Saturday, April 28, 2007

What to do when a thread hijack is actually more interesting than the post?

Althouse is musing about someone musing about her musings about Bill Richardson and the Democratic debate.

The first reply in the comments is by someone, clearly from the left, who wants to drive home this morning's story about President Bush's AIDS Czar resigning, with it being pretty clear that this (married) "abstinence is the best approach to preventing AIDS" advocate has been dipping his wick with some hookers.

I reflexively hate thread hijackers. If you have an agenda you want to push, get your own damn blog. If you have worthwhile opinions frequently enough (unlike me), then you will get plenty of traffic pushing your agenda. If you don't, then that is a significant hint that by pushing your agenda on other people's blogs, you are being an ass.

The problem is that the topic raised in that particular thread-hijack is considerably more interesting than the original post.

The commenter, 'hellokitty', writes "This is a very delicious story. He was all for faith and fidelity and promoting Abstinence but only for others not himself... This has got to be the most hypocrital [sic], corrupt bunch of losers that have ever entered public life."

So many thoughts come to mind.

There is really something disgusting about the type of person who delights in the failings of others. A man cheated on his wife. He has subjected his family to betrayal and humiliation, all for some cheap thrills. This is not delicious. It is tragic.

Hellokitty is obviously scornful of the man's behavior. I am, as well. But I suspect that we are scornful for very different reasons. Hellokitty is primarily scornful because of a dislike for what the man was touting politically. My scorn is because he hurt his family, and himself, over something stupid. While I am completely on board with the idea that this guy brought it on himself and now will reap what he has sown, I do not find it delicious at all that his family will be hurt.

Delicious? People like Hellokitty have screwed up priorities, and badly lack the very compassion that they believe is the centerpiece of their political worldview. Tobias' "hypocrisy is outrageous," indeed. But so is Hellokitty's.

So what is the answer here? Is the answer to adopt a more liberal worldview, where there is less hypocrisy because we lower moral standards to where everyone meets them without much effort, or do we adopt a more conservative one, where there is more hypocrisy because people are people and will have moral failings and not live up to the standards they tout?

I guess I am somewhere in between. I think that it is good for a society to protect community values. I like that people restrain themselves from using vulgar language in public, and I don't like it when they don't. I like that drug use and selling is not rampant in the streets where my kids go and play. I am thankful that we discourage prostitution, because I think it is best that we discourage girls from going down that route.

At the same time, I swear like a sailor at times. I have enjoyed a spliff or two in my days. I might again, or I might not. A long time ago, I used a call girl. Some of this can be attributed to my wild youth, with me growing up. Then again, back in the day I held most of the same beliefs I hold now.

That makes me a hypocrite. Beat me over the head with the word if you will. I think that most people are hypocrites. Some are significantly worse in this regard than others, but it is a trait that is common to most people, and I am not sure there is a significant correlation between a complete lack of hypocrisy and being an admirable person overall, despite the fact that I agree with the sentiment that hypocrisy is something that should be minimized.

We should, as a public, come down on those who are politicians who are hypocrites. We should hold our politicians to the same standards that they are advocating we hold as a society-- just as we should try to live to the standards of the society in which we live. We should remember that there is going to be hypocrisy.
As for if the Bush administration has been the 'most corrupt,' well, the Clinton administration was no walk in the park, either. In fact, overall I would say it was much worse. The Reagan administration was not too bad on the corruption front, but to my memory the least corrupt one of the past several decades was the Carter administration.

Pity that that one happened to be the most incompetent.

What do we do about corruption? Would we ever handle it by suggesting that we do away with the rules against corruption, since so many fail to follow them? I sure hope not. We should deal with the fact that we have corruption, and handle the corrupt when we find them.

We have a choice to make, though. Do we do away with hypocrisy by removing the standards to which people fail to adhere, or do we deal with the fact that people are hypocrites?

1 comment:

Bob said...

I like your reasoning.