Tuesday, April 28, 2009

a chilling argument against torture prosecutions

From Tyler Cohen:
At many blogs (Sullivan, Yglesias, DeLong, among others) you will find ongoing arguments for prosecuting the torturers who ran our government for a while. I am in agreement with the moral stance of these critics but I don't agree with their practical conclusions. I believe that a full investigation would lead the U.S. public to, ultimately, side with torture, side with the torturers, and side against the prosecutors. That's why we can't proceed and Obama probably understands that. If another attack happened this would be all the more true.
I can certainly imagine an American jury refusing to convict a torturer who says he did it to protect their families.


ArEn said...

did you see that regularly church-goers were more likely to support torture?

John said...

Yes, although according to that survey it was only true of Evangelical Protestants. Catholics were less likely than average to approve of torture, old school Protestants even less so.

There is a weird connection between a certain sort of American Christianity and a fawning authoritarianism. "Good Bless Our Troops." I read a discussion recently involving some conservative Catholics (Ross Douthat and others) and Daniel Laurison, who I think is Armenian orthodox, and they all think that the weirdness of American Evangelicals is a good argument for having a strong church that imposes some theological discipline. One called Bush a "Gnostic," I guess because he thinks he has a personal, secret revelation from God.