By Selywn Duke
It’s truly not shocking that a political leader would be a reprobate behind closed doors. From Caligula to the Marquis de Sade to Bill Clinton, the depraved have always been overrepresented among the ruling classes. It is for this reason that what’s even more distressing about the Katie Hill affair than what she did is the reaction to it from the broader society — including “broadminded conservatives” defending her.
Hill, the former Democrat congresswoman whose resignation from office took effect Nov. 1, certainly is our time’s Thoroughly Modern Millie. Her escapades have acquainted us with a new term, “throuple,” and she exhibited the cherished “diversity” in illicit affairs of having relations with both a man and a woman, each of whom held different underling positions. To top it off she was seen in intimate photos with a bong and the now obligatory tramp stamp (oh, yeah, sorry — “body art”).
She’s also fashionable in her lack of appropriate shame and in her externalizing; à la Monica Lewinsky, she’s blaming everyone for her scandal but herself. It’s “right-wing media,” her vindictive husband, a “misogynistic culture,” political operatives (is there Russian collusion, too?), and she has plenty of defenders.
Hill has said that none of this would be happening were she a man; commentator-cum-comedian Bill Maher chimed in and, in addition, claimed that Republicans never resign in these situations.
What a testimonial to fascist leader Benito Mussolini’s statement about how he learned, when a journalist (surprised this was his former career? LOL), that you could tell one lie one week and another two weeks later with impunity because people have short memories.
Does the name Mark Foley ring a bell? He was the GOP congressman from Florida who resigned in 2006 for transgressions similar to Hill’s; he sent inappropriate messages to male pages and allegedly had sexual contact with of-age former pages.
Then there’s Eric Massa, the Democrat congressman from upstate NY accused in 2010 of sexually harassing and groping two male staffers (he claimed they were tickle fights), who also resigned. More recently, Democrat Al Franken was washed out of the Senate in 2018 for sexual misconduct. He, Massa and Foley are men. I believe they still are. Moreover, a House rule Hill violated “was enacted last year in response to nearly a dozen male members of Congress resigning amid sexual harassment allegations” (emphasis added), reports The San Diego Union-Tribune.
Oh, as for Massa, Nancy Pelosi at the time called him “a very sick person” and “poor baby,” the latter sarcastically. And Katie Hill today? Pelosi says the lesson is to “be careful when transmitting photos” (be decadent, but don’t get caught).
So the truth is precisely the opposite of Hill’s claim: Were she a man, no one would even entertain her pathetic whining. In fact, she’d be called a cheatin’ dog.
But, hey, 2006 and 2010 and last year were even longer ago than two weeks back, and today’s Left is disappointed that Pelosi didn’t give Hill a “You go, girl!” The New York Times was a bit more circumspect, calling her case “complicated” and bringing to mind the apocryphal saying, “Moral issues are always complex matters — for people who have no principles.”
So I’ll enlighten the Times with the timeless. Hill claims she’s a victim of a “double standard,” but it’s her own standard. The aforementioned House rule is a #MeToo-inspired prohibition enacted late last year forbidding members from dating staffers — and Hill voted for it! She also didn’t mind piling on then-SCOTUS nominee Brett Kavanaugh with vicious value-signaling. It’s poetic that she’s been hoisted with her own petards.
What may be true is that Hill’s husband sought revenge. But so what? His possible bad motives don’t negate her bad behavior. Besides, how many political scandals aren’t exposed by people with ill intent? Did Kavanaugh’s accuser, Christine Blasey Ford, have only the purest motives? People party to scandals generally aren’t beatification-ready and are often driven by a desire for personal gain or vengeance.
But what truly bodes ill for our civilization, reflecting a virtue/vice tipping point, is the increasingly common belief that there was nothing at all wrong with Hill’s actions. CNN commentator Aisha Moodie-Mills perfectly epitomized this sexual devolutionary moral relativism/nihilism, saying last Monday of Hill that there “was nothing necessarily improper about this woman living her best life” (sheesh, I’d hate to see her worst one).
Note that she didn’t say “the” or even “a” best life, which could connote an objective standard; she stated “her best life,” implying it’s all relative, a matter of taste, like eating chocolate ice cream. (Of course, the term “best” then is inappropriate. For who is to say one “taste” is better than another?)
Bespeaking more still of the tipping point, though, sadly, is that even “conservatives” now are conserving this degraded attitude. Just consider Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.), a generally very sane and apparently honorable man. Calling the ethics investigation into Hill “absurd,” he claimed she was targeted only for being “different.” Well, I suppose we’re all different. Foley and Massa and the Marquis de Sade were certainly different. But when those differences amount to violating both divine and worldly laws, the differences are damnable.
Gaetz tweeted Oct. 24 that the “only person who seems to have a gripe is @RepKatieHill’s soon-to-be ex,” again reflecting relativism. It’s only her ex’s “feelings” that matter — and only to him — you see, because we know feelings are real (subjective truths, anyway) while right and wrong is just a “social construct.”
Gaetz also said that the issue was “generational” (so is civilizational collapse), with other millennials sympathizing with Hill. “Who among us would look perfect if every ex leaked every photo/text?” his tweet also read. This couldn’t be more distant from the point.
There’s a lot of real estate between “perfect” and patently immoral, “perfect” and objectively unethical, “perfect” and hypocritical. Moreover, were perfection a prerequisite for upholding moral standards, we flawed humans couldn’t have any moral standards, not against lying, lewdness, rudeness, “racism” or anything else. I don’t know if you attended Sunday school, Mr. Gaetz, but we’re supposed to love the sinner but still hate the sin.
Gaetz is correct in saying that millennials (and many others) won’t take issue with Hill’s photos because compromising pictures from their past are often floating about. But here’s a little Philosophy 101: Right and wrong isn’t determined by what people, even great masses of them, have done and want to justify. Right doesn’t become wrong because wrong becomes a rite.
Man has always sinned. But civilization is maintained by repenting and changing our ways — or, at worst, sinning privately — and professing morality publically. As for dumbing down standards and leading others toward Perdition just to self-centeredly salve our feelings, this is likely a far greater sin than whatever it is we aim to justify.
But the above errors were predicted. The great G.K. Chesterton wrote in 1926 that the “next great heresy is going to be simply an attack on morality; and especially on sexual morality.” Hence our Sexual Devolution.
Chesterton also observed that the “business of Progressives is to go on making mistakes. The business of Conservatives is to prevent mistakes from being corrected.”
“Even when the revolutionist might himself repent of his revolution, the traditionalist is already defending it as part of his tradition,” he continued. “Thus we have two great types — the advanced person who rushes us into ruin, and the retrospective person who admires the ruins.”
Face it, Katie Hill is simply very, very wrong, objectively and unchangeably. So are those who, awash in what used to be leftists’ central ism, relativism, busy themselves conserving yesterday’s liberals’ mistakes.