Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Left Seizes the (Im)Moral High Ground

Illusory Tenant noted that today is Hump Day of National Marriage Week, and, as if on cue, we have the latest in the seemingly endless string of stories about philandering GOP politicians.

The gang at One Wisconsin Now highlights the Craigslist exploits of (now apparently former) GOP congressman Chris Lee:

Rep. Christopher Lee is a married Republican congressman serving the 26th District of New York. But when he trolls Craigslist's "Women Seeking Men" forum, he's Christopher Lee, "divorced" "lobbyist" and "fit fun classy guy."

Uh oh. Hypocritical GOPer -1 : National Marriage Week - 0.

Apparently, the persistence of womanizing GOP'ers somehow proves that opposition to gay marriage is wrong. I'm not sure exactly how, that part is never really explained, but before and after the accompanying compromising photo in the post, they manage to get in "hell-bent", "ultra-conservative base", and "extreme right wing" just to remove any lingering doubts.

These episodes are inevitable and despite the left's best effort to turn them into a story about the GOP writ large, they simply aren't. These instances of bad behavior by individual men are simply that, nothing more. The blame for such bad conduct lies squarely with the individuals involved, not their party, and not the people with whom they happen to agree on a certain issue. I doubt the left can ever fully understand this for at least two reasons.

The first is that when your philosophy of individual liberty revolves around immediate personal gratification, it's impossible to fault these men for pursuing the same. As liberal blogger Matthew Yglesias tweeted, "Not sure I understand what wrongdoing Rep Lee has committed." Self-indulgence practically doesn't exist as a concept for many on the left, with the notable exception of wanting to keep more of the money you have earned.

Then there is the matter of a world view which seeks to transfer blame from the individual to some outside factor. When you believe that poverty, the existence of guns, or big business are the real reasons for the wrongdoing by individuals, there simply is no way to assign blame to a single man for the bad things he has done. The Koch brothers have come in for some heavy criticism from the left of late, but even there they can't narrow it down to just one guy!

I for one am glad Mr. Lee is leaving congress and I'll be just as happy if serial monogamist Newt Gingrich stays out of office, but these incidents have nothing to do with my views on marriage. Infidelity is about individual bad behavior and little else.

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