Introduction to You Don't Know Me : Part 1

08/05/2008 04:41 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

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When Tin House Books commissioned the in-depth research project that is reflected herein, we really had no idea of the statistics that would be unearthed. Here are some of them: 22 examples of adultery; 10 transactions with prostitutes; 3 occurrences of incest; 4 acts of indecent exposure; unwelcome advances resulting in 6 reports of sexual assault and 4 of sexual battery; 15 cases of child molestation, 13 of involvement with child pornography, 7 of soliciting sex with minors, 3 specifically concerning children 5 years old, and one concerning a 3-year-old. The grand total amounts to 110 instances of sexual misconduct by the Right, 46 of them -- nearly 42 percent of the total -- classifiable as pedophilia. This conduct involved 32 federally elected Republican officials or candidates for federal office, 41 state and locally elected Republican officials, 8 nationally known Republican Party figures, and 23 Republican or conservative activists.

What could possibly explain this overwhelming deviance from professed moral standards? I will explore what I see as two complementary answers to this question, one psychological and one philosophical, which mirror and reinforce each other. First I will turn to the psychological ...