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Today’s rush to strip terrorist suspects of their citizenship should arouse suspicion. One is easily tempted to think that we are living in extraordinarily dangerous times, which warrant a return to what the US Supreme Court considered to be ‘cruel punishment’ half a century ago. Yet as a matter of statistics, and despite our contrary impressions, violence of all kinds in the world is actually declining. On the other hand, the capacity of law enforcement agencies for surveillance and control, especially in the OECD countries, has increased dramatically, so the return to practices which have long been abandoned is difficult to justify. This is not to say that that citizenship is a sacred cow and any return to abandoned practices is excluded by some historic laws of human progress. But it does follow that the proponents of banishment must provide a more subtle justification than we have seen so far.
- It’s Not About Their Citizenship, it’s About Ours
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