Thursday, October 16, 2014

Slippery Slopes--Redux

Talk about instant gratification. I write one simple blog post and immediately 28 Harvard Law professors publish an Op-Ed in The Boston Globe saying "What that Trobich guy said? Ditto!" Well, maybe that's not exactly what they said, and I am quite sure not a one of them read my blog, but that's my story and I'm sticking to it. Regrettably, almost simultaneously, Ezra Klein of, a journalist whose work I generally think highly of, wrote a piece demonstrating that the concerns I (and the Harvard profs and others) am expressing are true.

The entire Op-Ed by the Harvard profs can be found here, but the bottom-line is that they are very concerned that these new policies overreach, and that the due process rights of the accused are getting trampled-upon in the process. Now, again, let's be precise here. The only entity that you have a "right" to due process from is the government. I have made the point in another post that most people mistakenly believe that Constitutional guarantees like free speech (and due process) means that you get that right anywhere and everywhere. You don't. Let's be clear, there is nothing "Unconstitutional" about these policies. But while an allegation of sexual assault to a university is not the same as being charged with that crime, the seriousness of the allegation (and the likely life-changing result of the allegation alone) warrants every bit the amount of due process that the Constitution guarantees you in a criminal court venue.

So far, so good, right? The various Harvard profs have awakened from their academic slumber and seen fit to take a stand. Yay. But almost at the same time, Klein was writing a piece that, I submit, should scare the crap out of you. Put simply, Klein acknowledges that the "Yes means Yes" law just enacted in California is "a terrible bill", but in his opinion "a necessary one". As I said in my earlier post, I am as staunch a defender of feminism as you will find. My two daughters are the pride and joy of my life, and if anyone ever hurt them in any way well, there's a reason why one of my daughters' friends said that when they saw "Taken" with Liam Neeson they thought of me (see below). When Klein speaks of "a culture of sexual entitlement" that is "built on [women's] fear", I agree with him completely. But this is not the remedy. Klein says, approvingly, that to work, "Yes means Yes" has to "create a world where men are afraid". And, most disturbingly, the cases where men are "convicted" from a truly ambiguous situation or, worse, completely concocted allegations, well, according to Klein, "that's necessary for the law's success". He's willing for some (in his assertion "very, very few") to be ruined for the greater good.

No. That can't be. If that's the solution, then we need to keep the disease. Surely there is a better way to tear down the very real issues of sexual entitlement/harassment/assault. There has to be.

[If you somehow don't know the movie "Taken" with Liam Neeson (heck, they're about to come out with "Taken 3") here is the near-iconic scene of Neeson assuring those who have kidnapped his daughter of their fate]

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