The Corner

Politics & Policy

Lieutenant Governor Fairfax Doesn’t #BelieveWomen

Justin Fairfax, campaigning to become Virginia’s Lieutenant Governor, talks during a rally in Richmond, Va., November 6, 2017. (Julia Rendleman/REUTERS)

The statement that Lieutenant Governor Fairfax issued today demonstrates perfectly why the #BelieveWomen standard by which many progressives pretend to abide is entirely unworkable. Essentially, Fairfax’s letter contains two parts:

  1. We must believe women;
  2. Just not this one

I have no idea if Fairfax is guilty of the accusations that have been leveled against him. For now, he should certainly be treated as if he is not, as we remember that the consequences of a false accusation that is widely believed are every bit as terrible as the consequences of a true accusation that is not widely believed. What I do know, however, is that the only appropriate standard in a free country is “follow the evidence, and presume innocence.” I knew that last year. I knew that yesterday. Today, at least, Lieutenant Governor Fairfax knows that, too.

Related: What on earth does this mean in practice?

I wish her no harm or humiliation, nor do I seek to denigrate her or diminish her voice. But I cannot agree with a description of events that I know is not true.

The approach laid out in the first sentence is an appropriate one for Fairfax to take if his accuser is telling the truth. But he says that she’s not. In his own words, he “cannot agree with a description of events that I know is not true.” Why, then, wouldn’t he wish to “denigrate her or diminish her voice”? By Fairfax’s own account, “her voice” is lying — and trying to destroy his career and his reputation into the bargain. If he’s right, her voice absolutely deserves to be “diminished” and “denigrated,” and he should absolutely wish her “humiliation,” if not “harm.” What a silly place we have arrived at when a man protesting his innocence has to pretend he wishes to elevate and coddle his accuser.

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