Logic Breakdown and the Kavanaugh Hearings

The Internet has been all atwitter with talk of the Kavanaugh hearings, particularly Dr. Christine Blasey Ford’s vocal-fry inflected testimony, as well as Judge Brett Kavanaugh’s, and Senator Lindsey Graham’s fiery, righteous outburst.

My general policy with such hot-button current events is to withhold comment until the facts are known.  That’s not a savvy move for a blogger, but it gives me time to make an informed judgment on what the Truth is likely to be.

Below are comments I posted on the Portly Politico Facebook page (which I encourage you to “like,” “follow,” and whatever else one has to do to get notifications these days) about the hearings.  What troubles me the most about the (it seems baseless) accusations against Judge Kavanaugh is the utter breakdown of logical thinking—and the utter willingness of his critics to throw due process and the principle of “innocent until proven guilty” under the bus.

But, we all know it’s political theatre.  The Democrats are attempting to delay or derail the confirmation process until after the 2018 midterm elections.  They could care less about Dr. Ford’s alleged sexual assault.  I also wrote that Judge Kavanaugh would be in for a thorough Borking, so we all knew this was coming; still, I naively did not fathom the depths to which the Left would descend.

As for Dr. Ford, she could very well have suffered some trauma—or some imagined, “recovered” memory.  The old “what-does-she-have-to-gain” defense is as baseless as her claims:  $100,000 (and counting) in GoFundMe money, the kudos of the “Resistance,” probably a book deal, a political career if she wants it—she will be richly rewarded for her role in the potential takedown of an eminently qualified, eminently respectable constitutional originalist.

Submitted for your edification—and the good of the Republic and logical thinking—my reflections:

Some logic re: the Kavanaugh hearings.

1.) Women (and men) are sometimes the victims of sexual assault, rape, etc. That’s bad–evil!

2.) Brett Kavanaugh can be innocent and #1 can still be true.

Just because evil things happen to some people doesn’t mean that Brett Kavanaugh did anything evil, or what he has been accused of doing.

Further:  I keep reading and hearing that Dr. Ford’s testimony is “credible.” Based on what evidence? As far as I can tell, there is NO evidence to support her claim, and a great deal to refute or challenge it. Being emotionally compelling is not the same thing as having substantial evidence.

Maybe something happened to her, maybe not. It’s hard to imagine someone subjecting themselves to this scrutiny for light and transient reasons. That said, the “Resistance” is real. So are recovered memories, or flawed ones.

The Democrats in the Senate don’t care (in general) about Dr. Ford’s allegations or about what’s allegedly happened to other women. They care about delaying the vote on confirmation until after the election so they can scuttle the deal. They’re using women to further their own political agenda, and as much as they’ll protest to the contrary, they know all-too-well the dangerous game they’re playing.

They’ve been running this playbook for decades. Senator Lindsey Graham’s righteous outburst demonstrates that the scales have fallen away from Establishment Republicans’ eyes–the old Marquis of Queensbury rules don’t work when the other side will destroy you when it’s politically expedient to do so.

Baseless, misdirected, and/or politically-motivated accusations don’t help anyone. They harm real victims of sexual assault and rape, as well as men who may be entirely innocent. Further, in the Kavanaugh case, they undermine the legitimacy of our already-ossified institutions.


Lincoln on Education

The following is adapted from remarks to the Florence County (SC) Republican Party on the evening of 10 September 2018.  The monthly program featured members of and candidates for the local school board, so I spoke briefly about President Abraham Lincoln’s education, and his views thereof.

We’re gathered here tonight to hear from members of and candidates for School Board; in that spirit, I’d like to speak briefly about education, particularly the education of the first Republican President, Abraham Lincoln.

From what I’ve read, Lincoln’s entire formal education consisted of around a year of schooling.  He would have a week or two here and there throughout his childhood in Kentucky and Indiana, and then return to working on the family’s farm.

Despite little formal education, Lincoln taught himself throughout his life.  He loved to read, and would read deeply on a variety of subjects, obtaining books whenever and wherever he could.  One of his contemporaries commented that “I never saw Abe after he was twelve that he didn’t have a book in his hand or in his pocket. It didn’t seem natural to see a feller read like that.”  When he sat for the bar exam, he’d read law books on his own time to prepare.

Lincoln also believed in education as a source of patriotism, morality, and self-improvement—what we might call “upward mobility.”  He was not a man who wanted to stay on the farm, and his self-education was a means to escape poverty.

If you’ll indulge me, I’d like to quote Lincoln at length from his 1832 speech “To the People of Sangamo County”:

“Upon the subject of education, not presuming to dictate any plan or system respecting it, I can only say that I view it as the most important subject which we as a people can be engaged in. That every man may receive at least, a moderate education, and thereby be enabled to read the histories of his own and other countries, by which he may duly appreciate the value of our free institutions, appears to be an object of vital importance, even on this account alone, to say nothing of the advantages and satisfaction to be derived from all being able to read the scriptures and other works, both of a religious and moral nature, for themselves. For my part, I desire to see the time when education, and by its means, morality, sobriety, enterprise and industry, shall become much more general than at present, and should be gratified to have it in my power to contribute something to the advancement of any measure which might have a tendency to accelerate the happy period.”

Here we can see Lincoln’s belief that education lays the foundation for patriotism—we understand our freedoms better when we understood what they cost, and that others lack them.  We see, too, the power of education to teach us the virtuous and the good.  From that morality flows, as Lincoln said, “sobriety, enterprise, and industry,” the tripartite tools to improve our material conditions.

Patriotism, morality, and industry—these were the three benefits of education Lincoln espoused.  Coming from the man who wrote the Gettysburg Address, I think we should take Lincoln’s views on education seriously.