e g r e g o r e s

"Graciously bestow upon all men felicity, the summit of which is the knowledge of the Gods." [Julian, Oration to the Mother of the Gods]

Sam Harris. In Defense of Torture. Srsly.

Sam Harris said of himself in October, 2005:

I am one of the few people I know of who has argued in print that torture may be an ethical necessity in our war on terror. In the aftermath of Abu Ghraib, this is not a comfortable position to have publicly adopted.

Do tell.

Harris even titled the Huffington Post essay the above quote is taken from “In Defense of Torture”.

W. T. F?

But it gets even better. In the same year that Harris wrote “In Defense of Torture” he was the recipient of a PEN Award. According to the PEN Charter:

IN ALL CIRCUMSTANCES, and particularly in time of war, works of art and libraries, the heritage of humanity at large, should be left untouched by national or political passion.

MEMBERS OF PEN should at all times use what influence they have in favor of good understanding and mutual respect among nations; they pledge themselves to do their utmost to dispel race, class, and national hatreds and to champion the ideal of one humanity living in peace in the world.

PEN even has its own “Campaign against torture“!! On their website PEN says:

we are campaigning for the restoration of the right of habeas corpus and an end to torture, arbitrary detentions, extraordinary renditions, substandard trials, and secret prisons.

But Sam Harris says:

I will now present an argument for the use of torture in rare circumstances. While many people have objected, on emotional grounds, to my defense of torture, no one has pointed out a flaw in my argument.

I would suggest that the flaw isn’t so much in Sam Harris’ argument as it is in Sam Harris himself.

To learn more about the nice liberal atheist Sam Harris and his public support “for the use torture in rare circumstances” (words that even George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, etc, have never dared to say out loud much less put into print), just do a google search, or read Andrew Brown’s recent blog on the subject over at the UK Guardian. Brown states bluntly that Harris “argues unambiguously for the use of torture. Why pretend otherwise?”

Why, indeed.

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