Justification for Torture and Other Ramblings

Posted by Anti Citizen One on November 9th, 2010

It’s really grinds my gears when I hear attempts to justify torture. George W Bush recently said water boarding saved lives. This is NOT a valid justification for torture, simply because there is no valid justification AT ALL. (Well OK there probably are hypothetical situations that I might support torture, but they don’t occur in recent times, like the trolley problem.) Until this “torture is OK” attitude is fixed, any military interventions based on “liberating” countries, or criticising countries for human rights abuses is complete hypocrisy. We need to prosecute those who practise torture. Now.

No person shall be […] deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law. US Constitution, Fifth Amendment.

Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted. Eighth Amendment

It is also questionable that we should be trading with countries that practise torture – we are complicit in their torturing (benefiting from oppression) and we supply logistics (airports for rendition, etc), equipment, diplomatic assistance that enables them to carry on torturing. Unfortunately, that includes most countries. This makes globalisation highly questionable.

He who fights with monsters should be careful lest he thereby become a monster. And if thou gaze long into an abyss, the abyss will also gaze into thee. Beyond Good and Evil

The UK is apparently building two aircraft carries it doesn’t need. Since the government would be responsible for the cost of winding down the shipyards if the orders were cancelled, it is cheaper to build them, apparently. A third option that occurred to me: cancel the aircraft carries, keep the yards open and build something useful! At a last resort, it could be warships – but make them ships that are more appropriate to actual needs. On the other hand, wasting military spending would probably lead to a safer world. The MOD might be up for a nobel peace prize?

The government also said it plans to force “some” long term unemployed to do manual work for continuation of social benefits. The criteria of who exactly they plan to force into work is not exactly defined, as far as I know. The devil is in the detail. But considering we don’t have full employment, it seems unfair to force people to work, when there are not enough real jobs.

That reminds me of the university funding debacle. The university budget has been cut by 40% (£4.2bn from £7.1bn), with the costs passed to students. Most students will not have significant funds for their own development and will accrue large debts. This creep of debt to the majority of the population (not to mention the house mortgage system) is a form of economic slavery. The ban on collecting interest is one of the few things I agree with in the Qur’an and the Bible. Except most believers seem to have ignored this teaching. Although I have a love of learning (and therefore of free education), I see the current increase in university places as farcical, unnecessary and potentially counter productive as economics increases its hold on university policy.

To connect the employment and university issues, we seem to be training graduates for non-existent jobs. OK, some jobs exist that require that level of study – but too much is being made of the “need” for a degree to get a job. Most jobs don’t need it – it is only the under-supply of employment that makes competition for the job intense – and drives the need for practically superfluous degrees. Full employment has some interesting economic consequences. A job guarantee program might be better than forcing manual labour on virtual benefit slaves.

Rant concluded.

Anti Citizen One

And where doth man not stand at abysses?

Posted by Anti Citizen One on November 5th, 2010

Courage slayeth also giddiness at abysses: and where doth man not stand at abysses! Is not seeing itself- seeing abysses? […As] deeply as man looketh into life, so deeply also doth he look into suffering. FN

A quote that applies to me – fortunately or unfortunately (or comically or tragically)

Anti Citizen One