Sunday, April 23, 2006

Mary Mc Carthy and Plastic Morality

By now , everyone has heard the story : Mary Mc Carthy , a long-term veteran at the CIA , has been fired for “leaking” highly classified material to Dana Priest, a star reporter for the Washington Post.

Ms Mc Carthy is not only unemployed ; she is in criminal jeopardy as well – and it is by no means a given that Dana Priestly and her employers are “off the hook” for prosecution under the espionage statutes.

At the moment, a Republican administration is in power , and many loyal Democrats are proclaiming (rather vigorously) Mc Carthy should be honored as a “whistleblower” , because some of the material she is said to have leaked made life more difficult for the Administration.

Some of her supporters suggest she had a “moral duty” to violate the stringent terms of her employment –and the espionage laws : a duty that transcends mere statutes and regulations. Some have even suggested that anyone who believes otherwise is on the road to becoming “ a good little Nazi”.

I have a suspicion many of those who presently extol the lady’s virtues might be cursing her - if Democrats occupied the White House ; but I could be wrong.

It’s hard to predict reactions in an age of “plastic morality”.

In many parts of our country , people who feel a high sense of moral obligation towards animals have bombed facilities that conduct animal research , vandalized the cars and homes of research employees,and conducted acts of criminal harassment.

On both coasts, other people who feel halting development is a highly moral act ,have burned down SUV dealerships, spiked trees in an effort to injure lumberjacks, burned down homes under construction, and have even fire-bombed a spring water bottling plant.

In the year 2001, a microbiologist (and friends) exercised their highly developed “morality” by sending Anthrax through the mail to “punish” America for its sins. (They had the good sense to suggest al-Qaeda might have done it – and loyal supporters willing to lay false trails for the FBI to follow ; but a day of reckoning will come…)

Politicians from all major parties have reached out eagerly to accept unclean contributions – forwarded by those who want to promote questionable commercial enterprises ,and welcomed the lobbyists who broker these deals with open arms. They justify betrayal of the public trust by claiming a high moral duty to secure and remain in elective office.

I could go on – and on – until my fingers are too weary to type,and your eyes are too weary to continue reading ; yet , after all was said and done, any one of us might nod approvingly – then go out to do something unspeakable – in the name of a “higher moral purpose”.

Such is the nature of Plastic Morality.


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