Boots & Sabers

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2013, 30 Sep 18

Belief Is Not a Substitute for Evidence


That’s especially because Blasey is a compelling, even emblematic, figure, and the fight against sexual assault a good and necessary cause. The history of civil-rights abuses is often connected to such causes. The McCarthyism of the 1950s sprang from well-grounded fears of communist espionage and Soviet intentions. The well-documented miscarriages of justice in campus sexual assault investigations are the outgrowth of an effort to stamp out a real problem.

The enduring challenge of liberal societies is to react to such challenges, not overreact. The guardrails against overreaction are based in the presumption of innocence and the legal, institutional and personal norms that bolster that presumption. To deny Kavanaugh’s confirmation based on Blasey’s allegation alone — never mind those of Deborah Ramirez or Julie Swetnick — is to remove one of the guardrails for all future nominees of whatever party.

Is that a good idea? More particularly, is it an idea for liberals to embrace, given that we live in an era in which a right-wing demagogue can mobilize millions of Americans to believe just about anything? When politics becomes solely a matter of “I believe” versus “I believe,” it descends into a raw contest for power. Historically, it’s been fascists, not liberals, who tend to win such contests.


2013, 30 September 2018


  1. Kevin Scheunemann

    The only weakness is: article fails to recognize liberal intersectionality is the new fascism in America. The idea you are more or less important based on skin color, carnal choices, and gender perversion.

  2. Le Roi du Nord

    “Belief is not a substitute for evidence”.

    Love the headline.  Now I just wish folks would heed that advice.

  3. MjM

    The article’s premise rings true. But I have issues with some of the things the author uses to get there.

    We are told that unseen things are dangerous. This is true. Be it the hungry wolf stalking you from the brush or the new tax reporting rule hidden on page 78. In this case, we are asked to believe, as the author believes, that “belief” is hidden and therefore dangerous. We are told by the author that he “watched” and then “wholly” believed, going so far as to proclaim “guiless”. The author then went on to also believe a complete contradiction. In both cases his belief, based on what was seen, was also seen.

    And that’s my point; belief, even if not proclaimed, is rarely hidden. It can openly expressed. It is usually revealed by actions or accidental words. It can be literally worn on your sleeve (or directly on your arm if you are so inclined).

    But beliefs can also challenged and in most cases be proven, or disproven.

    There is, of course, instances when “belief” is indeed dangerous. It is when it is stated falsely as a ruse to other means.

    The other issue I have with the article, is the glaring contradictions within. As mentioned above, the author believes both Kavanaugh and Ford. That, I suggest, is simply not possible and is a sign of a) ignorance, or b) simple cowardice.

    The author writes the following….

    “A stronger argument against Kavanaugh’s nomination is that we should not elevate to the Supreme Court a nominee over whom there will always be this dark pall of suspicion.”

    Then he writes…

    “And if suspicion based on allegation — even or especially “believable” allegations — becomes a sufficient basis for disqualification, it will create overpowering political incentives to discover, produce or manufacture allegations in the hopes that something sticks.”

    Within these two quotes, the author argues for the precise outcome created by the tactics he advocates against.

    The poor fellow is quite conflicted.

  4. MaxwellsEQs

    Does Kavanaugh’s and Trump’s ability and willingness to lie for no reason bother anyone?

    Kavanaugh said in his testimony “Senator, you were asking about college. I got into Yale Law School. That’s the number-one law school in the country. I had no connections there. I got there by busting my tail in college.” This statement is factually not true, as he is a legacy admission (his grandfather went to Yale).

    In addition, Trump lies all the time, but the most striking example for me was when he came to the fair grounds in Washington County. Anticipating the end of his speech, I moved toward the exit in an attempt to beat traffic. At which point Trump said “…as many people as there are in here, there are thousands waiting to get in…” This statement was demonstrably false, as there was space in the back, and when I walked out of the building, moments later, the only people outside were a few black people selling Trump shirts.


  5. Kevin Scheunemann


    Does that level of hyper scrutiny apply to woman beating liberal Democrat Keith Ellison? Or just those you convict of being conservative?

    You should have a field day analyzing Feinstein’s double standards last few weeks with that kind of hyper scrutiny….but she is not convicted of being conservative????

  6. dad29

    he is a legacy admission

    I’m sure that you can prove beyond doubt that his admission was solely due to legacy, right?

    Good.  Then prove it.

  7. Kevin Scheunemann


    Also, Ford claimed she was afraid to fly as an excuse for not coming to hearing.   We now have found out she is a regular world airline traveler.

    Why is the lie about not being able to come to the SWORN hearing when Senators demanded not a bigger deal than the unimportant meaningless tripe you mentioned.  (Still not sure what the lie is in Kavanaugh’s statement you mentioned…)

    Is this awful lie from Ford ignored because you have not convicted Ford of being conservative?

  8. Paul

    I have evidence MaxwellsEQ was not at the rally.

  9. dad29

    And while you’re proving it, tell us why being #1 in his Yale undergrad class was NOT a factor.

    Maybe you should buy different talking points, Maxwell.

  10. MjM

    Maxwelly lies:  This statement is factually not true,

    Actually, dumbass, it is quite factually true, even though this lie is running rampant on leftist web sites.

    Grand daddy did not go to Yale Law.  Yale Law does not consider undergradute  legacies for admissions.

    Indeed, even with regard to YL legacies, on a scale of 1 to 10 there are a -5 unless you got the GPA and LSAT goods.

    Justice Alito’s son did not get into Yale Law and ended up at Duke.  Justice Scalia’s son didn’t get into Harvard Law and ended up at UChicago.

  11. MaxwellsEQs

    I believe that Kavanaugh needs to be investigated before being nominated to the supreme court. Multiple women have come forth, one accusing attempted rape, another accusing him of gang rape. These are serious allegations. In our country, we have a presumption of innocence in all criminal cases. However, this is not a criminal case. This is a potential supreme court judge, the highest court in the land, and any Judge should avoid not only impropriety, but the appearance of impropriety. An investigation would clear the charges or prevent a rapist from siting on the supreme court. I fail to see why he should not be investigated?

    I think it is interesting that Kavanaugh chose to lie about having connections to Yale when his paternal grandfather went there. Why lie about it? His statement stands on its own without it. Read it without the line.

    “Senator, you were asking about college. I got into Yale Law School. That’s the number-one law school in the country.———- I got there by busting my tail in college.”

    It stands on its own. So why lie about? Does that mean that he is guilty? I would hardly accept it as evidence in any formal proceeding, but I do think it is interesting to speculate about the character of people who seemingly lie for no reason.

    Kevin, Ford said she could not come because she was afraid to fly. She wanted people to come to her. She said she was scared and that is why she said it. I see this sort of lie all the time and it is uninteresting to me. I do not think it significantly alters the believably of her statements. I believe that her statements, because they are only one person’s, are not enough. Which is why I think Kavanaugh needs to be investigated.

    Kevin, you always defend conservatives by attacking liberals. I do not know anything about Keith Ellison and Feinstein. They are not my representatives and whatever they have done is irrelevant to this matter.


  12. Paul

    I believe that Kavanaugh needs to be investigated before being nominated to the supreme court.

    Article II, Section 2, Clause 2 trumps your pussy feelings.

    Multiple women have come forth…

    One is facing charges for lying (Ford), the other is backtracking tonight (Swetnick).

    However, this is not a criminal case.

    So you hate due process.  I guess you also believe due process doesn’t apply to blogs.  Buckle up, buttercup.  The next few days will be fun for you.

    Kevin, you always defend conservatives by attacking liberals.

    Another sweeping, unsubstantiated assertion.  Apologize to Kevin and take a walk.

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