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Feminist "Justice" at Duke

October 22, 2007

The falsely-accused Duke University lacrosse players are suing the city of Durham and prosecutor Michael Nifong for malicious prosecution, claiming "one of the most chilling episodes of premeditated police, prosecutorial, and scientific misconduct in modern American history." In fact, their ordeal was nothing out of the ordinary.

Few Americans realize how extensively our criminal justice system has been corrupted by leftist ideology. It has now reached the point where the criminals are prosecuting law-abiding citizens.

Conservatives who rightly decry judicial activism in constitutional law have trouble accepting the equally serious corruption of criminal justice. Understandably attached to principles of law and order, many fail to realize how complete the perversion of our justice system is and continue to presume guilt. Conservatives are correct that criminals often go free but fail to understand that this happens because of a politicized judiciary that criminalizes the innocent.

Hyping the racial factor has also allowed us to avoid the most serious implications of the Duke case. The far more powerful ideological force driving this and other miscarriages of justice is institutionalized feminism. There is little indication that white people are being systematically incarcerated on trumped-up accusations of non-existent crimes against blacks. This is precisely what is happening to men (and even some women), both white and black, accused of the "gender" crimes that feminists have turned into a political agenda.

Rape accusations have long been out of control. Almost daily, men are released after decades of incarceration because DNA tests prove they were wrongly convicted. But while DNA has righted some wrongs, the corruption is so systemic that hard evidence of innocence is no barrier to conviction. Even the Washington Post has documented how feminist crime lab technicians doctor evidence to frame men they know to be innocent.

Writers like William Anderson and Dorothy Rabinowitz have pointed out the parallel between the Duke case and earlier child abuse hysteria, where feminist prosecutors whipped up public invective against parents they knew to be innocent. Like rape, child abuse has been not simply sensationalized but politicized by social workers who are, in effect, plainclothes feminist police.

The witch hunts were carried into adulthood through "recovered memory therapy," another fraud perpetrated largely by feminist perversion of the psychotherapy industry, where preposterous tales of childhood sex crimes were manufactured from a psychological theory. In Victims of Memory, Mark Pendergrast shows how the recovered memory hoax destroyed families, ruined lives, and sent innocent parents to prison.

But these are only the tip of the iceberg. They are dwarfed by "crimes" in which men are removed from their homes and incarcerated without any trial at all.

These are "domestic violence" accusations, where no evidence, formal charge, or trial are necessary for the plainly innocent to be hauled away in handcuffs. Defendants are passed by the thousands through mass processing centers that bear little resemblance to a court of law or receive summary punishment without media scrutiny. Patently false accusations are not only permitted but rewarded in divorce courts, largely because they are effective weapons in lucrative custody battles that are the bread and butter for venal judges and lawyers.

This is now so blatant that even the legal establishment has been forced to recognize it. "Michigan courts do not provide a fair, or impartial, tribunal for any domestic relations litigant," according to Michigan Lawyers Weekly. "Instead, they customarily and regularly deprive litigants of due process of law." It is now common knowledge that trumped-up abuse accusations are frequently used, and virtually never punished, in divorce and custody proceedings. Thomas Kasper describes in the Illinois Bar Journal how knowingly false accusations readily "become part of the gamesmanship of divorce." Writing in the Rutgers Law Review, David Heleniak describes domestic abuse as "an area of law mired in intellectual dishonesty and injustice." Heleniak identifies six separate denials of due process in one state statute, which he terms "a due process fiasco." One judge was caught actually instructing his colleagues to violate the constitutional rights of male defendants: "Your job is not to become concerned about the constitutional rights of the man that you're violating," municipal court judge Richard Russell stated at a training seminar recorded by the New Jersey Law Journal: "Throw him out on the street.... They have declared domestic violence to be an evil in our society. So we don't have to worry about the rights."

As in the Duke case, the open politicization of scholarship by domestic violence advocates with an ideological agenda also passes without scrutiny. Domestic violence has become "a backwater of tautological pseudo-theory," write Donald Dutton and Kenneth Corvo in the scholarly journal Aggression and Violent Behavior. "No other area of established social welfare, criminal justice, public health, or behavioral intervention has such weak evidence in support of mandated practice."

Many were appalled that Duke faculty members should publicly demand that the lacrosse players confess - as if professors are prosecutors, judges, and jurors. Yet precisely this modus operandi has long characterized "women's studies" programs, breading grounds of false accusations that have polluted the curricula of thousands of colleges and universities with political ideology masquerading as scholarship, turned students and faculty into police informers, and incited young women into believing that every personal hurt is a crime of "violence." "If a woman did falsely accuse a man of rape," opines one graduate of such programs, "she may have had reasons to." A Vassar College assistant dean thinks false criminal accusations contribute to a man's education: "I think it ideally initiates a process of self-exploration." Such views have long been dismissed as extremist, but we see the fruits of them at Duke.

Seen in the larger context of feminist justice, the Duke case demonstrates that the corruption of the criminal justice system by political ideology may now be most direct danger to Americans' freedom. Judicial abuse is a particularly insidious tyranny because it perverts the instruments of justice themselves.

This is where "social" justice has led us. Decades of pursuing this illusory, subjective, and politically defined "justice" have left Americans so incapable of distinguishing guilt from innocence that we are now inured to the most open injustice.

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Copyright ©2007 Stephen Baskerville, PhD

Stephen Baskerville is Professor of Government at Patrick Henry College and Research Fellow at the Howard Center for Family, Religion, and Society, the Independent Institute, and the Inter-American Institute. He holds a PhD from the London School of Economics and has taught political science and international affairs at Howard University in Washington and Palacky University in the Czech Republic. He writes on comparative and international politics and on political ideologies with an emphasis on religion, family policy, and sexuality. His books include Not Peace But a Sword: The Political Theology of the English Revolution, and Taken Into Custody: The War against Fathers, Marriage, and the Family.
Visit Stephen Baskerville, PhD's website at www.StephenBaskerville.com