Roger L. Simon

Nifong's Follies

What interests me in the strange case of Mike Nifong – the DA in the Duke Lacrosse Team alleged rape case (very alleged at this point) – is why a reasonably intelligent person, as I assume him to be, would come to make such a long and ultimately self-destructive fool of himself. He is now apparently and at long last trying to beat a retreat through a recusal.

Much of the talk I have read centers on the DA’s election needs – and no doubt this factors in. But his behavior, evidently hiding exculpatory DNA evidence from the defense, seems so neurotic it makes you think there were deeper and more complex forces at work. Nifong also appears to be one of those given to the simplistic view that minority members are always right when confronting the scions of the evil majority. Or, more precisely, perhaps he was relying on that concept as zeitgeist for which he received great support from the Duke faculty that made similar assumptions- a kind of cultural relativist justice in which the same laws should not apply to the disadvantaged. Of course at base this is racist – but not in the way Mr. Nifong thinks. Quite the reverse. This is yet another example of one of the hallmarks of our era – bourgeois liberalism become ultra-reactionary in its actions. Nifong’s big mistake is that he took that zeitgeist a few steps too far. He should have known better.