Many bytes and pixels have been generated to discuss the veracity of Rolling Stone’s article about an alleged gang rape that University of Virginia fraternity members committed against a freshman two years ago. I don’t think much needs to be said anymore about the truth of the specific allegations. To those of us used to assessing evidence, it was clear from the beginning that the story couldn’t hold water. Once the fraternity alleged to be behind the rape proved conclusively, with actual facts, that there was no party on the night alleged and could not have been a party on the night alleged, the whole story fell apart like a cheap paper plate at a barbecue.
What interests me today are a couple of defenses mounted by peers of “Jackie,” the alleged rape victim. Both of these defenses show an intellectual mushiness that’s very disturbing to anyone who cherishes a last, faint hope that America’s institutions of higher learning are teaching young people the art of thinking. Both of them, in fact, show the art of non-thinking — of being carried away on a tide of emotion and assumption — and a complete absence of moral decency.