Saturday, June 03, 2006

Social response to adultery

A young man had an affair with a married woman. Her husband discovered the affair and subsequently society turned against the interloper. The plot of a social novel? Nope, just the Chinese internet. Once again, online action has become the new venue for what would formerly have taken place in civil society (which, to be fair, was not terribly civil in this instance).

I'm not inclined to condemn those who called for "every company, every establishment, every office, school, hospital, shopping mall and public street to reject him . . . Don't accept him, don't admit him, don't identify with him until he makes a satisfying and convincing repentance." Freedom of association, baby. At some point, the behavior can cross the line into harassment, but simply refusing to deal with people who commit morally reprehensible acts is not itself reprehensible and can even be admirable. Whether the young man's actions merited this level of response is a separate question. They are having trouble keeping marriages together in China. Someone alert Stanley Kurtz and Maggie Gallagher.

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