Wednesday, April 16, 2008


Ten years ago, I never thought that I'd be signing a petition to hold a POTUS, VPOTUS, and other Fascists accountable for approving the widespread use of torture. Well, here is that petition in case you want to sign it, too.

I did, however, read this article, Michael Levin's "The Case for Torture" in 1993. Levin is a professor of philosophy at CUNY and is closely linked with the Heritage Foundation, The Pioneer Fund, and other "neo-conservative" organizations. I was so upset by the article that I used it to teach logical fallacies in all of my composition courses, year after year. And it's chock full of textbook 101-level fallacies, so it served that purpose well. What is, of course, alarming is that any professor of philosophy knows his fallacies, so it's unlikely that the man believes a word he's saying. My real motivation in using this work in the classroom, though, was the worry that we were ripe for some far right maniac to take office and act on the ideas presented there, manipulating the populous in the same way Levin manipulates a naive audience. I felt that one of the few constructive things I could do was to make a couple hundred students aware of Levin's argument, so that when/if they saw it again in the mainstream, they'd associate it with a failure of reason.

One thing that this article makes abundantly clear is that the agenda we associate with 9-11 and Bush-idiocy and Cheney-evil was in the pipes long before they were elected. But now, Levin's argument sure sounds familiar, doesn't it?

No comments: