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Recovering backpacker, Cornwallite at heart, political enthusiast, catalyst, writer, husband, father, community volunteer, unabashedly proud Canadian. Every hyperlink connects to something related directly or thematically to that which is highlighted.

Saturday 17 May 2014

Death by Firing Squad: The Dark Ages Redux

Efficient.  Effective.  Best bang for your buck. 
That's exactly what the Nazi Concentration Camps were about.
No, seriously - the thought was that the best use of tax dollars spent on incarceration was to profit through using criminals as labour.  Efficient, see?
You didn't want to spend a lot of money taking care of crooks anyway, so things like infrastructure and food weren't heavily invested in.  When prisoners start dying - complaining about hard work, freezing to death, whatever - you want to dispose of them the most efficient way possible.
Crematoriums were incredibly efficient this way - you could get rid of more bodies more quickly with less chance of infectious diseases spreading.  It was a bit of a PR nightmare, but people fundamentally don't care what happens to others, right?  It's not like we're a society or anything.
Of course, when your inmates are dying, you kinda need to find new ways to generate more bodies to keep the industrial/penal complex going.  By the point you get this far, you're a dictatorship anyway, so finding enemies of the state and undesirables isn't that hard.
I raise this point because we're seeing a dangerous tend emerging - union-busting, tough-on-crime legislation, chain gangs, firing squads.  States (including Canada) are getting more and more defensive, more secretive and increasingly ready to come down hard on anyone who disagrees with them.
We may look on Nazi Germany with contempt and judge the German people as somehow inferior in their capacity to allow inhuman atrocities to occur in their midst, but that's a red herring.
What happened in Germany under the Nazis can happen anywhere, at any time - the Armenian massacre, Rawanda, Nigeria, Syria, the Ukraine and yes - even here in North America.
If we choose not to care, if we choose not to pay attention and if we allow ourselves to be consumed by bitterness, we dehumanize ourselves.
Then, all bets are off.
We're an increasingly bitter bunch of bunnies. 
It's time we start asking ourselves what kind of society we want to live in; if we choose not to find ways to live together, we'll have no one to turn to when its us in the line of fire.
And there is no humane way to commit murder.

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