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Ford's defenders counter that this is not a trial but rather an extremely high-stakes job interview and that the standards that prevail in criminal proceedings shouldn't apply. And regardless, men accused of sexual harassment and assault, up to and including rape, have for too long been granted the benefit of the doubt, while the claims of their accusers have too often and too easily been dismissed.

It's long past time to start righting this unjust imbalance. As general statements about the presumption of innocence and guilt, both sides have a point.


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As the slew of verified accusations of sexual misconduct against powerful, prominent men over the past year makes abundantly clear, lots of men have too often received a pass, with those who accuse them forced to carry a greater burden of proof than is warranted. Yet it also remains true that men are sometimes falsely accused and it's neither reasonable nor fair to assert as a principle that accusers ought to be automatically believed — either in a real court or the court of public opinion.

The Liberal Delusion

Each accusation needs to be evaluated on its own terms to determine if it has merit. That leaves us where we are — with Ford's accusation hanging in the air, unverified by anyone else, as we await her testimony and Kavanaugh's response to it before the Senate Judiciary Committee, and another, flimsier claim reported in The New Yorker. Lawyer Michael Avenatti claims to have evidence of other Kavanaugh misdeeds, but he has yet to offer any proof beyond wildly inflammatory insinuations. If you were already inclined to trust Kavanaugh, the evidence against him is weak enough to justify rallying to his side.

No kidding! The truth, though, is that the evidence, so far, justifies neither conclusion. Neither side can claim, so far, to know what did and didn't happen, what Kavannaugh did or didn't do, more than three decades ago. The evidence warrants further investigation. Without such an investigation, the evidence can be combined with prior assumptions about Kavanaugh's character to justify a belief in his guilt or innocence. But this is a mere belief, rooted in the conflicting assumptions of very different ideological communities, not knowledge.

This logic leads straight to an active policy of regime change, where the goal is to topple autocrats and put liberal democracies in their place. And lastly, it is an ideal way of protecting liberalism at home. This enthusiasm notwithstanding, liberal hegemony will not achieve its goals, and its failure will inevitably come with huge costs.

Book review – The Liberal Delusion

The liberal state is likely to end up fi endless wars, which will increase rather than reduce the level of conflict in international politics and thus aggravate the problems of proliferation and terrorism. This book is ultimately all about these three isms and how they interact to affect international politics.

Nationalism is an enormously powerful political ideology. It revolves around the division of the world into a wide variety of nations, which are formidable social units, each with a distinct culture. Virtually every nation would prefer to have its own state, although not all can.

There is no question that liberalism and nationalism can coexist, but when they clash, nationalism almost always wins. The influence of nationalism often undercuts a liberal foreign policy. These two isms also clash over individual rights.

The Liberal Delusion : Marsh, : : Blackwell's

Nationalism is a particularist ideology from top to bottom, which means it does not treat rights as inalienable. Liberalism oversells the importance of individual rights. Liberalism is also no match for realism. At its core, liberalism assumes that the individuals who make up any society sometimes have profound differences about what constitutes the good life, and these differences might lead them to try to kill each other.

Thus a state is needed to keep the peace.

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But there is no world state to keep countries at bay when they have profound disagreements. There are special cases, however, where a country is so secure that it can take a break from realpolitik and pursue truly liberal policies. The results are almost always bad, largely because nationalism thwarts the liberal crusader.

My argument, stated briefly, is that nationalism and realism almost always trump liberalism.

America's Delusion of Liberal Hegemony

Our world has been shaped in good part by those two powerful isms, not by liberalism. This book is also motivated by a desire to understand recent American foreign policy. The independent student newspaper of The University of Chicago since Toggle navigation.

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