Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Hari Kari

Back in March, I emailed the youthful Independent columnist Johann Hari to ask him if he had any proof for unsubstantiated allegations he had made about the late Yugoslav leader Slobodan Milosevic. Here's his reply:

"Yuck. I really have no interest in engaging with you on any level. You believe the state should kill its own citizens in peacetime using the death penalty, so please don't offer me any lectures on anything, ever. "

In other words Hari believes that anyone who supports the capital punishment of murderers, as I do, is completely beyond the pale. I was amused therefore to read Hari's eulogy to the philosopher John Stuart Mill, in The Independent a couple of weeks later. In a piece entitled ‘We need John Stuart Mill today more than ever', Hari made an impassioned plea for the ideas of the Victorian sage to be put into practice once more.

I wonder how much of John Stuart Mill Hari had actually read before penning his article. Here's the great man speaking in the House of Commons on the death penalty:

"When there has been brought home to any one, by conclusive evidence, the greatest crime known to the law; and when the attendant circumstances suggest no palliation of the guilt, no hope that the culprit may even yet not be unworthy to live among mankind, nothing to make it probable that the crime was an exception to his general character rather than a consequence of it, then I confess it appears to me that to deprive the criminal of the life of which he has proved himself to be unworthy--solemnly to blot him out from the fellowship of mankind and from the catalogue of the living--is the most appropriate as it is certainly the most impressive, mode in which society can attach to so great a crime the penal consequences which for the security of life it is indispensable to annex to it. I defend this penalty, when confined to atrocious cases, on the very ground on which it is commonly attacked--on that of humanity to the criminal; as beyond comparison the least cruel mode in which it is possible adequately to deter from the crime. "
From J.S.Mill’s speech to Parliament, 21st April 1868.

So come on Johann, do you still maintain that 'we need John Stuart Mill today more than ever'- or do you hold to your original position that those who do believe in capital punishment should not offer 'any lectures on anything, ever?' Which is it, old bean?

On the subject of Johann Hari's muddled-thought processes, here's a great piece from the World Socialist Website.


puthwuth said...

This blog's favourite Balkan war-starter Slobodan Milosevic would have graced a noose.

Neil Clark said...

If you've got any evidence that Milosevic did start any wars then you should have sent it to The Hague Tribunal as it was pretty obvious that they didn't have any. It was because they had no evidence that they killed him- it was the only way out for them.
So you got your execution anyway- except it didn't come by way of a noose, but by administering the the wrong drugs and denying Milosevic the proper medical treatment.

puthwuth said...

I don't think I'll ever post on this blog again, but just for once I wanted to say how contemptible I find its politics -- its athletlic back-flips of exculpation for a scumbag tyrant and butcher like Slobodan Milosevic, its simpering nostalgia for a cold-war tyrant like Lukashenko, its idolisation of Srebrenica-deniers like Noam Chomsky, and its knee-jerk sympathy for someone like Chavez, self-professed friend of 'freedom fighter' Robert Mugabe. The only rationale for the politics of this blog is a sour, self-hating cold-war politics of anti-US hatred, which means in practice that any tinpot anti-US dictator who comes along is fine by Neil Clark. I truly, truly, despise the politics of this blog, and wish it and its fans a long and enjoyable re-education in a North Korean gulag.

Neil Clark said...

We'll be sorry to lose you putwuth.
For the record, this blog does not support 'any tin-pot anti-US dictator' who comes along. It doesn't support dictators at all, anti-American or otherwise. You can go back over all the postings since this blog started and you will not find a word of support for the governments of North Korea or Zimbabwe. I have defended Milosevic, a man who was three times freely elected in a contry where 21 political parties operated, simply because I do not believe him guilty of the crimes he was charged with. And I saw nothing at his four year trial at The Hague to change my mind. As for Lukashenko, he is only condemned as a 'cold war tyrant' because he refuses to follow neo-liberal policies insisted on by Western financial institutions and their governments. This blog does not support dictatorship, but democracy- not of the phoney NWO 'you can have any government you like so long as it is neo-liberal and
supports the West militarily' kind, but true democracy- ie the right of people to elect whatever colour government they like. That means respecting the right of the people of Yugoslavia to vote in to office 'unreconstructed' socialists- and the right of the people of Belarus and Venezuela to
elect leaders who put forward different economic models to the ones prescribed by Washington and Brussels.