Hypocrisy for me, but not for thee!

That there is a double standard between the "right" and the "left" where it comes to sexuality is not news. In general, people perceived as being on the left are allowed sexual freedom -- including the right to be gay, to be promiscuous, to engage in sex for money, and to pose in pornography -- only so long as they kowtow to the requirement that they be on the left. Conservatives -- especially religious conservatives -- are held to the highest possible sexual standards, and when they are caught failing to live up to them, BOTH the right and the left join together in a veritable lynch mob of collusion.

Libertarians tend to be in a special category, but I think this is not only because it's tough to accuse them of "hypocrisy" but also because few people care whether libertarians have sex, or what kind of sex they have.

While I've long been fascinated by this double standard, I'm more fascinated by its enforcement, and I thought I'd look at two recent examples. The first (via Glenn Reynolds) is the Ph.D. researcher who worked as a prostitute:

Six years ago, while she completed the final stages of her PhD, she ran out of money and turned to prostitution charging £300 an hour. She used her experience as a science blogger to let the world know what she was up to - but not, until now, who she was.

Her experiences were documented in a blog that was later adapted into books and a television drama starring Billie Piper.

Dr Magnanti, 34, said she decided to reveal her secret because it was making her paranoid, and she feared that an ex-boyfriend might reveal Belle's true identity.

She works as part of a team researching the potential effects on babies of their mothers' exposure to toxic chemicals, and said her colleagues - all female - had been "amazingly kind and supportive" when she revealed her past.

The scientist, who studied anthropology and maths in Florida, was writing a thesis at Sheffield University's department of forensic pathology when she became a call girl.

She moved to London to find work while completing the course and preparing for her viva voce, the oral examination on her research.

She spent her savings quicker than expected and found that working as a call girl allowed her to make money and have enough spare time to complete her work.

Dr Magnanti said her decision to go public was also prompted by comments last month by Dr John Sentamu, the Archbishop of York.

He said the "fiction" of stories like Belle de Jour's created a "myth" that sex workers were independent women, empowered by the hold they had over men, who treated it like any other job.

Dr Magnanti said she was annoyed by the accusation that her stories were fiction: "You can't say I'm not real, and that my experience isn't real, because here I am."

Obviously, Dr. Magnanti is not a sexual moralist. She neither condemns nor regrets what she did. So no one is accusing her of hypocrisy; the principle objection to her is a communitarian one grounded in the notion that independent prostitutes don't fit the narrative. (Which is that prostitutes are oppressed, exploited, addicted to drugs, etc.) While her profession is not political, I think that if she were working for a conservative politician or think tank, there would be howls of protest. On both "sides."

Which leads to the other example, the suddenly sexually "shocking" Carrie Prejean.

It's the most shocking turn yet in a scandal that has continued to follow the woman whose anti-gay marriage stance led to a national controversy and pitted her against pageant organizers.

Stripped of her crown, Prejean sued the Miss California USA pageant but reportedly settled after the sex tape surfaced. She called the sex tape the biggest mistake of her life.

Now a RadarOnline.com investigation has uncovered that there are SEVEN more "biggest mistakes" of her life - all of them solo performances, just like the one sex tape that the religious beauty queen has admitted to. And there are 30 photos of Carrie, most topless, some showing everything, and most taken by Carrie using her reflection in a mirror.

Oh the horror!

Like I'm supposed to be shocked. Not by sexy pictures or videos, mind you. But by the fact that a conservative beauty queen did that sort of thing. Or maybe I'm supposed to gloat.

Why would I? I have no philosophical problems with people engaging in sex for money or with making sex videos, so what either of these women did or are alleged to have done does not bother me in the least. Nor does it bother me that Carrie Prejean is ashamed of what she did, while Dr. Mangani is not.

Isn't that their business?

Or does the left now own exclusive rights to sexual shame?

I think that there is as much right to be ashamed of one's sexual conduct as there is to not be ashamed of it. But the sexual "left" (if that is in fact the right expression) believes very strongly in sexual shame -- but only for conservatives. The San Francisco Chronicle's Mark Morford is a perfect example. In this long, rambing (and IMO nearly psychotic) diatribe, he heaps a mountain of vicious sexual invective on Carrie Prejean, and demonstrates that he is truly obsessed with the poor girl's genital conduct.

unless you're screaming out the lord's name in vain or begging your imaginary partner to perform some kinky French fetish thing on you with a ball-gag and 15 feet of garden hose, keep your sounds restricted to moans, gasps, sighs, cute little hiccups, dirty curse words and maybe the occasional, "Ooh baby, I know you like it when I use this vibrator on the Pooh bear like that, don't you lover?" Like the saying goes, brevity is the soul of, uh, somethingorother. I know, right?

Let's talk equipment. No, not those, silly! Although God knows those come in handy too! Ha ha! God bless silicone!

I mean video equipment. I say, why not skip the iPhone or lame P&S camera, and make a real investment in your trashy, Gawker-ready, 15-minutes-of-fame future by buying yourself a dedicated digital video camera and a little tripod. Add in about three free iMovie classes at the Apple store, and it's whammo, here I come, reality TV show!

People always ask me, Carrie, when you make a sex tape, does it help to actually be a Christian? I mean, like, not a very good one, more like a pseudo-moralistic, fundamentalist homophobe ex-beauty queen with as many brain cells as you have limbs? Someone who wouldn't understand true Christianity if Jesus himself came down and tickled your feet and called you Lilith?

My answer is always the same: Jesus was a foot fetishist? That is so awesome!

But to answer the other question: heck yes, it helps! I find that mock Christianity only cranks up the irony factor, the sexy hypocrisy of what you're doing -- and massive moralistic hypocrisy is a total turn on! Just ask all those Catholic priests! And Republican senators! And televangelists! And gay televangelists who have sex with Republican senator priests!

Etc. I guess the idea is somehow to shame her to the point of no return.

The only reason I can see for this is that she is a social conservative, and she has expressed remorse about her past sexy videos. I can think of no other occupation which would be shamed in this way, and Mark Morford is by no means the only leftie who has engaged in it.

Sexual shame is alive and thriving on the left as well as on the right. (If Morford's rant is typical, it's probably worse on the left, as I can't imagine any conservative getting quite that exercised about anyone's sex life.) The message sent over and over again is that the only sexual freedom to be found is to be found on the left. What a lot of people miss is they're relying on the social conservatives (especially those who practice zero tolerance) to oblige them by joining in the fray. In the case of Mark Sanford, the right was more than willing to oblige.

Already (and notwithstanding the remorse she expressed for her past) Carrie Prejean seems to be getting the cold shoulder from social conservatives. As Townhall's Jillian Bandes notes, her appearances are being canceled:

Prejean cancelled her keynote speech at the New Jersey Family Policy Council's Defenders of the Family fundraiser, an appearance at an invitation-only event at the National Republican Club of Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., and numerous other radio segments.
Via Pam Spaulding, who observes,
It's too soon to say whether or not folks on the right have totally abandoned Prejean, but I'm starting to feel a little sorry for her.
I feel sorry for her too -- especially because her main crime consisted of saying the same thing Barack Obama had said about gay marriage.

But sympathy for Carrie Prejean is not the point here. I see the larger issue as being sexual freedom, in which the left does not truly believe. "Sexual freedom for me but not for thee" is not sexual freedom, and it just fries me that the left is routinely seen as being champions of a right they only champion selectively.

Like any other kind of freedom, sexual freedom by its nature includes the right to do or not do whatever the thing is. As in the case of free speech where there is as much right to be silent as there is to be outspoken, or to worship God or reject religion, there is also as much right to be an uptight prude as a profligate slut. Those who oppose sexual freedom have as much right to engage in sex as those who believe in it.

And while hypocrisy consists of not practicing what you preach, I think a good case can be made that the leftists who condemn Carrie Prejean for having made sexy videos are more hypocritical than she is.

They seem to think that she is a hypocrite for the following reasons:

a) she is against gay marriage even though she had made a sexy video; and

b) she condemns what she did in the past.

But neither of the above constitutes hypocrisy. Hypocrisy does not consist of condemning something you once did, nor is it necessarily condemning what you do now. A junkie, an overeater, an alcoholic, or a cigarette smoker could easily condemn his own practices without being a hypocrite. Similarly, a woman who has had an abortion can be against abortions, and someone with a DUI conviction could nevertheless oppose drunk driving.

Hypocrisy is pretending to be what one is not. If Carrie Prejean had said that she was morally pure and had never made sexy videos, that would be one thing. But as far as I know, she never pretended to be morally pure. She said she was against gay marriage, and I have no doubt that she believes in the general social conservative philosophy. Past actions that are regretted do not constitute pretending to be what one is not.

However, the left pretends to believe in sexual freedom, but actually does not. To me, that is hypocrisy. But they get away with it because they are not held to the same standards to which they hold the right. Yet another double standard.

A double standard for hypocrisy.

(I'd call it a hypocritical double standard but that sounds redundant.)

posted by Eric on 11.18.09 at 03:29 PM


I may be wrong on this, but to the best of my knowledge Carrie Prejean has never said anything bad about gay people, or spoken out against gay sex. She only answered a question, posed to her, not volunteered, that she was opposed to gay marriage or, as I like to call, state regulation of same-sex relationships. She wants to keep Big Government out of the bedrooms of gay men and lesbians! Sounds good to me.

In all seriousness, this part of the pathological hatred of left-wing true-believers, who brook no dissent from their worldview. Part of the price one must pay for refusing to go along with the left-liberal herd is that you are denied sexual freedom and sexual discretion. Remember Looney Andrew Sullivan, when he was going through his conservative period, was outed and ridiculed as a hypocritical, evil bare-backer? Now that he's back on the liberal reservation, he's free to be you and me. Sick, ain't it?

Rhodium Heart   ·  November 18, 2009 4:04 PM

PS: I've always thought Andrew Sullivan's veer back toward the Left -- same with that Soros lackey from Media Matters -- was driven by sex and not by politics.

Rhodium Heart   ·  November 18, 2009 4:07 PM

My favorite was the religious guy probably 6 years ago who was "caught" gambling in Vegas.

My lefty family were all as happy as a bunch of hate-filled types could be.
They even acted as if it was my problem too, even though they know I don't believe in a god and am kind of afraid of the religious right. The worst part, for me, was that I had to defend him.

After all, it didn't matter that he didn't preach against gambling, he was a "hypocrite".

My brother in law loves Vegas, when I said, "I thought was happens in Vegas stays in Vegas".

He crowed about how hypocritical types deserved to be attacked.
He didn't answer when I asked what was hypocritical since he hadn't preached against gambling.
Didn't matter, they could attack a righty and all the right by extension.

They were actually giddy and were mad at me for not being contrite.

Veeshir   ·  November 18, 2009 4:47 PM

I don't think I said Prejean was anti-gay; only that she opposed gay marriage like Barack Obama.

Veeshir, I think the gambling "scandal" involved Bill Bennett, who was not a minister and who did not condemn gambling. You're right. To the left his "hypocrisy" means being conservative and doing anything of which Cotton Mather might disapprove.

Eric Scheie   ·  November 18, 2009 6:25 PM

The left does not believe in anything except power. The rest is all tactics.

M. Simon   ·  November 18, 2009 8:40 PM

The right made a big mistake in aligning itself with with "Christian" morality of the fundamentalist kind.

The only hope for the Rs (long term) is to become a libertarian party.

It all started with Nixon's wage and price controls. That is when a mass exodus of libertarian activists left the Republican Party and formed the Libertarian party. That left no effective check on anything that followed.

We are in the beginning stages of fixing that.

M. Simon   ·  November 18, 2009 8:48 PM

M. Simon

are talking about the GOP as a libertarian party or libertine?

The vast majority of Christians are NOT fundies and even as non-religious as I am, I am sick to death of the insulting little cartoons people who snicker at "Christianists" (like Sully) carry in their head.

Prejean is no hypocrite; but she is like most very attractive young people who have gone through life with doors opened to them due to their beauty - she is incredibly naive, not too well spoken and hasn't had a lot of practice with deep thinking. If she has gotten a "cold shoulder" from social conservatives, it may have a lot to do with her falling flat on her face in regards to articulation over scandal rather than scandal. The Left was all a twitter when Brisol was pregnant, but then sat open mouthed when conservatives didn't burn Sarah at the stake.

If Prejean is ashamed of her tapes I will bet it has more to do with her blaming herself for picking an obviously scummy, amoral, reprobate for a boyfriend who doesn't know the word "trust" from "truss".

Darleen   ·  November 18, 2009 10:17 PM

btw I've read Morford on many occassions and he's always psychotic.

Darleen   ·  November 18, 2009 10:39 PM

Bill Bennett and the charge of hypocrisy

Darleen   ·  November 18, 2009 10:45 PM

Wow, I can't believe I forgot his name or even who he was, considering he was my leader.

That probably proves he was my leader and I'm just repressing the pain of his hypocrisy.

Veeshir   ·  November 18, 2009 10:56 PM

Excellent post.

Mario Mirarchi   ·  November 19, 2009 12:04 AM

The real villain in the Prejean story is the loser who circulated the tapes. They were supposed to be private; she trusted him, and he violated that trust.

That fellow should be tarred and feathered.

One of the aspects of the Bennett story that always struck me as ridiculous was the oh-so-sophisticated left incapable of distinguishing the religious teachings of Baptists and Catholics. How can you think yourself worldly when you can't understand your neighbors?

Rob Crawford   ·  November 19, 2009 10:15 AM

Maybe phone videos need to come with a self destruct, to protect kids from adults who want to either persecute them or throw them in jail.

plutosdad   ·  November 19, 2009 10:41 AM

Indeed, Mario. I grew up Catholic and there was never any stricture against gambling. As an parish bingo hall attests.

The Christian Brothers taught us in high school that things like gambling and drinking, which tend to bedevil the low-church "Prods," have to be judged against other factors. In other words, if a husband and father were so addicted to gambling that he was ruining his marriage and impeding his ability to support his family, that would be wrong. Or drinking so much that it was hurting himself and his family, that would be wrong. Butdrinking and gambling per se? Not a problem.

Bilwick   ·  November 19, 2009 10:57 AM

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