Your Browser Has a "Please Send Me To Hell" Button

May 7, 2009 § 26 Comments

Actually, you have to work out your moral failing, in either case, don’t you? If you torture, you have to work it out. If you allow millions to die because you’re “too good” to torture, that’s another moral failing you have to work out. And what is the moral failing? Not trusting that God will help you work that out.

Maybe when you don’t have an idea that you and God can work out your moral failings, you have a tougher time dealing with them? I don’t know. But “who saves a life saves the world, entire” may come into play here. I don’t want to kill the guy I’m torturing. But I want to save 5 million lives.

Resolving to sin if some future hypothetical fantasy comes to pass is one of the most insane things people do with their computers. Resolving to sin if X happens is sinning. Resolving to sin if X happens and then stating that resolution on a public blog is formal cooperation with evil.

God gives you an easy way to work that out though. It is called “keeping your mouth shut”.
(HT: Disputations)

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§ 26 Responses to Your Browser Has a "Please Send Me To Hell" Button

  • brandon field says:

    I said it over at Tom’s, but we Enlightened American Catholics don’t really believe in hell anymore. We believe in just working things out.

  • Lydia McGrew says:

    I never read the Anchoress. I didn’t used to, either, but I used to hear about her in the Catholic blogosphere and occasionally be curious about her. Then a couple of years ago I saw a quote of her going on and on and on about Rudy Giuliani and how he is a “man in full,” and I felt mildly sick (does a “man in full” send his lawyer to tell the press that his divorced wife is “clinging from the chandelier” when they are trying to kick her out of the mayor’s mansion?) and resolved never to be interested in anything she had to say.

  • zippy says:

    Early on I had her confused in my mind with <>The Anchor Hold<>, a delightful blog by a delightful woman, Karen Marie Knapp, now deceased, may she rest in peace. So I would occasionally go read what the Anchoress had to say when linked from other blogs, and typically regretted it.

  • Tom says:

    I think the Anchoress is pretty good on religious topics that are not also political topics. On topics that are both religious and political, she’s more hit-and-miss. On purely political topics… I’ve always said the more I know about <>anyone<>‘s politics, the harder I find it to respect them.

    And, since her name has come up: Karen Marie Knapp was a holy woman.

  • JohnMcG says:

    I think the attituedes some Catholics have toward torture and abortion are an interesting exhibit on what a powerful force political partisanship is, and how effective the parties are in inspiring loyalty.

    As another example, in that same post, tere was a link to Andy McCarthy’s courageous stand, comparing him to May Ann Glendon’s declining to accepte the Award at Notre Dame. I followed the link, hoping to find a firm stand on life. What did I find? McCarthy would not serve on a detention task force for the Obama Administration because he didn’t want to associate himself with some of Obama’s policies that make us less safe.

    I’ve got anothe post in the mental hopper about how we throw the word “courage” around these days.

  • zippy says:

    I followed the same link and had the same reaction, John. Probably had the same dumb hopeful look on my face that you did too.

  • Anonymous says:

    After reading The Anchoress’s thoughts on torture (how and why did she wind up affliated with First Things?!), I was reminded of Christ’s 40 days in the desert and the temptations Satan hurled at him. Specifically, the one in which Satan offers Christ all the power in the whole world if he simply commits original sin.

    I might be grasping at straws here, but to me there’s a distinct similarity in the bargain with evil Anchoress is making and the one presented by Satan to Christ. Just do this one evil thing, and you’ll do oh so much good. I don’t doubt Christ thought about the immediate good he could have done with such direct power too.

    -Colm

  • JohnMcG says:

    On the one hand, it’s a little unfair that the Anchoress’s comments have received this much scrutiny, since it’s not apparent to me that she’s given this matter much thought or intend for that to be a manifesto on US interrogation policy.

    On the other hand, it’s worth exploring, since I think many have followed a similar thought process to arrive at an anti-anti-torture position.

  • Anonymous says:

    Especially since a person not arriving at precisely the same conclusion as Zippy or John McG are automatically wrong and, therefore, excommunicated and, thus, <>ipso facto<> damned!

  • brandon field says:

    <>On the one hand, it’s a little unfair that the Anchoress’s comments have received this much scrutiny, since it’s not apparent to me that she’s given this matter much thought or intend for that to be a manifesto on US interrogation policy.
    <>And didn’t she admit at the opening of the post that she had had too much to drink? Friends don’t let friends ‘blog drunk. Or should that be “drog blunk”?

  • William Luse says:

    “I think the Anchoress is pretty good on religious topics that are not also political topics.”

    This might be a complicating factor at other places, too, like, oh, say, W4.

  • JohnMcG says:

    I recently dropped W4 from my RSS list.

    Same day I dropped Vox Nova.

  • brandon field says:

    Bill, aren’t you a contributor to W4? What’s with all the vitriol between you and Ed?

  • zippy says:

    Brandon:

    Good observation. I’m willing to let a lot of things pass as imprudent mixing of keyboards and alcohol, once identified as such. I myself recall a very embarrassing experience once involving beer, Japanese <>fugu<> fish, and a hotel Internet connection.

    Bill <>was<> a W4 contributor, and retired from it some time ago, possibly even before Ed was added as a contributor IIRC. I may have to let it go myself due to other priorities, as delightful and profitable and enriching as it has been to work with the likes of Paul Cella, Lydia McGrew, Jeff Martin, et al — a real privilege.

  • William Luse says:

    <>I recently dropped W4 from my RSS list.<>Well, that’s not what I’m encouraging, John. After all, Zippy’s still there and Lydia too, and Paul Cella, and the others often have good things to say within certain parameters. But it’s your call. If you can’t take it then you shouldn’t.

    <>Bill, aren’t you a contributor to W4? What’s with all the vitriol between you and Ed?<>What Zippy said, and well before Ed came on. I don’t want to go into the vitriol because I’m sick of it, and don’t want to beat up on someone by name behind his back in a public forum (although I reserve the right to do so at a later date should circumstances militate – you know, like in a ticking time bomb scenario).

    <>imprudent mixing of keyboards and alcohol<>Guilty! On many occasions. Resulted in some of my most popular posts. The thing about alcohol, particularly European beer and British ale, is that it renders one unaccountably sensible: topics like torture lose their appeal, although jokes about it do not.

    What was KSM’s response to his first round of waterboarding? “You shouldn’t have stopped. I have 77 virgins waiting for me.”

    So the next time the interrogator kept pouring until the terrorist finally expired. When KSM got to heaven, he was greeted by St. Peter. “Here are your 77 virgins. There’s only one catch.”

    “What’s that?”

    “They have to stay that way.”

    Btw, I’ve had a few.

  • brandon field says:

    <>Bill was a W4 contributor, and retired from it some time ago, possibly even before Ed was added as a contributor IIRC.<>Ah, as you can no doubt tell, I’ve scaled back on the ‘blogroll this past year while playing the junior faculty thing.

    <>I don’t want to go into the vitriol because I’m sick of it<>I was more asking the question as a way of saying “chill, man” rather than asking for actual history.

  • zippy says:

    Something odd has happened to blogger comments, such that you now have to put line breaks after using italics tags. It looks right in the preview but then is screwed up in ths post. I don't know why and haven't looked into it, but a solution is (I think — if it doesn't work I'll delete the comment and re-do) something like this:

    <><><>here is some italics text<>

    <><>… and here is some follow-up text.

  • brandon field says:

    I figured that I had forgotten to put in an extra carriage return after the italics tag. The same thing happens to me when I use an email client that composes in html; I guess I’m a 7-bit ascii guy myself too, Zippy.

  • Anonymous says:

    “So the next time the interrogator kept pouring until the terrorist finally expired. When KSM got to heaven, he was greeted by St. Peter. 'Here are your 77 virgins. There's only one catch.'

    'What's that?'

    'They have to stay that way.'

    Btw, I've had a few.”

    You've had a few virgins?

    Aren't you married?

    “I may have to let it go myself due to other priorities”

    Mental note: Nearing time to drop W4 off list and recommend other fellow readers to do so, too, given Zippy's likely departure as a contributor.

    “Bill, aren't you a contributor to W4? What's with all the vitriol between you and Ed?”

    There was a spat between Bill & Ed?

  • zippy says:

    There are few if any better writers on abortion than Francis Beckwith, and none as succinct and clear on Thomism, that I know of, as Ed Feser. The rest of the crew there I’ve already mentioned. With or without the class clown W4 is one of the best and most interesting blogs out there, IMO.

  • Anonymous says:

    Zippy,

    However talented those contributors may be in certain respects, they generally lack the same unique characteristic and profound thought (obviously) that you do (particularly concerning Catholic topics).

  • William Luse says:

    <>You’ve had a few virgins?<><><>I want a lawyer.

  • Anonymous says:

    Zippy,

    Will you still be actively blogging here or are you in the process of retiring it as well?

  • Anonymous says:

    RE: Does it work

    The US as a matter of policy has tortured prisoners twice – during the PI Insurrection and GWOT. Interestingly both times the subjects were either Muslims or Catholics.

    Between PI and GWOT the Armed Forces taught that torture was unlawful and did not work as an intelligence tool. No one, openly at least, argued with this interpretation.

    After WWII we hanged a couple of Japanese gentlemen for water boarding Allied prisoners. The Governor Bush refused to pardon a Texas Sheriff who had been found guilty of water boarding a prisoner.

    In 2006 the Department of Defense published an exhaustive study which found that there was “no scientific evidence” that tortured worked as an intelligence tool.

    See: http://www.fas.org/irp/dni/educing.pdf

    Also in September 2006 the Army published its new Interrogation Manual (FM 34-52) which confirmed the findings of the DOD study and prohibited the use of torture (and included enhanced techniques like water boarding in its list pf prohibited acts).

    Back in the Dark Ages our Army and CIA instructors taught us that there was not a single verifiable case wherein torture produced reliable information which was processes into actionable intelligence.

    What is moral in life and what “works” go hand in hand. I do not see how practicing Christians can make the argument that torture “works”.

    God bless

    Richard W Comerford

  • […] … you are damned if you do, damned if you don’t. Consequentialism, Matthew 16:26 gambit […]

  • […] is immoral. With this latter I agree. I’ve suggested before that things like voting and blogging provide plenty of vicarious opportunities to do evil; and where there are pervasive opportunities […]

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