Slouching Towards Bethlehem

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Cause and Effect

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A response (Steven Rose) to a response (Christopher Hitchens) to the ongoing Amis drama. Hitchens provides a back-handed defense of Amis, stating, as the title of his piece imaginatively puts it, that Amis is not a racist. Leave out the digressions and the article does little more than quibble over definitions.

Bravo. Very courageous of you, Mr. Hitchens, as always.

What Hitchens ignores, however, is what is really intellectually offensive about what Amis said: collective punishment. It’s always been the Fascists that think collective punishment works. During WWII, the Japanese government instituted a system in which families were grouped by neighborhood block. If one person in the block were found to be a spy/traitor/enemy-sympathizer/etc., punishment would be meted out to all members of the block. This incentive to self-monitor and self-regulate was, as can be imagined, fairly successful. Similar methods of collective punishment were used by the Nazis, with similar short-term success.

Therefore, I suggest to Mr. Amis and Mr. Hitchens that they make a proposal to the governing authorities in the UK to institute a similar plan. Messrs. Amis and Hitchens can find details of the German and Japanese systems in their own copious brains, or if that fails, on the internet. That the kind of collective punishment envisioned by Mr. Amis, defended by Mr. Hitchens, is prohibited by the Fourth Geneva Convention is, well, irrelevant, isn’t it? The Geneva Conventions are so September 10th.

So, Mr. Amis, put your money where you mouth is, and let’s do this thing!

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Written by Homo Ĺ’conomicus

November 24, 2007 at 4:15 pm