Action Alert!

pure & simple

By Diogenes ( articles ) | Jun 07, 2006

Massachusetts's senior Catholic public servant takes a stand:

"A vote for this amendment is a vote for bigotry, pure and simple." Thus spoke Sen. Ted Kennedy in reference to the Marriage Protection Amendment being debated in the Senate today.

Vexing? Yes. A novelty? On the contrary, it's the world's oldest profession.

Writing about the Roman author Petronius -- specifically, about his depiction of the freedman-parvenus of first century Italy -- Erich Auerbach described the mad scramble for riches that attended the break-up of the old regime, "with masters bequeathing large slices of their wealth to slaves who do their sexual bidding." Yesterday, your father carried wood; today, you adjust your morals to your master's caprice; tomorrow, your son will be in a position to buy himself a senatorship.

In the 21st century, as was the case in the 1st, fortunes are to be made by turning catamite. The favors solicited are not always sexual, of course, nor is the payment always monetary. Yet there's no important moral difference between the rent boy who accommodates his client for cash and the congressman who agrees to push same-sex marriage in exchange for political endorsement. Perhaps most people go along with the fiction that the stateman's (journalist's, academic's, judge's ...) principles are somehow more sanitary than the catamite's lower intestinal tract, but in doing so they're swayed more by sentiment than by reason. The willingness to sell what shouldn't be sold, to those willing to buy what shouldn't be bought, is common to all harlotry. Some practitioners show more profit than others.

Annoying though it is, it's impossible take Senator Kennedy's recent statement seriously. In his world it's a career move: that's to say, business is business. We don't know what his real convictions about the gay agenda might be, just as we don't know the real sexual predilections of Petronius' Roman slaves. In both instances, the Inner Man was bartered away to wealthy homosexuals for sordid purposes of their own devising. We have no positive duty to visit contempt upon the persons who have made this bargain. By the same token, when they ask us for our respect, we're under no obligation to humor them.

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