Decades after the damage was done, it has finally become acceptable for economists to admit that neo-liberal economics is a politically manipulated means of ensuring that the rich and powerful become more rich and powerful. But with that madness in decline, another has sprung up.
This one is harder to define, but people are angry. Intolerance, and partisanship are on the rise. Hard-won laws of justice are threatened. I believe the New Zealand media’s response to US Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, is our small contribution to a growing hysteria.
Kavanaugh, now elected to America’s supreme court for life, was, to put it mildly, a controversial selection. Being a right-wing Republican was sufficiently concerning to many. Because it means he is in a position to overturn what many Americans view as humane legislation.
Secondly, he was accused of sexually assaulting Christine Ford, a fellow university student, 30 years ago. He was also accused of exposing himself to another female student during the same period. He denied these accusations.
Along with writers from all corners of the Western World, New Zealand journalists have commented on this issue. A Listener editorial is one I take issue with.
I quote: “Had Kavanaugh shown the slightest remorse or attempted to gain some insight into how Ford experienced his and his cohort’s behaviour, he might have emerged with some honour.” But how can a person be remorseful for an offence he claims he did not commit?
The author of the second article condemning Kavanaugh was Paul Thomas who wrote: “His own testimony to the judiciary committee should have disqualified him. It was a grotesque performance veering wildly from tears to stridency, sentimentality to bitterness.”
Others have added anger and loss of control to their descriptions of Kavanaugh’s testimony, suggesting his emotional reaction meant he lacked the temperament demanded of a judge.
However, Judges take notes in court and go to a quiet office to ponder while writing a judgement, which is not quite the same as having the world’s media flaying your reputation and fitness for top public office day after day. As it happens I believe Christine Ford, but surely Kavanaugh’s emotional reactions at his confirmation hearing, were understandable?
Finally, it’s astonishing that for such an important position, a first-past-the post vote was used and Kavanaugh won by a mere two votes.