by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
What liberal value will liberals cast aside next?
Last week it was religious freedom. Why was the federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act championed by liberals in 1993 while Indiana’s was vilified — often by the same liberals — 22 years later?
Chuck Schumer’s protestations aside, the primary difference is who might seek protection under the law: peyote smokers versus pizzeria owners who believe in a definition of marriage that was almost universally held, as longtime gay marriage supporter Jonathan Rauch put it, “until practically the day before yesterday.”
This week it is the presumption of innocence, as Baghdad Bob-like progressive dead-enders grapple with the conclusive repudiation of Rolling Stone’s notorious, factually challenged University of Virginia rape story. …
… Obviously, the UVA rape story falling apart — “murkier than first represented” is too weak — doesn’t mean sexual assault isn’t a real problem on college campuses. Darren Wilson’s “particular situation” being “embattled by complications or mitigating factors” doesn’t mean Ferguson is a model of restraint and racial justice in law enforcement.
But when people seem indifferent to getting “the specific details of high-profile cases” right, it becomes difficult to take seriously their analysis of “the phenomena they’re meant to represent.”
The broader social phenomena are themselves composites of many individual experiences.
In each of the above cases, most liberals began with a strong presumption of guilt and an unwillingness to follow the facts wherever they led. They were invested in an outcome.