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by Peter Moskos

May 1, 2011

Flogging yes... but the horsewhip?

From a comment to my article in the Chronicle of Higher Education:
I think that the editors of the Chronicle and the people at John Jay who hired this thug should be taken out and horsewhipped.
Luckily, the woman responsible for hiring this thug stands by me.

In more mistaken criticism, somebody from the absurd we-have-2.3-million-prisoners-because-we-have-more-freedom camp says:
Moskos’s argument is ethically offensive... One is left with the suspicion that this just the latest in a long, long chain of progressive arguments...for not punishing criminals at all.... Moskos tips us off with this section, which is typical of the breed. [emphasis added]
Now I can't criticize a guy for not reading my book yet (because it's not out), but it's curious how he could jump to so many conclusions and be so wrong. I guess he's mistaken about "my breed," whatever that means.


Dana King said...

Much of the trouble (and entertainment) in the world is due to people with no sense of irony.

PCM said...

Agreed. But as the first public coming out of my book, generally the comments are incredibly encouraging!

SabotageGigante said...

Your book is going on my (admittedly far too long) list of things to read. Keeping in mind that I have not read it, just the article, would it be worth attempting to address the differences between corporal punishment and torture. That seems to be the thing that most people are offended by. The thing about the failure to understand the difference that really depresses me is that this means people don't really understand what is so horrible about torture.

Or maybe they are commenting without actually reading the article. But that would never happen, at least not on the internet.

PCM said...

The book does address the torture issue. Also the race/parallels-with-slavery issue (which is another big objection). The book isn't long, but I can say a lot more than a say in a one or two-thousand word article.

And as to your last comment: ha!

Sasha D. said...

I'm pretty excited to read it and always happy to see interesting stuff from my alma mater!

Jack Marshall said...

I love it when a counter-argument consists wholly of "you're wrong."

How could I make the conclusion I did? Let's see: writer argues that inhuman cruelty is preferable to imprisonment, and knows well that nobody, including the courts, will accept inhuman cruelty as a legitimate substitute. Conclusion: writer may be attempting to argue that all imprisonment is inhuman and should be eliminated. I think this is called "logic," just as your article is called "cynical."

I do look forward to your book, however, and no, I don't think you should be horse-whipped. That would be cruel and unimaginable.

As you know.

PCM said...


I wasn't really trying to have an argument. It wouldn't be fair to you, because my book isn't out, and to me, because I'm not going to retype something I spent a year writing and will soon be available for sale.

I was simply stating that you happen to be very presumptuous about me and also quite wrong about my book. That's good. I like to take people by surprise.

I look forward to hearing your comments after my book is out and you've taken my whole argument into account.

[And yes, I do address the Constitutional issue in my book.]