Tuesday, May 25, 2010

A Creative Proposal for Reducing Prison Rape.

In boxing, heavyweights don't fight featherweights. It's not a fair fight. But in prison, heavyweights serve their time side-by-side with featherweights. A simple remedy for rape and brutality, then, is split up prisoners by size and strength. You could assign the various classes of prisoners to different wings. Or if that's too logistically difficult, you could assign each prison a weight class, then reallocate existing prisoners.

Admittedly, we already have prisons for different kinds of offenses - minimum security, maximum security, and everything in between. Like separating men and women, this probably makes the prison experience a little less hellish. But there's still a long way to go, and my proposal seems like an obvious and cheap improvement over the status quo.

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Expropriate the Expropriators!

In Marxist theory, the Communist Party represented the interests of productive workers, the value of whose labor is expropriated by others. That was wrong, but at least it had a certain coherence. Greek Communists (and more generally, 21st century socialists) stand for something quite different: the "right" to be supported by the labor of others (in the Greek case, Germans); the "right" to be a sponge, forever; the "right" to be an exploiter. It would be hard to think of a less attractive political program.

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