I’m going to go over this very slowly. I am doing this because I believe, purely by association, that you are intellectually capable individuals. I am doing this because I believe, purely by *faith*, that you will at some point in your lives realize that you once stood over a murdered woman’s body and argued about how much she deserved it.**
—Violet (from punkassblog.com)
This quote demonstrates beautiful, and rare, moral clarity. In this post we examine the opposite of moral clarity. To very briefly recap the relevant evil position responded to above: the position was put forward that disappointed sexual expectations might be a mitigating factor in the extinguishing of a human life.
I wish to proceed with all due respect to the unique qualities of the above story and to the tender political sensibilities common at a time of societal upheaval and the transition of power. Without comparing the nature of the crimes, here are a couple of situations demonstrating the sort of sick dehumanization that Violet was reacting against–and perhaps illustrating the destination and the source of the involved proto-lawyers and their ilk.
While reiterating his belief that CIA officers who carried out so-called “enhanced interrogations” should not be prosecuted, the President said he wanted the Attorney General to make a determination on how to procede [sic] with “those who formulated those legal decisions.” — Daily Kos on torture prosecutions
This situation is related as if it were some kind of real ethical dilemma. How is a college educated adult to know if he is justified torturing an Asian peasant? Hmmmm. I guess if he’s told to by his boss, then it must be OK.
Should the guy who ordered him to torture the peasant get in trouble? Let’s see, if the lawyers (see Violet’s post again for insight into the humanity possessed by lawyers) said it’s alright, we’ll have to check with the Attorney General.
What do you say, AG? Weeelll, It’s unclear how we should deal with people who set up legal structures authorizing torture. We’ll have to check into it.
I have an idea, let’s ask a fucking kindergartner if people should torture each other. It will save alot of time and we’re far more likely to have a morally sane verdict rendered. Actually, the relevant public school curriculum may have to change to reflect the nature of our shared social code.
“Most schools that engage in strip searches do it because they are acting in good faith,” said Francisco Negron of the National School Boards Association. “They are doing it because they feel an intense need to protect the safety of the students.” — Some Asshat defending the strip searching of a 13 year old student thought to possess advil.
Before everyone flees down their pre-programmed mental escape routes, let me state again that I’m am not comparing the severity of these crimes. We, as a species need to battle through the layers of complicated exceptions, mitigating factors, and fear of apocalyptic outcomes and look at these events for what they are. If we want to live in a better world, we must call these events, and all such events, by their proper name: crimes against humanity–and perhaps more importantly, crimes against a human.
At some point, if we are ever to evolve beyond the savage barbarism that has been the hallmark of the human experience, we will have to reach a point of moral clarity. When is it OK to strip search a 13 year old? Never. When is it understandable to butcher another human being? Never. When can we excuse one individual for torturing or ordering torture of another individual? Never.
A civilized society, if one is ever to exist, will require a fabric of human dignity and of an expectation of respect for persons. This needs to replace the current and historic toxic environment of routine abuse, humiliation, degradation and inequality.
Have a lovely weekend.