Sunday, June 26, 2011


Anthony Weiner and Arnie Schwarznegger have had a tough time lately.

Arnie had an illegitimate child while cheating on Maria Shriver.

The Governator.

Anthony sent lots of self-porn pictures to lady friends, who were collectively not his wife. Anthony had very high self-esteem, which is important. It will serve him well during his job search.

Former Congressman Weiner.

In a culture where everyone is tripping over themselves bursting with sexual freedom, where do we get off blasting Anthony and Arnie?

I thought there were no rules. Isn't that the gist? I thought the only taboos left were (a) no criticizing someone else's sexual choices or behavior (b) no coercion or causing harm to others (c) no sex without consent. See Dale Kuehnes, "Sex and the World: Rethinking Relationship in an Age of Individualism," (Baker, 2010).

The only possible violation by Arnie and Anthony was "causing harm." But the only harm they caused was hurt feelings. This, however, would be a violation of (a), no criticizing someone else's sexual choices. Sorry, hurt feelings don't count.

Never mind the weird logic, which never comes out right. Where did the wives get the idea that Anthony and Arnie wouldn't (or shouldn't) have sex with other women? Where did they get the idea that it was wrong to cheat and lie about it? Where did the concept of "cheating" come from, anyway? Or lying, for that matter?

You either agree that there is an objective moral good that prohibits sexual promiscuity, or you live with the fact that people are going to have sex when, and with whom, they feel like. And then lie about it.

If you think there is some objective right and wrong on this subject, where did it come from? Dr. Ruth? The Constitution? Which part, the Sexth Amendment?

Dr. Ruth. People Pay for Her Advice.

The "Crappiest Generation," as I like to call my own cohort, has been seeking some mushy compromise on this particular issue, without success, since at least 1960. People like the objective moral code when their feelings are being hurt. They ignore it when they are the ones who want to rut.

So confusing.

There is an objective moral code, whether people acknowledge it or not. God made it inhere in the fabric of the universe. It's like gravity. God made that, too. Ditch it and things get confused and painful. Sometimes, lethal. If you don't like the way that works, you should create your own universe.

Gravity. Painful but Full of Integrity.
Photo credit.

Arnie's and Anthony's behavior was shameful and immoral. But it was only shameful and immoral if there is an objectively binding moral code that prohibits lying, infidelity and sexual promiscuity. Otherwise, it was just people doing what they want, and there is nothing to say they were "wrong." In fact, the whole concept of "wrong" makes no sense at all.

You can argue that if most people agree that Arnie's and Anthony's conduct was wrong, we have a "consensus" and that passes for a moral code. But really, why should Anthony or Arnie care what other people think? The boys are going to be in a casket in a few years, turning into dirt. Maybe their judgment is that they should be grabbing for all the gusto they can squeeze out of this bizarre piece of luck we call life.

As for consensus, 70 years ago there was a consensus among doctors that people should smoke cigarettes if their stomachs or throats were acting up. Today, not so much.

Photo credit.

Yes, I know, utilitarianism, blah, blah, blah. Bentham makes an interesting read, but where are the gremlins grinding out those calculations about the greatest good for the greatest number? Is there some super-moral-computer program somewhere crunching the entirety of human experience and spitting out moral box scores for everyone all day?

Jeremy Bentham. Utiliblahblahblah.
Photo credit.

Because if not, how are Arnie and Anthony, with their obviously limited computing ability, supposed to figure all that out? Like sometime before they are dead?

And when they figure it out, should they care? Because if they foreswear copious sex with lots of women it will ultimately make a better world for someone someday? Maybe?

God, fidelity, honesty, love.

Arnie, Anthony, sleaze and sorrow.

It's not actually that complicated. Difficult, but not complicated.


  1. So true.
    It's also kind of unfair to encourage people to act on their sexual urges and then get all mad when they do.
    I thought double standards were what we were trying to get rid of.
    "Gravity. Painful but full of integrity."

  2. I like gravity. It's just there. You can depend on it. It has clear standards and adheres to them. Eternal Optimist.

  3. I swear, each of these gets better than the last one. What a clear, concise, and cogent explanation. Yet one that hasn’t made its way to mainstream media, and one that seems to elude so many.