Tag Archives: Sontag

Send in the troops? A response to the twitter lynch mobs

The problem with the Right’s “medicine” for this situation: forced evictions, corporal punishment, baton rounds (33% say live ammunition), conscription, etc… is that it is, fundamentally unsustainable.

What I mean is this; I ask people advocating tough, draconian measures as a response to their perceived “feral underclass” a simple question: “then what”?

This is to say, you kick people out of their homes, stop their benefits, then they’re homeless and in absolute poverty, then what? Are they more likely to behave as “good citizens” or less?.

Lock them up in prison en mass, on long sentences (like America’s three strikes rule), when you run out of space, then what? Massive jail economy run by the private sector like in the US? Prison ships? Camps?

Shoot child looters with live ammunition? To maim? To kill? What then? Are people going to be terrified into complying? How many will you need to kill/wound to achieve a desired aim? 1? 5? 20? What next? Somewhat difficult to restore community relations after that no?

The trouble with the authoritarian right’s analysis and, more importantly, response, is that while it’s very attractive because of it’s simplicity, because it’s lure of righteous violence and harsh measures promises instant solutions (gratification), whereas all it really is, is the start of the slippery slope.

Few societies in history have, once the have started the application of authoritarian measures to “cure” social ills of the kind being proposed by some politicians today, (the Father of the House calling for people to be rounded up in stadiums is one example I couldn’t quite believe I was hearing) been able to step back from them later without tremendous cost to human and social fabric.

Whilst the “illness as metaphor” employed by the right is deeply worrying and should be driven from the discourse as soon as possible, one clear response to it should be that the kind of solutions they are proposing serve as little more than a sticking plaster and painkillers: they might make you forget the problem and, temporarily, make it less visible, but it’s still there, and soon, the drugs will wear off.

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