When I watched the testimony of Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh and his accuser Christine Blasey Ford, I was terrified. Not just that the good name of an honorable judge would be smeared, or that a victim’s pain would go ignored—although one of those horrors is certainly true. The fear I felt ran much deeper and went far beyond the specifics of this controversy. As I watched the Kavanaugh debacle unfold, I realized that we are rapidly heading toward a future where the accused are assumed guilty, and largely uncorroborated allegations are enough to effectively end a man’s life.

That terrifies me, and it should scare not just all young men, but anyone whose son, brother, or father may find themselves wrongly accused one day.

[Related: Donald Trump Jr. on Kavanaugh fallout: I fear for my sons]

What if you’re nominated or campaigning for federal office one day, and a last-minute accusation emerges? Well, if the accusation is corroborated and supported by other credible witnesses, as was the case with the Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore, then you’ll likely be disgraced, and that won’t be an injustice. If there’s physical evidence of your alleged misdeeds—like when photos emerged of then-Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn., groping a sleeping woman—you may face calls to resign, and that will certainly be warranted.

But what if no such evidence or corroboration exists? According to the Kavanaugh precedent that Democrats attempted to establish, you should be taken down anyway. After all, Kavanaugh’s accuser, credible and believable as she may appear, was unable to substantiate her claims with any physical evidence. All four potential witnesses she mentioned were unable to recall the party at which Ford was allegedly assaulted.

It’s true that Kavanaugh’s confirmation hearing was not a criminal trial, and that accusations of misdeeds against public figures don’t necessarily need to be proven beyond a reasonable doubt. But we should at least demand substantiation to the level of a civil charge, where the aggrieved are required to prove that it’s more likely than not that they were wronged. They can use the testimony of supporting witnesses, physical evidence, or even contemporaneous corroboration of the charges to meet this burden of proof. Yet according to Rachel Mitchell, a GOP-hired prosecutor, Blasey Ford’s claims against Kavanaugh couldn’t even meet a preponderance standard, let alone approach criminal level.

But for most Democrats now, an accusation alone is damning. Sen. Joe Donnelly, D-Ind., announced his opposition to Kavanaugh after Blasey Ford’s testimony, and Sen. Jon Tester, D-Mont., did too, showing that even many of the party’s moderates are on board with the abandonment of due process, at least in the court of public opinion. Although Kavanaugh was eventually narrowly confirmed, even Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, ended up opposing Kavanaugh. During this process, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., even went so far as to say that when it comes to an accusation against a judicial nominee, there should be “no presumption of innocence.”

Think about that. If there’s no presumption of innocence, you are inherently assumed guilty. So if I, or any other young man, face an accusation decades from now, Democrats believe that I should be assumed guilty, and expected to prove my own innocence.

[Trump: It's a 'very scary time for young men in America']

That sends chills down my spine. How can someone disprove an accusation that dates back decades? Or, like in the case of Kavanaugh’s accusation, one not tied to any specific time, date, or place?

None of this is to say Kavanaugh is beyond all criticism. During his hearings, it became clear that he was once a heavy drinker and potentially even boasted of his sexual exploits in his yearbook—not exactly a flattering portrait of a young Kavanaugh. But none of that is evidence proving sexual assault. So it’s concerning to think that high school indiscretions are now dug up in an attempt to prove much more serious charges—especially when that standard is only applied against conservatives.

In an interview with CNN's Jake Tapper, Sen. Mazie Hirono, D-Hawaii, cited Kavanaugh’s views on abortion and his judicial philosophy as reasons to doubt the credibility of his denials. According to the senator and her many supporters, ideology now determines guilt.

That should terrify you—especially if like me, you dare to be both male and conservative. All young men should be chilled to their core as we witness our society’s safeguards and institutions against defamation and false accusations crumble. But we aren’t the only ones who ought to be concerned, it’s mothers and sisters as well, for the fate of their fathers and brothers.

Some on the Left laugh off these concerns. CNN Legal Analyst Jeffrey Toobin, a prominent liberal, embodied this attitude most emphatically. On air, he dismissed the idea that mothers should be concerned for their teenager’s future, saying “The poor dear boys. If they sexually assault someone, they might not be on the Supreme Court. Too bad! Good!”

Nevermind that there’s no physical evidence in Kavanaugh’s case, to which Toobin was obviously referring. Nevermind that there’s very little contemporaneous corroboration. Guilt is now assumed, and as a result, lives may be ruined. This is the future we’re heading toward—and if we get there, there’s no turning back.

Brad Polumbo (@Brad_Polumbo) is a contributor to Red Alert Politics. He is an editor at Young Voices and a student at UMass Amherst.