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"...public opinion deserves to be respected as well as despised" G.W.F. Hegel, 'Philosophy of Right'

unbecoming human « Previous | |Next »
June 13, 2005

I'm off to Canberra in an hour so for the last two weeks of the June sittings. Then the Howard Government gains control of the Senate. So this post needs to be quick.

We often talk of people as animals becoming human beings who then become political animals in the polis. So speaks the classical political tradition that has its roots in the texts of Aristotle.

Could we not also talk in terms of human beings becoming animals?


We can give weight to that insight by saying we can cease to be human in some situations.

Are there not some situations where that happens? The bare life in the camps erected in the name of mandatory detention for instance?

Can the camps be regarded as experiments in easing the classic distinction between the human and the inhuman? Is this what we need to grasp?

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 5:00 PM | | Comments (2)


The ethical and moral compass is subservient to the base instinct of maintaining power?



But there is still the ethics of our response to the bare life of those in the camps; a response based on the testimony of those bearing witness such as Cornelia Rau, or Peter Quasim.

Another kind of witness testimony. It says:

Almost 50 Chinese people held in Australian immigration detention centres were put in isolation for up to 2½ weeks last month and interrogated by officials of the Chinese Government.