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Wednesday, May 05, 2004

I am blogging with one hand behind my back (not tied I can't manage that alone).

The reason is that even defenders of civil liberties are willing to concede (via billmon) "as the Israeli Supreme Court wrote in its decision striking down legalized torture: Although a democracy must often fight with one hand tied behind its back"". I am really interested in Matt Yglesias' very insightful post about Padilla.

One of his points is that the cost of not allowing Bush to lock up anyone hewants indefinitely is small "Broadening the number of independent actors who would need to agree to this sort of detention would greatly mitigate that danger, without substantially increasing the risks of terrorism." Indeed it is not fighting terrorism with one hand tied behind ones back. It is more like fighting terrorism with ones left pinky tied to ones left ring finger.

Yglesias' main point is that it is possible to be both a civil libertarian and a utilitarian (see Mill John Stuart). The real absolutists are those who are unwilling to accept any limits on the forces of order.

However, i also think that Mr Yglesias is still suffering fom the demonisation of utilitarians in Emerson hall. Matt your not doing philosophy anymore. It is time to make a cynical pragmatic alliance with the people who think rights are trumps in order to achieve the useful aim of living in a free society that does not make enemies of the people we set out to help.

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