Monday, November 19, 2007

When Voting is Dangerous

An article in Slate suggests that if Internet message boards can be a proxy for ballot casting, then democracy may be a scary form of government.

In her piece covering the legal debate about contemporary execution practices, Dahlia Lithwick decries the "carelessness, raw politics, and inertia" of the American death penalty. While there are some sharp responses to be found in the ensuing Fray discussion, the cumulative debate presents a theater of sadism. One can at least recognize the faculty of reason at work in the grim utilitarianism of folks like Atarxian, who support greater cruelty throughout the penal system on the basis of its deterrent value. In one of the debate's most bizarre arguments, jimthecarguy finds inspiration for speedy public stoning in the durability of Jewish culture. Teslarawks speaks with envy of Chinese criminal procedure's efficiency, in which "they march you out of the court room and shoot you in the head with a rifle."

And that isn't nearly as absurd as the lady talking about Iraqi refugees.

I would argue that the Internet may not, in fact, be a good representation of the American public writ large. At least, I hope not.

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