Christine Ford: A Singular Fraud
“No more psychology!” —Kafka
Enough, or too much. Christine Ford, the brave new hero to feminists, expects America to believe she needed a second front door for her Palo Alto home because, more than three decades after Judge Brett Kavanaugh allegedly tried to rape her, she was still feeling “claustrophobic.” Although, as she said, the two front doors are not, alas, “aesthetically pleasing,” at least the professor felt as safe as any snowflake college student with her coloring books and Play-Doh. Still, one should like to say: “Confess, lady of the bourgeois blues: The second front door is for your poor husband's sake—a handy escape for him once you return from ‘couple’s therapy’!”
For what a singular fraud is Christine Ford. To begin with, as Thomas Lipscomb has shown, she probably lied about the actual purpose of the second front door. And though she is not a licensed psychologist, Ford tried to use her “psychological expertise” to make people think her memory is infallible. “Indelible in the hippocampus is the laughter,” she put it with unintended comedy. But as I wrote in a recent article for American Thinker:
As with perception itself, so with the memory it reflects: it is common to unwittingly believe things because they suit one's interests, selectively interpreting both the past and the present to that egoistic end. This is true whether one is an "expert" or not. It would be the grossest naïveté, then, to believe that Ford, because of her training, is not prone to the general human errors, biases, and delusions.
According to Ford, it was during a 2012 “couple’s therapy session” that she remembered being groped by Kavanaugh, an act which, if it did occur, hardly constitutes a rape attempt. The incident returned to her in the form of “a repressed memory.” The trouble with this sort of thing, as with so much of psychology, is that it’s altogether speculative: admitting of no justification, it can’t be disproved either. We must allow that it could be true, but still, why believe it?
As one might expect, Ford’s “scholarship” attests to her interest and background in junk science. In May of 2008, the Journal of Clinical Psychology published “Meditation With Yoga, Group Therapy With Hypnosis, and Psychoeducation for Long-Term Depressed Mood: A Randomized Pilot Trial,” co-authored by Ford and a number of academics. The paper discusses how to use “therapeutic techniques,” including hypnosis, to alleviate depression, to “assist in the retrieval of important memories,” and to “create artificial situations” that will aid “treatment.”
Ford et al. cite Herbert Spiegel’s and David Spiegel’s 2004 book, Trance and Treatment. Say the authors: “All hypnosis is really self-hypnosis,” so “therapists are only tapping into their patients’ natural ability to enter trance state.” But alas, “patients are highly suggestible and easily subject to memory contamination.” Since therapists cannot know whether they are “only tapping into” anything with certainty, this method raises serious epistemic and ethical questions. For instance, a patient having entered into a “trance state,” how can one distinguish between what is remembered, whether accurately or not, and what a patient comes to believe owing to a therapist’s suggestion? Memories being intrinsically unreliable and malleable, Ford and her colleagues, I submit, would do better to stick to yoga, shopping and brunch.
Indeed, as the retired psychiatrist Theodore Dalrymple demonstrates in his superb book, Admirable Evasions: How Psychology Undermines Morality (2015), psychology does far more harm than good, allowing people to use all sorts of external forces to evade responsibility for their own behavior. Ford’s “scholarship” seems typical of this terrible phenomenon. Social “scientists” like Ford are able to fool the public with the appearance of scientific legitimacy and intellectual sophistication. Meanwhile, much of what they do is ethically dubious, and from an intellectual standpoint, hardly more credible than astrology. Again, how can we be sure a “repressed memory” is accurate? It’s impossible. How can we know with certainty whether an “artificial situation” contains any truth? It’s impossible. Why, then, even bother with such abstruse and labyrinthine stuff? Ah yes: to fill out your CV with “research.” That way you can live a cushy life courtesy of unknowing taxpayers and cheated students and their parents.
It is certainly plausible that Ford, with her interest in “artificial situations,” suffers from “memory contamination.” She may well have been bewitched by psychology. How might that have worked? Perhaps, as a ruse. Perhaps Ford wanted to lie to herself, and in her deceit, used the appearance of scientific legitimacy to that end. Then, having lied to herself, she thought she could lie to others—without them noticing. For, having long lived the lie as her reality, she forgot that it’s untruth. Often this sort of thing works. People are able to effectively hide behind certain words: doctor, science, research, PTSD. It all seems so official—which is precisely the point.
Given the salacious nature of Ford’s allegation against Kavanaugh, and given that she is a woman, people feel obliged to “believe her.” Hence what makes this repressed memory business so insidious. To emphasize the need for due process is to “blame the victim.” And being cynical as ever, the Democrats are more than happy to employ such vulgar rhetoric. Said David Hume: “Where ambition can be so happy as to cover its enterprizes, even to the person himself, under the appearance of principle, it is the most incurable and inflexible of all human passions.”
Meanwhile, from her anonymous tip to The Washington Post to her egregious demands to the Senate Judiciary Committee, Christine Ford has been doing a con job from the very beginning, and in this endeavor her “couple’s therapy” and “psychological expertise” have been major ruses.
But the greatest evidence by far of Ford’s deceit is her testimony. She’s quite lacking in self-awareness, this faux psychologist. She wanted to appear credible—a credible “expert,” that is—and yet, with her contrived sad and fearful voice and tone, with her cutesy faces, hair in her face, and ditzy uptalk, Ford played the grossest damsel in distress routine imaginable. Time and time again, after being asked a difficult question, she affected the manner of an innocent and helpless little girl. Deftly analyzed in a video by body language expert Mandy Bombard, and wonderfully mocked in another video by actress Rachel Butera, Ford’s cynical method may be summed up as: “I’m likeable and vulnerable—how could any good person possibly not believe me?”
Ford knew what she was doing. With her background in psychology, she is surely well aware of the deep, instinctive paternalism people feel in favor of women, the more valuable sex, as it were. M. Dittman, summarizing a study published in the October 2014 Journal of Personality and Social Psychology (Vol. 87, No. 4), writes that
women are nearly five times more likely to show an automatic preference for their own gender than men are to show such favoritism for their own gender.
…Women can be characterized as thinking "if I am good and I am female, females are good," whereas men can be characterized as thinking "even if I am good and I am male, men are not necessarily good."
…Men and women who automatically perceived men as more threatening or intimidating than women also had pro-female preferences, suggesting that negative male stereotypes can promote greater liking for women.
It is owing to this bias—which, being mostly unconscious, is terribly difficult to recognize, let alone discuss—that the Supreme Court confirmation process so easily became a kangaroo court. Women’s supreme biological value is such that the state’s most important business instinctively became as irrational as any teenage lover.
Nor did Ford have any scruples about exploiting the paternalism which, by benefiting women, benefits the species itself. In The Sociopath Next Door (2005), psychologist Martha Stout wrote:
After listening for almost twenty-five years to the stories my patients tell me about sociopaths who have invaded and injured their lives, when I am asked, “How can I tell whom not to trust?” the answer I give usually surprises people. The natural expectation is that I will describe some sinister-sounding detail of behavior or snippet of body language or threatening use of language that is the subtle giveaway. Instead, I take people aback by assuring them that the tip-off is none of these things, for none of these things is reliably present. Rather, the best clue is, of all things, the pity play. The most reliable sign, the most universal behavior of unscrupulous people is not directed, as one might imagine, at our fearfulness. It is, perversely, an appeal to our sympathy.
Needless to say, the Democrats, forever shameless, didn’t mind the “unscrupulous” Ford’s “pity play” in the least. The deep suffering that she caused Kavanaugh and his wife and two little girls is likewise meaningless to them.
Throughout her questioning, prosecutor Rachel Mitchell appeared to handle Ford with kid gloves. Mitchell strikes one as the sort of woman who adopts a new stray kitten every six months. She is a predictable enough figure, in this respect rather like Debra Katz, who, as I have written, looks like she just came from teaching Gender Trouble at Bryn Mawr College. Mitchell is clearly a smart woman, so why did she go so easy on Ford? Although she may have been pressured by numerous senators and other politicians on both sides to do so, I think Mitchell's character is the most significant explanatory factor here, and that it was in fact put to very effective use. Mitchell specializes in sex crimes, and as with nursing, social work, counseling, and the like, many people go into that field because they want to “make a difference.” So it was with Mitchell. In a 2011 interview, she explained that she had chosen to work on sex crimes while clerking at a law firm and observing a senior lawyer prosecute a youth choir director. “It struck me how innocent and vulnerable the victims of these cases really were,” Mitchell told FrontLine Magazine.
Like many people, I was initially rather disappointed with Mitchell. She often seemed like a protective older sister or high school guidance counselor to Ford, just as Mitchell had no doubt been to countless other women over the years. But after watching her questioning of Ford a second time, and reading her devastating report, I am convinced that Mitchell played Ford. From the very beginning, Mitchell—with her kind eyes, warm smile and caring tone—earned Ford’s trust. She put the liar at ease in order to catch her out, as Mitchell later did in writing. So shrewd was Mitchell that she even complimented Ford on her knowledge of brain functioning (which, however, is rather faulty). In retrospect, it seems evident that that was a trap. Mitchell outfoxed the fox. Kudos, then, to the excellent prosecutor.
It is not surprising that Ford’s cunning attorneys, Debra Katz and Michael Bromwich, would exploit the brute, unthinking paternalism of human nature. Katz’ background I described in my September 21 column in Taki’s Magazine:
A fund-raiser for Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign, Katz has ties to George Soros and is a big donor to left-wing causes. “These people are all miscreants,” she has said of the president’s advisers. “The term ‘basket of deplorables’ is far too generous a description” for them. Although she is “DC’s Leading #MeToo Lawyer,” Katz has a long record of dismissing accusations of sexual harassment against Democrat politicians, including those against Al Franken and the Creep-in-Chief himself, Bill Clinton.
In a recent article in American Thinker, Bruce Thompson told us who Michael Bromwich is:
Michael Bromwich appears to be the Democratic Party superhero attorney relied on when things go very, very bad.
Not only did he represent Andrew McCabe of FBI anti-Trump conspiracy infamy, but he was also called upon by Barack Obama to replace S. Elizabeth Birnbaum on June 21, 2010 following the scandals and mismanagement of the Minerals Management Service (MMS) as exposed during the BP Deepwater Horizon accident and oil spill. The BP oil spill was arguably President Obama's worst crisis, with even Keith Olbermann, Chris Matthews, and Howard Fineman disappointed in his lack of leadership.
Bromwich was also a prosecutor in the Iran Contra affair and the Justice Department’s inspector general during the Clinton administration. He just resigned from Robbins, Russell, Englert, Orseck, Untereiner & Sauber LLP, because some of the partners at the firm had objected to his decision to represent Ford. It is an interesting question, just why they did so.
“Both of her counsel are doing this pro bono,” Bromwich told the Senate Judiciary Committee. “We are not being paid. We have no expectation of being paid.” Yet who resigns from a prestigious law firm, where he served as senior counsel, in order to do a case “pro bono”? What was in it for Bromwich and Katz? One thinks of fame, future positions in government and/or in the corporate world, television appearances, book deals, and so on. But is it inconceivable that they got big money off the books?
Certainly Bromwich and Katz are a questionable pair. “If you were gonna come out to see me,” Ford testified to Chairman Chuck Grassley, “I would have happily hosted you and would have been happy to speak to you out there. It wasn’t clear to me that that was the case.” Ford also testified, “I was hoping that they would come to me [in California] but I realized that was an unrealistic request.” But the Senate Judiciary Committee offered to send investigators to California to speak with Ford. So did her attorneys keep that information from Ford? Or did she lie?
Given how dissimulating she is in general, it seems unlikely that Ford would lie in so overt a fashion. More likely, Katz and Bromwich kept the information from her. One can readily imagine why: to delay the hearing and make it happen in D.C., where the national spotlight could best serve the political interests that were behind this farce all along. Indeed, as Mitchell wrote in her devastating report, “the activities of congressional Democrats and Dr. Ford’s attorneys likely affected Dr. Ford’s account.”
Anyway, Brett Kavanaugh has been confirmed to the Supreme Court—congratulations to our 114th Justice!
Christine Ford has said that she has no plans to pursue her sexual misconduct allegation against him. No wonder, that. Ford’s GoFundMe account raised well over half a million dollars, and her attorneys having worked “pro bono,” it would seem that the money will go to her. She has already profited a great deal, so why not have done with the matter?
The money may be only a fraction of what Ford will gain. Indeed, in an irony that is only fitting, given the delusional depths into which our country has plummeted, Ford is widely considered to be a national hero. In the rotten, feminized American academy, she is now a star for life. Time Magazine put Ford on its cover for the October 15 issue, featuring a story about her called “Her Lasting Impact.” Former CIA Director John Brennan has called Ford “a national treasure.” And in our hysterical moment, she may be well on her way to exercising considerable future influence, having obtained incalculable moral capital via her fraudulence.
Meanwhile, important questions remain. Shouldn’t Ford be punished for defaming Kavanaugh? She certainly lied about her fear of flying, having as she does a documented history of traveling all around the world by plane, and she seems to have lied about a lot more. If nothing else, Ford merits a thorough criminal investigation, because it is quite possible that she conspired with Dianne Feinstein, her attorneys, and possibly others (including her friend Monica McLean, who, in interesting timing, stepped down from the Department of Justice in 2016, just when President Trump was taking office) to realize certain political ends, even if doing so entailed ruining the lives of Brett Kavanaugh and his wife and two daughters.
For the manner in which she handled Ford’s letter, utilizing it at the last minute to effect a political agenda, Dianne Feinstein should be removed from the Senate. The woman is a disgrace and deserves to be shamed and ridiculed.
Finally, Ford’s attorneys, Debra Katz and Michael Bromwich, should be investigated for violating legal ethics. If these two did not withhold information from Ford, they nevertheless displayed highly questionable conduct throughout this affair. Here let us take just one example of the general deceit and manipulation of Ford and her attorneys: the polygraph test.
It was administered by former FBI agent Jeremiah Hanafin. The location was not Hanafin’s Virginia office, but a hotel next to Baltimore-Washington International Airport. Why? First Ford said the reason was that she had gone to her grandmother’s funeral earlier that day. Once pressed about that curious statement, however, Ford said she could not remember whether the polygraph occurred the same day as her grandmother’s funeral or the next day.
Is this not quite fishy? I have lost three of my four grandparents in the last decade, and cannot imagine electing to take a polygraph test on the days of their funerals or on the next days afterwards. Ford expects us to believe that either on the same day or the day after she attended her grandmother’s funeral—itself a rather distressing event—she not only chose to fly—thus overcoming “her fear”—but also took a polygraph test. Well then! Did she also go skydiving? Save a family trapped in a burning building? Lord knows, Ford is not only “a survivor,” but “brave” and “a hero” to boot!
An ex-boyfriend of Ford’s claims that, back when they were dating in the ‘90s, he watched her coach her friend Monica L. McLean, another former FBI agent, on how to take a polygraph test. At any rate, as we have seen, Ford has psychological training in “artificial situations” and “memory contamination” via hypnosis. In other words, this is a woman who knows how to lie, both to herself and others.
Although people in general don’t know that polygraph tests are junk science, Ford’s attorneys almost certainly do, and having Ford take such a test was undoubtedly a stunt to convince the Senate Judiciary Committee and the droves of people watching, under the assumption that they'd be fooled. Hence why Katz provided the test results to The Washington Post, although, with characteristically bad ethics, she and Bromwich refused to provide them to the Senate Judiciary committee, as they did too with Ford’s therapy notes, which also were given to the anti-Trump newspaper.
Asked by Mitchell why she decided to take a polygraph test, Ford answered awkwardly: “I didn’t see any reason not to do it.” This is suspicious because Ford evaded giving a positive reason. More accurately, she evaded providing any notion of her intent. Here, then, is Christine Ford’s moral agency, in essence: “Should I have Chinese for dinner? I don’t see any reason not to do it.” “Should I vacation in Costa Rica? I don’t see any reason not to do it.” “Should I claim Brett Kavanaugh tried to rape me in the early ‘80s? I don’t see any reason not to do it.” Meanwhile, her intent, and where the idea of taking the polygraph test came from to begin with, is a mystery.
When Mitchell asked Ford whether she was advised to take a polygraph test, Bromwich immediately cut in and stopped her from answering the question: “You’re seeming to call for communications between counsel and client,” he declared. “She shouldn’t have to answer that.” Bromwich thereby betrayed that, yes, Ford took the polygraph test under her attorneys’ advice.
Asked who paid for the test, Ford said, "I don't know yet." Yet? This stinks to high heaven of intentional manipulation! Who takes a polygraph test for no apparent reason and without knowing who is paying for it, except a person with some type of devious purpose in view?
Ford, Feinstein, Bromwich, Katz—the whole shameless, conniving lot, as it were—should be severely punished.
Christopher DeGroot is a columnist at Taki's Magazine and senior contributing editor of New English Review. His writing has appeared in The American Spectator, The Imaginative Conservative, Jacobite Magazine, The Daily Caller, American Thinker, The Unz Review, Ygdrasil, A Journal of the Poetic Arts, and elsewhere. Follow him at @CEGrotius.