And then theres my personal favorite. Its a shamelessly over-flogged dead horse of an undergraduate-level hypothetical quasi-philosophical thought problem thats apparently supposed to shut us weak-ass non-torture-lovers up. Since it typically elicits a visceral gut reaction which circumvents rational thinking, its perfect grist for the regressive mind-mill.
Youve probably seen or heard it before.
Imagine youve captured a terrorist whom you know has planted a bomb at the Super Bowl on game-day. Its set to explode during the half-time show and you only have hours before it kills thousands. Would it be morally permissible to torture your prisoner till he tells you the bombs location?
[My Hypocrisy/Irony Meter almost exploded when I realized this comes from the same regressives who constantly bemoan moral relativism while trumpeting absolutism and lauding those whose moral view never wavers as both resolute and principled. I guess relativism and moral flip-flopping are A-OK when it comes to torturing suspected terrorists oops, I mean, aggressively interrogating detainees. But I digress.]
Here are a few obvious reasons this particular hypothetical is pure pseudo-logical regressive horseshit:
§ Why is it a given that we know that the bomb was planted, we just dont know where. How did we come by this information? Bomber certainly wouldnt tell anyone and since we only have hours till it detonates, hes apparently captured soon after planting it. If someone saw him plant it, then we also know where it is. If we intercepted some communication, its unlikely weve just now heard about this. If were on the ball and BushCo assures us they are well stop him before he can do anything at all. In any case, we would likely know much more than the example allows.
§ Theres no reason to cave and grant the regressives fictional formulation of the problem. There are precious few, if any, circumstances where this problem could arise outside of the confines of the paranoid regressive mind. I challenge anyone to concoct a believable scenario built around its requirements.
§ The only moral theory that comes close to justifying torture is Utilitarianism. Thats the view that the moral worth of an action is determined by that actions consequences. If the result is overall good, then the act is permissible; if its overall negative, its not. So heres a case of causing lots of harm to one person for the sake preventing lots of harm to lots of other people. Seems worth it. Never mind that this type of ends justify the means thinking, while part and parcel of regressive immorality, is generally considered a serious criticism of the Utilitarian view.
§ And, finally, what happens if we do torture him? While its possible hell reveal the bombs location when his balls are being squished or zapped or hes having something long jammed up his ass, this is unlikely given your typical bombers apparent level of commitment. And if he names a phony location, like its practically inevitable hell do, resources will be diverted, time will be wasted, and gooses will be chased. How many times will this happen before BOOM?
So put this rank hypothetical nonsense right next to the one about whether or not to plow ahead in a runaway train thatll kill 5 babies or divert it to kill 10 adults. The specific parameters of the scenario are entirely bogus and are designed for the theoretical exploration of morality and not real-world application. They have no absolutely basis in reality and no connection whatsoever to the real world. Sadly, neither does the logic of the stunted and atrophied regressive mind. But I guess you need to have taken an Ethics course to know that.