The Slippery Slope of Justifying Torture


Mark of New Jersey

Mark is a Founding Editor of The League of Ordinary Gentlemen, the predecessor of Ordinary Times.

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12 Responses

  1. Avatar RTod says:

    A pretty good point by both you and Connor. I had been a bit on the fence for a while, thinking torture immoral but fearing that my peaceful-and-blessed life made me painfully naive. I painfully naive I may well be, but this ultimately is the argument that tipped me to trust my heart.Report

  2. Avatar Rufus F. says:

    I was just wondering whatever happened to, “Let’s not blame everyone for the immoral actions of a few bad apples?” Wasn’t that the old argument?Report

    • Avatar mark boggs says:

      That only applies to us.Report

      • Avatar RTod says:

        And to bankers and stock brokers, more specifically.Report

      • Avatar Rufus F. says:

        Right, but those who did torture somehow went from being “the few bad apples” that shouldn’t spoil the bunch because they tortured to being the real heroes of this war because they tortured. Just wondering how that happened.Report

        • Avatar Mike Schilling says:

          “But 99, we have to destroy, shoot and kill — we represent all that is wholesome and good in the world!”Report

        • Avatar mark boggs says:

          Which maybe says more about the people who once grudgingly admitted they were bad apples to now being so openly celebratory of those bad apples as to declare them heroes.

          Sounds like they really like the idea of torturing people (bad guys) and can now justify it with this.Report

        • Methinks the “few bad apples” meme belongs in the same bucket as “I’m sorry if people were offended” non-apology apologies. The people making the statement didn’t really think the people doing the torturing were bad apples, and didn’t really feel that they were doing anything wrong. But, realizing that “Up with Torture!” was a touchy PR strategy, they went with the “few bad apples” ploy to distance themselves from something they otherwise approved of.

          Now that there’s less reason for the daylight between the torturers and their apologists, they can dispense with the “few bad apples” slogan and move onto the more honest “we think it works!” argument.Report

  3. Avatar 62across says:

    For every moral argument, some moral ambiguity is conceivable – murder is wrong, but what if someone had murdered Hitler, for a clichéd example.

    For acts like torture, the bar should be set exceptionally high and the onus should be the proponents to justify the immoral actions with certain, unquestionably beneficial results. Surely, speculative outcomes like “it will make the heathen fear us” should be found grossly insufficient.

    Torture creep has it exactly right.Report

  4. Avatar beyond left says:

    Torture creep is already more like torture gallop. We’ve gone from the laughably rare “its OK to torture to find the ticking time bomb” scenario to “it’s OK to torture someone in the hope that some scrap of information (gleaned from the mountains of false and contradictory information that the tortured will spew to stop the torture) can be used with a raft of other intelligence material to capture/kill a self admitted terrorist (or freedom fighter if it is terrorism directed at those we don’t like)” The slippery slope is now coated with grease…Report