Monday, March 10, 2008

Glenn Greenwald's Crazy Logic

Glenn Greenwald chimes in today regarding the Eliot Spitzer prostituion scandal:

Regarding all of the breathless moralizing from all sides over the "reprehensible," outrageous crimes of Eliot Spitzer:
are there actually many people left who care if an adult who isn't
their spouse hires prostitutes? Are there really people left who think
that doing so should be a crime, that adults who hire other consenting
adults for sex should be convicted and go to prison?
Just as was true for moral crusaders David Vitter and Larry Craig,
there is unquestionably a healthy chunk of hypocrisy in Spitzer's case,
given that, as Attorney General, he previously prosecuted -- quite aggressively and publicly
-- several citizens for the "crime" of operating an adult prostitution
business. That hypocrisy precludes me from having any real personal
sympathy for Spitzer, and no reasonable person could defend him from
charges of rank hypocrisy. And he should be treated no differently --
no better and no worse -- than the average citizen whom law enforcement
catches hiring prostitutes.

But how can his alleged behavior -- paying another adult roughly $1,000
per hour to travel from New York to Washington to meet him for sex --
possibly justify resignation, let alone criminal prosecution,
conviction and imprisonment? Independent of the issue of his hypocrisy
-- which is an issue meriting attention and political criticism but not
criminal prosecution -- what possible business is it of anyone's, let
alone the state's, what he or anyone else does in their private lives
with other consenting adults?
Well Glenn, it becomes everyone's business and most certainly not a private matter when the subject in question is the Governor of the State of New York and the activity in question is illegal. Three clicks after typing in the search term "ny law" in Google brings this interesting tidbit:

ยง 230.00 Prostitution.
A person is guilty of prostitution when such person engages or agrees
or offers to engage in sexual conduct with another person in return for a fee.
Prostitution is a class B Misdemeanor.

That's New York Penal Code, Part 3, Title M, Article 230 if I'm reading that correctly. I suppose Glenn can make the argument that prostitution should not be illegal and if Gov. Spitzer is found guilty of such, that it doesn't warrant his removal from office if the point of his rant is to ignore the facts.

Given Gov. Spitzer's history of prosecuting the same types of crimes against the citizens of New York while Attorney General, I agree the hypocrisy stinks to high heaven, but if that's all he sees as a problem in this case, then a reality check is definitely in order.

While it may not matter to Greenwald that the Governor of New York has been tied to a prostitution ring, I suspect many of the citizens who elected him would beg to differ and would choose to hold him to a slightly higher standard.

Update: Dan Riehl is a bit more, shall we say, blunt. Heh.

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