Monday, November 28, 2011

More Signs of Decline and Fall

Now Syracuse University has fired a basketball coach for sex with little boys--and the evidence seems to be a taped phone conversation his wife had, in which she acknowledged having seen her husband doing this:

In the tape, a woman — which ESPN, citing experts, claims was Laurie Fine — said she knew “everything that went on” with her husband, adding that “he thinks he’s above the law.”

“Bernie has issues ... and you trusted somebody you shouldn’t,” the woman said, speaking to Davis.

The woman appears to acknowledge an inappropriate sexual relationship between Davis and Bernie Fine, saying, “It’s just wrong and you were a kid.” She also said that her husband should “find (himself) a gay boy, get your rocks off.”
 Now, a University of Utah professor has been charged with something that is just unimaginable to me: watching child porn on an airline flight  Another passenger saw this, alerted the flight crew, and he was arrested when he arrived in Boston:

Prosecutors said that Smith tried to erase pictures of what appeared to be pre-teen girls engaged in sexual acts after a flight attendant told him to turn off his computer.

The recently divorced Smith was met at the gate by state police, who asked for and were granted permission to view the contents of the laptop. Investigators allege they found several images of nude or nearly nude children, including girls apparently as young as 6 years old.

"Child pornography is a form of child sexual abuse — nothing less," state police spokesman David Procopio said in a statement. "Those who possess it — a crime unto itself — foster an evil network that sexually abuses and exploits children irreparably."
Now, Smith is pleading innocent, of course, but I am a bit unsure exactly what his defense is going to be, unless both the passenger who saw this, and the police who inspected his computer, are just making this up.  I think the more interesting question, however, is why anyone would think that they could do something like this in a public place and not get arrested (if lucky).  Have we reached the point where a university professor would not realize how unacceptable this is?  Or is it that what is considerable acceptable in the ivory tower is that far removed from the rest of the society?

The core problem, unfortunately, is that when a society reaches a point where it worships sex, it seems to be very difficult for many people--especially those who are well-educated, intelligent, and therefore superior to the ignorant unwashed masses (who just cling to their guns and Bibles)--to recognize that there are limits.

Obscenity?  We crossed that line in the 1960s.  Now stuff that would have been regarded as disgustingly vulgar and repulsive even by sophisticated sorts in 1960...or even available on many cable systems, and is no longer a source of shame or disgust to the vast majority of Americans.

Adultery?  We crossed the line of that being socially accepted (except, of course, if it involves your spouse) about forty years ago.

Casual sex?  Ditto.

Homosexuality?  That became socially accepted by most of the population about 1990, even if they still found it a bit icky, and were not prepared to go along with same-sex marriage (although that is coming).

Polygamy?  Still not generally accepted, although the ACLU is working on getting it constitutionalized, which is certainly a step towards forcing everyone to accept it.

Incest?  The Lawrence decision, inevitably, led to efforts to argue for a constitutional right to that.  Once you scrap all notions of sexual morality except those involving force and minors, why would you keep an archaic law about incest?

Why does anyone expect that any notions of sexual morality are going to survive this continual scrapping of all standards?  And if sexual morality is just an old-fashioned set of primitive ideas (as many intellectuals seem to believe), why would you have any limits, as long as there is no force used?


  1. Standards are fine and all, but the moral panic over the "child pornography" has already claimed many innocents. I am of the opinion that the "punish the consumer" legal framework that is being applied in the question is flawed in itself. But even setting it aside, details of Handley case are just horrible. This may, of course, not relate to Smith very much, except making me distrustful of media reports. Remember that the prosecutorial machine made Handley to plead guilty, because it was enabled by the same moral panic. Journalists can write absolutely anything, as long as the case is about "child molesters" or "child pornography". Police can claim absolutely anything, too. And then the judge -- the judge! -- makes ridiculous claims about the interstate commerce with impunity. So if Smith is a scumbag, they need to prove to me for real. -- Pete

  2. OT but interesting:

    Won't post the contents, but it's about a lawsuit challenging the ban on guns in the public ares and parking lots of post offices.

  3. I hate to dirty up your blog with this, but you are talking about things getting worse, so here goes ...

    The Bernie Fine case is worse than you think. According to the same ESPN report, the young boy, Bobby Davis, was also having sex with Fine's wife.

  4. Poor Herman Cain, Ran for President 12 years too soon!

    And if polygamy is legalized, the resistance to same-sex marriage is toast, because polygamy is just same-sex marriage with an extra party of the other sex. Excuse me, gender. After all, if the husband of multiple wives dies, why break up the rest of the marriage, and once that is recognized, then the equal protection clause is trotted out, and Voila! Same-Sex Marriage.
    They couldn't get to polygamy through same-sex marriage but the ACLU may get same-sex marriage through polygamy.