Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Two Cases of Adultery

Ah the moral pecadilloes of our holier-than-thou crowd. The tawdry, puffed up moralizing beast of a 'publican congressman who turns up in not one but two prostitute black books ... David Vitter, the latest in a long line of religious political hypocrites. It makes slurping one's coffee in front of the virtual newspaper in the morning oh so satisfying. Liar, liar, pants on fire.

There is another adultery in the news as well. One Jaffar Kiani, 47, did not seek the limelight, but the religious thugs of Iran's version of the 'publican party dragged him to a cemetery and stoned him to death notwithstanding an order to the contrary from the "chief of the judiciary, Ayatollah Mahmoud Shahroudi”. I guess stoning the old bastard in a cemetery saved on cadaver transportation costs. Iran plans on a bunch of executions for "moral" reasons, and you can bet yer bottom dollah that a bunch of homos will swing in that special Iranian way.

First of all, I'm in favor of the unfettered right to adultery. Sure it has made a lot of lives miserable, but ... and this might be a shock ... people have sex. Yes, they do. Despite centuries ... millennia ... of efforts by sanctimonious preachers and schoolmarms, people continue to rut like ... well, rut like people. The right to adultery, like the right to believe whatever nonsense you want to believe, is simply a big unfenced boundary. It is not an encouragement or a discouragement. It is simply that people have the right to associate and the right to do what they want to do. And, without adultery, just how much less rich would literature or opera be? Name me a solid old epic that does not have adultery at its core?

So the problem with the hypocrite and christian 'publican Senator Vitter is not that he is horny but that he is a liar. And the problem with poor Mr. Kiani is not that he had wandering eyes but that the facist regime under which he lived has been having some political problems and tends to solve them by slaughtering people in public.

Both Mr. Vitter and Mr. Kiani illustrate the dangers of religion when we allow it out of its cage as optional private moral bellwether to public political discourse.

There is this fellow with whom I associate in my public life who wears a Promise Keepers hat from time to time. He is a warm and friendly person, affable to a fault. Perhaps his Christianity has been a positive force for him. He once urged me to prayer during a chance meeting at the urinals, but my stony silence has evidently led him to leave that one alone. Maybe he has learned something from Promise Keepers; that's up to him. But he is obviously oblivious to the indubitable fact that those people are a direct imminent threat to my personal safety. If they were in power, they would act like a bunch of Iranian mullahs; they would kill me. I can't prove that, but I certainly do not plan to participate in any kind of social experiment to find out.

But the Promise Keepers and Falwells of the world can only fantasize about the hangings and beheadings of resurgent Islamist power, and that is where the attitude of liberals to the Vitters of the world has to be shaped. Let people lead their lives, and when a liar like Vitter is exposed, we have to focus not on his wandering genitals but on his hypocrisy. For every condemnation in that holy book of sex, there are dozens of condemnations of hypocrisy. It is his hypocrisy that make him ineligible to be a Senator, not his libido.

Liberals need to remember that appeals to faith are zero-sum dividers. We need to appeal to reason. People have the right to screw around, but hypocrites have no place in the Senate.

And neither mullahs nor preachers have any place in judgement of anyone. They should guard their own sallacious souls and leave the rest of us alone. A pox on medieval revanchism of any kind.

Compulsory morality is the opposite of freedom.

But, then again, the relationship between compulsory morality and actual behavior is the source of epic and farce and poetry and opera. So we get the good with the bad, and the bad with the good.

Gotta leave it at that ... perhaps in a rather less fatigued mood I can attack this subject with a little more subtlety some day.

Click here for all the posts I have written about Jaffar Kiani.

[A reminder that I am absolutely fried from the every-day, all-day travails of putting out MRU's course catalog. It is a special pleasure and agony. I am really good at it, and I love doing it, bothering every comma and type style and university rule. But, man, I can barely wait till the thing has gone to bed, and I am free to mutter and roam and confabulate again. In the meanwhile, posts will be a little more rare, and photos will just have to follow when I get a moment.]

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