On Anthony Weiner and Weiners in General
The government has monopoly eoplower in almost everything it does and can be used to all sorts of destructive ends even in well-intentioned hands. Trustworthiness in a politician, therefore, is more important than competence or philosophical orientation.
The type of trustworthiness required in a politician will be rare. A trustworthy politician must respect the rights of the rich and poor, the law-abiding and criminal, and supporters and detractors. I am not capable of such trustworthiness, and I suspect it is rarely found short of Jesus and the Buddha.
When a man runs for public office, he claims himself trustworthy–impossibly trustworthy.
A man’s infidelity (while ordinarily none of your business unless he’s dating your daughter) reflects on his trustworthiness. He lies to the most important person in his life. If he can do that to her, why do you think he’d hesitate to hurt you?
This is not to say that there are not stupid people out there who confound sexual indiscretion with bad governance. These people are idiots. A man’s infidelity is not reason to call him a criminal.
Reverse-stupidity, however, is not intelligence. When you find out a man has had an affair, you now know he belongs to the set of people who are married and having affairs. This group is generally less trustworthy than the group that includes all human males. Sure, some good people may have cheated on their spouses before, and some people are faithfully married serial killers, but your estimate still must change when given new data*.
I am not saying you always need to be an insufferable prude. You can still buy bagels from the town philanderer. But don’t ignore bad behavior in politicians.
* I should note that you ought not commit the fundamental attribution error either. When someone else cheats (and this is the only information we have about the person), we tend to overestimate the degree to which this information tells us about their enduring personal attributes. When we cheat, we tend to see all the context that led us to make an understandable, forgivable mistake.
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