March 23, 2008

When hurting someone is OK

Interesting Carnegie Foundation talk / Q&A with Darius Rejali on the history of torture in democracies. He has a pleasant voice, and uses no graphic language. At the end someone, thinking they're being very smart, brings up the ticking time bomb scenario, and Rejali makes a calm and clear reply: we have jury nullification, and courts would always consider mitigating circumstances, so legalizing and regulating torture is not only unnecessary, but would also have unfortunate consequences (the elaboration of which was the bulk of his talk).

If your life is in danger you're allowed to act in self defense, and we don't need to legislate all the permutations of how that might happen. In open democracies the legal system can / should be trusted to understand when hurting someone is OK.

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