Sunday, December 4, 2011

A look in the mirror?

        For the majority of the semester we have attempted to dissect and rationalize the arguments of many. Some of us have agreed with many of these arguments, while others have not. All of them pertaining to what is just and what is justice and how do we as a society deal with moments of injustice. I found it very intriguing however, that during class, there was no opposition to whether or not torture was unjust. Maybe, no one was willing to speak up in support of it, but it appeared that we all agreed that it was unjust. We discussed how to handle it , and differences arose there , but that was understood. My question is, how can we, as such a diverse group of people, understand that torture is unjust, and still have a national debate over the topic. The "bottom line" is without regard to political , religious, or personal views, none of us are wiling to will hurting another human to attain information as a universal maxim. I believe this was Dershowitz's plan, to illustrate that we all understand the torture is unjust, which is why it is a secret action. He offered the torture warrants as a means of assigning responsibility. However assuming responsibility for torture makes it appears as though you are pro torture, which also means you  would be understanding if another person chose to torture you. I don't think there are many who are okay with that. I believe Dershowitz was also attempting a sort of forced self reflection, making us analyze what we truly were allowing to happen as a country -what do you think ?


  1. I think that there is still debate about torture because most people don't know that it doesn't work. Before I knew this, I would have agreed that torture would be acceptable under the ticking bomb scenario because it would be worth hurting one person to save the lives of many others. Now that I know that torture doesn't work, I would not agree that it is acceptable at any time. They never know if the person has the information they need so it is not worth infringing on people's rights when it will rarely pay off. I agree with the idea someone brought up in class that people want to do whatever they can to save lives, but that still does not justify it.

  2. I am in the same position as Michelle. Prior to this class and being introduced the fact that torture does not work, I would have always thought of the ticking time bomb scenario. I can tell you right now that my parent believe in torture. I think the debate continues because torture "seems" to be a theoretically logical way to obtain information; however, when applied to society it does not work. Initially, I thought that it could have been another exception to Kant's categorical imperative, but you cannot will an irrational universal law that posses no benefit to individuals in "the case of necessity."
    I feel like Dershowitz's argument was a bit of a trick. Lets legalize torture, however, lets put government regulation on it - meaning it will never happen.

  3. I think torture still exists and the debate still rages because torture has had such a long history in human history. It exists now as some sort of idea as well as a physical action. An idea that there is something like torture existing in the dark corners of the world gives people an extreme end of the spectrum of law to anchor themselves on. These people want to torture to continue to exist not because it works but because it allows them to hold something over someone's head.

  4. My biggest complaint about being pro or against torture is if it does not work then why do the "most-educated" leaders of the world allow and encourage it to occur. It is hard for me to believe that if torture simply "did not work" then our president would still think it is a good way to get information. Are we just claiming that we think everyone who makes the decision to torture is naive and power-hungry to the point that it covers up the success rate of it? I respect ivy league educated public officials and you would think someone in their staff would whisper in their ear and say "Hey torture has never worked" and that would be that. Is there really that many public records of successful tortures? No, but who is to say that they need to make them public? We have already detained them as a possible terrorist without a free trial so it seems the Government can simply not report things when they are of such a controversial subject as torture.


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