In light of the Petraeus scandal, CNN posed the question of why men in positions of power continue to “risk exposure and punishment” by having extramarital affairs. Where to start?
I suppose I could answer that question by talking about the dynamics of power and how it affects the mind. I could weave you countless tales of men who rose to prominent positions in society, in the military, in the government, because they always won, they always were successful at whatever they put their minds to. How every plan they ever concocted went off without a hitch. How they always got what they wanted, and there were never any consequences. How they were insulated from reality by their own accomplishments, their own greatness. Until it all came crashing down. The Eliot Spitzers. The Raj Rajaratnams. The Lance Armstrongs. The Bill Clintons. The LeBron Jameses.
Or, I could regale you with stories of the American psyche, how we, as a people, are inherently risk-takers. That it is in our nature to gamble to get the things we want. That we roll the dice on subprime mortgages and leveraged buyouts. That we spend $50 billion a year on lottery tickets. That we invest our money in an extremely volatile and unpredictable market because a baby with a computer-generated mouth tells us it’s easy. That we honestly believe that we, we will never get cancer by smoking even though we know that smoking causes cancer. That we always think you should go for it on 4th down against the Patriots because they are just going to score anyway. I could talk about all that.
Or I could just say sex with younger women.
Yah. That’s probably the answer.