Faulty reasoning explains Sanford election victory

info@islandpacket.comMay 13, 2013 

Peccadillo: a slight offense: a petty fault, as Webster's puts it. So when I read a letter from a writer who states that the newspaper was biased in its "unsubtle questioning of Sanford's ability to overcome his personal peccadillos ...."

I had to laugh. Peccadillos? Sanford snuck out of the country without telling the lieutenant governor. He concocted a lie for his staff to tell. He was fined a record $70,000 for additional unethical behavior. This latter he attempted to explain away -- in a letter to the Packet -- by stating everyone did it; the ends justified the means; and he merely violated an "unknown code." The latter is S.C. Code of Regulations for airline travel Chapter 19.101, Para. 03; it's easily discoverable.

I grew up near Boston and remember another former member of the U.S. House, James Michael Curley. He was elected to Boston's Board of Aldermen while serving a prison term. Later he served another prison term while mayor. His constituents rationalized all his "peccadillos" away throughout his checkered career, much as Sanford supporters do today. The psychologists call this "motivated reasoning." Information threatening to their opinions is routed to those areas of the brain that involve implicit emotion regulation -- damage control -- instead of going to the areas of the brain where reasoning is carried out.

Well, they have 17 months to kick this addictive habit and elect someone better. Let's hope Sanford stays true to form in the meantime and remains a minor player in Washington.

David Peterson

Port Royal

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