechanics of ritual defamation and lists its eight primary features. It’s a short must-read for any citizen with a shred of goodwill.
Please read the whole thing, and check out the Kansas University Library’s free speech collection named after him. We should all learn to detect the features of ritual defamation and call foul whenever we see them. If you don’t know what they are, learn them now. It’s a matter of self-defense. It will put much of what you’ve seen over the past few weeks in a new and deeply disturbing light, because ritual defamation by whim will only spread if not stopped.
Let’s begin. First, Wilcox’s definition of defamation is as follows: “Defamation is the destruction or attempted destruction of the reputation, status, character or standing in the community of a person or group of persons by unfair, wrongful, or malicious speech or publication. For the purposes of this essay, the central element is defamation in retaliation for the real or imagined attitudes, opinions or beliefs of the victim, with the intention of silencing or neutralizing his or her influence, and/or making an example of them so as to discourage similar independence and ‘insensitivity’ or non-observance of taboos.”
Well, yes, that definitely sums up what’s been happening, doesn’t it? The idea is not only to prevent Kavanaugh’s influence, but to prevent anybody qualified and like-minded from serving. Next, a condensed explanation of the qualifier “ritual”: “Ritual defamation…is ritualistic because it follows a predictable, stereotyped pattern which embraces a number of elements, as in a ritual.” Below are condensed versions of those eight elements of ritual defamation.
“In a ritual defamation the victim must have violated a particular taboo in some way, usually by expressing or identifying with a forbidden attitude, opinion or belief.”
No question about it, Democrats have taboos. You and I and everyone must hold certain attitudes, opinions, and beliefs in strict accordance with theirs. In their minds, Judge Kavanaugh has violated these taboos. His potential stance on abortion and reversing Roe v. Wade is really just the tip of the iceberg for them.
Yes, abortion is a sacred cow to the Dems, but they know that even if Roe is reversed, abortion would remain legal in practically all of the states. (Footnote: Kavanaugh seems to have also violated their taboo on sexual abstinence, a highly punishable offense in their eyes.) But mostly they consider Kavanaugh guilty because he reveres the U.S. Constitution as the law of the land and the protections it guarantees to individuals.
As a federalist, he would believe that unbridled centralized government power goes against the letter and spirit of the Constitution. That is the forbidden attitude that the Democrats seem to believe justifies their ritual defamation of Kavanaugh.
“The method of attack in a ritual defamation is to assail the character of the victim. . . Character assassination is its primary tool.”
Indeed. The character assassination has been non-stop. Kavanaugh went from Boy Scout to serial rapist literally overnight.
“An important rule in ritual defamation is to avoid engaging in any kind of debate over the truthfulness or reasonableness of what has been expressed, only condemn it. .. . . The primary goal of a ritual defamation is censorship and repression.”
Yes, the last thing totalitarians are interested in is arriving at the truth. Lost in the muck is any reasoned debate about Kavanaugh’s views. Indeed, the purpose of assassinating his character is to associate these views with sexual perversion and hypocrisy, i.e., to censor and repress him and those with similar views.
No one is permitted to express doubt or ask for any evidence. If you do, well, you’re a vicious woman-hating, right-wing, good for nothing, blah blah blah.
“The victim is often somebody in the public eye – someone who is vulnerable to public opinion – although perhaps in a very modest way. It could be a schoolteacher, writer, businessman, minor official, or merely an outspoken citizen. Visibility enhances vulnerability to ritual defamation.”
So you don’t need to be a nominee to the Supreme Court to suffer from ritual defamation. At root, the treatment of Judge Kavanaugh is meant to be an example of how you—yes, you—will be crucified too if you ever express a taboo opinion.
Many will choose to lay low to avoid such treatment. But that’s the whole idea, because it means giving in to the bullying, and thereby allowing repression and censorship to grow. This enhances the trickle-down effect of ritual defamation, so that any unknown can get victimized for expressing an opinion considered taboo—i.e., politically incorrect—by bullies.
“An attempt, often successful, is made to involve others in the defamation. In the case of a public official, other public officials will be urged to denounce the offender. In the case of a student, other students will be called upon, and so on.”
Any nay vote on Kavanaugh from Republicans would suffice here as involving them in the defamation. Weak Republican senators such as Jeff Flake, Lisa Murkowski, and Susan Collins were always ripe for the picking, and having the show trial, complete with the optics of a soft-spoken victim who needs no evidence, certainly helps to pull such Republicans into the defamation process.
And we all know that bully-like swarming is the order of the day, whether in person or on social media. By the way, doesn’t this September 26 photo taken in a basement corridor of the U.S. Capitol look like Democrat Sen. Dianne Feinstein applying pressure to Republican Murkowski, who was said to be wavering on voting for Kavanaugh?
Anyway, the Dems have also been quite effective in stirring up the mob during the early confirmation hearings, orchestrating many loud and circus-like disruptions while Kavanaugh spoke.
“In order for a ritual defamation to be effective, the victim must be dehumanized to the extent that he becomes identical with the offending attitude, opinion or belief, and in a manner which distorts it to the point where it appears at its most extreme.”
I’d say that just calling someone a “rapist” on whim is a pretty good example of this. Or suggesting he’s a “killer,” in order to cast him as a monster. It’s all meant to dehumanize.
“Also to be successful, a ritual defamation must bring pressure and humiliation on the victim from every quarter, including family and friends. If the victim has school children, they may be taunted and ridiculed as a consequence of adverse publicity. If they are employed, they may be fired from their job. If the victim belongs to clubs or associations, other members may be urged to expel them.”
No question, this is happening as part of the smear job being inflicted on Kavanaugh. We don’t know what his children may have suffered, but the adverse publicity certainly creates pressure on the family. Even though his family remains loyal to him, those running the smear machine have been tirelessly trying to dig up any of his associates or friends who might join in the smears to add to the demoralization.
Political correctness already had the ball rolling on such tactics. Consider the hit job on Brendan Eich of Mozilla. Or Google’s hit job on its employee James Damore. Or the firing of Kevin Williamson from The Atlantic. All were basically mob hits meant to publicly punish with adverse publicity, in order to intimidate all people from expressing their opinions.
“Any explanation the victim may offer, including the claim of being misunderstood, is considered irrelevant. To claim truth as a defense for a politically incorrect value, opinion or belief is interpreted as defiance and only compounds the problem. Ritual defamation is often not necessarily an issue of being wrong or incorrect but rather of ‘insensitivity’ and failing to observe social taboos.”
In the smearing of Kavanaugh we can identify all of these elements of ritual defamation.
Let’s not forget this fact: Judge Kavanaugh is being defamed primarily because he really believes in the U.S. Constitution. If he was willing to kowtow to Dems and rewrite the Constitution consistent with leftist views, Democrats would have no problem whatsoever confirming him to the Supreme Court.
The previous ritual defamation of Justice Clarence Thomas involves another layer of taboo in the eyes of the Democrat elite: independent thought. Thomas provided the best description of the Democrats’ real reason for defaming him during his 1991 confirmation hearings: “It is a high-tech lynching for uppity blacks who in any way deign to think for themselves, to do for themselves, to have different ideas, and it is a message that unless you kowtow to an old order, this is what will happen to you. You will be lynched, destroyed, caricatured by a committee of the U.S. Senate rather than hung from a tree.”
Of course, Kavanaugh also deigns to think for himself, and conservative so-called “white males” have been out of fashion for some time now.
Ritual Defamation Has a Tendency Toward Overkill
Finally, Wilcox notes a few other characteristics of ritual defamation, such as: its universality, threats of ostracism to play on the primal human fear of social rejection, manipulation of words and symbols, and elements of primitive behavior, such as the act of putting a “curse” or a “hex” on someone.
But the power of ritual defamation “lies entirely in its capacity to intimidate and terrorize.” Wilcox writes “it is not used to persuade, but to punish,” as well as to avoid the conversations and debates that a free society needs if it is to survive. So if we want to remain free, we must all learn to recognize the patterns of ritual defamation and summarily reject them.
Wilcox also offers this final analysis: “The weakness of ritual defamation lies in its tendency toward overkill and in its obvious maliciousness. Occasionally a ritual defamation will fail because of poor planning and failure to correctly judge the vulnerability of the victim or because its viciousness inadvertently generates sympathy.”
Any person who values freedom and our Constitution would hope that the attempt to ritually defame Kavanaugh would fail, but not only for those reasons. It should fail primarily because our nation is well overdue for a restoration of the rule of law.
Why It’s Crucial That We Stop This Dead in Its Tracks
If we don’t learn to spot and call out the features of ritual defamation, then there is no stopping our nation’s drive into lawlessness. This scenario will repeat itself over and over again in our institutions, with less and less evidence required, if we don’t get a grip on it.
History has shown that the practice of ritual defamation can lead to some pretty nasty things if left to its own devices. It feeds on itself, as the era of Joseph Stalin’s show trials and reign of terror in the Soviet Union demonstrated.
Democratic Sen. Mazie Hirono gave us a strong hint of the false confessions of that era when she demanded that men “shut up” and basically confess to crimes without any evidence of wrongdoing. Her dismissal of due process and the rule of law is chilling—even more so because Democrats are no longer even giving lip service to those foundations of human freedom.
The surrealism here can’t be overstated, although it was totally predictable. No matter your political opinions, if you have any sense of real justice you can now see what lies beneath the mask of today’s power-mongering elites in the media and politics: the intention to destroy with impunity any person they decide to target. This means the destruction of any one of us, not just Judge Kavanaugh.
If we don’t stop this infection, we will only get more mob rule and become increasingly vulnerable to its whims. That is the system of “government” the Democrats now openly represent, and it will continue to be upheld by the practice of ritual defamation.