Tuesday, February 9, 2010

But what does torture do to the torturer?

This story about a soldier who "waterboarded" his 4 y/o daughter for refusing to recite the alphabet made me think about Jeffrey Reiman's argument against the death penalty. His argument includes, among other thing, a consideration of what it means to have executioners living among us, and what impact having a job like executioner (or torturer) has on a person over time. I don't have the time or energy to lay out the entire argument again, but go read my previous post, because I think it's really relevant to this case:

Torture and Capital Punishment

An excerpt:
Being a civilized nation entails that we turn away from cruel and horrible ways of treating people. We like to believe that we've evolved past the enjoyment of public hangings, drawing-and-quartering criminals, and displaying the heads of beheaded criminals on public fenceposts. But to evolve past this, we need to also move past the necessity to have executioners among us. What does it do to an individual to be the one whose job it is to kill people? Can someone who has this job comfortably live among others in a civilized nation? And what must our self-conception be if we're OK with the fact that our criminal justice system necessitates the existence of executioners?


  1. 以簡單的行為愉悅他人的心靈,勝過千人低頭禱告........................................

  2. Anonymous2/10/2010

    A quote from your earlier post:
    "Maybe we want to abstain from torture not just because of what it says about us, but because of what it does to us."

    Exactly. And this is one example of what it does to us.