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Redefining Morality When Your Boy Gets Nailed

Posted Friday, March 14, 2008, at 11:21 AM

I have to admit that this week's news of the fall of the Governor of New York has caused this writer some amusement and more than a touch of Spitzerfreuden. I've watched his career ever since he was Attorney General of New York and began building a reputation as a ruthless prosecutor that would stop at nothing to bring down his target, including many tactics that some in the legal profession may find highly questionable.

But what I find amazing, but not at all surprising, is the notion from some of his defenders that what Spitzer did wasn't wrong at all. In fact, if we were more enlightened, progressive and sophisticated, all of this behavior would be A-OK.

For example, yesterday Newsweek published this column entitled "Spitzer's Business is Not Our Business" by Anwer Sher which contains statements like this:

So what if the Governor of New York hired a prostitute? Did he force her? Not pay her for the service? If so, then that might be an issue. Perhaps it's illegal, but then how can you regulate the oldest profession in the world? I am against human trafficking, and forcing people against their will. But the question is not what he did -- the real question is, because of who he is, should he have done it? Does being with a prostitute impair his ability to govern the State of New York? Probably not.

No, but those money laundering charges that are likely pending might be a bit of a problem. Mr. Sher continues:

I do feel that intrusive press and intrusive minds really do not have any business in a person's private life. There should be no moral issues, as she was an consenting prostitute, and he was a consenting adult. While this may seem too liberal, the point is that whether it is right or wrong in his personal scheme of life and family. That is a choice he has to make and live with its consequences. In a world where sensational press reports and coverage of celebrity lives is so over the top, there has to be a line drawn on what is a matter of public concern and what is not.

Well, in my opinion, a man who can't be trusted to keep his marriage vows, can't be trusted to remain faithful to his oath of office, either. Also, it has been disclosed that Spitzer allegedly patronized prostitutes when he was prosecuting people for the very same activity. He didn't mind going after others for this "victimless crime." Would this not subject the Governor to extortion? Did he put himself in a position to be able to be bribed? Did he use State money? Did he do this on state time? Did he break State law? Did he break Federal Interstate Laws? This is a matter of public concern. Face it folks, when you work for the taxpayers, you don't have a private life. Let's go back to Sher's column:

In the Middle East, there are many double standards on a number of things, and yet the issue of private and public life are never mixed. In this sense, the Middle East has something to be admired for: public figures are given latitude in their private lives. Would a public figure here admit to hiring a prostitute? Perhaps not, and certainly not because there is a need to do that in the public realm. One might argue that because democracy does not exist, there is no pressure on such leaders to admit anything...


Oh, that's a real good example. Perhaps Mr. Sher would like to ask the Iranian police chief who got caught with the six prostitutes about this line of thinking.

But not to be out done, we also have Martha Nussbaum's piece in the Atlanta Journal Constitution bearing the title "Trading on America's Puritanical Streak," which proceeds to take us to task for not being just like her European friends:

My European colleagues (I write from an academic conference in Belgium) have a hard time understanding what happened, but they know that it is one of those things that could only happen in America, where the topic of sex drives otherwise reasonable people insane. In Germany and the Netherlands, prostitution is legal and regulated by public health authorities. A man who did what Spitzer did would have a lot to discuss with his wife and family, but he would have broken no laws, and it would be laughable to accuse him of a betrayal of the public trust. This is as it should be. If Spitzer broke any laws, they were bad laws, laws that should never have existed.

Why are there laws against prostitution? All of us, with the exception of the independently wealthy and the unemployed, take money for the use of our body. Professors, factory workers, opera singers, sex workers, doctors, legislators -- all do things with parts of their bodies for which others offer them a fee. Some people get good wages and some do not; some have a relatively high degree of control over their working conditions and some have little control; some have many employment options and some have very few. And some are socially stigmatized and some are not. However, the difference between the sex worker and the professor -- who takes money for the use of a particularly intimate part of her body, namely her mind -- is not the difference between a "good woman" and a "bad woman." It is, usually, the difference between a prosperous well-educated woman and a poor woman with few employment options.

And just where were the Professor's complaints about America Puritanism when Spitzer was putting people in jail for being in the very same business? The Governor knew what he did was illegal and wrong but he did it anyway. No one forced him to destroy his own life and throw away a position he worked all of his life to attain. If I were a cynical person, (heaven forbid) one might come to the conclusion that these obviously progressive writers are expressing these kinds of opinions simply because there is a "D" after Spitzer's name. The tune would likely be quite different if it was an "R", I imagine.

Moral issues aside, all of this doesn't change the fact that Spitzer will probably have to pay heavily for breaking the laws that he was so vigorous about enforcing as a prosecutor. You can't say prostitution is a scourge upon society and then make an exception for yourself, like Spitzer did. You can legalize prostitution, as some "enlightened" countries have done, but I doubt it will ever gain moral acceptance.

The last part of the article is really what floored me, though:

* Martha Nussbaum is a professor of law and ethics at the University of Chicago.

Sometimes the jokes just write themselves.

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Spitzer resigned on Wednesday. Isnt it ironic that he resigned on "Hump Day."

-- Posted by seedsower on Sun, Mar 16, 2008, at 5:19 PM


-- Posted by stolen25 on Fri, Mar 14, 2008, at 11:17 PM

;0 Yes, atleast there is no religion involved with this one *praises God* haha

-- Posted by darrick_04 on Fri, Mar 14, 2008, at 11:13 PM

LMAO!! Good one Darrick :)

-- Posted by stolen25 on Fri, Mar 14, 2008, at 11:01 PM

I think the only thing wrong with this blog is the Title...

It should read "Redefining Morality When Your Boy Gets Nailed LITERALLY" ;)

-- Posted by darrick_04 on Fri, Mar 14, 2008, at 10:59 PM

I was flipping through channels and some Psychiatrist on "FAUX News" said that he probably just needed a hug LMAO!!! I just had to share that :)

-- Posted by Disturbia on Fri, Mar 14, 2008, at 10:27 PM

He's not losing his job for paying a prostitute. He's not losing his job because of money laundering. He's losing his job for being too stupid to hold public office. He's also losing his job because he was such a colossal jerk to so many people while trying to make a name for himself and become governor.

-- Posted by Tim Baker on Fri, Mar 14, 2008, at 3:11 PM

I love how people lose their jobs over sex related issues, yet you can start wars based on lies, and nobody can touch you. Odd? If we got rid of every politician who in some way, lied, cheated, or stole something... There would only be a handful of the 535 left. Of course, we'd have no president/vice president or crooked administration... My oh my, then you'd have a nation truly ran by the People...

-- Posted by nascarfanatic on Fri, Mar 14, 2008, at 10:27 PM

Yep Diana they set the bar pretty low. And he couldn't reach it.

-- Posted by Tim Baker on Fri, Mar 14, 2008, at 9:51 PM

That's why he is losing his job? Gee then I know of a lot more people that need to be on that list.

-- Posted by Dianatn on Fri, Mar 14, 2008, at 3:31 PM

He's not losing his job for paying a prostitute. He's not losing his job because of money laundering. He's losing his job for being too stupid to hold public office. He's also losing his job because he was such a colossal jerk to so many people while trying to make a name for himself and become governor.

-- Posted by Tim Baker on Fri, Mar 14, 2008, at 3:11 PM

By the looks of him, he'd have to pay for it. But all jokes aside, I feel bad for his daughters and his wife.

-- Posted by countrymom on Fri, Mar 14, 2008, at 2:40 PM

prostitution is legal in Nevada and it hasn't helped their crime rate..Nevada has one of the highest crime rates in the country.

-- Posted by Dianatn on Fri, Mar 14, 2008, at 2:09 PM

There is the question of whether illicit activities and substances would have the same appeal if they were allowed.

Perhaps,prostitutes (male and female) are not scum,victims or prey but a perception that they are might be a portion of what they're selling.

Similarly,the sex service worker might be harboring the notion that they are exploiting the exploiters.

Why buy the services of an illegal hooker?

Why not use a legal prostitute or have an affair?

Not only does he seem unable to meet his needs with his spouse,there would seem to be doubt that he would be satisfied with any honest,mutual arrangement.

Sometimes,even marriages are loveless and pragmatic but if he prefers the sterotypical sordid trick to even a "friendship with compensated privilege",then he just might be as cavalier when screwing his constituents.

-- Posted by quantumcat on Fri, Mar 14, 2008, at 2:07 PM

ROFL Yep. Guess that's why he was almost always smiling. Thing I do not understand is, if he has "needs" why didn't he discuss this with his wife. She is really the only person that could help without losing his reputation, job and respect. I bet that would have spiced up their entire relationship.

-- Posted by Evil Monkey on Fri, Mar 14, 2008, at 1:46 PM

Considering the amount of money Spitzer spent on these "ladies" over the years, the man appears to have a great many "issues."

-- Posted by Brian Mosely on Fri, Mar 14, 2008, at 1:33 PM

It has been known sex cures alot of emotional issues.

-- Posted by Evil Monkey on Fri, Mar 14, 2008, at 1:12 PM

I don't know that all that is b/c prostitution is legal though......

-- Posted by LauraSFT on Fri, Mar 14, 2008, at 12:41 PM

She made a few good points though, in Germany and the Netherlands, Prostitution is legal. They also have less crime, murder, disease, poverty, health issues, aids, drug related issues, they get paid more, they work less, get more vacation time, Longer breaks, treated like humans instead of numbers/graphs, and have pride.

-- Posted by Evil Monkey on Fri, Mar 14, 2008, at 11:30 AM

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Brian Mosely is a staff writer for the Times-Gazette.
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