Politics, Sex, Religion, and all those impolite Human Conversations...

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Location: Oaksterdam, California

Friday, March 18, 2005

Volokh: Now and Then

Let's look at what Eugene Volokh said about Torture last June:
But, third, I just don't like this topic. I find it not just difficult but also sickening. Torture is disgusting. Failing to stop the next terrorist attack that kills thousands is awful. Does the need to save people's lives justify torturing suspects? How many lives? Would it take hundreds of thousands (as in the hidden nuclear bomb scenario)? Thousands? Dozens? A couple? I don't know the answers, and while I have no doubt about the importance of the questions, I don't enjoy thinking about them. The whole topic is sad and horrible, whatever the right answer is.

Let's look at what he said about torture the other day:
I am being perfectly serious, by the way. I like civilization, but some forms of savagery deserve to be met not just with cold, bloodless justice but with the deliberate infliction of pain, with cruel vengeance rather than with supposed humaneness or squeamishness. I think it slights the burning injustice of the murders, and the pain of the families, to react in any other way.

Based on the emphases I added, I guess he used his fine legal mind to think about it over the invervening 9 months. It went from something that is horrible to contemplate to suggesting we amend the Cruel and Unusual Punishment Clause in the Bill of Rights, to get over our supposed humaneness. It is rather a far swing of opinion if you ask me.