I don’t think the media has ever before been so blatant in its desire to divorce an evil act from its ideological origins, but this isn’t the first time we’ve seen that game played out. More than two years ago, a short lived comedy show on Fox used the occasion of an abortive bombing in London to examine the media’s perpetual confusion about motive:
I’d just like to add a couple more thoughts about whether the shooter was insane, since insanity is a free pass on the Left. After all, in a therapeutic world, nothing is normal. Everybody is a bundle of pathologies, some of which are worse — and therefore more excusable — than others. In that view, of course Hasan was insane, because only insane people kill. This is a comfortable tautology that removes all responsibility from the actor. It also brings to mind a joke Jay Nordlinger retells in today’s Impromptus:
Two liberals are walking down the road and they come to a person in the ditch. He has been beaten, and lies moaning, broken, bleeding. One liberal says to the other, “Quick, we have to find the people who did this: They need help.”
I also keep thinking of the 19th Century definition of insanity — the M’Naughton defense — which focused on the actor’s ability to distinguish right from wrong, and reality from absolute fantasy. It wasn’t a perfect measure by any means, but it tended to hew more closely to a normal person’s sense of what insanity is. You’re insane if you think the person next to you is a giant beetle and try to squash him; you’re not insane if you’re an adult in thrall to a homicidal ideology subscribed to by a substantial portion of the world’s population, and you decide to slaughter as many of your fellow soldiers as possible in order to advance that ideology.
Hat tip: Sadie