Who Would Jesus Torture???

Here's some framing for you!Crossposted from Patterns That Connect

This is, of course, the $64 billion question for a supposedly faith-based administration, supported by the self-annointed "religious" right:

    WHO
Matthew 5:38 Ye have heard that it hath been said, An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth:
39 But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also.
    WOULD
40 And if any man will sue thee at the law, and take away thy coat, let him have thy cloak also.
41 And whosoever shall compel thee to go a mile, go with him twain.
42 Give to him that asketh thee, and from him that would borrow of thee turn not thou away.
    JESUS
43 Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy.
44 But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;
45 That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.
    TORTURE?
46 For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans the same?
47 And if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more than others? do not even the publicans so?
48 Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.
Why is it that supposedly religious people, supposed followers of Christ, whose words I just quoted, are those most willing, even eager to torture people?

At least part of the answer comes from the work of Robert Altemeyer, who discovered and developed the concept of rightwing authoritarianism (RWA), which is defined thus:

Rightwing authoritarianism is the convergence of three attitudinal clusters in a person:
  1. Authoritarian submission--a high degree of submission to the authorities who are perceived to be established and legitimate in the society in which one lives.
  2. Authoritarian aggression--a general aggressiveness, directed against various persons, that is perceived to be sanctioned by established authorities.
  3. Conventionalism--a high degree of adherence to the social conventions that are perceived to be endorsed by society and its established authorities."
Over the years, Altemeyer has uncovered a fair number of correlations involving RWA, most of which can be grouped into four broad categories, (1) faulty reasoning, (2) hostility to outgroups, (3) profound character flaws and (4) blindness to one's own filings and those of authority figures.

Character flaws include dogmatism, zealotry, hypocrisy, bullying, creation of intergroup conflict, and destructive competitiveness.  Blindness includes the use religion to erase guilt over their acts and to maintain their self-righteousness.

The authoritarian relationship to religion is particularly troubling, as several different sorts of flaws tend to work together to blind authoritarians from seeing what they are doing.  Perhaps most striking is the greater likelihood to compartmentalize their thinking, and not notice contradictions between compartmentalized beliefs.  In a 1985 experiment, students were asked what they thought about two passages from the Gospels: "Do not judge, that you may not be judged.  For with what judgment you judge, you shall be judged. (Matthew 7:1), and "Let he who is without sin among you be the first to cast a stone at her." Altemeyer reports:

Twenty Christian Highs said we should take the teachings literally.  Twenty-seven other Christian Highs said we should judge and punish others, but none of them explained how they reconciled this view with Jesus' teachings.  Apparently, they `believed' both (contradictory) things.  But the kicker came when I looked at various measures of authoritarian aggression I had gathered from these students.  No matter what they said they believed, both these groups of Highs were quick with the stones on the Attitudes toward Homosexuals Scale, the ethnocentrism Scale, and Posse-Homosexuals (Enemies of Freedom, pp. 222-224).  
In short, high RWA "Christians" have a much deeper belief in rightwing authoritarianism than they do in Christianity.
Matthew 7: 15  Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.
16 Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles?
17 Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit.
18 A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit.
19 Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.
20 Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.
Okay, America. Time to wake up and smell the brimstone.  By their fruits ye shall know them.

Tags: Bush, Framing, religious right, rightwing authoritarianism, torture (all tags)

Comments

48 Comments

If The Dems Have The Courage To Really Attack

This could literally destroy the GOP.  There are just no two ways about it.

Jesus was tortured to death.

Pontius Pilate was the torturer.

Which side are you on?

by Paul Rosenberg 2006-09-26 11:00AM | 0 recs
Re: If The Dems Have The Courage To Really Attack

Yes, Yes, Yes..
 Though I no longer consider myself to be christian and have not for years upon years, this is exactly what has been in my heart. I've written poems about it, and ect.
  WELCOME PROGRESSIVE CHRISTIANS, or RED LETTER CHRISTIANS, or whatever you chose to be called.

Here's a blog I posted recently:
   Thank God For Progessive Christians! (& I'm not even a Christian)

I LOVE these wonderful, wonderful, courageous human beings!

http://www.defconamerica.org/DefCon-comm unity/links.html

They really really don't agree with how the GOP has misused (putting it lightly) their faith for political purposes. They want to help, they want the same things I see everyone here wants. But, there is the hazard of "placating to Christians" for electoral purposes; yes, but these are not the same animals as the GOP, they're actually human beings. They wouldn't LET anyone use them for the reasons Progressives fear.
So, ask them for help, give them the voice they deserve. They are now doing and attempting to do what Democrats need to do. Once again, I'm not Christain. Let them help!

And now my friend that you are here, I don't have to do it anymore. Keep it up!

by Rabbit 2006-09-26 01:19PM | 0 recs
Um, Well, I'm Not A Christian, Either

And I've been at MyDD since at least the early summer of 2004.

But I was raised a Unitarian, which is to say, I was raised to consider the entire religious heritage of humanity as my own to draw from, regardless of my personal beliefs.

There's nothing particularly unique about me.  Most of my life, the best Christians I've known have been people who don't consider themselves Christians.  (In the traditions of Jefferson, Paine, Franklin, Thoreau, Ghandi, etc.) Or, failing that, people who other Christians don't consider Christians. (In the traditions of Martin Luther King, Thomas Merton, Dorothea Day, liberation theology, etc.)

by Paul Rosenberg 2006-09-26 02:41PM | 0 recs
Re: Who Would Jesus Torture???

I'd love for Bush & the GOP to read these, too:

(Matthew 15:11) What goes into a man's mouth does not make him `unclean,' but what comes out of his mouth, that is what makes him `unclean.'

(Like condoning torture)

And this one for this variety:

http://www.pfaw.org/pfaw/general/default .aspx?oid=21688

(Matthew 23:15): Woe to you,---You travel over land and sea to win a single convert, and when one becomes one, you make him twice the son of hell as you are.

by Rabbit 2006-09-26 04:35PM | 0 recs
Re: Who Would Jesus Torture???

There was a movie with Chris Rock as a presidential candidate (I can't remember the title). His opponent always ended his speeches with, "God bless America, and no place else." Chris ended a lot of his sentences with, "That ain't right" in their "debates." Chris won people's support, because he got a bus and gave people rides on the principle of keeping his word. Didn't neocons swear on the Bible while they swore to uphold the Constitution? That'd make them liars and hypocrites.

by Rabbit 2006-09-27 03:50AM | 0 recs
Chris Rock Should Give Barack Obama Lessons

Really.

It's just that simple.

by Paul Rosenberg 2006-09-27 05:00AM | 0 recs
Re: Who Would Jesus Torture???

I laughed all day about, "Chris Rock Should Give Barack Obama Lessons." If someone would just ask him, he probally would! The DVD sales alone would help the Democrats. Hell, Bush had that comedian, what's his name? Later.

by Rabbit 2006-09-27 12:29PM | 0 recs
Re: Who Would Jesus Torture???

CHRISTIAN, n.
    One who believes that the New Testament is a divinely inspired book admirably suited to the spiritual needs of his neighbor. One who follows the teachings of Christ in so far as they are not inconsistent with a life of sin.

- The Devil's Dictionary

Best,  Terry

by terryhallinan 2006-09-27 01:02PM | 0 recs
Re: Who Would Jesus Torture???

God's true word. So slaves respect your masters.

by misscee 2006-09-28 05:17AM | 0 recs
Speaking Of Ambrose Bierce

The paper I work for, Random Lengths News, ran a long series of excerpts from The Devil's Dictionary some years before I joined the staff.

See, also:

REDEMPTION, n.
    Deliverance of sinners from the penalty of their sin, through their murder of the deity against whom they sinned. The doctrine of Redemption is the fundamental mystery of our holy religion, and whoso believeth in it shall not perish, but have everlasting life in which to try to understand it.

by Paul Rosenberg 2006-09-28 09:35AM | 0 recs
Re: Who Would Jesus Torture???

I personally could care less what Jesus thinks. I don't mind torturing bad guys. But it has already been proven that our government has picked up innocent people and tortured them and then belatedly realized how wrong they were. But the damage has already been done. Plus, it looks stupid for the US to buck the Geneva convention.
For practical reasons, I do not support the bill.

But on a moral basis, I have no problem with bad guys getting tortured. And there are quite a few non republicans who share that thought.

by Pravin 2006-09-27 02:11PM | 0 recs
Re: Who Would Jesus Torture???

Pravin...

Tell me then, would you or anyone who has "no problem with bad guys getting tortured" have the guts to do it yourself?

"A natural-born American citizen and nun was tortured and raped overseas for educating children with U.S. personnel commanded by General Hector Gramajo (a CIA asset and graduate of the U.S. Army School of the Americas) were present":
RAPED & TORTURED

And would you have the guts to stop things when they got out of hand? Or..

Would you just have others do all the dirty work?

by Rabbit 2006-09-27 02:22PM | 0 recs
Who Would Jesus Torture???

Depending on your value system choosing to become a nun could be considered a terrible sin worthy of torture. Therefore, certain Pravin's would have no problem torturing them.

This is what disturbs me the most. Otherwise good people who have a moral blindspot that allows them to condone beating "bad guys" to death.

In MY book, torture apologists and condoners are bad guys. Without a doubt. Should I then condone their torture with electrodes, meat hooks, and dunk tanks? Eye for an eye?

If I were the relative of a man who had been tortured, bad guy or not, why should I not want to torture Pravin who had condoned and supported putting my loved one in pain? The answer of course is that I would want retribution on not just the torturers but also their supporters and countrymen. It wouldn't be a casual need either. I'd burn for their humiliation and death. Thus would the cycle continue and thus does the cycle continue.

by Curt Matlock 2006-09-27 04:33PM | 0 recs
Re: Who Would Jesus Torture???

Rabbit, Is a nun a bad person? What's the freaking analogy?

Hell, I do not advocate torture for every bad person, let alone trying to protect good people from torture. I should have stated that more clearly. And it doesn't take guts to torture someone.

But if the torture does not exceed what they have done to others (which means you dont torture a petty thief or even someone protecting their cousin no matter how bad the cousin is), I don't have too much of a problem.

Curt, if my relative killed people and someone tortured him with sleep deprivation or playing music, I doubt I would get outraged even if I feel bad that my relative has put himself in that position. Hell, even if they tortured him more than that, I don't know if I will even care in case he is a murderer.

Curt, I am bothered by collateral damage of even a tiny amount compared to torturing a really bad guy. And it's not just the war, but the torture policy that causes the collateral damage. But going to war unnecessarily and going to war especially without taking every precaution practicable and causing unneeded collateral damage of innocent people is a much bigger crime to me than torturing some bad people. That's another reason why I hate our torture policy- it involves collateral damage of a different sort.

I am not going to presume what your stance is on politicians who gave the President option to go to war. So I hope you think Hillary is a worse person than I am because no matter what, she does not regret this war(She merely differs on the planning aspects), and she would also have caused a bigger crime in getting innocent people killed in an unnecessary war  than the torture policy going on. (BUsh is obviously guilty of both- the war and the torture).

In any case, I am against the torture policy mainly because of the abuse that can happen to petty participants or totally innocent people.My point was that I don't get too worked up about the CONCEPT of torturing -especially with mild tactics such as sleep deprivation and loud music - a really bad guy compared to the other many abuses going on right now and one of the abuses that concerns me is even the non torture aspects like kidnapping innocent civilians and deporting them to some middle eastern country and not giving them basic rights. The fact that they get tortured -and with not just mild tactics- makes it even worse for me.  

For me, not all lives are equally valuable. The more you do wrong, the less I will care. I have my own opinions of religion in general, and their contradictory teachings on peace, but that's for another diary.

by Pravin 2006-09-28 05:42AM | 0 recs
its like death penalty

its fine unless you do it to an innocent person...com'on.

by aiko 2006-09-27 05:36PM | 0 recs
So You LIKE Being A Killer?

Interesting.

by Paul Rosenberg 2006-09-28 09:57AM | 0 recs
Re: So You LIKE Being A Killer?

Where did this comment come from? How do you go from what he said to your comment title? For a guy preaching tolerance, you sure seem pretty judgemental.

by Pravin 2006-09-28 10:39AM | 0 recs
Re: So You LIKE Being A Killer?

I'm judgemental too on someone who says that torture is fine as long as you never do it to an innocent person.

The fundamental moral divide here is between people who find torture morally indefensible even against terrorists and those who would selectively mete it out based upon some definition of "bad guy" or "the guilty".

This seems to be a wedge issue among progressives because I usually agree with what you write Pravin and also aiko.

by Curt Matlock 2006-09-28 11:07AM | 0 recs
Re: So You LIKE Being A Killer?

Well we have to agree to disagree because we are not going to change our minds on this issue. It simply boils down to a personal code and not pure logic when it comes to feelings on torture.

It is a wedge issue because this thread is something that is not just about public policy. This thread is about how you feel about torture personally regardless of the victim. For some of us, it is baffling how one can equate bad things done to an innocent guy to that done to a bad guy.  

FWIW, many people are in agreement about how the US should not condone torture as public policy. It gets to be a slippery slope from the really bad guys to mere suspects and what is defined as reaosonable torture can get out of hand.

by Pravin 2006-09-28 12:23PM | 0 recs
Their Eyeballs Are The Same

For some of us, it is baffling how one can equate bad things done to an innocent guy to that done to a bad guy.
(1) When you poke out their eyes with a red-hot poker, their eyeballs feel the same pain.

(2) The capacity to block this fact out of your mind is itself a form of evil.

In short, it has nothing to do arguing about equivalence.  It has to do with limits on what is morally permissible, regardless of the provocation.

Virtually no one thinks its morally permissible to rape someone, even if that person is a rapist. Yet millions upon millions think its morally permissible to kill someone if that person is a murderer.  Yet, the justificatory logic is identical in both cases.

In the latter case, millions of people simply lack the moral sense of limits on what is permissible.  They freely indulge their revenge fantasy.  And they justify that, in part, by making false accusations: They accuse those who have a moral sense of limits of equating the innocent and the guilty.  This allows them to indulge in their lust for vengeance, and to act morally superior at the same time.

But, of course, they aren't morally superior.  They are indulging their lust.  And not the harmless sort of lust associated with sex.  But the deadly sort of lust associated with violence.

I have much more respect for those who honestly admit their lust, and do not try to morally justify it.  They, at least, have honesty going for them.  It is much easier to sympathize with their pain, and understand their motivation, even though one does not condone their desire.

by Paul Rosenberg 2006-09-28 12:48PM | 0 recs
Re: Their Eyeballs Are The Same

[Q]Virtually no one thinks its morally permissible to rape someone, even if that person is a rapist.[/Q]

Really, where do you hang out? In some fantasy hippie commune that exists in only your reality? I will agree that wishing for a rapist to get raped is not a common sentiment. But you gotta be kidding if you are going to pass that off as some kind of fact that VIRTUALLY NO ONE would wish for that. On more than one occasion, I have had friends and aquaintances remark upon watching news of a rapist that they wished he would get raped in prison. And if the guy is a serial killer pedophile, I would suggest you get some earmuffs if you ever join our company at a bar.

If you wish to change minds, more power to you.

As far as disguising lust under some moral code, no one is doing that. I don't feel twisted about it that I need to invent some moral code for it. It is my personal code and that's the way I feel.

If you disagree with me fine, there is no need for extreme statements where you think you know what kind of people we are. How the fuck do you know if I lust after torturing bad guys? Not getting too bothered by it, condoning it, and
lusting after it are three different degrees to which one might feel about torture by a person not in the firm anti torture camp. I fall somewhere among the first two depending on how bad the criminal is, and as long as the torture is mild. I didnt talk about South African level torture even for bad guys. I think I mentioned a bunch of times that the mild torture tactics such as sleep deprivation and loud music and lynddie england type pictures should not be highlighted as the main abuses since people will get a false sense of what real torture is and condone it in bigger numbers.

And you bring up some extreme examples of torture as if I would not be bothered by all of them. So are all forms of torture equal to you? Having Lyndie England point at a naked man is the same as waterboarding? Having someone be sleep deprived and slapped around a bit is the same as South African apartheid government torture tactics?

[Q]
(1) When you poke out their eyes with a red-hot poker, their eyeballs feel the same pain.

(2) The capacity to block this fact out of your mind is itself a form of evil
{/Q}

As I said before, I do not condone this method of torture, especially if it's by a person in power no matter who the alleged is. But let's say this is something that falls in my acceptable level of torture because there might be one or two guys on this earth who I definitely will not have a problm seeing this happen to.
Who said we are blocking out this fact? I can acknowledge the pain that happens to the wretchedly evil  guy and it won't bother me.

Man, you like to throw around the word "evil" a lot. With your standards, a lot of people in the world must be evil. Go to the middle east, or asia and good luck getting most people to agree with you that actions don't have serious consequences.

With your mindset, how can you stand to support 99% of the politicians? I am pretty hardcore with respect to violence compared to the typical MYDD user and even I was wincing when Clinton kept saying in blatant terms " I wanted to kill Osama" more than once in his recent FOX interview because it seemed weird coming from a head of state.

by Pravin 2006-09-28 01:26PM | 0 recs
Mr. Slippery Slope

[Q]Virtually no one thinks its morally permissible to rape someone, even if that person is a rapist.[/Q]

Really, where do you hang out? In some fantasy hippie commune that exists in only your reality? I will agree that wishing for a rapist to get raped is not a common sentiment. But you gotta be kidding if you are going to pass that off as some kind of fact that VIRTUALLY NO ONE would wish for that. On more than one occasion, I have had friends and aquaintances remark upon watching news of a rapist that they wished he would get raped in prison. And if the guy is a serial killer pedophile, I would suggest you get some earmuffs if you ever join our company at a bar.

I didn't say that no one ever wishes for a rapist to be raped.  I said that virtually no one thinks it is morally permissible.  The former is a revenge fantasy, which many might engage in.  The later is a moral judgment.  Two entirely different kettle of fish.

Your inability to distinguish between them is characteristic of where the problem lies, IMHO.  At the same time you confuse the two, you say:

And you bring up some extreme examples of torture as if I would not be bothered by all of them. So are all forms of torture equal to you? Having Lyndie England point at a naked man is the same as waterboarding? Having someone be sleep deprived and slapped around a bit is the same as South African apartheid government torture tactics?
In the later case, you indulge yourself in the fantasy of being able to make fine distinctions, even though experts warn that that's one of the main problems with torture, once you allow for a little bit, the floodgates almost inevitably open.  (This, btw, is one of the strongest indicators of what's wrong with torture.  Even the "mild" forms violate deeply ingrained norms, and we know it.  Which is why violating those norms with "mild" forms of torture so readily leads to much more severe ones.) But in the former case, you have no sense at all of the most significant distinction of all--that between moral judgments as a whole and desires, which we often know quite well to be in need of moral restraint.

To me, this combination is indicative of some pretty profound confusion.  And it's the spreading of such confusion which is the very core of the GOP strategy--for the umpteen millionth time, the exact opposite of the "moral clarity" that they claim to be all about.

by Paul Rosenberg 2006-09-28 01:50PM | 0 recs
Re: Mr. Slippery Slope

First the rape argument. No, it's not just fantasy. If some of these people I know saw a report about the rapist getting raped, I am pretty sure they would be cheering that bit of news. I don't know if I would cheer. But I will certainly not get sad listening to that. As far as reality, I do know when Dahmer got killed by another inmate, there were quite a few people who cheered. I did not cheer because the death itself was so brutal and the guy was more sick than evil(though some would say his sickness was a form of evil), but I did not shed a tear or felt the least bit bad for him. And I know I would cheer if Ted Bundy got bashed to death. Death penalty was too nice for a guy like him.

I already addressed the slippery slope argument which is why I am against torture as part of government policy. That is different from isolated instances which I was thinking of. I certainly do not advise someone stake out a career in torture.

You act like every single instance of torture and condoning even one instance is a sign of evil.

That would be as ridiculous as saying beating up a thug is as bad as beating up an innocent kid, and then furthering that point by saying, beating up a thug once will only lead to worse beatings in the future.

by Pravin 2006-09-28 02:07PM | 0 recs
The Death Penalty Makes Us All Killers

In a dictatorship, the government is "them." In a democracy, the government is "us." That makes us all killers, so long as there is capital punishment.  Thus, anyone who approves of capital punishment invites the question if they like being a killer.

I certainly do not.  Which is why I adamantly oppose the death penalty.

by Paul Rosenberg 2006-09-28 12:26PM | 0 recs
Re: Who Would Jesus Torture???

Witness (1985)

Eli Lapp: This gun of the hand is for the taking of human life. We believe it is wrong to take a life. That is only for God. Many times wars have come and people have said to us: you must fight, you must kill, it is the only way to preserve the good. But Samuel, there's never only one way. Remember that. Would you kill another man?
Samuel Lapp: I would only kill the bad man.
Eli Lapp: Only the bad man. I see. And you know these bad men by sight? You are able to look into their hearts and see this badness?
Samuel Lapp: I can see what they do. I have seen it.
Eli Lapp: And having seen you become one of them? Don't you understand? What you take into your hands, you take into your heart. Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing. Go and finish your chores now.
Samuel Lapp: Yes Großvater.

Then, we become what we fear.

by Michael Bersin 2006-09-28 04:35AM | 0 recs
Who decides who's bad? <nt>

State institutionalized torture is unconstitutional. Period.  Our ancestors are turning over in their graves.

by misscee 2006-09-28 05:23AM | 0 recs
Re: Who decides who's bad? <nt>

I don't debate that. Since this thread was focused on the morality of it, I just let my opinion known. If you noticed, I am against the Bush policy.

by Pravin 2006-09-28 05:33AM | 0 recs
Yes I can follow threads

that weave in and out of diaries.

My morality is not legal and pretty meaningless in the total scheme of things.  I'd obliterate anyone who touched one of my family members. If one of my relatives killed someone I wouldn't help the state. I think I'm just another chimpanzee species, and in geologic time and cosmic importance my life doesn't amount to a hill of amoebas.

Sorry, I just don't understand what your comment is implying.

by misscee 2006-09-28 08:08AM | 0 recs
Re: Yes I can follow threads

misscee, my comment was not a personal slam against you. Just a clarification that regardless of what I wanted to say about the relative morality of torture against bad people, I was not in support of torture in general, and especially as a policy. But torture against bad people , especially of the mild variety like sleep deprivation, loud music doesn't make me angry from a moral point of view. I am still sorting out to what degree of torture that I am not bothered by to a significant degree. Sometimes I think waterboarding is fine for people like that, sometimes I don't(maybe fine for someone like a Ted Bundy or Himmler). That is just my personal moral code. Not saying you should feel the same way. Not saying it should be legally incorporated as part of a bill.

by Pravin 2006-09-28 10:17AM | 0 recs
Re: Yes I can follow threads

:) As a pagan, I appreciate people who find their own "path."

I have my own definition of evil. To me, it's the conscious effort to harm. For example, my cat loves to torture. She would rather torture than kill. She'll leave the dying critters rather than finish them off. She doesn't know any better.

Evil's purpose, on the other hand, is to inflict harm. The Stanford Prison Experiment (and recent events) have shown us that the business of torture can easily get out of hand. The Milgram Exeriment has shown us that the most peaceful people can sometimes be conditioned to torture. IMO, the bad outweighs any good that could come of institutionalized torture.

My point was who gets to decide when it's ok to torture?  Who gets to decide what behaviors warrant torture?

Kindest Regards,

by misscee 2006-09-29 09:14AM | 0 recs
Which Makes You One of the Bad Guys

I don't mind torturing bad guys.
Fortunately for you, I don't share your beliefs.

by Paul Rosenberg 2006-09-28 09:46AM | 0 recs
Re: Which Makes You One of the Bad Guys

Why is it fortunate for me? You think I am a bad guy? And if you do, I give you permission to torture me. Because then you would regret trying. Don't make passive aggressive statements you know you can't take action on. Your demonizing me as a bad guy and another guy as wishing to be a killer is the same kind of rhetoric I hear from republicans about good and bad. We differ on one tiny subset of torture issues, and you call me a bad man for that even though I have not attempted to advocate a public policy that would be relying on my personal comfort level instead of yours.

Anyway, MAN ON FIRE. it's just a movie. But you know what, I had no problem with what Denzel's character did at any point during the second half of the movie. That doesn't mean I support such actions to be state sanctioned.

by Pravin 2006-09-28 10:34AM | 0 recs
It's All You With The Demonizing

You're the one who believes there are bad guys who need to be tortured.

Not me.

There are two types of people in the world.

Those who believe there are two types of people in the world. And those who don't.

by Paul Rosenberg 2006-09-28 12:31PM | 0 recs
Re: It's All You With The Demonizing

I admit that there are bad guys in this world. You too, you just don't believe it even though you pretty much did admit it by the way you characterize people like me.

by Pravin 2006-09-28 02:10PM | 0 recs
I'm Sorry You Can't Read

You read an awful lot into what people write, without ever bothering to read what they write.

Are there "bad guys" in the world?  Of course there are.  They're called psychopaths and sociopaths--people with no consceince.  And, to the extent that any of us judges another as "evil" and therefore immune from moral consideration, we, too, are acting as sociopaths.

But are these people responsible for the vast majority of suffering and violence in the world?  Not by a long shot.  The vast majority of what's wrong in the world has nothing whatseover to do with individual evil.  Which is the real tragedy of the sort of viewpoint you espouse.  The passion that drives revenge fantasy against bad guys is one of the primary building blocks in the architecture of ignorance, on which systematic forms of evil are built.  

And it only takes a tiny timeslice of sociopathic processeing from tens of millions of people to cause a whole lot more evil than any band of bad guys could possibly do on their own.

by Paul Rosenberg 2006-09-28 03:02PM | 0 recs
Re: I'm Sorry You Can't Read

OK, I am sick and tired of the few sanctimonious people on this blog terming anything they disagree with as ignorance when in reality it is different outlooks on life. Now if you want to term that differnt outlook as repugnant(as you have already did), I can live with it even if I don't like it.  I am aware of group think.  I am aware of the slippery slope thing as I was the one who brought it up before you did.

I am aware of how things can get out of hand which is why I oppose the torture policy of the Bushies. I am sorry you haven't been paying attention to my posts. If the only way you can argue is to be dismissive of other viewpoints repeatedly, then maybe you need to take lessons in openness. You want to say I am coldhearted and a bad perso and be forgiving of my flawed personalty as you imply you are the peave and love man. If you take me to task  for not caring enough about criminals, be my guest. What I believe in has no effect on policy because I am able to separate my personal convictions from public policy. Don't start going into irrelevant shit and be condescending to me and try to teach me concepts I already know.

by Pravin 2006-09-28 06:30PM | 0 recs
Torture Is Different

There are many issues on which people can reasonably disagree.

Torture is not one of them.

This has nothing to do with groupthink.  I disagree with other folks here on MyDD all the time.  The arguments you have brought up have all involved distorted thinking--such as confusing what people might feel like doing with what they would consider moral.  And I have pointed out how.  That's the sort of thing that rational arguments are made of.  It's not groupthink.  It's just think think.

If you feel condescended to, I recommend that you wait a day or two, and then go back and read your posts from the beginning of this discussion thread.

by Paul Rosenberg 2006-09-28 07:33PM | 0 recs
Re: Torture Is Different

THat's my point. How do you know what people's moral code is? In my moral code, actions are not without context. Killing a ruthless serial killer is not the same as killing an innocent person. Having a rapist get raped in prison is karmic payback. Let's examine a diffrent but related topic of vigilante justice. My moral code doesn't have a major problem with bad people getting tortured proportionate to their crime, erring towards the lower range. I honestly believe in vigilante justice if the state can't take care of it. What the MOssad did with the people who got away with the Munich Olympics terrorist act was something I endorse even if it was clearly murder. I would have preferred for a private group to handle it because I am not comfortable with a state getting involved in vigilante justice mainly because the have a much greater opportunity for abusing it than a small group. Also, another problem I had with it was they did not seem to be on target 100% of the time.

I have done things that do not agree with my moral code, but I would know when I cross it because I would feel guilty about it. With torture, while I periodically do an ongoing self checkup of where I stand on it, one thing that remains constant is torture of bad people is not as bad as torture of good people. I may change my opinion on the severity of what I will tolerate.
When i was a kid, I ended up bullying some kids based on a minor provocation. I beat up a kid more than he deserved. I felt really bad after that and that was an instance where my moral code differed from my action. Give me some credit. I know the difference between acting in the heat of the moment and moral code. Like I said, if you want to bash my moral code, fine. Don't act like you know my moral code better than I do.

by Pravin 2006-09-28 08:53PM | 0 recs
So, Maybe You're A Borderline Sociopath

We're supposed to give you a medal?

by Paul Rosenberg 2006-09-29 05:49AM | 0 recs
Re: So, Maybe You're A Borderline Sociopath

Oh please, I wasn't looking for any validation from a simplistic guy like you.
I never said give me credit for feeling bad about something I did bad. It was give me credit(as in I am not retarded enough not to know when I violate my own moral code).

Anyway, no point discussing this further. You act like pro life advocates who demonize people who seek abortions. Just replace killing a life rhetoric with torturing a bad person. To me they are both the same.  Abortion is not murder and torturing a bad person is simply not the same as torturing a good person. What is the difference between you and them  when your only way of disagreeing with others is extreme labeling?

by Pravin 2006-10-02 02:41PM | 0 recs
Re: Who Would Jesus Torture???

It appears to me that you have no moral basis. If you had a moral basis you would see the problem with allowing torture. Once you accept torture, who are you? What basis do you have for opposing authoritarianism? What moral standing do you have?

Bush and his fundamentalist right supporters have rejected and/or completely misunderstood the gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. They follow principles spelled out in Genesis - before the Law. Good is defined as us.  Bad is them. How do we know someone is bad?  Easy.  You're either with us or your against us.

by FishOutofWater 2006-09-29 06:43AM | 0 recs
Re: Who Would Jesus Torture???

Thanks for writing this Paul.  Powerful stuff, both from the Bible and Altemeyer's analysis.  Know them by their fruits, indeed.  It would be nice to see some Dem leaders have the moral courage to say some version of what you say here.

by mitchipd 2006-09-27 02:46PM | 0 recs
Re: Who Would Jesus Torture???

A producer of the "Titanic" said that he didn't "get it" until he "let it in." It's rather painful to "let the idea of torture in." It means one may lose sleep, be over-reactive, cry, and be deathly afraid. I thank everyone here, and encourage doubters to "let it in" and gift yourself and the whole human race with some much needed lost sleep.

by Rabbit 2006-09-27 08:46PM | 0 recs
Re: Who Would Jesus Torture???

The lefty side of the blogosphere has been going off half-cocked a lot lately.

Remember the Arianna-fueled Ten Minutes' Hate over "The Democrats Aren't Talking About Iraq!  Waaaah!"  (Even though they were and are?)

No sooner had that died down when the next freak-out was "No Democrat is willing to speak out against Bush's torture bill!  Waaaaaah!"  (Even though plenty of Democrats were and are speaking out against that bill.)

Now it's become "Some Democrats voted for the bill, so EVERY SINGLE DEMOCRAT IS A SELLOUT WHORE!  WAAAAAAH!"  (Never mind that the vast majority of House and Senate Democrats are against this bill, whereas all but a handful of House and Senate Republicans are for it.)

If I only had a trank gun that worked over phone lines...

by Phoenix Woman 2006-09-28 07:03AM | 0 recs
Re: Who Would Jesus Torture???

When Ariana made reference to the Democrats regarding Iraq, I think she meant the establishment, not the base or individual congressmen.

by Pravin 2006-09-28 10:28AM | 0 recs
Re: Who Would Jesus Torture???

If you had a TRANK GUN that worked over the phone lines...

You'd what?

Grossly underestimate what is at risk?  Forget how to do simple addition? Resort to abusive ad hominems (Ad hominem abusive (also called argumentum ad personam) usually and most notoriously involves insulting one's opponent, but can also involve pointing out factual but damning character flaws or actions)? Because your premises cannot withstand close scrutiny, and thus aid (have aided) the neocons in expanding the definition of "enemy combatant" without any possibility for accountability and no sunset on the bill?

If you had a TRANK GUN that worked over the phone lines...

You just shot all of us with it, and now (just one example) any foreign journalist who questions the wrong people at the wrong time and the wrong place will PROBALY  be arrested without a trial and detained for who knows how long:
http://www.gregpalast.com/big-easy-to-bi g-empty-the-untold-story-of-the-drowning -of-new-orleans
http://www.infowars.com/print_palast.htm
http://www.gregpalast.com/reporter-palas t-slips-clutches-of-homeland-security

Thanks for calling me a "lefty," but NO THANKS! I'm a "bleeding-heart liberal."

Indeed, my view as to the authors' intent of this blog is in its recognizing the ethical concepts common to all great religions and philosophies, both secular and non-secular. "The Sermon on the Mount" just being one of many, and the GOP should therefore "practice what they preach." Seems few of them ever actually read the Constitution and comprehended it, and fewer than that actually read their own religious text. I meant no disrespect to it's author, and was not trying to redefine it in a manner which would reframe it.
 I say this to support it's author, because I also think when this truth really gets out more than it already is... The "Mafia" and their crooked lawyers will have much less places to hide.

by Rabbit 2006-09-28 01:30PM | 0 recs
Re: Who Would Jesus Torture???

Once again, I did not support this as policy. Please dont distort what I say.

by Pravin 2006-09-28 10:21AM | 0 recs
Just To Be Perfectly Clear!

This sholdn't need saying, at least not here, but apparently it does:  I'm not arguing that we should base US law on the Bible.

I am arguing that (a) those who purport to want that have no choice but to oppose torture, (b) those who think we should seek moral guidance from the Gospels have little, if any choice in the matter, and (c) those who think we should seek moral guidance from the Bible in general have got to get pretty creative to distinguish themselves from those covered in (b).

I am also calling attention to the fact torture is deeply abhorent to moral norms more generally, as the Sermon on the Mount has long been recognized as articulating principles with a good deal of commonality to other Axial religions.  While there are considerable difference between the great religions, there are also points of commonality. And what we have here is arguably the defining nexus of how the Axial religions defined themselves in contrast to earlier, primarily tribal-based faiths, with a clear articulation of universality, and treatment of all humanity as kin.

Of course, it should also go without saying that Kant's categorical imperative rejects torture just as firmly as the Sermon on the Mount.

Indeed, the only moral code I can think of right off that doesn't condemn torture is that of the Mafia.

by Paul Rosenberg 2006-09-28 11:31AM | 0 recs

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