The court of public opinion is no place to meter out justice. That’s why we have a criminal justice system with the blindfolded lady and the scales. Without it you’re left with groupthink and confirmation bias which ultimately deteriorates to mob rule.

Who would have thought that an enlightened society would ever allow that to happen? But we are.

People are losing their jobs daily from public accusations, social media outcries, boycott threats and weak-kneed executives kowtowing to save their bottom lines and their butts. It’s unjustly ruining lives. And it’s a slippery slope.

I’m not just talking about the #MeToo movement, which illustrates how a good cause can be perverted by an overzealous populous with rush-to-judgement-itis. This sort of thing has been going on ever since the PC police started patrolling and controlling our lives.

Just last week a reporter uncovered a 22-year-old sexual assault charge against Detroit Lions’ new head coach Matt Patricia, who was also defensive coordinator for the New England Patriots for many years and has a long career coaching in the NFL.

Turns out Patricia was indicted but the charges were dropped. We’ll never know what really happened way back but that hasn’t stopped the media madness and social media uproar. Remember, we’re supposed to be innocent until proven guilty.

It also hasn’t stopped the NFL – which has a strict policy against domestic violence among other things, regardless of what happens in the courtroom – from investigating Patricia. And make no mistake, the mob has plenty of influence on the outcome.

Related: Welcome to the Dark Ages 2.0

Ever since the Obama Administration turned Title IX into a mechanism for college administrators to render judgement on sexual assault accusations, hundreds of students who may or may not have committed a crime have had their college careers and potentially professional careers ruined.

Don’t even get me started on the ridiculously long and getting longer list of people who’ve lost their jobs and their reputations over an insensitive remark that offended some people.

In medieval times, those accused of crimes were dragged into the public square and judged by mobs of scared and angry peasants. Nearly 250 years ago a new kind of criminal justice system in a new kind of nation put an end to that.

Now the pendulum is swinging back the other way. Mark my words, we will all pay a heavy price for it. If judging others gets you off, remember it only takes a slip of the tongue or a tweet for the roles to reverse. Someday the mob may come for you.

Image credit Brent Schumacher via Flickr

  • BigGameHunter

    Beautiful post! Reminded me of the scene in Monty Python’s Holy Grail where a mob declared a woman a witch. Seriously, what has become of our co-called civilized society? How about a return to the basics of decency and respect without rushes to judgment and imposing our own view of the world on others? PC is making life horrible for even the untargeted because the so-called news is full of it. What most don’t realize is that the world is laughing at us.

    On a broader note, you have been on quite a roll, Steve. I was away for a while and had to catch up on your thoughtful posts. There must be something in the air or wine out there that has your gray matter in high gear. We love what you do here in the pit hole known as New York State. Peace & Blessings!

    • Steve Tobak

      “She turned me into a newt!” … “I got better.” Yup, it’s the wine. thanks BGH!

  • Monty Gry

    Our society is so full of misery. Slamming others, accusing others is the new parlor game. We all have too much time on our hands. Everyone looks for the bad in everything. Look at the way History is being taught to American children. All of the negatives, all of bad stories…everything is just wrong with us. This is dystopia. In our quest to make a utopia we have gotten the exact opposite.
    My guess is that folks feel so entitled to judge. They bring or can feel no joy, so others should be made to feel the same way. If you told a guy he won a million dollars…one of the first things he would say…the taxes will kill me.

    • Steve Tobak

      “In our quest to make a utopia we have gotten the exact opposite.” Always seems to happen that way, doesn’t it?

  • E Van

    My son has thought about public service from time to time and it’d be nice to get someone in there without an agenda other than to uphold the Constitution. Unfortunately he had to get a restraining order last year against a woman for threatening to post some texts and voicemail messages publicly. Now forever he must remain private for fear of what she’ll do or say. It’s a shame because he’s innocent of anything other than bad judgement using his phone. She made allegations of a baby (completely untrue as she has no children and hadn’t seen my son in two years) and also claimed he was a rapist via twitter, without mentioning his name. She flew over 1000 miles to his state without invitation. He said/she said, the same as all the rest.