Saturday, November 10, 2007

Great moments in political rhetoric

In a Wall Street Journal editorial that was excerpted in yesterday’s Chicago Tribune, torture apologist Alan Dershowitz defended the efficacy of torture by writing the following:

There are some who claim that torture is a nonissue because it never works--it only produces false information. This is simply not true, as evidenced by the many decent members of the French Resistance who, under Nazi torture, disclosed the locations of their closest friends and relatives.

Now, guilt by association is of course fallacious- the fact that Nazis tortured people doesn’t prove it’s wrong. Still, if I were to offer one suggestion to Dershowitz-or, for that matter, anyone trying to influence the public- it would be this. Saying that something is a good idea because it worked when Hitler did it is probably not the best way to convince people. There’s a reason Mothers Against Drunk Driving generally doesn’t play up the fact that Hitler didn’t drink, for instance.

Of course, I’m not the one getting space in the Wall Street Journal, so what do I know?

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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Unlike torture, there are a few others things that Hitler tried but didn't work out so well: State socialism, police state, the holocaust, invasion of Russia. Mind you, these are not per se bad! Just ineffective.