Is Sandusky Really Such a Bad Guy After All?

With perceived moral self-righteousness and indignation abounding on all fronts in relation to Jerry Sandusky and Chick-Fil-A, the following is must reading.  It will take you a while to read the entire article, and it will make you think and examine your heart, but this is not merely good reading, it is necessary reading:

But let us for a moment return to the outrage, to the shared fury about a man who has carried out these sexual exploits with young boys. There was not only a ghastly beast in the showers; there is now also an elephant in the room. Let us focus for a moment on the matter of the sex acts themselves, and ask some likely disturbing questions. What is the real source of such fury? Why is everyone so shocked and so angry? In a society that celebrates sexual freedom and personal rights to sexual expression, why the collective outrage over Sandusky’s acts? Does not today’s ethic insist Sandusky has a right to his own sexual fulfillment, however he chooses to attain it? Does he not have the right to engage in sex where he wants, with whom he wants? After all, is not unbounded sexual freedom the last vista of our cherished personal autonomy (i.e. self-law)? Do not quickly pass over these questions.…

So, wherein lies the moral outrage? If not in the inappropriateness of the sex itself, what summons our shared sickness of soul about Sandusky, Paterno, and company? The shared outrage is driven by an unwritten but deeply felt cultural consensus: everything is OK unless someone gets hurt. Put otherwise, our societal moral boundaries are not defined by principle, but by pain avoidance. It is not acts that are wrong in themselves. It is their assessed consequences that bear our corporate commendation or condemnation. The current outrage stems from the discerned abuse, from Sandusky’s tormenting domination of non-willing participants.

In short, social sympathy lies with the children. This driving sympathy is surely commendable, but why? We have yet to reckon with the grounds for our fury, our sympathy, and our sense of sexual autonomy.

Read all of “Is Sandusky Really Such a Bad Guy After All?” here.

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