Patterico's Pontifications

11/16/2007

A Very Serious Answer to a Very Serious Hypothetical

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:38 am



Katherine at Obsidian Wings has this hypothetical:

Stipulate that in 2002, Dick Cheney’s cardiologist was deeply opposed to the coming invasion of Iraq. Say that based on his conversations with his patient, he was convinced that (1) Cheney was trying to drag the country into war based on lies about Saddam Hussein’s weapons program; (2) invading Iraq would lead to the violent deaths of thousands of American soldiers & hundreds of thousands of innocent Iraqi civilians; (3) these deaths would make the United States less safe from terrorist attack, not more so; (4) if Cheney were out of the picture, Colin Powell would be able to talk the President out of this disastrous course, & the intelligence agencies would be able to present accurate information, & the invasion would not occur; (5) he can prevent all this by deliberately sabotaging a heart procedure on Cheney & making it look like an accident; (6) murdering Cheney in this fashion is the ONLY way to prevent the war.

Say the cardiologist is 100% right about all of this. Is he justified in murdering Cheney?

I have several very serious responses.

Katherine,

1. It’s shocking that we are even having a debate about whether to assassinate the Vice-President. But that’s what you get when you debate with moonbats — they are assassination apologists, because they all secretly want to assassinate Bush and Cheney.

2. Your hypothetical is stupid because the answer is so obviously designed to elicit a “yes” answer to assassination. It’s like asking about the Sugar-Plum Fairy or something. It’s so unrealistic! You are just asking the question to make us say “yes,” because the only rational answer is “yes.”

3. Also, the answer to the hypo is “no.” Assassination is always wrong. Again, why are we even having this debate? How have we gotten to the point where we are even talking about this? You disgust me.

4. Assassination is illegal! Whatever happened to the rule of law??

5. Why do you have to choose such an unlikely hypothetical?

6. Let me ask you a hypothetical in response . . .

7. You are a monster, and I hope you die painfully in a fire. Also, what do you do for a living? I find it creepy that a [whatever you do] would be talking about assassination. God, I need a drink.

8. I already answered your question somewhere else.

9. The next time you ask this, can I kick you in the nuts? It’s a hypothetical, just like yours!

10. The fact that we are even having a debate about assassination really says something about the left. Yes, I know I said that, but it bears repeating. I said, it bears repeating.

I hope that answers your question.

P.S. Yes, it’s completely unfair for me to use Katherine as the target of my satirical venting against muttonhead liberals, for she has been honorable in her conduct of this discussion. I could just say life isn’t fair, but I’ll try to give her hypos a serious answer over the weekend.

98 Responses to “A Very Serious Answer to a Very Serious Hypothetical”

  1. OT, not hypothetical. IAEA reports

    Iran has installed 3,000 centrifuges for enriching uranium – enough to begin industrial-scale production of nuclear fuel and build a warhead within a year, the UN’s nuclear watchdog reported last night.

    LarryD (feb78b)

  2. Patterico – Yet, they claim the moral high ground for themselves.

    JD (33beff)

  3. In the moonbat hypothetical, Cheney is not the proximate cause of all the moonbat doom and gloom.

    dave (30198f)

  4. Why in the world would any moonbat consider murder of any human being wrong? They and their supporters have been responsible for over 45 MILLION abortions in this country alone in the past 30 years, so why would advocating murder be wrong to them. They are killers in myriad ways of this country and what was the grand experiment on the planet earth. That its own people caused the failure of the great democracy is irony itself.

    Sue (861973)

  5. Sue, you’re using logic.

    We’ve been over this before, I know we have…

    8)

    Scott Jacobs (425810)

  6. It seems almost too easy to point out the irony of your flimsy stereotyping of liberal common sense and rationality when you have conservatives who comment the way Sue just did.

    Bernard (08fd8d)

  7. It’s a fair point, Bernard.

    The left likes to cry about about morality while it goes and commits abortion after abortion.

    How is that not a point that can be made?

    I fear for the reason that the irony is lost on you.

    Scott Jacobs (425810)

  8. Scott, this is one of those lines in the sand where if you don’t understand already it’s not worth trying to explain to you.

    Bernard (08fd8d)

  9. uh-huh

    I expected that cop-out.

    I love how you fail to grasp the point Sue was making. It’s telling, really.

    Scott Jacobs (425810)

  10. It’s not at all justified. The President and VP are chosen by the people to use their judgement in protecting them. The government already has mechanisms in place to remove/restrict its leaders.

    If the majority of the population believed all the hypothethicals pointed above, the mechanisms would kick in, you would not need an insider assassin to save the country. It’d be the height of arrogance for the cardiologist to place his judgement above the rest of the country and take matters into his own hands.

    Fco. (42897b)

  11. The left likes to cry about about morality while it goes and commits abortion after abortion.

    Shit, that reminds me. It’s almost time for my 11:45 abortion! If it runs late I might have to reschedule my 2 o’clock.

    The Left (444e9b)

  12. I highly suspect that Bernard or Phil trying to be cute.

    Whoever it is should really try harder.

    Scott Jacobs (425810)

  13. If the point she was making is that conservatives are about as likely to be hysterically irrational as liberals then she made it extremely cleverly.

    If, as I suspect, she was being serious, then the important point is about her, rather than made by her (as I said originally).

    Bernard (08fd8d)

  14. Or she could have been pointing out the irony of Lefties being so insanely opposed to something that doesn’t kill a person, but are almost rabid in their support of something that does.

    Scott Jacobs (425810)

  15. Conservatives support a number of things that kill people (and rightly, in my opinion) and are bitterly opposed to any number of things which don’t (pornography, for instance).

    If that’s your benchmark for lampooning liberals then you fall into the same ‘conservative moonbat’ category that she does.

    Another stat for my records.

    Bernard (08fd8d)

  16. Good DAY, sir!

    Pablo (99243e)

  17. Or she could have been pointing out the irony of Lefties being so insanely opposed to something that doesn’t kill a person, but are almost rabid in their support of something that does.

    Objection. Assumes facts not in evidence. Also misconstrues the record.

    The Left (444e9b)

  18. Yes, Bernard, your first point @13 is right, with one caveat: the multitudes of Lefties far exceeds those on the right…but, yeah we have them also.

    And, yes again, I am being serious. This is truly not about any right to life issue, it is about the right of every person, especially women, to take charge of their bodies and make their own decisions. My point has always been: with the choices available for birth control these past forty years that I never had in my youth, why do so many women choose a medical procedure that could, not only affect their physical health in the future, but also their mental state. AND, causes the death of a living being.

    Sue (861973)

  19. Conservatives support a number of things that kill people (and rightly, in my opinion) and are bitterly opposed to any number of things which don’t (pornography, for instance).

    And what are those, Bernard? #1, the death penalty. Take it from there.

    Pablo (99243e)

  20. Sue, people have a tendancy to overestimate stupidity in groups they agree with and underestimate it in groups they disagree with. That’s compounded on blogs by the fact that trolls tend to take deliberately contrary positions (and ergo more lefty trolls appear here, and more right-wing ones on lefty blogs). I’ve seen more than enough hysteria and faulty logic from all sides to dismiss the idea that it’s intrinsically linked to any particular position.

    As for the abortion debate, I’m not particularly interested in getting into it because a) the current rules are poorly thought out too and b) abortion debates generally take over any thread they start in because most people revert to automated acrimony on a subject they’ve rehearsed all their arguments in. What I would say is that if you think the normal liberal position is in favour of abortion (rather than in favour of it being a matter of choice for the woman concerned) you don’t know many of them.

    If you think that supporting choice makes one a murderer, you fall comfortably back into my ‘moonbat’ bin.

    Bernard (08fd8d)

  21. Wow, Kathleen makes a boatload of assumptions in her answer to the original hypo, without any real attention to cause and effect. And she seems oblivious to the fact that the majority of things she states would happen if KSM were waterboarded have not happened, despite the fact that he was. The evidence of her worldview trumping the facts on the ground is best displayed here:

    It would help drive recruiting for Al Qaeda. It would help seal the failure of our invasion of Iraq.

    If not for the fact that the sector of Iraqis once aligned with al-Qaeda against us are now working with us to destroy them in Iraq, I could have bought in to that. Maybe.

    Well, we did do it. And that outcome has not materialized.

    Pablo (99243e)

  22. If you think that supporting the choice of killing a nascent human being makes one a murderer, you fall comfortably back into my ‘moonbat’ bin.

    There. Fixed that for you, Bernard.

    Pablo (99243e)

  23. Equality is the shiznit.

    Pablo (99243e)

  24. Pablo, that’s easy.

    Self-defence of one’s home.

    The military defence of one’s nation and national interests.

    The killing by police officers of those who pose a clear and present danger to innocent parties.

    All of these are policies which conservatives are more likely to support than liberals and which result in a death that would otherwise have been avoided (and, to reiterate, I’m in broad agreement with each of the above. I’m just amused that Scott in particular brought up liberal policies that ‘kill a person’ as a sign of their lunacy).

    Bernard (08fd8d)

  25. (1) Cheney was trying to drag the country into war based on lies about Saddam Hussein’s weapons program”

    To what purpose was Cheney trying to do this? Did he think that Hussein was a real threat and the American people were just being wimps or was he just out to destroy innocent life. In this Hypo I need to know if Cheney is evil or not. I think that is a signifcat difference between the two hypo’s.

    If he is just out to get people killed and is truly an evil human being then he needs to be offed.

    But if he isn’t evil and his objective isn’t to intentionally destroy innocent life, then not so much.

    the invasion would not occur

    I need to know if this is a good thing or a bad thing. Is Hussein still a murderous bastard who would paint a picture of planes crashing into the WTC is he a good guy who likes kittens?

    So the answers are the same as above.

    Now if only someone at Obsidian Wings could ever give such straight forward and honest answers.

    Katherine,

    Please elaborate on Cheney’s evilness.

    Ody (1c621b)

  26. Pablo, if you don’t know what ‘choice’ refers to in the context of the abortion debate I’d read up more. If you do, you’ll realise that your ‘correction’ was unnecessary.

    Bernard (08fd8d)

  27. For the purposes of the hypothetical, Cheney is evil.

    Katherine (0a7665)

  28. “And she seems oblivious to the fact that the majority of things she states would happen if KSM were waterboarded have not happened, despite the fact that he was”

    If they had, would it be worth it?

    Katherine (0a7665)

  29. Ody, you may have missed some of the prior discussion about hypotheticals. Patterico brought up a particular hypothetical which, he predicted, liberals would be unwilling to answer. He declared that for the purposes of the discussion pulling apart the realism of the hypothetical would be disbarred and that failing to give a ‘yes/no’ answer would demonstrate that liberals can’t answer direct questions and prefer to prevaricate over the assumptions put forth.

    He was broadly right. Quite a few people did. Katherine raised an alternate hypothetical, possibly to find out whether conservatives are as likely to find excuses to avoid addressing a direct question.

    You look to be our first winner.

    Congratulations.

    Bernard (08fd8d)

  30. If they had, would it be worth it?

    Of course not. But they haven’t, and you based your answer on the fact that they would. That however, is not a fact, it’s fiction.

    Pablo (99243e)

  31. Pablo, if you don’t know what ‘choice’ refers to in the context of the abortion debate I’d read up more.

    I know exactly what it means, Bernard. That’s how I managed to flesh it out a bit.

    Pablo (99243e)

  32. Furthermore, Katherine, the notion that waterboarding KSM would drive otherwise disinterested people into the arms of an organization that carries out its agenda by mass murdering people within their own society, and by causing factions within that society to mass murder each other is unfounded and illogical. It’s contrary to human nature.

    Pablo (99243e)

  33. Bernard,

    Thanks for being a smart ass!

    The answer is then NO he shouldn’t be killed.

    Ody (1c621b)

  34. Bernard:

    I’ve seen cauterwauling before but you make even the castrati at Daily Kos green with envy.

    Thomas Jackson (bf83e0)

  35. All of these are policies which conservatives are more likely to support than liberals…

    I think not. Those are fairly universal, and you might recall that the last POTUS, a liberal, got us into a military skirmish or three.

    Pablo (99243e)

  36. pablo, if you knew the correction was erroneous one wonders why you made it.

    bernard (eb5c77)

  37. pablo, if you knew the correction was erroneous one wonders why you made it.

    It isn’t erroneous, but perhaps you’ll prefer this:

    If you think that supporting the choice of killing a nascent human being or not makes one a murderer, you fall comfortably back into my ‘moonbat’ bin.

    There. Better? And if not, why not? Assertion is not evidence, Bernard.

    Pablo (99243e)

  38. thomas, i’m not sure what that means, but thanks for caring!

    pablo, most conservatives would disagree with you about whether liberals have the stomach to support policies that are necessary but kill people. it’s not controversial to say that they’re less keen on all 3. regardless, you asked for other policies that have conservative support and i gave them. :) my continuing interest does rely on your finding something of substance to disagree about.

    bernard (eb5c77)

  39. My answer to Katherine’s hypothetical is no. It seems to me that the hypothetical is off the mark. Does the doctor have some duty to prevent the invasion or protect the United States, other than his view of his own righteousness? Is he consulting with others whose duty it IS to protect the United States prior to making his decision to murder someone? Isn’t he really just a vigilante who is making himself judge, jury, and executioner?

    I don’t see that as parallel to the waterboarding hypotheticals. It’s not like the people doing the waterboarding are doing so only because “they are deeply opposed” to the Sheik’s acts.

    Also, Katherine said “Is he justified” and didn’t specify “legally justified” or “morally justified”, but I’m guessing she meant “morally” because it’s pretty clear (to me, at least) that he wouldn’t be legally justified, regardless of the accuracy of his prediction that the murder would save lives (because in that alternate reality, everyone would simply be speculating on whether there’d have been an invasion and attendant casualties). I mean, it’s only out of sheer luck that he’s in a position to do something about his beliefs, it’s not like he was appointed or hired to a position where looking out for the lives and deaths of American soldiers is part of his duty.

    Linus (cc24db)

  40. No. You can’t kill him because his particular plan is so big, and involves so many players, that you can’t be sure that he can carry it out or even what the outcome would be.

    I like Katherine’s hypo because it brings more uncertainty into the equation while promising a big payoff.

    Patterico, maybe you picked on Katherine (one of my favorite commenters so far) because her honorable responses indicated that she had the perspective or sense of humor to be able to take a few zingers that obviously weren’t meant for her.

    EdWood (c2268a)

  41. my continuing interest does rely on your finding something of substance to disagree about.

    Great. Then answer my #37. And then, for desert, you can go look up Vermont’s gun laws.

    Pablo (99243e)

  42. Equality is the shiznit.

    So should Bosaria have been prosecuted and convicted for murder, Pablo?

    The Left (444e9b)

  43. Also, Pablo, your nitpicks at Katherine’s hypothetical suggest you are missing the point of the exercise, and may not even understand the meaning of the word hypothetical.

    The Left (444e9b)

  44. I have to vote no

    First, Hippocratic Oath applies

    Second, Doctor is “convinced”, his actions are not based on fact, but on opinion (this is slightly mediated by the fact that he is “100% right”)

    Third, Water boarding does not equal murder.

    Fourth, the Doctor’s actions are self serving and covering “making it look like an accident” If he’s so convinced, then let him face the consequences of his actions.

    Fifth, if this hypo is allowable then the logical follow up would include jailing those likely to commit crimes, and the like.

    Interrogation to save lives is simply not the moral equivalent of a preemptive death penalty.

    P.S. wouldn’t that get the Doctor in trouble with Death Penalty opponents? Perhaps he should just cripple Cheney instead

    Dr T (69c4b2)

  45. Also, Pablo, your nitpicks at Katherine’s hypothetical suggest you are missing the point of the exercise, and may not even understand the meaning of the word hypothetical.

    I’m not referring to her hypothetical, I’m referring to her answer to Patterico’s. I know, nitpicking. Like it’s nitpicking to state that what are presented as factual outcomes are entirely fictional. I’m funny like that.

    Pablo (99243e)

  46. No, again, because VP Cheney is an innocent person in all this. He is acting in a manner consistent with the position of his office, duly elected by the people. While people may disagree with his actions, there are methods to deal with this.

    It continues to amaze me at how leftists think….that people only have to be “guilty” of disagreeing with them before some leftist wants them dead….

    reff (bff229)

  47. Right Pablo. The idea that waterboarding one Muslim might make other Muslims angry is so contrary to human nature. So, the clink for Bosaria? Yes or no?

    The Left (444e9b)

  48. Of course it would be wrong to kill Cheney.

    Not to say that a hypothetical could not be constructed in which it would be justified (and indeed, the right thing to do) to kill a fairly elected leader of one’s own democratic society, but this one isn’t it.

    If you don’t understand why that is, then I’d recommend that you go read some of the Greeks. Aristotle would be appropriate.

    Joe M. (5a9d7f)

  49. Let’s change the hypothetical a bit to avoid reality conflicting with the hypothetical.

    The patient’s name is (pick one: Hitler; Stalin; Pol Pot).

    Does that add clarity?

    LarryD (feb78b)

  50. After the knee jerk– Yeah, what Dr T said. There is the flaw in this hypo which is that it stipulates killing someone whereas the other hypo only has someone waterboarded. This sets up this hypo as a political assasination, not as an attempt to coerce an enemy into giving up information. The lack of equivalence allows all sorts of moral/ethical/practical wiggle room.

    EdWood (c2268a)

  51. The idea that waterboarding one Muslim might make other Muslims angry is so contrary to human nature. So, the clink for Bosaria?

    Way to not be able to read, Lefty. The idea that waterboarding one Muslim will make all the rest of the embrace people who mass murder Muslims is contrary to human nature. (Bols and italics? Will it sink in?) Thank you for representing your namesake so brilliantly. There’s not enough laughter in the world.

    Pablo (99243e)

  52. Is a debate on whether to assassinate the VP even legal? Are you justified in carrying it on here, Pat? Could you suffer consequences over this or am I mistaken that the Secret Service would take a dim view of this post and discussion>

    Christoph (92b8f7)

  53. One of my friends looks to Hitler as his hero, simply because he killed Hitler.

    G (722480)

  54. Assholeish post, Patterico. Why don’t you go after Sadly, No instead? They at least asked for it.

    Russell (cf89ed)

  55. Right Pablo. A muslim would never join an organization that murders muslims. Al quaeda, therefore, does not exist. QED. Are you really this stupid or are you a parody troll?

    You going to answer my question about Bosaria, btw? Is equality really and truly “the shiznit”, or do you just think Snoop Dogg-isms from 1997 make you sound hip?

    The Left (444e9b)

  56. . A muslim would never join an organization that murders muslims. Al quaeda, therefore, does not exist. QED.

    Can you read a clear, simple sentence at all? Are you a parody troll? (Frankly, I prefer “froll”)If you can read my #32 and derive that meaning from it, you have severe comprehension problems.

    You’re doing a phenomenal job of willful misunderstanding. I’m not up for doing a word by word definitional breakdown of my point, which an average third grader could grasp on the first go-round, for someone so insistent on playing the fool. Maybe you can get someone else to explain it to you. Just don’t forget that you’re supposed to be cleaning up the gene pool today! Thanks for that, BTW.

    Pablo (99243e)

  57. “Assassination is always wrong.”

    Torture is always wrong. Waterboarding is torture and has been for hundreds of years. None the less, in the original hypothetical let’s assume that we waterboard and it doesn’t work. We know without a doubt that he has the information and we know getting it from him will save thousands of American lives. Since waterboarding is not working you must try something else. Would you pull finger nails? Use cattle prods? There are microwave devices that cause extreme pain and give the sensation that your skin is on fire. It isn’t really and they cause no real permanent damage. Would you use these methods? If not why not?

    noen (d50af5)

  58. Your ruminations on human nature are contrary to the evidence, G-money. Go back and rewrite #32 to make it funky fly fresh with a bag of chips!

    And then maybe you can finally tell us whether Bosaria is a murderer or not.

    The Left (444e9b)

  59. What lies led us to war? I don’t recall a single lie. I think there were errors, but we know that Saddam had WMD materials and that they have not been found. Where is the lie in that?

    Also, we know that Saddam or his subordinates sent many sophisticated weapons to Iran, such as fighter jets. Why is it assumed that the WMD programs just didn’t exist at all when we know Saddam moves and hides things, and we know he had the WMD programs at one point.

    Dustin (9e390b)

  60. Dustin – Honest errors are lies to them.

    JD (33beff)

  61. Your ruminations on human nature are contrary to the evidence, G-money.

    Your grasp of the facts is as horrific as your reading comprehension. See my #21.

    And then maybe you can finally tell us whether Bosaria is a murderer or not.

    One, I’m not terribly interested in having a discussion with such an either idiotic or dishonest interlocutor. Two, I have no idea who you’re talking about and apparently
    Google doesn’t either.

    Pablo (99243e)

  62. Pablo – I tried googling it as well. I figured that I had misspelled it.

    The Left – Since you appear to know know about this place named Bosaria, or this guy named Bosaria, or the girl named Bosaria, maybe you could bring us up to speed so we could form an opinion.

    JD (33beff)

  63. Saddam hated Iran. Iran hated Saddam. They had been at war off and on for decades. So claiming that the fact we found no WMD means Saddam gave them to Iraq is far beyond any stretch of credibility.

    Nate (5209c7)

  64. Perhaps Dustin meant to say Syria, Nate.

    More.

    Pablo (99243e)

  65. Ok, so let’s say that, back in the 1930’s, Hitler’s doctor became aware of Hitler’s plans and knew that only his killing of Hitler could stop Hitler.

    Would Hitler’s doctor have been justified in murdering Hitler?

    jim (6d4ad1)

  66. Your #21 has precious little bearing on the assertion that the notion that waterboarding one Muslim could cause other Muslims to violently oppose the United States is “contrary to human nature.”

    I misspelled Basoria, Pablo E. Fresh. You know, the woman in your “Equality is the shiznit” story. I apologize for the error, though I’m surprised your awesome powers were not up to the task of detecting the transposition of two vowels separated by one consonant.

    The Left (444e9b)

  67. Wow, that Syria stuff is great. I mean, who are you going to believe, an anonymous memo and some Ba’athist trying to peddle a book, or the entire US government?

    The Left (444e9b)

  68. The Left – There was never enough time in the rush for war for Saddam to get any of that stuff over the border to Syria. Why would they even want to do that, when they could just bury it in the sand like they did the Russian fighter jets? Plus, they would have needed large caravans and tractor trailers to move everything somewhere else. Not only not likely, but not probable, and almost impossible.

    JD (33beff)

  69. And yes, Bosaria is a murderer.

    JD (33beff)

  70. I misspelled Basoria, Pablo E. Fresh. You know, the woman in your “Equality is the shiznit” story.

    Oh. She’s an accomplice at the very least, and quite possibly a murderer.

    I apologize for the error, though I’m surprised your awesome powers were not up to the task of detecting the transposition of two vowels separated by one consonant.

    Well, I am human, as difficult to comprehend as that may be.

    Your #21 has precious little bearing on the assertion that the notion that waterboarding one Muslim could cause other Muslims to violently oppose the United States is “contrary to human nature.”

    “Violently oppose the US” does not equal “Join al-Qaeda”, genius. But you knew that, or you’re an idiot.

    Pablo (99243e)

  71. I mean, who are you going to believe, an anonymous memo and some Ba’athist trying to peddle a book, or the entire US government?

    Which said what, exactly?

    But really, you should never believe anyone who’s trying to peddle a book.

    Pablo (99243e)

  72. Russell,

    There are a couple of assumptions in your comment #54. Neither is correct.

    Patterico (715956)

  73. Pablo, it appears that not even JD buys your WMD to Syria tale.

    So is it your guys’ position that women who get abortions are murderers and should get life in prison? How can Basoria be less culpable than Flores when it appears the abortion was her idea?

    The Left (444e9b)

  74. There’s a word for you, The Left.

    Pablo (99243e)

  75. Oh, and the answer to your questions, as they stand is “Texas law.”

    Pablo (99243e)

  76. I’m haven’t read enough of this series to participate but I’m glad Katherine has contributed to the discussion. I can’t help but notice, however, how much her hypothetical reminds me of a well-known conspiracy theory.

    There are people who believe Kennedy was assassinated with assistance from a right-wing cabal that was worried about his foreign policy failings, especially his poor handling of the Cuban Missile Crisis and the Russians. I think it’s fair to argue that those who believe it’s right to assassinate Cheney would likewise have to *hypothetically* approve of Kennedy’s assassination, to the extent it was motivated by people who sincerely felt they were protecting the country from dangerous policies.

    DRJ (9578af)

  77. Of course the answer to the hypothetical is no. You cannot deliberately kill someone based on your political opinions.

    If you try changing Cheney to Hitler, you’re an idiot. To be consistent you’d also have to support the murder of millions of people who share Hitler’s ideas. After all, who could have said with a straight face in 1919, or 1923, or 1925, or even 1928, that Hitler was ever going to rule Germany?

    Accept Katherine’s hypothetical and you accept a world like that in Minority Report but worse. In Minority Report, the government (allegedly) had some high-tech sci-fi way to know 100% for sure that you were going to commit Crime A in the future, so they would pre-emptively punish you for it.

    Katherine’s hypothetical would have us accepting private citizens murdering people based not on any kind of process, but instead on their personal belief that doing so will prevent future crimes. A pillar of our society is that unless you are defending yourself or someone else against threat of death or serious harm, or your home, that you do not have the right to kill someone. Only the People do, acting through the apparatus of the State.

    I don’t think a society that accepted Katherine’s hypothetical would be one where I’d want to live at all. With private citizens able to kill people based on their personal belief that it will prevent great crimes, how can you say that private citizens killing people based on any belief is wrong? A “great crime” can be anything to anyone.

    chaos (9c54c6)

  78. I do love the Left. Its morality is so consistent. That’s why they love partial birth abortion while professing to hate all forms of torture. Apparently innocent babies don’t rate the protections that terrorists are due according to their bizarre standards of behavior and morality.

    Thomas Jackson (bf83e0)

  79. Man, Patterico, you sure have attracted the librulbots to the site.

    Paul (ec9716)

  80. Look at the built in and EXTREMELY UGLY assumptions of liberals like Katherine:

    1. Some lives are worth more than others. Foreigners, Wealthy Liberals, are worth more than average working Americans.

    2. Power-control should ONLY be given to an “elite” who are morally superior and therefore the nobility. The people are to be ruled by the “Dictatorship of the Proletariat.”

    3. Political arguments are worthless because the people are the enemy and therefore not persuadable by logical arguments, rather they must be ruled by an iron nobility.

    4. There is no cost to avoid military action because the entire world looks and acts like people in the cubicle next to you. Just talk to your lawyer when some fellow shows up with a bomb or a knife to cut off your head and shouts “Allah Akbar!”

    These are extremely ugly assumptions built-in to Katherine’s hypothetical. Filled with delusional views of the world and disturbing elitism.

    Here’s my hypothetical. Musharraf is gone, replaced by an AQ sympathetic general. Iran announces “nuclear status.” One day NYC and DC vanish in nuclear blasts and AQ claims credit, demands various impossible things such as conversion to Islam and submission to his authority as Caliph.

    The President, Vice President, and most of Congress are dead as are most of the federal Bureaucracy. What happens?

    Do local governments simply round up Muslims in internment camps to prevent more bombings? Do angry locals burn down mosques? Will a military government temporarily take power? What is the response to the nuking of America? What if Osama’s claim is matched by threats of more unless we surrender to him as Caliph? Do we nuke Pakistan? Iran? Both? Neither? Do we surrender?

    Katherine’s hypotheticals and the liberal hysteria over “torture” are quaint and stupid. The real issue is what will we do if we are nuked? Who will we kill and how will we do it to stop it from happening again.

    Jim Rockford (e09923)

  81. Stipulate that in 2002, Dick Cheney’s cardiologist was deeply opposed to the coming invasion of Iraq. Say that based on his conversations with his patient, he was convinced that (1) Cheney was trying to drag the country into war based on lies about Saddam Hussein’s weapons program; (2) invading Iraq would lead to the violent deaths of thousands of American soldiers & hundreds of thousands of innocent Iraqi civilians; (3) these deaths would make the United States less safe from terrorist attack, not more so; (4) if Cheney were out of the picture, Colin Powell would be able to talk the President out of this disastrous course, & the intelligence agencies would be able to present accurate information, & the invasion would not occur; (5) he can prevent all this by deliberately sabotaging a heart procedure on Cheney & making it look like an accident; (6) murdering Cheney in this fashion is the ONLY way to prevent the war.

    Say the cardiologist is 100% right about all of this. Is he justified in murdering Cheney?

    Yes.

    David Blue (b8f569)

  82. –If yes, does this scenario call into doubt whether there’s a moral basis for a blanket ban on: (1) murder in general; (2) political assassination in particular; (3) doctors deliberately harming their patients? Is criticism of advocates of murder, assassination & violations of the Hippocratic oath sanctimonious, self righteous hypocrisy against people who just refuse to toe an ideological line?

    –Change the hypothetical: if there is only a 1% chance instead of a 100% chance that Cheney’s cardiologist is right, does he have a responsibility to treat that as a certainty?

    Katherine (0a7665)

  83. Here’s a different hypothetical. Replace Dick Cheney with Hugo Chavez, and ask the question to right honerable folks at LGF the same question. Let me know how they respect heads of state.

    But look! Abortion!

    fishbane (1f2790)

  84. As an opponent of torture, I can also oppose assassination. I do wish the doctor would publicize that Cheney has become paranoid from the side effects of his heart medications and/or hypoxic episodes of cardiac arrest, which I think is quite possibly true.

    Andrew J. Lazarus (7d46f9)

  85. Here’s a different hypothetical. Replace Dick Cheney with Hugo Chavez, and ask the question to right honerable folks at LGF the same question. Let me know how they respect heads of state.

    Why don’t you e-mail that to Charles Johnson yourself, fishbane? If you rant enough with some spicy explicatives added to the mix, he’ll put your e-mail in a separate post called “We Got Mail!” Then you can read all of the Lizardoid Army responses.

    Paul (ec9716)

  86. Oh man, I missed this one:

    Katherine’s hypotheticals and the liberal hysteria over “torture” are quaint and stupid. The real issue is what will we do if we are nuked? Who will we kill and how will we do it to stop it from happening again.

    Perhaps if we could torture them as fetuses to determine which particular brown people are likely to become nuke throwing terrorists, we could abort them. Everybody wins – flyover conservatives get torture and steely-eyed Dirty Harry action, filthy liberals get to kill babies, and Manhattan continues to be an expensive place to live.

    In related news, the rule of law just crawled into a corner and died out of shame.

    fishbane (1f2790)

  87. In related news, the rule of law just crawled into a corner and died out of shame.

    Yup, fishbane, go ahead and send that e-mail.

    Paul (ec9716)

  88. fishbane – your fetus hypo was already discussed. The crowd voted no. Sorry.

    daleyrocks (906622)

  89. This is all predicated on the notion that Dick Cheney can be killed.
    Does this mean that he might actually be human?

    Uncle Pinky (3c2c13)

  90. Thanks for the (repeated, evasive) offers to play with the LGF hordes. Nope, the idea never, ever popped into my head, and I wouldn’t ever have come up with it without your kind suggestion. I’ll get right on that, after I reconsider my response to White v. State being officially out of date. I’m pretty sure what the response would be, but lets start simple: how do you, Paul, answer the question? Would you support the assassination of Chavez? Let’s make it even easier: The US has had a bounty on bin Laden’s head, as well as several other Al Queda types. It has also assassinated at least some operatives we know about. Is that, as our host put it, “always wrong”?

    I know the answer. (hint: yes.) But then I’m just a whiny liberal somehow, despite never having voted for a liberal in my 17 years of having the vote.

    Wait, I almost forgot – Abortion! Evil liberals!

    fishbane (1f2790)

  91. Thanks for the (repeated, evasive) offers to play with the LGF hordes.

    Evasive? How? If you really menat what you said,

    Here’s a different hypothetical. Replace Dick Cheney with Hugo Chavez, and ask the question to right honerable folks at LGF the same question. Let me know how they respect heads of state.

    why post it here?

    Nope, the idea never, ever popped into my head, and I wouldn’t ever have come up with it without your kind suggestion.

    What’s a-matter, don’t want to be mocked mercilessly?

    I’m pretty sure what the response would be, but lets start simple: how do you, Paul, answer the question? Would you support the assassination of Chavez?

    No.

    Pointing out that Chavez wishes to be dictator-for-life is not an assassination endorsement. Just because the Left has written Bush assassination fantasies doesn’t mean the right shares such wet dreams.

    Let’s make it even easier: The US has had a bounty on bin Laden’s head, as well as several other Al Queda types. It has also assassinated at least some operatives we know about. Is that, as our host put it, “always wrong”?

    See previous answer.

    I know the answer. (hint: yes.)

    Your accuracy is right up there with the $3.99-a-minute psychic hotline.

    But then I’m just a whiny liberal somehow, despite never having voted for a liberal in my 17 years of having the vote.

    Oh yes! You’re a Staunch Republican!

    Paul (ec9716)

  92. What’s a-matter, don’t want to be mocked mercilessly?

    I couldn’t care less about the mockery. I just see very little point in poking that pile of reptiles for the same reason I see very little point in attempting drive-by debate with the Kos kids. The results are predictable. I prefer more interesting discussion, which is why I come here, for instance. Although this is starting to get tedious.

    No.

    At least we do agree on something.

    Oh yes! You’re a Staunch Republican!

    We clearly agree on something else: no, I’m absolutely not. I’m not much for joining clubs, political or otherwise, and I vote for and support the least insane person on the field. In the past, that has mostly correlated with Republicans, but ’08 needs to see them in the woods for a term or two, until a belief in fiscal restraint, staying out of other people’s panty drawers and not starting wars for shits and giggles comes back. I’m sure I’ll be terribly disappointed in whomever the Democratic nominee is, but even if it is Hillary (and I really hope it isn’t), smacking the Republicans on the nose is more important.

    And as an NYCer, if they nominate Rudy, I’ll personally rent a bus to take people to the polls – the man is simply a self-interested, opportunistic thug. He’s only gotten worse since he attempted to illegally maintain power, and his ranting about 9/11 is appalling. (“Rudy, did you know about Kerik’s ties to organized crime?” “911! America’s mayor!” “Did you cheat on your second wife while in office, then inform her of your impending divorce at a press conference?” “Terrorists! 911! Booh!”)

    No, I’m not a staunch Republican.

    fishbane (1f2790)

  93. Fishbane – Try not to be late to the party next time and bring something original, mkay.

    daleyrocks (906622)

  94. Katherine-

    If you can justify assassinating Cheney, you can certainly justify Oswald’s actions. If Cheney is Darth Vader, then Kennedy is Palpatine:

    Kennedy reportedly stole the 1960 election with the help of the Daley and LBJ machines in Chicago and Texas.

    Kennedy took us to the brink of nuclear war during the Cuban missile crisis.

    Kennedy got us involved in Vietnam, ultimately leading to the death of almost 60,000 Americans and over 5 million Asians-ten times as many as killed in the Iraq conflict.

    Kennedy was a supply sider-he cut taxes and increased revenue.

    So,Katherine, was Oswald justified? Would he have been justified if he acted a few years earlier, before our involvement in Vietnam?

    MartyH (fd100c)

  95. More and more, it seems that the only proper response to all of the hypotheticals that have been posited is:
    I’m sorry, I don’t respond to hypotheticals.

    Another Drew (8018ee)

  96. Let us assume, for the sake of argument, that this blog was for the purpose of conservatives posing hypotheticals about liberals posing hypotheticals about independents posing hypotheticals about Hitler posing hypotheticals to Cheney’s mother about abortion. Would you still vote for this blog as “Best law blog for political humor and sports reporting”?

    David

    David J Harr (6dba95)

  97. Anotherdrew, you’re absolutely right. The real lesson is that lots of people are uncomfortable with hypotheticals that don’t give much insight into the real world but do deliberately use key buzzwords in provocative ways (torture, vice-president, children, etc.).

    Of course, the lesson most people will learn is that ‘those stupid liberals/conservatives (delete according to own affiliation) can’t answer a straight question and also ask questions that show they’re insane!’

    Because I suspect that may be the point of the blog, it’s not a terribly surprising outcome.

    Bernard (7687a5)

  98. Fishbane #86,
    Haw haw haw…

    If you answered yes to Katherine’s hypo, then at what percentage of certainty would that answer become no? Would you still pull the trigger if you were only 75% sure that Cheney could somehow do all that stuff?

    Same with the waterboard KSM crowd? What if you have a “prisoner” that you think is KSM but you just don’t know? (remember, hypothetical). At what percentage of certainty is it OK to proceed with “harsh interrogation” techniques to get the alleged KSM to spill the beans?

    “but we knew it was KSM” is a dodge– all day long

    EdWood (118003)


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