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The Trend of Higher Immorality

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Mills states that higher immorality refers to a “moral insensitivity among the most wealthy and powerful members of the US power elite” (Simon, 2006, p.47). With the spate of criminal cases appearing in the media, such as Martha Stewart and Enron, there definitely appears to be a trend of higher immorality. In addition to criminal cases, there are various other examples of immorality among the power elite. A recent event that supports the existence of higher immorality is the recent confession of San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom of an affair with a close friend’s wife. As reported in today’s San Jose Mercury News, Gavin Newsome admitted to having an affair with his deputy chief’s wife. In the news article, a San Francisco County Supervisor made the following observation, “I would thinking everyone who has a relationship to Gavin Newsom is probably second guessing what the content of his character is. That hurts” (Ostrom, 2007). This immoral affair involving a member of the power elite is clear evidence of the problem.

In response to whether or not the recent prosecution of Martha Stewart and others is an indication of a break down of higher immorality, I sincerely doubt it. San Francisco Mayor Newsom is a perfect example of how higher immorality comes with the power elite. Newsom is talented, rich and powerful yet he broadcasts to the world that he has the moral ethic of a toadstool by sleeping with a trusted advisor’s wife. Unfortunately the power elite seems to succumb to the pressures of all that power and a moral insensitivity sets in.


Ostrom, Mary Anne. (2007, Feb 1) Newsom apologizes for affair. San Jose Mercury News


Simon, David R. (2006) Elite Deviance, Pearson, Boston

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