Commentary

On Human Nature and Mike Pence's Dinner Partners

By Ben Shapiro | April 6, 2017 | 11:28am EDT
Vice President Mike Pence dances with his wife Karen at the Liberty Ball in Washington, in this Jan. 20, 2017, file photo. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

This week, the Washington Post published a long form piece about Vice President Mike Pence, which included a little tidbit that said, "In 2002, Mike Pence told the Hill that he never eats alone with a woman other than his wife and that he won't attend events featuring alcohol without her by his side, either." The left — and some elements of the secular-minded right — lost its ever-loving mind. Bret Stephens of the Wall Street Journal said this "religious fundamentalism" springs from "terror of women." Joanna Grossman of Vox called Pence's rule "probably illegal," saying it is "deeply damaging to women's employment opportunities."

Never mind that there's no evidence whatsoever of employment discrimination by Pence against women. Never mind that Pence's 30-plus year marriage is good evidence that his standards have worked for him and his wife in preserving their marriage. Pence is bad, and his standards are bad. What's more, they're theocratic insanity that wouldn't be out of place in countries ruled by Shariah.

What absolute horse pucky.

Pence isn't saying that every dinner with a woman potentially ends in the boudoir. He's saying that human beings are fallible, that they become particularly fallible away from their spouses in the wee hours, and that they become even more fallible than that around alcohol.

But this is one of the great foolish myths propagated by the left and now humored by even some on the right: that risk assessment by individual human beings, examining their own hearts, amounts to discrimination; that those who want to guard themselves from situations in which they are more likely to sin are somehow propagating societal myths.

It isn't true. Human beings sin. They sin because they are tempted. And they are tempted because they refuse to perform an honest assessment of their own hearts. Not all personal situations are created equal. A late-night dinner involving alcohol with a work colleague of the sex to which you could be attracted obviously carries more risk than working in the office with that same person in the middle of the day. Even leftists understand this, which is why there are significant restrictions on campus regarding male professors alone with female students and student-professor dating. As Damon Linker of The Week states: "What if morality requires social and cultural supports that limit individual freedom and that secular liberals are unwilling to forgo? ... Perhaps Pence's more morally traditional outlook has something in its favor — namely, realism."

Yet the left denies realism. It says that if Pence is tempted, that merely shows that his marriage is weak. The left's own logic with regard to sexual urges states that such urges are undeniable — so Pence must be perfect and asexual outside of marriage, or marriage itself is restrictive and nasty. To prove that his marriage is solid, therefore, Pence should be able to walk through a strip club without ever feeling a shred of temptation.

This is asinine. It's not how marriage works, and it's not how human beings work. It's not how life works, either. The left casts all individual sins at the feet of society, so it thinks that any prospective adultery must be the result of monogamy's evils or society's sexism. But no matter how you change social mores, people will sin and those they love will be hurt.

Unless, that is, people recognize their own limitations and set fences around themselves. That's not an act of discrimination or evil. That's an act of love — for a spouse, for a society and for a culture of decency that requires that we all take a long, hard look in the mirror before determining that we are incapable of sin.

Ben Shapiro, 33, is a graduate of UCLA and Harvard Law School, host of "The Ben Shapiro Show," and editor-in-chief of DailyWire.com. He is the New York Times best-selling author of "Bullies." He lives with his wife and two children in Los Angeles.

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