Monday, 11/13/17


  1. A sliver of hope in an important corner
  2. Blaming the messenger
  3. Roy Moore on “the transgenders”


I know I’ve been a bit of a Debbie Downer, but I actually see some hope in at least one area: sexuality.

People finally found it within them, after he was dead, to expose that Hugh Hefner lived out his last years as a pathetic wanker, not much of a bon vivant after all. Hefner’s death or Harvey Weinstein’s exposure—or something—seemed the breaking of a dam.

Lots of people are fixated on the mythical sorority Alpha Mu Alpha Rho Beta—All Men Are Rotten Beasts—or ignoring the sexual predations of Hollywood mucky-mucks to speculate about Evangelical sexual creepiness a la Roy Moore.

But wiser people are asking more fundamental questions than I can recall having been asked in a long time, notably about the adequacy of “consent” as the single governing principle in the ethics of sex. Four examples:

  1. A better sex ethic
  2. A C.C. Pecknold Tweet
  3. It’s Past Time to Rethink Modern Sexual Morality
  4. A Matt Popovitz Tweet may be the best

Of course, these folks may have been there all along, but the timing wasn’t right to talk about it, and they’ve got platforms. They need to be read and respected.


“The Bezos Amazon Washington Post that dropped that dime on Donald Trump is the same Bezos Amazon Washington Post that dropped the dime this afternoon on Judge Roy Moore,” Bannon said, referring to Post owner and Amazon chief executive Jeffrey P. Bezos and the “Access Hollywood” tape. “Now is that a coincidence?”

No, it’s not. Good reporting breeds good reporting. My newsroom colleagues did an incredible job with those stories, as they did in helping break the Monica Lewinsky story two decades ago.

Blaming the messenger is always easier than hearing an unwelcome message. It does not make that message any less true.

(Ruth Marcus, Washington Post)


There was a time when I could have defended some of Roy Moore’s legal antics on the basis of some legal theories that are quite out of favor. It’s even possible that I have done so.

(Oh, heck! I’d better check. Well, one time, very softly.)

But this is the locution of a man too ignorant, or dishonest, or demagogic to serve:

“The transgenders don’t have rights,” Moore said Wednesday during a press conference, according to the Montgomery Advertiser.

“They’ve never been denominated as having rights by the U.S. Supreme Court.”

Every person has rights under the Constitution:

  • The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures …
  • No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infa- mous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury … nor shall any person be subject for the same offence to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb …
  • All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

That’s just provisions from the Bill of Rights and subsequent amendments (the body of the Constitution “merely” sets up a government, with rights being implicit by limits on the powers given government—a whole separate discussion) that actually use the word “person,” excluding those that merely say “people” or that merely forbid “Congress” or states from doing things, from which prohibitions personal rights are implied.

In a manner akin to the Peter Principle, Roy Moore appears finally to have risen to his level of implausibility—where the stakes are so high that opposition research and national press come to bear on every detail of his life, his sexual proclivities, his birther and other bigoted and demagogic utterances.

Will we soon be rid of this pestilence?

Republican voters at the event in Alabama were defiant in their support for Moore.

“From what I’ve read, it seems like this 14-year-old girl who is now 50-something has a somewhat checkered past,” Johnny Creel, 56, an insurance broker wearing a “Make America Great Again” hat, said outside the event.

“You have to judge a story like that on the credibility of the accuser. . . . I don’t think it happened.”

(Washington Post, Roy Moore: Alabama voters will ‘see through this charade’ of sexual misconduct claim)

* * * * *

“Liberal education is concerned with the souls of men, and therefore has little or no use for machines … [it] consists in learning to listen to still and small voices and therefore in becoming deaf to loudspeakers.” (Leo Strauss)

There is no epistemological Switzerland. (Via Mars Hill Audio Journal Volume 134)

Some succinct standing advice on recurring themes.