To Hell with the Constitution, Not Me Too, and No, I’m Not Sorry

Presumption of innocence
“Ei incumbit probatio qui dicit, non qui negat.” (the burden of proof is on the one who declares, not on one who denies)

Criminal conviction by public opinion, usually through the media, and more recently through social media, is one of the most dangerous aspects of 21st century society. It feeds into a network of rage and powerlessness that makes people into a bloodthirsty mob.

If I look cynical, there is a reason.
If I look cynical, there is a reason.

Why? Because “police say XXX abused over 70 children.” Did you know (and I am guessing you did but don’t care) that no one is guilty of anything because “police said so.” It takes more than that, because police are fallible and can make mistakes, can be too eager to believe what they want to hear, and are as easily corrupted as any other human beings. Most importably, it is because the Constitution, the foundational document of our nation, says so.

Periodically, society goes through strange, self-induced, self-sustaining, and ultimately self-destructive waves of bullying disguised as justice. If you don’t believe and behave in favor of their conclusions, you are the enemy, and advocate the target of their outrage by proxy. It’s not enough to be silent. If you don’t condemn their enemies to hell, you, too, are the devil. Trends like #ICantBreathe, #blacklivesmatter, and in the last few weeks, #metoo invite you to comply or be cast out.

A Facebook thread on the ironically-named “Friendly Atheist” page recently called me as “asshole” for  suggesting that everyone, including an accused child molester, is entitled to due process. Their argument was that, “He’s charged with 160 counts, and that’s good enough for me. He’s guilty as far as I’m concerned.” Dangerous. Dangerous.

I don’t participate in any of these recent social media/social justice trends for several reasons…

  • I don’t let popularity or peer pressure make any decisions for me, good or bad.
  • I don’t let the internet or the people around me label me as anything, since they don’t know me. It’s one of the stupidest games groupthink can invent: “Hey, that’s guy’s not wearing a Holocaust ribbon. He must hate Jews!”
  • I have first-hand experience with a trend I was bullied into accepting, satanic cultism, that turned out to be demonstrably false and debunked. At the time, though, I felt a lot of pressure to accept it and the thousands of claims by women who said they’d been molested and raped in satanic rituals. In the end, that whole scene was an example of mass delusion and mass hysteria, and many lives were ruined by it (see link for an example), for absolutely no reason at all.

So I don’t wear Colin Kapernick shirts, I don’t use #ItWasMe, and I have no intention of apologizing for being myself, even if I made mistakes. Honestly, a bloodthirsty social justice cadré hates me for my race and gender, and already blame me for all that is wrong in the world.

Also, free speech: Aside from being guaranteed by the law of the land, it is actually fairly difficult to exercise free speech. If you say the wrong thing at the wrong time to the wrong people, even jokingly, even speculatively, you could face complete ruin. On the other hand, if you say things that are universally insensitive and yet are in certain situations with certain people, even genuinely terrible things, you can still prosper.

Think I’m wrong? Read the entire real, verified President Trump (ouch, that hurt to type) “Grab ’em by the pussy… You can do anything…” quote here (link). Yet somehow, a major fraction of the people in our nation don’t react to those comments as they, at least I think, should.

At this point, we are going through another period of mass hysteria, certainly about child molestation and sexual harassment, but also with the inclination to believe one thing with one ear and despise it with the other, not really knowing anything about any of it.

Photographing absurdities and believing atrocities
Photographing absurdities and believing atrocities
1+

4 Comments

  1. I don’t think anyone should do something just because it’s trending. I’ve always reacted badly to the “everyone’s doing it” mantra. Or when people say: “You HAVE to do this”, even if they don’t mean it as a command but as a gushing endorsement, I recoil.

    * “I have no intention of apologizing for being myself, even if I made mistakes…”

    I don’t think anyone’s asking you to, are they? If I’m apologizing for mistakes, that’s because I regret the mistakes, and it IS who I am to regret mistakes.

    * “…a bloodthirsty social justice cadré hates me for my race and gender…”

    Well, fuck them.

    1+
  2. It must be something in the comment then, that’s automatically being triggered as spam. I can leave a normal comment, just not what I wanted to say. :-)

    >>Ed note: This is from Anderson’s attempt to comment, which he put on social media instead.< < I tried to comment on this blog post, but wasn't able to. (Browser message said I was "forbidden". Ha.) Here's what I was attempting to submit: I fall into the skeptical camp. Like you, I remember the Satanist accusations from my childhood -- turned out to be entirely false. Every time a newspaper story says "Area Man Arrested For Child Porn" or "Area Woman Nabbed For Conspiracy" or whatever, I'm appalled at the people who immediately believe it's true. "Rot in hell!" or "Execute him now!" comments abound. Anyone suggesting due process is assumed to be an accomplice. It's sick. On the other hand... And there are always other hands... Due process is enshrined to protect us from *false imprisonment*, not to protect us from hateful comments of others. I knew a guy that lost his job and kids over a "child porn" charge. It turned out to be photos of his own kids playing in a backyard pool. He did eventually get his children back, but never did get that job or make up for lost income. He also never went to prison because due process worked for him. Side note: I'm surprised you included #blacklivesmatter as an example of "invite you to comply or be cast out." In my experience, that's what #blacklivesmatter fights *against* -- the cops who insist they comply or be shot to shreds. If I believed in God, I'd thank him every day that I wasn't born black in this country, and curse him for allowing the treatment people of color have had to endure.

    0
  3. Anderson: You did say “child pǿrn” twice. I wonder if that triggered some hidden, automatic defense mode in WordPress.

    Regarding the case you mentioned, I remember hearing something similar on the news a few years back, but don’t know the details.

    And I agree with your black lives matter comment, but Richard’s commentary holds true as well. (Your comments are not at odds with one another.) I can be 100% in support of Black Lives Matter and still notice that conversations are being shut down when views don’t align exactly the way someone wants them to. Recently, I saw several online arguments erupt between people who *agreed* on the topic, but disagreed on how to implement solutions.

    (In other words, I think you’re both on the same side; just emphasizing different things.)

    0

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.