When Bill Clinton was philandering and lying about it, media elites told us over and over again that our conservative objections were priggish and judgmental. It was none of our business. Traditional standards about marital fidelity and sexual chastity were antiquated and puritanical; something to lampoon on “Saturday Night Live” and something to mock on “The Late Show,” but surely nothing we should concern ourselves about or take seriously in modern times.
Those of us who thought otherwise and who believed in teaching morality to our children or expecting it from our leaders were laughed at and maligned. “Someone’s sex life is a private matter,” we heard ad nauseam. What someone did in his or her bedroom or even what the president did with his intern in the Oval Office was a personal affair. After all, who were we to judge?
When the average citizen in middle America — those of us who are now known as “deplorables” — said that honesty, integrity and virtue mattered and that any person (president or otherwise) who openly perjured himself should suffer the full consequence of the law, we were told to stop fixating on sex, and to move on to more important things. The broken record of the left’s retort was, “It’s about the economy, stupid, and not about Kenneth Starr’s curious fascination with the salacious.”
When several women testified that Hillary Clinton used political power to intimidate and silence them (as well as openly call them bimbos and liars), we were told to get over it and that this is done in politics all the time.
When we objected to Lanny Davis telling us that President Clinton’s sexual pecadilloes were “trivial” we were laughed at. When we warned of the coarsening of our culture, we were called old-fashioned. When we cautioned about the dumbing down of deviancy, we were mocked. We were dismissed. We were prudes. We lived in more enlightened times, we were told, not the old days of the church’s rules and regulations; not the oppressive times of behavioral codes, personal restraint and moral responsibility.
But today, everything has changed. Because a Republican president is now the one who is proven to be a cad, a womanizer and an unrestrained lech, the liberated left seems to care about morality after all. Just listen to the nightly news. It’s now apparently wrong again to have sex outside the bounds of marriage. It is now apparently wrong again to cheat on your wife, to lie about it and then to cover it up.
It is now apparently wrong again to use political power or financial influence to brush all this dirt under the carpet. It’s now apparently wrong again to try to hide the evidence of one’s dalliances from your family and from the public eye.
No, it’s not just wrong as a matter of opinion but it is an objective moral wrong; a clear compromise of an immutable standard of human decency; a breach of personal virtue and natural law; a deal with the devil so egregious that we are now told it even rises to the level of “crimes and misdemeanors” worthy of impeachment.
Our cultural elites are now lecturing us on almost a minute-by-minute basis about sexual morality. A man’s sex life is no longer just “trivial” stuff. To the contrary, there seems to be a consensus even from those who just yesterday were telling us that “it doesn’t matter as long as it works for you” that rules for sexual conduct do matter and, in fact, they matter a great deal.
This is all good news. It is good news that the media now seem to believe it’s important for a man to remain faithful to his wife. It is good news that they now apparently think serial sex is a bad thing. It is good news that they seem surprisingly convicted that even a consensual “relationship” with a stripper is wrong.
It is good news that nearly all of our foremost news anchors as well as their counterparts in the ivory tower and the halls of Congress are now nearly falling over themselves to tell us moral standards are not relative after all, but, rather quite absolute and that compromising those standards is worthy of their opprobrium and scorn.
Karl Menninger once asked the seminal question, “Whatever became of sin?” He went further to say:
“The word ‘sin,’ which seems to have disappeared [in our time], was a proud word. It was once a strong word, an ominous and serious word. It described a central point in every civilized human being’s lifestyle. But the word went away. It almost disappeared — the word, along with the notion. Why? Doesn’t anyone sin anymore? Doesn’t anyone believe in sin?”
We should all be thankful for the present fixation our liberal pundits have on the sexual misconduct of our president. But in thanking them, be gentle, for, in doing so, you might just awaken them from their dreams of sexual nihilism to the reality that they actually do believe in sin after all, and this will likely frighten them to death.
• Everett Piper, president of Oklahoma Wesleyan University, is the author of “Not A Day Care: The Devastating Consequences of Abandoning Truth” (Regnery 2017).
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