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      Everyone remember the Panama papers? A leak of bank records showing that the ultra-rich are hiding massive wealth, tax-free and often breaking the law to do so? A rather weak set of laws designed to allow tax avoidance by rich people, at that. Found out the other day that the reporter who broke the Panama Papers story was killed by a car bomb. Coincidence, n […]
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I Think That The Republican Party is Literally Insane

We use the word “insane” very casually at times. It has become one of those adjectives that people toss in to be emphatic. “That was an insane ending to the movie.” “What an insanely great idea.”There are too many words which lose meaning that way,, because they are used so reflexively, as a kind of pseudo-cool negation of their actual meaning.

But of course the word “insane’ actually means “not sane.” Devoid of reason. Very dangerous, not susceptible to rational discussion. Perhaps psychotic, incapable of seeing objects for what they are, hallucinating.

The law has struggled with definitions of insanity for the purpose of criminal defense. Various states have tried to define what is insanity, in terms of a defendant being able to escape conviction for a crime. There is the “M’Naghten Defense” which hinges on whether a defendant “could tell right from wrong.” There has been the “Irresistible Impulse Defense,” where a defense attorney would need to prove that his client was in the grip of an impulse he had no ability to control. There is the “Substantial Capacity Test,” which was successfully used by John Hinckley in his trial for the attempted murder of President Reagan, which caused some states to revert to the more rigid M’Naghten Rule.

Some might think that the insanity defense is too broad; some contend that there should not be one, that if you commit a capital crime, you should be found guilty, unless you can plead self-defense. Those are very interesting topics for criminal law classes, or among legal scholars who have tried to make the law reasonable and fair.

There was a groundbreaking psychiatrist and professor, Thomas Szasz, who argued that insanity was not something you could objectively prove, that it was only hypothesized from behavior. It is not like a torn meniscus or appendicitis, where there are tests that can show whether you have it or not. He contended that it is society which is making pronouncements about people’s sanity or lack of sanity,through how they act, or what they say. In other words, the outsider, the person who does not behave in ways we deem as normal, might be labeled as insane. People who talk to themselves aloud, do not comply with standards of being dressed, do not sit quietly at lectures, but start yelling; or talking to people who are not there. Szasz might ague that these are just violations of “norms,” the person might be following different norms, or just be unconventional, but we label them as clinically insane, which is wrong

Well, it is an argument which makes one think. But in our legal system, we try to define insanity. We do it in terms of whether we deem that someone is a danger to himself and others, and should be institutionalized. Of course, we have seen many shows where some greedy relative tries to get someone put away, on the grounds that he is insane. There are great injustices done at times.

But of course there are people who should be kept away from others, but are not. I am specifically referring to the men who end up shooting many people, of whom we later find out that their family was concerned about them, tried to tell law enforcement, and nothing was done. How do we decide who needs intervention and treatment, to protect themselves and others, and those who are just acting unusually but are not real threats, or not enough to take away their freedom? The important thing is that one does not need some biologically proven finding of “insanity” to deem someone as very dangerous to health and safety.

With all that as backdrop, I will now contend that to a large extent, the Republican Party, and those who call themselves Republicans, are insane. Their statements and actions deny objective reality. They are sociopaths, which of course betokens mental illness. They have no restraints. They will not listen to reason, to scientific facts. They believe in literally insane theories of conspiracies involving cannibalistic pedophiles, Jewish space lasers, and other psychotic stories spun by some man who calls himself “Q,” and whom they follow and even worship. They think that Donald Trump was sent here by a deity, to save them and the country.

Those of course are not the whole of the Republican Party, but they are becoming an increasingly larger part But let us concentrate on Republican Party officials, the ones who have the power to make laws, and who want to control the electoral system and governance in America.

Let’s consider the organization which calls itself the Cyber Ninjas, which has managed to obtain the authority from the Republican controlled Arizona state senate, to recount the ballots in last year’s election in Arizona. They wanted to do it in total secrecy but the courts have not allowed that. They continue with what they say is recounting the ballots, they want to use ultraviolet light, which officials say can forever damage the ballots.

Obviously , their goal is to say that Trump won Arizona, not Biden, despite the earlier counting of votes, and then two recounts demanded by Republicans; and statements by Arizona election officials that the election was totally free and fair. Trump now says that “The Big Lie,” which of course referred to Republicans’ fantasies that Biden did not actually win, is actually the lie that Trump lost. He is waiting for more recounts, more statements by Ninjas or whomever, that he won various states. What would he do with these lies? Maybe call for another insurrection, overthrow of the government. Maybe try to spur the assassination of our elected officials. How does this not fall under any reasonable definition of insanity?

We read that 70% of Republicans believe that Biden did not win. Is this not insanity? What else would one call it.? That they are just making it up for effect, for political gain? Some may, but most have now been brainwashed into believing it. And that is just another way of describing insanity.

How do they think that Democrats stole the election? Through what magical devices did they somehow flip millions of votes from Trump to Biden? They put on their cloaks of invisibility, and crept into the vote-counting rooms, and changed the votes? They think that Dominion voting machines,which Democrats somehow controlled, changed the votes? After Dominion sued news outlets for these allegations, they had to withdraw them to try to avoid paying billions of dollars in damages, for making libelous statements. But of course the point of the statements was to plant them in people’s minds, to make them become insane, I suppose.

How many Republicans say that “the election was stolen,” and yet cannot come up with one conceivable description, or verifiable fact, as to how this was done? How is that not psychosis? Oh, one might say, that they really don’t believe it, they “just” want to take over the country forever through the use of these lies. What would we call that? Megalomaniac behavior? Extreme sociopathy, where nothing matters to them but their own gratification? And again, their targets believe it. To me, this is mass psychosis, the kind created by Hitler and Jim Jones.

What I am trying to emphasize, is that this is not normal, this is not within the “normal” range of politics, however much that has involved lies and distortions and warping of facts. This is literally insanity. This is believing in a cult, viewing Trump as having been sent from their version of heaven. This is subscribing to every deranged fantasy that drips from the computer of “Q.”

This is creating their own reality, and simply denying anything which shows it to be false. It is refusing to get vaccinated, refusing to wear masks, assaulting flight attendants who are just trying to enforce health protocols. Risking the lives of themselves, their families, and everyone else, because they don’t want to hear from scientists. It is refusing to accept that global warming is real, calling it, and everything else they don’t want to acknowledge, “a hoax,” and “fake news.”

True psychotics do not see the same world that normal people do. The most dangerous of them might kill someone because they think he is from outer space, or believe that he is about to attack them. If you run into a seemingly psychotic person on the street, and he is shouting angrily at no one in particular, you are supposed to look away, never acknowledge or engage with him. That can usually be done in the singular, but how do we cope with an army of millions of psychotics, who will gleefully try to kill elected officials, and overthrow the government, because of what their brainwashers have told them? And what do we do about those elected officials in suits, who stand up there and say that the election was stolen, that the person who really won it, is being denied his lawful right to power?

This is beyond dangerous. It is the stuff of Nazi Germany. It is not being viewed by most of the media with the sense of extreme danger which it deserves. This is not “both sides” stuff, it is an entire political party slipping further into literal insanity with each day.

And no one should think that, “if we just let them win, they will start acting rationally, even if we do not like what they do.” This has gotten far beyond just lying and dissembling in order to win, as bad as that is. This is about some kind of insane grip which has taken over people at the highest levels of that party. Look at the expressions on the face of Kevin McCarthy now, and tell me that he is just partisan but rational, or that he would not be like the insane megalomaniac fascists who almost took over the world in the last century.