Thursday, June 16, 2011

TORTUREGASMS AT NATIONAL REVIEW. Peter Moskos has an op-ed proposing that, whenever possible, we subject convicts to floggings rather than incarceration. It's a flawed but genuinely interesting thought experiment -- not one of those "What if you stupid liberals were Hitler CAUSE YOU ARE!" thought experiments you get from conservatives -- the purpose of which is made plain by its closing: "If it takes a defense of flogging to make us face the truth about prison and punishment, I say bring on the lash."

But this sort of argument can only be conducted among adults who have learned to control their retributive impulses -- which lets out the boys at National Review, who of course see it as a chance to talk about their enjoyment of human suffering. Andrew C. McCarthy:
Jonah, this dovetails with a thought experiment I’ve been pushing for a while now, in rebuttal to the claim that waterboarding (as it was administered by the CIA on three top al-Qaeda detainees) is torture. If you gave every inmate serving, say, two years or less in prison the option of being waterboarded or completing his sentence, what would he choose? I’d be stunned if less than 95 percent chose waterboarding.
McCarthy thinks that if you were offered a choice between two years in prison and some waterboarding, and you took the waterboarding, then you obviously don't think think waterboarding is so bad. As usual, the very concept of consent eludes them. (That's McCarthy's head shot up there; looks like he's cumming in his pants over the prospect of manning the "Torture or Time?" booth.)

Even worse in his way is Kenneth D. Williamson:
Jonah and Andy: I’m not entirely sure about flogging, but I have long seriously advocated the return of stocks, especially for crimes of a nature that inherently degrade public life... I think 24 hours in the stocks for defacing a public space with graffiti would be appropriate, especially if the stocks were set up at the scene of the crime...
And you know who'll be there early with rocks!
But I also think that government should mostly do its business in public, including its punitive business. Public crimes ask for public punishments.
When they bring back public hangings, the victim won't be the only one to pop a boner.
As for the flogging, I remember thinking in the case of young Michael Fay — you may remember: the snot-nosed American punk kid who got himself caned in Singapore back in 1994 — that the punishment was probably appropriate to the crime, perhaps even a little on the lenient side.
Interestingly, Moskos says in the op-ed, "Some would argue that flogging isn’t harsh enough," and that if this is their counterargument, "then perhaps we need to question our humanity."

Seems a good place to put this:

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