Those Who Cast Stones

Today's news that New York Governor (and sometime moral crusader) Eliot Spitzer was apparently a patron of a high-class prostitution ring is getting lots of play. Initial reports said he planned to resign. He may yet do so, but my guess is that unless criminal charges follow Spitzer will survive to launch more crusades.

Why do I say this? Simple. We already established the precedent back in 1998 that it is perfectly fine for high government officials to carry on perverse sexual affairs, lie under oath in official proceedings, lie to the press and the public, intimidate witnesses, and attack anyone who tries to stop them. If the charges against Spitzer are true, then the only difference between him and Bill Clinton is that some money changed hands.

The public doesn't care because it has been conditioned that all manner of personal conduct must be "tolerated" if not actively encouraged and even celebrated. Those few of us who disagree with this are, in the popular view, nothing but cranky religious fanatics.

At the personal level it is a great tragedy, of course. Mr. Spitzer's wife and children have been betrayed and will suffer greatly. They need our support and prayers. So does the governor himself. We all have our weaknesses and failures. Hopefully he will learn from this experience and find forgiveness and redemption.

That having been said, it would certainly be nice to see Spitzer's downfall as a public official. He's been promoting some truly odious policies and the common good will be well served if he takes the opportunity to retire.

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