The species known as “social justice warrior” (genus SWPL) is notoriously flippant about centuries-old individual rights (such as freedom of speech).  A question I wonder about is: are those accused of “racism” (I’ll explain the scare quotes in a moment) entitled to the traditional rights of the accused, such as due process, the right to face their accusers, and the presumption of innocence?  You would doubt it, if you had paid attention to any of the recent witch hunts (Donald Sterling being the recent example).

And why is this?  The obvious answer is that accused “racists” face mob justice, and the mob is never interested in due process.  But the deeper answer is that due process is simply impossible in these cases, because an accusation of being a racist is indefinite, and really no more provable than the accusation of being a witch.  What would a formal process look like for bringing trial against someone for “being a racist”?  How would you prove that beyond a reasonable doubt?  You can’t.  Hence, the sole determinant of guilt is what the various aggrieved parties are feeling, and mob-style justice is administered without giving the accused so much as the right to speak on his own behalf.

And, you will be amazed at the contortions that seemingly intelligent people will go through, in order to justify throwing out centuries of legal protections for the accused.  When one caller to a radio show objected that the tape of Sterling’s comments might have been faked or doctored, the host (I think it was Colin Cowherd) started screeching something along these lines.  “Then where has he been?  The tape was released 2 days ago, if he’s innocent, why hasn’t he come forward to defend himself.”  In other words, literally trial by (a hostile) media.  Someone else raised doubts about whether Sterling’s taped comments weren’t those of a jilted lover rather than a hater of black people.  The response he got was that Sterling is being punished because he is behind the times, and doesn’t understand our new racially sensitive society.  In other words: he is the wrong kind of person, an older white (well, Jewish) man who does not instinctively mouth PC platitudes.

Basically, what you mostly see from people — those who are thoughtful enough to see any problem with throwing out quaint notions like rights of the accused — is special pleading.  But of course, it’s easy to put over classic logical fallacies when you are on the bully pulpit at the head of a mob, rather than in an adversarial trial in a courtroom.  Maybe that’s why, is simpler times, such protections were enshrined into law.

But then again, as we infinitely-enlightened 21st century denizens now know, all the people that wrote those laws were racists.  So it’s probably for the best that we’re throwing them all out, right?

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