The Barbarian Evasions

Source: Quillette
by David A Eisenberg

“When I ask my students to rethink the universality of human rights, the mere suggestion befuddles them. Creatures of their progressive times, the a priori existence of such rights is as firmly established in their minds as the existence of witches or geocentricity was in the minds of their ancestors. Even as they indulge my lines of inquiry, their convictions by and large remain unshakeable. But though unshakeable, they prove fantastically protean …. These students hold that the US incarceration system is but a system of human bondage whose inmates are veritable slaves; they vehemently and categorically denounce the use of torture in the War on Terror; they bristle with moral indignation when contemplating the fate of Korematsu and other Japanese Americans, condemned not for their deeds, but for their descent. Even so, they now contend that, in the case of the slaughter of over 1,000 Israeli civilians, context suddenly matters.” (11/09/23)