Why Should We Get Preachy About Corruption?

Amid the air-raid sirens going off around DC as the Trump-Sessions divide widens into a fairly sizable gorge and Impeachment with a capital I is on everyone’s lips - including the President’s - it might be helpful to read Mollie Hemingway’s piece in The Federalist. But there’s a warning: there will be upsetting language you will have to wade through.

While discussing the Manafort-Cohen trials, in a typical 6-points-about article, she suddenly starts using highly inappropriate language which many readers will find shocking.

It comes in point 2, titled Fraud is bad. At the end of that section which talks about how despite the fact that nothing has been shown to link to Russia or collusion, Manafort and Cohen are quite clearly corrupt people, Hemingway writes this:

The 10 Commandments teach us that we should not steal, we should not lie, and we should not covet. U.S. laws are built on this moral foundation and we are not to break them.

How dare she? Introduce morality into an article about corruption?! What was she thinking? We all know you're just not supposed to do that, don't we? Aren't we?

If you cringe when you read that, think about cringing when you read the Declaration of Independence. True, the Constitution does not contain any explicit reference to a Supreme Creator or Being. It is intentionally neutral as Anthony J. Minna in The Journal of the American Revolution writes:

The Declaration of Independence and the United States Constitution do not therefore represent competing views of the existence of a Supreme Being or its role in American political life. They are two sides of the same coin. When read together, the Declaration and Constitution tell us that the people's rights are divine in origin, sacred and unalienable, while governments are human in origin, answerable to the people and dependent entirely on their consent.

And us humans are fallible and rather less than perfect. Consider Hemingway's next use of morality in her analysis of the Manafort and Cohen trials, in her point 3, Infidelity is Destructive:

Adultery is wrong. Spouses are called to live a sexually pure and decent life in what they say and do. Husband and wife are to love and honor each other. Infidelity has an effect far beyond the person philandering, including the temporary lover, the betrayed spouse and children with the spouse, the children that arise from sexual unions with various women, and even business associates and voters.

It may not be illegal to have an affair, or to be induced to sign a non-disclosure agreement because infidelity is a believable charge, but it is a moral failing. It's a lot more difficult to blackmail Vice President Michael Pence on these grounds, even if the media mock him for his fidelity to his spouse. This sordid tale of non-disclosure agreements signed with two pornography actresses should be a warning to anyone who even thinks about cheating that there is much to be lost from the act.

A direct, clearly-stated moral to the tale. Trump's affairs are and will continue to be destructive because they are morally wrong. We may feel that many of his critics are complete hypocrites and we are often right about that. Phil Mudd can have a meltdown on CNN about security clearances and whether they help his paychecks, but the real problems in DC are problems in society at large. They are moral ones. And when you have competing structures of morality screaming at each other, it helps to remember how the Constitution and its amendments provide a framework for resolving those disputes. And it helps to remember that if you reduce morality to a mere social construction, you're left with some sort of watered-down ethics. Which ultimately degrades to mere aesthetics.

Or partisan hypocrisy.

The DOJ apparently has known for some time about Manafort's dealings but chose to only prosecute him when he signed on the Trump's campaign and when Trump won the election. How about his former colleague Tony Podesta? How about applying the laws in a balanced way? And yes, one could argue that Mueller is in some ways a long-delayed Karma (to reference yet another system of morality) for Ken Starr's righteous persecution of Bill Clinton in the 90's.

But we crossed a line when the explicit details of President Clinton's escapades became public knowledge. And someone like Trump was inevitable at some point. The same shenanigans but without even a false if good-natured attempt at shame and modesty. Because that's how a large part of America lives.

But certainly not all. And not even a majority in all likelihood.

Right now, morality and ethics are tactical weapons to be launched when the right target appears on your screen. But at some point, in order to recover from this ugly cultural war in which almost anything goes, going back to the well of those God-given natural rights will be necessary.

Props to Mollie Hemingway for getting a little preachy about politics and corruption.

Posted by Keeley at August 24, 2018 2:36 PM
Comment #430582

Morality in government? Where do we begin Keeley? We can not even reach a common consensus among our WatchBlog family. I know, I asked some time ago.

It would be interesting to discuss morals.

Posted by: Royal Flush at August 24, 2018 2:58 PM
Comment #430584

Results of the Ohio 12th Congressional District are finally in. According to the Associated Press, after final absentee and provisional ballots were counted, Republican Balderson defeated O’Connor by 1,680 votes.

The Democrats poured millions of dollars into winning this seat. And, O’Connor was a moderate Democrat who did not hold the usual Party views.

These two will face each other again in the general election in November. I predict a much greater majority for Balderson in this contest.

Posted by: Royal Flush at August 24, 2018 6:35 PM
Comment #430633

For my 2 cents I would say immorality is, and has been rampant in the world since the beginning of time.

How one perceives morality depends on what the individual believes about life in general.

For those who believe in God they believe there is a real price to pay for immorality. Christians believe that God paid for our sins when his only begotten Son was sacrificed.

I don’t see where nonbelievers need to be concerned about morality unless its relative to breaking a gov’t law like committing a murder. ‘Thou shalt not steal’ has a varied impact on the citizenry. Taking a few pencils would be seen as ‘bad’ if one is a Christian but if your not why would one care, so long as you don’t get caught by the teach.

Adultery used to be a crime in this country but several ‘moral’ entities have been removed from American law. Some religious organizations might take you off the roles for adultery today, but most would not. But, if you are a deacon or similar you would lose your deaconship.

Morality and perception walk hand in hand.

In Acts 18-12 we learn that Paul was in a Achaia, Corinth and the Jews went to court to try and have Paul and the Christians demoted/disbanded for ‘worshiping contrary to the law’. The Judge, Gallio threw them out of court.

Is this a political issue or a moral issue? I see it as having a basis in immorality and using a political issue as a venue to the courts.

The dims want trump impeached for adultery that happened some ten or more years ago, even though adultery is not against the law.

Beyond that, the dims want Trump impeached for any reason that can be found. Lying, perjury, misuse of campaign contributions and so on … any means possible.

A political or moral issue? I say its a moral issue just as with Paul. The effort is to get rid of the President because of hatred, dislike, immorality and on and on …
The dims are using a political wedge to get rid of Trump but in reality, their angst is based in immorality, pure and simple, IMO.

I suspect the courts will render the same verdict as Gallio when all is said and done.

Strange how the dims luv McCain and hate the President…

Posted by: Roy Ellis at August 26, 2018 5:28 PM
Comment #430634

Strange how the dims luv McCain and hate the President…
Posted by: Roy Ellis at August 26, 2018 5:28 PM

I suggest that the “dims” luv McCain hating Trump.

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