Threatened "outing" of Senator protected by 1st Am?
Orunprotecte d extortion?
doughr at udallas.edu
Tue Jan 31 11:01:44 PST 2006
I agree with Howard on the blackmail part; my hesitancy is in embracing
the practice as akin to Thomistic just war principles. For Aquinas this
could count as scandal, but certainly as reviling, both of which are
mortal sins (see Summa Theologica, II-II Question 72, Article 2; "Since
then railing or reviling essentially denotes a dishonoring, if the
intention of the utterer is to dishonor the other man, this is properly
and essentially to give utterance to railing or reviling; and this is a
mortal sin no less than theft or robbery, since a man loves his honor no
less than his possessions"). You never know when Thomas might come in
handy in constitutional law.
Howard Schweber wrote:
> I hate it when I agree with Mark. Seriously, it makes my feet itch
> and I break out in hives. (If I cannot depend on designated others to
> be always and perfectly wrong, how can I maintain my certainty in my
> own perfect correctness?)
> And yet . . .
> I say it's blackmail -- a threat to reveal damaging personal
> information unless the victim acts or refrains from acting in
> accordance with the instructions of the party making the threat. I
> haven't checked any criminal statutes, but I am willing to bet that in
> at least some jurisdictions the laws are sufficiently broadly worded
> that this action could be prosecuted as a crime.
> I think that outing is a cruel practice under any circumstances. That
> does not mean that it is never justified. Where an elected official
> seeks office by presenting him or herself as a paragon of personal
> moral virtue, and makes homosexuality in others a sign of a lack of
> such virtue, then the cruelty may be justified as a classic
> application of Thomistic just war principles. (Did I just cite a
> Christian saint?! What is happening to me today???)
> But threatening such a revelation in order to compel an action is
> blackmail, and when the action in question is a vote cast by a
> representative it is doubly repulsive, as a matter of democratic as
> well as personal principle.
> Howard Schweber
> Dept. of Political Science
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