Wednesday, March 12, 2008

About Eliot Spitzer

As I'm writing this, Eliot Spitzer has announced his resignation as governor of New York. If you don't know what's going on, read a damned newspaper.

Obviously, this has triggered much discussion on the nature of power, prestige, corruption, and public image. The word corruption is getting thrown around a lot, like at the cited LiveScience article, and I frankly couldn't disagree more. I don't think this story has anything to do with corruption.

The story has a great deal to do with hypocrisy, and I'm glad to see a hypocrite, any hypocrite, take it to the face publicly. I also think the story has to do, primarily, with morals and ethics, not corruption.

For example, look at the definitions of corruption from

1. the act of corrupting or state of being corrupt.
2. moral perversion; depravity.
3. perversion of integrity.
4. corrupt or dishonest proceedings.
5. bribery.
6. debasement or alteration, as of language or a text.
7. a debased form of a word.
8. putrefactive decay; rottenness.
9. any corrupting influence or agency.

Do ANY of those sound applicable? I certainly don't think so. Let's try the meaning of the word 'corrupt,' instead.

1. guilty of dishonest practices, as bribery; lacking integrity; crooked: a corrupt judge.
2. debased in character; depraved; perverted; wicked; evil: a corrupt society.
3. made inferior by errors or alterations, as a text.
4. infected; tainted.
5. decayed; putrid.

Again, do any of those accurately describe his behavior? Nope. I don't think so. Let's run down the list, shall we?

1: Replace 'corrupt' with 'crooked.' I don't think anyone would call him crooked.
2: Wicked?? Evil?? He paid for sex, he didn't kill Jews.
3: Last I checked, he's not a book.
4: If the prostitute hadn't been tested recently, that's possible, but not applicable in the way people are talking.
5: Again, no.

So I think by the very definition of the word that this has nothing to do with corruption. This behavior had no bearing on his public behavior. He accepted no bribes. He did no harm to the populous.

I say it has everything to do with morals because I am of the mind that prostitution isn't bad. It's a service in every way to massage, or even a haircut. When you're on the outside, it's very easy to point figures and be all self-righteous. But when you're in the position to either be a client or a prostitute, suddenly it doesn't seem so bad. Suddenly morals get foggy, as they should be because morals are undefinable.

I have nothing against prostitution. I think it's a valid service that people want to sell and buy, so let them! I have heard a number of arguments against its legalization and they are all wrong. I'm not too keen on going to a prostitute, but I'm sure as hell not going to stop others. He bought sex? Who cares? Would we be pointing fingers if we found out he and his wife were into bondage? I'm sure there would be a few self-important asses willing to do so, but I think most people wouldn't care. There is nothing wrong with prostitution.

Legally, there is, so that's a problem for Spitzer, but morally there is not; and morals is what is being discussed. He is not corrupt, and he is not immoral. He paid for sex. Woop-dee-doo.

Why Power and Prostitution Go Together (

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