Watching the furore over the downfall and arrest of the current IMF chief with a grim smile. Apparently this guy has had four highly placed media people covering up, obfuscating and tacitly condoning his alleged sexual misbehaviours. First thought; he won’t be the only one. Second thought; exactly how many of these people are there, covering up the misdeeds of the rich and powerful and who are they?
Now if it’s any consolation, I’m usually firmly against ‘outing’ if it serves no useful purpose. However, I think in this case the public interest would be served by exposing those who ‘bury bad news’ about their masters and hauling the harm they hide struggling and flapping out of the murk, into the light of public scrutiny.
Now I’ve read the various volumes published by the Marquis de Sade (He was a Frenchman too), and know that sex and power often go together (I mean, how else did John Prescott get away with it?). So why should we be surprised, or think that the rich and powerful need shielding from the consequences of their own actions?
When a footballer who parked his willy where his wife wot not of can demand to see the emails of a media outlet over alleged ‘blackmail’ perhaps it’s the right moment to call ‘Time out’ on gagging orders that can only affect those under the jurisdiction of that particular judiciary. Although a ‘privacy law’ will probably lead to the situation where the powerful may indulge their sexual predilections hidden from public gaze, no matter how unpleasant. Rather like with the French.
Not being a prude, let’s face it, sex is sex, but there is a line here, and a fairly well defined one. That line is harm. By that definition I mean that no one is physically abused without their full consent, and then with no lasting damage.
For ‘abuse’, read against volition. As abuse can be a pretty subjective matter. There are few, or no moral absolutes in this area. An extreme feminist might define ‘abuse’ as non kowtowing to her personal prejudices, or in the case of a rich man’s wife, finding her credit card spending curtailed. Yet either might be in, let’s say a BDSM relationship involving the willing receipt of pain. From something as mild as a little hanky spanking in leather to full on whips and barbed wire underpants. So who defines what is ‘abuse’ if both parties in such a relationship are willing participants? We all have our own personal definitions. Permanent harm might simply be defined for example as a visible mark or symptom, excluding the purely decorative (Tattoo’s and piercings), and of course death.
That sexual crimes are known to have happened and subject to suppression is common currency. For example, the children of rich families are known to have murdered, then expected their family to cover up their wrongdoing. Politicians have moved heaven and the courts to suppress leakage about their misdeeds (e.g. Kennedy, Clinton). That those with money and power have such appetites should come as no surprise, but that they should have the means to suppress the information about such behaviour steps over the line to willing evil.
This isn’t to say that everyone who reports on such matters is blameless. There are incidences where the tabloid press have ruined people’s lives for exposure for mere peccadilloes. Where false witness has been given, and the victim(s) left with no means of redress but a mealy mouthed half paragraph apology buried on page seven.
I believe that the only real libertarian position on this matter can be “Do what you want, but don’t try to hide the truth.” For those who would willingly hide the truth are as guilty as those who commit the crime in the first place.
Cross posted to Orphans of Liberty