The Corner

Politics & Policy

When ‘Animals’ Is Attacked

I wrote about the latest dust-up. From my article:

The MS-13 explanation led to a secondary complaint: Some of Trump’s critics insisted that it was wrong to refer even to vicious criminals as though they were not human beings. That criticism seems off base.

The critics are right that even the worst of us have a certain dignity that attaches to our common humanity — a dignity that no act, however vile, can forfeit. That’s why we can hold people morally accountable for their freely chosen wrongful acts, as we could not if gang members committing rapes and murders were the equivalent of tigers feasting on a gazelle.

Some of us would go so far as to say that human beings, even mass murderers, remain children of God. But it is also true that people can act bestially, and can be faulted for it. Often when people call other people animals, that’s what they mean.

Ramesh Ponnuru is a senior editor for National Review, a columnist for Bloomberg Opinion, a visiting fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, and a senior fellow at the National Review Institute.

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