In his controversial pro-union musical “The Cradle Will Rock” (adapted to the screen by Tim Robbins in 1999) American composer and lyricist Marc Blitzstein inverted the notion of “prostitution.” He made the prostitute Moll the character with integrity and morality and underscored that the real “prostitutes” are, in the words of famed playwright Bertolt Brecht, “the press, the church, the courts, the arts, the whole system." In other words, the term “prostitute” applies to figures or institutions who sell their morality and ethics for their own self-interested gains.

Becoming a people without a moral compass

I can’t think of a better way to describe what is just so omnipresent in our world today, where we see more disturbing examples of people acting immorally for their own selfish interests. In short, we are distressingly becoming a people without a moral compass, preferring to fulfill our consumption appetites (think of all the commodities we consume that can only get made at the expense or suffering of others and/or our environment) and advance our own mercenary and ideological (political) interests than do the right thing.

What is even more distressing than sexual predators

Take for example the recent wave of sexual predation scandals that have rocked the world, from Fox News to Hollywood.

Of course, the main brunt of these scandals are the sexual predators themselves, but that isn’t what most disturbs me. As I’ve discussed in other articles, sexual predators are mentally ill and thus subject to their sick compulsions, in this case, sexual predation. Of course, that doesn’t exonerate them in any way – they need to be held accountable for their actions and punished – but it does give us a kind of understanding of why they commit such sick acts.

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That isn’t the case for those individuals who knew about their sexual predation and did nothing about it.

Quentin Tarantino's remarkable confession

Remarkably, Quentin Tarantino admits to this moral lack. In an interview with the “New York Times,” Tarantino admits that he knew about Harvey Weinstein’s sexual predation: “I knew enough to do more than I did.” Tarantino goes on to suggest that he said and did nothing, so he could continue to make movies for Weinstein.

Now, I must admit that I have just the slightest bit of appreciation for Tarantino admitting to this truly egregious choice on his part, especially considering that most figures in Hollywood will deny that they knew anything about it. Weinstein, apparently, was an open secret that many if not most in Hollywood were aware of. Having said that, to my mind, nothing is more symptomatic of social “prostitution” than Tarantino choosing his career over the sexual abuse of women.

Some Roy Moore supporters said what?

We see this Tarantino sensibility again writ large with the Roy Moore sex scandal that just broke. In yet another sexual predation scandal, Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore has been accused of sexually molesting a 14-year-old girl when he was the age of 32.

(He has also been accused of pursuing three other 16 to 18-year-old girls.) What is just so disturbing about this scandal is that many (most?) Moore supporters say that even if the charges are true that they will still vote for Moore. For one, Jerry Pow, the chairman of the Bibb County Republican Party, told the Toronto Star's Daniel Dale: “I would vote for Judge Moore because I wouldn’t want to vote for Doug,” the Democratic candidate. This admission on the part of Pow and other Moore supporters is just mind blowing in its blatant disregard for morality.

The truly disturbing example of the 'Paradise Papers'

Of course, this “prostituting” of one’s moral-self goes beyond sex scandals. We see such immoral behavior in other areas as well, perhaps the most glaring recent example being the revelations in the “Paradise Papers.” The “Paradise Papers” reveal something extremely disturbing, how our wealthiest millionaires and billionaires hide money in offshore accounts, all so they can avoid paying taxes on their obscene wealth.

This money just sits there, not getting invested in anything or redistributed (e.g. taxed) to the many, many needs in our society and world. Nothing speaks to a lack of morality than this choice between accruing more and more wealth that does nothing but collect dust or using that wealth to ameliorate the world’s needs and ease some of the immense sufferings that go on every day.

Our unstable President Trump

These are just two of the more glaring examples. I could literally cite hundreds (yes, "hundreds"!) of others, including of course perhaps the most distressing example of social “prostitution,” the continuing support of President Donald Trump, who is unquestionably mentally ill. At the very least, Trump is a pathological liar, which is a mental illness, though one could make a case for other mental illnesses, which a group of psychiatrists recently have done in the book “The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump: 27 Psychiatrists and Mental Health Experts Assess a President.” Moreover, I would contend that due to his mental instability, Trump is a clear and present danger to our society (e.g., for one thing, Trump has insinuated that he is open to nuclear war, though that only begins the many examples of how he is a danger to us).

And, yet, still, Trump garners support.

Normalizing immorality...a new dark age?

But then how can it be otherwise, since our very economic and social system, capitalism, is by design a put-profit-before-people, survival of the fittest, mercenary system, which, in turn, incubates people to be this model of “prostituting” one’s moral self for one’s consumption habits and/or one’s immoral self-interests. Morality And Ethics don’t stand a chance! The deeper implications of this morality deficit are dire: If people continue this path of doing away with their morality and ethics for their own self-interests – or ignore or even support immoral and unethical figures such as Harvey Weinstein and Roy Moore – they in effect normalize immoral choices and behavior, which, in turn, means giving their consent to future immoral indiscretions, a way of being that could potentially plunge us into a new dark age.