Cruel AmericaQuicklink submitted By Amanda Lang Permalink
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The incarceration of more than 2 million Americans—the highest proportion per capita in the world—is a frightening reflection on a country that seems to know of no remedy for social ills but punishment.
(Image by Flickr Photo: Elycefeliz) Permission Details DMCA
|There have been many signs recently that the United States has been traveling down a steepening path of cruelty. It's hard to say why such a thing is occurring, but it seems to have to do with a steadily growing faith in force as the solution to almost any problem, whether at home or abroad. Enthusiasm for killing is an unmistakable symptom of cruelty. It also appeared after the killing of Osama bin Laden, which touched off raucous celebrations around the country. It is one thing to believe in the unfortunate necessity of killing someone, another to revel in it. This is especially disturbing when it is not only government officials but ordinary people who engage in the effusions.
In any descent into barbarism, one can make out two stages. First, the evils are inaugurated--tested, as it were. Second, the reaction comes--either indignation and rejection or else acceptance, even delight.