Tuesday, March 11, 2008

My Dilemma Over Spitzer Revelations


Governor Eliot Spitzer apparently paid money for sex with prostitutes. Why did he do that when he had to know how vulnerable this made him and his career, especially given his strong moralistic persona and all the enemies he made from his actions as former Attorney General of a big and important state?

Should Spitzer resign? Many say yes and some say no. I have a dilemma. On the one hand, I don't think there should be laws against people selling their sexual services or against people buying them, and I don't think law enforcement should be spending their time, money, and manpower investigating these "crimes" On the other hand, there are such laws, and the former Attorney General and now Governor of New York apparently broke them.

Not that my dilemmas probably make any difference to anyone but me. I guess I mention this one in the predominately philosophical context of wondering publicly how we properly assess a situation like this. What standards do we apply and what weight do conflicting standards have in determining our overall position on the matter? I also wonder about the psychology behind successful and prominent people like Spitzer (and Bernie Ward) self-destructing in this way.

3 comments:

Tom said...

There will be more revelations coming that likely will get you over your dilemma!

Spitzer may have used taxpayer money for his call-girl trysts.

There is also news that Spitzer has a dark side of arrogance and anger that will now begin to come out more fully.

I had been a huge fan of Spitzer from afar because of his aggressive efforts to clean up Wall Street, but there is something I particularly dislike about hypocrisy, so I'll be happy to see him resign the governorship. He prosecuted prostitution aggressively as NY A.G.

Still, I feel for him. He's a remarkable, good person in many respects, but now he will be forever known as the shameful politician who resigned from high office in disgrace. How will he learn to live comfortably with that?

Jess said...

My irritation with this is he was the only one that was going against the grain with bailout of a couple of wall st companies and then after he was busted shrub had the fed bailout Bear and Stern. Coincidence? I think not.

Tom said...

Jess,

I don't see any connection between Spitzer's fall and the Bear Stearns situation. As governor of New York the matter wouldn't have been any of Spitzer's concern, and there's no corruption or misuse-of-influence connection with what the Fed did for BS.

True enough that the rescue of Bear Stearns is an unprecedented risk of federal funds to save a corporation and that is contrary to Spitzer's ideals.