Hypocritical Prudes

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Hypocrisy

 

Horace Walpole once famously observed that the world is a comedy to those who think and a tragedy to those who feel.  The times in which we live certainly gives support to the sometime accuracy of that maxim.  My favorite living historian, Victor Davis Hanson, helps buttress the point:

What explains these contradictions in our wide-open but prudish society? Decades after the rise of feminism, popular culture still seems confused by it. If women should be able to approach sexuality like men, does it follow that commentary about sex should follow the same gender-neutral rules? Yet wearing provocative or inappropriate clothing is often considered less offensive than remarking upon it. Calling a near-nude Madonna onstage a “hussy” or “tart” would be considered crude in a way that her mock crucifixion and simulated sex acts are not.

Criminal sexual activity is sometimes not as professionally injurious as politically incorrect thoughts about sex and gender. Former New York governor Eliot Spitzer — found to have hired prostitutes on a number of occasions during his time in office — was given a CNN news show despite the scandal. But when former Miss California Carrie Prejean was asked in the Miss USA pageant whether she endorsed gay marriage, she said no — and thereby earned nearly as much popular condemnation for her candid defense of traditional marriage as Spitzer had for his purchased affairs.

Critics were outraged that talk-show host Rush Limbaugh grossly insulted birth-control activist Sandra Fluke. Amid the attention, Fluke was canonized for her position that federal health-care plans should pay for the contraceptive costs of all women. Yet in comparison to Fluke’s well-publicized victimhood, there has been a veritable news blackout for the trial of the macabre Dr. Kermit Gosnell, charged with killing and mutilating in gruesome fashion seven babies during a long career of conducting sometimes illegal late-term abortions. Had Gosnell’s aborted victims been canines instead of humans — compare the minimal coverage of the Gosnell trial with the widespread media condemnation of dog-killing quarterback Michael Vick — perhaps the doctor’s mayhem likewise would have been front-page news outside of Philadelphia.

Modern society also resorts to empty, symbolic moral action when it cannot deal with real problems. So-called assault weapons account for less than 1 percent of gun deaths in America. But the country whips itself into a frenzy to ban them, apparently to prove that at least it can do something, instead of wading into polarized racial and class controversies by going after illegal urban handguns, the real source of the nation’s high gun-related body count.

Not since the late-19th-century juxtaposition of the Wild West with the Victorian East has popular morality been so unbridled and yet so uptight. In short, we have become a nation of promiscuous prudes.

Go here to National Review Online to read the brilliant rest.  What has happened of course is that traditional morality has been supplanted in many venues for a person being regarded as “moral” if he subscribes to the latest shibboleths uttered by the perpetually censorious Left.  Instead of being a guide to good conduct, this new “morality” is merely adherence to political beliefs that twist and turn to meet the political needs of the moment.  Trying to live by such rules is like expecting solidity from a vial of mercury spilled on a floor, and it gives rise to endless hypocrisy as people utter what is expected of them in public, and do what they please in private.  Hypocrisy is ever a popular charge on the Left, and I can certainly understand why.  They are experts on the subject.

 

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30 Comments

  1. The fact is that private insurance companies deem it less expensive to pay for contraceptive coverage than pay for increased abortions and births. Are we now going to allow religious institutions to decide what is covered and what is not? People who complain about government telling private health insurance companies (Sandra Fluke’s coverage was private, not government paid) now want the government to tell private insurance companies what they should cover. Is there any modicum of consistency here?

    What’s telling is that for many Christians these days morality is only about sins you commit with no pants on. One never hears this outrage about the fact that 10’s of millions of Americans have no health coverage.

  2. “What’s telling is that for many Christians these days morality is only about sins you commit with no pants on.”

    No Michael the term of art for those who believe that morality does not apply to sex is “pelvic morality”. In that rubric they include the slaying of innocent kids in abortion.

    You seem to long for Big Government to take care of everything, including requiring others to pay for Sandra Fluke’s contraceptives. That is not only immoral, but foolish to the nth degree. Government can’t do it, something that should be obvious to anyone as the welfare states grumble before our eyes. When Government attempts to it usually destroys the character of those it attempts to reduce to the status of children, dependent upon the government for everything. A good life as a government serf is an illusion.

  3. I work a BS in-between job and I get health insurance. Where is this alternate dimension where good folks with plenty of skills and responsibility do not get the same simply because of greedy crony capitalists? If only Big Daddy Government galloped in and saved the day for us!

    No, some people just suck at life and no matter what wealth redistribution scheme someone comes up with, life will never be equal, or fair or anything of the sort.

  4. Donald – My argument was the converse of big government taking care of everything. Sandra Fluke’s coverage was not through government. It was through a private insurance company that would rather cover contraception than pay for extra abortions and births and you want government to tell private companies what to do.

    If you were making the point about Medicare or Medicaid you would have a point but this is private health coverage paid for by the students withe their premiums.

  5. Michael, an aspect of the ‘Affordable Care Act’ was a legal definition of template plans which required the inclusion of contraception.

    And you are forgetting the stupidity incorporated into all of this. The point of insurance is ‘risk-pooling’, which is to say replacing unpredictable demands on household resources through regular and predictable payments (assessed according to actuarial models) so that one’s expenses are amortized over time by distributing risk over a collectivity. Regular and discretionary expenses for Trojans do not constitute and assumed ‘risk’. Contemporary plans for medical insurance’ are nothing of the sort. They are rococo schemes for contracting for pre-paid medical services. (It is doubtful the President has any conception of the difference). Let that insufferable Ivy-League t**t shell out for the 28 boxes of condoms she is using every month and not socialize the cost over her co-workers and her employer’s shareholders.

  6. “Sandra Fluke’s coverage was not through government. It was through a private insurance company that would rather cover contraception than pay for extra abortions and births and you want government to tell private companies what to do.”

    Actually her testimony was in support of the HHS Mandate that would force all employers to provide “free” contraceptive insurance coverage for all employees. There is no meaningful distinction between the government providing a benefit and the government requiring a third party to provide a benefit gratis.

  7. Art Deco – Besides your contempt for Ms Fluke and possibly women, or at least educated women in general, I assume then you would not cover pregnancy as normal healthy is a choice and not a risk.

    It’s a good job you’re not a Christian as your attitude and language is deplorable.

  8. Donald – Actually the private insurance companies want to cover that cost as it’s cheaper than the alternative. The only other alternative would be to also say the private companies do not have to provide abortion and birth coverage.

  9. Then the issurance companies can work that out with purchasers of their product, sans government intervention. The insurance policy I purchase for my family has always covered pregnancy and never covered contraception as a result of the choices I made when I purchased the coverage. Sandra Fluke was not testifying for liberty of contract, but rather for State intervention to compel all employers to be forced to provide such coverage free of charge in any insurance policies they purchased.

  10. “It’s a good job you’re not a Christian as your attitude and language is deplorable.”

    MIchael, you are new here so I am going to cut you some slack in this instance. Nothing gets someone banned faster on this site than calling someone else not a Christian.

  11. Donald – Well I assumed any one who described a women as ” insufferable Ivy-League t**t ” would not want to admit to being a Christian. Cut me all the slack or not you want because I am an atheist and would not want to sink to your moral level.

    I’m out of here. In the mean time if you’re Catholic (as I once was) go to confession.

  12. And there goes Michael proving VDH’s point. It’s ok to be a tart, it’s just not ok to call someone that.

    Stunning catechesis you received there, btw.

  13. Mr. McClarey, thank you for your succinct description of what Ms. Fluke and
    her ilk are actually demanding. For all Michael’s sound and fury, he did not
    address those points. He reminded me of an octopus, which when threatened
    will create a distraction with its ink rather than engage.

    I also appreciate your point about the perpetual twists and turns in what passes
    for PC. When I think back over my years in college, I recall constant shifts in
    what was deemed acceptable. I think the eternally moving goalposts of PC
    exist for two main reasons: firstly, to provide a PC enforcer with a cheap frisson
    of moral superiority (“I can’t believe you call that group ‘____s’. Everyone knows
    we say ‘____s’ now. I’m deeply offended”). Second, constant shifting of the PC
    newspeak distinguishes fellow-travelers from the great unwashed. Who else
    but a true believer can flawlessly navigate the Byzantine ways of PC? It’s like
    some of the more labyrinthine etiquette of the Victorian upper class, existing
    mainly to distinguish those that ‘belong’ from the non-U.

    Speaking of Victorians, it’s interesting that in those days, death was freely
    discussed. One had one’s dead photographed, and wore locks of their hair in
    mourning jewelry. Such customs would be deeply taboo today, and might
    invite unwelcome attention from mental health professionals. Yet in those
    days, anything remotely to do with sex was shrouded in euphemism in ‘polite
    company’– sort of a PC of its day. As Ms. Fluke could tell you, that particular
    set of PC goalposts has been moved to the opposite end of the field.
    The prudery and the hypocrisy remain.

  14. The real stumper in Michael’s comment was this:

    “What’s telling is that for many Christians these days morality is only about sins you commit with no pants on. One never hears this outrage about the fact that 10′s of millions of Americans have no health coverage.”

    Catholicism invented health care. Catholicism has done more practical work in the life-saving arts than any institution since the beginning of time. Ditto education. Ditto care for the poor. Catholicism is also unmatched in its care for the human spirit, denouncing every kind of sin, including those that are most popular in any particular culture.

    J. Christian is right that Michael does prove VDH’s point. In our society, there are no sins that can be committed with your pants off, only with a suit and tie on.

  15. Art Deco – Besides your contempt for Ms Fluke and possibly women, or at least educated women in general, I assume then you would not cover pregnancy as normal healthy is a choice and not a risk. It’s a good job you’re not a Christian as your attitude and language is deplorable.

    I put the Comstockian asterisks in because some people (e.g. the proprietors of the Fellowship of St. James’ fora) object to plain language. If Sandra Fluke wishes to be referred to by some other term, she can order her life differently and pick a different set of causes. She is most notable for the following:

    1. Using the considerable discretion she had in such matters (acquired how I do not know) to choose, at the age of 28, to attend law school at an expensive private institution.

    2. Choosing to attend a residually Catholic school to have a forum and gain legal standing to harass the school’s administration into abandoning one of the components of its residual Catholicism.

    3. Making a public spectacle of herself (in cahoots with elements within the Democratic congressional caucus) at a legislative pseudo-hearing arguing that employers should be coerced into purchasing insurance which covers discretionary expenditures on products vended at pharmacies. The products in question provide a facility for her own decadence and that of others (My old pharmacy sells Heath bars, which I fancy, but which are usually not covered by insurance plans).

    4. Telling cock-and-bull stories of women in her social circle spending on the order of $250 a month on contraceptives. If they do, they are running a Mayflower Madam enterprise. Sidney Biddle Barrows had an appealing sense of humor. Not so “Ms.” Fluke or her public defenders.

    The context of this is Sandra Fluke’s own life. Lot’s of people have personal shortcomings, personal failures, and problems in living, including me. She attended Cornell University, not a school which undercharges its clientele, and spent a third of her time taking courses for a degree in ‘Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies’. She also apparently earned a degree in a program which requires considerable study of statistics, though she never used that degree. It is not clear what she did for a living for six years, but she appears to have been employed by some advocacy group at one point and at a philanthropic agency that ran women’s shelters. That can be decent and thankless and commendable employment, but (I would refer you here to the writings of Stephen Baskerville and Glenn Sacks) those agencies are also shot-through with malicious ideologues (e.g. the sort of people who fritter away their time taking courses in ‘gender studies’). Past 30, she is employed as a college student, has no domestic life bar a ‘boyfriend’ who evidently had the means to send her on a European vacation during the whole controversy, and appears to have eschewed the sort of temporary office work that law students take to begin to learn their trade.

    Everything about this women suggests she has more intelligence than she knows how to put to good use, has devoted her life to activities predicated on a false and deeply jaundiced view of human relations, and desires (for reasons obscure) to punish cultural adversaries. Not to pleasant, and a fitting object for a certain amount of ridicule.

    Equal respect is the abolition of respect. If Sandra Fluke wanted respect from me, she would have lived her life quite differently and be quite differently disposed to others. I have no clue what Sandra Fluke’s activities and blunt commentary therupon have to do with any assessment I might have of the genus ‘women’ or ‘educated women in general’. Evidently, the way your head works, caustic remarks about Fluke mean I despise my grandmother, who certainly counted as an educated woman. There a a mess of people in this world (e.g. the Mary Winkler jury) who cannot abide someone on the distaff side ever being held responsible for anything or subject to plain assessments of their dispositions and conduct. I do not respect that either, coming from you or anyone else.

    Pregnancy is to be expected in the course of conjugal life. Its timing is not predictable and neither are medical complications therein. Paying for a hospital and obstetrician’s services on unpredictable intervals is not analogous to coughing up $14.50 each month so you can go on banging your boyfriend without messy complications.

    Actually the private insurance companies want to cover that cost as it’s cheaper than the alternative.

    Rubbish. No sort of coverage mandate is in the commercial interest of an insurance company unless it prevents a competitor from gaining an advantage. That aside, insurers do not lose from coverage of procedures. They lose from coverage of procedures of a frequency and character not anticipated by their models (and incorporated into their charges) or for which they could not make antecedent adjustments due to regulatory considerations. You expect us to believe that an increase in the frequency of pregnancy (within a given actuarial pool) attributable to the failure to subsidize a $14.50 a month purchase is going to generate unexpected costs to the insurer. (Which they somehow anticipate, accounting for their inclusion of the pills).

  16. Donald – Well I assumed any one who described a women as ” insufferable Ivy-League t**t ” would not want to admit to being a Christian. Cut me all the slack or not you want because I am an atheist and would not want to sink to your moral level.

    A personal note: my ‘moral level’, good, bad, or indifferent, is not something about which you know squat.

  17. Art, I don’t know about anyone else, but I consider the word t**t to be outside the realm of decency. Michael’s wrong about a lot of things, but I can’t fault him on that.

  18. Art, I don’t know about anyone else, but I consider the word t**t to be outside the realm of decency. Michael’s wrong about a lot of things, but I can’t fault him on that.

    And you have both confused being virtuous with being dainty.

  19. “Not since the late-19th-century juxtaposition of the Wild West with the Victorian East has popular morality been so unbridled and yet so uptight.”

    The area in which I see that contrast most starkly nowadays is with regard to laws/regulations regarding food and tobacco. Certain members of the liberal intelligentsia who would never presume to criticize or condemn women (or men, particularly gay men) for their sexual behavior and who demand that they be allowed (at public expense) to indulge their every appetite in this area without consequence, seem to have no problem whatsoever with condemning smokers and overweight people and demanding that something MUST be done about THEIR appetites because they “harm others” and “drive up the cost of healthcare for everyone.” Yes, smoking and overeating are bad habits with potentially serious health consequences. Anymore, however, it seems (at least based on comments people make on news stories online) that taking up more than one seat on an airplane due to one’s weight is a far greater sin than adultery; and some who would never apply the word “hussy” or “tart” to a promiscuous woman have no qualms about calling an overweight woman a “cow”.

  20. Not to mention the fact that some people who want schools to ban soda and candy vending machines, teach healthier food choices, expand physical education and hammer home strong anti-smoking and anti-drug messages (all of which are, IMO, good things) will at the same time insist that teaching sexual abstinence “doesn’t work”.

  21. Don – Please pull this comment if you wish. I’m not trying to stir up trouble. In fact, I’m trying to resolve it.

    Art, what does “t**t” stand for? In my mind, and maybe in Michaels, it means “twat”. Looking over this thread, I’m wondering if you used it to mean “tart”. If I’m wrong about this, or if I’m reigniting a closed debate, I’m sorry. I’m just hoping that this all has been a misunderstanding.

  22. You can fill in the blanks however you care to. ‘Twit’ works just as well.

    This women spent twenty years of her life in the Pennsylvania countryside about a half hour from a small city, Altoona. Then she spends three years or so in Upstate New York. Then she spends a half-dozen years in or around New York City. At the age of 28 and considering law school, you think she might select a practical option, which is to say one of the five public law schools you can find in New York and Pennsylvania, one of them an hour and twenty minute drive from where she grew up and one of them a train ride out to Queens. If she insists on cachet, there are quite a mess of private law schools proximate to her residence in 2008, including one at Columbia University, one at New York University, and, if these reject her, one at Fordham University (a residually Catholic school to boot). She could also move back Upstate and enroll at her old alma mater, Cornell. These schools have roughly similar admissions standards to the place she did select. While studying law, she could find a summer clerk’s position helping a working lawyer with his daily tasks. What does this 28 year old amateur social worker do? She pulls up stakes and moves to a high rent district where she is a stranger in order to enroll at a school for the added purpose of giving its administration a hard time for not coughing up $14.50 a month for rutting women among its student body (and spends her summers working for the Center for Women’s blah blah blah). Referring to her naughty bits is off center, but the list of insults one could legitimately lob at such a person is as long as your arm (starting with ‘officious jack-wagon’ and ‘fanatic’).

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