Monday, March 31, 2008

Vonnegut's humanism

It's a shame that people don't read more Vonnegut. He's sadly out of fashion, which is what happens just after you die. People could learn from reading him; far far more than they can learn from sterile discussions such as racism in Heart of darkness, which is still topping my list of referral searches. So here's Vonnegut:

There is a time when humanity takes care of humanity. I would like to hear people call each other "citizen." I would like people to light candles and sit around a table in a special way. It would be a moving thing and make leaders and others wonder. It's easy for armed guards to break up a riot. And riots don't change minds. It just makes officials more determined.

I was reminded of this today when I read the sensible article by Geoffrey Dear on the government's 42 day detention proposals. In it, he states (quoting Marcuse):
the best course for a terrorist was to provoke a government to overreact to a threat by eroding civil liberties, increasing executive powers and diminishing due process by the denial of justice. That allows the terrorist to point to those actions and cite them as proof that the government is repressive.

Governments, you see, can always be relied on to do the wrong thing. And anti-humans can always be relied on to manipulate that state of affairs. Therefore, it's up to us humans to show some human intelligence.

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