President Bush, Dick Cheney and others who support the use of torture by the United States and its agents usually rely on the ticking time bomb argument. Sometimes torture is necessary to prevent a greater evil. I accept this argument. If my kid were kidnapped and the suspect was refusing to talk, I'd want Vic Mackey to do the questioning.→ Marginal Revolution: Torture, terrorism, and incentives
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.
The torture victim faces incredible pain and perhaps death at the hands of his torturer. If these costs are to be born by the victim then we had better make damn sure that the benefits are also high and the only way we can do that is to make the torturer also bear some of the costs. Torture must not be cheap.
Everything in moderation, including and especially moderation.→ culiblog: Juliano's Raw
If programmers got paid to remove code from sofware instead of writing new code, software would be a whole lot better.→ Nicholas Negroponte, as conveyed by Jason Kottke
As should be clear, this site is in the midst of a major redesign and reconceptualization. My blog has lay mostly fallow for some time now, and I've spent alot of time thinking about what format would better suit it to my self-publishing needs...
Most Fennesz sounds to me like Reaktor granular synthesis patches auto-evolving while an Austrian checks his email and/or online bank account, but this early tune makes hearty poetry from audio trimmings, static crackles powered by the Stones aura.→ dj /rupture on fennesz' reinterpretation of "paint it black" by the rolling stones