So, this Russell Brand thing. Is this a clear case of rape? Or is it an intrigue by the “regime”?
Here is my radical suggestion: It is neither one nor the other.
The bitter allegations against Brand have not been examined thoroughly enough for any of us to say, “He is guilty of sexual assault.”
At the same time, the cries from Brand fans that “they” are taking him down, that Big Pharma and its lackeys in major media are targeting Brand because he hosts a popular, vax-sceptic YouTube show, sound extremely angry.
On the one hand we have a rush for judgments, on the other hand we have a rush for conspiracy theories. Where has the good, honest skepticism gone?
Nobody should downplay what is said about Brand in the Sunday Times and Channel 4 Dispatches investigations.
Four women claim he sexually abused them between 2006 and 2013, at the height of his fame as a comedian and “serial freak.”
Some of the allegations are very serious.
A woman says he raped her. Text messages between the woman and Brand appear to indicate that something terrible happened. “When a girl says[s] NO, it means no,” the woman wrote. Brand responded that he was “very sorry.”
It’s easy to imagine such messages turning up as evidence in a sexual assault lawsuit. Brand has questions to answer.
But should we now accept that he is a rapist? That it’s all his fault? In my opinion no.
I don’t want to live in a society where a man can be branded a rapist simply by making accusations.
This is how tyranny lies. Without the guardrail of the presumption of innocence, without the democratic requirement to prove a person’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt before we label him a “criminal” and banish him from the public, society would descend into chaos. Lives and reputations could be destroyed by the mere point of a finger.
Indeed, in the #MeToo era, scores of men’s lives have been upended by allegations from the mass media pulpit that fell well outside the bounds of normal justice.
“Is the accuser always holy now?” John Proctor famously asks in Arthur Miller’s “The Crucible.”
Shockingly, the modern West’s answer to this question appears to be “yes.”
“Believe women” was the slogan of #MeToo. It sounded like a feminist outcry, but in reality it destroyed every pillar of justice.
Of course, women who make allegations of sexual assault should be taken seriously. But instant belief, the uncritical treatment of claims as truth, betrays the skepticism essential to justice.
This skepticism is best expressed in the presumption of innocence, which implicitly encourages us to doubt the accuser’s word at some level. Of course, until we weigh the evidence.
It is bizarre that Harper Lee’s To Disturb the Nightingale has become the literary moral anchor of the modern West, and yet its core idea – that it is wrong to pass judgment even in cases of alleged rape – has been lost to history .
Skepticism does not mean thinking the accuser is a liar.
That certainly doesn’t mean dismissing them as handmaidens to the “regime” and seeking power or money from the man, as some of Brand’s online army say about the women who make allegations against him.
It simply means withholding judgment until all evidence has been presented and tested for its limitations.
There is a reason criminal cases are weighted in favor of the defendant and against the prosecution – why defendants are presumed innocent, can remain silent, and must be proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in the eyes of 12 ordinary men or women.
This is because society values freedom so highly that over time it has decided to make it very difficult to revoke someone’s freedom, even if they are accused of a crime.
No one will thank you for raising this point, but it is important: Russell Brand’s life should not be destroyed just because he is accused of criminal behavior.
But where there is a lack of democratic skepticism in the “Believe Women” lobby, there is a shift in skepticism among Brand’s supporters and in the broader “anti-regime” group.
Among the WEF obsessives who follow Brand, the kind of people who can’t go three minutes without saying the word “cheating demic,” the accusations against Brand were immediately dismissed. “It’s a seizure,” they cried. The globalists and the MSM are targeting our boy.
Apparently, Brand’s journey from comedian to fighter against the “COVID narrative” has shaken the ruling class. So they destroy it.
That’s not skepticism either. It’s a conspiratorial fantasy. There is no evidence that globalist bigwigs and media figures conspired to plot Brand’s downfall. It just doesn’t fit as a theory.
Numerous men have been the subject of #MeToo-style accusations, including men who hold the “right” opinions. Harvey Weinstein was a staunch Democrat, for heaven’s sake.
For those of us more interested in making rational assessments of society than whining on Twitter about the brand-bashing paymasters of our COVID regime, the allegations against Brand seem very much in line with a climate of accusations that has long been before anyone heard the phrase “COVID-19.”
Instant belief is a problem – but so is instant disbelief. In both cases, cynicism usurps skepticism. Calm and reasoned questions are displaced by a moral agenda.
For the “believer women” wing of the elites, instant belief helps reinforce their self-serving narrative of male exploitation and female victimhood.
For the cynics of the “anti-regime” movement, the immediate disbelief is a useful reminder that no official narrative can be trusted.
No major media company, no politician, and nothing that harms their heroes should ever be trusted. Both sides place ideology above truth.
Both sides forget how important doubt – honest, curious, evidence-seeking doubt – is to a just and free society.
Is Brand guilty? I don’t know.
And here’s the hard part: I doubt we’ll ever get there.
Reprinted with permission from Spiked.