Friday, June 10, 2011

Things Worth Reading

Thing #1: Jeffrey Sconce notices another conservative who is shocked -- shocked! -- to discover that Hollywood is a nest of liberals, and gamely tries to (re-)explain why Red Dawn is and remains the highest, and the highest possible, achievement in the arts by the contemporary conservative unimagination. He doesn't explicitly mention Red Dawn, but you'll find it in the lacunae of his remarks. Wolverines!

Thing #2: Kevin Drum clarifies the moral question in his back-and-forth with Ross Douthat over assisted suicide:
I don't really see suicide as morally problematic. It's obviously tragic, and no one ever wants to see a friend (or anyone else, really) descend to a state in which suicide seems preferable to life. But that's a pragmatic concern, not a moral one. I'd want them to get all the help and support we could offer, but in the end I accept that it might not be enough. So while I'd be heartbroken if a close friend ended up asking for that dose of sodium pentobarbital, I wouldn't have any moral qualms about their decision. Nor about the doctor who prescribed it. [Footnote:] With the usual caveats that I assume I don't have to repeat here.[emphasis mine]
Those caveats and more are enshrined in Oregon's "Death with Dignity" law, which I voted for (twice!). I agree, noting only that I do see it as morally blameworthy when a person on whom others depend kills himself. This can be stretched too far --- not every form of dependence is equal to every other.

Thing #3: Dan Savage responds to the idiotic scolds:
No one thinks it's a good idea for politicians to get consensual-but-adulterous blowjobs from interns in the Oval Office or to send embarrassing sexts to random people who follow them on Twitter. But voters know sex that sex and desire are messy and that politicians are human and, like other humans (including voters), politicians sometimes do stupid, reckless things in pursuit of sex. So long as their actions aren't illegal or hypocritical, voters are pretty willing to give wayward pols a pass ... And Weiner says he isn't resigning. And his constituents don't want him to resign. So it's time for the folks who are calling for Weiner's resignation—shiteating Republicans, cowardly Democrats, handwringing pundits—to STFU already.
Yes, STFU unless and until it can be demonstrated that Anthony Weiner broke the law or demonstrated hypocrisy with respect to his public policy commitments and principles, at which point his resignation would be open to legitimate question. He was elected to represent a Congressional district in New York on matters of public policy, not to model sexual prudery.


Paul Sunstone said...

Well said! Especially about Weiner. The bigger scandal might be the likely hypocrisy of his critics. That is, they pretend they themselves have exercised poor judgment in sexual matters. As we all know, that's only absolutely true of Newt Gingrich. The rest of his critics are suspect.

Dale said...

Paul, I want there to be exactly one rule about these kinds of things. One. I don't accept varying rules by political party.

If it were up to me, something like this would be dismissed as a private indiscretion and that would be the end of it. To say this is a 'distraction' is only to point out what we already know, that the news media loves stories like this because they're easy. The news media is endlessly 'distracted' because they're mostly hacks.

I'm not distracted -- I don't give a shit what Anthony Weiner does with other consenting adults, and he returns the favor by not basing any part of his political outlook on the sexual morality of others.

When people report they can't "trust" a politician because he has lied about sex, it reveals they are asking the profoundly wrong question, and seeking something they will never, ever get. Their mistakes should not rule public affairs.