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A troubling rush to judge Russell Brand guilty or not – with a stunning lack of skeptics


So, this Russell Brand story. Is this an open and shut case of rape? Or is this a machination of the “regime”?

Here is my radical proposition: it is neither.

The accusations against Brand, which are sinister, have not been tested rigorously enough for any of us to say, “He is guilty of sexual assault.”

At the same time, cries from Brand fanboys about “them” tearing him down, about Big Pharma and its corporate media lackeys targeting Brand because he hosts a popular, anti-vaccine skeptical YouTube show , seem grumpy to the extreme.

On the one hand, we have a rush to judgment, on the other, a rush to conspiracy. Where has the good and honest skepticism gone?

Serious accusations

No one should downplay what is said about Brand in the investigation by the Sunday Times and Channel 4’s Dispatches.

Four women claim he sexually assaulted them between 2006 and 2013, at the height of his fame as a comedian and “serial shagger”.

Some charges are very serious.

A woman says he raped her. Text messages between the woman and Brand seem to suggest something terrible happened. “When a girl says NO, it means no,” the woman wrote. Brand responded that he was “truly sorry.”

One can easily imagine such messages appearing as evidence in a sexual assault trial. The brand has questions to answer.

But must we now accept that he is a rapist? That he is guilty of all this? In my opinion, no.

I don’t want to live in a society where a man can be labeled a rapist based on one accusation alone.

This is where tyranny lies. Without the safeguard of the presumption of innocence, without the democratic requirement to prove a person’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt before qualifying him as a “criminal” and banishing him from the public scene, the society would descend into chaos. Lives and reputations can be destroyed with the wave of a finger.

Indeed, in the #MeToo era, many men have had their lives upended by allegations made from the pulpit of the media, well beyond the bounds of normal justice.

“Is the accuser still holy now?” asks John Proctor in Arthur Miller’s “The Crucible.”

It is terrifying that the modern West’s answer to this question seems to be “yes.”

“Believe women” was the slogan of #MeToo. It sounded like a feminist cry, but in reality it weakens all the pillars of justice.

Of course, women who come forward with accusations of sexual assault should be treated seriously. But instant belief, the uncritical treatment of allegations as truth, betrays the skepticism that is essential to justice.

This skepticism is best embodied in the presumption of innocence, which implicitly encourages us to doubt, on some level, the accuser’s word. Until we weigh the evidence, of course.

It is bizarre that Harper Lee’s “To Kill a Mockingbird” has become the literary moral anchor of the modern West, and yet its main cry – that it is wrong to rush to judgment even in cases of alleged rape – was lost to history.

Conspiracy theorists

Being skeptical does not mean thinking that the accusers are liars.

This certainly does not mean dismissing them as servants of the “regime”, carrying out the orders of The Man for influence or money, as some members of Brand’s online army say about women who made allegations against him.

This simply means reserving judgment until all the evidence has been presented and tested to its limits.

There’s a reason criminal trials lean in favor of the accused and against the prosecution: it’s why defendants are presumed innocent, can remain silent, and must have their guilt proven beyond a reasonable doubt. in the eyes of 12 ordinary men or women.

This is because society values ​​freedom so much that it has decided, over time, to make it very difficult to suspend a person’s freedom, even when they are accused of a crime.

No one will thank you for making this point, but it’s an important one: Russell Brand’s life should not be destroyed just because he was accused of criminal behavior.

Yet where the “Believe in Women” lobby lacks democratic skepticism, there is a rise in skepticism among Brand’s supporters and the broader “anti-regime” group.

Among WEF obsessives who follow Brand, the kind of people who can’t go three minutes without saying the word “scam,” the accusations against Brand were immediately dismissed. It’s a mess, they shouted. The globalists and the mainstream media are out to attack our boy.

Apparently, Brand’s journey from comedian to warrior against the “COVID narrative” has shaken the ruling class. So they destroy it.

This is not skepticism either. It’s a conspiratorial fantasy. There is no evidence that globalist bigwigs and media men sat down to plot Brand’s downfall. This simply does not constitute a theory.

Many men have been the subject of #MeToo accusations, including men who hold all the “correct” views. Harvey Weinstein was a full-fledged Democrat, for heaven’s sake.

For those of us who are more interested in making rational assessments of society than crying on Twitter about our COVID regime payers bashing brands, the allegations against Brand seem entirely consistent with a climate of accusation that existed long before anyone made it. heard the term “COVID-19”.

Instant belief is a problem, as is instant disbelief. In both cases, cynicism usurps skepticism. Calm, reasoned questioning is pushed aside by a moral agenda.

For the “Believe in Women” wing of elites, instant belief helps reinforce their self-serving narrative about male predation and female victimization.

For cynics of the “anti-regime” movement, the instant disbelief is a useful reminder that no official narrative can be trusted.

No mainstream media, no politician, and nothing that harms their heroes should ever be trusted. Both sides elevate ideology above truth.

Both sides forget how essential doubt is – honest, curious, evidence-based doubt – to a just and free society.

Is Brand guilty? I don’t know.

And here’s the hard thing: I doubt we’ll ever get there.

Reprinted with permission from Spiked.