Monday, July 16, 2007

Sen. Vitter and Hookergate

Louisiana Sen. David Vitter has finally made a public statement, beyond a written statement that seemed to acknowledge that he had patronized the "D.C. Madam" the feds are going after, and he seems to deny that he patronized hookers in New Orleans during the 1990s, as at least one New Orleans madam has alleged -- although the statement is just vague enough to be close to a non-denial denial. He says God has forgiven him and so has his wife, which I have no reason to doubt. Now we'll see if his constiuents forgive him.

I've tried to avoid feeling too much Schadenfreude over this episode, but it's hard not to think that if this damages his career Vitter is getting pretty much what he deserves. If you're going to politick on the basis of your strong support for "family values" and morality, it should seem pretty obvious that it would be a good idea to avoid prostitutes.

I admit to a certain amount of befuddlement. I've never patronized a prostitute, but it may be that it's as much because I'm too cheap and perhaps even too timid as that I am anything like a moral avatar. I have done things my wife has had to forgive me for. But I wonder whether some of these holy rollers emphasize sex so much because they have a stronger lust for illicit sex than some of the rest of us -- think Jimmy Swaggart and a few others -- and are really talking about the things that tempt them so strongly that they know it just can't be right. If so, you might think they would just shut up about it, but that doesn't seem to be the way for many of them.

Maybe they think talking about how sinful it is will stop them. I don't know, but there's a strange psychology with some -- not all, of course -- of these people who want to talk about morality in a public and political context all the time. Or perhaps most of them are just natural-born public scolds who feel superior or better about themselves or something when they're deploring the behavior of others.

1 comment:

hedgehoggery said...

Yeah, you're on the right track there with Vitter. Also note how many gay men and probably other sorts of self-defined perverts (along with the people I'd also call pervs, the pedophiles) become priests in an effort to live a more abstemious life. And that inevitably works out well.

Something similar is the worry by religious people that I, as an atheist, can't live a good life without a codified value system. I think this is projection. They are people so lacking in a moral sense of direction that they need a map, even one drawn by militarist goat herders 2600 years ago. On moral performance, I can say that compared to the many religious people who knock up young women, leave their kids, start wars, eat piles of meat, drive cars, and otherwise screw the world, some of us atheists seem to be doing ok.