The arc of modern scandal is depressingly familiar. Transgression followed by exposure, perhaps accompanied by a fleeting detour into denial. Then tearful confession and, finally, the inevitable journey to rehab.
In light of the Weiner scandal of 2011, Ruth Marcus of the Washington Post has some insightful views of how our Nation looks at sin as an addiction, so that we can explain it away and not take responsibility for it.
Increasingly, in our Rehab Nation, the concept of sin has been replaced by the language of addiction. Shame has been supplanted by therapeutic intervention. The disease model of misbehavior dictates that there are no bad people, only damaged individuals compelled to commit harmful acts. In this scenario, personal responsibility evaporates and virtue becomes an anachronism.
“This is not something that can be treated away,” Weiner said at his tearful news conference. One excruciating week later, Weiner was, yes, getting it treated away. The congressman, his spokeswoman said, “has determined that he needs this time to get healthy.” Excuse me, but this isn’t about Weiner’s health; it’s about his shameful behavior.