Both Harvey Weinstein and Kevin Spacey have announced they are going into "rehab" in order to seek "treatment" for the actions that have recently come to light.
Weinstein said he, like Tiger Woods and Anthony Weiner, as well as numerous celebrities before him, is going into "treatment" for "sex addiction." It was not disclosed what Spacey would be seeking treatment for.
Of course, Weinstein and Spacey are not the first celebrities to press the rehab button after being publicly outed for some scandalous behavior. In fact, it's what they all do now.
The terms "rehab," "treatment," and "sex addiction" are all terms from the psychologist's playbook. They are therapeutic terms from a discipline that views all of human behavior from a purely scientific viewpoint. Your actions are not considered primarily in moral terms, but in medical terms.
To view your actions in medical terms has a distinct advantage: It relieves us of moral responsibility. Our bad actions are not the consequences of a sinful condition, but the symptoms of a disease. We are not sinful, but merely sick.
What need is there for us to talk about good and evil, sin and virtue when we've got Freud and Jung and Carl Rogers?
In the old days, when our culture had a Christian consciousness, there was a three-step process to deal with public revelations of bad behavior:
1) You publicly admit that you did something wrong.
2) You ask others to forgive you for your dirtbag actions.
3) You promise that you aren’t going to perform your dirtbag actions again.
There was no nonsense about your dirtbag condition being a medical problem. But now that our culture has abandoned the Christian worldview, it seeks refuge in science to explain our behavior. So now the process now goes something like this:
1) You publicly admit that you did something "inappropriate."
2) You ask others to forgive you for your "inappropriate" actions.
3) You announce that you are going into "rehab."
Note the shift of responsibility from yourself to conditions outside your control—the disease for which you are seeking "treatment."
The ancient philosopher Aristotle had this all figured out. He outlined the seven reasons people do things, three of which (nature, compulsion, and chance) were involuntary, and four (habit, wish, passion, and appetite) which were voluntary.
What the modern perpetrator of evil actions tries to do when caught is to evade responsibility by portraying his voluntary actions (for which he can be praised or blamed, rewarded or punished) as involuntary actions (for which he can neither be blamed nor punished).
Who can be blamed for something that is out of his control? Who can be punished for actions resulting from a disease? Unlike perversion, for which one was culpable, one cannot be held responsible for "sex addiction," which is a disease.
Welcome to Hollywood morality—a morality that is not morality at all, but a clever framework for evading moral responsibility altogether.
Martin Cothran is the editor of Classical Teacher magazine, published by Memoria Press, and the director of the Classical Latin School Association.