Fiscally nuts. Socially insane.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

The Paradox Zone

Found this pretty interesting.

"So, all you hyper-moral pacifist purists, if you could learn Ms. Wang's location and save her by waterboarding a captured guard, would you do it? Or is her permanent crippling and disfigurement a satisfactory consequence of your own personal interpretation of right and wrong? That's what you seem to be saying by your absolute opposition to any form of physical coercion, even if it doesn't maim or kill.

But if that's really your position, then you've entered the paradox zone. You have to explain -- to your own satisfaction -- why it is less moral to commit a lesser crime in order to prevent a larger crime than it is to enable a larger crime by refusing to commit a lesser crime. You can't allow the SWAT sniper to shoot the kidnapper who's holding a knife to your spouse's throat. You can't acquit the woman who kills her rapist in an act of self defense. You can't acquit the father who kills a child-molester in the act of sodomizing his infant daughter. In all these examples the killers are guilty of the same order of crime you're too moral to commit."


Read all about it.

4 comments:

Richard said...

Sure, I agree with all that to an extent, but I don't think you need to resort to torture to glean information which you can gather in other, more conventional and humanistic, ways. There's a difference between being aggressive and being subhuman.

Chris Muir said...

Good stuff here!

And thanks for the link.I'll have you on the ol' blogroll later this week.

Will Conway said...

Thanks Chris,love your strip.

Richard,
Right, I do understand that we can't have people just torturing people for the hell of it. But certain times, we don't get the full story. If you read the full article I linked to, I'm sure you would understand the need for it in this particular instance. I just think we need to find a line, and not cross it.

Richard said...

I took a closer look at the article (it had some nice humour at the start). It does raise some good points. However, I hate these situations of absolutes because they rarely happen that way. Ie. the whole torture 1 to save 5 million is a scenario which I doubt is common in the slightest, yet it is used as a justification for making a policy decision. I don't like that.