The right to privacy is the subject of this evening's "Talking Points" memo.
Once again, a cultural war has broken out in America, this time over the Condit-Levy case. While most of the press continues to devote an enormous amount of time to the disappearance of the young woman, some in the elite media are attacking the coverage, saying it violates Gary Condit's right to privacy and moves more important news out of the spotlight.
Now, I agree that conjecture and speculation in this case are a waste of time, unless something new occurs. Further discussion on what happened to Chandra is useless, but I strongly disagree that the story is not important. The word privacy is a code. What critics are really saying is that no one has the right to judge Condit's behavior. Privacy is simply substituted for judgment.
There is a strong movement in America to remove any kind of value- based argument. We see this all the time. Kids should not be held to uniform standards in public schools because every child is different and test scores don't reflect unique abilities. Drugs should be legalized because no one has the right to tell anyone what they can do to themselves. Public officials have the right to lie about sex because it is no one's business what they do in private, even if sexual harassment suits are lodged against them, i.e., President Clinton, or even if a young girl disappears shortly after talking with a congressman she was intimate with. Hello, Gary Condit.
Many Americans simply cannot or will not make judgments about behavior. And this is a tremendous change in our society. The danger here is that the absence of value-based judgments break down justice and discipline. Despite massive spending, public education is not doing the job in America. Kids are failing standardized tests in record numbers because the system is not holding them accountable for how they perform in the classroom.
In the criminal justice system, some mothers have been sentenced to probation for allowing their kids to die. And even people who slaughter infants and throw them in the garbage are given light jail terms. People who sell heroin and cocaine are now considered nonviolent offenders and many Americans feel they don't belong in prison at all. And of course, addicts have a disease and the taxpayers should pay for their treatment.
I could give you dozens of other examples of nonjudgmental policy that are eroding the quality of life in America. Our society needs to wake up and smell the corruption. Children need discipline and tough classroom standards. Child killers and drug pushers need to go to prison for a long time. And morally bankrupt congresspeople need to resign.
Privacy issues cannot be curtains for the corrupt to hide behind. The press has an obligation to report the truth and explain its significance. And Americans have to be receptive to hearing it. And that's the memo.
Most Ridiculous Item of the Day
Time now for "The Most Ridiculous Item of the Day." A man convicted of attempted murder walked out of an L.A. jail by using an ID containing a picture of Eddie Murphy. Kevin Jerome Pullum vanished on July 6 after he made a bogus ID card and hung it around his neck. A video camera caught him walking out the door dressed in civilian clothes. Apparently authorities somehow had allowed him to keep his clothes while in jail.
An informant told prison officials that Pullum cut Murphy's picture out of a newspaper ad for Dr. Doolittle," and while we're on the subject of do little, it seems like jail authorities might fit into that category. Pullum is still at large, and it is ridiculous.
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