Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns

You Knew this was Coming . . .

Duke Lacrosse players sue school and town. Great. I’m sure they probably have a case. Much has been made of the lack of ethics involved in their prosecution. Much has been made of the girl’s lies. And I agreed with all of it. But missing--sorely missing!--from almost all discussion of this case, was any serious condemnation of the boys for engaging in behavior that was so irresponsible as to put them in an awkward and compromising position. There was plenty of unjust condemnation directed at them--about their supposed racism and imagined proclivities for sexual assault--but admitting that these guys acted like a bunch of stupid jerks who didn’t deserve a lot of sympathy would not have implied support for those moronic attacks. Team sponsored (whether "official" or not) drunken parties with strippers? I’m not so naive as to be shocked by the occurrence of these things . . . but I am offended by a call for my sympathy to be attached to the idiots who get caught with their pants down--so to speak. Boys, if you don’t want to end up in this situation here’s an idea . . . don’t go to these kind of things. Don’t hang out with drunk sluts you don’t know and can’t trust. Exercise some judgment if you can’t exercise your virtue. If you don’t, it may go badly for you. And, when it does, perhaps you’ll have a legal case if you don’t end up in jail. But so what? You’re still an idiot. And we all end up having to watch your sad spectacle and foot the bill for this kind of absurd litigation? Thanks so much for that.

Discussions - 37 Comments

To make a reference that isn't strictly historical, and which is obscure enough that maybe only wm will get it:Pablo Picasso was never called an asshole...not like you...

Yes Carl . . . they might have spent their time more productively if they had been working on their stares.

Aha! Muy impressed, Julie! He was only five-foot-two and girls could not resist his stare...

"The girls would turn the color of an avocado, when he'd drive down the street in his El Dorado."

Man, that song alone was worth the price of the Repo Man soundtrack.

Julie's main point is fundamentally sound. Responsible young men would have avoided the troublesome situation in the first place. There'll be other cases where similarly rowdy young men will face comparable charges ... without fanfare and without much hope of catching the break the Duke players did.

What took place after that was a travesty. But common sense dictates that the best defense is avoiding situations like that in the first place.

Modern Lovers totally rule. Glad to see that they're appreciated here.

Uhh, Julie,you're recommending feminization. We are awash in feminization, and, with all respect to the wimpy fair sex, I have gotten quite enough of it. NONE of the soccer players did anything illegal; end of story.

This sure sounds like classic "blaming the victims."

Yes, they weren't acting like saints. They had a drunken bash with a stripper. So what? Their morals may not be where they should be, but they were still the victims of racist attacks, rogue prosecutors, and dim-witted academics. They do deserve our sympathy.

Besides, I'm not sure suing an institution that wronged you is a plea for sympathy. Perhaps they want justice instead.

Perhaps the parents of these poor boys should sue the school for neglecting its in loco parentis role . . . but I suppose that's wildly antiquarian of me. Or perhaps you think the school should have been handing out condoms and hiring "safe" strippers for these guys. This is not an argument for feminization . . . it's an argument for civility and decency. Really . . . in the old days when people were a bit more sensible on these matters, these "victims" would have been expelled from the school JUST BECAUSE they'd been caught having such a party and they brought shame upon their school. I'm not sure such a strident moral policy would work today (actually, I'm pretty sure it wouldn't) but all I'm suggesting is that you look how far we've come. These boys are victims? Please. They should count their lucky stars and wipe their snotty noses. If they had any shame, they'd just go away. I have said (here and elsewhere) that I also feel no sympathy for the administration at Duke or Mr. Nifong or any of the authorities who acted like media whores in this case--indeed I heartily endorse the outrage directed at them . . . but we shouldn't lose sight of the fact that the real victims in this case (as usual) are the taxpayers of Durham and the students of Duke who are just working hard to get an education and now will probably have to pay even more for it. These are the people who will end up paying for the bad behavior of this whole group of punks (meaning the boys, the stripper, the prosecuting attorney, the administration et. al.).

In my time reading No Left Turns this is the first post I've read that truly angered me.

Julie, you're doing exactly what all the big-wigs at Duke did, which aided and abetted a monstrous injustice--you're demonizing these boys for, in essence, being college kids. The three indicted players were completely uninvolved in the planning of the party, and one left immediately when he realized what was going on.

The condemnation of the players for the party itself, led by President Brodhead, provided a cover for Nifong and all the radical professors at Duke to convict them of rape in the press. It's deplorable that they still have to fight to protect their reputations against schoolmarmy tut-tutting when they were falsely accused of rape.

Bull triple-dipped s---. The real victims are the guys who could have been put through the tyranny of a trial on utterly false charges. They are absolutely right to go after everyone they legally can.

But missing--sorely missing!--from almost all discussion of this case, was any serious condemnation of the boys for engaging in behavior that was so irresponsible as to put them in an awkward and compromising position.

Condemnation of these young men for these faults was a feature of the whole round of non mea culpa from the press corps and academe that followed their exoneration. Look at the commentary of Selena Roberts (formerly of The New York Times) for just one example. You have not been paying attention. (So why are you opening your mouth?)

None of these young men engaged in unlawful activity apart from drinking beer (in young Mr. Finnerty's case sixteen months prior to the date when he could do so within the law). The immoral activity engaged in by Mr. Evans consisted of countenancing and providing a facility for the vulgar and unchaste tastes of his teammates. That of the other two is obscure: they were present during the performance by Crystal Gail Mangum (Evans was elsewhere in the house) and left shortly afterward. What they thought of it is another matter.

None of what they did or did not do was functionally related to the public prosecutor's efforts to turn them into campaign props. Neither would there be an antecedently discernable probability that what occurred would occur. There are one or two sensible reasons you would advise your son not to attend strip shows, mostly having to with the development of his own sensibilities and of standards of conduct within his circle. If you advised him not to do so because a hooker/stripper would accuse him of rape and the public prosecutor would file false charges against him to win a Democratic primary, you would be engaging in blatantly irrational risk assessment and making a fool of yourself.


these guys acted like a bunch of stupid jerks who didn’t deserve a lot of sympathy would not have implied support for those moronic attacks. Team sponsored (whether "official" or not) drunken parties with strippers? I’m not so naive as to be shocked by the occurrence of these things . . . but I am offended by a call for my sympathy to be attached to the idiots who get caught with their pants down--so to speak. Boys, if you don’t want to end up in this situation here’s an idea . . . don’t go to these kind of things. Don’t hang out with drunk sluts you don’t know and can’t trust. Exercise some judgment if you can’t exercise your virtue. If you don’t, it may go badly for you. And, when it does, perhaps you’ll have a legal case if you don’t end up in jail. But so what? You’re still an idiot. And we all end up having to watch your sad spectacle and foot the bill for this kind of absurd litigation? Thanks so much for that.

For a person of ordinary moral judgment, a year's worth of public vilification, the stress of felony legal proceedings, and hundreds-of-thousands of dollars in legal fees would seem rather de trop as punishment for engaging in a legal (if vulgar) commercial transaction (Mr. Evans) and for being present, beer in hand, at a legal (if gross) performance in a private house (the other two). For a person of ordinary moral judgment, assessing an individual means assessing what they did do and did not do, not assessing a collectivity with which they are associated; and making an attempt to examine the whole person, not a singular and discrete incident within that person's life. However, persons of ordinary moral judgment are not Julie Ponzi, Master Moralist, whom we are implicitly assured by Dr. Knippenberg and his confederates, is not a 'jerk' or an 'idiot'.

I'm astonished there's such a push-back against Julie's original post. The idea of avoiding potentially troubling situations is simple, reasonable and sound advice. It's not "judgmental," it's just sensible.

Consider an example -- it may not be unlawful for me to hang around playgrounds and talk to little children. But it would be a damn foolish thing for me to do. An accusation of wrongdoing is all it would take to set in motion events that I might not be able to extricate myself from.

The overreach of Nifong is a quite separate thing from the original decision of the players to place themselves in the path of risk. One can justifiably condemn the former and still point out the problem with the latter.

Basic life common sense. I honestly can't see where the controversy comes from.

Thanks Don. Well said. The reaction here just shows how successful the left has been in erasing "basic life common sense" and ordinary moral judgment from our conversation and habits. To say that this is just "boys being boys" may be true on one level. I am not shocked by their behavior--particularly given the permissive atmosphere at Duke and on most college campuses. I wholeheartedly agreed with all the condemnation leveled at the school and the out-of-control prosecutors. But once upon a time, we used to understand that "boys will be boys" was just something we said to keep us from getting discouraged as we tried to make them men. We didn't use it as absolution. Now that these boys have been white-washed with the brush of victim-hood, I suspect they'll have a very hard time of becoming men.

I also wonder whether some of these guys would counsel their young co-ed daughters that it's o.k. to hang out at drunken frat parties in skimpy skirts. That's just "girls being girls?" No decent person would ever claim that such girls "deserve" to be raped or taken advantage of . . . but no serious person is surprised when it happens. Unless that person is a feminist--who, I'm sure, most of these guys would be happy to decry. Shoe feels a lot tighter when it's on the other foot, doesn't it?

Finally, it doesn't speak to the point of my original post to note the howls and shrieks of the left in the media condemning these boys. I wasn't talking about them; their condemnation was coming from the wrong place. Besides, it's their ideology that led to the permissiveness in the first place. It's a little late for them to insist on virtue as a standard. But I expected better than "it's an unjust prosecution" from conservative commentators. This was true, but--as I've said--incomplete.

I'm astonished there's such a push-back against Julie's original post.

I'm not. Why I am very sympathetic to her point, the problem is the context. She simply goes too far when she says things like "These boys are victims? Please. They should count their lucky stars and wipe their snotty noses. If they had any shame, they'd just go away." As others have pointed out, their behavior does not stack up against the abuse of the law perpetrated against them.

Besides, as a resident of NC I can attest that the discussions around here always include the boys poor choices of entertainment, etc. Even with the underlying current of "college is the time you spread your wild oats" the crudeness of such "parties" is always noted. That said, it of course does not justify the abuse of the sword and the travesty of justice. Which of course is what this is about. The state and Duke deserve to be roundly punished for there gross abuse of power...

"boys will be boys" was just something we said to keep us from getting discouraged as we tried to make them men. We didn't use it as absolution.

To the extant that we have real confusion on the right as to what is libertarian, and what is conservative, your point stands. However, even on local libertarian talk radio (which falsely bills itself as "conservative") the point is always made that these dopes put themselves in the precarious position in the first place through their lack of virtue...

16: Julie, you fail to understand that when a controversy becomes intensely politicized -- in the sense that vital political principles are the dividing line between the two sides -- it is inappropriate to talk about it as if it's just something that happened in the neighborhood. You are taking a very trivial, though in some sense unfortunate, fact -- that some college boys partied with strippers -- and trying to make it the fundamental fact. This is nonsense. The fundamental fact of the situation is obvious to any politically serious person, and I think should be obvious, therefore, to you. It is this: Individuals who, as straight white males, are outside our regime's "protected classes," were victimized by a PC mania on-campus and in the media, plus a mob-pleasing district attorney. At stake were the integrity of the justice system and reverse racism, not the compromised virtue of randy young men. To talk of sexual immorality in the way that you did, as somehow the central problem in this situation, is simply political blindness. We cannot fight things that are bringing down our society by being blind, or by whining about things that are indeed "sown in the nature of man," such as ogling scantily clad females.

13: Richard, I second your comment. Julie's "truly angered me" too.

The comments of Frisk et al. are truly enraging. Talk of feminization? Please. One can grant the severity of false accusation and still lament a damning lack of prudence on behalf of the lacrosse players. Your double standards are all too evident here. The presumable Republican presidential candidate has an unsavory past with respect to women, so you men are quick to point out that such failings in virtue are "no big deal," while you instruct Michelle Obama, who has expertise that is in fact, very relevant to the issues of the day, to learn her place and shut up. Classic. You have my contempt.

David Frisk wrote: "The fundamental fact ... is this: Individuals who, as straight white males, are outside our regime's "protected classes," were victimized by a PC mania on-campus and in the media, plus a mob-pleasing district attorney."

Yes, and I agree with Julie's point that they could have avoided the whole thing had they exercised a bit more prudence.

But I suspect your core issue is with that very thing -- "avoiding the whole thing" ...

David Frisk continues: "We cannot fight things that are bringing down our society by being blind..."

Help me understand ... are you advocating others place themselves in the path of the PC bulldozer? Everyone?

Those properly equipped to take it on should do so. I agree with that. But being properly equipped means having resources and connections to engage the fight on all fronts. Most do not have resources nor the connections. Frankly, the Duke lacrosse players were damn lucky the story got traction ... otherwise, they could easily have been steamrolled. Others may not be so fortunate.

Fight the good fight ... but do so with eyes wide open and with the battleground well surveyed. To all others, exercise proper caution and restraint and avoid unnecessary jeopardy.

How is that not just normal common sense?

I'm astonished there's such a push-back against Julie's original post. The idea of avoiding potentially troubling situations is simple, reasonable and sound advice. It's not "judgmental," it's just sensible.

Don in Ariz, the reasons not to attend parties like the one under discussion include, among other things, the moral obligation to properly nurture one's sensibilities, the obligation to set a good example for those around one, and the obligation not to provide sustenance to the 'sex worker' industry. Not among the reasons to refrain attending these sorts of parties is that one of the performers will randomly accuse you of rape and that the district attorney will secure an indictment of you on charges he knows to be false. One has no obligation to exercise prudential judgment to avoid bizarre contingencies that almost never occur. You might as well condemn these young men for being in Durham that day.

Some of the reasons people may have an issue with whatsherface are as follows

:

1. The severity of the acutal offenses of these young men when compared to the injuries done them are so mild as to render her condemnations obscene

;

2. She cannot be bothered to distinguish between the individuals on the team, and most particularly has no concern with the acts or omissions of the particular parties concerned

3. She attacked their persons ('idiots', 'jerks', 'snotty noses') in lieu of a serious examination of their acts and omissions.

.

4. If others are small, you had better be big. If you make vehement commentary on a public event you have not followed with any care (and if she thought that her points were unusual or original, it is plain she was not following discussions carefully), if you attack the person of individuals you know of only cursorily (please note the contrast between her opinion of these three young men and the opinion of those on the women's lacrosse team at Duke), and if you adhere to notions of causality and comparative moral judgments that are blatantly cockeyed, you forfeit any presumption that your precepts and impeachments should be taken seriously.

22: Don, here's the problem with what you wrote. We do not have a free society if people can avoid what was brought to bear on the Duke victims only by being "prudent" 100 percent of the time. 100 percent prudence is simply not the norm for most human beings. A society in which everyone must fear something this serious simply for not being prudent is a closed society. We are headed that way. If we avoid this sort of nightmarish situation -- political prosecution, etc. -- only by being prudent every time, we don't have much oxygen left, do we?

The reaction here just shows how successful the left has been in erasing "basic life common sense" and ordinary moral judgment from our conversation and habits.

Their common sense was not lacking. It was their taste that was lacking.

in the old days when people were a bit more sensible on these matters, these "victims" would have been expelled from the school JUST BECAUSE they'd been caught having such a party and they brought shame upon their school.

Durham and Duke can improve public morality by closing down the stripper trade and punishing its consumers and producers, but a fundamental aspect of 'basic common sense' in the realm of law and order is that you sanction people only for breaches of standards that have been promulgated beforehand.

David Frisk: "A society in which everyone must fear something this serious simply for not being prudent is a closed society. We are headed that way. If we avoid this sort of nightmarish situation -- political prosecution, etc. -- only by being prudent every time, we don't have much oxygen left, do we?"

You may be surprised to read that I'm in basic agreement with you. Our disagreement comes in tactical execution. To that end, what exactly are you suggesting one do? I agree with the basic thrust of your argument but it doesn't address my earlier question -- that being: for those who can't afford to get entrapped in such a thing, what is the better course of action: unarmed provocation to fight the beast or, as Art Deco put it, prudential judgment?

Please re-read my earlier post. I am not in disagreement with your assessment about the suffocating nature of political correctness. I'm all for fighting it properly. David Horowitz, Ward Connerly, others -- pick your warrior. But the average nameless kid, fresh to college or wherever, is best advised to be careful. That applies to stripper parties as well as a whole range of other life activities.

(That is, by the way, nothing new. It has been that way since the dawn of time. There has always been a need to act with judicious care.)

I suspect you and Art Deco exercise "prudential judgment" throughout the day in a number of different ways. The concept of it is not foreign to you. I believe you happen to disagree with me on the my view, in hindsight I admit, of the wish it had been invoked of it in this case.

Was there value in exposing the beast in so bright a light? Surely. Am I glad Nifong is a destroyed man? You bet. But it could just as easily have gone a different way ... and probably is going a different way in some case somewhere that's getting no publicity.

Rattling sabers is fine ... when done at the right time.

I believe you happen to disagree with me on the my view, in hindsight I admit, of the wish it had been invoked of it in this case.

Again, again, again, Don, there is no functional relationship between what these three men did and what happened to them and no antecedently discernable risk that their specific acts would have the specific consequences that they did. Had one or another been arrested for disorderly conduct, violations of noise ordinances, violations of open container laws, criminal nuisance, you might have a point. They were indicted for rape even though the prosecutor knew damn well that no lacrosse player had assaulted her; these specific three (and any three would have done for Nifong) were indicted because she picked their faces at random out of a line-up that consisted only of lacrosse players. (In the course of her three attempts to identify an assailant by looking and photographic arrays, she informed police that she was 100% certain a particular player had been at that party. That young man was verifiably in Raleigh that day). The admonishment, "You should have known better" makes no sense in context.

Human beings are damaged goods. That is you, that is me, and that is Collin Finnerty as well. An appreciation and regard for the struggles people face and the scars they bear should not be contingent on their leading unblemished lives. Few of us do.

You are not doing this woman any favors by countenancing her malicious pharisaism.

We should not be imprudent ourselves without good cause. But we should oppose a situation -- and America as a society is increasingly in such a situation -- in which one is punished for imagined, false, or politicized wrongs, his or her only true mistake being mere imprudence. We should defend the imprudent, when they are being punished for imagined, false, or politicized wrongs. Julie attacked the imprudent (and, I'll stipulate too, the marginally, but I would add benignly and normally, immoral). I regard her comments as a (temporary, I hope) dereliction of our duty as conservatives and lovers of liberty.
Bottom line: This Duke case was a serious and indeed sinister business, and not because some boys watched a willing naked girl.

David, I read your post with near complete agreement. And in fact we did "defend the imprudent" -- an enormous effort was undertaken on behalf of those charged in the Duke case. The charges were dropped; Nifong disgraced.

Where we disagree is in the assessment of Julie's initial post. Perhaps a bit strong, but not terribly out of line with thoughts I had about the case as it was taking place. I see nothing wrong with revisiting a situation and drawing lines of distinction between what was good and proper and what was not. That, I would argue, is also "our duty as conservatives and lovers of liberty."

Finally, it's been my experience that in any conflict like this, there's never a completely innocent party. I suspect more took place than we know. Rape? No. Anything to warrant what took place. No. But it was, I would surmise, more than just "some boys who watched a willing naked girl."

Fair enough to include the kids' poor judgement, and possibly something worse than poor judgement, in the discussion. I objected only to Julie's focus on it and de-emphasis of the enormous injustice that was done them.

Julie says:

The reaction here just shows how successful the left has been in erasing "basic life common sense" and ordinary moral judgment from our conversation and habits. To say that this is just "boys being boys" may be true on one level.Enter text to make italic

This is a straw man argument. The gist of what I'm getting from Julie is that once boys do something she views as immoral (underage drinking, viewing strippers at a party) they are "idiots" who more or less deserve to be railroaded by a corrupt prosecutor and out of control police department, and to be condemned before a trial by their university, regardless of their degree of participation in the immoral events.

Sorry, folks, I haven't got the hang of this comment interface yet.


Yes, it is preferable that boys will behave as we would wish them to, not engage in drinking and strip shows. But what happened to these kids (the entire team) was so unjust, so far beyond a reasonable punishment for their actual offenses, that anybody with a shred of decency would cheer their lawsuit, not sigh and consider it some sort of nuisance. This sort of commentary is a disservice to conservatives everywhere.

David Frisk #30 -- I agree; and if I'd interpreted Julies post as a de-emphasis of the horrible injustice then I would have weighed in on the your side.

I think we agree -- the Nifong Injustice stands alone. What makes it particularly egregious is that Nifong deliberately sought the application of injustice for his own purposes. A dark side of my heart wishes worse for him than mere bankruptcy and disgrace.

Richard Campbell #32 -- You touch on a separate element of this discussion; that is, the merits of the suit against the school and the city. In reading the posts, I think it's safe to say Julie supports the action. I believe she falls short of cheering for it.

I'm torn personally. The accused young men are definitely justified in their filng the action. But what is better -- a sensational trial or a just and quiet settlement?

For me, I would wish for a just and quiet settlement. That would provide financial compensation and allow the young men to move on into their lives. A sensational trial won't, in my opinion, do much more to highlight the injustice and correct institutional wrongs than the public dismissal and disgrace of Nifong has done. I think public opinion is squarely behind condemning Nifong, the school and the media for their actions. But there's a risk of overplaying the hand at this point and irritating the public.

It also runs the risk of tempting the young men to step into the "age of celebrity" mode, splashing their faces across every insipid cable show on the air. That would definitely undermine the value of their victory over the dark forces of PC. Better, I think, for them to receive their compensation and quietly move on.

Drunken jocks and deranged strippers will always be with us, but abusive prosecutors and PC-fascist academic lefties are the ones who really need suppressing.

You touch on a separate element of this discussion; that is, the merits of the suit against the school and the city. In reading the posts, I think it's safe to say Julie supports the action. I believe she falls short of cheering for it.

Yes. Just so. But I'd say my falling short of cheering for it is not a logical or a moral "short falling." I support justice in the case. But I am not so naive as to believe that justice always serves the good. Does no one besides Don feel any sympathy for the taxpayers who will have to pay for this? You can blame them, I suppose, for ending up with a guy like Nifong as their prosecutor. But it still stands that the bad judgment of the boys and, to some extent, the school, are at the root of the problem. But there are no good guys in this case--some may be less blameworthy than others--but do these nice distinctions take away from the essential point? What I object to is the apparent equating of "victim-hood" status with goodness deserving of genuine sympathy. This is what the left does all the time. It is a logical fallacy. If some other commentators with whom I am not acquainted have shared my disgust with this, I am happy to know it. I don't think I've made a particularly original point here. To the extent that others have obscured that part of the argument by "cheering" too much, they are incomplete and contribute to a lack of clear thinking on the subject.

A whole lot of careless, suspicious, and even willful misreading of other commenters' arguments in this thread, and yeah, more of that directed against Julie's side. Somewhat dissappointing. But I think I appreciate the initial anger, to Julie's (and my own) expression of antipathy to these Lacrosse players, in that we never would have heard of these players, this case, had not the gross injustices of Nifong and the Duke faculty occured. Given that they are on our media screen, (and remain on it by their lawyers' advice and their own choice) media consumers like you and I are invited to judge the case and judge the individual's involved. As for the latter, what can you say? The common sense is the common sense, or as those Modern Lovers' lyrics I posted say, these guys were sleazy jerks. But again, the jerkish sleazy behavior of these guys never would have come to our attention without the injustice committed against them. Nor should it have. So Julie and I are guilty of arm-chair judgments of a situation that naturally doesn't concern us, but such is our modern media world...is it so strange that a conservative woman might use this little media tidbit to make a common-sense moral point?

The anger comes from the fact, however, that the jerks in question are flesh-and-blood persons, who as Art Deco shows in his first post, suffered a great deal. Perhaps I read too much into it, but Art Deco forces us to put ourselves in the shoes of a young man who because he doesn't have the spine to tell his teammates he won't be part of a party that features nasty entertainment, that he gets coralled into a summary rapist/racist judgement, and then, to top things off, is made a wee moral object lesson by the likes of Ponzi and I. Now as Don intimates, it probably was not as innocent as that, but I take Art Deco's point.

Alas, Art Deco goes on to accuse Ponzi of "malicious pharisaism." He and other commenters refused to entertain the possibility, that at the heart of her argument was what she's given us here in #35. #35 underlines the key moral questions here: is subjecting yourself and your community to a lawsuit the proper response to the (already somewhat punished) injustice you suffered? And when doing so seems to minimize your shame? Now we all know what their lawyers are saying. But that aside, it may be that those they are suing deserve it, that that action is necessary to deter future witch-hunts like this. So maybe the lacrosse players are in fact doing the most moral thing they can be. THAT'S the heart of the argument here that we could have discussed. David Frisk makes a bit of the argument for suing here, but apparently all who don't agree, or even who don't CHEER for the conclusion loudly enough lack even "a shred of decency." And David's one of the few here who shows he's willing to dialogue!

And as a parting shot, gentlemen, do you really want a society in which women (and men) are hesitant to voice the sentiments Julie voices here?

And BTW Julie, that sentence on "boys will be boys" is golden.

To be honest, Julie, the question of the taxpayer burden hadn't really occurred to me. I acknowledge the issue, but it's secondary in my mind. Of primary concern is the very real possibility, in my mind, of tipping the scale and losing the victory that has been secured. That victory is a public awareness of how political correctness drives injustice. But that gain can be lost ... very easily.

To give an example, today I listened to a conservative talk radio host on Sirius radio who spoke of wanting "the University bankrupted" by this suit. That's the kind of overheated rhetoric that can obscure the very real victory achieved.

We can be certain that the liberal media and liberal academia wants very much to find a way to reverse the public sentiment formed by this case. Overreach on the part of conservatives in an attempt to "punish" the University and Durham will provide just such an opportunity. Nifong is already disgraced; the Media will throw him under the bus, making the transgressions entirely his and turning focus on "vengeful" conservatives. The context of the original injustice will get lost. The story will become how the malpractice of one DA (Nifong) is now costing "one of America's finest universities" because of the hate-filled actions of conservatives bent on revenge.

I just made that narrative up as I sat here, but it doesn't take a rocket scientist to predict the ways of the liberal left.

That is why I wrote earlier it would be far better if this suit was settled quietly and equitably and all parties moved on. The ugliness of political correct run amok has been seen. Let's not replace that with a media-painted vision of frothy-mouthed conservatives going hell-bent to destroy Duke.

Final point -- many on this site may point out how Duke is a hotbed of liberalism. But I assure you the American public does not see it that way. When they think of Duke they see the wholesome basketball team and the fatherly figure of Mike Krzyzewski. In the court of public opinion, you attack Duke and you attack that image.

Think about it. It's so easy to be correct on principle but lose the PR battle. Conservatives do that all the time.

Thanks, again, to Carl and Don. Both of you make my case better, apparently, than I did. I agree with you, Don, when you say that the more important battle being waged here is the one for public opinion and that the question of justice to the taxpayer--though legitimate--is secondary. You are right to be concerned about overheated rhetoric from conservatives repulsing ordinary citizens with decent dispositions. But perhaps you unwittingly hit upon another problem. When we speak of these things, we're always talking to two audiences. In my concern with the broader audience, I wanted to chastise conservatives so as not see them lose the ground we gained here. I didn't want to see them give up the moral ground as they defeated the PC police. But perhaps in doing that chastising (I'm at least willing to entertain this possibility) I engaged in some overheated rhetoric of my own against my own. I sometimes forget that tough-love often comes off as just tough and not love. It's at least conceivable that I might have made the same argument without having to call the "real life flesh and blood" boys (who, after all, will be boys) "jerks" and "idiots." Art Deco--though he makes it nastily--makes a fair point about that. Though, I will say that I think in most cases I did try to qualify my use of the term by saying they "acted like" jerks and idiots rather than that they actually were such. We're all perfectly capable of acting like jerks and idiots--I get that and I don't advocate injustice as the penalty for jerkiness. But I do kinda expect people to own it when they've acted like jerks. Perhaps even here. So to the extent that I've acted "jerky" I certainly apologize for it.

Thanks also, Carl, for appreciating my own personal favorite line about the phrase "boys will be boys" being something we should say to give parents encouragement . . . not to give boys absolution. One of the reasons I like engaging in the comment section is because it forces me to come up with thoughts like that . . . things that otherwise might never have occurred to me. I'm going to use that one in my own life and with my own kid, believe me! And may I offer you the compliment that your last post is one of the most tightly argued and fair I've seen posted here in a long time? It is.

The issue of the taxpayer would be more worrisome had not the good people of Durham gone to the polls and reelected Nifong WELL after it could be discerned that he was prosecuting innocent boys.

The people of Durham were engaged in a kind of mass vigalante justice, and they returned to office the man who spearheaded a prosecution rum amok, and who conspired with other public servants (mainly Durham Police detectives) to frame innocent people. There was a vigilante atmosphere in the black community of Durham, and at Duke amongst the faculty, and to the extent those same folks are the taxpayers, they deserve to pay.

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