In New English Review, Dalrymple takes what one might call a morally pragmatic view of Silvio Berlusconi’s sex scandal:
This means that, under the rule of law, we have to accept certain conduct that we find distasteful or even disgusting, such as that alleged of Berlusconi. But because we have to accept it in the legal sense does not mean that we have to accept it in any other.
There is the further question of whether his private life (which seems to have been pretty well documented for a private life) is anybody’s business but his own. Even though people project themselves into the public sphere, they still have a right to a private life: they do not become public property, nor have we the right to demand of them that they should be exemplars of virtue in all respects.
On the other hand, we have a right to demand of them that, in return for entrusting them with high office, they behave with reasonable discretion and dignity. Whatever they do, whatever vice they indulge in, it should not be front of the children, namely us. This means that we must accept hypocrisy as being more desirable than consistency. But games of bunga-bunga in the basement of the villa of San Martino in Arcore are not really compatible with high office…