Leftism makes people meaner: Reflections on the torture of Paul Manafort
The sadistic treatment of Paul Manafort illustrates something I have believed since I attended graduate school in the 1970s and saw the behavior of left-wing students: Leftism makes people meaner.
There are kind and mean conservatives and kind and mean liberals. Neither liberalism nor conservatism makes people kinder or meaner. But this is not the case with leftism. With the handful of exceptions that accompany every generalization, leftism makes people meaner, even crueler.
Take the transfer of Manafort, the one-time Trump campaign manager, from a federal prison to New York's Rikers Island prison. Rikers Island is universally regarded as a wretched place. As Harvard law professor Alan Dershowitz wrote:
"The decision to move Paul Manafort ... from the decent federal prison to which he was sentenced to solitary confinement to the dangerous hell hole that is New York City's Rikers Island seems abusive and possibly illegal.
"I know Rikers well having spent time there visiting numerous defendants accused of murder and other violent crimes. It is a terrible place that no one should ever be sent to."
Mass murderers and torturers are among those incarcerated at Rikers Island.
Moreover, Manafort, found guilty solely for white-collar crimes, will be placed in solitary confinement -- "for his own safety."
Virtually everyone who has written about solitary confinement, both on the right and the left, deems it torture. Manafort will therefore be tortured after being sentenced to seven years' imprisonment for fraud and, in the words of the Daily Wire, "a little-known law that requires lobbyists to report that they are working on behalf of a foreign government (in Manafort's case, Ukraine)."
Angry over the possibility that Manafort may be pardoned by President Trump, the Manhattan District Attorney, Cyrus Vance, charged Manafort with additional crimes based on state law. That way, if found guilty of state offenses, he cannot be pardoned by Trump, as the president's power to pardon applies only to federal -- not state -- crimes.
Everyone knows this prosecution is politically motivated. Vance hates the president and wants to use solitary confinement in a hellhole with violent criminals to squeeze Manafort into testifying against the president.