24 Apr 2009


All Posts, Potpourri No Comments

* Robert Wenzel tells us “the next big thing” in the financial world. (I think he means, the next big thing after Bernanke’s balance sheet.)

* The principles of Walt Disney’s success [pdf].

* The 1870s depression wasn’t so bad after all (HT2 Tom Woods).

* This guy says what everyone needs to be saying: It is immoral and illegal to torture people, even if you work for the government and even if you have lawyers telling you it’s OK. (Note that I’m not saying Obama or the AG should prosecute anybody for these actions–and if you consider yourself an extreme skeptic of government actions to “make the world a better place,” I invite you to really put your views to the test when it comes to the federal government punishing itself for violating rights.) Before 9/11, it would have made a good Onion headline to say, “Torture: How much is too much?” But that’s basically where we are now, here in the shining city on a hill, land of the free, home of the brave. Anyway, let me get off my soapbox and give an excerpt from the linked article:

Today the Washington Post features yet another screed…arguing that the torturing (once again using the Orwellian term “enhanced interrogation techniques”) of prisoners has been so effective that we cannot possibly give up this weapon in our arsenal. Thiessen asserts self-justifying, unverifiable McCarthyite claims regarding the efficacy of torture. Now I am highly skeptical about this — nothing written by professionals in the field suggests to me that this is true….

But in the end, I think this is not an avenue worthy of argument. I actually don’t give a sh*t if it’s effective. It’s wrong, barbaric, dehumanizing, and altogether unworthy of how a great people and great nation would act. We don’t eschew torture for utilitarian reasons — we do it based on our deeply held belief in our principles, in the rule of law, the dignity of man, and our shared common humanity. We don’t resist the use of torture because it is the easy thing to do or because we are not under threat or not afraid. We resist it because we believe at a core level that some principles are sacrosanct even if we may face risk or even death at the hands of fanatics — we stand by the essential tenet that we mustn’t become monsters in order to defeat a monster.

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