Wednesday, March 7, 2012

The Easy Virtue

The pushback against Rush Limbaugh is going strong, with lots of advertisers and some radio stations dropping him. And that makes me very happy.

I've come to regard promiscuity as a positively virtuous trait, at least when people are taking care to practice safe sex. Character traits that contribute to the pleasure of others are generally regarded as virtuous, and promiscuity is a trait of that kind. As far as I know, this is holds in an especially strong way for female promiscuity, as a promiscuous woman may dramatically improve the lives of many lonely men. Sex has diminishing marginal utility, so if you're spreading it around to more people, you're probably generating a better distribution than if you're having it all with one person. (If women find it easier to attract short-term sex partners, a promiscuous man isn't likely to help lonely women quite as much, since they're likely to already have what they need.) Like being generous to the poor or courageous in dangerous situations, this isn't the sort of virtue that everybody has to include in their lives, but those who exhibit it should be admired.

There's an argument to be made that women who want the large array of publicly funded medical services to include birth control shouldn't be seen as promiscuous. Sounds right to me, and I'll let others talk about that if they want. I want to make the further and more fundamental point that an interest in having safe promiscuous sex with lots of men is a thing we ought to find admirable in a woman. Other behaviors with the tendency to improve others' lives are admired, and this ought to be no exception.

It's especially satisfying when villains meet their unexpected downfall in attempting to do something particularly dastardly. Rush was trying to make people ashamed of doing admirable and socially beneficial things. We probably won't see him get driven off the air entirely for this, but if it were to happen, it'd be sweet justice.

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