Torture and Liberty

with 4 comments

Is torture compatible with liberty? Unfortunately, this is no longer a hypothetical question. Many Americans who claim to support individual freedom also favor permitting the government to torture suspected terrorists or other purported enemies of the United States. This controversy is reminiscent of a disagreement between the famous economists F. A. Hayek and John Maynard Keynes. Hayek’s Road to Serfdom (1944) brilliantly restated the classical warnings on Leviathan, showing the similarities in trends between Nazi Germany and Western democracies. Keynes claimed that Hayek had gone too far in his criticism because “dangerous acts can be done safely in a community which thinks and feels rightly, which would be the way to hell if they were executed by those who think and feel wrongly.” Many Americans have embraced Keynes’s assumption in the post-9/11 era. They have accepted that a democratic government should be permitted to unleash itself if the rulers promise to do good things. They have ignored or shrugged off the specific methods used because of their confidence that politicians “think and feel rightly.”

read James Bovard’s latest at FEE


Written by mudshark

September 10, 2008 at 9:01 am

4 Responses

Subscribe to comments with RSS.

  1. It’s a zero sum world. Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness must occasionally be maintained by those who are willing to set aside their virtue and deprive others of those same basic rights.

    To die for your country is easy, but will you damn your soul to Hell for it?


    September 10, 2008 at 10:17 am

  2. that would likely depend on if one believes in fairy tales and/or fancies glorifying false idols like the ones they themselves pretend to be.

    to aggress against another promotes nothing but violence in return. a negative for both in more ways than one. in contrast, voluntary interaction on any level, in an unregulated marketplace, promotes innovation and is a positive for all, not just those involved in the exchange.

    to blindly and willfully follow a corrupt government is easy, but when the time comes, will you stand for liberty?


    September 10, 2008 at 12:55 pm

  3. While you have a certain point, I feel that point is only valid for the true aggressor. When one is responding to others’ aggression, violent and extreme action can reach the desired goals where peaceful responses can’t.

    Can anyone say WW2?


    September 11, 2008 at 7:33 pm

  4. well, not quite. that is the point; the non-aggression principle of liberty. the response is self-defense, not aggression.

    as to the connotation of WWII being some kind of truncated justification, if that’s what is intended in the reference, for the U.S. Government’s lust for belligerent intervention and expansion, that drifts off into the land of fairies on a string.


    September 12, 2008 at 11:45 am

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s