ambivalent imbroglio home

« 2006: The Year the Fourth Amendment Disappears? | Main | Why Domestic Spying Matters »

January 03, 2006

Torture Poll: We Love It!

The last Ambivalent Poll asked: “If you could save a million lives by torturing one person, would you do it?” (Related post.) The final results were:

  • 72% of respondents said unequivocally: “Yes.”
  • 14.2% said: “impeach bush”
  • 6.3% said:“The question is stupid. That's not a choice we really face.”
  • 3.9% said: “I don't believe torture would save the millions lives; the information gained would not be reliable.”
  • 3.1% said: “No”
Total votes: 127

I was in the minority with “No.” Shocker, eh? As L.'s brother might say, I guess I'm just a paper-pants hippie.

Posted January 3, 2006 12:30 PM | general politics

Trackback Pings

TrackBack URL for this entry:

It really is a RIDICULOUS question, taken seriously only by those desperate for a justifcation to torture.

Posted by: justin at January 3, 2006 05:02 PM

i've seen two broad kinds of americans support torture. those who seek retribution for the acts of terrorists, and those who have no understanding of what kind of information and intelligence it produces. many of the former could care less about the latter, as well.

Posted by: jose at January 3, 2006 08:36 PM

What if you knew that one million people would die, and everyone else would know that you DEFINITELY could have saved them by torturing that one person. Would you want to be the person that could have stopped it, but decided not to? I think I'd probably go with the 3.9%.

Posted by: womanofthelaw at January 3, 2006 09:46 PM

I was one of the "Yes" votes, but I qualify my answer with a couple BIG assumptions. 1) That we are ABSOLUTELY SURE that 1 million people will die, 2) There is no other way to save those people (basically the "We know there's a bomb somewhere in the city, but we don't have time to sniff it out" scenario), and 3) we are ABSOLUTELY SURE that this guy whose nuts we are going to hook up to a car battery knows how to stop the impending disaster.

So what I'm saying is, basically, my answer is really that "this question is a stupid," but since that answer doesn't actually answer the question "If you could save a million lives by torturing one person, would you do it?"

My justification for this absurd hypothtical. Basically, it is a Necessity defense on a country-wide scale. If a mountain climber can cut away one of his fellow climbers to save the other 5, I think we should be able to torture 1 to save 1,000,000.

That being said... in real life, I am generally against torture because it hasn't been shown to produce reliable information and there is almost always a more human alternative to getting whatever information you want.

Wow, long comment.

Posted by: Unreasonable Man at January 5, 2006 12:14 PM

about   ∞     ∞   archives   ∞   links   ∞   rss
This template highly modified from The Style Monkey.