So shall you reap.

This is widely covered in the blogsphere and newspapers, at least in the US, but it is  such a classic example, it might be useful to have a record here.  And it may also, for many of us, be a good case for thinking about moral emotions, particularly mixed ones.  The situation is both a sad case and a good cause for anger, all to be felt for or at the same person.

So enter US Senator Larry Craig, who has been a well-known Republican advocate of anti-gay measures.  And it appears he was caught soliciting sex from a man in a public restroom, in the Minneapolis airport.   His target, who was hanging out in a stall, was  a policeman and Craig was arrested. 

 Craig pleaded guilty.  That was a mistake, he says.  He  just wanted to make it go away, having in his life taken meaures to make sure it wouldn’t just go away for others.  One can hear right-wing talk show people argue that holding something is a sin and then sinning oneself does not constitute hypocrisy. That view misses the point. It is Craig’s use of power to shame and control others while indulging himself that is so objectionable.

You might well find it difficult to feel  sorry for Craig, but the police report, which requires Adobe Acrobat to read, is genuinely pathetic.

And his political career is likely finished

Googling around on the topic of hypocrisy, I found the following which is relevant only in so far as it features another US right-wing anti-gay public  figure, one this time found buying drugs from a gay hooker.  Look upon it and weep for rationality discourse.

richard dawkins and ted haggard:

9 thoughts on “So shall you reap.

  1. Heh. My favourite clip in all of Dawkins’ videos, because for once, everybody’s putting their honest words and emotions right up there on screen. Both show their biggest weaknesses (Dawkins: boiling mad at Haggard; Haggard: clearly psychotic levels of delusion).

  2. I do not see Dawkin’s mad at all. And he’s right: there are no evolutionary biologists, nor are there any books written by one, that concludes that the “eye or the ear happened by accident”. I see Dawkin’s as being exasperated at such a ridiculous claim.

  3. Nandini, I agree that the clip gives us a good sense of how they felt.

    I’m not so sure Dawkins was exhibiting exactly a weakness; that sort of reaction does close off debate, but perhaps he intended to do so.

    Oddly, Haggard did not look exactly psychotic to me; I was in fact vivdly reminded of a discussion I had with a young jesuit some years ago. It was about my decision to go to Berkeley for my first degree.

    With both of them, then, their reactions seemed in fact rather usual, at least for their types – the British scientist and the American fundamentalist.

  4. What interests me is Haggard the fundamentalist’s self-conception as the epistemically humble one who is willing to entertain lots of alternative explanations.

  5. Heh. My favourite clip in all of Dawkins’ videos, because for once, everybody’s putting their honest words and emotions right up there on screen. Both show their biggest weaknesses

  6. Had to google the bit of film as it has been removed. I had never heard of this Haggard entity.
    My goodness, that guy is a raving lunatic, do people take him seriously?
    I mean, do sane people take him seriously?

  7. hippocampa, he’s taken less seriously since he admitted paying a male prostitute for sex and drugs. Another case, it seems sadly, of someone at war with himself who goes to war against people like himself.

  8. Ok, here’s a funny thing, I googled the guy, and then realised that this Haggard was not the Haggard I had seen with the interview with Dawkins.
    Then I did a more extensive search on the footage of the interview, watched it, and found that what I had seen had been a parody.
    Then I watched the parody again, only to find out that actually the main thing they did was replace Haggard with an actor who made some different faces, but they did not change what he actually said.
    So ok, he’s a raving lunatic, but not as raving as I thought.
    (The parody can be found here)

    And I agree with you on people at war with themselves extending the fight to people like himself, jj.
    How one can be arrogant in self loathing.

  9. hippocampa: “arrogant in self-loathing”: great way to capture what’s going on.

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