Recently, I noted a discussion about homosexuality and other things which didn’t get a response (in all fairness I did get a lively one here). I’d like to return to the idea of repugnance and ethics. Consider the following two examples:

Questioning and interrogation in the next 10 years takes a pharmaceutical turn with the perfection and development of a drug which prevented the transference of short term to long term memory. Coupled with the refinements on the early infamous waterboarding which enabled technicians to trigger primal basic primitive organic fears every person held to break the conscious will. In part these refinements included the monitoring method which insured that no organic damage whatsoever would be incurred by the subject. Within 6-8 hours after questioning the subject had no physical or biological/mental memory of the questioning. From the point of view of the subject, it never occurred.  Because of this factor this questioning is now viewed as humane.

This is wrong. It is repugnant and evil. But why? Repugnance is not the reason why it is wrong. It is a cue that there is a problem here. What exactly is wrong with it? In that prior post, I noted that a consequentialist would/should have no problem with either. In fact, a utilitarian argument would, I’d think, encourage and applaud this in a lot of cases not just involving National security but those involving, quite likely, an ever expanding list of crimes for which accurate interrogation of a hostile witness is deemed necessary to get to the truth.

Biblical ethics would, however, reject both. The essential problem with this method is that it rejects the dignity of man. Torture is not wrong because it inflicts pain, because we remember it, or because it is dehumanizing for the practitioner. It is wrong because it strips man of dignity.

Cross posted @Pseudo-Polymath.

Filed under: Ethics & MoralityMark O.

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