Jeb Bush

The Restoration of Shame

JM Ashby
Written by JM Ashby

I think everyone should be given a chance to make up for their mistakes, reverse their previously held political positions and become a better person as it's the only way we can grow.

With that said, Jeb Bush has some questions to answer.

Someone actually read a book written by Jeb "the Smart One" Bush in 1995 and discovered within it a chapter titled The Restoration of Shame.

One of the reasons more young women are giving birth out of wedlock and more young men are walking away from their paternal obligations is that there is no longer a stigma attached to this behavior, no reason to feel shame. Many of these young women and young men look around and see their friends engaged in the same irresponsible conduct. Their parents and neighbors have become ineffective at attaching some sense of ridicule to this behavior. There was a time when neighbors and communities would frown on out of wedlock births and when public condemnation was enough of a stimulus for one to be careful.

I shit you not, Jeb Bush specifically cites The Scarlet Letter as an instructional tale for our times.

"Infamous shotgun weddings and Nathaniel Hawthorne's Scarlet Letter are reminders that public condemnation of irresponsible sexual behavior has strong historical roots,” Bush wrote.

I grew up and went to a public city school in conservative central Kentucky, but even there the Scarlet Letter was not presented as an instructional video. We read the book and watched the film in my Sophomore literature class and the moral of the story, which we were required to summarize after the conclusion, was that this kind of shaming is bad; not good.

A lot has changed since 1995 (or 1999 for that matter), but Jeb Bush needs to explicitly say he no longer believes single parents should be publicly shamed with scarlet letters.

On the other hand, Jeb could confirm that he still believes that they should be branded and shamed.

  • GrafZeppelin127

    A few years back I remember having a conversation about abortion with a white, overprivileged 17-year-old. Good kid, nice kid, whom I’d known a long time, but inexperienced and oblivious. His idea, basically, was that abortion should be illegal (i.e., a crime), but that there should be no actual punishment (no prison or fine) for it. I asked him what the point of that would be, and he said, essentially, public shaming of anyone who has an abortion. I had to explain to him, as gently as I could, that we do not use the law for the sole purpose of publicly shaming those of whose behavior we don’t approve. He didn’t agree, or really understand.

  • aynwrong

    While were at it, maybe we should consider bringing back “witch trials.” Those folks in Salem might have been on to something.

  • mnpollio

    The Scarlet Letter can also cited as evidence of the rank hypocrisy of Puritanism and Christianity since the very man leading the charge against Hester Prynne was the same one sharing her favors – which sounds strikingly similar to Republican behavior these days. But seriously, if Jeb is all for shaming people to take responsibility for their bad decisions, I say let’s honor his request and start with his brother, George W. and Dick Cheney. Instead of feting them on talk shows for their lousy decisions that have damn near ruined the country and holding noses and pretending that everything is kosher with them, let’s drag them out, tar and feather them, throw them in the Potomac, have them personally repay back the U.S. money wasted on needless warfare out of their own pockets and ostracize them. Sounds like a plan.

  • Victor the Crab

    Yeah Jeb, just try and shame people into living a life you disapprove of. It’ll guarantee you having no teeth left over from the busted, fist blasted face you’re due, asshole!

  • i_a_c

    The Scarlet Letter was fucking awful. Loathed every moment of it. School ruined books for me.

    • GrafZeppelin127

      I never taught it. I hated it too.

  • McKinley

    “There was a time when neighbors and communities would frown on out of wedlock births”

    That was also the time when the blacks knew their place, women could not get bank loans, and abused children’s bruises were ignored.

    • muselet

      I believe the Right calls those The Good Old Days.

      –alopecia

  • muselet

    “Irresponsible sexual behavior.”

    As ever, this is what really gets the Right’s collective knickers in a twist: the poors are having sex without the permission of their betters, and even having sex—gasp shock horror—when they’re not married! And Jeb Bush, in order to polish his Righty cred, had to bleat about how the poors deserved to be shamed for daring to have sex wrong.

    It’s all so depressingly predictable.

    –alopecia

  • Christopher Foxx

    Looks to me like he’s citing The Scarlet Letter as example of how shame used to be used, not that he’s saying we should return to those times. Similar to how I might point to Hitler (going Godwin!) as an example of the influence a powerful speaker could have. Wouldn’t mean I was calling for a return to national socialism, and Bush is not calling for scarlet letters and brandings.

    I agree with Bush that shame should be used more often and more effectively to keep people from acting in anti-social ways. The difference (and here is where he should be taken to task for, not his reference to a book) is where that shame is directed. Bush would direct it at the downtrodden and uneducated, when it should be directed at rich, well-connected politicians who pander to the most shameful wings of their parties.

    Bush sees no shame in what his fellow Republican candidates are advocating. He doesn’t believe Republicans should be shamed for their reprehensible attempts to disenfranchise voters and steal elections. He doesn’t believe Hucklebee should be shamed for his unrelenting support of Duggar, that Walker should be shamed for his comments on rape, etc.

    Bush is advocating the use of shame, a good thing. But like any Republican he’s a hypocrite in what he thinks is shameful.

    • mdblanche

      But if you’re calling for a restoration of public speaking, and you cite Hitler as a historical example, what do you expect people to think? Besides you not being “The Smart One”?

      • Christopher Foxx

        But if you’re calling for a restoration of public speaking, and you cite Hitler as a historical example, what do you expect people to think?

        I’d expect they’ll get all tied up in my using Hitler as an example and manage to miss the point I was making, but that’s because mentions of Hitler serve as red flags to folks and I don’t have high expectations for people generally.

        I’d hope they wouldn’t focus on that particular and instead engage in the discussion of the thing actually being discussed.

        I’d hope they’d be saying something like “No, he wasn’t a powerful speaker so that’s a bad example.” or “It isn’t just having a powerful speaker. The situation has to be that the audience is in need of something. Cicero himself couldn’t spur a satisfied people to action.”
        I expect I’d get “You mentioned Hitler as an example of something. Clearly you’re wrong about, um…, whatever it was you were writing about.”

    • JMAshby

      Looks to me like he’s citing The Scarlet Letter as example of how shame used to be used, not that he’s saying we should return to those times.

      Taking into context his written words, I don’t get that impression at all.

      He is lamenting the demise of shame; the lack of shame. He thinks we need to go back to shaming people more.

      And this is a guy, Jeb Bush, who also cites Charles Murray as one of his favorite authors.

      If it looks like a duck and quacks like a duck…

      • Christopher Foxx

        Taking into context his written words, I don’t get that impression at all.

        I’ll have to look at the link you provide and see his words in their larger context. In the extract you pulled (which, admittedly, is all I’ve read so far) it still appears to me that he’s essentially providing support for a claim that shame has historical roots, rather than advocating that we look to how it was applied in the past as an example.

        In any event, his choice of The Scarlet Letter isn’t really the thing worth attacking him for. Yeah, you could. But it’s akin to complaining that someone held the gun improperly when they pointed it at another person. It’s certainly not the safe way to hold a gun, but is that really the main thing to complain about?

        It’s not which book Bush gave as an example of shame being used, it’s that he’s got a ridiculous idea of what is shameful.

        He thinks we need to go back to shaming people more.

        And I’ll reiterate that, on that, I agree with him. How many times have I commented here and the Banter that the the Dems should be calling the Republicans on their shit? IOW, they should be publicly shaming them for the things they’ve been doing.

        Shame can be a powerful force. There’s a reason politicians like “anonymous holds” and closed door meetings. They don’t want folks knowing what their doing because if it was known, they’d feel shame and compelled to act better.

        So Bush is right to call for more public shaming. But he’s completely wrong on which things should be pointed to as shameful.