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Thursday, April 23, 2009

Moral Absolutism on Fox News

I've often wondered if Shepard Smith's recent un-Fox News-worthy attitude was a result of his legitimate differences with the network - which seem to be growing - or simply a case of moral posturing, as I believe the case to be with Glenn Beck. It's tough to believe in its sincerity (I mean, he was the host of A Current Affair...) but this outburst seems to be free of pretense. He ends up looking a little foolish in this clip, but I sympathize with him. Torture is just fucking wrong, ok? Sometimes the debate beyond that - especially a biased one - does not really help matters. There have to be some things that are simply taboo in our society despite their inevitable gray areas.

In the torture debate, people often bring up the Alan Dershowitz argument: a bomb is set to detonate in a large city in an hour, we have the terrorist, does it make sense to torture him to find the bomb's location? Probably. Does that mean we should do it? No. This is a completely hypothetical question with no basis in history. Hypotheticals could be drawn up to question any one of our values, that doesn't mean we should base policy on fiction. Example: Is is ok to punch children in the face when they're naughty? No. But what if, this one time, this child was actually not a child and he had the Gary Coleman disease and you didn't punch him and then he stabbed you. Yeah, good point. Open season on punching kids? No. Punching kids is fucking wrong, case closed.

There are always opportunities for relaxing our moral boundaries and there are always justifications, but it really just comes down to sticking by those decisions. I never cut in line. And I actually kinda consider peoples willingness to cut in line to be demonstrative of a certain sociopathy. Does it make sense to cut in line sometimes? Of course. Would it benefit me on occasion? Yes. But I'll never do it, I simply will not allow my brain to go there. It's unfair and fucking wrong. That's all there is to it.