Rehab is mostly a con, to the extent it's not a joke. This is nowhere better illustrated than in the never-ending saga of Ms. Rehab herself, Lindsay Lohan. I've put up so many posts about Ms. Rehab that I'm not going to try to link them, in part because today's post is about something very different.
The reason rehab is mostly a con is that it takes root in a fundamentally flawed premise -- that, with the right prison counseling, government programs, employment opportunities, and generally a sufficient degree of Officially Mandated Compassion, wrongdoers will change.
That is incorrect for the same reason much liberal thinking about crime is incorrect, to wit, it misconceives human nature. Human beings can change, and they can be redeemed. But it doesn't happen because of what the government does, no matter how elaborate, expensive or well-intended. It happens, when it does, because some few people have the courage and honesty to face up to what they've done wrong, and the conscience and inner strength to do better.
That does not mean renting a sleaze-ball shrink to write a long report about how the miscreant has seen the light. It does not mean taking a brief timeout from your shenanigans before holding a news conference to announce your latest bid to return to prominence, a' la Anthony Wiener, Elliot Spitzer and Mark Sanford. What rehabilitation actually means is illustrated in today's piece in the Wall Street Journal.