Torture: Torture works, i.e., gets useful information from the victim if the victim has useful information.
Death Penalty: Some crimes deserve death.
I couldn’t help observing to myself that if information was wanted from me and I was threatened with being forced into a scalding hot shower I would tell whatever I knew. If I was brave enough to let a finger in, I would immediately relent and talk. It goes beyond my ability to conceive that others would resist. This seems obvious.
It also seems obvious that those who commit certain crimes are no longer entitled to their lives.
The opponents of torture and the death penalty argue that torture doesn’t work, absurd, and that the state has no right to take lives. They take these positions because they don’t realize that their key arguments are all they need. The resulting problem is that the advocates of torture and the death penalty stand on firm ground on these points and can forever hold there advocacy hostage to them.
Torture: I cannot imagine that advocates of torture, or ordinary people who aren’t sure, question the ability of torture to get information, made up if the victim has no information, but true if the victim does. We must argue this point on the evil of torture and the evil of the society that practices it.
Death Penalty: It is so much simpler to just grant that some have forfeited their right to live and then argue that society never, that is absolutely never, ever, has the right to take the life of an innocent person. Society does not have the right to even take the chance that it may kill someone who is innocent.
Only when the opponents of torture and the death penalty square up to the distractions of making invalid arguments and give them up, do we have a better chance to convince those who are undecided or maybe even some advocates!