Democrat conduct in the Kavanaugh smears would make Machiavelli blush

Michael Anton:
Let’s examine more closely that Left—the side they’ve joined. The Left has created a new “standard” for American politics—indeed, new in the entire history of Anglo-American jurisprudence. Let us call it the Gillibrand Standard, after its most insistent advocate, Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.).

According to the Gillibrand Standard, accusation suffices to destroy. Not only is no corroborating evidence necessary, to ask for such evidence makes one just as guilty as the accused. Especially monstrous is to ask questions of the accuser; that is to repeat or compound the alleged crime. The accusation, once stated, immediately takes on metaphysical certainty. To doubt is to blaspheme.

Actually, “accusation” is too generous. Machiavelli distinguishes between “accusation” and “calumny” in order to demonstrate that “as much as accusations are useful to republics, so much are calumnies pernicious.” The difference is that accusations are public, subject to critique and refutation, and a mendacious or even inaccurate accuser pays a price. Calumnies, by contrast, “have need neither of witnesses nor any other specific corroboration to prove them, so that everyone can be calumniated by everyone; but everyone cannot be accused, since accusations have need of true corroboration and of circumstances that show the truth of the accusation.” A more incisive summary of the Gillibrand Standard cannot be found.
There is but one limiting principle to the Gillibrand Standard: It shalt be used only against the Right and Republicans. Credible accusations—with evidence, witnesses, contemporaneous police reports—against Democrats and liberals are not merely to be ignored but also stonewalled and attacked, alleged victims and witnesses alike smeared. That is, until this or that liberal is no longer useful in the moment and safely can be discarded. Throwing an expired liberal to the wolves now and then is useful to maintain the fiction of evenhandedness.

This is obviously outrageous, unjust, unfair, and offensive to any conceivable standard of decency. Just as obvious, the Democrats and Left not only do not care, they welcome the weaponization of accusation. Their only conceivable regret is that it might not work this time. But even if it doesn’t “work” in the sense that Kavanaugh is not confirmed, they know that it “works” in other ways. It rallies their base. It drives fundraising. It degrades public standards of decency and credibility, making its effective use more likely in the future. It delegitimizes institutions—in this case, the Supreme Court, which, with the addition of Justice Kavanaugh, may later rule constitutionally and correctly in ways the Left does not like. And, most important for the nihilistic Left, it delegitimizes and dehumanizes—makes a villain out of—Kavanaugh himself.

It is hard to say what is the most shamelessly disgusting aspect of this affair. I offer as a candidate the following tactic. First, smear your target with uncorroborated, unprovable and almost certainly false allegations. After you have—inevitably—failed to substantiate those charges, insist that your target withdraw since his reputation will now forever be under a cloud and his rulings will lack popular legitimacy. This is akin to breaking an opponent’s arm before a sporting event and then insisting that he forfeit.
If Democrats do not pay a political price for these calumnies it will take this country to depths of depravity not seen outside of regimes like the Soviet Union and the Spanish inquisitions.  The media is being complicit in these calumnies.  If this is what the #MeToo Movement has comes to it deserves to fail.


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