The Death of Outrage Leaves Much To Be Desired


As a public service to its readers, Another Perspective is going to save each and every one of you $20. That's right, folks! Instead of having to spend $20 buying and hours reading the latest Right wing spiel from that moralist William Bennett, I'm going to just give you a few of the many reasons that America would be far better off if this gnome would just quietly go sit in the corner where he belongs.

Bennett's latest invasion into America's true morals, titled "The Death of Outrage", is basically a book meant to explain why the vast majority of Americans are simply not interested in the same tripe that the Republican Party finds so fascinating. The mere fact that you and I want our Congress to focus on issues of substance rather than the filthy little sexual spectacles that they seem addicted to is explained by Bennett as evidence of our "moral and intellectual disarmament".

With such pretentious chapter titles as "Sex" (naturally, the very first chapter) and "Character" and Politics" and "Judgment" and even "Kenneth Starr", this moral midget basically tries to appear outraged that you and I are not endorsing the criminalization of consensual sex between two consenting adults. He then attempts to use this outrage to prove his higher moral standing and to debase the rest of us as having no morals at all or, at least, none that matter to him.

The fact of the matter is that he can only make his case through the written equivalent of sleight of hand tricks. Using such phrases as "sexual" and "criminal" constantly in the same sentence somehow makes his case that Clinton's adultery should be considered criminal, but without the dirty business of actually making that statement. By being unable to precisely point out real examples of crimes or cover-ups, he instead just keeps banging away at Clinton by using the phrases "crimes" and "felony crimes" and "criminal conduct" and "criminal allegations" and "criminal wrongdoing" and "criminal conspiracy" and "criminal cover-up", all without ever being able to make a convincing or factual case for even one of his charges.

He begins every chapter by making a "Defense of President Clinton" (in italics) which he then refutes with his, supposedly, powerful arguments. What he is actually doing, of course, is following the same line that the Nazis took to prepare their countrymen for the mass murder of the Jews. His "sound reasoning" (his words) is only an attempt to put words into the mouths of straw men and then an attempt to use Right wing propaganda to dispute what no one actually said in the first place.

He saves special hatred for "Clinton apologists" and "Clinton defenders" and "Clinton loyalists" and "Feminists" but never mentions that he is only a "Starr apologist" and a "Starr defender" and a "Clinton hater" and the like.

In nearly the same sentence, this moral midget can actually ridicule Hillary Clinton's contention that the President is the target of a vast right wing conspiracy and then segue into a statement that Starr is unpopular due to "a well-orchestrated and relentless smear campaign" from the left, even though much of the criticism of Starr has come from former special prosecutors and independent counsels from all parts of the political spectrum.

His inability to recognize reality stands out in particular when he tries to compare Starr's sexual inquisition to the constitutional crises brought about by Richard Nixon and the Watergate break in. With an amazing ignorance of the massive difference between the two instances, he actually wonders why America was so upset with Nixon but seems to hardly care about the sexual escapades of Clinton. Actually, he trips over his own argument and the entire chapter openly explains the differences rather than any corollaries.

By trying mightily to compare slavery and child labor and civil rights to America's oft stated belief of "Who are we to judge" when asked about Clinton, Bennett simply shows his lack of "reasoning" since the former problems were national disgraces while Clinton's sexual problems are far more a personal dilemma between Bill and Hillary Clinton.

The reality is not, as Bennett claims, that America is incapable of outrage. Rather it is only that Americans are far more outraged at having been billed $40 million for Starr's little excursion into pornography. It is that Americans are outraged at Linda Tripp illegally recording the words and betraying the trust of her "friend" Monica Lewinski in hopes of making vast sums of money from a book deal. It is that America is outraged that Starr was hired to investigate the failed land deal that has come to be known as Whitewater but, with the help of Reagan and Bush appointed judges, was able to prolong and expand his inquiry into completely irrelevant areas of the President's private life. It is that America is appalled at the decision to put this pornography on the same Internet that these immoral boneheads are so intent on cleaning pornography from. It is, finally, that the American people are disgusted with a final Grand Jury report that includes only explicit accounts of the Presidents' sexual encounters with Monica Lewinski but includes zero information about Whitewater or the FBI files or the suicide of Vince Foster or anything else of substance in any of the many, many areas that Starr supposedly investigated. That, Mr. Bennett, is what the still thinking Americans are outraged about. Your outrage is the outrage of a petty little player in a dirty little political soap opera who didn't get his way on the playground and we are simply not interested in your moral out bursts.

There! You are now officially $20 richer and your life far more serene for not having had to wade in the sewers of Mr. Bennett's rather silly prose. Thank yous are in order, I believe!

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Copyright 10/2/98