Bloomberg Anywhere Login

Bloomberg

Connecting decision makers to a dynamic network of information, people and ideas, Bloomberg quickly and accurately delivers business and financial information, news and insight around the world.

Company

Financial Products

Enterprise Products

Media

Customer Support

  • Americas

    +1 212 318 2000

  • Europe, Middle East, & Africa

    +44 20 7330 7500

  • Asia Pacific

    +65 6212 1000

Communications

Industry Products

Media Services

Follow Us

Congress

Congress Ousts Lunatics. Idiots Remain


Rather than cut “lunatic” from U.S. law, “we should use the word to describe the people who want to continue with business as usual in Washington” —GOP Representative Louie Gohmert (Tex.), the only House member to vote against the bill

Photograph by Scott J. Ferrell/Getty Images

Rather than cut “lunatic” from U.S. law, “we should use the word to describe the people who want to continue with business as usual in Washington” —GOP Representative Louie Gohmert (Tex.), the only House member to vote against the bill

While they dithered over spending, members of Congress found time on Dec. 5 to settle a less urgent matter: purging the word “lunatic” from the federal law books. The government precisely defines the terms it uses in laws, and since 1947 the first paragraph of the federal code has described insanity this way: “the words ‘insane’ and ‘insane person’ and ‘lunatic’ shall include every idiot, lunatic, insane person, and person non compos mentis.” At the urging of psychologists, who argued the definition is outdated and offensive, Congress voted to strike the word from the code. The rest of the language remains as is. So, according to U.S. law, the mentally ill can no longer be called lunatics. They can, however, still be called idiots.

Homan is a reporter for Bloomberg News.

LIMITED-TIME OFFER SUBSCRIBE NOW
 
blog comments powered by Disqus