Writing about a fast-breaking news event for a magazine with six weeks lead time is risky business. By the time you read this, the salacious charges involving the President and Monica Lewinsky may have faded like a bad dream, or possibly taken even more bizarre turns.
But whatever the facts turn out to be, there will remain disturbing questions about one aspect of the scandal: the astonishing public response. At this writing, the President's approval ratings continue to soar with each new accusation. In an NBC/Wall Street Journal poll, a whopping 66 percent said the President should not be impeached even if the accusations prove true. Man-in-the-street interviews reveal a general indifference. Even the usually indignant feminists opine that since the alleged sexual relationship was consensual, it is no big deal.
How could so many shrug off such charges?
I put the question to Robert George, professor of political philosophy at Princeton.
"It's because they've lost a sense of the sacredness of human life," he replied.
"I'm not talking about abortion," I said, puzzled. "I'm talking about adultery."
"Both derive from the same world-view," George explained. Modern secular orthodoxy splits the human being, dividing the person from the body. The body is treated as an instrument for getting what the self wants—pleasure, emotional satisfaction, whatever.
This may sound abstract, but the consequences of a person/body dualism are painfully concrete. It follows that the body is not really "me" but something other than my real self—something like a possession to be deployed or disposed of. Thus abortion: Secularists insist that a human embryo is merely a body, not a full person, and can be readily discarded. Thus assisted suicide: ...1
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