Thomas Sowell

The vogue of being "non-judgmental" strips away these safeguards, leaving only formal legal processes to deal with transgressions after they have reached major proportions and can also be proved in a court of law. That is like driving cars with no brakes and leaving the problems to be dealt with only after they reach the point where people are in the hospital or the morgue.

Any society has its social equivalents of traffic lights, brakes and steering wheels, so that problems can be avoided before there is a wreck. Those who thoughtlessly weaken or wave aside informal social safeguards allow dangerous behavior to continue until it wreaks havoc.

Some people in the media and in politics have tried to argue that the early and informal sanction of moral condemnation should not be used because everyone "is innocent until proven guilty." That is the standard for criminal law, not moral condemnation or political judgment.

We make the great majority of our decisions in life without the kind of evidence that would be admissible in a criminal trial. Unfortunately, there are too many people who do not even think in terms of the contexts in which different standards and procedures apply. They simply repeat the slogans of the hour, as put out by the spinmeisters.

Even if we assume, for the sake of argument, that Gary Condit had nothing whatever to do with the disappearance of Chandra Levy, he has still knowingly reduced the chances of finding her alive. In those early days after she was reported missing, when there might have been some chance of finding her before it was too late, Condit withheld information that could have either put the police on the right track or at least kept them from having to spend much precious time sifting through his lies and evasions.

This devious man with his long history of a double life needs to be condemned as a moral leper and removed as a security risk -- long before the point where criminal law would be applied.

Thomas Sowell

Thomas Sowell is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institute and author of The Housing Boom and Bust.

Creators Syndicate