just procrastinating

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Here’s a smart post over at Marginal Revolution by Alex Tabarrok about torture. It’s kinda hard to be for torture, and that Bush is threatening to use a veto for the first time in support of it’s use makes me question his sanity. Granted in a "ticking time bomb" scenario it would be justified, but who get’s to decide when the time bomb is really ticking:
But it does not follow from the "ticking time bomb" argument that torture should be legal. The problem with making torture legal is that the government will abuse its powers. I do not trust the government, any government, to use this power responsibly. Leviathan must be heavily restrained, especially when it comes to torture.

Here is where economics can make a contribution. By making torture illegal we are raising the price of torture but we are not raising the price to infinity. If the President or the head of the CIA thinks that torture is required to stop the ticking time bomb then they ought to approve it knowing full well that they face possible prosecution. Only if the price of torture is very high can we expect that it will be used only in the most absolutely urgent of circumstances.

So if the "ticking time bomb" really is torture-worthy, I'm sure the jury would cut them some slack.

Weblog Commenting and Trackback by HaloScan.com