In my MVS post I said that the use of Clinton Derangement Syndrome (CDS) and Palin Derangement Syndrome (PDS) by the Obama campaign was the reason I was going to hold my nose and vote for McPalin. “Derangement” is the state of being deranged, and “deranged” is a synonym for insane.
After I wrote my original post I was struck by a thought: Are Obama supporters really deranged? I see two possible answers:
1. The people exhibiting CDS/PDS are conciously lying and are intentionally perpetrating fraud in order to help Obama win
2. The people exhibiting CDS/PDS really believe what they say and are not guilty by reason of insanity.
Let’s start with the latter possibility. The standard for the insanity defense was first set forth in the M’naghten Rules:
The House Of Lords, having deliberated, delivered the following exposition of the Rules:
“the jurors ought to be told in all cases that every man is presumed to be sane, and to possess a sufficient degree of reason to be responsible for his crimes, until the contrary be proved to their satisfaction; and that to establish a defence on the ground of insanity, it must be clearly proved that, at the time of the committing of the act, the party accused was labouring under such a defect of reason, from disease of the mind, as not to know the nature and quality of the act he was doing; or, if he did know it, that he did not know he was doing what was wrong”
As my Criminal Law instructor explained it, if the statue in front of the library tells you to commit murder and you do, you may be crazy but you are legally sane because you still knew what you did was wrong. But if it was God that told you to commit the murder then you would be legally insane because you couldn’t tell right from wrong. That is why a true insanity defense (as opposed to “diminished capacity”) is difficult to establish.
In order for the crazed chihuahuas of Obamanation to be considered not responsible for their words and actions during this campaign, they would have to have believed that everything they said about Hillary and Sarah was absolutely true. They would also have to believe that every story, rumor and allegation was material and relevant to the qualifications of the two women candidates.
On the other hand, if they knew what they were saying was false, or doubted it was true, or simply did not care whether it was true or not, then they are not insane, they are merely corrupt liars with no principles or decency. I tend to believe that they are not insane.
Now to be fair, some of them may indeed by completely detached from reality. Andrew Sullivan comes to mind as someone who no longer seems to know right from wrong. But I cannot read minds so I don’t know what he (or any other unhinged hater) really believes. One key indicator is what is known as “conciousness of guilt.” Any attempt to conceal the crime or lie about it indicates that the person is aware that they have done wrong, and if they know they have done wrong they are not insane.
The same thing would be true of rationalization. Let’s say that last March someone was piously intoning that a candidate’s religious beliefs, the doctrine of their church and/or the sermons of their pastor were completely irrelevant. But come September that same person was explaining why those same issues were relevant and material to Sarah Palin’s qualifications and gave specious explanations why the latter was different from the former. Those rationalizations would tend to indicate that the person was full of shit.
The same thing would be true if a self-professed feminist decried the sexist treatment of Hillary but approved of or even engaged in sexist attacks on Sarah Palin. The rationalizations Obama supporters give are intended to justify sacrifcing what they know is right to get what they want right now. Principles are useless if we discard them whenever they conflict with our desires. Where there is no temptation there is no virtue.
What’s the point of having principles if we don’t use them? Why bother fighting for principles if we don’t follow them? To paraphrase a saying about waging war for peace, lying and cheating in the name of moral principles is like fucking for virginity.