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Principles vs practicalities

Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
So, lets say we have a law that bans torture. Lets take it one step further, and say it bans torture of family members.

What if we capture someone who we know has planted a nuclear bomb somewhere in london, and we needed to find out where.

Would it be a reasonable price to pay in terms of our principles to torture his family as leverage, to get him to speak? Lets ignore the fact torture isn't effective at getting answers as this is a hypothetical question.

If it came down to the wire, would breaking the law and breaking our morals be justifiable for the greater good?

Comments

  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Taken as a pure hypothetical, assuming away all the complexities and facts about the real world which make torture cases tricky - ie, assuming that we know for certain that he is the right person, we know for certain that torturing his family members will be successful and is the only way we can find and disarm the bomb....

    Then yes, I think all things considered, it is justified to torture his family members.

    I'm making no claims about the real world though, where the idealised assumptions don't apply.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    ShyBoy wrote: »
    So, lets say we have a law that bans torture. Lets take it one step further, and say it bans torture of family members.

    What if we capture someone who we know has planted a nuclear bomb somewhere in london, and we needed to find out where.

    Would it be a reasonable price to pay in terms of our principles to torture his family as leverage, to get him to speak? Lets ignore the fact torture isn't effective at getting answers as this is a hypothetical question.

    If it came down to the wire, would breaking the law and breaking our morals be justifiable for the greater good?

    What is your opinion?
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    I believe that torture is unjustifiable, even in extreme cases. However, because the immediate choice is so difficult and because the person making it is possesses human emotions and instincts, I would not absolutely condemn the decision to torture provided it was made in an emergency situation and with the correct intention. To make prior judgement that torture is justified in some circumstances is dangerous and wrong – torture must be prosecuted as a crime wherever it occurs. However, to recognise the mitigating circumstances when it occurs is also important.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    So basically the Jack Bauer conundrum.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    It's wrong, it should be illegal. Of course I'd do it.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    ShyBoy wrote: »
    What if we capture someone who we know has planted a nuclear bomb somewhere in london, and we needed to find out where.

    If you truly KNEW that person had planted a bomb, you would know where, so why the need for torture ?
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    He also may not know because the bomb could of been planted and told to other family members, so a family member will not know where the bomb was but would need to get others involved but this person who planted the bomb doesn't want it to go of, so he tortures his family into not telling anyone, so he knows the bomb will defonetly go of.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Torture someone to prevent a nuke going off and killing millions of people and sparking off the Third World War and the end of civilisation as we know it?

    I'll bring the thumb screws, someone else bring the red hot poker.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    I'd have to say yes though I don't agree with it. Only reason would be what Whowhere said. If the nuclear bomb went off there wouldn't be morals or laws to live by.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    I agree so if the people getting tortured are going to tell they may be able to save loades of lives.

    They wouldn't be tortured no more and theey have rights them selves.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Torture is unscientific and unjustifiable.

    You torture a man, he'll tell you anything... Doesn't have to be true.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Even to prevent nuclear holocaust?
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    You don't know that what they say is true.

    It's unscientific.

    Similar question to "would you kill a six year old to stop a bomb going off in London"... But slightly more fashionable.

    Edited for taste

    Edited also: I don't like people enough to make this an issue of compassion... But I still see torture as about as scientific as spiritual healing
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Is it true you may get put in to court if you torture someone.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Is it true you may get put in to court if you torture someone.

    Yes. If you get caught, you WILL be 'put into court.'
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    No wonder my Mother got bought in to court, there was a social worker who witnessed it.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Namaste wrote: »
    You don't know that what they say is true.

    It's unscientific.

    Similar question to "would you kill a six year old to stop a bomb going off in London"... But slightly more fashionable.

    Edited for taste

    Edited also: I don't like people enough to make this an issue of compassion... But I still see torture as about as scientific as spiritual healing

    Depends what you mean by works, because unfortunately it does in certain cases - which is why people still use it.

    Yes, its unreliable in things that can't be corroborated eg did you murder that person. But if it can be corroborated its extremely reliable, everybody talks sometime and if you lie and tell them a false location all they have to do is come back and torture you to tell them until you tell the truth. The best that can be hoped for is the bomb goes off before you talk and that you're in the blast zone, when it does.

    Of course this example is an extreme case, 1 million lives vs one and that makes it unrealistic. But what about one life verse six, or a dozen or even just one, if you know the person who's going to die and don't know the one who isn't.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Namaste wrote: »
    Torture is unscientific and unjustifiable.

    You torture a man, he'll tell you anything... Doesn't have to be true.

    If it's a choice between trying it and potentially saving millions of lives, or not trying and watching the people you love dissapear in radioactive smoke, I'd be willing to try.

    Having morals such as the above are luxuries for those who aren't in any danger. I have no doubt that most people here who find the whol idea disgusting would quickly change their minds if they were put in a situation that required them to abandon their morals.

    Look at the experiments Zimbardo and Milgram carried out to see how low people will sink and how quickly they will abandon their morals if "required".
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Is it true you may get put in to court if you torture someone.

    Yes. But if it had prevented a huge disaster such as the hypothetical one originally posed, regardless of which court they hauled me in front of, my conscience would be clear. And I'd bet that 99% of people would support me.

    As Whowhere said, it's all well and good pontificating about morals and proper processes when you don't have to face such an awful situation. Chances are that the people responsible are not just going to roll over and spill all. Pleased you mentioned the Milgram experiment as that pretty much sums the whole thing up.

    Plus 24 would be boring as fuck if Jack Bauer went about questioning the subjects in the right way.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Is going in to court like proper seriouse you could loose you kid and get put in to jail and live in misery if you do go to jail.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    We're discussing something purely hypothetical here. If your point refers to something that's really happening to you, it would probably be best to make a separate thread for it to avoid this one being hijacked.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Is going in to court like proper seriouse you could loose you kid and get put in to jail and live in misery if you do go to jail.

    Yeah, but my kids would still be alive.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Namaste wrote: »
    Torture is unscientific and unjustifiable.

    You torture a man, he'll tell you anything... Doesn't have to be true.

    Perhaps, but that is completely irrelevant to the hypothetical case Shyboy posed.

    In the particular case he mentioned, you can have complete certainty that you've got the right person, and that torture is guaranteed to work.

    In the real world of course it's a lot less certain than that, but that isn't a response to the question posed.

    If we could be certain we had the right person, and we could be certain that torture would work, then I think we ought to do it.
  • **helen****helen** Deactivated Posts: 9,235 Supreme Poster
    We're discussing something purely hypothetical here. If your point refers to something that's really happening to you, it would probably be best to make a separate thread for it to avoid this one being hijacked.

    I salute you. Your patience in the last week has made me really, really very happy. :)
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    I never knew I had it in me :) Does this mean I can go back to being a bastard now?

    @Whowhere - I just read the Wiki article on Zimbardo's Stanford Prison Experiment. Fuck a duck, that makes Milgram look like Mary Poppins.

    EDIT: I see she has been banned. Was the speculation that TTBB = LMA = HB correct then?
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