Admiring Manson


by Mike Adams

Ideas have consequences and bad ideas have bad ones. I’m often reminded of that when I have a conversation that broaches the subject of human evil. As most of my readers already know, the denial of human evil is a very real problem among younger generations of Americans. Just last week, however, I had a conversation with a college student that really stopped me in my tracks. I have reproduced it below but not for anyone’s entertainment. I have some observations that follow. I hope you’ll give them careful consideration after you read the following exchange:

UNC-Wilmington Student: What courses do you teach at UNCW?

Me: Right now, I’m teaching Law of Evidence and Trials of the Century, a course that focuses on famous American criminal trials.

Student: What case are you covering now?

Me: We’re discussing Charles Manson.

Student: I sort of admire Charles Manson.

Me: What do you mean by that? Is it the murderer part or the racist part you admire most in Manson?

Student: Well, he didn’t actually murder anyone.

Me: Actually he did. Under the vicarious liability rule of criminal conspiracy, the act of entering a conspiracy substitutes in place of the act of killing in order to fulfill the actus reus requirement. Add the intent or mens rea elements and we have the two major ingredients necessary for a crime.

Student: That’s just a technicality.

Me: The same thing applies to Hitler. Certainly, you would have no reservations calling Hitler a murderer in a purely moral sense. Calling Hitler a murderer doesn’t rest on a technicality just because he had others carry out the acts.

Student: Well, the Manson family was different. They didn’t follow Manson’s instructions. He just wanted people killed. He didn’t want them butchered.

Me: I won’t concede that you are right about that but I want to better understand your position. Are you saying that gratuitous murder is reprehensible but that clean and efficient murder is admirable? Help me out, here.

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