Witch Way is Right?


In January of 1692, 9 year old Betty Parris and 11 year old Abbigail Williams-the daughter and niece Samuel Parris, Minister of Salem Village-began having fits, including violent contortions and uncontrollable outbursts of screaming.  After a local doctor named William Griggs diagnosed 'bewitchment', a group of hysterical teenage girls in this small Massachusetts Puritan community began denouncing girls from rival families as witches.  Accusations of witchcraft soon proliferated throughout Salem.  Some of the accused were mere toddlers as young as four years of age.  

The special court of Oyer and Terminer convened in Salem to hear the cases.  Based upon spectral evidence, the first convicted witch, Bridget Bishop, was hanged that same June.   There was no tangible evidence proffered against her.  Several young girls had testified that Bridget pricked them with pins.  In the courtroom, when Bridget looked at the young girls, they immediately threw themselves to the floor in apparently painful convulsions.  Their bodies twisted in unnatural ways.  The witch-hunting judge scolded the terrified local jurors that Satan could only be dealt a righteous blow if they adhered to their Puritanical principles.  

Bridget was branded a witch and condemned to death.  Then came the execution.  The hangman's noose was around the 60 year old grandmother's neck as she prepared to die.  The ladder holding Bridget off the ground was pulled away.  She fell and slowly strangled, kicking furiously for her final, fitful gulps of life-sustaining breath.  

Eighteen others followed Bridget Bishop to Gallows Hill.  Ultimately, 200 hundred people were unjustly tried and dozens executed for superstitious crimes.  The court required no evidence.  The bare accusations themselves were considered ample proof of guilt for capital crimes that destroyed lives, families, and any regard for truth or the Rule of Law.

These young girls, caught up in the frenzied hysteria of rampant devilry and witchcraft as explanations for the real problems plaguing Salem Village, caused the persecution and deaths of innocent people.  Today, it is generally believed that these young women and the later accusers voiced their accusations for attention, personal gain, or to capture a moment of relevance in a popular wave of allegations that were then thought brave by local religious leaders, who were both the media criers and political leaders of their day.  This was effectively the first famous #MeToo campaign to take place in the Americas.

Myriad lessons were learned from this horrific event.  Chiefly, the realization that there is a distinct problem in weaponizing random accusations of wrongdoing amidst mass hysteria about the rampancy of a particular moral evil.  That is, innocent men and women are invariably punished when accusations grow from the passions of a frenzied mob.  In fact, during this event, Increase Mather, then president of Harvard, made a reasoned comment that would become a famous legal principle:

"It were better that ten suspected witches should escape than one innocent person be condemned."

The wisdom of this lesson was later applied by John Adams in his historic defense of British soldiers involved in the Boston Massacre of 1770. In advocating the innocence of the vilified amidst an emotionally fomented populace clamoring for execution, Adams noted that:

"Facts are stubborn things; and whatever may be our wishes, our inclinations, or the dictates of our passion, they cannot alter the state of facts and reason."

This all begs the inevitable question:  if facts can damn someone to a horrible fate, either in legal proceedings or the public square, should not the absence of such damning facts offer the presumption of innocence?

This is the point where one might suggest that testimony is probative evidence.  Judges and lawyers understand that dated testimony is often inadmissible.  We call these procedural protections of the accused "statutes of limitations." They are a subset of the hard won principles  of natural justice and fairness enshrined in human rights charters and constitutions.  The idea is to ensure that convictions only occur upon physical and eyewitness evidence that has not degenerated through the passage of time.  Absent such evidence, personal testimony also has the tendency to diminish with time, due to a natural human proclivity called "recall bias".  Some studies show that current events can cloud or erode memory, that some memories can be edited completely, or even that half of our memories of a particular event are lost entirely.

If personal testimony is too fragile to independently constitute proof immediately after an event, then it becomes exponentially dubious years or decades hence.  So just imagine the precedent set by allowing merely anecdotal allegations of sexual assault, harassment, or misconduct to meet the evidentiary standard.  We find ourselves in a world where every future election amounts to a Stalinesque show trial, held by media to sway public opinion against whatever morally and politically evil candidate they seek to smear.  A world where allegations can ruin one's career or marriage despite the paucity of evidence to reasonably establish proof of any actual wrongdoing.  

The simple point is that mere personal testimony alone is, and must be, insufficient as proof of a given fact.  Again, this is not a new lesson.  There was ample testimony in Salem regarding witchcraft practiced by neighbours, just as there was that the British soldiers took an aggressive posture against colonials killed in the so-called "Boston Massacre".  There is nonetheless a crucial distinction here which has become generally understood by our legal system but rarely observed in the court of public opinion-that a fact and an allegation are not equivalent.  Facts need evidence deemed sufficient to be considered persuasive.  An allegation on the other hand is a claim made in the absence of such evidence, and while an allegation certainly might qualify as testimony, this does not necessarily qualify as proof.  

Some simply do not care about these gargantuan distinctions that the justice system has long since recognized as procedural guardrails.  One obvious example comes from modern feminist Emily Lindin, who once tweeted that she is simply

"Not at all concerned about innocent men losing their jobs over false allegations of sexual assault/harassment allegations."

She was of course riffing on the generally accepted modern narrative that #MeToo tales must be taken at face value, absent facts needed to condemn a person outside the forum of public opinion.  The widespread acceptance of such allegations and its narrative-without question or reason informing cultural verdicts-is what creates the atmosphere of a modern day witch-hunt.  The left has constructed a narrative in which child molestation, sexual assault, and potential sexual harassment are all equal signs of the presumed cultural phenomenon of female victimhood.  An environment in which a suddenly recalled kiss by a 30 year old man toward an 18 year old girl, made 40 years ago, verifies claims that he is a child molester.

It is not so much that the left has failed to glean the lessons of history around witch-hunts, but that they crave the milieu of the witch-hunt.  This is because they seek to control the socio-religious pulpit and lack the moral integrity of an Increase Mather or a John Adams to call for reason amidst the cultural hysterics.  

Facts must still be stubborn things, and a dearth of convincing ones should still presume innocence.  The accused must yet be given the benefit of reasonable doubt.  If we lose our grasp upon these foundational principles by getting swept up in the zephyr of popular outrage against the left's chosen targets, then we cede centuries of hard won ideological ground.  

There are other obvious parallels between the Salem Witch Hunts and modern cancel culture, especially in the ubiquitous and toxic accusation of racism.  The accusation alone smears the accused as guilty, and the denounced party has no way to defend against the charge.  Looking back at Salem gives us insight into the conditions enabling cancel culture to take root, why the public tolerates it, and how it might end.

17th-century Salem was known as a particularly fractious town burdened with continuous disputes over property and church rights.  These poisonous divisions among the citizens provided the toxic social soil for the false accusations and unjust, often inhumane punishments to be inflicted upon the community.

Today, we have a similarly caustic political climate in the Canada.  We are perhaps more divided than at any time in our history since the Treaty of Paris concluded the Anglo-French wars in 1763.  Polite, intelligent public discussion has largely vanished, with political conversations quickly dissolving into anger and hysteria.  Consequently, people often avoid political dialogue with those who hold opposing views; this confirmation bias ensures that we all remain frozen within our opinion silos.  Such division is reinforced as we listen only to news sources supporting our chosen camps, even though these sources often contain more opinion than actual news.  It is in this social Petrie dish where cancel culture grows and then, once unleashed, spreads idea pathogens to parasitic minds.

The elements needed for a witch hunt to occur are alive and well in the modern West.  A cult-like ideology and a corrupt judgment process with the power to convict and enforce punishment are essential.  A biased media establishment is also required to misinform and mislead the public.  With these ingredients, all that is left to instigate the attack is an unassailable accuser.  These boxes are all checked in the contemporary West.

Primitive 17th century communications ensured that the witch-hunt remained localized in Salem.  Conversely, modern legacy and social media enable present day witch hunters to disseminate accusations instantaneously across the nation and even worldwide.  No one has ever asked why teenage girls would label their rivals 'witches', or why the entire adult population of Salem participated in such sophistry and persecution.  Today, the question is not why political hacks or hysterical teenagers on social media habitually accuse their rivals of racism or worse without any proof; but why our entire society caves into such allegations-without any evidence or due process.  

The clear answer to the question is moral cowardice.

Amongst the 200 accused in Salem, only 81 year old Giles Corey had the courage to refuse to offer a plea.  Stones were gradually piled upon him to force a confession until, after two days of unimaginable agony, he finally expired.  All of the others quickly confessed to being witches in order to avoid sharing the brave octogenarian's fate.  

Just as the goal of the Salem Witch Trials was to compel the innocent to confess, so too the purpose of cancel culture is to force confessions of racial guilt.  Groveling responses to false accusations are exactly the confessions that their accuser's seek, and are now the typical reaction of cancel culture victims.  Few of us possess the moral compass, self-assurance, and sheer courage to withstand such mass hysteria.  A singular public figure in Salem, Major Nathaniel Saltonstall, stood up against the proceedings, resigning his position on the court.  That degree of moral courage is exceedingly rare at any time, but especially so today.

In recent years, leftist politicians and media have begun to allege that our entire society and history is systemically racist.  Just as the citizens of Salem saw Satan in everything and everyone, our modern witch hunters now see the specter of racism as ubiquitous.  They are convinced that the West is permeated by "systemic white racism".  Our schools now teach CRT, which is essentially anti-white racism.

Western universities have every ingredient needed to go witch hunting.  Whenever a young man is accused of sexual harassment, these schools convene kangaroo courts.  Just like in 1692 Salem, these poor fellows are not given due process or allowed to face their accusers.

Woke administrators sit as judges and jurors.  They do not hesitate to rain harsh punishment upon the defenseless accused.  Many actual courts of law have overturned these abominable rulings, but even with monetary settlements, persecuted young men can never regain what these woke institutions have robbed.

Anyone working in the corporate West knows that the elements of witch-hunting are available and embraced by woke HR administrators.  Any "oppressed" accuser can level anonymous claims against an employee.  Cowardly HR officers too afraid to fight the politically correct environment do not think twice before taking punitive action.  CEOs looking for ways to demonstrate their progressive credentials gladly oversee witch hunting inquisitions.  Just like poor Bridget Bishop did at Salem, too many hapless workers have felt the noose tighten around their own necks.

In 1692, the Puritanical cult of Salem witch hunters caused untold damage and destroyed everyone in their path.  Today, the cults have different names.  WOKEism, climate change fanatics, BLM, and LGBT spring to mind.  Just like the Salem Puritans of old, these modern cults delight in their power to witch-hunt others with impunity.  No one is safe. The cult will lynch anyone who stands in their way, leaving our civilization hanging by a tenuous thread.  

So what might we learn from Salem about how this will all end?

CRT is liable to DIE for the very reasons similar to those that brought the Salem witch trials to a close.   Witch hunts always arrive at the same historical destination.  Drunk on their power to destroy people with mere words, accusers are eventually emboldened to target the powerful.  In Salem, opposition to the trials grew as the family and friends of more and more villagers were accused of witchcraft.  The trials ended soon after the wife of the Governor of Massachusetts was accused.  William Phips saved her by exercising his gubernatorial power  to dissolve the Court of Oyer and Terminer and move all trials to a higher court.  The superior court excluded spectral evidence and since most of the convicted had been executed due to such evidence, any remaining suspected witches were all ruled innocent.  Ultimately, the Salem witch trials so discredited the Puritan theocracy in Massachusetts that it permanently lost all of its political power.  The history of witch hunts therefore shows that the left can count upon suffering a similar fate.  

Cancel culture's insatiable accusations of racism will end once they begin hunting those now in power; ironically, the same leftist political interests which instigated the witch hunt will soon be attacked.  The tide is turning against Critical Race Theory as those who endorse it become its victims.  It is well known that revolutions consume their own early supporters.

Appeasing the CRT crusaders may protect certain jobs and special interests in the short term, but in the long run, CRT will destroy them.  This is because the goal of CRT crusaders is equity, and achieving that requires that the jobs of whites be lost to "the oppressed."  As white workers increasingly find that their false allegiance to equity and anti-racism offers them no cover, the day grows closer to when CRT will suffer the fate of the Salem Witch Trials.  The best way to hasten that Blessed Day is for maximal publicity to be accorded the fate of those who appease the CRT revolution in vain.

In the meanwhile, the rest of us must resist the cowardly temptation to abase ourselves in response to false, malicious accusations.  We must emulate those decent heroes who maintained their honour and integrity by withstanding persecution to boldly speak Truth in defiance of the mob.  As Hilliel put it:

"In a place where there are no men, strive to be a man."

Fair enough; but what exactly is a man these days?

According to the left, which now controls most public schooling along with media, corporate culture, and politics in the West, there is no difference between men and women.  Those very words "men" and "women" must be eliminated and replaced by something like "person" or "womyn".  The left sees the sexes as interchangeable entities, equal and identical in every respect.  Any biological differences that do remain can be eradicated by repeatedly mouthing that they do not exist, to the point that no one dares to say the the truth-that women are physiologically intended to nurture children or that men are more suited to physically demanding and dangerous work.  Or that women are more interested in people while men are more interested in things.

The inconvenient truth that most men are physically stronger than women is suppressed so that the rights of transgender athletes-men professing to be female-can be supported.  Likewise, the truth that women generally possess the grace and beauty to shine in ballet, figure skating, and dance, as well as film and beauty contests, cannot be spoken.  What is lost also involves a feminine culture, the gentility and supportive qualities that society has traditionally prized in women, along with intelligence and emotional resiliency.  

For the left, the concept of gender differences is bad enough; but imagine what leftists think of romance, with all of its sexist trappings and ancient myths of male virility and devotion to female beauty?  For progressives, decadences such as makeup, flouncy dresses, male courtly behaviour, and masculine chivalry must be eliminated and replaced by unisex clothing, common showers, and shared bathrooms.  For leftists, modesty and privacy are irrelevant to the future of gender.  The historical culture of romantic literature, film, songs, and media-and what it represents to greater society-is an embarrassment that must be extirpated.

Marriage and child-rearing, in particular, must be deconstructed and transformed, which is precisely what leftists have been doing for the past 50 years.  Along with complete equality and identical roles, parents must not base marriage upon the fantasy of romantic love.  We must instead enter marriage as a mere contractual arrangement rather than as a sacred Covenant with God.  Better still is the single-parent fate to which children are assigned, or a transgender couple with adoptive children, with children then sent to state run daycare centers from infancy.  Any sort of arrangement but for a marriage built upon a loving commitment and devotion to children.

Few progressives have a glimmering of how much is lost in this assault upon gender and romance.  For centuries, romance has functioned as a social faith, the glue that binds us as men and women that makes life endurable-purposeful. Romantic love is the force that engenders (pardon the pun) sacrifice and drive by both men and women.  If lifts us to a higher plane of selflessness and devotion.  At its best, romance opens the door to a beautiful and rewarding existence-a lifetime of love, faith and fidelity to another.  Without this kind of love, life for most is lonely, pointless, and bitter.  No wonder that a recent survey of emotional health among 18-24 year olds in the U.S. revealed greater misery than previous generations.  Remember what caused the young girls in Salem to begin acting out strangely?

Human beings cannot survive in a vacuum devoid of beliefs of some kind, and what has replaced romantic love is the cool, street-wise, disillusioned denigration of feelings so common in rap and popular culture generally; where romance is supplanted by crude sexuality, materialism, and cynicism.  Make no mistake:  Western civilization is being systematically debauched and degraded.  This is hardly the recipe for joy, for personal health, or for a well-functioning society.  

Would it not be better to live in a culture where men revered women as beautiful, kind, and gentle, and in which women admired men as strong, loving, and faithful?

That was the romantic culture in which my generation was raised.  Although we often fell short of such ideals, they at least held standards to which we could aspire.  Today, I fear that there is only a grim landscape of self-loathing, isolation, disrespect, and faithlessness.  Well into their thirties, Canadians breathe the moral toxicity of anti-romantic culture depicting men as 'players'-amoral beings incapable of commitment.  By the same token, women are portrayed as nothing more than whores replaceable by robots with manufactured vaginas or by AI deep fake avatars.

Above all, what is lost is the bright joy of falling deeply in love, watching that love develop, forming a family, and working together to live out something noble and good.  The chasm between the left's unisex ideal and what Christians seek to maintain could not be wider.  It is night and day, life and death, good and evil-literally.  

Is it even possible anymore to deny the causal nexus between this loss of faith in romantic love and the skyrocketing numbers of drug overdoes and suicides among young people?  

Having poisoned romantic love, leftist radicals now seek to murder the awareness of God designed gender differences.  It is bad enough that the depiction of romance has been all but driven from our culture; now the WOKE mob, just like Salem witchcraft jurors, want to punish anyone who dares to refer in any way to natural gender differences or traditional roles.  These basic, ancient cultural assumptions about male and female preferences and inclinations are modern witchcraft.  If the left is successful in imposing their gender-neutral ideology upon our society, the result will be the loss of the very foundation of a healthy emotional and spiritual life.

Moreover, the redemptive quality of courtly behaviour between the sexes-the small acts of generosity, the warm smiles, the gestures of acceptance and encouragement-will be replaced by blank stares and emotional emptiness.  No man will dare open a door for a woman; no woman will risk returning a man's admiring wink with a smile.

The left is killing us in every possible way.  The suppression of natural gender roles and of romance is a crucial piece of the leftist genocidal agenda to enslave us to a Marxist political Elite.  We must insist that the witch-hunts cease.  We must demand that schools reverse course on their gender-destructive curricula; that corporations and media halt their attacks upon traditional gender roles and natural sexual differences.  We must boycott companies like Disney and others that have gone WOKE.  We must embrace in our own lives the beauty of God made gender distinctions and recover romance.  We must reject the bleak totalitarian vision of a fully utilitarian world populated by sexless automatons and governed by evil, anti-human slave masters.

Most of all, we must stand up for truth, even if it means suffering the terrible fate of Bridget Bishop and the other innocent victims of the Salem witch hunts.  If we are able to muster that kind of Christian courage, then it shall be the leftist mob who reap the whirlwind of the very weapon they fashioned for our execution-cancel culture.

Share this article