A key to look for …

There are a number of keys that can be sought to help identify the nature of an argument. One of these that comes up often on the tortured torture debate is “in any decent society …” – that is an indicator of two primary logical flaws. The first of these flaws is that of pretending that real world complex decisions are binary and have definitive answers for all circumstances. The second is that of confusing idealism with realism.

In any decent society we wouldn’t have to deal with aberrant behavior like crime, terrorism, or insanity. We wouldn’t have to restrain or restrict individuals in that society. We also wouldn’t have to deal with unpleasant things like waste disposal or pollution or disease.

So anyone who starts an argument with “in any decent society” as a foundation is not making an honest argument about real world circumstances or conditions. That means that you are listening to a point of view that is an emotional rant and not a clarifying or educating argument from which you can learn things of substance.

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