Straw Men

William Saletan compares torturers to people who execute death-row prisoners and people who perform abortions. He writes:

In the fury of a moral backlash, naming names and holding people accountable feels like the right thing to do. But before you go down that road, remember that the choice of targets won't always be yours.

A reader points out the false equivalence:

His logic would be acceptable if it wasn't that execution is legal under public law while torture is only 'legal' under executive secret law. Conflating the two is extremely dangerous and factually wrong.

How does anyone get to the utilitarian argument without confronting the illegal argument? I guess I've been asking this question for six years so it's a little optimistic to expect clarity at this point.

2006-2011 archives for The Daily Dish, featuring Andrew Sullivan

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register.

blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

The Best 71-Second Animation You'll Watch Today

A rock monster tries to save a village from destruction.

Video

The Case for Napping at Work

Most Americans don't get enough sleep. More and more employers are trying to help address that.

Video

A Four-Dimensional Tour of Boston

In this groundbreaking video, time moves at multiple speeds within a single frame.

Video

Who Made Pop Music So Repetitive? You Did.

If pop music is too homogenous, that's because listeners want it that way.

Video

Stunning GoPro Footage of a Wildfire

In the field with America’s elite Native American firefighting crew

Just In