Roy Moore. While it is still too early to make a definite judgment regarding the validity of the claims against him, a lot can be said regarding the facts surrounding the case. Just like with Trump in October of last year, accusations suddenly came out from under the woodwork at a particularly “convenient” time for his political opponent. The same is happening now regarding Roy Moore. He had a significant lead in the polls in a solidly red state. He was almost guaranteed to win, until this popped up. I find it to be a little too convenient that the enemy of both the Democratic party and the Republican establishment would find himself embroiled in this alleged scandal at this time.
There are a lot of good questions regarding the credibility of the allegations. The handwritten yearbook note has inconsistencies and one of the accusers has ties to the Democrats (follow the money) just to name two examples. In cases such as these one can never know for certain who is telling the truth, but a careful weighing of the allegations against publicly available facts can give us somewhat of a clue as to who has credibility and who does not. We mustn’t forget that we as a society is in the middle of a full blown moral panic at the moment.
What makes the current moral panic different than previous iterations is that there probably is a lot of truth in the allegations floating around about Hollywood, the media, politicians and so on. The famous case of alleged satanic child abuse at McMartin preschool is a great example of a moral panic where there was no truth to the accusations. It is disturbing to see how easily people are swept up in frenzies completely disregarding their critical faculties and their reasoning ability.
As a follower of the Men’s Rights Movement for some years now, I’ve watched several high-profile rape scandals turn into false rape claim scandals. Duke Lacrosse, UVA, Rolling Stone. It doesn’t feel good to be a man in a world where people will automatically believe outrageous accusations against you without sifting through the evidence first. The outrage against violations such as rape and sexual abuse is a good thing. It shows the correct posture of our moral spines. But this is a double-edged sword. When this outrage is directed or intentionally misdirected to innocent parties, injustice ensues.
Personally, I believe that the majority of the claims against actors, politicians and media figures currently floating about are true. I wouldn’t be surprised in the least if those speaking the strongest about Trump and his misadventures with women during the campaign turn out to be some of the worst scumbags themselves. As has been pointed out already in social media, being a male feminist is the perfect cover for exploiting and abusing women. Doing misdeeds against lowered defences is easier and more conducive to predatory behavior than not having such camouflage.
All of this places a lot of responsibility on our shoulders as citizens, voters, media consumers and the like. We have an obligation to ensure that baseless and false accusations aren’t allowed to succeed. Failing to do so will weaponize such claims which will multiply exponentially their prevalence, hurting businesses, politics, culture and women in particular. A male business executive will do everything in his power to avoid hiring women to avoid creating a petri dish for accusations of harassment. The more false claims there are, the harder it is for legitimate victims to be believed. We all must strive to avoid such an outcome.
If people with untoward motives see that lies and slander work exactly as intended, expect more of it in the near future. It is up to all of us what kind of society we want to live in. Stepping back and failing to confront allegations now will only make the problem greater and harder to untangle tomorrow.