What do Albert Einstein, John F. Kennedy, Dwight D. Eisenhower, Bill Clinton and David Petraeus have in common? They’re just some of the brilliant leaders and thinkers also known for their extramarital affairs. KIRO’s John Curley argues it’s because many are simply hard wired that way.
“If you want to blame them socially, go ahead. But if you want to understand them biologically, you will be able to understand their action,” Curley says of the pioneering work of Desmond Morris, the zoologist and psychologist who authored the seminal book “The Naked Ape.” In it, Morris posits men (and women) are no different than animals. The strongest of the species are genetically predisposed to unbridled sexual urges and a need to dominate, just like apes.
“I’m just saying, biologically, understand that when you have an alpha male leader, someone like David Petraeus, this stuff will happen. It’s happening all the time. If you want to have a society that’s cleaned itself of adulteress behaviors, then you probably will not have necessarily alpha people in leadership positions,” says Curley, who insists he’s not condoning adultery, just trying to bring some understanding to what seems to be an all too common occurrence with powerful people.
But not everyone agrees. In response to a conversation about Petraeus on Seattle’s Morning News, listener Penny from Enumclaw writes:
“So we just let behavior fall to the lowest common denominator and be happy with it? I say we hold everyone, especially our leaders, to the highest standards so that they can be an example of behavior to the nation. Anything else is bringing us to the behavioral gutter.”
But Curley argues you simply can’t discount some men’s inherent nature.
“All I can say is, you have to look at biologically who he is, where he is, and is it necessarily a character flaw? You would say that it is deeply, deeply wired in him as a person.”
What do you think? Is adultery unavoidable for some men?