ANOTHER MODEST PROPOSAL

DESMOND MANDERSON

Abstract


[In essays first published earlier this year in mainstream Australian media to considerable fanfare, Bagaric and Clarke, two Australian academics, develop a modest proposal for the justification of torture under excep- tional circumstances. This essay rebuts the proposal and defends the abso- lute prohibition against torture. Their attempt to abstract torture from the social context – including the “war on terror” – in which the question of government sanctioned torture is now being raised, is condemned as in- genuous. A rhetorical analysis further demonstrates that the authors them- selves do not believe their argument is either hypothetical or limited. Furthermore, when the actual “defence of torture” is examined, it is shown to be illogical, incoherent, and lacking any sophisticated under- standing of the nature, purpose, or effects of torture. This is not the first time that half-baked reasoning and careless analogies have been devel- oped in order to defend the indefensible. Drawing on Voltaire and Jona- than Swift as well as Guantanamo Bay, this essay puts an important social issue into its immediate and its larger historical context.] 


Full Text:

PDF


DOI: https://doi.org/10.21153/dlr2005vol10no2art297

Refbacks

  • There are currently no refbacks.


1835-9264

© Deakin University