Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Why We Need More Congressional Sex Scandals

Glenn Greenwald has a thoughtful piece out decrying D.C. media for their focus on Weinergate. He correctly writes:
Reporters who would never dare challenge powerful political figures who torture, illegally eavesdrop, wage illegal wars or feed at the trough of sleazy legalized bribery suddenly walk upright -- like proud peacocks with their feathers extended -- pretending to be hard-core adversarial journalists as they collectively kick a sexually humiliated figure stripped of all importance.  
He then unfortunately goes on to say, in an attempt to smother the practice of exposing political sexual scandal:
...the private sexual activities of public figures -- down to the most intimate details -- are now inherently newsworthy, without the need for any pretense of other relevance
I vehemently disagree with his objections. Political leaders are not private individuals, they are power hungry bastards trying to control my life in a multitude of ways, mostly to expand their own power.

I certainly would object to the treatment given Weiner, if it was done to a private individual who was not attempting to interfere in my life, but this treatment for a  political leader is a completely different situation.

If a man is putting a gun at me and I can throw him off for just a minute by creating a sex scandal to distract him, I am going to do it. In Chicago once, in the wee small hours of the morning, a punk tried to mug me, I fought back and I think that dude is still running.

Weiner and his gang, the Congress of the United States, are harassing me with rules and regulations everyday, trying to control my life. They have guns, more guns and, if needed nuclear weapons. I can't make them run like I can a punk mugger.

No one who might have seen me take down the mugger would have ever thought, "Oh my, how terrible. Why can't Wenzel debate this guy over the merits of mugging. Fighting is so crude, you should never do it. At Harvard, they simply debate the ethics of theft."

When I see a member of Congress, I think of muggers on steroids (Except, Ron Paul,who does fight for less governmnet coercion in my life).  Does anyone seriously think that Weiner is going to sit and debate the merits of freedom, when he has worked to increase coercion for his personal gain? The man is a punk, as are almost all members of Congress. If I can help take him out of the game, by a sex scandal, well I'm going to do it. I want him back on the ropes. I want his wife throwing shoes and lamps at him. I want him to be laughed at and scorned. I want him exhausted. I want him thinking every minute of what else the public doesn't know and how it might come out, so that he has no time to focus on advancing more coercive regulations on all of us.

Donald Trump gets this one right:

Greenwald is correct in his implication that in the long run ideas are how the battle will be won. But, in the meantime, there are a bunch of power hungry mad men that should be slowed and humiliated in every way possible, so that we all can get a little breathing room.

Greenwald is also correct that mainstream media doesn't challenge powerful political leaders over torture, illegal eavesdrops, and illegal wars, but that doesn't mean we should call for the mainstream media to stop in the one area they can be useful, political scandal. Their focus on scandal should be tactically encouraged by freedom lovers.

Specifically, at present,continued harrasment of Weiner should be encouraged. If he resigns, we should all start looking for dirt on his replacement and, always, on other members of Congress. And we need to heap more regulations on them. We need these guys walking on egg shells. There is an advantage gained to the person going up against someone walking on egg shells. I have seen it in a couple of instances, when someone is heavily regulated and walking on egg shells, they are afraid to make what otherwise would be normal moves, because they don't know how all the rules they are required to follow will apply in a given situation and what the ramifications are if they make a move. The more self conscious congressmen are about making any type move the better off the rest of us are.

The more Congressmen that we can get into a Weiner type scandal the better. Let's keeping these characters moving in and out of Congress, so they don't have time to form a lot of  long-term alliances and get their plotting games down cold.

Further, and probably most important, a lot of decent people still look up to these power hungry bastards. The more we can expose their conniving, evil ways, the better off we are. Hayek taught us that the worst get to the top, the more often we can demonstrate this fact to the masses the better. Suspicion of political leaders is the first step on the road to freedom. Let's encourage it.


  1. sorry, i TOTALLY disagree. these bastards should be caught, dipped in tar, feathers, then hanged. using sexual scandals to get rid of people is ridicolous and breaks all the most basic rules of privacy, delivering to media and politicized judiciaries a powerful lever to shape at their will governments and such. not to mention that this lever can and is routinely used to oppress , blckmail and destroy anyone in power or responsibility position, or just normal citizens, perhaps those who expresse certain views. there is no excuse to the laziness and inability of organized group to get rid of corrupted politicians, even with violent means if necessary.

  2. Wenzel:

    Well said!!! We need to attack the power-hungry ruling class by any legal means available. Humiliation might just be the most effective way.

    When there's corruption in high places, let's stop looking for the "right persons" to occupy such high places. Such people doesn't exist (save a very few). Let's get rid of the high places themselves and and be done with the recurring problem once and for all. Then we will effectively restore liberty and freedom.

  3. i dont know if i agree with you on this issue exactly. i think bashthemsm is more correct. first, i do believe his infidelity and all the things he did were immoral. its true that a lot of politicians engage in such deceptive activities against their spouses to whom they made all kinds of grand vows at their marriage ceremonies. but i dont think therefor it is acceptable from a libertarian point of view to invade their privacy to take them down. most of us libertarians dont believe in an 'ends justify the means' logic, which is why many of us are libertarians in the first place. because he is doing all kinds of immoral things doesnt allow us to do something immoral in return.

  4. Except for that one photo Weiner sent to a woman who explicitly did not want it - which is a case of harassment - Glenn Greenwald is 100 percent right on the mark about the Weiner scandal being contrived voyeurism.

    Aren't those photos private and the property of the owner/creator? Did he explicitly allow anyone to publish it for the public? If not, isn't there a case not only of "false light" defamation (the revelation of private actions which would cast a shadow over one's reputation, even if they were not illegal), theft of property, wilful infliction of emotional distress and injury, and copyright violation?

    If those photos were medical photos that had got out by accident, wouldn't they have been deleted? Or do you get to publicize a medical photo just because a doctor sells it to a newspaper for money?

    If Weiner were an Iraqi detainee and we were publicizing private medical photos, wouldn't there be an international outcry? Didn't Sabrina Harman, Charles Grainer and Lynndie England get into trouble for exactly this - sexual torture through photographing and distributing photos of detainees' private parts? Aren't political figures also human beings, with the same rights as detainees?

    I hope Weiner steps down from the trivial task of redistributing government goodies and uses this hideous assault on privacy to launch a new career as a privacy advocate and defender of the ethical use of personal information, especially of a sexual nature.

    Maybe he could make common cause with Sarah Palin, Christine O'Donnell, Mark Sanford, and many others who have suffered this kind of vicious attack.

    A class-action suit by victims of privacy violation against Gawker and any other noted purveyors of this horrible stuff, would be welcome. I suggest he get cracking and make it a bipartisan effort. Any journalist who outs the private life of public figures gratuitously gets the same treatment.

    Note, I said gratuitously. There's room for responsible criticism.

    Here's how I would have handled this. The minute someone came to me with a private photo, I would ask where they got it. If they hacked it, I would turn that information over to the police. If they didn't hack it but got it from somewhere else, I'd tell them that unless they could show me a release signed by a non-intoxicated adult, in his own handwriting, I would be unwilling to publish it. Even with the signature, I would weigh the merits carefully and see if I could do a story without inflammatory imagery.

    If the story had no legs. I would take down the information and delete images and links. If the story had legs and had a serious public interest component, I'd keep the information up until it was resolved. If it was resolved, I'd keep the information for a stipulated length of time and then delete it permanently. There is a statute of limitations for most crimes and even hardened criminals get their sentences commuted. But someone subjected to an internet mob lynching gets to suffer for the whole of their life and the lives of their children and their children...forever.

    And finally, lots of people are power hungry:

    Women/men who get sexually intimate with famous people with the intention of using it to get money or celebrity - ten times worse behavior than what Weiner did.

    Journalists who use other people's personal misfortunes to pump up flaccid..er...careers.

    Activists who whip up mass hysteria and lynch mobs over personal lifestyle, but not over mass murder and corporate crime.

    Weiner on his off-hours is a human being just like anyone else. And he is entitled to the same rights of privacy we all have.

    Dehumanizing people as statists is no different from dehumanizing them for any other reason.

  5. Correction: Apparently, there's evidence that he was targeting minors in his emails, so I'm afraid I have backtrack on my previous post.

    This certainly raises the stakes and suggests the guy was doing something much more nefarious than just cyber hook up wit adult women.

    To give the right credit on this, it was a conservative group that had been following his twitter postings and noted a specific targeting of young women.

    Yuk all around.


    Still, I think it should have been handled way more discreetly.