Friday, December 2, 2011

It's Illegal No Buts About It

The discussion of torture has been a frustrating one in regards to how it is viewed. Despite being illegal, there seems to be so many exceptions to an act that is no doubt wrong on so many levels. We've tried to rationalize as a class examples of torture as well as when and how they are acceptable or not, but it seems that we never really accept that TORTURE IS ILLEGAL, and therefore should not be practiced or tolerated. We have tried to justify exceptions based on moral or political claims, but the truth of the matter is TORTURE IS ILLEGAL.
My research paper is about female genital mutilation, which is also known as female circumcision and I argue how this act despite its cultural influences is torture. No matter how you view this act, whether from a cultural perspective or moral perspective, the idea of physically altering a female's reproductive organs by force without consent is not something that would be willed to everyone. No exception can justify the act, and even if there were one the act is STILL ILLEGAL. People often try to make arguments for things that are at the core wrong and unacceptable, because they need to have a say or need an understanding. But some things as apparent as torture, no matter the form, should be accepted as what they are- illegal and wrong.


  1. This definitely concurs with Kant's belief that there can be no exceptions to a universal principle. Even if torture seems like an effective means to an end in one instance, overall it is to be opposed, and thus cannot be condoned no matter what. Your example of female genital mutilation fits in perfectly with that idea. It is an absolutely abhorrent act that we would never will as universal. I've heard arguments that it is a cultural tradition, and thus we can't grasp its significance to those members of the culture. However, I cannot see any possible way that the women that undergo it don't feel excruciating pain in all forms, much less enjoy or take pride in it. For all the excuses that it's given, I agree, it is wholeheartedly wrong.

  2. I definitely understand your argument, but just because something is illegal does not mean that it won't be done. A simple example is that breaking the speed limit is illegal but we do it all the time, so obviously illegality doesn't deter people from breaking laws. The law can only control so much of an individual's actions, so there must be a deeper argument than "it's illegal." There must be some moral or psychological component to the argument against torture, because in the heat of the moment, the intangible and invisible "law" is only going to have so much control in the potential torturer's individual psyche.

  3. Not everyone has the same view of laws as strictly the black and white "This is illegal and this is not".
    That being said, there are reasons why laws are written and those reasons are the more convincing argument for why one ought not do something. People do not murder more often than not not because it is illegal, but because they have reason to believe it would be wrong.
    There are so many people who believe torture works and want another option to use in the ticking time-bomb scenario. For those people out there, better arguments need to be made other than 'it is illegal'.

  4. Leanne and Andrea I'm not saying that just because something is illegal it will not be done. If that was the case we would not have prisons filled with millions of people. What I am saying is that I don't understand that with an horrendous act such as torture, why there is so much conversation and attempts to create excuses and exceptions about a topic that seems to be blatantly unacceptable. We all know torture is illegal, but why is that we try to place conditions on it, when no matter the outcome harm is being done to some one in an inhumane manner. That's my point.

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  6. Now that Destiny has clarified, I see where she is coming from but I still think we need to note the fact that just because something is illegal doesn't mean that, first of all, people won't do it, and second of all, that laws can't change. At one point, alcohol was illegal but now it's everywhere. I think the debate about torture needs to still be discussed from different perspectives (moral and political) because laws are changing all the time and we need to make sure that it doesn't become legal or that definitions of things like "enhanced interrogation" are extended to acts that are torture essentially torture. I see where you are coming from, but I think we all accept that it is illegal but we still want to know why and how people attempt to justify it.


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