Wednesday, November 28, 2007

The Politics of Torture: Rejali in the News


Darius Rejali appears in a new interview in the Portland based weekly Willamette Week. A highlight:

I think the bottom line is, do Americans want to defend their values with methods that are so well-known and so barbaric that they take away from the values that they had?...But it’s an important point. Is it better to be loved or feared? The answer is, if we fight with one hand tied behind our back, and we win, we will be loved and feared. If we’re merely loved, we might be despised. But if we’re merely feared, we’ll be despised. The important thing is to do it right.

Fans of Machiavelli will, of course, recognize that this question is one of the central issues that princes must resolve in order to stay in power.

Later in the interview, Rejali says he sees himself as a member of the House of Slytherin. How many political philosophers do you know can go from The Prince to Harry Potter?

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2 Comments:

At 9:00 AM , Anonymous Lani said...

I wonder whether it is possible to love and fear one and the same person. I'm with Shulasmith Firestone, as she writes in "The Myth of Romance," that love and power over do not mix. Maybe it's romance and not love that combines with fear.

 
At 5:35 PM , Anonymous parisa said...

The place where love and fear together seem appropriate is in expressions of religious faith -- especially the Abrahamic faiths. All encourage the simultaneous emotions of love and fear toward God.

It is important for humans not to confuse themselves with the divine. Such overreaching could be considered the most fatal of all sins -- with dire consequences for all of humankind. That dynamic is played out in every scripture in the world.

I agree with Rejali in the caution he offers, but not in the notion that the combination of love and fear ought to be the goal. I'd be satisfied with an aim of inspiring respect (something more nuanced than love or fear), requiring some reciprocity in order to be useful.

 

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