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power legitimizes morality?

By       Message David Teachout     Permalink
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I figured I'd jump on the media bandwagon here and comment on the continuing and enlarging debacle that is the Mark Foley scandal. For those of you who don't read the news, he's a republican representative who sent sexually suggestive IMs to a 16 year-old boy page, someone who helps congressmen as a quasi-servant. Further allegations are continuing to come up and, like the Arnold Schwarzeneger scandal years ago, more will undoubtedly continue. The true irony of the situation is that this congressman was the head of several committees creating laws to protect children from predators.

Already of course there are justifications being spun out as damage-control, declaring Foley an alcoholic, someone who didn't get along with his mother and, my personal favorite, that he's gay. This last is particularly pernicious as it only works by standing on the oft-repeated allegations by religious conservatives that homosexuality necessitates child molestation, an allegation that is not only completely wrong but sick.

What is being missed here is the ideological structure that Foley and his compatriots adhere to. This paradigm, in line with fascism, the Old Testament of the christian religion and the protestant work ethic as given by Luther and John Calvin, supports the notion that power equals moral correctness.

Consider this: if one believes that reality exists as the outplay of a divine order where social heirarchy is mandated as representative of intelligent design and that this order is best shown by the increase in monetary and social gain (ala Calvin) being given to those who deserve it, then it is not a great leap in psychological construction that as power is given by the divine mandate and the divine is, by definition, morally right, then those who have been given power by the divine order are therefore in line with that same moral rightness.

Hence, you have Bush's inability to admit the possibility that he could have done anything wrong, Cheney's admission that knowing all that is known now, the Iraq situation would have been handled exactly the same way and people like Foley who see no harm in sexually enticing minors.

What is key here is that the adherence to a strict religious mentality is not needed, only the belief in the general parameters of a dualistic reality in which there is a divine order. This is why fascism, the rule of corporations, stands hand-in-hand with religious movements, for each justifies the other.

Here, then, is the real issue. Yes, the IMs sent by Foley are reprehensible and he and anyone who covered it up should be thrown out of office and prosecuted, but the actions need to be seen as pointing to a general ideology that threatens far more than one or several children, but the very foundation of a democracy that serves to protect ALL children.


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Graduated from a Bible college, majoring in theology and psychology. Currently working on Ed.D. in counseling psychology.

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