You might recall my telling you about readers who grew up under Communism and who are now telling me that they see some of the same things they suffered under in their youth emerging in the West. One of them, now living in western Europe, told me that it was a matter of your reputation, your career, and your life at risk of destruction simply based on accusation — an accusation amplified by the media, and by social media.
This is what I keep hearing. I heard it again these past few days from a reader who doesn’t want to be identified, but whose name and identity I know and have verified. He grew up in a communist country, but now lives in the US. He told me in an early e-mail that it upset him to read a post here in which I said that I believe Roy Moore is guilty of the allegations made against him. Said the reader, “You have no idea how many people were murdered or destroyed because of such attitudes.”
I told him in response that of course I had no proof that Moore had done those things, but that they seemed likely to be true, based on Moore’s well-established and, frankly, creepy predilection for teenage girls, his changing story, and other pieces of circumstantial evidence. All of us have to make a decision on incomplete information, I said, then asked the reader how he would vote if he lived in Alabama. “I am not his fan,” the reader declared, but
I would vote for Roy Moore. I would have no other choice. The reason being that if we accepted that a mere accusation — however credible — is the new basis of our political and legal systems, than we have already lost both. This principle was at the very core of the mechanism of communist terror. Did you neighbor have a better car? Well, you accused him of being a secret adherent of capitalism. That was enough. He would be done for, and with some luck, his car would be yours. We are not that far from it here …
I post that excerpt with the reader’s permission. He e-mailed last night to say that he recently met with some visitors from the old country, and one of them brought up on his own this phenomenon of ruin-by-mere-accusation. Said my reader, “It worries him immensely. It’s happening everywhere, not just here.”