Victor Davis Hanson sees the old American norms transformed in the Kavanaugh process, and he sees all this as a major milestone on the road of American decline.
The Kavanaugh confirmation hearings and their endless sequelae have ended up as an epitaph for a spent culture for which its remedies are felt to be worse than its diseases. Think 338 B.C., A.D. 476, 1453, or 1939.
The coordinated effort to destroy Brett Kavanaughâ€™s nomination to the U.S. Supreme Court required the systematic refutation of the entire notion of Western jurisprudence by senators and much of the American legal establishment. And there was no hesitation in doing just that on the part of Senate Democrats, the #MeToo movement, and the press. And I write this at a moment in which conservatives and Republicans still control the majority of governorships, state legislatures, the U.S. Senate, the House of Representatives, the Supreme Court and the presidencyâ€”a reminder that culture so often is far more powerful than politics.
So, here we were to be left with a new legal and cultural standard in adjudicating future disagreements and disputes, an utterly anti-Western standard quite befitting for our new relativist age:
The veracity of accusations will hinge on the particular identity, emotions, and ideology of the accuser;
Evidence, or lack of it, will be tangential, given the supposed unimpeachable motives of the ideologically correct accuser;
The burden of proof and evidence will rest with the accused to disprove the preordained assumption of guilt;
Hearsay will be a valuable narrative and constitute legitimate evidence;
Truth is not universal, but individualized. Fordâ€™s â€œtruthâ€ is as valid as the â€œTruth,â€ given that competing narratives are adjudicated only by access to power. Ford is a victim, therefore her truth trumps â€œtheirâ€ truth based on evidence and testimony.
Questionable and inconsistent testimony are proof of trauma and therefore exactitude; recalling an accusation to someone is proof that the action in the accusation took place.
Statutes of limitations do not exist; any allegation of decades prior is as valid as any in the present. All of us are subject at any moment to unsubstantiated accusations from decades past that will destroy lives.
Assertion of an alleged crime is unimpeachable proof. Recall of where, when, why, and how it took place is irrelevant.
Individual accusations will always be subservient to cosmic causes; individuals are irrelevant if they do not serve ideological aims. All accusations fit universal stereotypes whose rules of finding guilt or innocence trump those of individual cases.
The accuser establishes the conditions under which charges are investigated; the accused nods assent.
Our cultural traditions are being insidiously rewritten in this new Dark Age. We know now that Euripidesâ€™s Phaedra should have been believed, as a female accuser of rape. Perhaps university presses can either reissue properly corrected editions or ban the Hippolytus entirely. No doubt we will ban Racineâ€™s PhÃ¨dre as well. Harper Leeâ€™s Tom Robinson deserved his fate because his female accuser should have been believedâ€”and perhaps To Kill a Mockingbird should be rewritten as well. In our time, we have finally and only now belatedly realized that Tawana Brawleyâ€™s voice was stifled.
VDH is not wrong.