Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Only Sadness

Although I am on the other side politically, had I still lived in New York when he ran for governor, I would have voted for Eliot Spitzer because I thought he was a genuine latter-day "untouchable" Eliot Ness. Perhaps he is and was incorruptable in the ordinary sense of that word. Why must our heros have feet of clay?

I confess that in the case of "toe-tapping" Larry Craig I found some thrill in his exposure, as I did in the cases of homo- and hetero-sexual politicos and defrocked televangelists who got their tail caught in a crack.

But I take no joy in Spitzer's forced resignation. He was and is different and all I feel is sadness. Not just for his wife and daughters - I was also sorry for Craig's wife and the wives of the others - but also for Spitzer the man.

I believe deeply in democracy and know that capitalism is the only economic system that provides independent centers of weath and influence and makes true representative democracy possible. (In other systems where the government absolutely controls all or most means of production and, therefore, everyone is dependent upon the government for their jobs and welfare, real democracy is all but impossible.) For capitalism to function well, the bad apples on Wall Street and in corporate board rooms must be exposed and convicted when they violate the law. Spitzer did that effectively. We will miss him.

Why am I giving Spitzer a partial free pass for his crimes? I hope it is not because he is Jewish. Is it less of a crime to obtain adulterous sex in a fair business transaction with a high-class professional hooker than it is to accept "voluntary" sex from a low-class underling in exchange for keeping a job or getting a promotion, or for the distinction of having a close relationship with a high-powered celebrity? In the former case, the bad actor is exposed to blackmail that could affect public policy, particularly since illicit sex operations are often controlled or allied with organized crime. In the latter case, there is a tremendous unbalance of power between the underling and the celebrity. I just don't know!

Ira Glickstein

1 comment:

Howard Pattee said...

I would say that Spitzer is normal, statistically speaking. With his ego, he had a better than 50% chance of infidelity. Statistics on infidelity are unreliable for obvious reasons, but in many polls 40% to 60% of men admit infidelity. Given the nature of the question, that is probably low.

The richer, the more powerful, and the bigger the ego, the worse the chances of infidelity. Historically, emperors, kings, popes, and presidents have a bad record. Of course, like Spitzer, they also get more publicity if they are discovered. Aggressive moralizers, especially those who have sexual hang-ups, like charismatic preachers, also seem prone to infidelity.