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Cheating 2.0: More on the Self-Confusion of Sin, from TIME’s Jeremy Caplan

29 June, 2009

As a follow up to the previous post, here’s another example of the self-conflicted nature of humanity and human society ‘under the sun’ (Ecclesiastes — you might also want to check out this related post on Richard Dawkins and Francis Schaeffer).

According to Caplan, author of the article, ‘Cheating 2.0: New Mobile Apps Make Adultery Easier‘, several new online matchmaking sites tailor their services particularly for those already in a long-term committed relationship (usually marriage).

Caplan writes,

Even as public outrage boils up over the infidelity of South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford and Nevada Senator John Ensign, millions of Americans are sneaking online to do some surreptitious cheating of their own.

On just one such site,, according to Caplan, ‘679,000 men and women have used the service’ in order to get in touch with someone to cheat with — and that’s just in the past month.

Some of the best criticism of such sites comes from some of those who at first glance might appear to be most sympathetic: like fellow matchmaking website creator Trish McDermott. But on the contrary, she says,

This is a business built on the back of broken hearts, ruined marriages and damaged families…It’s in the business of rebranding infidelity,…making it not only monetizable, but adding a modicum of normalcy to it. AshleyMadison is making bad choices, broken promises and faithlessness look like something that’s trendy and hip and fun to talk about at a cocktail party.

Someone who helped found and obviously knows the difference between dating and adultery. But what about the CEO of one of these cheating sites, AshleyMadison’s Noel Biderman? Does he know the difference? After all, he says (seemingly oblivious to any personal responsibility),

We’re just a platform….No website or 30-second ad is going to convince anyone to cheat….People cheat because their lives aren’t working for them.

And yet, the most telling element of the article comes at the end. After Bidermann offers one last Social Darwinist appeal to the morally neutral nature of his business, Caplan asks him the most revealing question he can:

…Biderman offers no apologies. “Humans aren’t meant to be monogamous,” he says. So would this free-thinking CEO mind if his own wife used his site? “I would be devastated,” he says.

Self-conflicted, indeed.

One Comment
  1. 30 June, 2009 3:40 am


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