Nothing Protects the Disadvantaged Like Truth — Which is What Makes This NY Times Columnist So Dangerous

By Tom Gilson Published on September 26, 2018

Michelle Goldberg is the enemy she abhors. A left wing New York Times columnist, she’s written lately about our “rotten ruling class,” as if she weren’t part of the power elite herself. Like all liberals she claims to be a friend to the disadvantaged. But no one who has such a low regard for truth could be.

“Obviously,” she opens one column, “I believe Christine Blasey Ford.” It’s because Blasey [the surname she prefers to use] has done “everything possible” to substantiate her claim — starting with telling her therapist about it, thirty years after the alleged fact. She also took a polygraph test — rarely admissible in court. And this one was arranged by her own lawyer. That’s a pretty low standard for “everything possible.”

Goldberg says she seems credible, too, because “since this story broke, much of the public debate has been less about whether her accusations are true than whether they are relevant.”

Yes, she really said that. People she hangs around with, along with perhaps a few conservative columnists, are asking whether Blasey’s story matters; therefore the story is likely true. Could there be any evidence more thin than that? Where, I wonder, is Goldberg’s commitment to chasing down the truth, whatever that truth may be?

The Oppressed Should Fear

Liberals and progressives like Goldberg claim to be on the side of the oppressed. The truly oppressed should fear such claims. They should always fear when people with power willingly set aside truth in pursuit of power — even when they do it, supposedly, to help the oppressed.

And there’s been a lot of that going on the past few weeks. Few Democrat leaders have called for their party to examine Blasey’s charge soberly and with careful attention to the standards of evidence. For them, it’s just “obvious” the charge is true. After all, says Goldberg, Blasey “has done everything possible to substantiate her claim.” She told a therapist about it, some 30 years after the alleged event. What more could you ask?

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This disregard for truth is the worst thing that could happen to the disadvantaged. For one of two principles will decide almost any such dispute: truth or power. We can agree to pursue the truth to the best of our ability, and hold ourselves accountable to do what’s right. Either that, or we can arm-wrestle to see who wins. Or start a war. Or (between those extremes) wage a battle of bitter, explosive rhetoric, using the courts, using lies, and dominating public opinion by the sheer weight of institutional power.

To Protect the Disadvantaged, Pursue Truth

If it’s not the truth that decides a matter, then it’s power. And those who lack power — the disadvantaged among us — ought not be naive enough to think that people with power, lacking accountability to truth, have their best interests in mind.

Of course the nation must be run by persons with power. The Founders recognized this, and so wrote our Constitution to spread that power as broadly as they could make it. They also assured us freedom of speech and press, obviously expecting the press to hold politicians accountable to the facts.

Nothing protects the oppressed like a commitment to truth.

If Goldberg really were for the disadvantaged, she would use her position with The Times to do just that. She’d do all she could to prevent the Senate from harming a man on false pretenses. She’d do it even if she disagreed with him. Not that she should side with him, but that she should insist on an impartial examination of all the evidence, long before declaring it’s “obvious” that he’s guilty. She would know nothing is so dangerous to the disadvantaged as the person who says, “It’s okay if I fudge the facts. I’m on your side.” She’d know that in the long run, nothing protects the oppressed like a commitment to truth.

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