What Is Levin's Argument In A Case For Torture

997 Words4 Pages
The discussion of torture is a touchy one in regards to its place in the justice system. People struggle to find a place for it between what is morally right and what is realistically necessary. In the state that the world is in today, due to frequent terror attacks, the topic is more crucial and controversial than ever before. In Michael Levin’s “A Case for Torture”, he presents his beliefs on how accommodations can be made for torture in order to uphold the safety and well-being of the world. Levin’s main argument explains that in order to maintain morals, the use of torture must be evaluated on a case-to-case basis. Though a valid idea, his proposal is supported by examples that only make it weaker. Because of this, Levin’s argument lacks…show more content…
Though his ideas are strong, the lack of supporting information strongly discredits what he is attempting to attest. If all of the imaginary situations he creates were actually real, documented events, it would be hard to doubt his claims. However, Levin only hints at real evidence before elaborating on another “what-if” scenario. For example, he shares the results from his poll of four women, asking them “if they would approve of torturing kidnappers if that were necessary to get their own newborns back” (689). Unsurprisingly, all of the mothers who took part in his poll agreed that they would torture the kidnapper. Levin’s use of this “experiment” as evidence to support his claim, in fact, does the opposite, and weakens it. Not only are his results not statistically significant, but they are also only his own, from an experiment he ran for the sake of arguing his point. Endless other factors can com into play, one in particular being the fact that women, especially mothers, have a maternal instinct to protect their children. It would be extremely uncommon to find someone who would not try to save their child from a kidnapper, which lessens the strength of this poll as evidence. Another hint at evidence is when Levin references Hitler and Roosevelt, claiming that “Roosevelt could have had Hitler killed in 1943-thereby shortening the war and saving millions of lives-but refused on moral grounds” (690). Had he elaborated more on this concept and drawn more parallels to his argument that torture is acceptable when others’ lives are at stake, his claim would become
Open Document