The complete (almost) worthlessness of “consistency” defenses

When heinous acts are alleged of someone we like and claim to know well, the rush to safeguard character is oppressive.

Substantive it is not, though. For the most-favored defense path – the only one that’s remotely accessible – is to forcefully declare, “This behavior is inconsistent with the person I know.” Yea, obviously. Unless you yourself are an awful person who knew of the alleged wrongdoing and did nothing, of course the behavior is inconsistent.

Furthermore, statements of this sort perpetuate the delusion that we can know someone so well that all chance for surprise is reduced to 0%. I get it: you feel obligated to say something and equivocation would be weaponized against the person you care about. But let us not forget that inconsistency, “I don’t know why that happened – that wasn’t me back there,” and hypocrisy are defining, shared traits among all humans.