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SOC203 LECTURE 9 March 18 2013 Torture: Weber vs. Durkheim 1 Torture: recent examples 2 Torture as a concept: Torture: Inflicting excruciating pain on an individual  Can be engaged by individuals or the state  Luke’s is interesting in the torture inflicted by states  Torture can be psychological or physical. Often difficult to separate the two  To humiliate someone might be a form of mental of psychological torture 3 Can torture be justified?  Luke’s is asking are there circumstances under which liberal democratic states can justify the use of torture  Some people believe torture is wrong under all circumstances  Groups on principle opposed to all sorts of torture ex. Amnesty international  Ticking bomb argument: authorities have reason to be live an attack will take place at a certain time  They have a suspect that they think knows where this is going to happen can they somehow get the info out of him?  States have responsibility to protect innocent citizens should they not have the responsibility to engage in torture to extract information  The ticking bomb argument that is being used to justify the employment of torture but Luke says this is not very good. Luke’s says it is unlikely for those being held prisoner would have this information.  He says this argument is not to be taken too seriously.  4 A Weberian argument - GROW UP in politics you have to do dirty things sometimes to achieve good things  Weber not a sentimental thinking when it comes to politics. Upfront he says the states is an association …  End of politics as a vocation you find weber has a tragic view of politics – he believes those who become involved in politics with vision of what lie ahead for their country have to accept that in order to achieve a dreamlike future they need to adopt dirty unsavory means. o This is a reality of political life.  When we enter politics we are entering a huge gray zone. And when we adopt clean ends we will achieve clean (morally good) results.  Implies torture can be justified under good circumstances – perhaps torturing some people will be an evil practice that pays off positively 5 A durkheimian counter-argument  Luke’s in US and Philippines  Luke’s calls on a part of French history where Durkheim was involved  Dreyfus – Jewish captain tried of treason o Question of anti-Semitism, o Some people thought the trial was properly conducted – open and shut case o Sociologist the anti Dreyfus people were right wing, military, upper class, believing in the authority of the church o The dreyfusars – people on his side believed that he was scapegoated and his crime was being Jewish o These people were socialists of the day o They were people that believed the French church had too much power – anti traditionalists secularists o The anti Dreyfusaras were conservative in the sense they wanted to conserve French society but upholding traditions. o Novelist Zola  wrote “I accuse” - accused the authority of a cover-up  He didn’t believe Drayfus has a fair trial he was sentenced to jail and had to flee to England  1906 –evidence found that someone had framed Dreyfus. He got his job back and was promoted 12 yrs. later  Anti dreyfusars –for conservatives national interest trumps individual interests – the need to avoid inserting device of conflict into French society  Not just that these people were nostalgic – France had just fought a war against the Prussians, also ww1 was coming. To the extent a society has to maintain unity you can somewhat understand the frame of mind of the conservative  Also France went thru so much re: the French revolution.  France is unstable internally and at the same time Europe is losing its predominance in global affairs in favour of US and soviet union – it was a period of instability  This is the preoccupations conservatives had in mind  Anti Dreyfusarus had it wrong  He says the new civil religion is one of individualism  Increasingly in modern society the military and church and old aristocracies are institutions that do not have the same moral authority as they had before.  Does this mean there is no moral glue/authority that bonds people  No!  At the same time this is happening there is a new belief – this belief of individualism  People believe in individualism and it is spreading  The argument: Durkheim says: in fact the problem is that in disrespecting the rights of Drayfus one is showing a lack of respect to this new cult of individualism  Drayfus is agreeing with his opponents that it is necessary to maintain the unity of French society  Individualism is the new authority the new religion of human beings and the only system of beliefs that can maintain the moral unity of a country  Violating the civil rights on individuals cannot rest unpunished.  If France makes is possible to trample on the rights of Drayfus the respect for individual in society will suffer  The preoccupations of conservatives – need to maintain society by respecting individuals’ rights.  Religion of the individual can allow itself to be flouted without resistance on penalty of losing its credit  The individualist who defends the rights of the individual defends at the same time the vital interests of society  Luke’s says allowing core individuals rights to be violated by state officials threatens the
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