There’s a remarkable admission in an article in the New York Times yesterday, titled “I Believe Tara Reade. I’m Voting for Joe Biden Anyway.“
Let’s be clear: I believe Tara Reade … Discounting Ms. Reade’s accusation and, one after another, denigrating her corroborating witnesses, calling for endless new evidence, avowing that you “hear” her, is nonsense. We are now up to four corroborating witnesses … So stop playing gotcha with the female supporters of Mr. Biden or the #MeToo movement, making them lie to the camera — or perhaps to themselves — about doubting her to justify their votes.
I’ll take one for the team. I believe Ms. Reade, and I’ll vote for Mr. Biden this fall.
. . .
Suck it up and make the utilitarian bargain.
All major Democratic Party figures have indicated they’re not budging on the presumptive nominee, and the transaction costs of replacing him would be suicidal. Barring some miracle, it’s going to be Mr. Biden.
So what is the greatest good or the greatest harm? Mr. Biden, and the Democrats he may carry with him into government, are likely to do more good for women and the nation than his competition, the worst president in the history of the Republic. Compared with the good Mr. Biden can do, the cost of dismissing Tara Reade — and, worse, weakening the voices of future survivors — is worth it.
. . .
Utilitarian morality requires that I turn my face away from the people I propose to sell out: Monica Lewinsky, Tara Reade. This is agonizingly hard for me to do. Pretending not to believe the complainants — which is what is taking place with Ms. Reade — or that they’re loose nobodies, which is what much of the media did to Ms. Lewinsky, is just an escape from the hard work of moral analysis … Better to just own up to what you are doing: sacrificing Ms. Reade for the good of the many.
There’s more at the link.
Here you have the classic difference between liberal and conservative; between socialist and capitalist; between those who believe the state can (and should) do everything, and those who believe in individual freedom. It’s simply stated:
important than the group.
That’s it, in a nutshell. In this case, it’s more important for the “group” to triumph (however you care to define the group: liberal/progressive/left-wing political supporters, or women, or feminists, or anti-Trumpers, or whatever) than for the allegations of a self-described sexual assault victim to be investigated and, if proved, prosecuted as criminal charges. It’s more important that ethical, moral and criminal evil be allowed to triumph (in the crime of sexual assault) rather than allowing partisanly perceived political evil to triumph (in President Trump winning re-election).
That attitude, of course, is the diametric opposite of our constitution, which assigns individual rights to “the people” and to each individual member of “the people”. That’s why we speak of “equality before the law” and the importance of “due process” (both of which the author of the above article would deny to Ms. Reade). One can take that further. In the mid-eighteenth century, William Blackstone published his “Commentaries on the Laws of England“. In it, he stated the seminal proposition that “It is better that ten guilty persons escape than that one innocent suffer” (a concept that came to be known as Blackstone’s Ratio). As Wikipedia points out:
The phrase was absorbed by the British legal system, becoming a maxim by the early 19th century. It was also absorbed into American common law, cited repeatedly by that country’s Founding Fathers, later becoming a standard drilled into law students all the way into the 21st century.
Other commentators have echoed the principle. Benjamin Franklin stated it as: “it is better 100 guilty Persons should escape than that one innocent Person should suffer”.
The attitude expressed by the NYT op-ed writer appears to turn on its head the principle expressed in Blackstone’s Ratio. In so many words, she’s arguing that it’s better for political reasons that the victim of crime (Tara Reade) should suffer than that the guilty party (Joe Biden) should be held accountable. What’s more, she has no qualms, and no shame, about stating that openly, in print.
One doesn’t have to wonder what Blackstone would have said to that . . . or what the Founding Fathers would have said. One suspects their reaction would have been to call loudly for tar, feathers and a rail. It’s certainly mine. As for deliberately voting on the basis of expediency – openly advocating the triumph of evil over good in the ethical and moral sense, in order that one set of partisan political principles may triumph over another – all I can say is that such a person has no place in my world, or I in hers. If her view triumphs, it effectively means civil war between those who have principles, and those who have none: between those who support our constitution, and those who reject it. On so amoral a foundation no society can stand, and no nation can endure.