Imagine getting a phone call and it’s the FBI. Someone has accused you of a crime you didn’t commit. That’s horrifying enough, but then imagine them diving into your school yearbooks, talking to friends who saw you get drunk too many times on Pabst Blue Ribbon or Boone’s Farm, drudging up every stupid thing teenagers do and pinning it to your present self as if no time had passed.
Your guilt has already been determined from specters of your past. Imagine the helplessness. The frustration. The anger you would feel if all you can do is stand by in silence as the pages of your teenage years are printed for all to see — and for all to judge.
What has happened to Judge Brett Kavanaugh could happen to you. Every high school “friend” with an ax to grind is taken seriously. The word of every scorned lover or broken-hearted ex is taken as the gospel. Your privacy is shredded along with your reputation. Imagine what that feels like.
Yes, I’m talking about feelings, especially since they seem to be front and center of every political and legal issue in our country today. Think about what it would be like to be judged simply because you’re part of a collective, a targeted group that another group wants to stigmatize and delegitimize in the quest for power.
The horror of guilt-by-accusation and destruction of privacy goes far beyond feelings. It can threaten your very existence. Consider Lenin’s Red Terror. Russian citizens were shot without trial merely for being part of a group or class of people. In 1920, Lenin’s Cheka henchmen killed 50,000 people — simply because they were part of a target group. Millions of deaths followed.
As Paul Johnson writes in Modern Times, “the most disturbing and, from the historical point of view, important characteristic of the Lenin terror was not the quantity of the victims but the principle on which they were selected. Within a few months of seizing power, Lenin had abandoned the notion of individual guilt, and with it the whole Judeo-Christian ethic of personal responsibility.” He stopped caring what a person did or even why they did it. He chose to “hunt down people, and destroy them, not on the basis of crimes, real or imaginary, but on the basis of generalizations, hearsay, and rumors.”
Innocent until proven guilty gave way to presumed guilt. Presumed guilt was determined solely on membership of a particular group. Lives were ripped apart as individuals disappeared into the black hole of the delegitimized group.
Lenin’s goal was not to investigate crimes committed by individuals. His Extraordinary Commission was “an organ of struggle.” “It did not judge the enemy; it struck him,” never truly looking for evidence or witnesses to reveal deeds or words, but to what group does he belong. “These questions defined the fate of the accused.”
Destruction by mere accusation and collective guilt is the essence of the Democrats’ war against Kavanaugh. They don’t care how they destroy him. In this case, it’s not actual death as in Lenin’s time, but it’s the death of his reputation, the peace of his family, his hopes and dreams, his career, his security, his individuality, his humanity.
The Democrats don’t care about these lessons from the past because they’re only concerned about power — principles of liberty be damned. This is what is at stake in the upcoming election. It’s not just about Kavanaugh, it’s about each of us. It’s about our rights, our security, and our freedom.