Dialogue on Roy Moore: Sex, Facts, Ruined Lives, & Law

SexualAssault2

This was a dialogue with Mark Shea and Deacon Steven Greydanus from a public Facebook thread on the latter’s page. They granted express permission (after I asked) to cite their words (Mark’s will be in blue and Deacon Steven’s in green).

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My concern in connection with Moore (as I’ve said over and over and over, sometimes IN ALL CAPS TO BE EXTRA CLEAR) has NEVER been about Moore himself. My concern has ALWAYS been (as I’ve said from the beginning) with the metastasizing cancer in the soul of conservatives and the conservative movement rallying to defend Moore at all costs and in the face of any evidence, even if it means epistemic closure and even at the cost of grinding the women he wronged underfoot. 

In the 1990s, when Democrats were rallying around Bill Clinton, I thought it was an outrage. I believed that character mattered. In those days I would have identified as a conservative, and I thought other conservatives were with me. Maybe they were. If so, they no longer are, and it’s not because I’ve changed in this regard. 

Now, though, LIBERALS AREN’T RALLYING AROUND FRANKEN — and that’s why I don’t need to post long-winded arguments proving that his behavior was reprehensible. It’s not necessary because pretty much everyone acknowledges it. Nobody needs convincing. It’s because people are rallying around Moore that I rail against him. 

See the difference?

The mainstream media has turned INSTANTLY on Franken. So have Senate Democrats. On the right there has been a LOT of rationalizing and rallying on behalf of Moore, long past any semblance of reasonableness.

Except that they are not doing so: not most. The GOP withdrew financial support. You have the leaders of the House and Senate calling for him to withdraw. Virtually all GOP Senators have, including Ted Cruz.

Hannity did the hard-hitting interview, even praised by liberals, and is virtually against him now, as are literally, almost every guest on his show.

So I don’t see the very “soul” of conservatism defending him. Perhaps you can point out where this is the case. Help me out here . . .

You’re describing where the GOP is now. Track how the GOP and conservative media talking heads responded in real time. 

They simply waited to see what the facts were. We [conservatives] don’t immediately assume everyone is guilty just because the New York Times says so. That should be a praiseworthy trait, not something to mock.

So you concede that the GOP “now” is not doing this. You used no past tense in your long comment above. You said, “people are rallying around Moore.” So I ask you to tell me who, and now you’re saying that it was at first, not now.

Most conservatives (though not in Congress!) waited to see what the hard evidence was (which is wise in “he said she said” allegations). The yearbook thing was the clincher for many. That changed my view from “wait and see what evidence arises” (which is Not DEFENDING Moore) to “likely guilty.” The Hannity interview also made me slightly lean against him, as a speculation about his guilt.

No one of any political view that I have seen, is defending 32-year old DAs going out with 14-year-olds and sexually abusing them. The question is whether he did it or not.

There was no such ambiguity with Franken at all. We saw the plain photograph of breast-fondling, which he could hardly deny.

The backbone of the party of Trump is Christianist conservatives. Austin Ruse, Deacon Keith Fournier, Operation, Rescue, Lifesite News, Jerry Falwell, Jr. and Franklin Graham remain staunch Moore supporters. And he still polls extremely well among self-described “conservative Christians” in Alabama. The GOP wants to cut him loose, but conservative Christianists are still passionately in love with him. And the GOP, as Max Boot shows, is only thinking tactically, with zero principle at work, for it has no principles at all but the lust for power.
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Alabama is not the “soul” of the entire conservative movement. LOL
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Are you saying, Mark and Dcn Steven, that no moral, thoughtful person could possibly in any conceivable universe believe that Moore might just possibly be innocent of what he is accused of? If we think we’re so absolutely certain of the guilt or innocence of persons, why have trials and juries at all? We could just poll all the “certain” people out there and if they are in the majority, the judge says “guilty” and the person goes to jail.

That would save a lot of money and time, but unfortunately it would not further the cause of the rule of law and due process. That’s mob rule, and is the sort of stuff that brought about hundreds of lynchings.

What I am saying, Dave, is that many important voices on the right continued to voice unreasonable level of supports for Moore in relation to what was known at the time — i.e., professing confidence in his innocence when doubt would have been more responsible, and voicing doubt when confidence in his guilt would have been more reasonable — past the point of ridiculousness and scandal.
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And now you have conceded that many of those have changed their view. It’s only been what, a week? We’re supposed to convict a man without trial and ruin his career in that amount of time? Everyone is supposed to jump right in line? Conservatives are not groupthink clones like liberals (and many third-partiers) are. We actually think for ourselves. And we think presumption of innocence until proven guilty is an important principle.

Now could you please answer my question (thanks!)?: “[can] no moral, thoughtful person possibly in any conceivable universe believe that Moore might possibly be innocent of what he is accused of?”

At this point? I don’t think so, no. Not based on the same evidence the rest of us are looking at. 

I guess maaaaaaaybe, hypothetically, in some universe where the whole thing were an insane frame job, and someone happened to have personal knowledge of facts not accessible to the public suggesting this frame job, that person could doubt the facts. 

Otherwise, pretty much no.

Thank you.

It is possible that in some conceivable universe, you are Lizard Person from another galaxy sent here to observe our world. But on the whole, and given the immense preponderance of evidence to the contrary, I have to go with the conviction that you are just Dave Armstrong. In the same way, it’s possible that the mountain of evidence against Moore is all a vast conspiracy by Jews, Obama and Hillary as Moore insists. But the far more obvious conclusion is that he is a child molester and a filthy liar and his supporters not longer have the presumption of honesty or innocence on their side.

Thanks, Mark. I’ll take that as a no, which is extraordinary. No one could possibly (even in a legal sense?) assert the possible innocence of a person in a system of rule of law, where precisely that presumption is a bedrock and a given.
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That makes Mark Shea prosecutor, judge, and jury (no defense attorney or cross-examination allowed). He says “guilty; put the bastard away; let his personal reputation be totally destroyed!” and that settles it. Case closed. Next case?
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As has been pointed out a thousand times, this is an election, not a jury trial. The job of the voter is to decide a man’s fitness for office, not to send him to prison. The man is obviously, a visible from space child molester. That Christianists are the very last people to refuse to face this and still defend him is… no longer even a surprise to me. He should never be a Senator.
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I guess it comes down to, “no honest person can possibly disagree with the opinion of a liberal or third-party guy as to the innocence or guilt of a given accused person.” If they disagree, they must be lying scumbags.

Again, I wonder what the role of due legal process and judges and juries and defense attorneys play in that scenario?

No honest person can look at the mountain of evidence and say, “His accusers are lying sluts and he deserves to be Senator.”
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What if he didn’t do it? Should he be a Senator then? Oh, I forgot: no one can possibly believe he didn’t do it. That’s as certain as 2+2=4. It must feel very comfy-cozy, warm and fuzzy to inhabit such an inexorably “certain” world.
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The same thing happened to Michael Jackson and he was exonerated of all charges in an actual trial. Is his trial of no relevance whatever as to his guilt or innocence?
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Yet again, this is not about due process. It’s an election, not a trial. You are, ipso facto, calling his victims–all eight of them–liars. And their 30 supporting witnesses.

Third time: not a trial, an election. And frankly even before this child molester was shown to be a perv he was radically unfit for office.

As I said above, I think he is “likely guilty.” That’s not calling his accusers “liars” and “sluts.” I just don’t think it is absolutely certain, as you and Steven do. You’re not omniscient gods.

How do you explain Michael Jackson being declared not guilty at trial, after “everyone” was so sure he was guilty? Were the jury members insane?

The insistence on treating an election like a jury trial is disingenuous.
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I wasn’t disingenuous at all. There are simultaneous highly important considerations here. If a man’s entire career and reputation is to be destroyed, he is entitled to legal due process.

In a non-legal sense, I say he is “likely guilty” (as speculation, based on what I know). In the legal sense, he’s innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

But he is not entitled to a Senate seat. If he wants to sue the WaPo and the rest of those who have assemble the mountain of evidence showing his obvious guilt, he is free to go to trial and he is entitled to the presumption of innocence (as are the people who have shown the old perv is a child molester). But he is not owed a Senate seat and no voter, knowing the facts about this child molester is under the slightest obligation to reward his with high office.
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Yet you don’t think Hillary Clinton’s mountain of corruption (including trashing all of husband Bill’s victims and tons of violations regarding classified information) and radical pro-abortion stance, disqualified her for President. Interesting. You were quite willing to vote for her if you weren’t in a blue state, and lived in a swing state, and urged others to do so as well.

But no bias there towards liberals at all, Mark. No! Not you!

As I said many times, there was only one reason needed for supporting Hillary: she, bad as she is, was obviously immensely more qualified for the job and a vastly less dangerous human being than Trump. Nothing has changed there. Our abortion regime is exactly the same under Trump as it would be under her. AS to the absurdity of Her Emails in comparison to this treasonous boob and his betrayals of intel and transparent fealty to Putin, I’m amazed anybody dares the comparison. Trump is, at present, exceeded only by James Buchanan as the obvious worst president in US history. But his Administration is young. He bid fair to inflict catastrophe on the world and the US for which our children will curse us. And all Christianists will have to say when they stand before the judgment of history will be “BUT HER EMAILS!”
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By the way, five bucks says the abortion rate rises under this gang of predators in the White House and the GOP-dominated Congress. The net result of the “prolife” triumph will be more abortion.
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It’s been steadily declining since the 1990s, and it has because in 1989 the Supreme Court first allowed significant potential restrictions on abortion in law. We know that Republicans vote for those restrictions and Dems do not; therefore, it is because of them and conservatives on the Court that it is declining (at least in terms of legal causation; there are other ones, too, of course).

In the last vote in the House about banning abortion after twenty weeks, exactly ONE Dem congressman voted yes.

It’s definitely not gonna go up. I’d bet $500 on that. Ask Dcn Steven about betting with me. LOL [he lost a bet on the 2016 election]
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I explained why Trump would win in May 2016 and I got thirteen out of fifteen reasons correct. I was also correct in predicting all but four states in the electoral college and was just seven points off.
Addendum: President Trump’s Sexual Escapades and Fitness for Office
Politicians aren’t canonized saints.  Trump’s past sexual sins seem to me (best I can tell) far less than Bill Clinton’s, and less than even LBJ and JFK (who was extremely reckless), and I don’t see compelling evidence for coercion, which is key.

Consensual sex outside of marriage is what we get today, due to the sexual revolution. Otherwise, Bill Clinton could have never won in 1992. Society accepted that. I do not accept it, but I’m saying, that’s the choice we get now, in elections. And it’s nothing new about politicians. How naive does someone have to be to not know that? Coercive sex is what all (liberals, conservatives, libertarians) agree shouldn’t happen.

But with the choice of Hillary and Trump, that was extremely easy to make: primarily on the life and Supreme Court issues, as the immediate things to be dealt with.

There are clearly sexual sins in Trump’s past (and some that are exaggerated by his legion of enemies and not sins). It all comes down to whether it was consensual or coercive. Rich, powerful men have women swarming all over them. Or is that in dispute, too? We’re to believe that rock stars and movie stars and TV star / billionaires (Trump) don’t have groupies and lots of women chasing them? This is not Sunday School picnic stuff. It’s post-sexual revolution America.

That being the case, there’s absolutely no reason whatever for Trump to force anything. He didn’t have to. Elvis didn’t have to force women to have sex with him. Nor did JFK, etc. So he had some sex outside of marriage, like most people today of both sexes. This is the sexual revolution.

We all agree that coercive sex should be condemned. I don’t think Trump did that. When he said the “grabbing” thing that we hear a billion times, he also said in the immediate context: “they let you do anything.” In other words, that is (by definition) consensual; groupies. If I thought he did force anything, he would have lost my vote, but it would have been very agonizing in the voting booth, knowing who the alternative was.

If an orthodox Catholic or good moral traditional Protestant runs for President and actually has a chance to win, I would vote for him. I said that directly to Mike Maturen, who ran third party. But he had no chance. I don’t throw away my vote. I have to make the best choice available.

Some people think that candidates must be perfectly moral orthodox Catholics before we can vote for them at all. The closest I’ve seen to that was Rick Santorum, and we see how far he went. He used to be roundly mocked for being against contraception, which is simply orthodox Catholicism.

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Photo credit: US Air Force photo [URL / public domain]

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