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Presumed guilty until proven innocent

This is a page from the original version of Pagan Vigil. There are some formatting differences. Originally published at

Today accusations are more important than evidence

I blame the income tax.

I think that is where the change took place. That is where we took a centuries old legal principle and turned it upside down.

After the income tax became law, another law soon followed. This law required your bank to report the money you had on deposit over a certain amount. Did that new law accuse you of a crime? Did that new law require a judge's signature before your financial records could be released? If you have money, does that deprive other people of property? The answer to all these questions is no.

But the assumption changed. With one law, the law assumed you were guilty of SOMETHING, even if the government could not say (much less prove) just what you were guilty of. Suddenly, you were no longer innocent until proven guilty of a crime. There didn't even have to be evidence of a crime.

And now, that creeping assumption taints everything we do. Don't like someone? Accuse them of sexual molestation. After all, where there is smoke there is fire. If they were REALLY innocent, they would have nothing to fear from an investigation.

Los Angeles has taken this to extremes. There, any man accused of fathering a child can be held financially responsible if they do not respond to the accusation by a certain date. It doesn't matter if later genetic tests prove no relationship between the man and the child.

Process triumphs over truth.

It's playing out in the headlines with Senate confirmations. It's playing out in private life with the Real ID.

The accusation is more important than the facts.

This is the newborn police state. It didn't happen because of the war. It didn't happen because of Mr. Bush. It didn't happen because of Mr. Clinton.

It happened because too many people bought the lie of security at the cost of liberty.

It happened because the government was warped to give benefits to some only at the expense of everyone else.

The real question now is, can it be stopped?

Posted: Mon - June 6, 2005 at 09:14 PM

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