Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Smart Men, Foolish Choices

I don't want anyone to think I just care about Republican politicans like David Vitter, Larry Craig, and Mark Foley, making really bad decisions about their sexuality.

As you no doubt know, New York Democratic governor Eliot Spitzer was found on a federal wiretap sting to be arranging for meetings with prostitutes at Washington, D.C. hotels.


How many politicians ending up on the front pages will it take before men in power understand that they should be making healthy decisions about their sexuality...that a sexually healthy adult understands the difference between a sexual relationship that is life enhancing and one that could hurt oneself or others? One more time: a moral ethical sexual relationship is consensual, non exploitative, honest, mutually pleasurable and protected. Sex for money surely violates a few of these.

Governor Spitzer, who had previously investigated prostitution rings, surely knew the risks he was taking. It is hard to imagine what he was thinking.

Oh, right, he wasn't.


Robin Edgar said...


Presumably he was thinking that his phone wasn`t wiretapped. Or perhaps I should say that he wasn`t thinking that his phone was wiretapped. ;-)

ogre said...

What was he thinking? That he, the prostitute and the Emperor Club would keep a secret. That's at least three people, which brings to mind something Ben Franklin wrote:

Three may keep a Secret, if two of them are dead.

He fell prey to his own impulses, and the corruption of power--thinking that he (a smart, clever man) could get away with something because he was clever, and powerful.

Hubris, as the Greeks observed, has one end.

He knew the risks. He had to have. He knew the laws. He had to have.

He just thought he was effectively above the law, and could get away with it.

Robin Edgar said...

Of course it probably wasn't Eliot Spitzer's own phone that was wiretapped, at least not initially, but rather that of the "sex worker" or whatever other PC term U*Us care to use these days. In this day and age however people should understand that their electronic communications may not be nearly as private as they would like to think they are. In fact there is a great deal of information about people potentially available to what former UUA President Rev. Dr. John Buehrens calls "the secular authorities." I do believe that there may be a delusional element of feeling above the law as a result of one's high political status in this case. May I take this opportunity to remind people that nothing escapes the proverbial "Eye of God" even if "the secular authorities" don't see it or turn a blind eye to it? Maybe if people were reminded of God's divine omniscience a bit more often they might think twice about doing some of the stupid, harmful and outright evil things that they do, of course that wouldn't necessarily prevent them from going ahead and doing them anyway. . . It's really quite amazing how some people can rationalize their unethical, immoral, and outright evil behavior.

Anonymous said...

He, the prostitute and the escort service did keep the secret.

The FBI was watching his bank accounts and saw the money going to the holding corporation the escort service was using. They followed the money.

Amy said...

I must respectfully disagree with your assessment of the inherent immorality of prostitution according to the standards you set forth:

A moral ethical sexual relationship is consensual, non exploitative, honest, mutually pleasurable and protected. Sex for money surely violates a few of these.

I agree 100% that a moral and ethical sexual relationship is consensual, non-exploitative, mutually pleasurable/satisfying, and honest.* I do not, however, agree that the exchange of sex for money is inherently immoral by those standards. Any sexual interaction that is exploitative and/or non-consensual is unethical, whether in the form of prostitution or within the context of a 50-year-long monogamous marriage. Whether or not there is money exchanged has no bearing on whether or not an interaction is consensual, non-exploitative, mutually pleasurable/satisfying, and honest.

In the case of Governor Spitzer, if he violated an agreement of sexual exclusivity with his wife then, by these standards, his actions were dishonest and therefore immoral. Certainly his choice was illegal. Politically, in a cultural climate full of fear and loathing around sexuality, it was a choice with a multitude of negative consequences. Since there is no way to know whether or not his interactions with the prostitute(s) were/would have been consensual, non-exploitative, and mutually pleasurable, however, there is not enough information to make an ethical assessment about those particular standards.

* I am unclear about what you mean by the word "protected." If you mean legally protected, then no, prostitution is not "protected" by that standard, though neither are many of the sexual relationships you rightly defend in your blog.

Steve Caldwell said...


I would point out the following column by Greta Christina on the Blowfish Blog and her personal blog:

Only Losers Dine At Le Cirque: The Stigma on Sex Work Customers

Greta make an analogy between paying for food and paying for sex in her column:

"Come to think of it, I could easily imagine an alternate reality in which paying for sex is an openly practiced, completely accepted part of the economy and the culture... but paying for food is considered shameful at best and immoral at worst, an illegal black market economy in which the providers, no matter how skillful they are at their craft, are defamed, marginalized criminals, and the customers are mocked into thinking there's something sordid and pathetic about what they do.

'I'm not going to pay someone to cook for me. What kind of loser has to pay for a meal?'

If that doesn't make sense when it comes to food, then why does it make sense when it comes to sex?"

Of course, it doesn't help to have the political hypocrisy where this governor condemns the same thing he desires.

This getting to be enough of a pattern after Vitter, Craig, Foley, and Fla. State Sen. Bob Allen that it would be reasonable to assume that any "pro-family" politician has a sex life that's incompatible with the "pro-family" politics until proven otherwise.