Torture, Virtuous Equivocation and Guy Fawkes

November 6th, 2007

Two interesting articles I encountered today that are      only tangentially related (They both reference Guy Fawkes):

 The first is a post from Armed Liberal at Winds of Change discussing his position on torture, opening with the following:

I’ve wrestled and wrestled with the issue; torture is obviously bad, but what is it about torture that is so expressly bad – why is it worse than the death and suffering that comes in war, or in the daily violence police officers do as a part of their jobs?

In large part, it’s the fact of violence against captives; against the helpless, the unarmed, those incapable of resisting. But that didn’t get to the heart of what cleaves torture as an issue from violence as an issue. And why I – as someone who is decidedly not nonviolent – am so decidedly against and uncomfortable with issues of torture.

I came to an answer, as I usually do, in an unplanned realization while reading a book.

The ensuing article and the comments themselves are well worth your time.

Second, via Instapundit I found Dave Kopel’s 2001 article Virtue in Equivocation where he references Guy Fawkes and the Gun Powder Plot as an introduction to the concept of virtuous lying, where it applies and where it doesn’t. This was in relation to Osama Awadallah, a Jordanian student attending Grossmont College (a college in El Cajon, California, which caters to international students), being indicted by a New York City grand jury for lying to the grand jury about his relationship with September 11 terrorists Nawaf Alhazmi and Khalid al-Midhar. He then goes on to explain how the concept of Virtue in Equivocation doesn’t necessarily apply to Islamic radicals. In the process he also sheds light on the question of the rights of jurors and the concept of jury nullification.

All in all, two very interesting takes on the assorted subjects.

Cross-posted to Dean’s World 



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