Saturday, November 17, 2007

Sen Vitter and the DC Madam

Things got , um, uncomfortable for Sen David Vitter (R-LA) this spring when his phone number showed up in Deborah Jeane Palfrey's phone records of clients - or johns as the government alleges. On Tue, Nov 13, things got a bit more messy for him, he was served with a subpoena from Palfrey's attorney for testimony for the defense. The "conservative Christian" legislator has been keeping a very low profile.

I'm not sure if my views on prostitution are very liberal or libertarian, other than protection of the workers and customer I can't see why it is any government's business, but apparently Sen Vitter thinks all kinds of sex and marriage are the government's business. While I don't care if he or somebody other than myself and wife use prostitutes or other outside marriage "encounters", his wife seems to. This creates an issue, an issue of "private" behavior at odds with legislative behavior.

This is where I draw the line over jumping on some body's back, do not put yourself in a position of telling Americans what to do by legislating morality, first, and secondly don't even behave as if the positions you advocate are right for the common folks but inapplicable to you elite. While social order may be the government's business, morality is not. But that does not begin to address the hypocrisy of legislating "Protection of Marriage" while behaving outside the supposed ends. Either this sort of legislation is cynical vote pandering by people who don't believe it for a second or they are advocates of special consideration for "special" people - or, gee, both. This makes Vitter, at best, a hypocrite, take it from there.

The reasons government has no business legislating morality are not too complicated, the most obvious being the mix of morality and religion and law; the other and most damning is the morality of government itself. While politicians make personal statement regarding their morality or religion what government does is create laws and enforce them, enforce being the word that causes a real problem in this discussion. A law is not a suggestion, it is a rule backed with force, an armed force. Laws are forced upon the people with guns, batons, handcuffs, jails, and confiscation of property, whatever trappings of judicial justice are used, if you don't play by the rules and get caught you get crushed. A law is supposed to be an agreement between citizens about maintaining social order, a method of allowing us to live in close proximity without much bloodshed, but social order is something other than morality and morality maintained at point of a gun is scarcely moral. Most moral and religious systems have proscriptions of murder, as a wrong thing, government proscribes it because the social system breaks down if murder becomes common place and an ordinary tool for problem solving. The government's attitude is not one of morality but one of system management.

People tend to insist that our government is based on moral principles, Judeo/Christian principles; mostly because they like what it does and doesn't do; but several pieces of our founding law, the Constitution, provide specific mechanisms for behavior most Christianity considers immoral. The First Amendment not only protects religion and assembly, it also protects speech and press. It shouldn't be too difficult to find speech and media that offends Christians. The Second Amendment is even more troublesome, it protects the militia and an armed citizenry and arms are not decorations - even though they are nice for poking holes in paper and hunting - their primary purpose is killing humans and that is frowned upon by most religious and moral systems. Christians, in particular, need to be careful in this regard; while their book has been used to justify wars and self-defense, their religion's namesake's most violent act was knocking over some tables and his quoted statements involve pacifism not anything else.

Senator Vitter, you need to be sent home to retirement from public business, you are a hypocrite, a cheat (by you wife's own public statements), and a power monger. You suck even more than the usual Republican power thief. The only function you and Larry Craig serve is as a reminder to the American public just what you morality legislators really are.

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