Friday, May 24, 2002

Here's the thing. On one hand, I feel a little bad that Gary Condit's career was destroyed, since it now seems like he's not the only possible suspect. As far as his affair with Chandra Levy, I have to say I really don't care about it. Yes, it would appear he abused his position of power, but honestly, I think his infidelities are between him and his wife/family and Chandra Levy. I've known some perfectly fine people who have stepped over the line for love and/or lust. So, although I may think less of him for using his political position to get laid, I'm not sure it made him a particularly bad politician (except that all politicians, by definition, are bad).

On the other hand, I don't feel bad at all, because the fact that he was instantly singled out as the most likely suspect should tell us all how screwed up our political system really is. We all believed he killed her, and if something like this happens again, we'll believe it was the closest congressman who offed the intern. We have no confidence whatsover in our elected officials, and yet we still keep electing them. We believe Washington, D.C. to be the most corrupt city everywhere (except my parents, they probably think its San Francisco), and yet still we run our country from the White House. The demolition of Condit's career should be a wake-up call. Far be it from me to call someone else morally bankrupt, I hardly live my life according to the Ten Commandments (although I do strive to live according to Kant's categorical imperative), but my god, why do we put these losers in power? They are beyond the dregs of humanity.

Okay, I am right in the middle of this chapter on ethics, and just finished the section on "virtue ethics," a large portion of which was dedicated to outlining an argument as to why infidelity is morally wrong. I've read this whole thing twice now, and I'm still not sure I see that adultery is necessarily wrong. Well, wait, I do see that it's wrong because it betrays a promise made (if you're in a monogamous relationship, for instance), but I'm just not sure that adultery is the worst thing in the world. I would never go out on Catherine, but I somehow think that's less because I promised her I wouldn't and more because I don't see any benefits of having an affair for myself (my god, I can't even bring myself to ask a stranger for the time, if I had to put the moves on them, I'd probably have a nervous breakdown). I do still think that honest, trustworthy, (reasonably) stable people might stray in their relationships. I think this might be the flaw in virtue ethics--you can have the best of intentions to live a moral life, and even make solid decisions that should prevent you from being put in the position of even having the possibility to cheat on your spouse, but there may be a moment when the flesh will be seriously tempted. I mean, is sex a biological instinct (there's an argument I don't want to get into)? If it is, is it immoral to fall prey to it?

I guess the whole problem I'm having here is--why is monogamy considered the only moral way to live? I myself am 100% happy in a monogamous relationship, but I don't think I should be allowed to project my life choices out and say, "My way is the moral way, the rest of you will be damned to some inner ring of Dante's Hell." Aristotle was pretty uptight.

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