Every day, Americans read the newspapers and look at the things that are going on around them and, somewhere inside, they know that something is terribly wrong. I call it the "Billy the Kid" syndrome. The legend once held that Billy became infamous and feared in the old west because he killed his first man before he had reached the age of sixteen. Today, a sixteen-year-old killing someone is not even newsworthy.
I am no psychiatrist, but to me this is clearly related to the concept of cognitive dissonance. It is a phenomenon that occurs when a person concurrently believes two things are true when, in reality, they are in direct conflict with each other. This is the place Americans now find themselves in and it is abortion that put us here. We continue to tell ourselves that we are a civilized nation while, simultaneously, sanctioning the wholesale slaughter of what we know to be innocent human beings. Each of us knows that the act of abortion is murder, but that knowledge cannot be reconciled with the reality that we made abortion legal. So we no longer call it murder; now it's just called a "choice." That is the way cognitive dissonance is resolved.
It has always seemed to me that this psychological disorder could only be found in human beings. I say this out of my observation that the human brain is the only form of matter on earth with the ability to intentionally deceive itself. It is from that ability that we can rationalize the worst behavior imaginable if it is something we want to do badly enough. What we conveniently ignore, however, is that this voluntary self-delusion always comes with a price. What we are seeing today is that, while we may still believe in the "vision" of America, the distinction between vision and hallucination is fading. By violating our own moral code, we have created a world for ourselves in which unforeseen and unintended consequences pace in the shadows like starving tigers. And even though the American people may not yet realize it, as long as they remain in this place, every path they take will lead them past another shadow.