Patterico's Pontifications


On Hypocrisy: How Congressman Weiner Might Be Like Thomas Jefferson

Filed under: General — Aaron Worthing @ 8:44 pm

[Guest post by Aaron Worthing; if you have tips, please send them here.  Or by Twitter @AaronWorthing.]

Buckle in for a long ride, because I am about to get philosophical for a moment as we wait for part three of Patrick’s series on Congrssman Weiner’s questionable communications with a teenage girl to drop. And, bluntly, while Patrick hasn’t shared any certain time frame with me, this comment suggests to me that it won’t drop for a while—like as in for a day. But I wanted to talk about hypocrisy for a moment, because it is one of the major defenses to being offered for Anthony Weiner: at least he wasn’t a hypocrite.

Somehow in our culture, we have come to think that the worst sin one could commit is to be a hypocrite.  But that’s a fallacy whose origins are kind of similar to another fallacy: its not the conspiracy, it’s the cover up.  The origin of the latter phrase was obviously the Watergate scandal, and it reflected the reality that we had trouble establishing what the truth behind the conspiracy was: what did Nixon know and when did he know it.  But we could absolutely prove there was a cover up—with gaps in the tape and other untoward acts.  Very often in criminal cases the defendants are suspected of even worse crimes, but the prosecution can only prove the cover up, particularly in conspiracy situations.  So very often you can’t get them for the underlying crime, just the crime of covering it up the crime.  But some people seem to have lost sight of the origin of the phrase and think that somehow covering things up is worse than the underlying offense.  It isn’t.  Hiding a theft isn’t worse than the theft and hiding a murder isn’t worse than the murder.

Likewise, the emphasis on hypocrisy glosses over a difficulty in dealing the underlying offense, but this time the difficulty is moral.  Very often the charge of hypocrisy is used because we all agree that it is a bad thing to be a hypocrite, but we very often deal with people who can’t agree on other moral principles so the only way to win the argument is to prove someone is a hypocrite.  So we concentrate on that, naturally, and after a while people have gotten morally confused and now think that the worst thing you can be is a hypocrite.

And it is a particularly useful intellectual move for those who think of themselves as moral relativists, because it allows them simultaneously to engage in the tsk-tsking that moral non-relativists engage in, but at the same time it acts as a shield for their intellectual allies.  And this can get very lazy, too, as frankly too many democrats just assume that every republican runs on family values, or something.

But I am not a moral relativist, and frankly most of most revolutionary Americans rejected moral relativism.  For instance, Abraham Lincoln once said this about the definition of liberty:

The shepherd drives the wolf from the sheep’s throat, for which the sheep thanks the shepherd as a liberator, while the wolf denounces him for the same act as the destroyer of liberty, especially as the sheep was a black one.

Lincoln recognized a certain relativism that was occurring in that definition, but he was no relativist, later in the same speech congratulating Marylanders for adopting a gradual emancipation measure, stating that they were repudiating the dictionary of the wolf.

And Martin Luther King, Jr. was no moral relativist, either, saying early in his career:

The first thing is that we have adopted in the modern world a sort of a relativistic ethic. Now I’m not trying to use a big word here; I’m trying to say something very concrete. And that is that we have accepted the attitude that right and wrong are merely relative to our . . . [recording interrupted]

Most people can’t stand up for their convictions, because the majority of people might not be doing it. (Amen, Yes) See, everybody’s not doing it, so it must be wrong. And since everybody is doing it, it must be right. (Yes, Lord help him) So a sort of numerical interpretation of what’s right.

But I’m here to say to you this morning that some things are right and some things are wrong. (Yes) Eternally so, absolutely so. It’s wrong to hate. (Yes, That’s right) It always has been wrong and it always will be wrong. (Amen) It’s wrong in America, it’s wrong in Germany, it’s wrong in Russia, it’s wrong in China. (Lord help him) It was wrong in 2000 B.C., and it’s wrong in 1954 A.D. It always has been wrong, (That’s right) and it always will be wrong. (That’s right) It’s wrong to throw our lives away in riotous living. (Yeah) No matter if everybody in Detroit is doing it, it’s wrong. (Yes) It always will be wrong, and it always has been wrong. It’s wrong in every age and it’s wrong in every nation. Some things are right and some things are wrong, no matter if everybody is doing the contrary. Some things in this universe are absolute. The God of the universe has made it so. And so long as we adopt this relative attitude toward right and wrong, we’re revolting against the very laws of God himself. (Amen)

In both cases their ability to be revolutionaries was directly tied to their refusal to be moral relativists.  In Lincoln’s time it was Stephen Douglas who was the moral relativist, declaring that he didn’t care if slavery was voted up or down.  At the Cooper’s Union Lincoln urged his fellow Republicans to march into a Second American Revolution by which the slave power would be broken, saying:

Let us be diverted by none of those sophistical contrivances wherewith we are so industriously plied and belabored – contrivances such as groping for some middle ground between the right and the wrong, vain as the search for a man who should be neither a living man nor a dead man – such as a policy of “don’t care” on a question about which all true men do care[.]

Douglas was a man trying to accommodate himself to the evil of the time and Lincoln was seeking to change it, to put slavery on the ultimate course of destruction.  And likewise, if Dr. King adopted a relativistic understanding of right and wrong, he would have had to simply accept the system of segregation.  Moral relativism is the enemy of true human progress.

And there is one other revolutionary, who was a moral relativist and probably the most famous hypocrite in American history: Thomas Jefferson.

Let us start by pointing out that in his greatest work, his most revolutionary writing, he and the other revolutionary fathers rejected relativism.  They spoke of self-evident truths, and God-given unalienable rights.  They did not, indeed could not, believe that all philosophies were created equal.  They had to believe in something they could not compromise, or else they would compromise it.

And Jefferson was a hypocrite.  Of course that conclusion was greatly resisted in his case.  For instance, in Dred Scott v. Sandford, Roger Taney declared that “[t]he language of the Declaration of Independence is equally conclusive” in favor of an interpretation that would have it be read as only applying to white men.

But if you read Taney’s argument carefully, he is not really arguing that the language itself is conclusive, but rather it is his belief that the founding fathers could not be hypocrites that was determinative, after quoting that famous preamble:

The general words [in the Declaration] would seem to embrace the whole human family, and if they were used in a similar instrument at this day would be so understood. But it is too clear for dispute, that the enslaved African race were not intended to be included, and formed no part of the people who framed and adopted this declaration; for if the language, as understood in that day, would embrace them, the conduct of the distinguished men who framed the Declaration of Independence would have been utterly and flagrantly inconsistent with the principles they asserted; and instead of the sympathy of mankind, to which they so confidently appealed, they would have deserved and received universal rebuke and reprobation.

Yet the men who framed this declaration were great men — high in literary acquirements — high in their sense of honor, and incapable of asserting principles inconsistent with those on which they were acting. They perfectly understood the meaning of the language they used, and how it would be understood by others; and they knew that it would not in any part of the civilized world be supposed to embrace the negro race[.]

For Roger Taney, the worst thing a person could be was a hypocrite.  And thus because the founders were great and honorable people, they couldn’t possibly be hypocrites.

But Jefferson was indeed a hypocrite, as were many of the founders.  Jefferson took his language from George Mason’s draft of the new Virginia Constitution.  When the Virginians got a look at Mason’s draft they recognized it for what it was–a clear and direct condemnation of slavery–and they changed it so it no longer condemned slavery.  But Jefferson’s draft—with the same obvious implication—remained unchanged.  Everyone knew what he was saying, and they adopted that language anyway.

So Jefferson declared that it was self-evident that all men were created equal, that they had an unalienable, God-given right to freedom, all while in his personal life he kept a particular class of men (and women) in bondage.

But his hypocrisy is not a cause for condemnation.  That hypocritical act of declaring that slavery was incompatible with the values of our revolution might very well be the act that redeems him.  I am a God-fearing man.  I do believe in divine punishment and divine reward and I believe that by holding slaves, Jefferson endangered his mortal soul.  But if Jefferson’s soul was redeemed by anything, it was writing that Declaration of Independence, for in that stroke of a pen, he planted the seeds for slavery’s eventual destruction.  As Lincoln said:

All honor to Jefferson – to the man who, in the concrete pressure of a struggle for national independence by a single people, had the coolness, forecast, and capacity to introduce into a merely revolutionary document, an abstract truth, applicable to all men and all times, and so embalm it there, that to-day, and in all coming days, it shall be a rebuke and a stumbling-block to the very harbingers of re-appearing tyranny and oppression.

And almost two hundred years later, when Martin Luther King Jr. was telling this nation about his dream, he relied on those words:

When the architects of our republic wrote the magnificent words of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, they were signing a promissory note to which every American was to fall heir. This note was a promise that all men, yes, black men as well as white men, would be guaranteed the “unalienable Rights” of “Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

And thus Dr. King could credibly argue that he was not trying to change the soul of America but to make it more perfectly what it was supposed to be all along.  And call me sentimental, but I think he was right.

Imagine if you asked Dr. King whose soul was more likely to be condemned by God.  Thomas Jefferson, a slave holder who hypocritically gave this nation a universal charter of freedom?  Or the slave holder who consistently maintained that slavery was right?  Thomas Jefferson couldn’t find the moral strength to stop owning slaves, but at least he made sure everyone understood that what he was doing was evil and it should not be followed.  Obviously the best option is for a person to be a consistent advocate of freedom (as that term is understood in the dictionary of the lamb), but if that isn’t one of your choices, isn’t Jefferson’s hypocrisy preferable?

There are of course other problems with the focus on hypocrisy.  For instance, I was moved to write this piece after reading a post by Zombie who correctly points out that the hypocrisy argument only works if you implicitly assert that your side has no values to violate (do read the whole thing).  And likewise, over at Legal Insurrection, Matthew Knee points out that the argument is false anyway because the left really does have values (also worth reading in whole).  For instance, Elliot Spitzer fairly conclusively demonstrated that it is not really the Democrats’ position that it’s okay to be a whoremonger and adulterer.  Indeed as liberal as Jon Stewart is, he himself has said that if his personal friend, Congressman Weiner, really sent that photo to Cordova he should resign, and when it turned out to be the case, he continued to say that.

And even liberals who are uncomfortable with making traditional moral judgments (and not all of them are) have a morality to them. In my observation the principle of equality takes on special significance for people of that stripe even being teased out into elaborate rules regarding sexual harassment that end up taking the place of traditional sexual morality.  That is not to say people with traditional morality are not also devoted to equality, but it doesn’t have to do as much heavy lifting in forming their moral code.

The irony of it all is that when people argue against traditional sexual morality they typically recite some variation of the libertarian motto that whatever consenting adults do in the privacy of their bedroom that doesn’t hurt anyone else is their business only.  Now, never mind the deep inconsistencies involved when advocating that principle, the irony is that the people who advocate that approach are also the same people who pretend that a sex scandal is only a scandal if it is hypocritical.  But the fact it is hypocritical doesn’t hurt anyone else, but the cheating does.  Huma Abedin has been hurt and their unborn child will be hurt.  And yet those who ascribe to libertarianism in the bedroom seem only to be concerned with the unhurtful element of Weiner’s conduct.

Adultery is wrong.  And to borrow from Dr. King, I don’t care if everyone else thinks it is right, it is wrong.  And his disrespect for the institution of marriage is wrong, too.  I know Glenn Greenwald says we have “absolutely no idea what vows Weiner and his wife have made to each other” but the answer is he is wrong.  When Congressman Weiner and Ms. Abedin decide to join into a thing called “marriage,” and they don’t get to define the word for themselves.  An open marriage is no more of a marriage than a dead person is alive.  The concept of commitment is inherent to marriage and they don’t get to ignore that part of it.

And besides, the people have a right to decide whether they are picking elected officials with values similar to their own.  Most of us “peasants,” marry for love and intend to be committed to our partners and we are allowed to choose elected officials who reflect those values.

And that all assumes that Weiner’s conduct was not actually hypocritical.  But in act his conduct did violate his values and his understanding of what marriage was.  From the press conference on Monday:

At the outset, I’d like to make it clear that I have made terrible mistakes that have hurt the people I care about the most, and I’m deeply sorry. I have not been honest with myself, my family, my constituents, my friends and supporters and the media.

Last Friday night, I tweeted a photograph of myself that I intended to send as a direct message as part of a joke to a woman in Seattle. Once I realized I had posted it to Twitter, I panicked. I took it down and said that I had been hacked. I then continued with that story — to stick to that story, which was a hugely regrettable mistake. This woman was unwittingly dragged into this and bears absolutely no responsibility. I am so sorry to have disrupted her life in this way.

To be clear, the picture was of me, and I sent it. I am deeply sorry for the pain this has caused my wife Huma and our family and my constituents, my friends, supporters and staff. In addition, over the past few years, I have engaged in several inappropriate conversations conducted over Twitter, Facebook, email and occasionally on the phone with women I had met online. I’ve exchanged messages and photos of an explicit nature with about six women over the last three years. For the most part, these communications took place before my marriage, though some have sadly took place after. To be clear, I have never met any of these women or had physical relationships at any time.

I haven’t told the truth, and I’ve done things that I deeply regret. I brought pain to people I care about the most and the people who believed in me. And for that I’m deeply sorry. I apologize to my wife and our family, as well as to our friends and supporters. I’m deeply ashamed of my terrible judgment and actions.

He’s sorry for sending the pic, he is sorry for lying about it. He believed everything he did was wrong. According to his words, he was hypocritical because his conduct didn’t match his values.

But maybe you are convinced he really doesn’t mean it, thus you excuse him from the charge of hypocrisy.  Still, I am not revealing anything to say that by the time all the dust settles after Patrick drops Part 3 of his series, we might have another reason to call Congressman Weiner a hypocrite.  You see, the Congressman takes credit (with others, of course) for passing the KIDS act, designed to keep our children safe from internet sexual predators.  As it says on his own Congressional page on the topic:

Sadly, the Internet is the predator’s venue of choice today. We need to update our strategies and our laws to stop these offenders who are a mere click away from our children.

But does that mean this law is a bad one?  Of course not.  Now, I will confess that I don’t know what all the law does.  There might be an unacceptable infringement on the First Amendment contained in it, for instance.  But it is either a good law or a bad one, wholly independently of his personal conduct.  It may not be appropriate to trust a man with his character with power, but that doesn’t mean automatically everything he has done with his power is bad.  His hypocrisy, then, doesn’t make things worse. It might correctly considered a redemptive feature (if it’s a good law), just as the Declaration of Independence might have redeemed Jefferson.*


Sidebar: It is also important to notice that hypocrisy might not itself be the worst sin, but it might be emblematic of other sins.  For instance, it might indicate that a person is not sincere in what they are saying in the first place.  For instance, I have argued that the in the Civil War era that the South was so hypocritical on the issue of states’ rights, but simultaneously consistent in protecting slavery, that they didn’t really care about state’s rights.  But in that case the purpose of exposing the hypocrisy is to expose the insincerity.


* And before everyone objects, let me stress that Jefferson was one of the great Americans in a way that few Americans are today.  I am not saying Weiner is generally comparable to the man.  But I freely confess that my title was deliberately provocative by suggesting a comparison.

[Posted and authored by Aaron Worthing.]

16 Responses to “On Hypocrisy: How Congressman Weiner Might Be Like Thomas Jefferson”

  1. forget the mustard
    he know coppery taste of

    ColonelHaiku (8fa4f9)

  2. You wrote a lot of words about the evils of relativism, yet your entire piece is about the relative merits of various hypocrites.

    The danger of your thesis is that the Ted Kennedy’s and various religious, and Bill Clinton’s can claim a measure of respect since their failings were personal in nature. These men all talked in the most righteous tones imaginable, did they not?

    I’m surprised you did not mention King’s personal proclivities with ladies not his wife.

    I have tremendous admiration for you, Aaron. This time, however, I fear you have missed the mark.

    Ed from SFV (52d4be)

  3. Nice comments Aaron. Just because someone is a hypocrite does not mean the values they believe in are wrong, just that they have a hard time living in accordance with them. If we waited until everyone was perfect to put our values, we’d be waiting an awful long time.

    Also, you mentioned the libertarian idea that whatever two consenting adults do behind closed doors shouldn’t be our business. The problem with that reasoning is it almost always manages to escape. Otherwise you wouldn’t see all the activists trying to make it our business to solve the AIDS problem when we had nothing to do with it. The issues of unwanted pregnancy and abortion both arise from private conduct whose consequences spread out from that private space into the world at large. With state run health care there may come a time at which the government decides, in the interest of saving money, to forbid activities of that sort. People who won’t restrain themselves may wind up having restraint imposed on them.

    Jeff Mitchell (481f2a)

  4. Aaron, I don’t think that Weiner is sorry about anything other than the fact he was caught. And remember how aggressively he lied prior to his being caught, how willing he was to smear others instead of “owning” his own responsibility.

    He wasn’t a hypocrite, claims certain MSM folk. Um. I beg to differ. I haven’t gone digging through his speeches, but I will bet serious coin he has excoriated Republicans for deceiving the public, and blaming others for their own wrongs (from his point of view).

    Still, your point is well taken. Weiner is still a moral and ethical pygmy.

    Simon Jester (843b0c)

  5. Incidentally, I know a writer who claims to be in an “open marriage.”

    Writer: XXX and I have an open marriage.

    Me: Which means you can sleep around, right?

    Writer: Yes, and so can XXX.

    Me: So does XXX sleep around?

    Writer: No, she doesn’t. But she could!

    Me: Let me suggest an alternative. XXX cares for you so much that she will allow you to do things she finds humiliating, because she would rather not be without you.

    Writer: That sounds cool, too.

    Sigh. No wonder aliens don’t visit our planet. We are selfish and cruel.

    Simon Jester (843b0c)

  6. This is what happens when the State gets involved in marriage. If A and B want to have an “open marriage”, or a “closed marriage”, or some other flavor of marriage, that’s their business, they get to decide, not the State, not the preacher, not the neighbors. If someone doesn’t care for that couple’s decision, life is going to be tough for those who disagree with the couple. I can understand a wife thinking that a husband behaving like Weiner badly needs a divorce … but it’s her decision.

    htom (412a17)

  7. htom

    when has the state not been involved in marriage?

    Aaron Worthing (73a7ea)

  8. __________________________________________

    at least he wasn’t a hypocrite.

    I’m not sure if it’s hypocrisy per se that irritates me the most about the left. It’s more their phoniness and foolishness in assuming left-leaning instincts make a person somehow more humane, compassionate, generous, tolerant and sophisticated than others, than certainly people on the right.

    I can accept progressives at least saying they’re no nicer than anyone else, or, better yet, believing they’re no less rotten, greedy and selfish than anyone else, and that their leftism is merely liberalism for liberalism’s sake.

    An open marriage is no more of a marriage than a dead person is alive. The concept of commitment is inherent to marriage and they don’t get to ignore that part of it.

    But since so many liberals have loosened cultural standards through the decades and fostered the notion that one’s inner sexual proclivities should be given wide latitude — because to do otherwise is repressive, old-fashioned and prudish — it’s laughable when they (referring to females of the left) find old-fashioned traits of jealousy and possessiveness welling up within themselves and realizing that the trait of many males to be polygamous isn’t such a nice thing after all.

    However, I suspect Weiner and his wife really do respond differently to such aspects of faithfulness, possibly due to their not being totally heterosexual and therefore seeing one another as merely a construct and convenience.

    Mark (411533)

  9. Depends on where you were. England, used to be it was a Church matter (yes, the Church was a State institution, or vice versa.) But you could hop in your coach and head for Scotland, and marry without either’s blessing at Gretna Green


    Gretna’s famous “runaway marriages” began in 1753 when Lord Hardwicke’s Marriage Act was passed in England; it stated that if both parties to a marriage were not at least 21 years old, then parents had to consent to the marriage. This Act did not apply in Scotland, where it was possible for boys to marry at 14 and girls at 12 years old with or without parental consent (see Marriage in Scotland). Many elopers fled England, and the first Scottish village they encountered was Gretna Green. The Old Blacksmith’s Shop, built around 1712, and Gretna Hall Blacksmith’s Shop (1710) became, in popular folklore at least, the focal tourist points for the marriage trade. The Old Blacksmith’s opened to the public as a visitor attraction as early as 1887.

    (The article is brief and interesting; as usual, it’s Wikipedia and may well be verifiably wrong.)

    htom (412a17)

  10. The word hypocrisy is vastly overused and very often misused IMO. It’s companion word hypocrite does work well for cases that unmask and describe specific people at the time when a very specific action of theirs does not match their own words or promises (Mr. Two Americas John Edwards and his $400 haircut)–and when applied to personalities who like to regulate or tell other people how to live, but then do something different themselves. (I am thinking of Al Gore in his monster house preaching energy austerity.)

    But when entire societies or groups are accused of hypocrisy it is almost always BS since that’s a gross generalization which cannot possibly be true. (The currently famous but ridiculous Republican family values hypocrisy meme served up by the left comes to mind.) Likewise, ethical situations arising out of processes such as political movements, wars, and even weather events are hard to categorize as exposing hypocrisy since they are deeply complex things which often involve choices that only include bad or badder and decisions which must be made under extreme and unique conditions which have never happened before.

    Looking for hypocrisy in historical figures (especially the further back you go) is a fools errand because we are only capable of viewing them through our 21st century lens (including our language, definitions, and several hundred years of insight they did not have. Additionally we are hobbled by reliance on contemporaneous accounts about them and the events they lived–accounts which may or may not be accurate. I shudder to think how we all will look to future generations if they use AlJazzera, the NYT, Newsweek, and LATimes as a guide to our thinking and actions.

    elissa (1d49e1)

  11. I’m sorry to keep repeating myself, but misbehavior is a constant.

    In American society, people know when they are doing tight or wrong.

    A lot of people have been exercising a whole lot of energy excusing Weiner’s actions. And they can do it until the cows come home.

    Regardless, and despite of intellectual machinations, most people know when they are doing something wrong. Ultimately, though, they calculate the consequences against the probability of being found out.

    Sometimes, people make honest mistakes. Sometimes they behave behave badly and hope they won’t be found out.

    But anyone with sense understands the distinction.

    Weiner behaved badly. No amount of apology from his supporters actually make a difference, because his actions were not a mistake.

    Moral codes and oaths are important, not because they condemn actions, but because they make society function.

    If you throw them all away, society falls apart.

    I think if I had to ask anyone defending Weiner or Vitter or Arnold or any other public figure about their transgressions against the norm of society: What makes you special?

    Why do we have to suffer your tawdry affairs while you are working for us? Why does the hard-earned money of my endeavors have to finance your creepy sexual desires?

    What makes an elected official impervious to the criticism of, well, me?

    Ag80 (1bc637)

  12. Ag80 @11–

    your comment is insightful and hard to disagree with–and I do agree. But you are specifically referring to “misbehavior” and societal norms are you not? Is that really the same thing as exhibiting hypocricy? Are today’s societal norms the same as in say, 1942, or in 1861, or in 1773? No. How do we both adjust for them evolving/changing and still keep people on board and society functioning?

    I think Aaron has some terms a little bit jumbled up and interwoven in his otherwise thought provoking essay which makes discussing this more difficult.

    elissa (1d49e1)

  13. the libertarian idea that whatever two consenting adults do behind closed doors shouldn’t be our business.

    Which is inapplicable to adultery, because libertarians also believe that adults are entitled to engage in binding commitments. Such as marriage…

    Brett Bellmore (6652c2)

  14. Aaron, it’s less that Jefferson & Washington were hypocrites. It’s more like they were heroin addicts. Now if you ask most hardcore junkies if they think heroin is a good idea, they’ll say no. They wouldn’t want their kids to be junkies. But then if you ask them to stop using heroin, they’ll say they can’t. jefferson & Washington both knew slavery was inimical to liberty (Jefferson’s initial draft of the Declaration blamed the British for slavery, acknowledging it was wrong.) Yet their wealth was founded on slavery — they couldn’t give it up. (Plus there were some Revolutionaries who were pro enslavement.)

    Jefferson, early in his career in the House of Delegates did introduce a bill for a liberal manumission of slaves, which got voted down. And for his political career he didn’t pursue it.

    I believe they were hoping for the gradual ending of slavery, which is why the Constitution has that 1808 date in it. They couldn’t get liberty extended to all men, so they took what they could and hoped for more in future generations.

    rbj (9ae8d9)

  15. elissa-

    But you are specifically referring to “misbehavior” and societal norms are you not? Is that really the same thing as exhibiting hypocricy? Are today’s societal norms the same as in say, 1942, or in 1861, or in 1773? No. How do we both adjust for them evolving/changing and still keep people on board and society functioning?

    What Aaron may be attempting to explain is that principles don’t change over time; they are constants. People shout ‘hypocrisy!’ when attempting to defend bad behavior by contextualizing it. Lying is wrong, cheating is wrong, sending pictures of your body parts to women (when you or they are married to someone else) is wrong. The context of privacy is irrelevant-people misbehave in private so they won’t be exposed. Doing away with the principle won’t make anyone behave honorably. It just removes the resulting shame & crisis of conscience that bring about remorse & better behavior.

    goddessdes (fce3b9)

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