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View Diary: Abbreviated Pundit Round-up (207 comments)

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  •  On Hutson's piece (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Mark Sumner, judyms9, SueDe, tb mare, Amber6541

    I found Hutson's piece to be interesting overall, and I've read books in the past that cover the way external forces influence our decision-making, especially on ethical problems.  However, I was troubled by his opener.  He tried to present drone strikes and torture as having utilitarian value (despite being moral abominations from a deontological standpoint); however, there is little reason to believe that torture and drone strikes actually save lives.  The innocent civilians who get killed by drone strikes were not going to do any harm, and we can't even be sure about the intentions of those the administration has deemed "militants," because they've defined that word so broadly that it includes practically all men who've passed puberty.  Torture, moreover, does not produce reliable information, and both likely serve to radicalize local populations and destroy American credibility---obviously increasing a future risk potential.  

    I find the use of hypotheticals for both of those to be somewhat troubling (e.g. "Would you support the torture of this person if you knew....") because it seems like an attempt to condition people into accepting moral atrocities through a belief in utilitarian benefits.

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