Submitted by Mark Esposito, Guest Blogger
Porn king Larry Flynt has issued a new bounty. On Thursday, the Hustler magazine publisher, offered $1 million to anyone with proof of “an illicit sexual liaison” involving Republican presidential candidate, Rick Perry. Flynt is not too particular either, he’ll accept both gay and straight encounters.
Flynt justifies the bounty this way. “I’ve been doing this for 35 years,” Flynt said in a telephone interview with Reuters. “We’ve found running these ads were very successful in finding sources to come forward.” And Flint’s been effective. In 1999, in-coming Speaker of the House, Robert Livingston resigned when Flynt claimed to have obtained knowledge of an alleged extra-marital affair. Livingston had led the Republican fusilade against Bill Clinton’s affair with Monica Lewinsky.
The question becomes whether these bounties on the sex lives of public figures are desirable or harmful. Certainly, Flynt does it to generate publicity and hence sales. He claims to be an enemy of sexual hypocrisy and he has uncovered instances of it. But, it is an unseemly practice. The danger lies in the disincentive it provides to genuinely competent people to enter public service. Even without the sexual baggage who wants to subject themselves and their families to the indignities of claims made by persons with political axes to grind.
I am no fan of Rick Perry and his ilk, but it is beyond question he has the right to his publicly stated views — whether he actually believes them or not. Bounties like the ones offered by Flynt coarsen the political dialogue (as if it isn’t sack cloth already) and present a threat to democracy by denying it the persons most able to lead. Were we to cast out as “sinners” every politician with a sexual dalliance in their past we would scarcely have anyone left in Washington to turn the lights off.
Is Larry Flynt serving democracy by ferreting out hypocrites, or is this tawdry business a cancer on the republic? Or does it depend on whose ox is gored? What do you think?
Source: Yahoo News
~Mark Esposito, Guest Blogger