Wednesday, September 21, 2011

On the decline of American Power

Ed at Gin and Tacos tells us all how it works, again:
I know that the average person in other countries understands that there is no reason to fear Americans individually – really, they might be loud assholes but all they want to do is buy tacky, overpriced souvenirs – but there is ample reason to fear America as a whole. The political majority is not guided by anything approaching reason and is obsessed with reliving the Gilded Age. The nation as a whole is unhealthily obsessed with its former glory and isn't good at much anymore except turning foreign countries into smoldering piles of rubble.
I'm not sure any more whether the correct response to the US political environment is to spend a lot of time worrying about the possible consequences of Republicans regaining power, or to ignore it and hope really hard that it all goes away.  Maybe if the Democrats hold on for another cycle or two, US power will have faded sufficiently that the collapse will not be so bad for the rest of the world.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Another action about which there should be no argument...

Naming a member of the Catholic church who stands accused of rape.  Other things being equal, individuals should be given the benefit of the doubt, but the consistent position of the Catholic church on matters of sexual abuse seriously undermines this presumption.  The church is not investigating because:
The priest concerned has categorically denied the allegation and has been a person of good standing in the archdiocese for a very long time.
... of course.  It is clear, and has been for a while, both that the Catholic church has a problem with sexual predators, and that it is in denial about it.  Continuing denial helps no-one, and forcing the issue seems the best approach to take.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Another one:

Forthcoming in Criminal Justice Ethics... "The Limits of Criminal Disenfranchisement."  As usual, a late draft will go up on soonish.


This article begins with the assumption that criminal disenfranchisement is at least sometimes theoretically defensible, as a component of punishment. From this assumption, I argue that it is only legitimate in a constrained set of cases. These constraints include: implementing disenfranchisement only for serious crimes; tying disenfranchisement to both the electoral cycle and to the length of imprisonment imposed for an offence; and assessing a background condition of sufficient justice present within the state that wishes to disenfranchise. Once these constraints are considered, I argue that there are very few instances in which disenfranchisement is defensible. To prove this, I examine both current disenfranchisement practices and the commonly present factors that undermine the constraints outlined above.